Hello Genetic Relative! was the opening line in an email from a previously unknown cousin trying to trace his roots. I understand his search because my father, sister, and grandson were all adopted. I know that adoptees desire to know their family histories for various reasons. Recently, an adult wanted to know the medical histories of their family of origin for health reasons. Occasionally, a person will find out later in life that they aren’t “who they think they are” because for various reasons the truth was kept from them and so they seek it out. For some, their heart craves a reunion of a soul they are related to by DNA, perhaps someone who shares their unique eyebrows or taste for tapenade.
I believe that everyone is entitled to know his or her story. So far this year, I was able to find the family histories of eight people. Some have experienced delightful reunions and others’ messages have gone unanswered. Regardless, the truth is somehow freeing.
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Photo: Jacob Riis/Public Domain