• tonya@tonyapeat.com

You have a new AncestryDNA match.

Updated: Jan 24, 2019

This was the message I got just over a week ago in my email. I was checking my email on my phone and I got excited when I saw this one. A new match, but then I realized that nearly every other match had been a 3rd cousin or I had written them only to be ignored. However, this one was different. I recognized the last name in this match but it was spelled differently than I expected. You see, I am adopted and while I have always known this fact there were a few other facts I grew up knowing. I was adopted, my biological mother's last name was Myers and my biological fathers last name so I thought was Lee. He was a musician. I met my biological mother in person when I was 22. I had met a biological half brother on my mothers side when I was 18 and we had kept in touch. Occasionally I would do a quick internet search with the name I thought was my biological fathers but it was such a common last name I never got any real info that led anywhere. Time went by.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer the game changed. By this time I had 3 daughters, one of which was only 6 months old. I didn't know anything about my family medical history. I didn't know if there was or wasn't cancer in the family. I didn't even know what my ethnic background was. Whenever a questionnaire asked me about my ethnic background I wanted to write, "I don't know, all of the above" I decided it was time to find out some information. I was able to get in touch with a biological aunt thru my half brother's adopted sister. I had a great conversation with my biological Aunt Karen. We talked about the many brothers and sisters my biological mother had but there wasn't any known cancer in the family. She mentioned a cousin living not far from me and that she had just had a baby. This was great news but I was just at the beginning of my cancer journey so the thought of getting in touch with her wasn't on my mind, I was in information gathering mode. Time went by and I fought my fight. When the dust cleared I decided it was time to look for more information. I signed up for AncestryDNA and did 23&Me. Ancestry instantly gave me the names of 2 aunts and the cousin on my biological mothers side. There were other names I didn't recognize but nothing matching the last name I had been told.

Over the next year I got to know my cousin and her family. Our daughters were only 6 months apart and all the girls were excited to have more cousins. So was I, but there was still a piece missing. Almost a year had gone by and I hadn't had any leads that connected me to my biological fathers family. I was ready to throw in the DNA towel. Then it came, the message "You have a new DNA match" This time thanks to some information I had gotten thru my cousin I recognized the last name. It wasn't spelled like I thought it would be and that is why I hadn't been able to find any information. The match said I was first cousins with this persons so I wrote them a note, explaining that we had been matched on Ancestry and it looks like we are cousins. After I sent the message I clicked on the profile and then on their family tree. My mouth dropped open when I saw my biological fathers name right there in front of me and a line leading directly to the person I had been matched with. He wasn't a cousin, he was a half brother. This was a whole new ballgame and it could go either way. I suddenly felt nervous. This family knew nothing about me as far as I knew and it could open a huge can of worms for so many people. I waited, "what have I done", I thought to myself. I got a letter back from the mans wife, "He is shocked to say the least" and she asked me a couple of questions. Oh boy, I was even more nervous. The tides shifted when a few minutes later I got a message thru Facebook messenger from someone else. It read, "I hope it's okay I'm writing you, I just heard we are related and I'm so excited to have a sister." That was the moment I knew it would be okay.

So, in a week I went from knowing nothing about my biological fathers side to knowing he had passed away from cancer in 2002 to finding out I have in fact 3 half brothers. I've texted and talked to them all and a niece as well, who is only 6 years younger than me.

Life is truly an adventure and while I won't give cancer the credit, some amazing things have happened since I was diagnosed.

to be continued...

This is one of the only baby photos I have of myself. It's from before I was adopted.

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