ST. LOUIS, MO (KMOV) — As many of you know, I’m adopted. I’m one of four sisters placed for adoption with different families in Kentucky.
I connected with my sister Amy about 20 years ago.
Then in February, thanks to a 23andme DNA kit, we met our sister Jill. We hadn’t even known that she existed.
After that, the three of us started working on trying to find Crystal, the last of the sisters.
We found her in April.
Since then we’ve all been getting to know each other and, in late October, for the first time ever we all got together in my hometown of Lexington. We had such a good time. Crystal even presented us with matching sister bracelets symbolizing our unique bond.
While there have been quite a few emotional highs on this journey, there were also some serious lows. I’d always been told that Crystal and I were full sisters, but when we found her and she did a DNA test, it turns out we are only half-sisters.
To get to the bottom of that mystery, I reached out to my half-brother Scott and asked him to take a DNA test. We were 99% certain he was my brother but I needed to know for sure.
You can imagine our shock then when the results came back and it turns out he and I weren’t related at all, he was Crystal’s brother.
So my entire paternal family, birth father, brothers, their wives, my nieces and nephew, people that I’ve gotten to know over the last 15 years, they weren’t my family at all. They were Crystal’s family.
That was a devastating blow. I considered just stopping there, but after a few weeks of soul searching, I realized that the missing knowledge was just too important to me. I had to at least try to unravel my DNA truth. So in late July I did another DNA kit, this one with Ancestry.com since it would have a different database of possible matches.
By mid-August I had my results, and sure enough, right at the top of my DNA relatives list I had a new close match: Nathan, who turns out is my half-brother.
After a couple of days I got up the nerve to email him. He responded quickly and I could tell by all the exclamation marks that he was as excited as I was.
As Nathan described, “You know, I had uploaded my DNA results thinking I knew everything about my family.”
During our interaction I told Nathan that I was born in Louisville, KY, my birth date, and my birth mothers name. He took it from there.
“That’s all I needed to know. So I took that information, I reached out to my father, and we kind of pieced everything together really quickly. So by the end of the day I had a new sister” said Nathan.
Nathan lives in Texas and came to visit me a few weeks ago, we spent much of our visit getting into some pretty deep, personal conversations, and especially how he broke the news to his father, Dennis.
As Nathan described it, “He (Dennis) was a little shell-shocked but I think he slowly kind of came to terms and really started to embrace the thought.”
I had always assumed my birth father would be from somewhere in Kentucky, but Dennis lives right here in the News 4 viewing area. He is retired after working for 40 years on the Mississippi gulf coast.
Dennis told me he, “Graduated from Carlinville High School. I always thought I was going to be a farmer, took all the farmer classes, and ended up going to an electronics school in Louisville, Kentucky for two years.”
And that’s where the Kentucky connection comes in.
Dennis and I met for the first time in September for lunch. We talked for three hours.
We’ve been texting and chatting regularly since then.
Dennis has two sons. Tim is the youngest, and Nathan was the one who filled him in on the big news.
As Nathan put it, “I called him up and he was thrilled. There wasn’t even a question about it. He was so excited, he wanted to know you immediately, he wanted your information, he wanted to reach out, he was just thrilled to have a sister.”
In September I was able to spend three days in Tennessee getting to know Tim. We had a great time and the conversation flowed easily, after all we had a few decades to catch up on.
It is a little unusual meeting close relatives as an adult, and I’ve been thinking a lot about how that’s going to work. I talked to Dennis about how open his family has been to meeting me when they could have said they did not want to open the door to a relationship.
Dennis replied “You’re my daughter. So of course I feel like I want to [get to know you]. Family. Family has always been real important to me.”
I feel so very fortunate that we found Crystal and she took that DNA test. Otherwise I likely would’ve never found out about Dennis, Nathan or Tim.
They’ve welcomed me into their family with open arms and I couldn’t have ever dreamed it could all turn out so incredibly well. I feel very lucky.
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