In the last few years a new phenomenon has surfaced, that of the “DNA Surprise” and the NPE (Not Parent Expected). People receive Ancestry or 23andme gifts at the holidays, then spit in the cup and send off their sample. They want to find information about where they are from, and hope maybe to be in contact with second and third cousins whom they have never met. Often these stories have a happy ending, but then there are those which lead to surprise, consternation, even shock and trauma.
- What do you do when you find out your dad isn’t really your dad?
- How do you respond when Ancestry indicates you have a close relative you’ve never heard of, then figure out that person is your new half-sibling?
- How do you approach the new family?
- How do you process the issues of identity that come with knowing your biological father or even mother is someone you never knew? Or someone you actually did know but who was a family friend?
There are online groups that can help with these surprises, but sometimes it’s helpful to process the new reality with someone from the outside, a person who can help you come to terms with the “new normal.” People respond differently, with anger, sorrow, gratitude, even relief, to the discovery of a DNA surprise.
Whatever your version of what has been called “genealogical bewilderment”, I can help you if you are struggling with this issue. My training as a psychoanalyst, my longtime interest in genealogy, and my own personal DNA discovery provide me the experience to assist you along your path.