DNA Testing is Revolutionizing the Process of Adoption Search

There is a new method in which adoptees are finding birth family, and all you need to do is spit! I just heard that My Heritage is giving away 15,000 free DNA test kits to adoptees and birth family members who are searching. To qualify for a chance at a free test, you have to apply before April 30th, 2018 at https://www.dnaquest.org, otherwise, the cost of these mail-order DNA tests ranges from $69 – $200.

These services have a DNA relative database, so other people who have sent in their vial of spit can be matched with you and your relationship to them predicted, such as third cousin or even half-sibling. So be prepared to be contacted and decide what information you are willing to share.

My husband purchased the 23andme.com test for me for my birthday a few years ago. I enjoyed seeing that I was 67% British and Irish, which I already knew from meeting my own birth mother many years ago, but it was nice to see it verified. I’ve also received reports on traits and health conditions, and found out I am not at risk or a carrier for certain genetic diseases. I ordered a kit for my half-sister and it was fun to see her show up on my DNA relative list. I have been contacted by about three or four distant cousins inquiring about our connection but we haven’t figured it out yet. I like being able to compare my results with family and friends. My husband also did 23andme and discovered he wasn’t quite as Norwegian as he thought. Bummer, but he’s still a loyal Vikings fan.

Recently a friend of mine who also did 23andme was contacted by a first cousin on her DNA family list who happened to be an adoptee searching for birth family. My friend remembered that she had an aunt (who had since passed away) who had placed a child for adoption! He was so appreciative to learn about his birth family, share photos, and make that connection. Now he is journeying through the stages of reunion (see previous blog “Reunited and it feels so…?”).

I was able to upload my DNA file from 23andme to My Heritage for free, which gave me a very slightly different ancestry report, and a whole new list of DNA relatives. For the sake of being able to give a good recommendation and comparison review, I ordered the Ancestry DNA test kit too. I am still waiting for those results.  Check back in a couple months for an update on that report and a review/comparison of the different services.

If you’re an adoptee searching for birth family, or a birth parent/sibling searching for someone who was placed for adoption, this may be the new way to go. But my advice would be that if you are not open to communicating with someone showing up as a close relative who was adopted and who is seeking their birth family, or if you have a fear of discovering family secrets you don’t want to know about, maybe this isn’t for you.

If you were adopted or placed a child through LSS and have an interest in updating your contact information in case someone is searching for you, contact us at 1-888-201-5061 or 605-221-2346.

-submitted by Joyce Twite, Administrative Support Specialist, Adoption & Foster Care Programs

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