On Mother’s Day last year, a woman in Missouri received a DNA kit from Ancestry.com as a gift. She grew up in a loving family where everyone took care of her. It wasn’t until she attended school did she realize everyone but her knew about their father. She had loving Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Mother, and cousins. But she didn’t have a Dad. She would ask her Mom but the only answer was it isn’t important.
So on Mother’s Day last year, the forty five year old woman swabbed her cheeks, filled out the paper work, and placed the package in the mail. Then she waited and waited. She was hopeful but very skeptical this would work. Finally, the day came when her results were in. She looked and discovered she had a “close” relative.
I was her “close” relative. As is part of my morning routine, I walked upstairs with a fresh cup of coffee to check my emails and Facebook messages. A couple of years earlier, my wife and I decided to also have our DNA done. We were horribly disappointed. We had specific things we wanted answers to and neither of us got a hint to those answers. So I was doubtful when I saw I had a message on Ancestry regarding a DNA connection.
When I read the message, red flags began waving. She lived in the Ozarks. She was conceived during the fall following the Summer of Love. At that time, I had just received my discharge from the Navy. I was working a night shift in Springfield, Missouri…in the Ozarks. While in the back of my mind, I wondered if this was some sort of internet scam. I never heard of the woman who told her name. Nevertheless, I answered her.
We instantly bonded and became close internet friends. After exchanging pictures from that time, I didn’t recognize her mother but 45 years is a long time. She asked her mother if I was familiar and she didn’t recognize me either. We didn’t know if “close relative” meant we were first cousins, brother/sister, uncle/niece, or father/daughter. We decided to test our DNA with a company that specialized in paternity testing. As we waited, we told each about our families and what history I knew of ours.
Kristie heard first from the company because it was in her name. They told her they were 98.4% positive I was her father. They had a glitch with one marker but that sometimes happens they explained. She called. We were both delighted. At first, it was awkward telling my wife she had a daughter for certain. She couldn’t understand how I could have a child and not remember the mother. But she was delighted as well. After three sons, she had a daughter and four grown granddaughters to go shopping with.
The very next evening, she called back. This time, I thought she had been crying. The DNA Company didn’t like having a glitch so they used more markers and ran the test again. They told her I was not her father. They were very positive I was her uncle. While he doubted it very much because he was so young, my brother sent his DNA in also. We finally met half way between Ohio and Missouri. As she and her husband were driving to our meeting place, she got a phone call from her Dad confirming he was 99.9% her father.
And that is how I became an Uncle Dad last year.