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another DNA found a relative story - aka I have a cousin!


ktgrok
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So I did DNA for my kids, using fake names, emails, birthdates etc. And I had the relative finder thing turned off, but I wanted to show they the DNA Relative map so I clicked it on to do that. And before you get to the map to see where your relatives live, it gives a list. I pointed out me, and my cousin, and then realize there was ANOTHER cousin listed. Now, I do have other cousins, but didn't recognize the name or the location she put in. Of course, I used a fake name for my kids, so that didn't mean much. After showing my kids what I wanted to show them I switched to my account and messaged her. I assumed she was either one of my oldest Aunt's kids (I was never close to those cousins) or maybe the child of my dad's half brother, who I also was not close to growing up, so wouldn't know where they lived, etc. 

Um, she had NO idea how we were related!

It turns out that she had never met her father, but was told a name. That name is NOT anyone related to me (that we can tell). After much back and forth it appears her mom broke up with that guy (who my Dad now remembers as being a friend that hung out with him and his brothers) and then dated one of my uncles for a short time. She was (according to what I'm told) on birth control so never knew exactly when she got pregnant, she had thought by the dating that it was her boyfriend that she'd broken up with (the guy was on drugs which is why she left him, and why my new cousin didn't grow up having a relationship with him). 

Well, now we know it must have been my uncle's child! 

What stinks though is my uncle is an alcoholic, and NOT exactly a father prize. Pretty sure he's unemployed and living off of his siblings or money my grandmother left him. He has another child, a son, whom I've never met and he had very little relationship with..he kept photos of him and such but not involved in raising him. And now that child's mother is dating/living with one of my other uncles! This poor girl has no idea what kind of weird family she's getting into. 

She's asked if we think my uncle would want to know about her, and how the heck do I know? Maybe? Probably? But he's a drunk, so not predictable. And do I tell her she has a half brother? Is that too much information to give? She grew up thinking her father was dead, and she says her family is very small (Only child I think) and she's excited to have found family. Except, like I said, her father is NOT a winner. And really, neither are two other of the brothers, her uncles. The other brother is okay, my dad is awesome, and their sister is a bit dramatic but has it together and has a good life. So there is some rational family there, but man. 

It seems she wants me to point her in the right direction, to help her figure out the next step, and I just have no idea. 

I honestly only messaged her because I figured she was a cousin I knew about, but didn't recognize her name...not that there would be all this drama!

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You say "this poor girl"-- so is she an adult? If not, I probably wouldn't pursue this at the moment.

Assuming she is an adult, well, she already was working on the assumption that her father had issues, right? So, different father, different issues maybe (alcohol vs. drugs), but still issues. She still seems interested in knowing him.

If she has a very small family, she might like a cousin, regardless of what happens about her father. Do you have any feeling for whether you'd like to know her better? 

These situations sound so hard to navigate, and I really have no idea what the best course is. I hope you can find a path that seems right for you, this girl and her father.

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1 hour ago, Innisfree said:

You say "this poor girl"-- so is she an adult? If not, I probably wouldn't pursue this at the moment.

Assuming she is an adult, well, she already was working on the assumption that her father had issues, right? So, different father, different issues maybe (alcohol vs. drugs), but still issues. She still seems interested in knowing him.

If she has a very small family, she might like a cousin, regardless of what happens about her father. Do you have any feeling for whether you'd like to know her better? 

These situations sound so hard to navigate, and I really have no idea what the best course is. I hope you can find a path that seems right for you, this girl and her father.

Yes, she's an adult. She's 40, so born in between myself and my sister. 

I guess my concern is, how much information is okay to share? She asked if the uncles have kids, before we figured out which of my uncles is her father. I avoided the question as I'm not sure, is it okay for me to say yes, you have a half brother? I don't even know his name, I've never met him. 

Her father is the only one of the family not on facebook, so she can't find him there, although she could find my dad and the other siblings of her father on there. Well, not my aunt, she uses her husband's facebook profile. 

 

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You know, I think I'd tell her basically what you told us--your uncle is not likely capable of a real relationship because of alcoholism; she has a half brother but you have never met him and don't know his name.

Then say you don't really feel comfortable being a go-between for the whole family but are happy to know her yourself and be a cousin to her (if you do feel that way).

You might provide contact information for her bio dad if you feel comfortable doing so, then leave it up to her whether she wants to pursue things there or not. Contact information could be tracked down anyway so I don't think that is really boundary crossing. 

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3 minutes ago, maize said:

You know, I think I'd tell her basically what you told us--your uncle is not likely capable of a real relationship because of alcoholism; she has a half brother but you have never met him and don't know his name.

Then say you don't really feel comfortable being a go-between for the whole family but are happy to know her yourself and be a cousin to her (if you do feel that way).

You might provide contact information for her bio dad if you feel comfortable doing so, then leave it up to her whether she wants to pursue things there or not. Contact information could be tracked down anyway so I don't think that is really boundary crossing. 

That was really helpful, thank you. 

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It's crazy how these DNA tests are bringing people together. 

Two weeks ago I found out I have another cousin too. He matched with my cousin and messaged her. We met him last weekend. Long story short, his mother attended school with my uncle. His mother died a few years ago and it was then that HIS uncle revealed that his dad was not his bio dad, he didn't know his his bio dad was, but was under the impression that his bio dad was not aware he existed. So he sent in the DNA test and confirmed the rumors. 

 

The crazy part is, my uncle who was his mother's age recognized a picture of her but swears he never had a relationship with her.  This New Cousin actually looks a lot like my other uncle who died 20 years ago. He was a few years older than his mom and making some poor life choices at the time. But he's not around to ask. So we are currently awaiting another DNA test by another cousin to see which of my uncles fathered this new cousin. We are all assuming it's my deceased uncle, but a few if us think it could still be the other.

 

Regardless of who his dad is, he is being happily welcomed into the family. He appears to be thrilled to have found more of his family. I get the impression he is not close to his family.

Edited by DesertBlossom
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5 hours ago, DesertBlossom said:

It's crazy how these DNA tests are bringing people together. 

Two weeks ago I found out I have another cousin too. He matched with my cousin and messaged her. We met him last weekend. Long story short, his mother attended school with my uncle. His mother died a few years ago and it was then that HIS uncle revealed that his dad was not his bio dad, he didn't know his his bio dad was, but was under the impression that his bio dad was not aware he existed. So he sent in the DNA test and confirmed the rumors. 

 

The crazy part is, my uncle who was his mother's age recognized a picture of her but swears he never had a relationship with her.  This New Cousin actually looks a lot like my other uncle who died 20 years ago. He was a few years older than his mom and making some poor life choices at the time. But he's not around to ask. So we are currently awaiting another DNA test by another cousin to see which of my uncles fathered this new cousin. We are all assuming it's my deceased uncle, but a few if us think it could still be the other.

 

Regardless of who his dad is, he is being happily welcomed into the family. He appears to be thrilled to have found more of his family. I get the impression he is not close to his family.

Yeah, so the plot thickens and my new cousin is not sure which of our uncles it is either, and neither is her mother. I am telling myself her mother was 18, and it was the 70's, and not to ask too many questions about all that, lol. But we've narrowed it down via DNA and hair color to two options. I'd actually be much happier to hear it isn't the uncle I thought it was! Although, to be fair, I really know nothing about the one it may now be....I know he was forced into the military when I was very young due to drugs or something....not much after that. 

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1 hour ago, Ktgrok said:

Yeah, so the plot thickens and my new cousin is not sure which of our uncles it is either, and neither is her mother. I am telling myself her mother was 18, and it was the 70's, and not to ask too many questions about all that, lol. But we've narrowed it down via DNA and hair color to two options. I'd actually be much happier to hear it isn't the uncle I thought it was! Although, to be fair, I really know nothing about the one it may now be....I know he was forced into the military when I was very young due to drugs or something....not much after that. 

Crazy how similar these stories are!  Yes, the 70s and some drugs and other bad choices.... My "New Cousin" even went into the same field as the presumed bio father. And the fb picture we first saw of him looks JUST LIKE that uncle. But several of his kids have struggled pretty hard over the years (drugs, jail time, homelessness) and that family is not that close. He'd be joining a family with a fair amount of drama.

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1 hour ago, Scarlett said:

This story is interesting....https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/newsfeature/two-sisters-bought-dna-kits-and-the-results-blew-their-family-apart/ar-BBT32uH?ocid=spartanntp

There is usually some fall out from the secret keeping as this story demonstrates.  

I understand why people keep secrets. I am sure that at that time, it seemed like the easier thing to do. And no one, 50 years ago, was thinking that someday all the secrets would be blown open with these DNA tests. 

I also think people underestimate the desire to know one's biological roots. Even where people grew up in happy families where they didn't share DNA, I think there is a need to know where you come from and who your people are.

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51 minutes ago, DesertBlossom said:

I understand why people keep secrets. I am sure that at that time, it seemed like the easier thing to do. And no one, 50 years ago, was thinking that someday all the secrets would be blown open with these DNA tests. 

I also think people underestimate the desire to know one's biological roots. Even where people grew up in happy families where they didn't share DNA, I think there is a need to know where you come from and who your people are.

She specifically mentioned knowing health history, which is a very good point. My dad's side of the family has serious heart disease issues...my dad, his twin, and my grandfather all had heart attacks in their 40s, which is considered an important thing to know according to my doctors. The good news is they all changed their diets (no trans fat, more home cooked, no fast food) and I don't think any of them had a second heart attack. But it's still a really important bit of health info to know, it definitely is part of why my doctors keep a very close eye on my cardiovascular system, and why I had bariatric surgery. 

My sister and I are really eally hoping the younger uncle is her father, and not the one  we initially thought. The younger one was actually my favorite uncle when I was a kid and still saw that side of the family. he's a bit...odd..they all are really...pretty sure my dad is bordering on spectrum and I bet that uncle might be as well....but I remember that one as harmless and nice. The other one.....domestic violence, hard drugs, gambling, loan sharks, etc. Bad news. 

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2 hours ago, DesertBlossom said:

I understand why people keep secrets. I am sure that at that time, it seemed like the easier thing to do. And no one, 50 years ago, was thinking that someday all the secrets would be blown open with these DNA tests. 

I also think people underestimate the desire to know one's biological roots. Even where people grew up in happy families where they didn't share DNA, I think there is a need to know where you come from and who your people are.

I agree.  I can understand it.  But things are never going to be the same and I hope people will stop trying to keep such secrets.

As to your point about our bio roots....yes...I have tried to explain this to my mother.....my connection to my bio sister is like....steadying.  Like I belong.  It takes nothing away from my mom who did all the heavy lifting.  But my connection to my bio sister is very very strong.  And we didn't meet until she was 11 and I was 15 and then were kept apart by our bio dad for the next 28 years.  

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7 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

I agree.  I can understand it.  But things are never going to be the same and I hope people will stop trying to keep such secrets.

As to your point about our bio roots....yes...I have tried to explain this to my mother.....my connection to my bio sister is like....steadying.  Like I belong.  It takes nothing away from my mom who did all the heavy lifting.  But my connection to my bio sister is very very strong.  And we didn't meet until she was 11 and I was 15 and then were kept apart by our bio dad for the next 28 years.  

I think going forward people will be less likely to keep secrets. But before all this DNA stuff people thought they were taking these secrets to their graves. There are no secrets now.

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