My search for my father has been anything but easy. It’s been complicated. Difficult. Emotional. Devastating. Soul-crushing. Disappointing. Aggravating. Painful. Infuriating. Saddening. Desperate. Heartbreaking.
After exhausting all possibilities, I turned to autosomal DNA testing. So many people have been able to locate their families this way. People with even less knowledge than I have about my father (which to be honest, I still have terribly little). There have been babies abandoned on doorsteps or trashcans who found their biological parents using these methods. I was so hopeful that it would work for me. I did all three DNA testing sites, 23andme, Ancestry and Family Tree DNA. I even uploaded my DNA to a fourth site. I had so much hope that I would get a decent match and I would be able to track down my biological father.
It didn’t work out that way.
I had no decent matches on my father’s side (my mother and maternal grandfather both tested to help me categorize my matches as maternal vs. paternal). I even tried to hire professional genetic genealogists to help work my case but my matches were so bad, that even they wouldn’t take my case. Despite the grim outlook, I kept working. Hours and hours and hours sucked into the abyss. It didn’t get me closer to my answer, but I am fairly certain I have identified a few ancestors.
Which brings us to this week.
I logged into my 23andme account just to check and see if anything had changed. It never does, no matter how many times I check, which is why I jokingly refer to checking it as my “ritualistic torture.” I login every single time, hoping for something new, but for seven months, nothing.
Then there was something.
I logged in and right below my mother and my grandfather’s matches to me was a new match. 1.47% across six segments. More than 2.5x my best match. Likely a second cousin once removed. I freaked out. I checked to see if he was on my mother’s side. Knowing my luck, it would be on my mother’s side. My only good matches are. He wasn’t. I had just checked a couple days prior, so he had to have just been added. Then I really started panicking. Unfortunately, this user was anonymous, which meant all I could see was the percentage shared, how many segments, gender and the maternal and paternal haplogroups.
Then I started obsessively checking to see if he responded. 24 hours later, no response. I was feeling anxious and worried. I checked one more time before bed and saw another match. Female. 2.97% across 10 segments. A second cousin. Same maternal haplogroup as the previous match, so likely a mother and son. Unfortunately she was anonymous too.
How did I get that lucky? That’s an amazing match. If they respond to me with even the tiniest shred of information, I will be able to find my dad (or a very short conclusive list of who it may be). No doubts. 100% certain. This is what I have been waiting for. This is my key to unlock my answer and find the closure I have been trying to find for so long.
But here I wait. And wait. And wait.
Maybe they’re busy. Maybe they haven’t seen it yet. Maybe they’re still learning how to use the site. I’ve gone through every possibility, but I am so scared that they won’t respond to me. To make matters worse, 23andme is changing their system on the 11th and anonymous users will no longer be able to participate in the relative finding aspects of the site, my contact request will be deleted and all anonymous users will be removed from my list.
So now I panic a little bit more the closer it gets to the 11th. I feel like the universe is dangling carrots in front of me. I just need them to respond to me. That’s all. How cruel it would be to have those matches, knowing they are there and your answer is within them, but for them to yield nothing and disappear. I worry, that along with everything else that has ever gone along with my paternity, my luck will continue its trend and I still won’t be any closer to my answer.
If they respond to me, with even the tiniest bit of information, I am confident I will be able to solve this mystery. But I am so afraid that they won’t.