Secrets
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People Whose Lives Were Changed By DNA Tests Share Their Stories Of What Happened

Updated July 10, 2020 10.2k votes 1.7k voters 111.7k views26 items

List RulesVote up the most mindblowing DNA tales.

If you've ever thought about filling out one of those DNA kits, check out some of these stories where people got more than they bargained for. 

  • 1

    A Rollercoaster Of Emotions

    From Redditor u/mnmacaro:

    I had been searching for my biological father for 10 years. When I took my DNA test and got the results back, I found out A. My bio father was 14 when I was born B. My mom was 20 when I was born C. My father died when he was 24 D. He was murdered by his best friend E. That there was a lifetime original tv series with an episode dedicated to his murder F. That I had a half brother G. My half brother didn’t know the person he called dad his whole life wasn’t his dad

    Cue existential crisis

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  • 2

    Instant Family Reunion

    From Redditor u/graphenequeen:

    My family has been just my mom and I (and our dogs) for a while now. I took one and pretty much got exactly what I expected. My mom took hers and it came back that she wasn't Jewish at all. This was extremely confusing because her father and his family escaped the nazis. Her father was definitely Jewish. She immediately knew he wasn't her father. It was horrible at first. My mom was devastated, as I'm sure you can imagine. She lost part of her identity.

    She looked at the part that connects you to people in your family and found someone listed under "close relative" whom she had never heard of. (This person was listed as first cousin for me too.) My mom's parents hadn't spoken to her in decades, so there was no asking them. She reached out to the "close relative" and found out that his parents lived next door to my mom's parents before my mom turned one.

    My mom remembered a rumor that one of her cousins told her when she was little: her mom had an affair with the next-door neighbor. Turns out, the next-door neighbor was my mom's real father. He has 3 kids around my mom's age (one is 3 months younger than her), and three kids about 30 years younger. As you can see he got around lol. He passed away a few years back, but the family welcomed us with open arms.

    When we met them, it was an instant connection. Like we had been a part of their lives forever. They brought out pictures, and boy does my mom look like her father. They told me that my grandpa would be so proud of me and my accomplishments - some of our interests and talents aligned. They told us we looked like the rest of the family, and we did! We never had that before.

    My mom and I went from only having each other, to her having 6 siblings, having nieces and nephews and me having aunts and uncles and tons of cousins and a family reunion to go to each summer. I have family in 5 different states, little cousins to teach, and big cousins to look up to. My mom has a huge family, and so many people to call and talk to and to ask her how she's doing. It's amazing to watch. Weddings, birthday parties, and lots of love.

    Funerals too. One of my Uncles passed away, but I got a chance to meet him before he did. I think he was waiting to meet my mom and me. He was an amazing person and even though I didn't know him for long, I loved him.

    My family has turned this into the best experience of my life, and my moms too.

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  • 3

    A New Aunt Next Door!

    From Redditor u/Thrasymachus:

    Oh man, this is a big one for my family.

    My grandma has always been pretty mysterious about her past. We know that she had some rocky times with men back in her twenties and thirties; a few years ago, she finally told her daughters she was adopted, something that was rumored in the family but that she refused to talk about.

    My mom often pulled me in to research these questions. There was a rumor that my grandmother was the bastard child of a major politician from Boston in the 1920s; we even followed up and contacted the descendants of that politician to try and figure out timelines (no luck).

    About a year and a half ago, my mom and my uncle both did a 23andMe test because they were curious to see if it would answer some questions. Soon after, my uncle got a message from a woman who said, "I believe I'm your sister."

    See, back in the 1950s, my grandma had a drunk one-night-stand with her best friend. They never talked about it again - but my grandmother got pregnant. When it became impossible to hide, she took a bus up to Maine and stayed there until she gave birth. In the hospital, she signed over her child for adoption.

    She never held the child. She never even knew the child's sex.

    This woman contacts my uncle, and then they start talking by phone. My uncle lives in South Carolina, along with my grandma and most of the family. My mother lives in Georgia. I live in San Francisco.

    And those details are important, because one night in May of 2018 my uncle told my mom, and my mom called me and told me - because this woman who's related to us lives in San Francisco, less than a mile and a half from me.

    That's how I met my Aunt Adrienne, who is, by the way, awesome. Me and Adrienne met up the next night for dinner. We planned a quick one hour dinner because we both had work to do; we ended up staying for three hours chatting, until well after they closed the restaurant. Then we walked around together, still talking.

    My Aunt Adrienne has been my bridge back home to my family, funny enough. Most of my family is conservative Evangelical Christians. I'm a super gay, super flamboyant pinko. I do art and stuff. They don't. I couldn't imagine how I could fit in with them, and mostly didn't talk to them.

    And then Adrienne shows up, and she's, like, this ex-punk-rocker Jewish lesbian. Her partner is a Black documentary filmmaker who runs a nonprofit that supports Black-owned entrepreneurs and artists. Adrienne's late partner was a famous feminist lesbian poet whose work I love. Adrienne is a musician and a disability rights advocate.

    These two women, my new aunts, who have nothing at all in common with my family, want nothing more than to meet them and get to know them and love them. And my family, all of my mother's five brothers and sisters, really want to get to know them. They show up at family barbecues in South Carolina and the family does their best to welcome them and make them feel at home, because they're so excited to have this sister.

    We've all felt, on some level, that somebody was missing from our family, and we found her.

    Me, spending time with Adrienne, suddenly I saw someone who looked just like my grandma and my aunts, but who's also so much like me in terms of value and personality. Suddenly I felt connected to family I was estranged from.

    My family changed in an effort to welcome her. My uncle started reading books about civil rights. My mom started asking people their pronouns.

    A month later, that June, I was on my way to a wedding and I missed a call from my mom. Turns out via DNA tests, they'd found my grandma's birth family as well. Her parents were dead, but her half-sister was still alive - and living down the street from my mom and dad.

    Our family has nearly doubled in size. I suddenly have family local to me. I spend a lot of time with my aunties, and they encourage and help me in my career and my artistic endeavors.

    It has been weird and amazing and wonderful. This is is the first time I've written about it, so excuse me if it's garbled - but it's been one of the best things in my life.

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  • 4

    An Even Dozen!

    From Redditor u/SpellCommander91:

    Not my story. One of my best friends.

    She was conceived via sperm donor in the early 90s and grew up as an only child. No contact with the biological father. Flash forward 25 years and 23 & Me is suddenly a thing. My friend does her DNA test. All is well and dandy. She signs up for the service that notifies you if they find familial matches.

    Three months later, she gets notified of a paternal half-sister. They meet and become close. A few months after that, both are notified of a paternal half brother. They meet him too and they all get along.

    And this new half-brother is also using a different DNA service and has found two other paternal half siblings. Another brother and sister.

    The new sister was apparently hard up with legal trouble for child abuse.

    The new brother was adamantly against meeting his paternal family. He was against it because when he was 8, his mom paid someone to track down the bio dad and tried to force the two of them to have a relationship. It didn’t go over well. But new bro did offer their biological dad’s contact info to my friend and the rest.

    So after many months of debating, my friend, her first half sister, and her first half brother agree that they want to meet their biological dad. They reach out to him, explaining that there is no pressure if he doesn’t want to know them. Just a friendly outreach.

    Sperm Donor responds and says he wants to meet them. They fly out and meet him, his wife, and their five kids. And Sperm Donor informs them that he knows of two more half siblings that they hadn’t found yet.

    So for those who weren’t keeping count, that is how my best friend went from being an only child to being one of twelve.

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