DNA vs IDENTITY Part 2

Short recap from Part 1: I am an NPE offspring! (Not Parent Expected). December 2020 left my hindsight completely blurry with questions of paternity for myself. My life flashed before my eyes and I no longer recognized the woman looking at me from the mirror. WHO WAS SHE? Better yet, WHO fathered me? Where do I turn? My constant thought…”I need to find a counselor soon and fast!”


Mid-laughter poses are the best!

My 2021 journey began with shock and I wasn’t sure when it would stop. January through March is all but a complete blur with a tunnel of fuzzy memories and strange names on my AncestryDNA matches. I thought I might lose my mind! I still see my maiden name on the list but only through distant relatives, no first cousins! There were so many different names I had never heard of or seen. There have been plenty of trees and I had done my research! I had to walk away or I would retreat and crumble… But GOD… He stepped in and slowly the fog began to lift as the connections became clearer. I found the support groups previously mentioned and connected with my closest relative…A SISTER!

Saturday, April 10th, I met my sister, Ronda! This last weekend was wonderful! It was a terrific first meeting and I cannot wait for the next one!! It was so surreal to look into another person’s face and see glimpses of myself. We looked through some pictures on her phone, talked about ourselves, and really truly connected. The similarities were striking! My fiancĂ© noticed that our reactions were the same to hilarious moments. We tilt our head the same in pictures and squint our eyes tightly when cracking up with laughter. Yep! We were definitely sisters! God is good! I love her already!!


As a child, I would study my reflection in the mirror to distinguish any resemblance to my daddy. I saw his nose, face shape, and eye shape and think “oh there it is”. I had fuller lips than my mom those must be his, but I had her smile. Being an only child, I had a lot of time on my hands. My entire life has been one conversation regarding my mom…”You look just like your mom!” To be honest, I do see it but not to the degree everyone else did or does. The shape of her face and eyes did not match up in my mind. I do bear a strong resemblance to her no doubt about it. There was just something missing in my reflection. My blood type and recessive traits all lined up for the possibility of me as offspring from my parents. Now that I reflect upon my childhood, it is evident that I had doubts regarding my father. It wasn’t something I had even truly recognized until this exact week in my life. The fact that I was always searching and comparing myself to him was obviously a subconscious desire for confirmation and consolation. Yet, he WAS my DADDY and still IS. He understood me and I understood him, even when we did not see eye to eye. I had honest and poignant conversations with him and I miss him all the time. On April 28th of this year he would have turned 79 years old. My heart remains heavy and empty regarding him. A cousin told me today that she thinks he knew. How incredible is that?! My parents had a tumultuous relationship. They loved each other deeply but they were both careless with one another’s heart. The Lord was not the center of their relationship and I came along after they had already been married for 10 years. A child brought a lot of changes to their lives. Apparently, too many things remained unchanged. They were officially married for only 17 years.

Now that I reflect upon my childhood it is evident that I had doubts regarding my father.


WHO AM I?

As women we are told that the mirror doesn’t lie. But what exactly was my mirror trying to tell me? That had been my life long thorn I suppose. Looking into the mirror and just not seeing the whole image would often leave me wondering. Where did I get that strange lifted right eyebrow? Why was I able to draw out of nowhere? The endless stories I could create by merely having something capture my attention…where did this all come from? The fact that I did not have learn something to ace a test on the subject left me curious. But the most puzzling thing remained, that woman staring back at me. Who was she? Then fast forward to 2021 and the new paternal revelation…

Mirror Mirror on the wall, i see my reflection after all!

I already see the blessing that is Ronda! She is a fabulous woman and already feels like family to me! I absolutely cannot wait to get to know her more! We get to spend time together and do silly things we would have done as teens. We also have the opportunity ahead of us to explore the world and see exactly how our Heavenly Father drew us together. We are a living testimony of how beauty comes from ashes!

Until then, I will be abiding still in His infinite love and the blessings of sisterhood!

Rachele

DNA vs IDENTITY Part 1

NPE = Not Parent Expected

2021 began with big discovery for me and it has taken me some time to truly digest and understand it. For Christmas, I bought my fiancĂ© and I the AncestryDNA kits. I sent mine in quickly because I was not going to wrap mine. The results came in at the end of December. After briefly glancing at it I realized that I did not have time to walk through it, so I waited. We moved in January and it was then that I started looking into the matches. There were so many matches a few of which I recognized. So I thought to myself, “Ok, this is real because I am matching with my cousin Michael.” Then I noticed a “close family” match, which began my investigation into my DNA matches.

I spent most of my nights awake for hours trying to make sense of this “evidence”. Prior to the AncestryDNA test, I took the CRIGenetics DNA test. That test came back 40% German, which was no surprise to me. However, AncestryDNA says that I am only 3% German but more English and Scottish. I am still trying to decipher that information. As each night would linger on I would look up resources and charts for interpreting DNA results. There are charts available that show the possible relations with your matches based upon Centimorgans (CMs). Facebook also offers many groups for support and sharing when there is a DNA surprise. Most of the sites I found were due to searching for DNA counseling and assistance to make sense of it all. I think I had discovered that I might belong to a new group of people, The NPE’s.

Centimorgans is what experts use to describe how much DNA and the length of specific segments of DNA you share with your relatives. These shared segments are divided up into centimorgans. The more centimorgans you share with someone, the more closely you are related.

A “close relative” match of 1859 CMs would be either of the following: Grandparent, Aunt/Uncle, Niece/Nephew, Grandchild, or Half Sibling. So at this point, I went through each possibility and looked Shane in the eyes and said, “This lady is my half sister!!! There is no other possible option! I am going to reach out to her and ask her how she thinks we are connected.” With his full support, I messaged her and was met with shock on my part. SHE had been looking for ME!! Wait! What?!? Apparently, Bio-Dad knew I existed. Since all parties involved in my birth and rearing have passed away, I will never have full answers. I am ok with that! This discovery was not something I was expecting at all. There was no doubt in my mind about my father. Commencing forth was the shock and shut down of my world. I did not know how to understand or accept this. It was just more than my brain could handle.

Chico is Not the Father?

After a few messages with her, we became friends on Facebook and exchanged phone numbers. Then I just had to find more pictures! She texted some pictures and I had grabbed a couple of the Ancestry Tree of bio-dad. So I decided to make some comparisons of the images to help my overloaded brain and heart. Let me tell you that as soon as I compared him to my son I was DONE! This man was definitely my biological father, no more doubts!

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Biological Father: Jimmy vs My Son! This is the image that got me!

NOW I HAD SOME RESEARCH TO DO!

Entering into the scene that is now my life are some wonderful people from supportive Facebook groups! DNA Surprise Support Group, DNA NPE Friends, NPE Only: After the Discovery, and last but definitely not least DNAngels Client Group. I had an interview with DNAngels and they accepted me as a client. The lady that took my case was extremely thorough and did confirm that James Hardman was my biological Father. I was also able to ask her about connecting with others through my expected father…my maiden name is linked to my mother’s side of the family! Then I discovered that my first love is my cousin!! We had reunited and it did not pan out, now I am glad. THAT IS JUST WEIRD!! This story just keeps adding twists and turns. (I hope they are all done now!)

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My Son vs Jimmy (BF) Their beards even grow the exact same way!

As you can see, I am convinced that this man was with my mother. Part of me is glad I do not have to face either of my parents with this new reality. They loved me and I loved them! They can rest in Heaven and I have a new sister! She and I have contact when we can. My Heavenly Father works in mysterious ways for sure. My half sister actually lives near my future mother in law! We are going to meet in person this Saturday. There is probably still more to this story and I will update after we meet!

Where am I? Or as Shane will ask me, “How is your heart today?” I am doing OK! This all brought me back to my one TRUE FATHER, ABBA, DADDY, The MOST SOVEREIGN FATHER OF ALL! My parents shaped me and did an overall wonderful job with me through many trials and illnesses. My mother died when I was 11 and my father when I was 24. My new half sister told me that Jimmy passed away in 2009. We will not be getting any explanations or answers. So, where do you go when you don’t know what is next and your mind is a mess? I go to the ROCK, My Father in Heaven. I have studied His names for years upon years. All of that time studying about God being our Father has truly helped me through this situation. HE knew then what I know now! HE carefully prepared me to absorb this shock and welcome this wonderful lady into my life. She even told me that Grandmother Hardman would be so pleased and is likely telling everyone in Heaven that we finally met!

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I could be mad. I was.

I could be sad. I was.

I could be hurt. I was.

I could be confused. I was.

I could be shaken. I was.

Or I could have faith. I DO!

Because, I am a daughter of the KING! I am HIS and HE is mine! I don’t have to question my identity, ethnicity, or even my earthly father! I put my trust in the Heavenly Father who tended to my heart before I even knew I needed it!

Abiding Still,

Rachele