Ryan’s DNA Surprise

Secrets. Secrets are often at the beginning of a DNA surprise. But after the surprise is uncovered, is that the end of them? In this weekā€™s episode, Ryan shares how on one fateful Thanksgiving, his mother confessed the truth about his paternity. When he spoke to his birth certificate father and his biological father, they both requested that he continue the secrecy.

Ryan discusses why keeping the secret is harmful to him and why he struggles with when to share his DNA surprise with others. He also shares how his DNA surprise affected his mental health and altered his identity.

Thank you for sharing your story, Ryan.


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Episode Transcript

Transcripts are AI-generated and may not reflect the final published episodes.

[00:00:00] Ryan: I’ll watch something on TV just like, oh, yeah, that was, uh, that just reminds me exactly what it is. I think we watched, uh, an episode of a show called Reservation Dogs maybe like a month ago. And 1 of the characters found out, you know, who her father was and he knew about it the entire time.

[00:00:16] Ryan: And I literally had to step away. I couldn’t even finish watching the show. This is 10 months later, 11 months later, whatever it is. And it’s I almost broke down in tears just because I I felt was feeling exactly how she was feeling. Um, I just it was hurt.

[00:00:37] Ryan: My name is Ryan. I’m 41 years old and I’m from Mesa, Arizona.

[00:00:42] Ryan: So last Thanksgiving, my, uh, mother who decided that in her times of, uh, while she’s getting Alzheimer’s or dementia, that she needed to bear some news to me that, uh, my father is no longer my father. Again, remind you this was on Thanksgiving Day that she decided this is when she should tell me this, you know, earth shattering news.

[00:01:08] Alexis: Wow.

[00:01:09] Alexis: What happened? Were you just over there for Thanksgiving, or did she come over to your house

[00:01:14] Ryan: Because she has you know, she’s she was, at that time, wasn’t fully diagnosed with Alzheimer’s but she was going through a lot of symptoms and such. She came to me about 3 weeks prior and said, hey, I kinda needed to talk to you about something. You know, it’s kinda private. And I just kinda, like, blew it off because, you know, with being Alzheimer’s, she talks about just a lot of, like, different wild stuff at times.

[00:01:33] Ryan: And I just said, okay, mom. Yeah. We’ll talk about it. You know? No worries.

[00:01:36] Ryan: Um, and hope that that was kind of it. Thinking maybe she’ll forget it with all this going on. So then come Thanksgiving Day we’re at their house, and we get done eating. And she goes, hey. You remember when I told you I need to talk to you about something?

[00:01:51] Ryan: And I said, yeah she goes, can we go talk about that? And I was like, yeah. Sure. I just thought it was gonna be something silly or something about money or or just something.

[00:01:59] Ryan: She took me out front and she goes, uh, I need to tell you just in case anything happens to me or in case you need to know. She’s like, your your dad is is is not your dad. I say, what? And she goes, you know, Reuben, who’s, you know, my group known as my dad, uh, is not your dad. And instantly, I I knew who it was.

[00:02:24] Ryan: As crazy as that sounds I remember being a kid living next to this other family. At that time, I was very very little. But I remember us they moved away. But I remember we all kind of lived in the same town. But I remember being a very young child going to visit this man.

[00:02:41] Ryan: Again, I knew who he was. I, you know, I grew up around his other kids too. And it wasn’t like they were doing anything. It was just like, oh, we would go see him at work or we would see him somewhere. I was very young to remember all the details, but I do remember going to visit this guy, and never never thought of anything like this.

[00:03:01] Ryan: it’s funny. Over the years, I kinda played that stuff back in my head going, oh, I wonder what that was or why did we go visit him. But I always wondered later on as if things happen like that that maybe my mom and him had an affair. Um, And sure enough that was it.

[00:03:18] Alexis: How was your relationship with your raised father?

[00:03:22] Ryan: So he left when I was about 10.

[00:03:25] Ryan: He moved out of states after about 6 months after, you know, leaving the house. At that time we didn’t have much of a relationship I remember seeing him I think, like, once when I was, like, 13. Then I was, like, 16. I would see him a couple times that year. We just kinda had, like, a broken relationship.

[00:03:43] Ryan: And to be honest, I I always wondered, like, he stayed around and why my brother and my sister were growing up and until they were, you know, 18 and and beyond. And I just kind of always wondered, like, why why it was different for me like why he finally left you know after that certain amount of time

[00:04:01] Ryan: So but then to be honest, over probably like say the last 4 years, we’ve really gotten, you know, we’ve really tried to like reconnect, and build a better relationship and such. and then obviously, this hit in the middle of this, like, a year ago. So

[00:04:16] Alexis: Wow. So when your mom breaks this to you, you instantly knew who it was, but how are you feeling as you receive this news?

[00:04:25] Ryan: Oh, to be honest, I I feel like everybody, like, on these, you know, the groups that we’re a part of in these podcasts, you literally just question yourself 100 percent, like, who am I? Like, why I I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror without going, like, you don’t even look the same anymore.

[00:04:46] Ryan: You know, I’ve been looking at this person for 40 years, and I don’t even feel like I’m looking at the same person. Knowing that person, knowing that family, they, a much better upbringing than I did, financially, status wise. There just there was a whole different life that I go, this could have been my life. I I could have had part of that life. Maybe it would have been different for me growing up, having a father that was in the state the entire time. But then I go back to it, like, when I do think about the times of my dad, when I say my dad, the father you know the guy who raised me like I still yearn for like some kind of crazy relationship with him when I was a kid So it was a lot of a lot of battling with those feelings and I still am. I still still to this day.

[00:05:30] Alexis: Did your mom tell you who your biological father was at the time that she told you that Reuben was not your biological father?

[00:05:40] Ryan: she told me right there and then.

[00:05:42] Ryan: Yeah. just to give like the backstory of growing up, like, my brother is 12 years older than me. Uh, my my sister who passed away a couple years ago of COVID, she was 14 years older than me.

[00:05:52] Ryan: So it was always this big joke of my family that I was the oops baby. Because my father, Reuben, my dad, had a vasectomy

[00:06:01] Alexis: Oh.

[00:06:02] Ryan: before I was conceived. was always like, oh, yeah. Back then they weren’t, they weren’t as as good as they are now. And, you were just an oops.

[00:06:10] Ryan: And I was like, okay. You know, So then my brother and my sister, when I was growing up as a kid, were always like oh yeah you’re like the mailman’s kid because I didn’t look like either 1 of them. Reuben, my dad is full blooded Hispanic. My mom is Spanish and Irish. So, you know, I’m very light complected.

[00:06:27] Ryan: My brother and my sister were very they were light complected, but you could tell that you would look at them and look at my aunts on my dad’s side and and see that there was a similarity. But with me, I you know? Oh, you just look exactly like your mom. You got all of your mom’s scenes. Okay but it just never

[00:06:42] Ryan: felt that way.

[00:06:43] Alexis: Did your mother apologize to you? What happened during that conversation after she breaks this news?

[00:06:52] Ryan: it was a very I mean the conversation may have lasted about a minute or 2 as soon as she told me I I know that I asked like what after 40 years, like, why why are you telling me now? I could have gone the rest of my life not knowing, and I’d have been completely fine.

[00:07:09] Alexis: Yeah.

[00:07:10] Ryan: And then I I honestly just walked away. I went back in the house. Um, I went and found my brother who was out back.

[00:07:16] Ryan: And he goes, did mom tell you? And I was like, well, what do you mean did mom tell me? How did you know? He goes, well, she started talking about it, you know, a few weeks ago, and I told her not to tell you. And, you know, who knows what I was like, oh, jeez.

[00:07:30] Ryan: So, yeah, it was this big big thing, and I just told my fiance, let’s just go. Um, let’s go home, and and I’ll tell you when when we get home.

[00:07:38] Alexis: What happens next? Do you tell Reuben?

[00:07:41] Ryan: So that, I think, was my my biggest battle. My biggest hurt.

[00:07:47] Ryan: My biggest scare of all of it. Was did my dad know, you know, and if he didn’t know, did he ever question it? And then if he didn’t know what I should I tell him and then I thought to myself if my son had this news, no matter how bad it was gonna be for me, if it was gonna burden him, you know, like it was burdening myself, I would want him to tell me so that I could help carry that burden for him. My dad’s a very, like, calm, collected guy.

[00:08:18] Ryan: I never, you know, I don’t even think when I was growing up that I really see him yell or get mad or scream or anything. About 2 to 3 weeks after kind of battling this, I finally just had enough, and I broke down. And I finally told him. He said, well, that answers my questions. I’ve always wondered.

[00:08:38] Ryan: I I didn’t know. He’s like, but even, you know, before you were born, I was questioning this. But as soon as you were born, I held you my arms. I kinda put all that aside, and I said I didn’t care. You were my son, and I’m still his son according to, to what he said to me.

[00:08:54] Ryan: I said the same thing. You’re still my dad. That’s never gonna change. So he

[00:09:00] Ryan: took

[00:09:01] Alexis: yeah, that’s amazing. Yeah.

[00:09:04] Alexis: How was your relationship today?

[00:09:06] Ryan: with my dad, it’s great. I obviously don’t bring it up with him. He was actually here, in Arizona, I think about 4 months ago when my aunt passed away, his sister. And my mom wanted to come to the funeral, um, and my dad actually wasn’t gonna be here. But I could tell, like, it was very frustrating for him to, like, want to, like, think about even seeing her.

[00:09:29] Ryan: He’d been down here and visited, you know, other times, and they’ve seen her they’ve seen each other. They talked. You know, we’ve all had dinner together. It was no big thing before. But this time, I could definitely tell that hurts in his voice when he would say, like, no.

[00:09:43] Ryan: I don’t think she needs to be here. was just it was completely different. But, you know, there’s between me and him, like, we still I mean, we probably talk 2 or 3 times a week now. Before, it was maybe like, uh, once every other couple weeks. But it seems like we talk more now than we did before.

[00:09:59] Ryan: But we don’t talk about this. Because he’s he’s not like when I say old time Hispanic because he’s not that machismo type thing.

[00:10:07] Alexis: Mhmm.

[00:10:08] Ryan: Um, he’s just more like very quiet. And then to him, it’s an embarrassment and a pride thing that he doesn’t he would prefer that nobody knows. You know?

[00:10:18] Ryan: That I would say nothing to anybody. Um, so I haven’t told any of my cousins on that side of the family. I haven’t told any of my aunts on that side. Just out of respect for him. But it is something I’m trying to, like, work on to, like, work up that courage to talk to him and saying, I I think it’s time for other people to know just in case that this comes out some other way than us telling them.

[00:10:39] Ryan: I think we just need to kinda have, like, a, hey, dad. Like I’m finding out that the more I kinda talk about it, the more I’m more open about it, the better I feel about it. I think that just, like, I don’t want him, you know, let’s say let’s say he passes away in 10 years, and then this comes out.

[00:10:56] Ryan: And, you know, then then people just didn’t have an opportunity to ask him questions or talk to him about it or just be there for him you know because this might be hurting him more than any of us know

[00:11:07] Alexis: So things are good with your raised father. What happens with your biological father and your newfound family?

[00:11:17] Ryan: So about a week after my mom told me, she she called me and said, hey. I just want you to know I called Reed, um, and let him know that you now know, Which those words was exactly how she says it. So that told me exactly what I need to know because I didn’t even ask her. I I never said, like, oh, well, does he know? I just never never came to my came to my mind to ask her that day.

[00:11:41] Ryan: So when she said, well, I told him that you now know means he knows. His words to her, well, if he needs to talk to me, if he needs anything from me, just let him know to call me. But he only had 1 request from from me was that I didn’t tell his family.

[00:11:59] Alexis: So on both sides, you’ve got this push for secrecy.

[00:12:03] Ryan: Yes.

[00:12:04] Alexis: Okay.

[00:12:05] Ryan: I didn’t reach out to him.

[00:12:07] Ryan: just kinda like let it go. I was just battling with the demons inside trying to figure this out, and figure out what I wanted to do with it. And then and mind you, I am because I go again, I grew up around this family. I’m not friends with any of his children on Facebook but I’m actually friends with his wife on Facebook which was his wife at the time that he had when he had the affair, with my mom. So I’m friends with this woman on Facebook.

[00:12:38] Ryan: She comments, like, on pretty much all of my posts. You know, anytime it’s a birthday, she’s always, like, 1 of the first ones to tell me happy birthday. So I was like, well, you know, I can’t just I’m not gonna just be that person who’s blurt it out.

[00:12:51] Ryan: I know these people. So about 2 months ago, I finally reached out on Facebook Messenger at him, and I just said, you know, I’m still not sure what to say. I’m not sure what I want from you. I just don’t want this to be a secret anymore. But at the same time, I’m not here to, like, blurt it out to your family, you know, and call you out. And he of course like said thank you. Like I’m sure this is very hard for you as it’s hard for me. then it just became about him. They’re very heavy into religion.

[00:13:25] Ryan: They’re LDS. It’s very heavily down here in the valley, um, and especially here in the East Valley where I’m at. Their ideas of, children that are born out of wedlock and affairs. And it’s just a whole you know, they’re much more against that. And he basically just told me that, you know, if this news comes out, his wife is gonna leave him.

[00:13:45] Ryan: His kids are gonna disown him. His church is gonna, uh excommunicate him. You know, all of his friends are gonna, you disown him. he’s going through cancer, so this would just, like, completely uproot his life. Um, and again asked me that if we could just keep this between ourselves.

[00:14:04] Ryan: Uh,

[00:14:05] Alexis: did you feel about that

[00:14:06] Ryan: it’s the same as I felt the day that my mother told me. It’s heartbreaking because it’s I I I don’t know. I just can’t even explain it because it’s 1 of those, like, I am tired of being a secret. I’ve questioned it my whole life when, you know, again, my brother and sister, oh, you look like the milkman’s kid.

[00:14:27] Ryan: So many things finally added up the day that she told me.

[00:14:30] Ryan: And it’s like, okay. Well, now I’m on this journey. I finally reached out to you. You’re my father. And I didn’t know for sure. Before I even reached out to him, I did Ancestry, you know, and 23 and Me.

[00:14:41] Alexis: Okay. So I was going to ask you.

[00:14:43] Alexis: Did you take a DNA test to confirm?

[00:14:45] Ryan: I did I did 23 and me. And it was kinda like, yeah, there was some of those people with that last name, but it was very, very far down the list. I was like, maybe, I didn’t have any, like, half siblings come up or anything like that.

[00:14:57] Ryan: It was, like, second, third, fourth cousins, and there was, like, that name sprinkled somewhere in there. So then I did ancestry dot com, and it was like boom. I had 2 first cousins, same last name. When I clicked on their family trees, I was able to see, like, him and his brothers and his aunts. I mean, it was it was all over there.

[00:15:17] Ryan: So I kinda waited for that. And when I when I it was part of my message to him was it, like, if there’s any question, we don’t have to question anymore. I did do DNA tests, and it did confirm it. And, you know, I have all my my information, my name. That’s all hidden so people really can’t see that.

[00:15:33] Ryan: You know, if they message me, obviously, then it would be up to me to kinda let them know. Um, and he started to question about that. Like, you know, if if any of my family members reach out to you, what are you gonna say? And I just said, I don’t know. At the time, I I just don’t know.

[00:15:47] Ryan: It’s it’s all gonna depend on what the situation is, you know, what happens

[00:15:52] Ryan: or how I feel.

[00:15:53] Alexis: So does somebody reach out to you?

[00:15:56] Ryan: No. Nobody has still reached out to me.

[00:15:58] Alexis: Okay.

[00:15:59] Alexis: So you talked a bit about, your your raised father, being Mexican. Your mom is Spanish and Irish. Did you have an ethnicity shift as a result of this

[00:16:13] Alexis: discovery?

[00:16:14] Ryan: I mean, yeah. So obviously, my mother’s Spanish but obviously part of that, um, her heritage did come from Mexico.

[00:16:22] Ryan: So now if you like look at my my ethnicity it’s, instead of I think it would have been about 30 percent or whatever it is. It’s like 99 percent. And now the other side of me is, French and English. So it’s like, you know, now when people hear my last name, it’s even more like, yeah. It’s oh, yeah.

[00:16:40] Ryan: No. Definitely doesn’t fit now. Um, growing up, I had I have a very, very, you know, deep Hispanic last name. And people are just like, wait. What?

[00:16:49] Ryan: And I’m like, yeah. Well, my dad. But and now it’s just like, well, I don’t you know, I don’t even get into it with some people. There are some people, you know, that would know me and, you know, we’ll joke about it now.

[00:16:59] Alexis: How were you affected by that? How do you identify now? Because the reason I’m asking is I too live in Arizona, and Hispanic culture is huge here.

[00:17:11] Alexis: It’s it’s not predominant, but it’s a large portion of living in the southwest. And so to kind of lose a big piece of that, how did that affect you, and how do you identify now?

[00:17:24] Ryan: It’s huge. I mean, I still think my yeah. I’m still Hispanic. There’s obviously still a small portion of it, you know, not a not as huge as it was before. But it was it was kinda detrimental.

[00:17:34] Ryan: That might seem dumb to a lot of people, but I battled for 40 years being this white person, you know, brown hair, bright blue eyes, just fair skinned having to battle this my whole life of like yes I’m Hispanic I’m Hispanic I’m Hispanic you know I when people I don’t really speak I’m not fluent in Spanish, but when I do speak Spanish, people are always like, oh my gosh. You’re very good at it and stuff like that. And I so I always just was battling that stuff. And now it’s just like, I felt I feel dumb. I feel dumb for those 40 years of, like, trying to really battle this thing and tell people who my dad is and, all that side of my family.

[00:18:11] Ryan: And it was just just blown away. Um, and especially again, some of those friends that I’ve had since I was kids. Like, oh, yeah. Okay. Yeah.

[00:18:19] Ryan: You’re the whitest Hispanic we ever known. And now it’s like, oh, well, that’s kinda funny. We made fun of you a lot as a kid, and you, you know, you kinda battled it. And holy cow. Like, what happened?

[00:18:29] Ryan: I I don’t know.

[00:18:31] Alexis: Yeah. And and just for anyone who’s listening and you might be scratching your head going, well, Hispanic people are white or Mexican people are white. In the southwest, there’s a strong indigenous side to a lot of the Mexicans that are here.

[00:18:48] Alexis: So many of the Mexican people that live in Arizona are brown skinned, and that’s why somebody who has, like, blue eyes and things like that would stand out a little bit more than maybe in other parts of Mexico

[00:19:01] Ryan: Oh, yeah. So if you, I mean, if you dive into it and you go into Mexico City or you even go into Michoacan, Sinaloa, any of those places I mean a lot of people are light brown hair blue eyes fair skinned but that’s just not what you see here in the southwest You know, going to California, going to Arizona, New Mexico, it’s a lot of darker skin, darker hair, darker eyes.

[00:19:23] Alexis: Exactly.

[00:19:24] Ryan: so that’s what we know and that’s what everybody around here knows.

[00:19:27] Alexis: Yeah. Thank and thank you for just further explaining that.

[00:19:30] Alexis: That’s been something that’s kind of popped up a few times because it is kind of this complicated thing. Right? Ethnicity can be very complicated for people. And and like you said, you still do have ties to your Mexican heritage, but in a much different way than you thought

[00:19:48] Ryan: Yeah. Yeah. Because, I mean, even before this happened, like, I I realized where, you know, I looked up where my dad’s mom had, you know, her family was from.

[00:19:57] Ryan: I looked up where his dad’s family was from. And I started to know this stuff, a few years back. And it was like it was all completely wiped out. Like, completely done, just gone away from me. And I would tell people, oh, okay.

[00:20:10] Ryan: You know, where is your your dad’s family from? Well, somewhere from Durango and somewhere from Sinaloa. And now it’s just like, oh, well, all of what I what I thought was and I started to think about my life was was was not that.

[00:20:24] Alexis: What are your next steps, do you think, in terms of your family without necessarily contacting them?

[00:20:39] Ryan: Well, I mean, I’ve looked into, you where my half sisters are at. Where’s my half brother at?

[00:20:47] Ryan: I have a half brother and half sister that still live here in Arizona. Um, then I have a half sister that lives in Utah. But it’s and I just, like, do I reach out to them, you know, and blow away this this thing, this idea they have of their father for, you know, 40 or 50 years.

[00:21:04] Ryan: Do I do I ruin that for them?

[00:21:06] Ryan: Do I upset them? He has cancer. Do I wait until, you know, he passes away and then reach out to them? But then at the same time, then they don’t have the chance to ask him questions if they want to ask things, um, that maybe they wanna know.

[00:21:20] Alexis: Mhmm.

[00:21:21] Ryan: a it’s a crazy situation. I mean, I was seeing things and around things that tie me to that family for years without knowing. My sister who lives her and her husband used to live here. And they own a business here in the valley. I live a half mile from 1 of those stores. I’ve probably passed by it a few hundred times, not knowing that that’s, like, my sister’s company right there. My biological father worked in the construction industry for a certain company here in in Arizona. I own my own business, um, that works in the construction field. I’ve been staring at that logo for 15 years,

[00:22:05] Alexis: Wow. You touched earlier on the, you know, what ifs, and it sounds like that is something that came up for you. Where have you landed with that in terms of the, you know, what what your life could have looked like?

[00:22:19] Ryan: It’s tough because, you know, it’s 1 of those things like my mom was a single mom for many years.

[00:22:24] Ryan: We lived in some crappy neighborhoods and some crappy apartments. When she was single and we were struggling. I had a father who lived you know, a dad who lived out of state. I was just struggling with those, like, you know, I wish I had a better life, and I wish, you know, we weren’t so broke. And, you know, I wish I lived in these nicer homes, you know, like my biological father lives in.

[00:22:46] Ryan: I just wish I had different opportunities. And it’s just it’s some of those things adds up now to where, where, like, where I’m at now in in running my own company and being in the construction industry. Like, no side of my mom’s side of the family is like that. Like, none of them are, like, owning their own businesses. None of them are, like, in the construction thing.

[00:23:07] Ryan: My brother does work. He works in warehouses. You know, my sister was pretty much she worked up until she had kids, and then she became a stay at home mom. Like, it’s just completely different, like, paths. And then when I look at my, you know, biological father’s side, there’s 2 of them, you know, 2 of my half siblings own own their own businesses and working.

[00:23:27] Ryan: It’s just this weird thing and it’s like you know could this have started out for me so many more years ago instead of waiting until I was almost 40 to, you know, to start my own business? I have started it sooner because of the family ties and, you know, the LDS community is being huge, you know, in the construction industry down here in the valley. It could’ve been a lot different for me and started a lot sooner. But I’m still at the same time, I’m happy because I’ve done it on my own. You know, I’ve gotten to where I’m at by my hard work, you know, and my work ethic and stuff like that.

[00:24:00] Alexis: Did your biological father express any real interest in you and the things that you’ve done in your life? Did he express any remorse about not being involved?

[00:24:13] Ryan: He he didn’t he didn’t ask. He didn’t ask, like, how many kids do you have? I mean, I don’t know. Maybe he’s been looking and watching this entire time.

[00:24:21] Ryan: I have no idea, but he didn’t ask. His couple things he said to me is, I know this is hard for you and I’m sorry. Like, that’s really it. But more of the conversation was about, like, what’s gonna happen to him if this news comes out, not about what’s happening to me, and what it’s gonna do to me and what it does to my son, you know, when I had to tell him, hey. You know, your your grandpa Ruben is, you know, not technically my father.

[00:24:43] Ryan: It’s it’s this other gentleman that he doesn’t know. He doesn’t know who he is.

[00:24:47] Alexis: How did your son take the news?

[00:24:49] Ryan: He was 18 when I told him. He was kinda like, woah.

[00:24:52] Ryan: That’s kinda like crazy. Like, how are you doing with that? Well, I’m I’m still trying to figure all that out. Um, he just asked who it was, um, and then that was really it. It didn’t it didn’t go much more than that.

[00:25:04] Ryan: The other thing is, as an 18 year old kid, you know, he was just kinda like, uh, he was out, just trying to start his life. And he was, oh, alright. Well and I didn’t go into detail, like, how it was eating at me and how it was doing, getting to me. So I don’t think he knew to to ask too much about it.

[00:25:20] Alexis: So we’re having this conversation almost a year from when you initially found out.

[00:25:27] Ryan: Yes.

[00:25:27] Ryan: Here in a few weeks, it will be 1 year.

[00:25:29] Alexis: What have you been doing to process this?

[00:25:36] Ryan: I don’t I don’t know that I’ve like really done anything productive other than, like, being a part of these, like, Facebook groups. Um, listen to your podcast, like, just listening to what other people have gone through and what they’ve done and trying to, like, help navigate the way that I’m gonna continue my life or take the next step. I mean, I I dove a lot into my work when it first happened. Um, You know, we’re buying a new house.

[00:26:04] Ryan: We’re actually getting ready to move into it in a few weeks there’s been a lot of things that we’ve been doing, um, that kinda help, you know, take takes that off my mind, but it’s still there every day.

[00:26:15] Alexis: Yeah.

[00:26:15] Alexis: How would you describe how you are doing today?

[00:26:19] Ryan: I’m good, um, I mean, I I guess I should say I’m I feel like I’m doing good. I have a notepad on my phone. You I have a letter that I think I’ve been working on for since middle of August. You know, putting down a lot of thoughts to send to my biological father to maybe explain a little bit more of what I’m struggling with.

[00:26:43] Ryan: So that he maybe has a little more understanding of why somebody needs to know. You know, why his children need to know, um, and why his wife needs to know.

[00:26:52] Ryan: When it happens, when I did find out the news, I broke down.

[00:26:55] Ryan: I mean, I there was about a month and a half break that me and my fiance were on a break. Um, and basically broken up because I went through a lot of anger, a lot of hurts. Wasn’t, like, abusing alcohol or drugs or anything that, but my temper just went crazy and all and kind of off off the scale. Um, there was no physical abuse. But there was times, you know, that I had some some some dark thoughts.

[00:27:23] Alexis: Mhmm.

[00:27:23] Ryan: Um, and to be honest, I I finally got onto some, you know, anti anxiety, anti depression medicine to kinda help get me out of that. I take it every day, I feel a lot better. I don’t I don’t have those thoughts and anything like that. But it was just to know, like, I need him to know that every day this is still a secret from everybody else is just a day that it’s not gonna I just I can’t move on. I can’t move forward.

[00:27:48] Alexis: Yeah.

[00:27:49] Ryan: Um, I know there’s so many people, you know, that I’ve read their stories and such, and they finally just said, well, you know, nobody’s gonna know, and I’ll just, you know, move forward. I just don’t know that I can do it. I’m not a I’m not a very secretive person when it comes to family, so I don’t want this secret.

[00:28:05] Alexis: Yeah. And and thank you for being open about how it has affected your mental health. I think especially men in our community aren’t as vocal about some of those things, and it’s important to talk about because like you said, you know, having a short temper like these are all manifestations of anxiety and depression and so thank you for sharing that.

[00:28:28] Ryan: Yeah.

[00:28:28] Ryan: I I mean, it’s huge. And I mean, you are right, and I’ve I’ve read a lot. I’ve indeed your guys’ you know, your third Thursday meeting a few months ago. I’m glad to see that there was other, you know, men in there. Because I feel like even on, like, the Facebook groups that there’s just not a lot of men talking about any of this.

[00:28:43] Ryan: And I feel like it’s like, do a lot of guys just doesn’t happen to a lot of men or we just a lot of guys just don’t wanna talk about it,

[00:28:51] Alexis: Yeah.

[00:28:51] Ryan: any part of this. And I

[00:28:53] Alexis: Mhmm.

[00:28:54] Ryan: And like I said, even to be honest, I looked at look at you know, I looked at your guys’ stuff in the retreat last year, and it’s like, it’s all women. So it’s like, wait. Do men not go through this? Like, would I should even think about trying to go to this?

[00:29:04] Ryan: I

[00:29:04] Ryan: don’t

[00:29:05] Alexis: Well, I will say men are more than welcome. We

[00:29:08] Alexis: are foster. You know, everyone is invited. Um, but, yeah, it it was all women that, you know, reached out and wanted to participate.

 What do you hope will happen next in your journey?

[00:29:23] Ryan: um I honestly to be honest to be truthful I hope that 1 of my half siblings takes a DNA test and then I pop up so that it can just happen, you know, just

[00:29:37] Ryan: and I want that, you know, I want 1 of them to reach out and just say, you came up as a half sibling and, you know, my other brother and my other sister didn’t take the tests. And I just I hope that that happens.

[00:29:50] Alexis: Yeah.

[00:29:51] Ryan: bad. I I hate for them to, like, have that that heartache, um, but I just I

[00:29:59] Ryan: don’t know.

[00:29:59] Ryan: I think

[00:30:00] Alexis: for them to know, though, without you telling them.

[00:30:04] Ryan: Yeah.

[00:30:05] Ryan: It it’s it’s I I I’ve battled with that evil. I’ve I’ve told, uh, you know, some people, some friends, and so many people like, oh, you should just call them right now. You should just, like, go to their house. You should, you know, I’ve even had 1 person tell me, oh, you should blackmail them.

[00:30:20] Ryan: And I’m like, I’m not I’m

[00:30:22] Ryan: not that kind of person. I don’t I yeah. Like, I don’t need their money. I don’t I don’t need anything like that. I, you know, I

[00:30:31] Ryan: just I don’t know.

[00:30:32] Alexis: you want from them?

[00:30:36] Ryan: I just want to know that side of me that I don’t that I have no idea I want to know that there’s other people you know these family members that are, my brothers and sisters. Like, I I just wanna know that side of them, to know me better, really. Like, it’s hard to explain again because

[00:30:54] Ryan: it’s 1 of those I grew up next to my brother and my sister, who I was very close to. Um, you know, I’m still very close with my brother. My sister, again, passed away a few few years ago, before this all came out.

[00:31:05] Ryan: And I was very close to her for many, many years. She pretty much helped raise me when I was a little kid. But I just feel like now that I know there’s something about myself or things I do know about myself, but I wanna know where they come from. I wanna, you know, know that there’s other people like me.

[00:31:22] Alexis: Yeah. That’s completely understandable. What advice do you have for a parent like your mom who is keeping a DNA surprise from their child?

[00:31:33] Ryan: First thing is don’t wait until they’re till they’re 40. You know, I I I don’t even think that telling them when they’re, you know, a teenager is the right thing to do because I think this is kind of counterproductive because I know if my mom would have told me when I was 18 or 19 that I was going through a lot back then, you know, just being a young adult trying to start my own life. You know, I was going in a bad past at certain times. That I imagine if she would have told me then, it could have gone worse for me then. I could have, you know, ended up at this man’s doorstep or my family and just created a whole mess for myself.

[00:32:11] Ryan: But just find that time that your your your child is immensely ready for this, um, and tell them. And at that time, make sure that you tell your family, your other brothers and sisters or, you know, things like that. Just just make sure you tell them Because it’s it’s it’s hard for a lot of people.

[00:32:31] Alexis: What advice do you have for someone who just discovered that they’re an NPE?

[00:32:35] Ryan: Don’t rush. That’s the first thing is don’t don’t rush into making any decisions.

[00:32:42] Ryan: Don’t rush to finding them. Just take your time, and tell people. Tell whoever you wanna tell. Because the more people that you tell that are close to you, the more people that can understand what you’re going through. They’re not gonna fully understand, but they’re gonna know that you’re going through something.

[00:33:00] Ryan: Um, And lean on those people. Just get the help you need. If you need help talking to, you know, a psychiatrist or psychologist, Um, you need medication to just help you relax and just take a deep breath. But, just do it slowly. Because I feel like I almost made some rushed decisions when it happened, and I think I would have hurt more people doing it that way than than doing it like I am now.

[00:33:29] Alexis: Ryan, thank you so much for coming on the

[00:33:34] Ryan: Yeah.

[00:33:41] Alexis: are and learn more about yourself and and learn more about your family. And I wish you peace during your 1 year anniversary, which is coming up soon.

[00:33:53] Ryan: Me too. Because we’re having my family, uh, most of my family over at our brand new home for for Thanksgiving. So I’m kinda hoping for that new beginnings type thing.


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