Jill’s DNA Surprise

Something that I’ve heard more than once on this podcast is a situation that goes something like this: people are having an argument. A mother and child. A husband and wife. Both parents with their child, or some other combination. And then, in the heat of the moment, someone reveals the truth. So and so isn’t your real dad anyway. 

And then, just as quickly as it was blurted out, it is taken back. Dismissed. Forgotten about or explained away for years, until decades later, a DNA test brings the truth to light. 

In this week’s episode, Jill shares her version of this story. Her story is ultimately one of resilience. From childhood abuse to cancer diagnoses to her NPE, she discusses the truth as she knows it, and how she emerged from her challenges with the goal to inspire others to persevere in the face of adversity.

Erika’s DNA Surprise

Erika’s incredible DNA surprise journey starts with a mind-altering awakening. Erika always felt an underlying sense of ‘otherness’ in her family. After an experience with psilocybin, or “magic mushrooms,” she realized that there was a big lie in her life. Thanks to a DNA test and a potent dose of self-awareness, a truth emerges that […]

Jamie’s DNA Surprise

Welcome to the season 6 finale of DNA Surprises. In this week’s episode, Jamie bravely shares her DNA surprise journey, which began 5 years ago with a 23&Me test.

Jamie’s story encapsulates many parts of the DNA surprise stories we hear. She shares how her NPE came as a complete surprise. Her story includes an ethnic shift, from Italian to Portuguese, rejection AND acceptance, family estrangement, secrecy, and openness. and mental health issues. She also touches on her experience as a recipient parent of an egg donation and how her NPE has reaffirmed her commitment to be transparent with her daughter. 

Jamie acknowledges that while her journey ebbs and flows, she’s living life on her own terms now and is dedicated to welcoming relationships that nourish her.

Barbara’s DNA Surprise

In this week’s episode, we delve into Barbara’s DNA surprise story.  Barbara grew up with a strong connection to her German heritage before discovering, in her fifties, that she was donor-conceived and of Jewish descent. She discusses the challenges she faced, the shock and sense of displacement she felt after the discovery, and the impact it had on her relationships with her parents–and her sense of self. She also shares the joy she experienced in connecting with some of her half-siblings. 

Thank you for sharing your story, Barbara.

Bonus Episode | An update from Michael Paul

Welcome to a bonus episode of DNA Surprises. Michael Paul first joined me in Season 2, shortly after his discovery. In this bonus episode, Michael shares an update on what’s happened in his life since we last spoke. He shares his journey of discovering the importance of self-care and setting boundaries after a DNA surprise.

He also discusses his evolving relationship with his bio dad and the challenges he faces, along with the positive changes he’s made in his life, such as changing his last name and pursuing his career passions. This is a shorter version of our conversation – if you’d like to hear the episode in its entirety, join me over on Patreon at Patreon.com/DNASurprises.

Lily’s DNA Surprise

If you’re familiar with other DNA surprise podcasts, this week’s guest needs no introduction. And if you aren’t allow me to introduce you to Lily Wood, host of NPE Stories. Lily started NPE Stories after experiencing her own NPE in 2019. She is a strong presence in our community, a bonafide truth-teller, and I call her one of the OGs in this space. 

She joined me to talk about her DNA surprise and how it has affected her life. Lily offers a vulnerable and transparent look at what happens when the relationships in our lives aren’t what we hoped to be, and how we can create our own families where there is none.


Many folks who experience a DNA surprise share a feeling of being the black sheep of their family – of never quite fitting in, and in some cases, being actively ostracized by their family of origin. In this week’s episode, Penny shares her complicated family history and why her NPE validated her outsider status within the family. She reflects on the gaslighting and neglect she experienced as a child, and how she uncovered the truth with the power of her own intuition.

Morgan’s DNA Surprise

What’s in a name? For people who have experienced a DNA surprise, a whole lot. In this week’s episode, Morgan shares his DNA surprise story as the child of an adoptee. He describes how he first found his biological grandmother before the days of the internet and later found his biological grandfather’s family with the help of commercial DNA testing. He also explains why changing his name to that of his well-known paternal side made sense to him—even though it led to estrangement from his raised family.

Christa’s DNA Surprise

Christa always knew that something wasn’t quite right because she looked different from her family. When she got the results of her 23&Me test, she learned that her biological father wasn’t who she expected, and neither was her ethnicity. Christa talks about how she’s navigated building relationships with her newfound family and connecting to her Moroccan Jewish heritage. She also discusses the challenges she faces because her mother died shortly after her DNA surprise.

Stacy W’s DNA Surprise

DNA surprises can cause major disruptions to our interpersonal relationships, particularly the bonds we have with our raised parents. But often what most affects those relationships isn’t the surprises themselves, but how people act afterward.

In this episode, Stacy shares how she uncovered not one, but two NPEs throughout her life. She shares how she’s built amazing relationships with her newfound family and how things have unfortunately deteriorated with her mother. At the very end of this episode, Stacy graciously shares the letter that she wrote her mother in its entirety–and her mother’s response.