The thing about DNA Surprises is that they can happen to anyone. It doesn’t matter your race, socioeconomic status, politics, or background. In this week’s episode, my guest, author Robin Schepper, shares her DNA surprise story.
For more than thirty years, Robin served at the highest levels of American politics and government. including on four presidential campaigns, in the Clinton White House, and as the first Executive Director of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative.
She also grew up not knowing who her father was and spent decades trying to find him. In this episode, Robin discusses how she felt different growing up without a father and how she was finally unable to uncover his true identity. She also shares why she decided to write a memoir about her experiences. She also shares a beautiful poem that speaks to the “what ifs” that so many of us contemplate.
Robin’s memoir, titled Finding My Way: A Memoir of Family, Identity, and Political Ambition, and website are linked in the show notes, so be sure to check them out.
This week’s DNA surprise story is told from a side we haven’t heard from yet – a found father. When Gerard received an email from a man claiming to be his son, he wasn’t sure what to think. He soon discovered that unbeknownst to him, he was the father of a 30-something-year-old man who had been adopted as an infant.
Gerard shares how he pieced together who the mother of his son was and how he reconnected with her. He also discusses how supportive his wife and daughters have been as he builds a relationship with his son.
Gerard’s story is one that many in the DNA surprise community hope for – he’s accepting, open, and seeks to understand how to best fit into his son’s life.
In this week’s episode, Josie shares a DNA surprise that doesn’t come as the result of a test she took, but of her own revelation well into her twenties. She always knew that she was donor conceived and raised by a single mother, but it wasn’t until she had her son that she wanted to find her sperm donor. Josie shares why she wanted to seek out her donor and what she hopes to gain from their future relationship. Her story ends on a cliffhanger – listen to the end of the episode for an update directly from her.
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.
DNA surprises are often bittersweet. The results we receive via consumer DNA testing can lead to upset and confusion, but they also can answer long-held questions and lay the foundation for new relationships. In this week’s episode, Bonnie shares how she always knew that she didn’t know her father, but once she started searching, she found answers she didn’t expect. Her journey to identifying her biological father includes many twists and turns. She shares how she was able to track down her bio dad with the support of a search angel and how her discovery has affected her relationship with her mother.
One of the things we talk about often within the DNA Surprise community is the ripple effect. Surprises don’t only affect NPEs, donor-conceived people, and adoptees – they affect their parents, their children, friends, spouses, and other family members. In this week’s episode, Kim shares how she helped uncover the complicated story of her Granda Mary, who had several NPE children. She discusses what steps she took to put the pieces together and how her work has affected her relationship with her dad.
DNA Surprises aren’t limited to NPEs. In this week’s episode, Debbie shares how she always knew she was adopted, and later learned her biological father was dead. Little did she know that a consumer DNA test would change everything. Debbie shares what’s been helpful to her throughout her journey and how she’s used her own experience to help others.