Category Archives: Technology

Adoptee Uses DNA Test for Clues to Roots

SPOILER ALERT!
After twenty-four years of searching for my birthmother and finally publishing a memoir about my journey, I felt some sort of closure. Although my birthmother had already passed away by the time I learned who she was, actually before I started looking, I felt a sense of comfort in knowing who she was and having a few pictures to compare myself to. I also confirmed that I was born the same religion in which I was raised, which made me happy.

Unfortunately, no one I met during my journey knew about my birthmother’s background. They didn’t know her parents, siblings, aunts and uncles. I wanted to know more about her. Here’s the real spoiler alert part. Growing up, I never paid much attention to my father’s family. Since he was my adoptive dad, I didn’t even pay any attention when he told me I had a “cousin” who was involved in developing the Salk vaccine for the prevention of polio. He wasn’t my “blood.” Why should I care who his relatives were? Or the fact that he had heart disease which eventually took his life. This wouldn’t affect me. Maybe I should have paid more attention.

Part-way through my search for my birthmother, I learned that my “adoptive” father was actually my bio father. It’s strange how pictures paint a story. Years after both of my parents had passed away; I came across my dad’s high school graduation photo. I placed it right next to my son’s high school graduation photo. I never expected these photos to be identical. Same hair, same eyes, same ears. If I hadn’t known better I would have thought these were of the same person. Maybe I should have paid more attention when my dad, who had the same hazel eyes as my son, said things like, “I had blond curls too when I was a little boy.” But I was adopted. I didn’t listen.

I don’t spend my days obsessing about my adoption or thinking of myself as an adoptee. It rarely comes up in day-to-day conversation. Until the other day. About a year ago, I took a DNA test with Ancestry.com. I wanted to find some blood relatives other than those I gave birth to. I thought it would be cool to find matches, maybe even a cousin, aunt or uncle who might know something about my birthmother’s family. All I had was her maiden name, Simon, a very common name. For a split second I fantasized that I was related to Paul Simon from Simon and Garfunkel, imagining meeting him and telling him how I liked his songs. But that’s pretty ridiculous. As a matter of fact, I found very few close matches. The closest were third or fourth cousins. And when I looked at their charts, I honestly didn’t have a clue who I was related to. I didn’t, and still don’t, have a clue if the matches are from my mother’s or father’s side. In the meantime, I started adding names to my tree. I added all of those relatives of my dad who I now realized were blood. And I actually found some more. But I have nothing on my birthmother’s side.

I let this go for a while, hoping someday to find a close DNA match. Someone who could actually tell me more about my roots. Until one day I got an email from someone looking for her roots. She knew nothing about her dad’s background. She was hoping I could fill her in. Clueless about how this worked, not knowing which side our DNA matched, maternally or paternally, I couldn’t give her any direction. If she was related to me on my dad’s side, I actually know quite a bit now. If we matched on my birth mother’s side, I know nothing. I voiced my confusion to her in an email explaining that I don’t know how to help her. I totally forgot that I had been adopted. I forgot to mention that I knew nothing at all about one side of my family. I wrote her back. Admitting that I’m an adoptee searching for my roots, I confessed I knew nothing that would be helpful.

Am I missing something with this DNA test? Does anyone know how I can identify the matches as being relatives on my mother’s or father side? I’m so confused. I tried to do the 23andMe test but they don’t allow it in my state of Maryland. I’m not sure what to do next. I don’t want to keep taking more and more tests, but not knowing how someone is related to me is making this more confusing.

If you have any ideas, or would like to share your success or failures in DNA testing, please share. Thank you.

Call Me Ella - An Adoption Memoir

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Jon Stewart vs Twitter

Twitter is the
Best for me
I get my news
One two three.

I don’t have to wait
For evenings at seven
Or six or ten
Or, God forbid, eleven.

I pick up my iPhone
It’s simple you see
No straining with newsprint
No waste, no fees.

No cost whatsoever
To get my news fast
Why wait for a reporter
To send out a blast.

I want to know now.
No patience have I
To read lengthy stories
To strain my old eyes.

I pick up my phone
I click on my app
Getting my headlines
Is really a snap.

I get quite enough
Of news that I need
I don’t have to wade through
Dribble you see.

I don’t want opinion
Or spin on a story
Give me the facts
Not allegory.

I’ll take my news
Dumbed down with ease
I just want your tweet
140 words please.

After the day’s done
I’m caught up on news
I’ll search my recordings
Jon Stewart I’ll choose.

To give me the lowdown
On politics and prose
His wit and his wisdom
His genius, who knows?

He’s right on the mark
He cuts through the chase
Ok, I’ll admit it
He has a cute face.

He wrinkles and scrunches
His cute little nose
But wisdom comes through
Clear down to his toes.

Twitter by day
Is as good as it gets
For full coverage the Daily Show
Is truly the best.

A Son’s Tribute – Peanut Man

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Flying high
Up and away
In his spaceship
Don’t ask me why.

Never forgetting
Where he came from
He stares out the window
He watches the sun.

He looks for the moon
He dances on stars
He sings with his eyes closed
He travels so far.

To Saturn, to Mercury
To planets unnamed
He flies through the universe
It’s all a big game.

He settles back down
All snug in his bed
Dreams of his loved ones
Filling his head.

This tribute would do
And so would a letter
But one thing’s for sure
A tattoo lasts forever.

My Favorite Geek

Gratitude’s an attitude
I live it every day
Just to have you with me
This is what I say.

Every time you’re near me
Words alone won’t do
I tremble at your touch
Your smell, your brown eyes too.

How on earth to thank you
I have to get a clue
You guided me with gentle care
You held my hand so true.

From back I peeked over
Your shoulder to get a glance
To figure out your method
So I could take a chance.

To do the job with no help
Some day no help I’ll seek
But today I need my computer
Fixed by my favorite geek.

Love you honey!!

Sex and Words with Friends

 I could sense him getting close. His sweet breath felt warm against my neck. His strong hand, tenderly caressing my shoulder, was comforting, and exciting. Buzz, buzz. He was pulling me closer. Gently, he turned my face towards his. He gazed deeply into my eyes. Buzz, buzz. I turned away. He drew me closer. As our lips touched I could no longer ignore my feelings, my desire. I had to follow my heart. “Just one more word,” I pleaded.

“Put down that damn game.” He sounded angry.

“You’re right. I’m sorry.” I said. Pushing my iPhone away, I reached my arms around his neck. Smiling, I moved in closer. Buzz, Buzz. What more does he expect? I’ve got it silenced. I resisted checking the screen. I needed to decide which is more important, my husband, or this damn game? I had to get my priorities in order. Buzz, Buzz.

“Why don’t you go upstairs, I’ll be up in a minute,” I said with a smile and a wink.

“Fine,” he responded. Fine is my line when I’m pissed off. I wonder if fine means the same to him.

Yes! I have a seven letter word! Just one more, I decided, and then I’ll go upstairs.

Two hours later I finally made it up to bed wondering, is this going on everywhere?

I’ve got to stop this. Tomorrow! Am I alone or are others obsessed?

The Other “Woman”

I truly believe that my marriage has lasted this long and is better today because of Karen. I have never been able to read a map. Thanks to Karen, I don’t have to.

In the “old days”, my husband and I would have argued with each other about the best route to take. Now, relieved to be totally out of the loop, I can sit back and listen to him argue with Karen, our GPS voice. “She’s crazy, ” he said when she told him the route she planned to get him to the airport. “Isn’t this set for fastest time? This isn’t the fastest way. I’m turning left,” my husband yelled to the box. That’ll teach her, I thought to myself.

When he doesn’t follow her directions Karen doesn’t get all pissy or start a fight. She doesn’t threaten to cut off sex with him until he offers a sincere apology. I realized I can learn a lot from her. Karen goes with the flow. When my husband turns left instead of right our GPS merely says “recalculating, recalculating”. And she will repeat this over and over again, without raising her voice or giving attitude, until she figures out a new route. One that is undoubtedly better than the one she had originally planned. And even if the trip takes an extra ten minutes, she never says “I told you so.”

I’ve learned a lot from my GPS. I’ve learned sometimes it’s best to opt out of an argument and say “Yes dear. I love you!”