Finding long-lost family
A paternity test confirmed a family connection for this mother of 3.
What are the first words out of most people’s mouths when they see a new parent showing off their baby? ‘She’s got your nose!’ They’ll exclaim.

Some children, however, go through life never knowing just whose nose they’ve got. Children of single moms without known fathers, or adopted children, or children whose parentage is a family secret may never get to answer that question. Here’s how one woman was fortunate to find out the answer in her late 30s.

Raised by a loving stepdad

Karen was brought up by her mom and loving stepfather, with the knowledge that her biological father had mostly left her out of his life. After all, he was just a brief blip on her mother’s social radar, and they’d never had an actual relationship.

As a child, she was curious about him (who wouldn’t be?), but grew up having many questions unanswered, and with a nagging feeling of disappointment that he’d not taken an interest. Right up until a chance connection on Facebook changed all of that.

A woman contacted her saying she was apparently her cousin. Now, Karen had assumed that everyone knew about her bio-dad, so she got in touch with his two daughters on Facebook using the cousin’s list of friends.

You can imagine their surprise at being told, ‘I’m your sister’, when they couldn’t recall the few meetings they’d had as very young children, nearly 30 years ago. Karen was thrilled to finally track down her bio-dad’s children - her half-sisters - after so long.

They were astounded, and the contact prompted them to have intense discussions with their father. Why had he never told them they had a sister?

DNA tests

Shortly afterwards, Karen biological father contacted her and explained: To him, there had always been a doubt- was he really her father? And, when she was younger, technology had presented only inconclusive proof. Now that DNA tests were available, Karen and her father were easily able to confirm what she had believed and he had suspected - he really was her biological father.

At the same time, Karen was able to ask him some difficult questions, voicing the hurt and rejection she’d felt at not knowing him. Too many years had passed for the hurt to remain, though, and there was an incredible reunion which helped to ease the pain. The sisters all met for coffee, each one sizing up the other - mentally comparing hair, noses, eyes and other features.

The challenge facing many single mothers and adoptive parents is this: When the time comes, how will they handle a child curious about his or her biological heritage? Will it threaten the status quo to find out? Will the child reject their lifelong guardians in favour of a stranger?

The hurt at having this information hidden has been known to divide families, but, ultimately, if your relationship your children you look after is strong and secure enough, chances are they’ll have an opportunity to explore their own identity, with your safety net. And, as in Karen’s case, maybe even make some ‘friends’ (who share some DNA).

In case you were wondering, Karen seems to have inherited her nose from her mother’s side of the family.

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