NPE = Non Paternity Event

It sounds so odd, Non Paternity Event, but in everyday language it means your dad is not who you thought he was. I wrote extensively about finding the truth in my earliest blog posts but I thought I would revisit the story again. I have been on a roller coaster of emotions since late 2014 when I first took my Ancestry-DNA test.

I grew up in the 1950’s and 60’s in an crazy but loving family. Both of my parents were alcoholics but we all put on a brave front for the most part.

Me in the middle, my sister to my right, my mom and dad to my left and my 3 nephews. Taken Easter 1964

I took a DNA test for fun in the fall of 2014, and my world turned upside down. It took me awhile to figure out the details but it boiled down to my biological father was not the happy go lucky daddy I grew up with. My mom had an affair in 1952 with a man on their bowling team.

Top row: Biological father, Bob, 2nd from right, next to father I grew up with, Dexter, 2nd from left
Bottom middle is my mom

If you aren’t familiar with how DNA works you might wonder how in the heck I figured this out. It wasn’t easy, especially since I didn’t know a thing when I first started. But reading, asking questions and just plain old perseverance led me to the truth. When I got my results I wasn’t Swedish, I should have been, my dad was 100%. I also had lots of DNA matches that had surnames I didn’t know – and many, many were from the Alabama area. I asked some of my dad’s family to do the DNA test and when the results came back – no relation at all. Then I started building family trees and trying to figure out how my matches were related to each other. I contacted some 3rd cousins and they were so helpful, but I needed a closer match. Finally a 2nd cousin popped up and that enabled me to tie the tree together and find who I thought my biological father was. He was deceased – I expected that. He had children! I found them on Facebook, but was afraid to contact them (I had had a bad experience with the son of a man I THOUGHT might be my biological father) but my adorable 3rd cousin contacted them for me and right away they were thrilled! The youngest one did the DNA test and while we awaited the results I went to Southern California to visit 2 of them. It was such a wonderful visit! On my way home the results came in and sealed it – we were half siblings!!!!

Brothers and sister!

Then my older brother from birth father’s first marriage came down to visit us from Oregon last year.

I also had a half sister, but she passed away in 2013. I so wish I could have met her, she loved genealogy too and I am sure we would have been good friends.

My brother’s have helped me fill in what I never knew about my bio father. I have read up on the ship, USS New Orleans, he served on during WWII and can only imagine the hell he went through. He had his issues, we all do, but I can’t help but wonder if he knew. If my mom knew?? She was married at the time, bio dad wasn’t. She was 37, he was 31. She had 2 grown children, he was divorced with one son.

That is what lingers in my mind. Who knew? did anyone? Some days are better than others for me but I struggle. It has been over 4 years now that I have known the truth. I read every article and book I find that deals with NPE stories and information. I belong to Facebook groups, public and secret, and reading others stories helps. So many people do not have as good an ending as I do. I found 3 loving brothers. I have lost the sister I grew up with, she is angry or hurt by my find, but I can’t help it. Everyone who wants to know the truth, should be able to know the truth. I didn’t start out knowing there was a huge secret, but I am glad to know the truth.

NPE – Non Paternity Event, it sounds so odd.

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A reluctant blogger

I haven’t written in a very long time, since October 2016.  I have felt very out of sorts since this whole finding out my bio father was not the man I thought he was.  It has been great getting to know my bio family – I love them all. I recently got to meet brother #3.  He is from our dad’s first marriage during WWII, he is a sweetie pie.  He and his wife drove their motor home down from Oregon and stayed a few days.  It was great getting to know him and his wife.  Here they are with me.  I have been embraced wholeheartedly by all 3 brothers and it warms my heart so much.

I have been to Southern California to see my younger half brothers about 4 times since I discovered them in 2016.  Our visits are always great!  But I struggle with my relationship with my sister that I grew up with, it has been very strained – So it has been a difficult couple of years.  I know she isn’t happy about my search for the truth, but it is what it is.  I am trying to come to a peaceful place in my mind, to be comfortable with my discovery and to just move on.  On that note, I have been working on my family genealogy quite a bit.  I use Ancestry.com – I just love the DNA matching, the ease of finding records and it’s all around ease of use.  I have found quite a few extended family members through them, and good old Facebook!  I got to spend a couple of days with my 2nd cousin and his wife, on my mother’s Fairman side, this past fall during their 50th anniversary weekend.  Meeting family always makes me feel so good.  I made them up a family tree on poster board with pictures, so that their family could see how we were all related.  They loved it.  Those small things that I can do to connect with people make me happy and I hope to keep the family history bug going through my interactions with the generations.

I am going to start blogging about the pictures and families in my vast bunch of very old pictures that I inherited from various family members.  I recently read a fantastic blog by Charles Moore Telling their story   and it reminded me of the pictures I have and how I really want to save them on-line to share the stories of the people who came before us.  Not everyone is identified in every picture I have but I do know the majority of them and I want to share their stories. Stay tuned.

 

DNA doesn’t lie!

I am sure you have heard the phrase “a watched pot never boils”.  Well, waiting for DNA test results to come back is pretty much like that.  I knew it could take up to 6 weeks but…still…I had come so far and now just wanted proof that I wasn’t mucking it all up again.  In the mean time I had a chance to go to the L.A. area for a few days and even though the results were not in, I asked my potential 1/2 brothers Scott and Bruce if they would like to meet up.  They were so sweet and were excited to meet me, even prior to the proof of the DNA test.  We pretty much all thought that the picture of my mom with their dad on the same bowling team sealed the deal.

I drove down to Southern CA and we planned a meet at Scott’s house. While I was driving to our meeting I have never been so nervous in all my life.  I was so afraid that I was getting all excited for nothing – what if Scott and Bruce weren’t my 1/2 brothers?   I had to remind myself to breathe…to relax…to just be me and let things play out and to stop worrying.  As I drove up to the house the first person I saw was Scott, standing in the doorway of his house…and all I could do was smile as I know that this is probably my brother and I couldn’t help but feel the love. Then I see Bruce, the elder of the two and the acceptance was written all over his face too….I felt like I had come home to family.  We had the nicest visit….Bruce had brought some old photos from the Perry family and we went through them and laughed and talked. It was such a good visit but also a little bitter sweet as I learned their sister Linda had passed away a couple of years ago and she was very interested in family history and had done lots of research and they were sure we would have hit it off.  Linda and I were the closest in age, she being just 2 years younger than me.

Scott’s roommate Donna had a sandwich spread fixed up for us and we ate, and laughed and talked a lot more.  I really felt good about this visit and so wished the DNA results would come in while I was in Southern Ca. that weekend, but I knew I would probably have to wait for awhile still.  It was funny that Scott kept asking me and texting me..”when will the results be in?”…he wanted to know for sure just like I did – we were like a couple of little kids!  I learned so much about the family during our visit and I promised Bruce and Scott that as soon as I knew the results I would be letting them know.

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Here we are at our first meeting, June 9, 2016.  Scott to the left of the picture and Bruce to the right. Continue Reading

Are you my brother?

So now I was ready to get moving on finding my biological father.  I have talked to Scott, my possible 1/2 brother.  I have done my due diligence in tracing the DNA trail and the family tree hints.  I was thrilled that Scott agreed to take a DNA test and that he would be happy to have a new sister!  As soon as Scott and I got off the phone I ordered the DNA test kit from Ancestry.com from my phone….I was not going to wait until we got home from our camping trip!!  I was floating on cloud 9 the rest of the weekend – I had such a good feeling about this phase in my search! Scott and I messaged back and forth.  Sonya and I did also, she was an angel in my eyes for helping me to connect with my possible family.

My only question now was,  how did my mom know Scott and Bruce’s dad?  They didn’t live in the same city, although not too far away from each other.  Their dad worked as a plumber and my dad owned his own chrome plating business…no connection there I could see.  But as I was thinking about how the connection could have happened I got an idea.  My folks had been very active at the Elks Lodge near them during the 1950’s and 60’s.  Also, they both loved to bowl – my dad was a pretty good bowler and used to compete in leagues with the Elks and at different bowling lanes for many years.  So I decided to contact the Elks Lodge and see if they had a roster for 1952 and if my possible father was on it, and guess what?  He was!!!

Continue Reading

Gun shy

I titled this post “gun shy” because that is what I was feeling at maybe, just maybe, discovering who my father really was.  I had such a sad/bad experience with my first suspected 1/2 brother that I didn’t want to make that mistake again, no way, no how.

My family and I went off to a camping trip in the Sacramento delta area – thank goodness we had cell phone signal, or my anxiety level might have gone through the roof!  I knew Sonya was going to contact my maybe 1/2 brothers and try and make a connection in a very general way – she wanted to protect me from being hurt again and she was very involved in my “mystery” – she is a great cousin!

I didn’t expect to hear anything from her that weekend. What I didn’t know is that she was able to contact the youngest brother first, Scott. Continue Reading

Who’s my father????

I was gathering all the information I could on Ancestry.com for matches to my new 2nd cousin, Bill.  With him being that close to me and seeing that Lee did not match me correctly with Bill being a 2nd cousin I had to figure out what was going on.  So I started with building a separate tree for Bill with all the information I could find on his family and then BOOM.  Not only did I find a common surname that linked him to Lee’s surname, but I saw on Ancestry.com that Lee did the DNA test….without telling me!  I was looking at my DNA matches – yes, I impulsively do that every day!  And I see that Lee is there and matching me as a 4th-6th cousin probability.  That dirty dog….he did the DNA test that I had been begging him to do for months….which would have solved the problem, would have gotten me off his back and would have given me some peace of mind….sometimes I don’t get people one bit. Continue Reading

Don’t give up hope Judy!!!

Barbara and Judy 1953 1

My sister on her wedding day with me at 1 month old

When you are looking for a biological parent and you aren’t sure who they are, it is very frustrating. I had gone from being secure in my parentage – screwed up as they may have been – to wondering who the heck I was. I know some people won’t understand that feeling, but for me, it is a big deal and I want to know where I come from or should I say WHO I come from. So I am not getting any help from Lee, my maybe 1/2 brother. He kept telling me in emails that he couldn’t understand how I thought I was descended from his family…it was obvious he didn’t understand how the Autosomal DNA test worked and I sent him articles and links to explanations. But he just wasn’t receptive. Why was he being so frustrating??? Continue Reading