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05-07-2020, 19:38   #1
Salthillprom
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Discovering an unknown relative through DNA

I've recently discovered that I've a first cousin who nobody knew or knows about. I did a DNA test through one of the DNA companies. This cousin told me that she's searching for her father, who is my uncle. I don't know which uncle it is and this long-lost cousin doesn't seem to either, as I have a good few on that particular side. I told my mother that one of her brothers fathered a child 30+ odd years ago. She doesn't want to know and told me to keep my mouth shut about it. I haven't written back to my cousin yet, who reached out to me by PM on the DNA website. She wants to know more and was adopted at a young age. She said she knows her mother but her mother doesn't know who her father is. Given this girl is my first cousin (my sister also got same result, that this girl is our first cousin as we both did the DNA tests) I feel a moral obligation to help her. Only issue is that my uncles don't know of her existence and I'm not sure whether she was conceived through an affair or random drunken night before one of them got married. They're all married with adult kids now. I don't want to cause world war 3 in the family either. Anyone any experience of similar?
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05-07-2020, 19:42   #2
JeffKenna
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I'd say the personal issues forum for this one.
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05-07-2020, 19:48   #3
Balmed Out
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Are you sure they were unmarried at the time? How many uncles are there? Based on the mother's age is there one more likely than the rest and could you chat with him maybe show him an old picture of the mother? I wouldn't mention to anyone else such as cousins.
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05-07-2020, 20:19   #4
pinkypinky
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If her mother does not know who the father is, I suspect that mentioning the names of your uncles would ring a bell.

This needs to be approached very delicately. If she found her birth mother, hopefully she has had access to social workers, etc.
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05-07-2020, 20:37   #5
Salthillprom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Balmed Out View Post
Are you sure they were unmarried at the time? How many uncles are there? Based on the mother's age is there one more likely than the rest and could you chat with him maybe show him an old picture of the mother? I wouldn't mention to anyone else such as cousins.
Not sure of anything. Some were married and some weren't at the time. All this new cousin knows is that me and my sister are her first cousins. She was adopted. She has made contact with her birth mother but the birth mother says she doesn't know anything at all about the father. The new cousin's DNA matches with myself and my sister saying she is a 1st cousin and she's also connected to all the 2nd,3rd cousins etc. I can see that under shared connections/relations. The amount of DNA we share is quite high actually, higher than the DNA I share with 1st cousins on my dad's side. My mother said she doesn't want to know what her brothers were up to in the 1980s and cut me off from talking about it. And I wouldn't be close enough to my uncles to show them a photo. I did look at the cousins Facebook page out of curiosity and she has a photo of her mother on it from 5he 1980s and lots about how she is trying to track down her dad
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06-07-2020, 09:31   #6
Hermy
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As an adoptee myself I'll give you my thoughts.

First off, fair play to you for giving this your considered attention - not everybody faced with the same situation does.

And secondly, in my opinion it is every child's absolute right to know who their parents are.

So one of your uncles fathered a child thirty odd years ago and now that child is looking to find out where they came from. It's not a small matter but neither is it so big that the world should stop turning because of it. [It certainly didn't when I traced my birth mother whose family previously knew nothing of my existence]. Obviously the situation needs needs to be handled with care for everyone's sake but these people are all adults and they need to be adult about this. There's no need for it to cause world war 3 as you put it, but if it does it won't be your fault.

As to how you go about this, Pinky's suggestion that your new found cousin mention the names of your uncles to her birth mother might jog the birth mothers memory. Also, on the off chance that the birth mother is lying about her knowledge of the birth fathers identity - it happens - this might compel her to speak up knowing that her daughter is so close to the truth.

If your cousin hasn't done so already, she should contact TUSLA and the Adoption Authority of Ireland to find out what information they have on her. While they are limited in what information they can give out to adoptees, again if they know that the adoptee is so close to identifying her father they may be able to do something to help steer her in the right direction.

Lastly, if I was in your cousins shoes I'd be looking at two likely outcomes - either you reach out on her behalf or she tries to establish contact herself. Now maybe if you explain this to your mother - that it's inevitable that this rabbit is coming out of the hat whether you keep your mouth shut or not - she may begin to take a more considered view of the situation herself. I think there's a good chance that your mother knows more than she's letting on to know, and that being the case, she has an opportunity to maintain control of the situation. She may know which of them is the father and can approach them on a one to one basis, giving the man space to deal with his past coming back to greet him. Otherwise you may end up with a situation where your cousin is knocking on each of their doors in turn looking for answers and that's a much less palatable scenario for everyone.
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06-07-2020, 20:10   #7
KildareFan
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Very delicate situation - I have a brother in law who was adopted informally pre legalised adoption. He knew who his mother was & had some contact with her over the years until she died recently. He respected her wish not to formally acknowledge him - it would have been very difficult for her. A DNA test threw up a half brother & confirmed his father's identity. However, the brother in law is happy knowing who his father is and is prepared to wait to see if the half brother initiates contact. The half brother's mother is still alive so they may not want to cause any upset at this stage.

It might be worth contacting Tusla for advice, however, the OP's mother may not have revealed the identity of the father at the time of adoption.
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06-07-2020, 22:38   #8
Hermy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KildareFan View Post
A DNA test threw up a half brother & confirmed his father's identity. However, the brother in law is happy knowing who his father is and is prepared to wait to see if the half brother initiates contact.
That's an important point that I overlooked in my post.

It's not all about contact. Sometimes it's enough just to know who your birth parents are.
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12-07-2020, 22:33   #9
Alex86Eire
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I had a similar situation. I had to ring a relative I had never met and tell her that the baby she had given up for adoption 30 years ago had contacted me and wanted to meet her. Scariest phone call of my life.

The man contacted me thought ancestry DNA but he knew his mothers first name so it was very easy to track down.

Best of luck with this situation. I hope it works out.
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