February 24, 2014

The DNA Results Are In

 "Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time." ~ Ecclesiastes 3:11
So if it's still ugly...maybe it's not time. ~ Deanna

The results are in. 

They came Friday.

I didn't post anything online until now, as I needed the weekend to process. (Something I'm still doing.)

“M” and I weren’t a match.  

I know. It's crazy, right?

Everyone immediately thought it just had to be a mistake.

Believing that DNA doesn't lie, just one thing I love about it, I was ready to use the tools I've acquired, to move forward from another disappointment.

But everyone else who has worked on the search said, it wasn't time to do that yet. They believed we needed to dig deeper.

And "M's" family was and still is willing to dig deeper. (Nobody wants to give up.)

So, we kept digging.

I called the DNA testing company to discuss the results.

According to them, if we were a match, it would show instantly on her account but take up to a week to show on mine. I don't understand that, but regardless - we aren't a match on either of our DNA accounts.  

I asked them a lot of questions, and gathered advice over the weekend, from people who know a lot more about this than me.

We loaded her file onto GEDmatch.com and Gaye Tannenbaum The DNA Guru  looked at it seven ways til' Sunday to see if  there were any other explanations or possibilities.

Could it be possible that "M" and I are not a DNA match, but her family member is still my natural father by some strange twist? Although "M" and I are not a match, could there be other variables in the family that both of us, or even the entire rest of her family, is unaware of?  For instance, are there adoptions in the family?  Stranger things have happened, you know. (smile) 

There are 21 other reasons besides DNA that are very compelling in pointing to him as my natural father, but it's definitely clear that "M" and I aren't a DNA match. 

My husband who is extremely pragmatic still believes the man is my natural father.

But at this point I feel like we have to move forward. 

How can I put "M's family though more, even though they are willing?  They are sad too, at the outcome.

Last night, "M" wrote: [identifying details omitted]

"I just can't understand all the coincidences, Deanna. The locations, the time frames, and all the other specific connections!   The way you and your son look just like him. Well... I am just shocked.  You're just an incredible person. Regardless of the outcome I'm still glad God put you in my life.  My Dad asks me every other day if I've heard anything.  So, if you feel there is more...we're still here to keep looking.  I refuse to lose touch, but I understand... no, I really can't understand how hard this must be for you right now.  I am here though.  You have gained me, no matter what happens. When you come to Richmond, my family would still like to meet you, because you look and act like us!!!  It's crazy!!!


The hardest thing was telling Jordan the news. He was the one of my children looking forward to the results, the most. He looks just like the man in question, and happens to share all the same natural talents.

On the Sunday before the results came in he talked to Gayle Lechner (a church member/search angel who is on my search team) and with tears in his eyes said, “It’s almost here, Ms. Gayle! Soon we will be meeting our  Greek family!"

One of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do was sit down with him on Friday and explain all of this.  No one outside of the adoptee community will ever understand just how much this affects  our children.  I have tried so hard not to leave this unresolved for my children and their future children. I’ve done everything I know to do to bring closure, and right now I’ve failed in this particular aspect. Sometimes the best you can do is tell your kids how sorry you are. 

"M" went on a journey she never intended to be on, before I called her home one night in December 2013, out of the clear blue sky.

That call would turn her world upside down for the last two months and I've told her over and over, how sorry I am.

But she has no regrets, at all. 

"M" is amazing. 

 Last night I wrote to her:

 "I am so grateful for your family's welcome spirit, open arms and hearts. You guys are amazing. I was so hoping to be part of you, officially. We can still be connected at the heart. You have given me hope, that when and if I do ever find, someone else might stop to listen too, and not be afraid to get involved."

Thankfully the day the DNA results came in was my day off, although we had an  event scheduled at the church that night.

Within a few minutes of receiving the news, I called a local place where I sometimes go for a massage and asked if they had an immediate appointment available. 

They said they did have an opening, so I told them I was on the way over. The tears streamed the whole time as I lay on the massage table. For the first half, they dripped through the face hole onto the floor. 
It was cleansing to have the pain rubbed out, and release the tears at the same time.

When I got home from the massage, Larry said, “Babe, just consider this a plot twist! It’s going to make for a much better story when you write it.”

I love that he’s thinking more like a writer. 

I appreciate his consolation, but would much rather have the outcome I was hoping for than a great plot twist to blog about. 

I sat in my bath tub for a long time after this and talked with the Lord. 

An excerpt of our conversation:

Me: So, for the past few hours, I’ve been repeating, "It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay…it's okay...it's okay...it's okay...” over and over again to myself. But it’s really not okay.  Facing this will never be humane. But, I am okay. I'm just sad today. And I want to tell you directly just how much it bothers me that any human being faces this. I'm sitting here in my right mind, but IT --the situation -- IS NOT OKAY. Just sayin'. So there you have it, God.

God: I can see why you are feeling this way. I understand why you are sad.

Me: [Burying face in towel] As you also already know, I had prepared a message for this weekend...“When It’s Still Ugly…Waiting for Beautiful” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). I was planning on sharing with people about times when life presents you with an ugly situation and the beautiful part of it hasn’t come yet. I'm not preaching this, at least not at this time. It feels hypocritical.  It feels so empty for me to speak of beauty right now. 

God: But, it is beautiful.

Me: It is?

God: Yes, it’s already beautiful, because you’re beautiful in the midst of it. 

Me: That's not what I mean. I'm talking about situations being turned around to be beautiful.  Not people being beautiful. Maybe you’re making something beautiful of me through this as I make good choices and grow, but I want the situation to have beauty. And I’m mad today that it's doesn't.

God: I see your heart. And I also see beauty where you don't, at least right now.  Choose rightly, no matter what happens. No matter what you see or hear, keep moving forward.  Do what is right as far as it depends on you.  I’m going to continue to bless you far beyond what you can imagine.

Me: You’ve already done that. If you never did another thing, it would make perfect sense. You’ve blessed me in so many ways far beyond what I deserve. And yet if I am to be perfectly honest, my heart longs to have this. Despite anything else you've done for me, here I sit in this tub crying, still wanting this one thing. 

God: I know, Deanna. I know you don’t understand.    

I dried my tears and went to church, believing for a great event.   

In front of me is yet another choice.

Every time I face a disappointment regarding this, I am reminded of  February 28, 2013. And I have to decide what to do with that thought.

My natural mother is dead but her decision concerning my natural father's identity still affects those she has left behind.  

So once again, I face a crossroads as to how I will handle it.

Will I be bitter or better?

I strongly believe in the biblical principle of sowing and reaping.  I have believed God and trusted, and made the choice to forgive over and over and over again. 

Oh how I wish it was a "once and done" decision! But it's not. Because time and again, my family and I am faced with living with the consequences of one person's decision.

So now I too have a decision to make. 
And I don't want to blow it.

I choose forgiveness.
I continually choose it. 

Some believe if you truly forgive, it never comes up again. 
That forgiveness means forgetting.

No one really forgets.
But many people forgive.

Sometimes you can't forget, because it's in your face every day.
But you can make a conscious decision every day, to choose forgiveness -- amidst the reminders.

We receive daily reminders that trigger thoughts of our personal situation, without asking for them. This happens to adoptees whether they write publicly, and regardless of whether they ever open up to share their thoughts at all. 

Discussion about adoption is everywhere. Our society and particularly the media has a fascination with relinquishment, paternity, adoption and all things that touch it.  Almost every TV show or movie seems to carry a thread about this in some regard.  You can't watch American Idol or the Olympics without seeing adoption stories. So, whether you seek it or not, you are faced with constant reminders about how your own life is affected by these issues. The option of bitterness vs. forgiveness is a daily choice.

Perhaps the biggest lesson I've learned through all of this is the power of one woman's choice to affect so many people.  I'm determined to learn from that example.

As I have made my choices, God has blessed me. 
He has blessed the family my husband and I have created. 
Our life together has already exceeded my dreams in so many ways. 

And, I know God will continue to bless me, and bless us as a family -- even though what we've prayed for specifically with this situation has not come about...at least, yet. And everyone says it will be a miracle if it ever does.

Even so, I don’t have to stay where the devil left me. 
I will keep making right choices.

The scripture that comes to mind most when I think of what has happened from February 28, 2013 to now, is this:

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20

I’m trusting – choosing rightly – waiting for God to act.

I don’t understand, but I trust Him. 

The other night before all this happened, Dustin and I were in his room and just for fun, we recorded a song. We recently shared this  (him playing guitar and me singing) for communion at our church. It seems really appropriate for now. 

"Now I can, trade these ashes in for beauty...
and wear forgiveness like a crown
coming to kiss the feet of mercy, 
I lay every burden down, 
at the foot of the cross..." 

 I thought I'd share it here.

Deanna & Dustin ~ At the Foot of the Cross

I trust Him, to turn these ashes into beauty. 

*All photo credits: Deanna Doss Shrodes