Monday, August 27, 2018

Finding My Other Family (Part 2)

Time passed and periodically I would check my Ancestry app. On almost the same day that Greta first contacted me I opened up the app and a woman named Desaree appeared as a second cousin match. I decided to send her a message to which she responded the same day. Much like Greta a year prior, she said that she had been constructing her family tree to learn more about her father and that side of her family.

It was then that the circle was closed. Desaree asked certain specifics about my birth father from the information that I had from the birth records I had received from Child and Family Services, the agency that held my closed adoption papers. Based on this information and that which she had on her father’s family, she was able to tell me who my birth father was. This man, John, lived in the Syracuse area and his profile matched that of the person identified in my birth records. She shared her AncestryDNA family tree that allowed me to not only see photos of John, but also other members of my birth family. It felt like something out of the twilight zone and as I mentioned previously, was all quite surreal. And on top of that, I actually did little, if any, research of my own. The detective work was all performed by others.

On Saturday July, 21, Suzy and I took a road trip to visit Charlotte at her home 45 minutes north of Syracuse. When we arrived, like the time we first met, Charlotte and I gave each other a great big hug. We all spent the next several hours talking (but mostly me and Charlotte) and we had a wonderful lunch that she had prepared using primarily vegetables and potatoes from her garden. It was a meal made with the best ingredient: Love.

Later we took a brief drive to look at Charlotte’s plot of land where she grows a variety of veggies. It’s located on her friend’s property where he has cows and pigs. It was pretty cool and definitely not something that Suzy or I, the city dwellers we are, were accustomed to. But it was so refreshing.

Upon leaving, Charlotte and I hugged, once again like we didn’t want to let go. It was a special moment.

“I love you,” she said.

“I love you too,” I replied.

On our car ride home, Suzy commented that Charlotte and I could be siblings because of the ways we were similar, not just in appearance but in affect and personality.

Two days later Charlotte sent me a Facebook message saying that she had uploaded her raw Ancestry data to GedMatch, a website for DNA nerds to determine family connections. I went on the site and upon review, it showed that Charlotte and I have 1846.3 shared CentoMorgans (cm’s - DNA). This is quite a high number.

Charlotte notified me that she had been in touch with a family “search angel” who indicated that we could be half-siblings.

It was then that I happened to go to the Facebook DNA Detectives closed group that Charlotte and I belong too. I came across a post that was from a woman who asked about the possibility of being a half-sibling based on the high number of cm’s she shares with someone who she thought was a cousin. A person replied with a chart that showed the number of cm’s and how they determine relationships. As it turned out, roughly between 1300-2100 indicated either grandparent/grandchild, uncle-aunt/niece-nephew, double cousin (where two siblings marry two siblings from another family and have children, who would be double cousins) and finally half-siblings. Ruling out the first three options then I came to the clear conclusion that Charlotte and I are half-siblings.

We spoke sharing our joy of learning this wonderful information. This is the photo that was taken during our visit together in July.

I ended up speaking to Desaree again and she provided me with more information about my father’s family. They were quite esteemed, including a first African-American mayor of a New England city as well as other men in the family who were represented in the Smithsonian Museum.

Charlotte had also connected with another cousin, Alan who lives in the Albany area, whose mother knew much about our father’s life. He and I have spoken on a couple of occasions and he even said that I resembled the men in the family.

And that brings me back to today. When I consider my life and the many experiences I have had that have led me to where I am, I cannot help but believe in a Power greater than myself. I cannot fully explain the course of events that have transpired in my lifetime. The sheer number of people who have served as “guides” in the course of my life have demonstrated to me that God is real. Like I said previously, you can’t make this stuff up and it can’t be explained.

So, you can believe me, or not. If it were you, what would you say? Would you deny the presence of a Higher Power? Would you say that this is all made up, or just coincidence or chance? If you’ve read any of my other posts from the various blogs I write I think you would see a theme and that is believe, have faith, work without ceasing and never give up. And that there is a guiding force available to all of us, not just me.

God is simply the name I choose to call something that is infinitely powerful. And that’s my two cents, for what it’s worth.

Be well!


  1. Glad you found your relatives! I have believed in God since I was a little boy. Didn't just believe it, but felt God's presence, always there. I messaged on Twitter the famous physicist Dr. Brian Greene a couple of who's books I have read since I am a science nerd kind of. He put a post up on Twitter that science did not show that there needed to be God or a higher power that was responsible for creating the Universe. I tweeted him that I basically believed that God IS THE UNIVERSE, that everything is God. He actually responded and said that he could not refute that! More than a few people liked my tweet and agreed with me!

  2. So beautifully written, Karl. I couldn't have done it better.
    I'm so glad you're a part of my life, and I thank God and his gift of wisdom to the researchers who made this all possible.

    1. Thank you Charlotte. I'm eternally grateful as well. Imagine, 10 years ago this would not be possible.

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