So Who Did You Think You Were? – Trauma & Loss

It was do-it-yourself DNA test kits that helped US police track down the suspected Golden State Killer.
Joseph James DeAngelo was arrested last month after DNA information on a genetic database called GEDmatch allegedly connected him to 12 murders and 50 rapes across California from the 1970s.
In April, police in Ohio used DNA matches, again on a public genealogy database, to identify the “Buckskin girl” – a young woman murdered in 1981
Despite 21-year-old Marcia King wearing a distinctive buckskin jacket on the night she was bludgeoned and strangled to death, who she was had remained a mystery for more than three decades.
The high-profile cases have thrown a public spotlight on the home tests kits offered by the likes of Family Tree DNA, 23andMe, AncestryDNA and MyHeritage DNA, just as they are beginning to explode in popularity.
But the ripple effects of DNA genealogy are also quietly causing seismic revelations in the private lives of families across the world.
As well as offering information on ethnicity, the DNA tests – which cost around $100 – give people the chance to search for lost relatives through DNA matching.
Marcia King has been identified by DNA genealogy as the 'Buckskin Girl'. (Photo: Miami County Sheriff's Office)
Marcia King has been identified by DNA genealogy as the ‘Buckskin Girl’. (Photo: Miami County Sheriff’s Office) (Supplied)
On Ancestry DNA alone, the number of people in its database searching for family matches has skyrocketed to 10 million.
In Australia, children who were given away in closed adoptions have been given fresh hope of finding their birth parents, and vice versa.
Donors who provided sperm decades ago under the promise of privacy are finding themselves suddenly exposed.
Amateur historians simply looking to fill out their family tree are also being thrown some genetic curve balls.
Last month, nine.com.au reported on the case of a Queensland woman who found out through a DNA test kit that the dad she had always known was not her real father.
When Peter Moore, from Lake Macquarie on the NSW north coast, did a DNA test early last year it also led to a shocking revelation that would force him to reassess his entire identity.
Mr Moore told nine.com.au that he wasn’t expecting any big surprises from the DNA test when he took it back in 2016.
The 59-year-old had been researching his family tree for more than 13 years and thought he knew his ancestry inside out.
“I had been a family genealogist for many years and had accumulated 13,500 people in my family tree,” Mr Moore said.
“I had been to family reunions all over the country. I even had a headstone remade for my Irish convict ancestor and organised a family reunion around it. I used to brag about how Irish I was.”
But curious to know where his granddaughter’s and grandson’s olive skin came from, Mr Moore bought a DNA test kit for all of them.
When the results came back, Mr Moore was surprised to get a message from a Sydney woman with an Italian background whose DNA was a close to match to his, close enough to be his half-sister. The woman was a complete stranger.
The woman told Mr Moore she feared she was adopted because her brother and sister always used to tease her as a child that she was.
However, the more Mr Moore tried to find a place for her in his family tree, the less things made sense.
Until eventually, Mr Moore can to the startling revelation that it was not her that had been adopted – it was him.
Peter Moore meets his birth mother Ruth McMillan for the first time. (Photo: Peter Moore)
Peter Moore meets his birth mother Ruth McMillan for the first time. (Photo: Peter Moore) (Supplied)
“One night, when I was looking at my tree and my DNA results I came across the fact that there were no surnames in my DNA matches which matched the names on my tree that I knew intimately,” he told nine.com.au.
“To test my theory I tested my wife’s DNA matches against her side of the tree and sure enough there were surnames there that I was familiar with.
“I had always known that I was born at the Salvation Army Bethesda Hospital in Marrickville. I had Googled it many years ago and all I got was an image of an old building. I Googled it again and all of this stuff came up about forced adoptions.
“The smoking gun was there, it was obvious. I was adopted.”
The revelation rocked Mr Moore to the core.
“I was shell-shocked. All of a sudden my identity was gone. Everything I had known about my life was a lie. It was traumatic to say the least,” he said.
Growing up, Mr Moore’s parents had never given him any reason to think that he was adopted.
But, more than half a century later, a memory Mr Moore believes he must have supressed came flooding back, of himself in a high school science lab testing blood types.
“Everyone was doing to blood types of their parents and coming up with their blood types. I did mine and realised it didn’t add up,” Mr Moore said.
“I didn’t say anything but I waited until after the class and I went up to the science teacher and showed him.
“He looked at it and said, ‘Well, he’s not your father then, you’re adopted’. As blunt as that.”
“I don’t know what I thought. I was probably thinking he was wrong. I remember having an argument with my father a little while later and saying, ‘I’m not your son anyway, I’m adopted’, and immediately feeling guilty. I supressed it all and never thought about it again.”
But, after the DNA test, Mr Moore sent away for an adoption certificate, which confirmed his suspicions.
The Bethesda Hospital in Sydney's Marrickville, where Peter Moore was born. (Photo: Care Leavers Australia Network)
The Bethesda Hospital in Sydney’s Marrickville, where Peter Moore was born. (Photo: Care Leavers Australia Network) (Supplied)
In a “tearful and painful” conversation with the parents who had raised him, Mr Moore confronted them with the truth in May last year.
“My parents told me that they never wanted to lose me. They burnt the adoption papers when I was a teenager,” he said.
The woman who contacted Mr Moore would turn out to be his sister on his father’s side.
At the same time, Mr Moore began looking for his birth mother, whose name was written on his adoption certificate.
A stroke of luck led to Mr Moore finding one of his brothers on his mother’s side through Ancestry.
Six weeks after finding out he was adopted, Mr Moore was speaking to his brother, and 85-year-old mother, on the phone.
“I found out that my brother had only known about me for three weeks,” Mr Moore said.
“My mother had had a mini stroke before Christmas and became concerned that she might have another one and wouldn’t be able to talk.
“So she confided in my brother and her husband of 55 years that I existed. He promised to track me down – I found him first.”
Peter Moore as a small boy, with his sister. (Photo: Peter Moore)
Peter Moore as a small boy, with his sister. (Photo: Peter Moore) (Supplied)
Soon after, Mr Moore drove up to the Gold Coast to meet the mother and siblings he never knew.
“Meeting my mother was surreal. I was nervous and excited at the same time. All she wanted to do was hold me and look at me. It was a special moment,” Mr Moore said.
Mr Moore has since visited his mother and extended family several times and said he had come to learn more about the difficult circumstances she was in when she gave him up for adoption.
“She was a single mother, newly divorced. She had no support offered from family or from the government. My grandmother didn’t want her to have me,” he said.
“She sent her to Sydney to get rid of me. It was a forced adoption.”
Although his father, from Canberra, has since passed away, Mr Moore has also reunited with the sister who contacted him, as well as his large Italian side of the family.
“I have been welcomed into my father’s side of the family. I can’t say enough how warm they have been to me. There’s been lots of wine and food and laughter,” he said.
“It’s the up-side of adoptions, finding new friends and family. It’s been an exciting journey.”
Mr Moore said he had no regrets about doing the DNA test, despite the dramatic revelations it led to.
“DNA is wonderful. I wouldn’t have known all of this. At the end of the day a lie is a lie and it has revealed it. And I may never have met my mother. I may never have met my brothers and sisters. It’s opened the door,” he said.
Mr Moore said he knew he had been very lucky to have been welcomed with open arms into his “new” families.
“I know my experience is different to a lot of adoptees. A lot haven’t had the success I have had. I have met some very broken people and it’s a terrible shame.
“If anyone has someone knock on their door or ring them up, and say, ‘I am your brother, your sister, your daughter, your son’, I would say to them just welcome them in, open the door. Don’t victimise them a second time.”
Contact reporter Emily McPherson at emcpherson@nine.com.au.
© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2019

 

See the video here

https://www.9news.com.au/national/dna-test-reveals-nsw-man-is-adopted/6ad89ab0-c161-4233-845f-016ecc25e5b4

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What adoption did to me

Ever look at a complete stranger and wonder who they are? What makes you come to a conclusion of acceptances or rejection in what seems a microsecond. How do you read people? Is it their appearance, what they are wearing, or the look of their face? Maybe it’s deeper than that.

What do you see when you look across the room? Can you see the sadness or the spark in someone’s eyes, the sorrow or happiness in their heart? Maybe it’s the weakness in their posture or the way they hold themselves. Are they sitting alone or in a group?

More importantly what do you do next? Do you ignore them? Or interact with them?

What could you learn from them? What life lesson have shaped them and what have they learnt from their experiences?

I see a man that loves, yet his heart is broken. I see a man that feels, yet his body is stiff. His eyes are dry, yet his soul weeps.

Do you see me?

Do you know how I feel?

I’ve been broken, blank, flat, depleted, confused, beaten, and numb. I’m struggling to come to terms with what has happened to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my adopted family, and I appreciate everything they have done for me. I wouldn’t be the person I am now if it wasn’t for them, but somehow we’ve lost our way.

The torment and primal wounding of adoption and losing the connection to my birth mother haunted me.

Being a highly sensitive introvert that was ostracized and bullied by peers in youth & in boarding school to the extent of developing a severe stutter.

Irlen Syndrome, a perceptual processing disorder, accompanied by dyslexia, resulting in poor curricular performance in school, including failing art.

A poor career decision to leave a great job which lead to employment in narcissistic workplaces which left me with severe depression.

My son was diagnosed with a brain tumour which has left him with lifelong disabilities and personal challenges.

Broken marriage, after my wife ran off with another man, lost my house and the majority of contact with my 2 kids.

Having to deal with a psychologically controlling, invasive matriarchal, somewhat narcissistic adoptive mother who demanded me to stop seeing my new partner at this age. I was 42. They also repeatedly overstep and disregard boundaries demanded by myself in regards to my parenting requirements and them accessing my son. This recently lead to a mass falling out and disownment from the family.

Adoption: As an adoptee I have suffered grief over the loss of a relationship with my birth parents. I have repeatedly dealt with abandonment issues in just about all my relationships. I struggled with self-esteem and identity development.

When I was adopted my adoptive parents were given the impression that we were blank slates and that adopted families weren’t any different from any other family. That’s just not true. We were supposed to fit in and mould to their world, their heritage, and be just like them. They were misinformed by people and organisations who knew better, there for they were unequipped. Even if the most empathetic understanding family adopted me, it’s too much of an obstacle and physiological trauma was inevitable.

Blind to my special needs as an adopted child, intimacy and closeness was what I craved, but due to the lack of professional screening processes, it was pot luck as to what family I landed in. My adoptive mother controlled my relationships and used food and financial support to trigger my guilt to keep her happy. She used this to her advantage without considering my true needs. I was not permitted to search for my birth family, I was forced to sign a veto on my 16th birthday, stopping my birth family from contacting me.

She intentionally amplified and used my weakness against me. I was so eager to please. I was not in a position to, and/or didn’t have the skills and understanding to stand up for what we believed in as our own family. Eventually that splinter turned into a wedge and the relationship with my ex wife collapsed.

Cancer: During my younger years I was quite naive about what cancer was and how many people are affected.

I had been quite lucky that an impromptu skin check in 2009 found a stage 1 malignant melanoma just above my shoulder blades.

In December 2011 my 13 year old son was diagnosed with a brain tumour. My then wife and I took him to the doctor multiple times after he started bumping into things and become very vague and losing interest in things he had previously loved doing. Over nearly a 12 month period we were repeatedly told from numerous people he was fine and it was just puberty and hormones kicking in. They were wrong. My adoptive family now blame us for him getting cancer.

He had a 3 cm tumour blocking the flow of fluid around the brain and spinal column, causing pressure to build up on his brain. He also had a smaller one on his pituitary gland. The 2 malignant Germinomas were treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy successfully and he is now in remission, however he was left with considerable lifelong challenges and health issues.

Severe short term memory and brain development problems. Minor muscular atrophy on the left side of his body affecting his dexterity and movement. Severe anxiety to the point where he overthinks, clicks his fingers and repeatedly talks to himself. Diabetes Insipidus a condition that dilutes urine and seriously affects the brain’s chemistry. Ongoing hormone regulation issues from having basically no pituitary gland. Pronation distortion syndrome, a severe distortion of the legs and knee joints after hormone treatment. Puberty and growth problems.

In 2013 I found another stage 1 malignant melanoma on the inside of my left thigh above the knee.

In 2014 my adoptive mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Just like adoption, I was never given an opportunity, support or the space to deal with how cancer had affected my life and the people around me. It was as though I didn’t exist, my feelings didn’t matter and my opinions didn’t count. Like adoption, I was forced from people who should have loved me to continue my life as though nothing was wrong.

Work: After school I had no idea what I was going to do. I ended up working for my adoptive father for 8 or 9 years. He owned petrol stations and moved into bulk fuel distribution. After he retired my sister and I started a petrol station together. I only lasted another 3 years when I found my call to be a graphic designer. I was then fortunate enough to be asked back to the college where I studied, to teach part time at nights. After 12 months the position became full time. The college was in a state of transition of ownership when after 6 years my contract came up for renewal. At this stage I had been an unofficial program manager for close to 3 years. The position never came so I moved on.

I took part time and full time jobs over the next 3 years with some good but mostly bad employers with questionable ethics. I then slid into depression. Little did I know that teaching had become a greater part of my life than I realised and I missed it dearly. I had become so depressed that I had started to talk erratically to myself just to get through the day. In early November 2012 they must have seen or heard me in a moment of distress, but instead of helping me they walked me to the gate and told me never to come back. 4 weeks later we’d received the diagnosis of my son’s brain tumour.

I finally got my career back on track in the following March as a lecturer, and moved from one college to the next through corporate takeovers etc. Then the business owners who I was working for embezzled 20 million dollars of government funded money, including wages and entitlements owed to me and many others.

I now work for a national directory company assisting with marketing via web and print.

Self doubt has always lingering…. For years I have struggled, looking for external validation, looking to understand who I am and justify my life experiences.

The Validation didn’t come so I started looking within, I started not to care of what others thought of me, I could only validate myself, I finally realised that no one else could do that for me.

I started questioning everything I believed in, I was shaken to the core. I looked deep within my soul and I chose to believe in myself. I realised I was not the person I once was, and I was no longer the person others perceived me to be. I’ve started to strip away everything and everyone that have been holding me back.

Disownment

Again I’ve been broken, my chest is collapsing on my heart, metaphysical pain has been polluting my body for as long as I can remember. Every day is a challenge every step is a mountain and my tears are the rivers.

I must ensure I am in alignment with my true self and not take on the negativity and will of other people, not only me but for the people around me, my work, my friends, my partner and children and those who still love me unconditionally.

Being a highly sensitive person I’ve longed to be understood and valued for who I am. With a combination of masculinity with deep empathy, and commitment to Truth. I can provide a great source of comfort and healing for anyone who is willing to receive it.

I believe the Highly Sensitive person’s time is coming where his hidden attributes will be called for in our society. They will be the new and sought out leaders.

People are tired of the shallow, game playing, egotistical interactions that have become the norm. We can spot deception from a mile.

The cheap interactions with narcissistic personalities we tend to attract are just getting very predictable. Many of us have evolved from those demeaning relationships including myself.

Too many have also wrongly associated masculinity with being controlled, demeaned and disrespected.

But these old paradigm beliefs from the previous millennium, are now quickly dissipating.

They are being replaced with a more balanced and empowering perspective of what masculinity truly is.

I applaud all those Highly Sensitive people who are embracing their gifts and becoming outstanding beacons of Light.

I hope it’s not too late. I hope I can save myself

With the help of the right people in my life I am beginning to understand my true self and reconnect with the sensitive child within me. Little by little, each breath is finding new strength, a new purpose, to reclaim the identity that was once mine, then taken from me and be happy for who I am.

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In Search of Family

by Carol Maney

Many say that “things happen for a reason”.

For adults that may be true, but for children I believe things just happen – to them; babies and children have no control, say or choice. They are in the hands of whoever have their hands on them, at any given time.

Times have changed … sociology, psychology, technology, medicine, research have all led to a new world where we have a better understanding.

My story is not unique.

I am just one of millions in this world who has been separated from family, not through war or immigration but by adoption.

From the 1940’s – 1980’s in Australia, 250,000 young, unmarried women had their babies taken and given to married couples who were having problems conceiving.

This is now known as the Forced Adoption era.

Files have since been opened, apologies made by governments (which mean nothing to me) and hundreds of thousands of Adoptees and their mothers – in particular – are searching for each other.

When it was decided to use adoption as a means to solve the ‘seen’ problem of “unwanted” pregnancies, unmarried mothers and infertility; the ‘unseen’ consequences to all those involved were not considered.

Mothers were told to forget and get on with their lives, often the fathers were never told, the adopting couple were given a baby, with a birth certificate stating this child was “born to them”.

Decisions were made to tell or not to tell…

Today, we know about bonding and attachment, the symbiotic relationship between a mother and her unborn child; the importance of voice, skin, of familial connection; a more compassionate understanding of trauma and loss.

This story is about what happened to me when I was born, 2 weeks, 16, 43 and 61 years old.

It’s not a reflection of anyone else’s involvement in my life nor blame or call for redress.

It is about love and loss, my personal search for family and a hope that through telling my story the public will have some understanding of the tragedy family separation brings to all involved.

There is a push, once again, in Australia to remove babies and children, under the guise – this time – of child protection.

A more compassionate community would be looking to support mothers to parent and not go down the path of using Adoption again as the answer to many people’s dream of having a family. The adoption of children taken from out of home care (child protection) may be seen as a solution for governments to save $, a remedy for the ever increasing problems of infertility but I do not hold that separation from mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents, culture or heritage is in the best interests of children.