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  • Adoptee Concerns

    {Edit} I posted this in the correct forum, I hope.

    Having been adopted at birth, I have no information -- at all -- regarding any cultural background. I appear white, that's all I can say. I have several concerns about the process and problems I may encounter with paperwork.

    For example: I won't be able to participate in the Surname Project, right?

    Also, the Release Form requires both Paternal Ancestry's Country of Origin and Maternal Ancestry's Country of Origin. What should I put down? Unknown? Adopted? Atlantis? Mars? (sorry - my sarcastic wit - and I have no idea from where it comes.)
    Are there any other areas in which I may run into problems?

    Another issue I have is medical and biological information. Yes, I know this project doesn't look at this aspect of genetics. My ex-fiance had many concerns wondering what my family health history would be (I hadn't really thought about it until then) as well as other possible genetic factors (for example: I have brown eyes, but could I have a recessive blue eye gene?)

    I can find no information on how to test for things like recessive blue eye gene's, or premature balding (though at 35, I still have a full head of hair.) Does anyone have any idea if it is possible to go about this?

    For the medical history, after doing a search and speaking to my doctor, I found that these tests tend to be for specific problems in specific situations. Furthermore, Doctors will recommend a test only if there is reason to believe there may be a problem. For example, they are extremely reluctant to recommend a cancer gene test if you don't have a history of cancer in your family. The fact I have no information apparently translates to "you don't have justification for the test." So am I stuck with having to privately take many, many different and expensive tests in order to develop some kind of health history? Does anyone know of any kind of all-encompassing (at least as far as we have the technology) Predictive and presymptomatic DNA testing?

    Finally, for the record, I have attempted an adoption search to obtain the above information, but I was adopted through Catholic Charities in Virginia in 1971. They turned out to be notorious for fudging information, like the birthdate and birth parent names on original court records. (How...Charitable...of them. But then, they were protecting the anonymity of the birth parents.) My search hit a brick wall at this point. But in reality, I really don't need their information, at least, not if I can get medical and biological propensity information from my DNA.

    So, to sum up:

    1) What problems might I run into when going through the Family Tree DNA testing as an adoptee?

    2) Does anyone know if testing is possible for biological and medical information, and if so where?

    Any information or leads would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by jclement; 8 January 2006, 05:53 AM.

  • #2
    jclement, Of course you can join a surname project. You have a legal surname. If there is a project for it ask to be allowed to join. If there isn't one, start one. Who knows, that surname could be the surname of your birth father, even if he isn't related to the family that adopted you.

    The release form does ask for country of origin, but I but unknown because FTDNA didn't want us to use America if we weren't "Native American" and I didn't know where my lines came from.

    The test FTDNA won't help with blue eyes or balding, but there many be companies out there that will test for these traits.

    I have Barretts in my group who knew they were adopted into the Barrett family and I have Barretts who thought they had a paternal Barrett line only to find that they didn't. If you can't find another group to join, you can join mine. When and if you find surname that you believe is your birth surname you can join that group also. Jim Barrett

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    • #3
      What are you worried about?

      Very few people know which recessive traits they carry whether adopted or not. And as far as not having a "legitimate" surname, don't feel alone. The surname project is proving one thing quite clear - many, many people are the descendants of "illegitimate" births. My most distant known paternal ancestor is a McPherson. Their are ten McPhersons in the Family Tree data base and none are closely related. My closest YDNA matches don't even share a surname.
      Last edited by N12499; 8 January 2006, 07:51 PM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Jim Barrett
        jclement, Of course you can join a surname project. You have a legal surname. If there is a project for it ask to be allowed to join. If there isn't one, start one. Who knows, that surname could be the surname of your birth father, even if he isn't related to the family that adopted you.

        The release form does ask for country of origin, but I but unknown because FTDNA didn't want us to use America if we weren't "Native American" and I didn't know where my lines came from.

        The test FTDNA won't help with blue eyes or balding, but there many be companies out there that will test for these traits.

        I have Barretts in my group who knew they were adopted into the Barrett family and I have Barretts who thought they had a paternal Barrett line only to find that they didn't. If you can't find another group to join, you can join mine. When and if you find surname that you believe is your birth surname you can join that group also. Jim Barrett

        Thank you for the information and the kind offer. I just ordered my genographic package from nationalgeographic yesterday, and plan to upgrade afterwards. So it may be a while before I am able to take part in anything.

        Regarding the surname, I would be surprised if my legal surname had anything to do with my biological information. My adopted parents families are from New York and New England, but I was adopted in Virginia where we had no relatives at the time. Still, after reading some of these forums, apparently there have been a number of surprises. So I'll try to keep an open mind. Thanx again.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by N12499
          Very few people know which recessive traits they carry whether adopted or not. And as far as not having a "legitimate" surname, don't feel alone. The surname project is proving one thing quite clear - many, many people are the descendants of "illegitimate" births. My most distant known paternal ancestor is a McPherson. Their are ten McPhersons in the Family Tree data base and none are closely related. My closest YDNA matches don't even share a surname.
          It was never a concern until I got into serious relationships and the question came up about family history. I used eyes and hair as examples. But consider this, if you have brown eyes, and one or more of your parents have other colors, then you know you have recessive genes. Of course, if both your parents have brown eyes, and you do as well, thats still a 25% chance for a recessive gene (if both parents were hybrids).

          People who know their biological families may not know for sure what genes they have, dominant or recessive, but they have enough information to build a punett square and assign probabilities. I have no information. I simply don't know. And that is what I have to tell women I'm dating. If people in the world were boxed retail items in a store, with ingredients listed on the side, then I'm the white paper grab bag. It's frustrating. At least now I'll hopefully get some answers in terms of culture, but I'll still have no idea about basic traits or medical/health propensities.

          After reading the replies regarding the Surname Project, I see now I will need to take a much closer look when I get back my DNA info.

          Thanx.

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          • #6
            Hello jclement,

            I am in the exact same predicament as you. I was given away at birth for $1000 and birth expenses and no paperwork was ever filed. I was not made aware that I was adopted until at my mother's funeral. I was 41 at the time Trust me, no one who has never been through this situation can understand or even appreciate the genetic angst into which one is thrown. All sorts of issues surface around the "who am I" type of questions. Been there doing that I have no idea whatsoever about the paternal side of my lineage. FTDNA has done my Y12DNA and my mtDNA. Waiting on my refined mtDNA. Even my maternal line is in question now. When I was told about my adoption, I also discovered my American Indian family. Yet, my mtDNA showed Hap K Should you wish to discuss the issue off line please let me know.
            Peace,
            Bob

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            • #7
              re adoption

              I also am adopted and am looking for answers. Its true that many people do not know their heritage even though they are not adopted. However, the info that we can find out from dna testing is an important way to know who we are. Many people and families are getting tested to find out medical issues and percentages of anthropological types. That is differant testing than deep ancestry testing that family tree is doing. It is all interesting and important. I was adopted in a closed adoption and know other people who were adopted in closed adoptions or out of orphanages. It was very common for our grandparents and great grandparents to be placed in orphanages. So you're not alone in your search. Thanks for sharing your quest, marian

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              • #8
                Jclement,

                My mother was adopted and not knowing about her birth parents annoyed her greatly. I seem to have inherited her annoyance!

                If your genetic concerns are about potential birth defects or disease susceptibility in your future children you might contact a genetic counseling service specializing in pre-pregnancy screening. I believe they could structure a DNA test based on your mate's family medical history, testing you to see if you carry any of the same genes that would increase the likelihood of their being expressed in your offspring.

                FTDNA does offer a full-sequence mtDNA test that would disclose susceptibility to diseases caused by specific mitochondrial mutations - although such susceptibilities in your mtDNA would affect only you, and your children if you are a woman. All the markers sampled in FTDNA's yDNA tests are non-coding - at best (or worst) there are only conjectured statistical correlations between specific yDNA haplotypes and certain diseases or disabilities.

                Tom

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                • #9
                  I am so relieved to be a part of all this.

                  I am an adoptee with not only an unknown family history, but layers and layers of lies and deceptions. My adoptive parents wanted absolutely no part of me doing any search. They have been dead for over 20 years; so I now finally feel free to find out something about myself. Thanks to reading this topic, I hope to join a surname project. I am a haplogroup K who is just learning her way around with all this. Thanks to all who are helping. It means so very, very much to me.

                  16223T, 16224C, 16234T, 16311C, 16519C

                  The first time in my life I've had any personal family information.

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                  • #10
                    Another adoptee

                    Yes, yet, another one to add to the new list of wonders????
                    And I am glad to also,.. finially.. have some answers comming. Being adopted in the early 50's, with no paperwork, having shared a social security # with my brother for years...he is also adopted, but not my bio-brother. And being actually kept from 1/2 of the family (dads side) left tons of questions.
                    Now more questions are popping up, Did my grandmother "fib" to me as a child telling me that My background was Saami and teaching me some of the ways of these people? That my brother is Cherokee, and the man we met in the Smoky Mts. was his uncle?
                    Well time is telling us now, Its a little exciting, and a little spooky at the same time. I am going to have mysecond test to see where my H group clans to .
                    So... any Saami folk out there with mtdna H? variations 16311c 16519c?
                    Mari

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                    • #11
                      Mari, I hope your dreams come true!

                      I'm 16311C and 16519C also. Add to that a haplogroup of K and it is interesting. At least I had my own social security #, but my adoptive parents did lie to me, but impossible to know how many lies.

                      I feel this is a good journey!

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