I have been in contact with my birth family. I have a living full brother who is understandably overwhelmingly shocked. We will just take baby steps. The son of my birth mother's sister, a 1st cousin, has been extraordinarily welcoming and we have talked several times. He is putting together a box (a BOX!, not an envelope) of photos and other family memorabilia for me, including my mother's baptismal certificate and pictures of her from the time she was a child. My cousin and I have already developed a wonderful rapport and he has been totally supportive. But the question still nagged at me....Who was my father?
DNA was not the avenue that identified my mother but I am now confident that it has identified my father.
After a week of absorbing all the information, I finally went and checked my Polish DNA matches. I never knew what to do with them before I had at least a surname. My father was of Polish descent with a somewhat uncommon surname. At least it wasn't Kowalski - the Polish equivalent to "Smith"! My mother got pregnant at the age of 16, the facts are is that my father was 17. A year or two after I was born she married. And I totally believe she married the man who was my father.
In looking for his surname, I was able to determine that there were 2 of my matches on FTDNA, 1 match on 23andme and a 4th match on Gedmatch who all matched each other and they all have my father's surname in their ancestry. All of these matches were managed by the same person. She lives in Belarus and only speaks and writes Russian. The most recent common ancestor is probably back in the early to mid 1700's and we are probably no closer than 5th cousins. Needless to say, the challenges seem to be endless. Regardless, with my gut instinct and knowing a little bit more about my mother's history, the common surname and matches, the overlapping segments especially on Chromosomes #2, 3, 4 and 12, can only lead me to conclude one thing...the man that my mother married was also my father.
The screenshot below is from FTDNA chromosome browser of the two Family Finder matches from this family. Notice the nice overlaps on Chromosome 3 and 4. The other two matches from 23andme and Gedmatch also overlap at the same segment location!!!:
What's next you may ask? As I discover more, my "To do" list is never-ending. I believe I may also have some half-siblings, as my mother died young at the age of 32 in a car accident. My father remarried a few years later. I have been active, although on the fringe, of the Adoptee Rights movement and will definitely become more involved, especially in New York and here in South Carolina. Access to original birth certificates should be everyone's right...not a privilege. I will also continue to help other adoptees in their searches in any way I can possibly contribute.
A special thanks to all those who helped me in this continuing journey....you know who you are!
-- born Carol Lee Foley in Brooklyn, NY
mother identified 6/14/2012