26 August 2014

“A DNA test is only as good as the database.”

I am riding on the bus … to O’hare for my trip to Korea. I am filled with so many emotions, I cannot fully explain them in words.

Having said that, the reality of the search hit me hardest when the itinerary for my trip arrived. In the next day or so, I will be swabbed for a DNA test. Many of my Lost Daughters’ sisters have already had such a test. They have found so many things about themselves via 23andMe and Ancestry.com.

I have always toyed with the idea of the DNA test in my mind, but this summer at KAAN, as I listened to the words of Bonnie LeRoy, I felt ambiguous relief as she said, “A DNA test is only as good as the database.”

For the domestic adoptees of the Lost Daughters, the test has in some cases been successful. Hearing Dr. Lee’s words, I realized that such a test may not be plausible for me, a Korean born adoptee. In order for my DNA to match someone in Korea’s, that person would need to test and access DNA records in the United States to find me.

As you know, the reasons for my search began with my children’s curiosity but have ended with my hope to never rob my birth mother. I feel as though I take one step forward, then pull myself two steps back. While I want to do this for others, I am not sure I want this for myself.

The prospect of this DNA test in Korea has made it all the more real. When I sit on my sofa in Wisconsin, there are many “what ifs” I can ponder, but to set foot in Korea and add my DNA to other Koreans’ …

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