Last week, a few 23andMe customers came together for a special brunch and a chance to celebrate their first Mother’s Day with the birth moms they discovered, with the help of 23andMe.
For Amanda, the event was sweeter because she was able to honor not just the mother who gave her life — Julia — but also her adoptive mom — Janice — who raised and guided her through her life.
“I got to celebrate with both my moms,” said Amanda. “It was a beautiful event.”
For Jacob, the event was a chance to meet his birth mother, Natalie, in person for the first time. It was a meeting neither of them thought would be possible.
Jacob was raised by loving parents and always knew he was adopted. But the question of who his birth mom was always lingered, and he began searching years ago. Natalie, too, had been looking, even resorting to using a private investigator. Despite all their efforts neither Jacob nor Natalie were able to find each other.
It wasn’t until Jacob used 23andMe and connected with a close relative that they were able to make a breakthrough. When Jacob finally got her contact information and called her, it was as if Natalie had been waiting by the phone just for his call. Almost immediately after he told her that he thought they might be related, Natalie asked him:
“Are you my son?”
Jacob thought he might be, so Natalie asked him if his birthday was November 24, 1990.
“Yes,” he said.
They both immediately burst into tears.
As mother and son were getting to know each other through emails and calls, Natalie sent Jacob a parcel that included several birthday cards for the birthdays she’d missed since giving birth to Jacob and then placing him for adoption. The cards were also a way for Natalie to cope with missing out on her son’s life.
“I’ve always wanted to meet my biological mom,” said Jacob smiling after meeting her in person for the first time.
For Lorraine, the event was more than just a Mother’s Day celebration; it was more like a family reunion.
Lorraine was able to meet not just her birth mother, Gail, but also her birth father David, and one of her full biological sisters Valerie. When Lorraine was born, Gail and David did not think they could not provide for Lorraine and made the difficult decision to place her for adoption.
They later married and had two more children, but never forgot about their first child. It was David who used 23andMe, in his effort to find Lorraine. They first connected with Lorraine late last year and spent both Thanksgiving and Christmas with Lorraine and her husband, giving her a chance to meet her siblings, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. The Mother’s Day event offered Lorraine another opportunity to build family memories.
“I’ve always been curious about where I come from,” said Lorraine, sitting with her birth mom and new found family members.
As with Lorraine, the event for identical twins, Ava and Sonia, was much bigger than just a Mother’s Day brunch. It was the first time that Sonia and Ava were able to come together not only with their biological mother and father, Julie and Dale, but also with their twin brothers Isaac and Michael. Their story is a bit complicated.
The twin sisters began searching for more information about their biological mother after learning a few years back that their mother, Carla, had used an embryo donor to conceive. Their biological mother, Julie, had been the donor. She and her husband had used IVF to conceive, and after becoming pregnant with their twins, Isaac and Michael, they decided to donate her leftover embryos to other women who were trying to have children.
In meeting their birth mother and father, Ava and Sonia marveled at some of their shared mannerisms and traits.
“I can already start picking off the similarities between us with the laugh or the different smirks or mannerisms,” their brother Isaac said.
Both their mothers, Julie and Carla, said they were happy that they have all connected.
“Now,” their birth mother Julie said, “they have each other.”
This Mother’s Day, we wanted to celebrate all kinds of mothers — adoptive moms, birth moms, even embryo donor moms. These four families, some of which who had never met before, are now bound because of DNA and through DNA.