WEBINARS WITH Q & A

(held on the third or fourth Sunday of each month at noon pacific time)

All RTK Webinars are recorded and later accessible to the public. RTK reserves the right to use the webinars for any purpose, including but not limited to promotional activities, educational awareness, news spots, documentaries, television programs, etc. If you wish to remain anonymous, please do not display your video or use your full name (you are still encouraged to ask questions by posting in the Zoom chat box and the moderator will read your question to the presenters).

To receive a zoom link to any webinar, email [email protected]. Please put the date of the event in the subject line.

Webinar: Sunday Oct 23 - noon pm PST / 3:00 pm EST

Intersectionality of DNA discoveries

DNA discoveries impact everyone: adoptees, donor conceived people, and people who have an NPE; our parents who raised us; the families we've created; and our new families. These impacts extend to anyone who grows up knowing they have genetic family out there when they come out of the FOG. Let's talk about how our communities and how we can support each other.
DNA Discoveries

Alesia is the co-founder and Chief Experience Officer at Right to Know. She is a retired RN, Army Veteran, and blog writer. She is a leading advocate for people with an MPE community, most of whom were impacted by a DNA surprise. Her activism includes informal counseling, search angel work (helping people find relatives), vetting and providing referrals to informed and responsible therapists, and spearheading legislation in support of the human right to know one’s genetic identity. Alesia has first-hand knowledge of what it means to have an MPE due to her own DNA surprise in 2014, when she was shocked to learn that the man who’d raised her was not her genetic father. It took Alesia four years of research to discover her biological father’s identity — and by then, unfortunately, he passed. She also learned of patterns within her paternal family’s medical history that would have saved her decades of hardship and heartache if only she’d known of them earlier. For these reasons and many others, she is devoted to doing everything in her power to spare others from the suffering she endured.

Kara is a non practicing attorney with an LLM in Taxation and a master’s in Trade & Investment Policy. In January 2018, she wanted to see where in Africa her father’s family came from. Her over-the-counter DNA test revealed she was 50% something, but she had zero African DNA. This meant the man on her birth certificate couldn’t possibly be her genetic father. She lost her bi-racial identity with the click of a mouse. Kara discovered she was 50% Ashkenazi Jew. The DNA pandora’s box she opened led to an identity crisis. She’s a passionate advocate for genetic identity rights.

Webinar: Sunday May 22nd, noon pm PST / 3:00 pm EST

Navigating Unique Conceptions within religious normS

If you have a misattributed parentage experience, this often leads to big life questions. Let's explore how different religions view our unique conceptions.
Candle light glowing in woman's hands. Praying, faith, religion concept.

Kate has been with North Christian since June 2012. She was born in Alaska and is proud to have grown up a Michigander; however, she is glad to be serving God as a Hoosier since 2008. Kate’s passion in ministry includes anti-racism/pro-reconciliation work, integrating music and scripture into worship, and pastoral care for families in crisis. She strives to create a safe space for people to explore their joys and sore spots, especially conversations about ethics and the problem of evil.

She grew up in the American Baptist Church and joined the Disciples of Christ in 2004 at Park Manor Christian Church in Chicago. She earned her Master of Divinity from Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. In March of 2012, she became an ordained minister while at Saint Paul Christian Church, where she was a pastor for two years.

Kate also volunteers to do Search Angel work with DNAngels out of love for others, and a desire to bring healing and wholeness to them.  She loves learning about different places and cultures, and she feels that through this process, she becomes a part of each person’s family who blesses her with the opportunity to become part of their story.

Pastor Kate lives in Columbia City with her wonderful husband Preston and their slightly naughty Weimaraner, Lucy. Preston and Kate have three children who are all grown up, exploring the world, and having adventures. Kate enjoys singing, gardening, and collecting power tools.

Rabbi Sydney Danziger became Senior Rabbi at Temple B’nai Torah in Bellevue, Washington in 2019. Before joining TBT, Rabbi Sydney was a Rabbinic Fellow with the Jewish Emergent Network at The Kavana Cooperative. Kavana is an independent, innovative Jewish community in Seattle.  Raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Rabbi Sydney attended New York University and the University of New Mexico, graduating with a degree in Political Science and Journalism.

After graduating from college, she had the opportunity to participate in a Birthright Israel trip and visit the Jewish homeland for the very first time. After her ten day trip, she remained in Israel and studied modern Hebrew at an ulpan in Haifa for four months. After returning to the US, she became a labor union organizer for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. In 2006, she became the Director of National Initiatives for The Birthright Israel Foundation, where she worked with Jewish young adults who were looking to strengthen their ties to their local Jewish communities. This experience eventually inspired her to apply to rabbinical school in 2008.

During her time at HUC-JIR, she interned at variety of synagogues and Jewish organizations, from Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York, to Congregation Albert in New Mexico and Hillel at UCLA. As a student, Rabbi Sydney was the recipient of the coveted Schusterman Rabbinical Fellowship. Following her ordination in May of 2013 from the HUC-JIR Los Angeles campus, she served as an Assistant Rabbi at Temple Isaac M. Wise in Cincinnati for three years.

Rabbi Sydney loves living in the Pacific Northwest, surrounded by trees, waters and mountains. Having been raised in a desert, she loves listening to the rain while snuggling on the couch with her husband Ben, toddler son, Jacob, and two beautiful Golden retrievers, Mel and Izzy. When she is not teaching Torah, she is an interior design and renovation enthusiast and is often engrossed in a new construction project at her home in Kenmore.

Webinar: Sunday April 24th, noon pm PST / 3:00 pm EST

Forgiving the hard-t0-forgive

The path to forgiveness is difficult amidst feelings of rejection, betrayal, and hurt. Forgiveness doesn't mean forgetting or excusing the harm done, it helps to bring you a kind of peace to go on.
Bonus: forgiveness is associated with lower levels of depression, anxiety, and hostility; reduced substance abuse; higher self-esteem; and greater life satisfaction.
So, how DO we move forward?
Rear View of Woman Silhouette Sitting in the Edge of a Hill Watching the Sunrise

Everett Worthington is Commonwealth Professor Emeritus since his retirement from Virginia Commonwealth University on October 1, 2017. He is still affiliated with the Department of Psychology. His research and writing focus on forgiveness and other virtues, religion and spirituality, and issues related to marriage and family. His mission is to help individuals (every heart), couples and families (every home), and even communities and countries (every homeland) forgive.

Everett was counseling couples professionally in the mid-1980s when he first became interested in the concept of forgiveness, and he began studying the topic scientifically in 1990. Since then, he has been a leader in the field of forgiveness research. From 1998 to 2005, he directed A Campaign for Forgiveness Research, a nonprofit organization that, during that time, awarded more than $6 million to studies on forgiving. He has also worked to help nurture researchers in other countries.

After the murder of his mother in 1996, Everett began thinking about how the practice of forgiveness relates to justice, faith, and virtue—a main theme of his recent work. While he forgave the murderer, as did his brother and sister, the emotional fallout was devastating, and in 2005, his brother committed suicide. In addition to studying forgiveness of others, Everett drew on his own feelings of guilt and self-condemnation, and added the study of self-forgiveness to his interests.

Suzanne Freedman, PhD, is a Professor of Human Development in the Educational Psychology, Foundations, and Leadership Studies department at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Delaware and both her master’s degree and PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was the recipient of the APA Dissertation Award in 1993 for her groundbreaking research on forgiveness and incest survivors, published in 1996 in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 

Suzanne has been studying the topic of forgiveness for over 30 years and her publications focus on the psychology of interpersonal forgiveness and forgiveness education with children, adolescents, and adults. She has presented at numerous national and international conferences on the psychology of interpersonal forgiveness. At the University of Northern Iowa, she teaches a variety of courses including the Psychology of Interpersonal Forgiveness and Child and Adolescent Development courses. Suzanne Freedman is the recent author of the curriculum, The Courage to Forgive: Educating Elementary School Children About Forgiveness. For more information, please visit the website: International Forgiveness.

Epigenetics: Implications for People with an MPE

Next Webinar: Sunday March 20th, noon pm PST / 3:00 pm EST

Epigenetics and beyond – what it is and what does it mean for someone with an MPE? Curious about what makes you who you are today? Join us for a fascinating discussion of nature versus nurture and identity.

Dr. Dhasarathy received her Ph.D. in Genetics and Biochemistry in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Kladde at Texas A&M University, TX. She did postdoctoral work on cancer epigenetics with Dr. Paul Wade at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) in Research Triangle Park, NC. She then moved to the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, ND to establish her own research laboratory. Dr. Dhasarathy has a long-standing interest in gene regulation- how are genes turned on or off. Her laboratory aims to understand epigenetic mechanisms behind the regulation of gene expression.

Dr. L. Keith Henry received his Doctorate in Cellular, Molecular, and Developmental Biology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in the laboratory of Dr. Jeffrey M. Becker where he studied how small peptide ligands bind and activate G-protein-coupled receptors. His postdoctoral training was performed at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in the laboratory of Dr. Randy Blakely were he significantly advanced the understanding of how antidepressants and drugs of abuse interact with the serotonin transporter in the brain. In addition, his research resulted in the generation of a transgenic mouse that is insensitive to many antidepressant drugs. He is currently an Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences and one of his current research projects involves using these novel mice to investigate whether exposure to antidepressants in utero causes long-lasting epigenetic changes that increase rates of depression and anxiety in adults.

Dr. Henry started his own MPE journey in 2018 when the commercial DNA tests, 23&Me and Ancestry DNA, revealed that his raising father was not his genetic father.

forming connection through learning the language of your new heritage

Sunday Feb 20th, noon pm PST / 3:00 pm EST

Learn how language and identity are developed together over time and how learning the language from your new heritage can help form connection to a culture you did not grow up with.
Yes, you can learn a new language at any time in your life.

Liliana Sánchez is a Professor of Spanish Linguistics in the department of Hispanic and Italian Studies at the University of Illinois Chicago. Her current research interests include the study of how culturally relevant information about COVID-19 has reached indigenous and linguistically minoritized communities and the representation of heritage languages (Spanish and Quechua). She has worked in the past on issues related to language and identity among indigenous and heritage languages communities.   She has published Bilingualism in the Spanish-speaking world with Jennifer Austin & Maria Blume (Cambridge University Press, 2015), The Morphology and Syntax of Topic and Focus: Minimalist Inquiries in the Quechua Periphery (John Benjamins, 2010), and Quechua-Spanish Bilingualism. Interference and Convergence in Functional Categories (John Benjamins, 2003) as well as articles in journals such as Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, Glossa, International Journal of Bilingualism, Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, Lingua, Probus, and Studies in Second Language Acquisition.D

Sabrina Carlin teaches French and German for two different public high schools in Washington State. She studied abroad in France and taught English for several years in Japan. She has taught languages to all ages: from preschoolers to adults and in a variety of settings. After growing up to believe her only heritage language was English, she decided to learn Irish Gaelic at the age of 45 when she discovered that her biological grandfather was born in Limerick, Ireland. She’s been pleasantly surprised to learn about whole communities of adults out there who are also learning languages to connect to their heritage. She can be found on Linked In or e-mailed directly.

STATE OF AFFAIRS IN ASSISTED CONCEPTION

Sunday Jan 23rd, noon pm PST / 3:00 pm EST

An overview of the fertility industry and where we are today and the mental health impacts on donor-conceived people.

Dr. Tober is Assistant Adjunct Professor at the University of California, San Francisco Institute for Health and Aging and faculty at the Bixby Center for Reproductive Health. She is a cultural and medical anthropologist with a focus on gender and sexuality, the commodification of the body, science and technology studies, bioethics, and social and reproductive justice. She has been conducting research exploring egg donors’ decisions and experiences within the global market for human eggs since 2013. With funding from the National Science Foundation, she is comparing egg donation in the United States and Spain. She has conducted field research in Iran, Spain, and the United States.

Peter J. Boni credits his disruptive childhood, a state college education from [email protected], decorated on-the-ground service as a US Army Special Operations Team Leader in Vietnam, love of his family and friendship circle, plus luck-of-the-draw DNA with making him the person he has become today—an author, advocate, and fun-loving grandfather living on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

During his accomplished business career, Peter has applied “lessons of leadership through adversity” from his life-altering experiences—themes found throughout his first book, All Hands on Deck.

In Peter’s new book Uprooted, he intimately shares his personal odyssey and acquired expertise to advocate for regulatory oversight of the multibillion-dollar reproductive industry that conceives hundreds of half-siblings from a single donor—children and adults who are unaware of the existence of their half-siblings.

Dr. Adams is an adjunct researcher at the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University, Australia, and has previously spent over 25 years working as laboratory scientist. His doctoral research investigated the welfare outcomes of donor-conceived people, the ethics of donor conception practice, and ART epidemiological outcomes. Dr Adams has published 12 peer-reviewed publications on donor conception which has involved the first ever systematic reviews of donor-conceived perinatal outcomes and the first study into the physical health outcomes of adult donor-conceived people. As a donor-conceived person himself, Dr Adams has additionally been involved in achieving legislative change in Australia, presented to the United Nations on donor conception at the 30th Anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and has been interviewed on numerous television shows, radio, printed and online press.

Sunday Dec 12th, noon pm PST / 3:00 pm EST

Not My Parent's Child- Genetics, DNA Surprises, Ethical Behaviors

How does discovering genetic family whose ethics and actions you do not condone impact you? Let’s discuss the intersection of ethics, genetics, criminology, psychology, and MPEs.

Dr. Berryessa’s research, utilized both qualitative and quantitative methods, considers how psychological processes, perceptions, attitudes, and social contexts affect the criminal justice system, particularly related to courts, sentencing, and punishment. She received her Ph.D. in Criminology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2018. Before Penn, she graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. in Government and Mind, Brain, and Behavior, and she served as a CIRGE research fellow at Stanford University.

Brad ewell

For the first 48 years of his life, Brad believed he was raised by his biological family.  That changed in 2019 when someone he matched from an Ancestry DNA test contacted him.  In less than 24 hours Brad became a Late Discovery Adoptee with a MPE. Since that time he is in reunion with several biological family members including his biological father and four siblings.

You can find him on Instagram @a_late_discovery.

In 2018, Wendi discovered she was conceived through fertility fraud. This led her on a journey to find answers about her conception and biological father. Her story is featured in the HBO documentary film Baby God (2020). She retired in 2016 at the rank of captain after serving over 31 years with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon.  She has been employed as a criminal justice instructor for over 12 years, and she is currently providing instruction at two Oregon colleges.  

Artists Journey Through THEIR MPE Discovery

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 17th AT NOON PACIFIC TIME

Join the multi-talented Cory Goodrich and Dan McKinnon as they discuss how music, art, and writing has helped them through their MPE discovery. And enjoy some fabulous music!

Cory’s show is a musical memoir of love and longing, an emotional ballad of grief and forgiveness, an ode to self-discovery, and a heart-stirring look at the lengths to which a family will go to protect themselves and each another. A five-time Jeff nominee, Cory is an award-winning actress and has performed on stages across the country, and has been seen on television in Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, Chicago Justice and the upcoming Ripple Effects, as well as numerous commercials. She is also a singer/songwriter, producer, author, and recording artist with two award-winning children’s CDs, Hush and Wiggly Toes, a country album, W.O.M.A.N, six Season of Carols CDs (Season of Carols, Holiday Music to Benefit Season of Concern, which garnered over $200K for the charity.) She also co-produced The Second City Divas, Live at Mercury Theater CD with Eugene Dizon. The winner of the 2015 Cohen-Grappel Recording Endowment, Cory recorded a folk album, Wildwood Flower, a collection of traditional and original folk songs featuring the autoharp. This year her first book, Folksong: A Ballad of Death, Discovery, and DNA, was published. Its companion piece, the album Long Way Around, dropped in August and was produced by Ethan Deppe of The Quiet Regret.

Toronto-based blues/rock guitarist Dan McKinnon has been working hard to establish himself as a Canadian Blues artist on the rise. Along with being a previous winner of the Toronto Blues Society’s prestigious Talent Search and the Amy Louie Grossman’s Music Scholarship, his latest album, The Cleaner (2018), is a ten-song collection of raucous, hard-hitting blues/rock that received widespread critical acclaim in the Canadian Blues Community and was nominated for Best Self-Produced CD at the 2019 International Blues Challenge. 

Called “an artist to watch” by esteemed music blog American Blues Scene and “one of Canada’s finest emerging blues-rockers” by the industry leading website, Rock & Blues Muse, his upcoming album, Little Victories, is slated for a Spring 2022 release.

Exploring Podcasts Navigating MPEs

SUNDAY, SEPT 26 AT NOON PACIFIC TIME

Come chat with podcasters who all have amazing podcasts associated with MPEs.

  • Sex, Lies & the Truth, Christina Bryan Fitzgibbons
  • Family Secrets, Dani Shapiro
  • Pulled by the Root, Heidi Marble
  • NPE Stories, Lily Wood

Christina Bryan Fitzgibbons is a Northern California-based genetic and family investigator. Her expertise is in helping adoptees and those conceived through assisted conception find and connect with biological families or interpret paternity. She co-hosts the podcast with Jodi Klugman-Rabb which interviews people about the DNA revelations.

Dani Shapiro is the author of the instant New York Times best-selling memoir, Inheritance, published in January 2019 by Knopf. Her other books include the memoirs Hourglass, Still Writing, Devotion, and Slow Motion, and five novels including Black & White and Family History.  Family Secrets features stories from guests who—like Dani— have uncovered life-altering and long-hidden secrets from their families’ past.

Heidi Marble is a cancer survivor and advocate who author the book Pulled By the Root – The Lived Experience of Adoption Trauma and Healing which is an account of her experience as an adoptee and explores the issues of trauma, identity, attachment and healing in adoption. Her podcast follows the same themes.

Lily Wood experienced her own DNA surprise when she took an over-the-counter DNA test and her ethnicity results were not what she thought they should be. And she was matched with an unknown half-brother. She learned she was the product of a one-night stand. She launched her podcast two years ago to help others find comfort in hearing about different misattributed parentage experiences and help people find community.

SUNDAY, JULY 18 AT NOON PACIFIC TIME

TELLING OUR MPE STORIES THROUGH FILM

Let’s discuss how film plays a role in spreading our MPE stories and educating people about the complexities of learning your parent is not your genetic parent.

Commentary with Diana Nolan about use of documentaries to tell a story and discussion on about featured documentaries:

Diana is a showrunner and executive producer with Bombshell Media known for shows that leave an impact and get people talking. Her sensitive approach with talent helps build a deep bond with audiences.

Having worked in unscripted television for over a decade for major networks like FOX, Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, HGTV, Discovery, National Geographic, A+E, DIY, Lifetime, Food Network, and others, Diana has developed an eye for discovering fresh talent, unique concepts, and has an expert grasp of storytelling.

David was born and adopted at birth in Columbus, Oh. He began his search in 2018 and is currently in reunion with both sides of his biological family. He is a married father of three and grandfather of six. He is a U.S. Army Veteran and Retired Correctional Officer. David Recently retired from coaching High School Football at Reynoldsburg High School due to the Coved – 19 pandemic. David and his wife Marie own ByDam Multimedia, which is the parent company to Star107fm.com an online radio station that has a global presence. His company recently produced his latest award winning documentary release, “From A Place of Love – My Adoption Journey” which is gaining national attention in the adoption/foster community. David enjoys traveling, boating, fishing, and spending time with family.

Wendi retired in 2016 at the rank of captain after serving over 31 years with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon.  She has been employed as a criminal justice instructor for over 12 years, and she is currently providing instruction at two Oregon colleges.  Wendi holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Southern Oregon University and a Master of Public Administration degree and Public Safety Management Certificate from Portland State University.  She is a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.  In 2018, Wendi discovered she was conceived through fertility fraud and her story is featured in the HBO documentary film Baby God (2020)

Sunday, May 23rd at noon - 1:30 pm PDT

"Healing through Focused Activities: writing, yoga, mindfulness, art, exercise, gardening..."

ERIN PARTRIDGE, PhD, ATR-BC

Erin is a board-certified, registered art therapist and Experiential Researcher-In-Residence at Elder Care Alliance. Erin received a BFA in 2006, studying fine art, psychology and women’s studies at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She went on to obtain a MA in art therapy from New York University in 2008, and a PhD in art therapy from Notre Dame de Namur in 2016.

Erin’s teaching and lecturing experience includes teaching at NDNU in the art therapy department, guest lectures in art and counseling programs, mentoring undergraduate and graduate students, workshop facilitation at national and international conferences, and interviews with media about art therapy. Her clinical experience includes work in community, pediatric, forensic, and geriatric settings and she is published in the areas of art therapy, elder care, professional development and technology. Her research interests incorporate the lived experience and focus on participatory, ethnographic, and art-based approaches.

Erin’s first book Art Therapy with Older Adults: Connected and Empowered proposes a new framework for arts-based work with the aging population. Her second book, Getting On in the Creative Arts Therapies focuses on career trajectories in all the creative arts therapies disciplines. It includes practices designed to stimulate creative thinking about professional development. She has also authored several chapters and papers on art therapy with older adults, research methodologies, and social robots.

Dawn Davies

Dawn became a professional writer in 2003, mostly in online educational and web content, but also for a publishing company. Now she writes creatively, coaches other writers on how to improve their writing and meet or exceed their publishing goals, and very occasionally offers developmental manuscript editing. I love working with other writers.

She earned an MFA in Creative Writing at Florida International University. While there, she won the FIU Provost’s Award for Best Creative Project, the FIU Creative Writing Award in Nonfiction, the Kentucky Women Writers’ Betty Gabehart Prize for Creative Nonfiction, and the Arts & Letters Susan Atefat Prize in Creative Nonfiction. She was also the fiction editor of Gulf Stream Literary Magazine, and the graduate coordinator for the FIU Writers on the Bay Reading Series. Her memoir, Mothers of Sparta, published by Amy Einhorn at Flatiron Books, won both the Florida Book Award and the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award. She’s garnered fifty + publications in national literary journals, including McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Narrative, The Missouri Review, Ninth Letter, Fourth Genre, Arts & Letters, as well as other journals and anthologies. And, she’s the nonfiction editor for Jackleg Press.

She’s a Floridian; tall; and likes to ride her bicycle. And she can cook the best spicy cubed roasted sweet potatoes on the planet. Plus she loves working with other writers.

sunday, APRIL 18th from 3:00PM-4:30pm pst

Interacting with Narcissistic Moms and Other Family Members

amanda Robins

Amanda’s first career was as an artist and academic. She completed a Master’s and a PhD in visual arts and her research looked at the history of psychiatry, and painting and drawing as a meditative process. In her research, she kept coming back to the idea of development and growing up and the importance of emotional security and identity during this time. She often works with the children of narcissistic parents. Amanda herself was raised by a narcissistic mother. With the help of psychotherapy, self-compassion and reflection, she healed her own wounds and brings a unique perspective when helping others in this situation.

Check out her great resources:

Megan hunter

Megan is a speaker, author, and the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of the High Conflict Institute. She has trained professionals and delivered keynotes to large groups on high conflict behaviors since 2008 in the U.S. and in 7 countries, and lead HCI’s diverse team of professional staff across three continents. She has strong leadership, policy and training experience during her eight years at the Arizona Supreme Court, Administrative Office of the Courts as Family Law Specialist. She is founder and publisher of Unhooked Media, a publishing company focused on relationship and conflict revolution and author and/or co-author of several books:
  • BIFF at Work
  • Hiring Radar
  • Dating Radar
  • High Conflict People in the Church
  • The High Conflict CoParenting Survival Guide
  • Dating Radar
  • Bait & Switch

sunday march 21 @ noon-1:30pm pst

Roundtable Discussion with Misattributed Parentage Facebook Support Group Moderators

Come chat with Cassandra Adams (Adoptees, NPEs, DC & Other Genetic Identity Seekers), Jeff Hancock (Forum for Late-Discovery Adoptees), and Lisa Cole (DNA Surprises) about what they’ve learned as moderators of misattributed parentage Facebook support groups.

cassandra adams

Cassandra is a late-discovery transethnic sperm donor-conceived person working on awareness of issues surrounding donor conception. Her focus includes educating parents on best practices, advancing legislative changes for reforming the fertility industry, writing, speaking, performing, and other creative outlets, delving into the emotional impact and ethics of donor conception, particularly the trauma of late discovery, exploring the complexities of finding significant ethnicity changes and revealing the dynamics of families dealing with secrecy. She moderates numerous online communities.

Moderator of DONOR CONCEIVED PEOPLE, SIBLINGS, PARENTS, AND DONORS (SPERM, EGG, EMBRYO) is the largest group for all members of the ART triad, providing progressive education and insight into the world of donor conception, and NPE FRIENDS – JEWISH HERITAGE for those whose discovery of misattributed parentage has impacted their connection with the Jewish ethno-religion.

Lisa Cole

Lisa discovered a half-sister that had been given up for adoption before I was born! DNA Surprises is a FaceBook based support group she created because she didn’t know where to turn!

We allow NPE as well as other types of surprises. We also welcome loved ones because they need to understand the struggle. She thinks it’s important to see someone else’s perspective of the situation! That is why we all are in the same core group instead of breaking up into sub-groups. Her hope is that seeing another perspective will facilitate healing and understanding!

Moderator of DNA SURPRISES which is a place to come and talk/discuss your surprise DNA results from Ancestry, 23 and Me, and other services. Maybe you found out you are NPE or you have a sister or brother you never knew about! Some people even find out about an aunt or uncle or even a grandparent. It could have happened to you personally or to a loved one. For some of us, it’s exciting news…but for others, it’s confusing and devastating! Either way, let’s talk about it and try to heal.

Jeff hancock

In 2007 Jeff was nearing his 42nd birthday when he discovered that he was adopted. His discovery has since evolved into a never-ending search for self and includes the quest for equal Original Birth Certificate access for all adopted people. Jeff’s purpose as an adoptee rights activist is to call upon all adoptees, our families (both birth and adoptive), our children, our siblings, our spouses, lawmakers, and agencies that currently provide adoption services, to unite in support of our search for identity.

Moderator of FORUM FOR LATE-DISCOVERY ADOPTEES (LDAs) which is a private space for adoptees of the late-discovery variety to meet, share, support, and bond.

"Societal PerceptionS of Ancestral DNA, Race, & Identity"

Sunday, February 21st at noon PST

How does over-the-counter DNA testing affect how people view their ethnicity? Are our ideas of ethnicity changing now that we can know the truth about our origins?

Anita

Anita Foeman, Ph.D. is the founder and primary investigator of the DNA Discussion Project. Dr. Foeman holds the rank of Professor in the Department of Communication Studies. Dr. Foeman is a scholar of intercultural and organizational communication. She holds a B.A. from Defiance College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Temple University. Dr. Foeman joined the faculty of West Chester University in 1982. The DNA Discussion Project is integrated into courses she teaches in intercultural communication.

Bessie

Bessie Lawton, Ph.D. is the co-investigator of the DNA Discussion Project. Dr. Lawton received her Ph.D. in Communication from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her BA and MA in Communication from the University of the Philippines. She is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests include intercultural communication, identity issues, communication and power, and communication pedagogy.

Shaun

Shaun Stanley is a PhD student at the University of Bristol in Bristol, UK. His research is in philosophy of (social) science, and philosophy of biology. His work focuses on understanding the relationship between cultural evolutionary theory, and the rest of the social sciences.

Check out his podcast on Brain In a Vat, “Does Race Exist?”

Research on Misattributed Parentage experiences

Sunday, 10 January at noon - 1:30pm PST

Did you know only 40% of those who’ve seen a therapist without experience working with misattributed parentage experiences (MPEs) found it helpful, while 80% found it helpful if the therapist had experience with MPEs. Or that about 78% of those conceived through assisted reproduction have successfully identified their donor through over-the-counter DNA testing? Curious to learn more? 

Julia Becker

Julia recently received her Master’s Degree in Genetic Counseling from CSU Stanislaus in the San Francisco Bay Area. For her Master’s thesis she conducted a qualitative study, interviewing 25 individuals with the experience of receiving misattributed parentage results through direct-to-consumer genetic testing (DTC-GT). This study is the first to systematically analyze the impact of receiving MPE results through genetic testing outside of a clinical setting. Her project focuses on emotional and psychological impacts of receiving misattributed parentage results including impacts on sense of identity and family relationships. She hopes her study will increase professional familiarity with MPE experiences and provide both healthcare and mental health professionals with the awareness necessary to better support and care for their clients.

Julia is certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling and licensed in the state of California.

eRIN JACKSON

Erin is a San Diego-based freelance writer and founder of We Are Donor Conceived, a multi-purpose online space where donor conceived people can share their stories and find information, resources, and community. The website also serves to educate the public through personal narratives and an annual survey that digs into the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of donor conceived people. Findings include the profound impact of commercial DNA testing, the importance of knowing one’s genetic origins, and the urgent need for common sense regulations and legal reforms that protect the best interests of donor conceived people around the globe.

Understanding Your DNA Relationships

Sunday Dec 6: noon-1:30 pm PST

Join us as we discuss genetic genealogy, DNA match basics, and how DNA never lies. We’ll dive into DNA tools with the DNA testing websites, DNA Painter, and What Are the Odds (WATO). Case studies will illustrate how to understand our DNA relationships. Bring your questions for Andrew Lee with Family History Fanatics, Leah Larkin the DNA Geek and Marian Woods the Genetic Detective.

ANdrew lee

Family history should be fun. If not, you’re doing it wrong. You want to understand how your DNA matches relate to you and whether you should believe your ethnicity estimates. You want to climb your family history accurately but not become bogged down in tedious and overly complicated citations. You want to write a family history that your relatives will actually read, even if you lack the talent of creating writing. We believe that you deserve actionable information, a visual learning experience, and a few laughs along the way.

Leah Larkin

Everyone has a right to know their family history; that is my core philosophy. I began helping adoptees and others of unknown parentage as part of the search angel community, donating my effort and expertise to help people help themselves. Leah earned her Ph.D. in biology from the University of Texas at Austin, where she used DNA to study the relationships among different species. She has worked in both academia and scientific publishing and applies those research skills daily to solving genealogical questions using DNA.

Marian woods

Marian’s interest in genetic genealogy began from her own MPE. She then became a search angel and has applied the science of DNA and genetic genealogy to solve cases of unknown parentage for individuals and adoptees. As a genetic genealogist, Marian realized solving cases was her “calling” in life, and recently decided to combine her genetic genealogy experience, strong sense of justice, and passion for forensic investigations, to partner with law enforcement agencies to solve cold cases. She has a BA, MA in Counseling Psychology and is a member of numerous genealogical societies and associations.

“The Lost Family” explores the rapidly evolving phenomenon of home DNA testing, its implications for how we think about family and ourselves, and its ramifications for American culture broadly.

Copies of The Lost Family, signed and personalized by Libby Copeland, can be purchased through The Village Bookstore in Pleasantville, NY (Attention: Jennifer Kohn, 914-769-8322)

Salient themes of mpes with AUTHOR libby copeland

Friday, 13 November 2020: noon - 1:30 pm PST.

  • History of DNA industry
  • How Common are MPEs
  • DNA Testing Affects on MPE Buckets (NPE, Adoptees, Conceived by Assisted Reproduction)
  • 35 Million DNA Tests in US – Tipping Point and Implications

Q AND A

  • Collision of Family Histories and Narratives with DNA testing
  • Sociological and Psychological Shifts Attributed to DNA testing
  • Quandary of Ethnicity
  • Future of DNA Testing