As DNA testing companies sell millions of testing devices, they are helping to redefine family relationships. These tests help relatives who have been separated for many years meet again, help adoptees find their biological parents, and help donated pregnant children find sperm donors. But in some cases, these tests also help people find more difficult family secrets.
Earlier this year, columnist Sarah Zhang heard that dozens of people had undergone DNA tests and found that their father was not their biological father. Many of them are members of a private support group called DNA NPEFriends on Facebook, where NPE is the abbreviation for unexpected parents. Through the DNA test, thousands of people changed their identity.
After two and a half weeks of DNA testing, Christopher applied for divorce. Sarah Zhang and Christopher discussed how DNA testing changed his family and the difficulty of talking about it as a father and child. The interview summary is as follows:
Q: how do you know that your wife is having an affair? After all, is your daughter doing the AncestryDNA test?
Christopher: Ive always been interested in genealogy, so Ive done DNA tests myself, my ex-wife and grandparents, and my daughter wants to be tested herself. But my ex-wife objected: Everyone has been tested. You already know who you are. You dont need to test. I knew she was lying, so I let my daughter take the test.
Q: so you have already had doubts about your wife?
Q: why do I say this:
Christopher: My son said, You are the cause of the breakup of our family and the divorce between my father and my mother. I stopped it and told him, I dont want to hear that. Her daughter is innocent. The test of NPE causes chain reaction in the family, and it is a devastating influence. But my family treated her as if she were her own child.
Q: has it changed your relationship with your daughter after finding out that your daughter is not your own life?
Christopher: On the day I discovered this, I wanted to reject her because I said my bottom line was not to help another man raise children. My mother corrected my statement. She said, the child is innocent, do not blame her. So I try to admit that she is my daughter. But sometimes its hard because she reminds me of what my ex-wife did.
Question: As a father, its very frustrating for you, but you also have to play a good role as a parent, protect your child and consider her feelings.
Christopher: Yes, she said to me, Dad, Im afraid you will refuse to accept me. I told her, I will never refuse you. I will always be your father. I only treat her as my daughter, and I continue to love her, which has never changed. She had no interest in meeting her biological father, and still called my father.
Q: How did you find DNANPEFriends on Facebook?
Christopher: I joined a group of Facebook, hoping to recover from the infidelity. I talked to this group of people about their stories, and one of the women told me this group of friends.
Q: this group of people is mostly children. Do other fathers have similar experiences with you?
Christopher: there are several more. I have helped many people to answer questions.
Q: what questions do these DNANPEFriends friends ask you?
Christopher: One of them is going to get married. She wants to invite her biological father to the wedding, but shes worried about her adoptive fathers idea. On the other hand, she was worried about telling the foster father that she was not her own daughter. I told her, if he loves you, nothing will change. You should also care about the people you love.
Question: When I interviewed members of DNA NPEFriends, I was really shocked by gender differences. There are more women than men who want to talk about this topic.
Christopher: I know that even in support groups for infidelity and family disputes, there are many women who express their opinions, and only a few men are involved. I think it is shameful for men to talk about it honestly and openly. Knowing that ones wife or girlfriend is pregnant with another mans child can hurt a mans self-esteem. Men are more likely to remain silent about this.
Q: A colleague of mine interviewed a family therapist who talked about infertile men who sometimes envied their sperm donors. The words he used left a deep impression on my memory, that is, primitive jealousy. I think this is our deep understanding of patriarchy and masculinity.
Christopher: Yes, quite right. None of my male friends claimed that their wives were unfaithful to them, and they never mentioned that their children were not their own. A friend of mine made a paternity test on his child. But his attitude was, If it werent for me, I would leave, and I wouldnt have anything to do with them.
Christopher: this helps me understand my daughters experience. When she was angry with me or defending her mother, it made me more patient with her. Seeing that she was hurt by her mothers deception, seeing that she could not imagine her mother having an affair, seeing that even though she knew how dishonest her mother was, she still loved her mother and wanted her mothers love and affirmation. I saw this in my daughter. Watching others experience these things, they are adults, and my own daughter is experiencing similar things. It helps me understand my daughter and everything she has gone through. This is the main reason why I join the group of friends.
Question: Would you like to know your daughters biological father earlier, even if that means youre ending your relationship with your daughter? Christopher: I told my ex-wife, If you had told me then, we would have a better chance of saving our marriage. If she confessed, I might not have divorced her. Its worse for me to lie to me for so long. But if I hadnt divorced her, I might not have established my relationship with my daughter. Question: Its almost a year since you discovered the truth. Do you think your mood is different now? Christopher: Yes. I can say very naturally that she is my daughter and no longer feels so miserable. In the past, when I said so, I would feel sad. Source: NetEase science editor: Qiao Jun Jing _NBJ11279
Question: Would you like to know your daughters biological father earlier, even if that means youre ending your relationship with your daughter?
Christopher: I told my ex-wife, If you had told me then, we would have a better chance of saving our marriage. If she confessed, I might not have divorced her. Its worse for me to lie to me for so long. But if I hadnt divorced her, I might not have established my relationship with my daughter.
Question: Its almost a year since you discovered the truth. Do you think your mood is different now?
Christopher: Yes. I can say very naturally that she is my daughter and no longer feels so miserable. In the past, when I said so, I would feel sad.