Saturday, April 16, 2016

I'm a British Sprinter and I Can Bloody Well Prove It!

I'm adopted. I've known this all my life. My adoptive parents made it a point of telling me the story of "our family", and how they were on an adoption waiting list when my father received the call that a baby boy was born at Miami Beach hospital. My mother was visiting family in Iowa and she rushed back to Florida. They took me home at the ripe old age of 4 days old.

We used to have a box of 8mm movies that they filmed of bringing me home from the hospital, my first bath, and my first birthday. When my parents were divorced when I turned 4 and my mother moved us back to Iowa to be closer to family. Every once in a while we would set up the movie projector and watch the old movies of "me".

So being adopted has never been a big deal in my mind. I've never felt different or special because of it - other than when I have to answer health history questions and don't know any family history. This has caused me to get more frequent routine testing like colonoscopies and prostate exams.

The other BIG thing about not knowing my genetic history is that none of my children know anything about their paternal history. Again, nobody seemed too bothered about it. It's just part of "The story of Us".

But lately I've been hearing about a couple of companies that do DNA testing. It's pretty simple and affordable. So I decided "why not" and laid down the $199 for a test kit from 23 & Me.

The kit arrived a week or so later. You give a saliva sample by spitting into a tube, seal it and send it back in a self-addressed box. The results come back in 6-8 weeks.

So, while I have been waiting for the results these past few weeks, the anticipation has been steadily growing. I've even watched a few YouTube videos of other people reviewing their results. Most of them have genetic history the is spread across multiple regions. 20% this, 10% that, 1.2% another thing, 0.6& something else.

I didn't really care what my race or ethnicity origins were, I was just hoping that I had a majority of one thing, so that I could say "I'm French, or English, of African, or Chinese".

Most mornings when I wake up the first thing I do, even before I get out of bed, is open my smartphone and scan through my email - which is what I did yesterday morning and noticed a note from 23 & Me with the subject line that read "Your results are ready!". So, after a quick shower, I sat down with my cup of coffee, opened my computer and prepared to, at age 56, find out who I am. Pretty crazy if you stop and think about it.

There are 67 different reports. The categories are: 1) Carrier Status 2) Ancestry 3) Wellness 4) Traits.

Of course the big one for me is Ancestry. As it turns out I am 97.7% British! When I saw that, my though process went as follows:

1. 97.7%? That's basically 100%. I'm a Brit!
2. That means my mother and father were 100% British too.
3. That probably means that I was not a random conception.
4. Maybe my parents were married?

I mentioned earlier that I didn't know anything about my birth parents but that isn't entirely true. I remember my adopted mother telling me that my birth mothers' name was Andrea Pennington.

Pennington! That's English/British! So, I went to the Internet and Googled "Pennington Origin"

The result was more than I ever wanted to know about my family.

As it turns out, the Pennington's were from England. Eventually they migrated. Some of them went to America.  Others went to...take a guess? Yep - Brittan.

So my ancestors moved from England to Brittan and I have DNA genetic proof.

In one day I went from knowing absolutely nothing about my ancestry to knowing more than probably 90% of the rest of Americans.

Might be time to trade in my German BMW for a British Aston Martin.

I mentioned earlier that I received 67 reports. Here is an example of just one. As it turns out, I'm a Sprinter. Imagine that?

Pennington Family Crest
Family Crest

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