At CelebrateDNA™ our goal is to give back to organizations and/or individuals who share our values and support connecting people in positive ways. DNAApotion is our newest partner in this regards. Their mission is to teach and guide people searching for their biological roots. We met Richard Weiss, Director and Executive Vice-President, at SoCal Jamboree this past May. Being a brand that is curious about people, we decided to interview Richard for our new CelebrateRoots Blog. He turns out to be a very interesting human being with some great DNA to share with the world! Read the full interview here.
1. Are you adopted?
2. If so, did you search for your biological parents? What was that experience like?
Yes. I found my birth mother through a traditional search and my birth father through a DNA search using DNAAdoption’s Methodology (https://dnaadoption.org/faq/).
The traditional search was conducted over decades, almost all of it done long before the advent of DNA searching. My DNA search only took a few months. My search was a journey that evoked hope, frustration, disheartenment, resignation, disappointment, and joy. It was a roller coaster with extremes in responses from my birth families and adoptive family. My search helped me to deepen my patience, persistence in the face of obstacles, the courage to face my fears, to clearly define boundaries, and find a much deeper emotional understanding of myself and compassion for others.
3. What got you interested in volunteering for DNAAdoption?
I was very grateful for the help and support from DNAAdoption in helping me find my birth father and his family and wanted to give back.
4. What drives adoptees (and donor conceived and folks with an NPE [non-paternal event]) to seek out their biological parents/families?
There is a very wide range of reasons for someone to search and the reasons are always very personal and unique to them. Some searchers are just curious, they want to know the story of their origins like everyone else. Most want health history. Many want to see someone that they look like for the first time in their lives. Others are looking for deeper connections that they hope will help them address an emptiness or sense or rejection. A few are looking to escape unpleasant adoptive families. Whatever the reason(s), it is always deeply personal and meaningful to each individual.
5. What’s the happiest story you’ve heard from a searcher that used DNA?
There are many to choose from.
My current favorite is of a birth mother from a very conservative and homogeneous community who had a child with a man from the middle east while in college. This was during the “Baby Scoop Era” with all it’s unconscionable pressures and activities by families and the adoption industry. She never forgot her child and searched for her child all her life. After many decades, she reconnected with the child’s father and together they continued the search with the support of his spouse and both of their other children. About a year ago, they got a DNA match that turned out to be their grandson. They are all now in reunion.
6. Why should people support DNAAdoption?
We provide free experienced and reputable support for every step of the entire search process. While using DNA to search is a major component of the help we provide, we also support traditional search methods and, unlike most all other search organizations, we provide experienced emotional support and encouragement throughout the search, contact, and reunion steps.
Unlike almost all other search organizations, we are a registered charity with 100% of our funds going to operating costs. None of our volunteers are paid.
7. How can they help?
The easiest way to help is to donate. Your donation may be tax-deductible.
Just click on the donate button here: https://dnaadoption.org/
Folks can make purchases through our affiliates, like Celebrate DNA! and designate DNAAdoption as their Amazon smile charity of choice.
All our affiliates can be found here:
Finally, we are always looking for volunteers, especially with media content design (web and class materials), IT support, and social media communications experience.
8. Where do you call home?
San Diego, CA
9. What do you do for a living? Occupation?
Program Manager and Senior Systems Analyst (Engineering), retired Navy
10. When did you do a DNA test?
11. What prompted you to take a DNA test? Was it your idea? Were you looking for anything specific?
It was the only avenue to search for my birth father since he was not mentioned in my adoption paperwork or birth certificate nor was my birth mother forthcoming about him.
12. Which testing company did you use?
Autosomal DNA tests at AncestryDNA and 23andMe, transferred to FTDNA, MyHeritage, and GEDMatch. Later tested at LivingDNA
Y-DNA test at FTDNA.
13. Were you surprised with your ethnicity results or did you expect them?
Not really. I expected to be European and since I had found my birth mother, already had an idea of what some of the ethnicity results would be.
14. Were there ethnicities that surprised you? Is so which?
No ethnicities surprised me. However, my Y-DNA haplogroup group did. It is Scandinavian Viking.
15. Has your outlook on race or national identity changed since you received your results?
No. I happily claim all my heritage from both my adoptive and birth families.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
“DNAAdoption is thrilled to be partnering with CelebrateDNA! We are looking forward to a long and mutually beneficial collaboration.
What is found during the search, contact, and reunion process is often much different than the fantasies (dreams) that searchers and those being sought have envisioned. It is often both much richer and challenging than expected. If you are a searcher, whatever you do, don’t do it alone. Get reputable and experienced help and support.”