Local Woman Finds Father Through 23 and Me

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By Mercedes Cannon
D'Anna is pictured in the smaller photograph on the family's piano.

For many, family is just a phone call away, but for one local woman, it was one test away. D’anna Rood, a local resident, was adopted at an early age by her stepfather and never knew her biological father. With her upcoming wedding next year, she decided to partake in the 23 and Me genetic testing to find out more about her lineage and what could be passed on to future children.

When D’Anna initially took the test, she was interested in finding out about herself genetically but never anticipated finding her biological father as a result.

After taking the test and receiving her results, D’Anna discovered she had “DNA relatives,” which are other test individuals that share similar parts of your DNA and decided to investigate further. The top result that came back was for a man named “Chuck,” who she then contacted through the messaging section on the 23 and Me website.

“When I first saw that my biological father was on there I was in shock and almost dropped my phone.” Said D’Anna. “I called my (step) father and just said ‘I am not trying to replace you.’”

D’Anna received a reply from Chuck’s widow, Mary, who informed her that he had unfortunately passed away March of this year. Mary offered to connect D’Anna with one of her daughters, Jennifer, who lived only a short distance away.

The two women met at a local frozen yogurt shop where Jennifer shared pictures and stories of Chuck. Jennifer shared with D’Anna that her baby picture was included with photos from the rest of the family on their piano. She was also shown videos of Chuck getting to hear his voice, something she thought she would never hear.

D’Anna who is a special education teacher herself, learned that she comes from a family of educators as Chucks mother was a teacher as well.

When asked what advice she could offer to those hesitant about pursuing genetic testing she said, “I would encourage them not to wait and not be afraid, in my case I was a little too late and you don’t know what opportunity you could be missing out on.”

D’Anna is getting married next year and has decided to invite her new found family to the ceremony. To honor Chuck and include him in the ceremony in spirit, she has decided to include his photograph on an “Ofrenda,” a memorial table with photos to honor loved ones who have passed on that is popular with many Latino cultures being that her fiancé is half Mexican.

23 and Me is a service that offers DNA testing to trace possible ancestry. The test requires a saliva sample to be mailed to and tested at the company’s lab to determine individual results. More information on pricing and details on different tests and kits can be found on 23andme.com.

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