MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Edina resident Lee Wolfe Blum now knows a secret that changed her life.
“There has been a secret about me, held in the family for 46 years, and everyone promised when I was born not to tell,” Lee said.
The secret unraveled one year ago. Lee convinced her sister to take an AncestryDNA tests.
“The ads even make it like it’s this awesome thing. You’re gonna find out this awesome history, you’re gonna find out everything about your family that you never knew,” Lee said. “But what they don’t tell you is that you’re gonna find out everything about your family that you didn’t know [laughs!]”
The results showed that Lee and her sister are actually half-sisters.
“I was devastated. You get into a state of shock, like I can’t even explain,” Lee said. “So I called Ancestry, I was on hold forever, and then said, you know, ‘How can this be true? How can I spit in a tube and you can find out this? My sister and I look just alike,’ and the woman on the phone said, ‘You need to call your family.’ That was it. And then she hung up.”
She says she felt stranded with no guidance. Then she found an online community with 7,000 others in a similar predicament.
“My whole entire life unraveled. Everything about me, the way I look, my DNA,” Lee said.
After questioning her now-estranged mother, Lee realized the father who raised her was not the man whose genes she shared. She says her mother had an affair with a man from Georgia – a man she recently went to visit.
“I’ve always thought I look like my dad. I’ve always thought my face looks like his. And then I met my birth father … and I look him,” Lee said.
She still doesn’t understand the details — just that her mother, birth father and the man who raised her all knew.
“I get it why they did what they did,” Lee said. “I think as time went on, it just became too difficult to say it.”
Lee says she is glad she found out. She plans to take her knowledge and write a book, hoping DNA companies will broaden their support systems.
“My other hope is that if anyone is in silence, dealing with this, that they would know they’re not alone,” Lee said.
She says people need to know that a simple test can complicate everything.
Lee says her birth father never had any other children. Now they’re forming a bond. But she and the father who raised her are closer than ever.
We reached out to AncestryDNA about support for people like Lee. They say they have “…a small, dedicated group of highly-experienced representatives who speak to customers with more sensitive queries.”