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Subcultures of Adoption and Genetic Genealogy

Updated: Sep 24, 2020

There are so many resources and topics I want to share with you, my mind races to find a logical progression. The first thing we should acknowledge is that every adoptee is as unique as every family and as every biological child. It seems such an obvious statement when I see it written, but it's a necessary disclaimer because I'm going to make some generalizations in this series. All adoptees and foundlings do not want to find their birth families, but I do believe most of us wrestle with issues of identify and esteem at some point. This 2nd article in my series on adoptees and foundlings will focus on the opportunities and challenges faced by many, if not all, who are interested in finding their genetic origins.

I am tempted to get right into the relationships of adoptive parents with their child and their openness or reluctance to support their child's search for his or her biological relations. I promise I'll get into that and much more in coming articles, but today I want to share the "underground" of genealogy. Genetic genealogy is a fascinating pursuit which is growing wildly thanks to the advent of autosomal DNA testing. There has long-been an interest in searching for historical connections, famous relatives and ethnic associations. Everyone wants to be a descendant of royalty or prove that they have Native American or exotic ethnic heritage. This lore was often passed on in oral traditions or handwritten Bible pages, but it was largely a matter of faith until DNA testing became available and affordable in the last decade. Today, people who have celebrated Native American customs and traditions all their lives are discovering that they have no Native American DNA at all. Men are trading in their kilts for lederhosen and the whole darn world is in the grips of a full-fledged identity crisis! That's the case for those who know their biological families. Welcome to the world of those who don't.

I was fascinated by genealogy before I knew what the word meant or how to spell it. I loved looking at old pictures of my father's family. The picture of my grandmother's father that rested on the piano which she played in her living room was an endless source of wonder. Did I look like him? I did a little, I decided. Maybe I resembled him more than my grandmother, his own daughter? Meh, not quite that much...but I often lost time time staring at pictures of him, my uncles, aunts, and cousins comparing them to one another and to myself. Back then, there was no one to talk to about these thoughts. Everyone was a biological member of the family except me. As much as they loved me and I them, how could they understand my interest in missing pieces when they had none of their own?

Today, however, the existence of networking and social media has made the world so much smaller for us all - including those touched by adoption. Whether you were adopted, you adopted a child, you gave a child up for adoption, or you simply don't know your origin, there are multiple social media groups which comprise a virtual underground or subculture of very compassionate subject matter experts. The people who volunteer to do this are some of the most selfless, kindest people I have had the pleasure of meeting - even if our encounters have only been via telephone, instant messaging, and email.

I can never recount what they have done better than the beneficiaries of their gifts or better than the projects they have initiated which help thousands of people every day. For those who are seaching, here are links that I encourage you to bookmark and visit often. These are moderated groups which require approval to join, but if you're an adoptee or foundling, these were created especially for you. When I found my first DNA match on Ancestry, the cousin told me about these two groups. She and I are still working on identifying our common ancestor, but because she shared this information with me, I found one of the most wonderful, experienced, compassionate people I've ever met who became my personal Search Angel. Her name is Linny and she helped me find my entire truth. She inspired me to help others. Start here, and share this blog with others. The articles that are coming up will get into the thick of things, and I'll continue to share links and resources that I've found helpful along the way.



The DNA Detectives group is focused on bringing together volunteers with genetic genealogy and searching experience with those seeking biological family -- adoptees, foundlings, donor-conceived individuals, unknown paternity and all other types of unknown parentage cases, near or far. This group is for members helping members and self-education.

Welcome to "Foundling Finders," a private group just for our special foundlings, their close family and their search angels/DNA Detectives! I am so happy to have you all here supporting each other in your searches. We have some VERY special people here already! I know we will continue to see many successes.


Web Sites

Personal Blog of CeCe Moore. CeCe is an independent professional genetic genealogist and media consultant. She has worked for three seasons as the genetic genealogy consultant and scriptwriter for the PBS Television documentary series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (since 2013). She is a sought after media consultant and the founder of The DNA Detectives, which boasts an online following of over 30,000 people.

PBS portal for Henry Louis Gates. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, cultural critic, and institution builder, Professor Gates has authored seventeen books and created fourteen documentary films, including Finding Your Roots, season two, now airing on PBS. His six-part PBS documentary series, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross (2013), which he wrote, executive produced, and hosted, earned the Emmy Award for Outstanding Historical Program—Long Form, as well as the Peabody Award and NAACP Image Award.

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