Dear Dr. Wallace:

Last year, my grandmother arranged for me to take a DNA test because I was curious about my genetics. I’m 19 now, and my mom thought my dad was a man who currently lives and works in the next county over from us, a man who hasn’t been a part of my life for many, many years. However, the DNA test proved that this particular man was not my father!

The DNA profile identified another person who lives near where we currently live. I sent that person a Facebook message that I might be related to him, and I also provided my birth data. My message was answered immediately, and I was put in touch with a man who my mother knew from their high school days.

I ended up meeting my father, but I didn’t feel any special kind of connection to him. He currently has a family, including several other children, one as young as 6 years old. I’ve seen him only a few times.

Since I’m soon to head into my 20s and beyond, do you think I’ll ever have a father-daughter relationship with him at some point? He was very cordial and did take a bit of an interest in me, but given each of our current circumstances, our meeting was a bit muted and bland. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not expecting camping trips and vacations to Disney World at this point. It’s just that I would like to spend some regular time with my biological father, much like almost every girl would like to.

— Found my Father,

via email

Dear Found My Father: Congratulations on meeting your birth father. You’re a very lucky lady to be in a geographical area that is so close to his residence and get the opportunity to have at least a bit of a relationship to start with.

This relationship will take time because you’ve already matured into an adult and he has current family responsibilities. However, the good news is that you’ve made that connection. Do all you can to be a part of your father’s life and those of your half brothers and sisters, without being pushy or too forward. You can volunteer to babysit at times, for example, if that might be needed.

Keep in touch, and let your father know that maintaining a good relationship with him is important to you.

Write to Dr. Wallace at rwallace@galesburg.net.

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