DNA Dad

Today I ordered 3 DNA home test kits so I can finally figure out who the hell the father is.

I wanted to post this opener on Facebook yesterday but Erik had the kind of expression that said ‘my-mother-is-on-facebook-so-please-don’t’. I gave him my ‘at-this-point-I-don’t-think-it-would-change-anything’ look but I’m nothing if not an obedient wife.

Of course my post is somewhat misleading as I’m getting the DNA tests done to see what comes up as my genetic/geographic origins and not to find out who is the father of my non-existent baby. Though it’s a shame that DNA testing wasn’t around in 1965 as it would have been handy for my birth mother in answering a fairly crucial question. But perhaps not as handy as a pregnancy predictor wee-stick.

I hadn’t even considered DNA testing until yesterday but apparently it’s all the rage in the adoption community. At lunch a work colleague was asked where she was going on holiday next year. She said that it depended on the results of her adopted husband’s DNA test. (Note: he was adopted, but not by her because that would be a weird way find a husband, even though everyone knows that us adoptees are fundamentally flawed and in need of rescue). The plan is that whichever country his roots are deemed to come from will be their holiday spot.

Sensibly they do have a back-up plan in case the DNA proves inconclusive, or if he turns out to be something undesirable like North Korean or Welsh. Their back-up plan involves DNA-testing their dog to determine its dominant breed and then figure out the origins of that breed. All jokes about Korea aside, DNA’ing the dog seems fraught with more potential problems than the husband. Not least of which is getting the poor animal to accurately spit into a test tube. I don’t know if we’re talking pure-bred luxury pedigree or Austin Pets Alive blend but if it’s the latter then I wouldn’t hold out for anything exotic. Judging by the number of look-alikes in the shelters they might find that the geographic origins of their pup stretches about as far as San Antonio.

I certainly wouldn’t base our holiday plans on the DNA results of our Riley dog as we suspect she is part Shar Pei which would mean going to China, a country that is woefully short on all-inclusive beach resorts. The fact that the Shar Pei’s temperament is described as devoted, reserved, suspicious and independent has absolutely no connection to me. None whatsoever.

I would have tested Stormy dog’s DNA even though I already knew that she came from golden-retriever land which, unlike Hidden Valley Ranch, is not the product of an advertiser’s fantasy, and is the place I will be going to upon my demise. It’s one of the many benefits of being an atheist.

To be fair, most of the adoptees swabbing their gobs with q-tips are actually hoping for a match with a birth parent or at least some sort of clue. In the US most states deny adoptee access to their birth certificates whereas the UK has allowed access since 1977.  I am therefore using my swabs as a lie detector test to see whether my birth mother was finally telling the truth when she revealed my father’s name and nationality.

Of course I may still find some distant relatives. The websites for the different testing services have messages like “imagine your surprise at taking the test and finding a fifth cousin!’. Yeah just imagine. I’d be more surprised if I took it and found out my father was part Bernese mountain dog.

With this thought in mind, I’m considering keeping the results secret until my Fronterafest performance in January and then opening the envelopes live onstage. Admittedly not quite as dramatic as a ‘who’s the dadddy?’ episode of Maury, although if the name Charles Aznavour appears in any of them then the cameras had better be rolling.