Catherine St Clair, the youngest of five children, loved learning about her family’s history. She was interested in her family’s genealogy, fascinated by the discovery of ancestors previously unknown.
It made sense then, that her older siblings decided to gift St Clair a DNA test for her birthday in 2016. They knew she would love it — and sure enough, St Clair could scarcely wait to submit her DNA and devour the results.
What she discovered, however, was traumatizing, confusing and made St Clair question the very fabric of who she was.
St Clair’s DNA test results revealed that her biological father was not the same person who had raised her as his own daughter for decades.
St Clair’s siblings were technically her half-siblings — so far, three of them have had DNA tests completed which confirmed that they were all fully blood-related.
St Clair was the odd man out, and since both her parents were deceased, she had to do some sleuthing to try and figure out the story her biological mother never told.
“It was really hard for me to look in the mirror,” St Clair told ABC News.
“I took for granted my whole life that I was looking at the reflection of my mom and my dad,” she said.
“And now I’m looking at — there’s half a person that I don’t even know who that is.”
Using the results from her test, St. Clair was able to track down a woman named Raetta who shared some of her DNA.
Raetta turned out to be St. Clair’s half-sister and was able to give her some information on her biological father.
“I learned that he was in the same town that I grew up in,” St Clair said adding that the town was very small. “All those years, we never crossed paths.”
Her mother had worked alongside her biological father in some capacity at his store, but the exact nature of their relationship will always be a mystery.
She also learned that her biological father had two marriages which resulted in one daughter from each marriage — Raetta, from the first, and Mona, who was born during her father’s second marriage.
The unexpected revelations made it tough for St Clair to grapple with new feelings of devastation, confusion and grief.
St Clair felt isolated and alone in her feelings, until she discovered others, in the online community, who could relate to her story.
She created a Facebook group called DNA NPE “Not Parent Expected” Friends. The secret group is meant to be a support group for others navigating similar stories in life.
St Clair said she’s come a long way since that shocking moment in 2016 when she learned the truth about her past. She’s reconciled the hurt, believing God has orchestrated things for a reason.
St Clair told The Atlantic that while pouring her aching, weary soul out to God, she heard his soothing voice:
“My darling child, it had to happen because there are a lot of lost souls, and they need somebody who’s strong enough to help them and lead them. The only way you could do that is if you’re one of them.”
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