A DNA surprise discovery takes a while to sink in and depending on your choices, this could be the end or beginning of a much longer journey. As a counselor and NPE my first thought was, are there any others like me out there who I can relate to? The answer was and still is yes and the number is growing! There are numerous Facebook groups filled with information and experiences about others and their NPE journeys. It’s also important to note that these groups abide by confidentiality (as is reasonable) and most have a brief interview process, similar to what someone would experience in being screened for group therapy.
In my first month as a new NPE, I found these groups to be critical in my healing as they contained considerable amounts of useful information, most of which already spoke on feelings or similar thoughts that were running through my head. I also found that when I posed a question on the group page, it was instantly answered by multitudes who could relate or had already gone through what I was experiencing. These groups are amazingly helpful and encouraging through the ups and downs, and for this, many thanks can be given to online support systems for NPE’s. These interactions in community helped me to cautiously develop a plan for how I would contact my new biological father (more on this in the next post) as well as other planned out steps that I took. I found that because of the experiences of others, I was able to understand the best to worse possible outcome. It was then that I had time to think, consider, and pray before going in. Also, I feel that the information from others helps to take some of the shock away, seeing you know what you can possibly expect.
A unique aspect of such a large online group, concerns the array of generations that are accounted for. I’ve noticed that the range varies but you will mostly see Millennials through Baby Boomers. These different generations add insight to the group from their own timely perspective and experience. I believe that this allows for a richer accumulation or body of knowledge. However, I also found it helpful that there exists sub groups such as a Millennials only page. In the sub groups you can find those who might be more similar in experience due to their life stage development. There’s a lot to be said for going through something like this together and with others in your generational realm. But too, there is much to be gained in experiencing this alongside everyone as well. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!
So, why community? In community we find common ground and when working properly, safety and support. Support is crucial in navigating through the unknown and knowing that someone is there to listen, celebrate, encourage, and mourn with you. These aspects can help when grief and depression try to set in. One example I had through a group was that I posted a picture of my bf and siblings who I had just found. Next to their pictures was a picture of me and I asked the group if they could see similarities. I had tons of replies as did others, and these replies where others could see similarities in our appearance, greatly encouraged me to seek out my new family and see if I could be welcomed! This was just one of many instances where the group helped me in my experience. Overall, concerning this specified community, I have found my experience to be beneficial. I’ve had others bear the burdens of my sadness, encourage me when I wanted to give up on the next step, and even more rewardingly, ask me for my help as others came into their own DNA surprise discovery. The process of seeking out and becoming a part of the NPE community brings healing and in time, brings greater satisfaction as we are able to contribute toward helping others. You aren’t alone, even if you feel like the odd one at the moment. There are others out there and all you have to do is send a flare.
Here are two group resources for those searching for other NPE’s to connect with.