An NPE stands for Non-Parent Expected or a Non-Parental Event, in which someone discovers that they are a part of a misattributed parentage, themselves being the unknowing child. To be more blunt, the believed parent isn’t actually related to the child biologically. In this growing community it is more commonly observed that the misattributed parentage involves the father. Though, this is not always so, for instance when dealing with those who discover they were adopted later in life, donor conceived, a result of hidden sexual assault, affairs, etc.
In recent, NPE has become the acronym adopted for those making this new life discovery. I think that Non-Parental Event doesn’t necessarily do full justice as it seems to insinuate that a parent must be biological. It would be good to identify and define what is considered a parent (i.e. that being the person who raised and supports you, etc). Nonetheless, currently this is the label that’s sticking and it’s sufficient for identifying this group and its experience. It’s good for identifying a community and bringing comfort and belonging. Perhaps a a more favored acronym in the future might be NBPE, Non Biological Parent Event / Parent Expected.
The most common discovery method as to one’s NPE status is through technological advancements in DNA testing offered by such companies as Ancestry.com and 23andMe. Again, though I say that DNA is the latest and most growing trend in NPE discovery, some discover through other means such as a relative or parent delivering the news that was kept secret for so long. Though this might be the case, it is DNA testing that takes this news from assumption/hear-say to a confirmed reality.
There are various means as to how someone discovers their NPE status, but the more fascinating part are the commonly shared emotions, experiences, encouragement, and understanding that bring NPE’s together into a community in which they identify.