Cover Photo: photo by Kristie Wells/flickr
photo by Kristie Wells/flickr

Love and DNA: My Adopted Daughter’s Search for Her Roots

DNA testing reveals some answers to lifelong questions.

I understand that my parents want to protect me because I’m young. They don’t want me to be hurt or find out something that I can’t handle, but it’s frustrating and hard at times. I understand that they have to protect me, but it’s still frustrating.

Here’s what I have to say to adoptive parents: I think you might get upset because when your child meets their actual birth parents, they might get attached to them. But this is not a bad thing.


I wanted to do my DNA testing because I wanted to see what I could find out about my birth mom. I know the tests don’t tell everything, but I wanted to find out some things. One thing I learned is that I’m less African than I expected.


My last word of advice? Listen to your child.

Deesha Philyaw’s debut short story collection, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, won the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the 2020/2021 Story Prize, and the 2020 LA Times Book Prize: The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction.