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DNA Clarity and Support

DNA Clarity and Support

By Brianne Kirkpatrick

DNA discoveries change lives and redefine the meaning of family and personal identity. Join genetic counselor and founder of Watershed DNA, Brianne Kirkpatrick, as she dives into challenging issues with authors, leaders, and creatives in the DNA world. Made for adoptees, NPEs, donor-conceived people, their families, genealogists, search angels, and genetic counselors, hear from guests with a variety of perspectives. Learn about resources to help you navigate the next steps, whether you are new to a surprise DNA discovery or are living it. Visit for more.

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All of the locks that guarded her secrets no longer worked

DNA Clarity and SupportJan 28, 2022

Stigma, health, DNA, and adoptee rights: a discussion about the changing landscape in America

Stigma, health, DNA, and adoptee rights: a discussion about the changing landscape in America

Gabrielle Glaser is a New York Times bestselling author and journalist whose work on mental health, medicine, and culture has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times, and many other publications. Her fourth book "American Baby: A Mother, a Child, and the Shadow History of Adoption" chronicles the history of adoption in post-World War II America specifically through the story of one family touched by adoption.

On today's episode, Glaser talks with DNA Clarity and Support host Brianne Kirkpatrick about the history of coerced adoption in the United States and the influence of culture and stigma on women who under other circumstances might have chosen to parent. Glaser comments on the most shocking discovery she made while researching the history of American adoptions in the post-war era and comments on the frequency of DNA testing in the stories she heard while writing American Baby. The guest and host reflect on the importance of family medical history and how this affected David, the adoptee who is at the center of the story American Baby follows. Finally, Glaser shares what drew her to cover the topic of adoption history in the United States and her reaction to the reception of American Baby after its publication. 

Follow the author on Twitter @GabrielleGlaser or visit her website and find American Baby in print, Ebook, or audio version.

Listeners who find the topic of adoption of special interest might appreciate listening to these other past guests on the DNA Clarity and Support podcast:

Richard Hill

Melissa Guida-Richards

Mary Beth Sammons

Subscribe to our newsletter and never miss out on new resources, upcoming events, and other updates in the world of DNA testing, family searches, and unexpected discoveries from

May 16, 202239:60
Don't lose sight of your why

Don't lose sight of your why

In this episode, Brianne interviews author Diahan Southard, creator of Your DNA Guide, who brings a much-needed dose of enthusiasm to the talk about genealogy, a biological parent search, and DNA testing! Diahan's perspective adds balance to the conversation about the role and value of DNA and how it connects us to relatives living and those already passed.  

Listen as Diahan shares how her own DNA story began, starting in the early 2000s when the world of genetic genealogy was just getting started! 

Diahan's PLAN for approaching DNA testing has five key steps. Learn what she means by: 

- Are you asking a good DNA question? 

- Are you testing the right person? 

- Are you taking the right kind of DNA test?  

- Have you chosen the right testing company? 

- Are you performing the appropriate kind of analysis?

Diahan's step-wise approach to DNA testing helps people needing an organized approach, whether you're searching for biological relatives or are using it for your family's genealogy research. 

Confused by the various types of "cousin"? Diahan gives a clear explanation of the difference between a first, second, and more distant cousin and how the terms "removed" and "half" fit in. 

Wondering whether to test yourself or another relative for genealogical purposes? Diahan shares her reasoning for starting with a test on the oldest living relative who is willing to test.

Trying to put pieces together to figure out who in a family is someone's biological father? We discuss the need to be slow and methodical as you go through results and so you don't jump to the wrong conclusion, like naming the wrong brother as someone's biological father.

Overwhelmed by words you come across in the DNA world like mitochondria, autosomal DNA, centimorgan, or Y chromosome? Diahan takes the mystery out of these and other commonly used terms.

If you decide DNA testing might hold the key to answering your questions, know that there are sites like YourDNAGuide that help you get going and unstuck along the way and sites like Watershed DNA when an unexpected finding comes along.  

Find a copy of the book Your DNA Guide on Amazon in paperback or e-book 

or directly from Diahan's site (use the code "WatershedDNA" for a 20% discount!)

and follow Diahan on social media

Instagram @diahansouthard 

Twitter @DNAdiahan 


Find more resources and guidance on Sign up for the monthly newsletter and never miss a new episode or announcement! 

Apr 22, 202244:20
Solving crimes with DNA testing: understanding the basics

Solving crimes with DNA testing: understanding the basics

Did you know that if you test at FamilyTreeDNA, all you have to do is check a box of approval during the DNA kit registration process, and your DNA results and online family tree are automatically opted into a program that helps investigators work to solve cold cases? I invited author J.C. Kenney to talk about the 4th book in his Allie Cobb series of mystery novels. In A Deadly Discovery, a consumer DNA test and genetic genealogy course taught at the local library lead to the solving of a decades-old murder mystery in a small town in Indiana. 

You need not be a true crime fan or a DNA expert to learn from today's episode! Our conversation hones in on the highlights of DNA and crime investigation and is a great intro for those unfamiliar with investigative genetic genealogy, often shortened to IGG. 

Things we touch on in this discussion: 

Resources for learning more about IGG  What is a "cozy mystery"   How the town of Nashville, Indiana plays into it all 

Things we don't address in today's discussion? Ethicals gray zones and real-life criminal cases involving consumer DNA tests. We'll have to save that for a future episode of DNA Clarity and Support with a different author! In the meantime, you can read more about this topic (and some of Brianne's thoughts about consumer DNA testing and IGG) in an article by Ariel Ramchandani in Mother Jones magazine.

As we near the end of season 2 of DNA Clarity and Support and plan for a sabbatical over the summer months, we are curious to know what you think. Heard an episode this season that had an impact on you, and now you can't stop thinking about something you heard? Tell us about it! Recently finished a book related to a DNA discovery and you want to hear more from the author in a Q&A with Brianne? Send us your feedback and some questions you'd like us to ask of future guests!

Season 3 is in its planning stages right now, and we need YOUR help to make it a great one

Read J.C. Kenney's novel A Deadly Discovery on your e-reader or mobile device. (Make sure to check out the first three books in the series, too.)

Go back and catch up on past episodes of DNA Clarity and Support and join the mailing list at to never miss and episode or an announcement of new resources. 

Mar 25, 202219:32
Everyone deserves the right to know where they came from

Everyone deserves the right to know where they came from

Michael Blair knew from the age of 12 that his dad was not his biological father, but it was something not spoken about in the family. After years spent chasing down every last lead on his biological paternity, Michael's search entered a new phase when a consumer DNA test connected him to paternal DNA relatives. The up-and-down journey, the people he came to know along the way, and the new understanding he has of his parents are all documented in his memoir, I Had My Underwear on the Entire Time.

This lovely episode includes a drop-in visit from his wife, Amy, co-author and #1 supporter of Michael in his search for information. Who is this episode for? Anyone nervous to begin a search, anyone who has found their expectations shattered, and anyone who just needs to know they are not alone if their DNA story isn't like a Hallmark movie. Find wisdom and solace from Michael and Amy, no matter your role in a DNA search and discovery. 

Some unique parts of Michael's story will resonate with listeners, such as the discovery that the biological family he found had already been through its own ups and downs in the past. There were pre-existing divisions within the family, and complicating factors that led some to embrace Michael while others did not. Step-parents and and parents raising a child who isn't biologically related will also find comfort in Michael's advice to parents that no parent is perfect, you just have to do your best to be honest with your child.

Other parts of the discussion cover:

The role of a Thanksgiving turkey in Michael's search(!) Michael's current relationships with his mom, dad (the step-father who adopted him as a toddler), and biological father  Michael's participation in advocacy efforts to open access to original birth certificates in the state of Iowa  The vital role of medical history in his story The value of therapy in coping with mental health struggles  Resources Michael found helpful, including and NPE Friends Fellowship

Read in paperback

Read the E-book

 (Note: If you don't own a Kindle, you can download the Kindle app for free on your device and read that way.)

Listen to other episodes about misattributed parentage and family secrets on DNA Clarity and Support

Follow our newsletter and never miss other updates, resources, and podcast episodes!

Mar 08, 202237:29
All of the locks that guarded her secrets no longer worked

All of the locks that guarded her secrets no longer worked

In midlife, Peter J. Boni learned the truth of his genetic origins: his parents had used sperm donor assistance to conceive him. The news wasn't revealed by a DNA test or directly from a parent, the way most donor-conceived individuals find out. Instead, the news came from another person who had been with his mother in a rehabilitation center while she recovered from heart surgery and a post-operative stroke; his mother had begun to share the story with others of using a sperm donor to conceive in 1945 but had not shared it with her son yet. "All of the locks that guarded her secrets no longer worked," Boni explained. 

This revelation led to a conversation between Boni and his mother during which he shared with her how disruptive it had been to discover he was sperm donor-conceived later in life. In this episode of DNA Clarity and Support, Boni describes not only the personal experience of learning he is 'semi-adopted' but also the outcomes of his extensive research on the sociological, scientific, and legal aspects of assisted reproductive technologies. Boni's book Uprooted published in 2022 is dedicated to sharing the outcomes of his research, much of which is likely unknown even to those who work professionally in ART world.

The conversation between host Brianne Kirkpatrick and Boni swings back and forth, exploring the personal impacts on Boni and his awareness of the need for societal change. Boni shares how the new trauma of the NPE ('not parent expected') discovery rekindled some of the old trauma from his past, requiring hard work in the therapist's office to work through. He describes the discovery of a half-sibling and the development of relationships with her and other newly-discovered biological relatives.    

An important aspect of Boni's work is his desire to shine a light on the areas of the assisted reproductive industry where change is needed. He speaks of the Bill of Rights of the Donor Conceived that is listed at the conclusion of Uprooted and encourages the discussion and changes needed on a legislative level to start happening. The discussion with Boni hits upon main points that can help others who are not donor-conceived understand what it is like to go through the process of a misattributed parentage experience. It's an important one.

Find your copy of Uprooted: Family Trauma, Unknown Origins, and the Secretive History of Artificial Insemination:

On Kindle

In hardcover print from Amazon or (bookshop supports independent booksellers)

Listen on Audible

Jan 28, 202231:28
I truly believe things happen the way they're supposed to happen

I truly believe things happen the way they're supposed to happen

Katie Hopkins never guessed that a discovery about her sister's unexpected paternity would be just the start of a number of surprises in the family. What began as crumbs of information left in family documents led to DNA testing which confirmed a hidden family history. In Exposed by DNA, Hopkins shares an account of learning that her biological parentage--as well as that of two of her three siblings--was different than what they all had been raised to believe.  

Hopkins has a rare ability to delve into the deeply hurtful topics of betrayal and fractured self-identity while retaining a perspective sprinkled with humor and empathy. She is able to express understanding for her parents and also for others who like herself have traveled the road of a misattributed parentage discovery and all of the disruptions to identity that ensue.

This episode of DNA Clarity and Support includes an *update* since Hopkins first published her book. Listen as Hopkins shares things she learned after the first version of her book was completed and published. If you have an earlier version of Exposed by DNA (purchased in the autumn of 2021 or earlier) and the book ends with chapter 32, visit to download the FREE final chapter 33.

Jan 19, 202234:01
We had to take care of ourselves: embracing genetics for an entire family's medical care

We had to take care of ourselves: embracing genetics for an entire family's medical care

In this episode, Laura Kieger talks about her family's experience with the hereditary cancer syndrome, FAP. In Summer's Complaint: My family's courageous, century-long struggle with a rare genetic cancer syndrome Kieger chronicles her family's multigenerational struggle with familial adenomatous polyposis. Summer's Complaint highlights the health aspects of DNA, the importance of knowing a genetic diagnosis and connecting with knowledgeable specialists, and sharing medical details with family. Kieger relates how in just a few short decades, the progress of medical genetics and cancer diagnosis has had a profound impact on her own life and others in her family. If anyone needs an example to point to as support for the importance of sharing DNA medical surprises with family, this episode of DNA Clarity and Support offers it!

Although considered a rare disease, FAP affects many families around the world. Kieger gives listeners a short summary of what everyone should know about the condition and describes how the condition has had variable effects on different relatives in the family. Life with FAP is different for the younger people in her family compared to the past generations, with genetic testing now making it possible for younger family members to avoid the intense and often invasive medical surveillance that she and her siblings endured. Also learn how assisted reproductive technologies like IVF have altered the transmission of FAP in her and other families.

From a story of learning about dominant hereditary conditions in a college lecture to the experience of losing multiple family members at too-young an age, Kieger's experience is relatable even for those who do not have a family history of hereditary cancer.

The episode ends with a discussion about:

Kieger's personal experience working with an insightful genetic counselor named Mary The life-changing impact of DNA test results  The origins of the name of Watershed DNA The value of genetic counseling for FAP families no matter the outcome of genetic test results  Online resources like NORD that allow anyone to find reliable information on rare diseases and genetic conditions 

Follow @LKiegerAuthor on Twitter or visit the author's site at

Find your copy of Summer's Complaint at these and other online retailers:

On Amazon (print) 

On Kindle 

On (support independent booksellers)

Nov 30, 202145:44
Take your time and be patient with yourself: Exploring identity crisis

Take your time and be patient with yourself: Exploring identity crisis

Season 2 of DNA Clarity and Support kicks off with an interview of Melissa Guida-Richards! Guida-Richards is a late-discovery transracial adoptee and the author of What White Parents Should Know About Transracial Adoption. Inspired by the discovery at age 19 of her adoption from Columbia into an Italian and Portuguese American family, Melissa has authored articles to help others understand her experience. Her latest book aims to educate and guide White parents who are raising an adopted child with a differing genetic ethnicity. Among the topics host Brianne and the guest discuss is how Melissa developed a sense of being LatinX through food, music, and language; her identification of biological relatives via DNA testing; and the growth and changes that took place in the relationship with each of her parents.

Here's what the author describes you can expect to learn from her book:

What parents wish they'd known before they adopted - and what kids wish their adoptive parents had done differently What White privilege, White saviorism, and toxic positivity are...and how they show up, even when you don't mean it How your child might feel and experience the world differently than you All about microaggressions, labeling, and implicit bias How to help your child connect with their cultural heritage through language, food, music, and clothing The five stages of grief for adoptive parents How to start tough conversations, work with defensiveness, and process guilt

LISTEN NOW then search for your copy of What White Parents Should Know about Transracial Adoption at one of the following sites!

Find on Amazon

Find on

Listen on Audible

Nov 09, 202122:16
The adoptee who pioneered DNA testing to search for birth family

The adoptee who pioneered DNA testing to search for birth family

In today's episode, we'll meet Richard Hill, the adoptee who was the first to use DNA testing to search for and discover the identity of his birth parents. This pioneer took his decades of searching and turned his story into an opportunity to teach and help others along their own paths.  

Host Brianne interviews Richard about the highlights of his search which are detailed in Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA. An experienced speaker, Richard continues to educate others around the world, often via webinars.

This episode contains details of Richard's story as well as descriptions of Y chromosome testing and autosomal DNA testing and how these two types of DNA are tools that help in different ways for someone on a search for biological family. It's great listening for the beginner just starting to learn about DNA and its connection to genealogy and biological family as well as the experienced searcher who might be wondering about how to guide others in the "what now" phase after family members are identified.

Richard speaks about the impact the late discovery of his adoption had on him as a young adult and how learning he had a biological brother he learned about was the trigger to start his search in earnest. The conversation wraps up with Richard sharing his insights into the best outcomes from advances in DNA testing and his forecast for the future.

Learn more about Richard Hill:

Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA -- available in print, eBook, and audiobook formats

Guide to DNA Testing - Kindle book available on (non-Kindle owners can read through the Kindle app for mobile)

Richard's collection of sites and resources for genetic genealogy - 

Interested in learning more about unknown parentage searches and DNA testing? Check out Watershed DNA founder Brianne Kirkpatrick's books:

Could the DNA Test Be Wrong?

DNA Guide for Adoptees

Jul 12, 202150:35
Singing a new song after the truth is uncovered

Singing a new song after the truth is uncovered

In the first 4 minutes of today's podcast, you'll hear a ballad sung by today's guest, Cory Goodrich, inspired by her NPE discovery. Then we'll get started with the conversation!

What happens when a brilliantly creative person finds time on their hands during a worldwide pandemic? If you're Cory Goodrich, the stars align in a way that opens doors, and you churn out a hopeful and poignant memoir called Folksong.

Cory's memoir touches on the pain & hope she felt through her journey at the end of her mother's life and through the discovery soon after that her mother had been keeping a secret about Cory's paternity for decades.

If you are a mother or parent keeping a DNA secret...

If you are a family member who wants a family secret to stay under wraps...

If you are a sibling who finds out your brother or sister is a half sibling, or that you have a new sibling you didn't know about...

And especially if you're an NPE struggling...stop & listen to Cory's experience today.

We kick off the conversation with Cory's editor Elizabeth Lyons involved in the discussion. The funny Cory/Elizabeth duo documents the twists involved in crossing paths and bringing Folksong to life. Cory then explores the ways creative expression has been life-saving to her. Her art has taken on new life and new meaning since she discovered that music and acting (and even painting!) are in her DNA.

We learn about Cory's journey of loss and how she was able to work her way through it.

Cory aims to de-stigmatize mental health issues for those with an NPE discovery. If in the aftermath of a DNA discovery, you have the thought "I am going crazy," Cory wants you to know she's been there, too. If you've struggled with your sanity, if you've had suicidal ideation, considered or tried therapy and medication to get you through it, Cory wants you to understand you are not alone.

Cory also addresses the mothers out there who--like hers--hold a secret about their child's genetic origins. She speaks to these mothers with honesty and compassion. Your child might be angry, she says, but if they are like Cory, once the anger resides the empathy moves in. A most powerful comment Cory makes about her mother was this: "I never would have stopped loving her."

"I am so grateful for who I am today because of this," says Cory near the end of the episode. 

A not-to-miss episode of DNA Clarity and Support!


Cory's website

The Folksong website

Directory of specialized counselors at (formerly

Mental health professional training for NPE support:

- Parental Identity Discovery by Jodi Klugman-Rabb

- NPE Trauma-Informed Coaching sponsored by NPE Friends Fellowship

Find 24/7 support on the Watershed DNA mighty network and

If you're experiencing a mental health crisis, please reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

Jun 21, 202152:36
Looking back now, it all looks black and white

Looking back now, it all looks black and white

"I was no stranger to shock and grief...[but] this was something altogether different. The quality of it was different...It was trauma at the level of identity."

A watershed moment in the life of Dani Shapiro--the discovery that she was donor-conceived--was triggered by an innocent adventure into consumer DNA testing. As a memoirist and novelist, Dani had spent her career putting her life experiences into words to guide the way for others. Her NPE ('not parent expected') discovery was no exception. Dani published her NPE memoir "Inheritance" in 2019, and it's the book she says she was born to write.

Different types of NPE experiences include late-discovery adoptions, the revelation of an extra-marital affair, and more. When the discovery is made during life, and how it is made, can have long-term impacts on feelings around self-identity. In this episode of DNA Clarity and Support, Dani answers questions like, "How much of your experience was in your head? How much was a physiological or physical reaction?" Her husband Michael Maren joins in the conversation with host Brianne for a little while to tell about Dani's NPE discovery from the perspective of spouse, search assistant, and main support person. 

Dani talks about the therapy she sought out.

Talk therapy (not so helpful)
Writing and journaling (therapeutic)
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, EMDR (helpful to her)

Even if you've already read Inheritance and listened to Dani on other podcasts, you will learn something new and take away a deeper understanding of the impact of DNA testing on lives.

Genetic counselors, IVF counselors, and others who work in the world of infertility and assisted reproductive technology--make sure to stick around and listen through to the end. You are the professionals involved when families are making decisions today that will result in NPE discoveries like Dani's in the future. Brianne has some thoughts for you and encourages you to be at the forefront of changes in the world of donor conception. 

The era of family secrets has come to an end, and it's time to stop and listen and learn and discuss how we as a society move into the next era with compassion and understanding and a unified goal of healing and support. Thanks to Dani for shining a light and leading the way for many who follow in her footsteps.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Right to Know

DNA Detectives - lists the collective of Genetic Identity Rights supporters

Brianne's "Prepare to Share" coaching services for parents who need to share a DNA secret with their child 

The Body Keeps Score

Family Secrets podcast

Follow Dani Shapiro:


Instagram: @daniwriter

Twitter: @danijshapiro

Facebook: Dani Shapiro 

Find your copy of Inheritance:



Paperback book

Jun 07, 202101:06:25
When genetic disease leads to a surprise family DNA discovery

When genetic disease leads to a surprise family DNA discovery

Want to learn a little bit about where the fear and stigma around cousin marriages come from? Ready to be challenged by listening in on a conversation between two genetic counselors discussing past work with families facing uncertain, traumatic pregnancies? Things get real really fast in this episode. We will warn you upfront, some listeners might struggle with some parts of the conversation. 

Janice Berliner is a genetic counselor and author whose first novel "Brooke's Promise" is the main point of discussion. In this episode, Brianne and Janice cover a lot of ground. The topics you can expect to hear about are:

hereditary genetic diseases  unexpected family relationship discoveries  accidental incest and cousin couples  other ethical challenges faced by the main characters in Janice's novel "Brooke's Promise" 

Janice has chosen to be vague in talking about the details of her novel's storyline, so as not to give away the ending! But she opens up with Brianne and listeners of DNA Clarity and Support about the issues the characters face. Issues like: 

facing social stigma  

thoughts of pregnancy termination 

grappling with the diagnosis of a life-limiting disease in an infant 

uncovering upsetting information about genetic family relationships that brings everything into question  

This episode is different from previous episodes of DNA Clarity and Support, as we take the discussion to the edge of what's within the comfort zone for most people. We give you a sense of how genetic counselors can be a resource and a safety net when things go sideways in the world of DNA testing. 

Brianne briefly mentions resources for those in the community of adoptees, NPE ("not parent expected") discovery-makers, and genealogists and search angels who make a discovery of closely related bio parents. This is sometimes called a high ROH discovery. Here's information from to help you know where to go and what to do next:

What is "high ROH"? 

How a high ROH discovery granted a sense of relief and healing for one person 

Encouraging compassion around ROH discoveries 

If you are curious to understand more about hereditary genetic disease and are willing to explore the ethical twists and turns that arise for a family raising a medically fragile child, order your copy of Brooke's Promise. Reach out to Janice at with your thoughts!

You can find Brooke's Promise at these places:


Barnes and Noble

Good Reads

Janice Berliner's website 

Brianne's book The DNA Guide for Adoptees includes chapters on many topics discussed in today's episode, including high ROH, support resources for those making unexpected DNA discoveries, and medical genetics. 

Find your copy here:


May 24, 202121:09
Guidance for the newly discovered 'Bio Dad' and his family

Guidance for the newly discovered 'Bio Dad' and his family

This episode has been reported to be a trigger for those who are the adoptee, donor-conceived person, or NPE/MPE in a surprise family member discovery. The experience and perspective of those individuals are not covered. 

With the increasing popularity of at-home consumer DNA testing through companies like and 23andMe, more and more men are finding previously unknown offspring. For a man with a wife and family, this discovery presents unique challenges, particularly if that newfound "child" is a grown woman. 

In this episode, host Brianne Kirkpatrick interviews Molly Corrigan, the author of the short guide "An Unexpected Father-Daughter DNA Match." Corrigan wrote this straightforward, quick read with input from her husband to support the discovered biological father and his family. It's a resource she describes as something she wishes had existed when their family was suddenly faced with a surprise biological child discovered through an extended family member's DNA test. 

Blog posts about the biological father and family side of DNA discoveries are less common, but these are some of the most often visited and read of all guest posts on the Watershed DNA blog. Read more below:

Two biological fathers share their experiences

Molly describes the reason for creating "An Unexpected Father-Daughter DNA Match"

Laura describes the shock and grief experience that happened from the appearance of an adult child for she and her husband who were child-free by choice

Many NPEs, adoptees, and others who reach out to biological relatives have a desire for medical information. Although the adoptee who reached out to the Corrigan family reportedly did not ask about it this, medical history a common and valid reason for outreach. Family medical history is a cornerstone of the medical record, as it can help forewarn some people of potential threats to their health and future generations of the family.

Read more on the topic of gathering family history here:

A blog post about the importance of family medical history, how to gather it, and what to do if you can't

What to focus on when asking about family medical history

For more details on this, check out chapters 20-27 in The DNA Guide for Adoptees.

Corrigan welcomes contact from listeners. Reach out to 

Three ways to read An Unexpected Father-Daughter DNA Match:

Find a paper copy on Amazon

Read on Kindle

Get the instant download NOW (on any device; no e-reader needed)

May 10, 202135:18
What is family? What is ethnicity?

What is family? What is ethnicity?

Listen to this episode of DNA Clarity and Support as author Libby Copeland discusses with Brianne the complex themes she explores in her timely book The Lost Family: How DNA Testing Is Upending Who We Are. This popular science read makes the topic of DNA and family approachable by all readers, no matter their familiarity with the topics of genetics and genealogy. Copeland centers the narrative on the story of a woman named Alice Plebuch and draws in the stories of other individuals and families impacted by genealogy, genetic testing, and family discoveries. Follow this link to read Copeland's Washington Post original article about Alice.

In this episode:

Hear from Copeland as she describes the impact writing The Lost Family had on the understanding of her own family.  Get tips on resources for those involved in adoption, donor conception, and "NPE" not-parent-expected (sometimes called MPE) discoveries.  Understand more about the adjustment to changes in self-identity, whether involving ethnicity or family, for a person who learns unanticipated news from a DNA test. Find out how to order a special copy signed by the author and how to support indie booksellers.

Involved in an unexpected family discovery? Find support today by becoming a Watershed DNA member whether you are a person at the center of the discovery or a person impacted by a DNA discovery for someone else. This (+more) at!

Get your copy of The Lost Family from one of these places:

Amazon (works with independent bookstores around the U.S.)

The Village Bookstore (a brick-and-mortar store in Pleasantville, New York that will send you a signed copy)

Apr 26, 202124:29
Appreciating a sense of peace once it comes

Appreciating a sense of peace once it comes

One DNA discovery in a family is often more than what happens when there are nine?

Stephen Anderson never expected that his decades of family research using traditional methods--genealogical records and oral histories--would be turned into a years-long journey to unravel the truth around his paternity and that of his many siblings. Steve is today’s guest on the third episode of DNA Clarity and Support. He admits to the host Brianne that didn’t want to write his book A Broken Tree, but that he felt like he had to. 

Listen as Steve describes what it’s like to be part of a large family in which reactions to an NPE (“not parent expected”) discovery varied greatly and how the outcomes of each discovery were also not the same.

Steve offers advice to fellow NPEs about the importance of forgiveness and how he found his way to peace after three intense years of emotional pain.

Resources mentioned in today's episode include:

NPE Friends Fellowship

Watershed DNA membership site

A full resource list for NPE Support

Apr 12, 202132:11
A universal quest for answers about family and ourselves

A universal quest for answers about family and ourselves

In this episode of DNA Clarity and Support, Mary Beth Sammons shares with host Brianne Kirkpatrick the backstory to her book Ancestry Quest. This quick-and-easy read explores the stories of dozens of individuals who found meaning and connection to family and their history, sometimes after an intentional search and sometimes by happenstance. If you’re a “chicken soup for the soul” type of reader, Sammons’ approach to writing about families will appeal. Sammons reminds us that when you search for the silver linings, you are sure to find them.

Listen as Mary Beth and Brianne discover the similarity in the way a grandparent's life led them to research family history and what they have learned from listening to others and helping others to share their stories of family and discovery.

Find out more about Mary Beth Sammons' work on Simon and Schuster and How to find your own copy? It's available from the major book retailers, but remember to support your local brick-and-mortar bookshop whenever you can! 

DNA Clarity and Support is podcast produced by Watershed DNA. It covers the growing phenomenon of DNA discoveries and how unexpected findings have the power to change lives, redefine personal identity, and restructure families. Also check out episode 1 and subscribe for automatic notification when other episodes drop! Learn more about Watershed DNA and join as a member at the Watershed DNA membership website.

Mar 29, 202135:28
Taking the mindful approach to a DNA surprise
Mar 15, 202137:34
Introduction to DNA Clarity and Support, a new podcast coming soon from Brianne Kirkpatrick of Watershed DNA

Introduction to DNA Clarity and Support, a new podcast coming soon from Brianne Kirkpatrick of Watershed DNA

DNA Clarity and Support launch on March 15, 2021 with episode one, a discussion with the Mindful NPE, Maggie Chenard. Follow this link to sign up for automatic updates about the podcast and other offerings from Watershed DNA and show host Brianne Kirkpatrick. Visit for anything and everything related to DNA testing, whether you've already tested, have family who already has, or have thoughts about DNA-testing yourself.

Jan 20, 202101:24