, 2023-01-02 09:34:24,
(CNN) – When I sent DNA samples to genetic testing services last year looking for my birth family, I had no idea they would launch me on an adventure across three continents.
In 1961, I was adopted when I was born in California. Over the years, I’ve searched for my birth family intermittently, but I’ve always been held back by sealed records and shady officials. But in the past decade, home DNA testing and easy online access to official records have changed the game.
I spat it into plastic tubes (one for each of the industry’s big US players: 23andMe and Ancestry.com), dropped them in the mail, and anxiously awaited the results. When the email arrived, I was shocked.
After my whole life believing I was a basic white American, I learned that was only half the truth. My mother was born in Iowa. But it turned out that my father was from North Africa.
I reached out to my anonymous DNA matches through the messaging systems of 23andMe and Ancestry, but no one responded. Then came weeks of searching using Ancestry.com and various public records databases until I was able to identify my parents and find contact information for a group of their close relatives.
I found out that my birth father was born in the mid-thirties in Casablanca. Romantic visions of Bogart and Bergman (fictionally) running from the Nazis swirled through my head.
Records showed that he immigrated to the United States in 1959 and ended up in San Francisco. My mom grew up in San Diego, and also moved to San…
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