The nonprofit DNAngels.org is a group of DNA angels (volunteer DNA searchers) who help people find their birth parents. At RootsTech 2020, they were the winners of our entrance pass giveaway, and in the Media Hub, they told us their story on camera. We were touched by not only the service these DNA angels provide in connecting people with their birth parents but the support they give people who are processing sometimes difficult and unexpected emotions. When people face DNA surprises and complex family relationships, DNAngels offers support groups of people who understand because they have been there.
A Special DNA Angels Discovery
We were especially moved by one special case. DNA angels most often help people find their birth mothers, but in this story, a woman’s inner voice was telling her, “Find dad.”
Watch the video on YouTube here:
Here is the transcript from our video interview with DNAngels
Hi, I’m Ashley Frazier from Florida.
And I’m Emily. I’m from Portland, Oregon.
I’m Kayla Branch, and I’m from Louisiana.
We are DNAngels. (Editor’s note: In the spelling, there is only one “A”.)
Friends with a Cause
We’re a nonprofit organization that helps people find their birth parents. We were started officially in 2018. There was a couple of us, Kayla and I, as well as our team member, Laura.
We were working search cases. We were searching with people. We kind of bounced ideas off of each other. Then we kind of came together as a team and realized that we worked really well together, and we started solving people’s cases. We started helping people find their birth parents. And after a few months, we realized, oh my gosh, I think we’ve solved like one hundred cases.
And so we were really deciding we’re like, really kind of doing something here. So that’s kind of when we really got together and decided that DNAngels really needed to be something more so we could reach out and help more people.
DNA Angels have been there
As of September 2019, we are a nonprofit. We are completely donation based. We never turn away a person based on their inability to pay.
We accept donations and we believe everybody has the right to know where they came from and we stick to that.
So every person on our team has been directly affected by some sort of DNA
surprise or DNA search or something that was very personal for them, whether it was themselves or a very close family member. And that’s why everybody on our team is so passionate about helping others – because they’ve been there. They’ve felt that. They’ve needed that. And so they understand someone else’s need for that.
Myself, personally, I was not searching for anything. I just had a surprise. And it was probably the best surprise of my life, that as soon as I took my test, I had an immediate parent-child connection and surprise! It’s a girl! A thirty-one-year-old girl. And I have a dad and you have a daughter.
And it was a very, very happy surprise.
Finding Birth Parents
We actually have been working together online for about a year and a half. I came in a little more recently than that. Emily is actually the one that solved my case. And I began doing this and we worked together all day, every day. Forty/eight hours a week, messenger video chat. No two people are in the same state. And we came together for RootsTech and met
this woman right here changed my life.
I found her in Target. I knew she was shopping at Target.
So I went in with my iPhone and I went around, “Where’s Ashley? Is she in the underwear section? Is she buying food?” And then I saw her and it was amazing. So we have it on video. It was so much fun.
It was like a nice little reunion.
Union, you know.
Yeah! But it’s amazing. Like we’re family, you know, like we discuss things. We get upset. We get happy. We get, you know, and we are here like sharing those emotions in person. And that is there’s no price tag on that. Like that’s, that’s just valuable. Like we’re sisters.
Discovering the Father of the Bride
So most adoptees when they come to us, they’re asking us, you know, of course, they want to find both parents. But typically the main focus is on biological mother. That’s something that most adoptees focus on.
And we have one particular client that sticks out in my mind because it was a very special case and it was very moving to all of us. And she wanted to find dad. Her heart said find dad. And she was a little less concerned about finding bio mom. And we find that there was a reason for that because it turns out that dad, dad wanted to find her, too.
And he had been searching for her her entire life. And when they came together, that was, we knew, we knew immediately that the reason that her heart told her to find dad was because their souls knew each other because they were looking for each other. They wanted each other. And that just was it was just it was very special to know that that they were looking for each other simultaneously for forty years.
For forty years.
He knew he had a child but had no details. Didn’t know if it’s a boy or girl and he had been searching. How do you do that search when you have no details. Yeah, it’s amazing. And they videoed the reunion or the union as he came to her house. And she was getting married the week later
And, oh, my goodness, like it was just so it was a very difficult case and we worked this case for months and we found Dad like two weeks before her wedding, that the timing was just unbelievable. And he was able to come to her wedding.
DNA Angels with a Sense of Purpose
I joined the group, I started reading through posts and about…Sorry…
Your makeup looks great..
Thank you. Sorry. About two days before I joined that group, Lisa Cole, the group creator, had made a decision to let DNA angels start offering help to their members. And I clicked on that link. And it put me in touch with mily.
I didn’t have my results yet, this was about two days…Sorry.
It’s good. Your make-up looks amazing.
Repeat of last night. OK, OK, this is about two days after I spit in the tube. I found this amazing group and I said, “Help me. I don’t know what to do.
I don’t know what I’m going to find. I told my story, shared a little bit of information.”
She said the moment your results come in, message me, which I did. I was lucky to have a first cousin once removed match. My case wasn’t too, too difficult, but it would have been Greek. It was Greek to me and in about an hour and a half I had a name. I had pictures, I had contact information, and more than anything, I had support.
And I wanted to give back. I wanted to pay it forward. And I volunteered and I worked my way up. And I’m now in this amazing group and have found, found my purpose. I really, really have. This is the first time I’ve really shared any bit of my story with anybody other than the group.
And it’s emotional.
I think it’s part of your journey to healing as well, you know.
And it just shows that you’re human and that DNAngels is not just we’re not all business and we’re not, we’re not just about numbers and answers. And we’re, we’re human. And we, we hurt and we celebrate and we’re happy together. And we’re sad together. We take this roller coaster of emotions together. And I think it’s good not only for you, your own healing, but I think to show other people that we are there and we’ve been there. We’ve been there. We felt those things.
We’re still there. And, and I like that.
And I don’t know I’m sorry if that embarrassed you, but I love’d you crying. Yeah, that was great for me. And I want to cry with you.
But the biggest thing, though, is that my mother has been beyond amazing and beyond supportive and everyone here knows it. And no matter how supportive your friends and family are, truly, they can’t actually understand the emotions in the process, unless they’ve walked in your shoes and can really…it’s something you, you can’t explain to somebody.
And having such a support system of people that know, know how you feel,
know the roller coaster of emotions. And we support each other and we love each other. And we recently started a support group as well, because we have our client group that is strictly our clients. But DNA test results impact your moms, your dads, your newfound dads, your siblings, your newfound sibling. There’s so many people impacted beyond the person that spit in the tube. And I think what sets us apart is that we understand that everybody needs support and we understand that having the perspectives of your newfound siblings because a newfound sibling is in the group writing a post or giving advice that you can understand a little bit better what emotions your newfound siblings might be having.
It may be hard for them, you know, being able to really get the perspective of other people that have walked in your shoes or can put themselves in your shoes is invaluable. It’s family.
Search and Support
Our clients support our clients.
We have people in our, in our support room that have been there for a couple of years now. And they support the people that come in with these raw wounds and let them know that it’s going to be OK. It’s going to take a while, you know, but you’ll be OK. We can get through this. It’s amazing, you know. And we have people that two years later, it’s still that raw, open wound. And that’s OK, too. But we’re there to support each other.
I see a lot of times somebody that’s never been through something like that, they may look at you two, three years later and they’re like, “You’re not over this? Like that was so long ago. Like you’ve had time to process this. You’re not over it?”
I mean, that’s kind of like someone who’s lost someone that they love. And you’re like, “You’re not over it yet?” I don’t know that I’ll ever get over it, you know? And it’s OK to come back two years later, three years later, ten years later and say, “You know what, some parts of this still hurt, and that’s, that’s what the support group is all about, that connecting with people that have been there and that had felt that, and they say it’s OK. It’s OK to feel like this and your feelings are valid.
And I think what’s really hard for a lot of people that are either adopted or don’t know their dad is, where they have a surprise, is when other people tell you that it shouldn’t matter. Well, it might not matter to you, but it’s okay that it matters to me. That’s all right. That’s a valid feeling that it matters to me. And you don’t get to tell me that it shouldn’t matter to me.
Your dad is still your dad. Nothing changes.
Oh, nothing. Yeah, no. We very strongly believe that you choose your family and whether that’s biological or that’s not or whether you’re your sister is related to at all which lives across the country. You know…You, you choose your family and sometimes that biological family that we find, they might become your family and they might not. Your family is about who you love and who loves you. And we hope that every biological family can find a place in your family. But that doesn’t always happen.
DNAngels, A Nonprofit with Heart
DNAngels is a 501C3 nonprofit organization. We are solely based on donations. People have donated, you know, five dollars, ten dollars. Every dollar counts as Kayla said. You can find us on DNAngels.org. It’s one word. We are also on Facebook. We have our support group for friends and family, and cousins that want to learn how to support as well as our clients. And then we do have a client group that is private. We keep our clients’ privacy. It is invite-only and that is where we can share those raw emotions with just the other people that understand that.
Some people definitely want to go public with their story. Some people, it’s private to them. So to pay it forward, a lot of our clients want to help volunteer. We always need people to spread the word for our organization. And we’re kind of unique, as in we are search angels.
But again, we don’t turn away anybody for their inability to pay. We have a donate buttons on all of our websites and our groups. You know, anything helps. We pay for everything out of our pockets. And our donation link is for PayPal.com. It’s donations at DNAngels dot org. It’s D-N-Angels.
Here at Evalogue.life we love connecting people with priceless resources that strengthen families. If you or your someone you know is looking for their birth parents, consider following the DNAngels Facebook page or reaching out to them on their website. Clearly, their experience and passion make them incredible supports for anyone on that unique journey of family discovery.
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