23 and Me Part 1: Everyone has their reasons

by - 9/14/2017

Let's get a little personal: I'm adopted. 

I don't share a lot about my personal life here, but I thought it was important to share this story, for anyone like me who might be thinking about doing a DNA test. 

I was born in Seoul, South Korea, and adopted when I was three months old. It was never a secret that I was adopted, but at the same time, I can't ever remember my parents sitting me down and telling me that I was; I just always knew I was adopted. And anyway, there's no way this could have been a secret my parents could keep from me. My parents clearly do not look Asian. 

I've always been told that I'm just Korean. My birth certificate says Korean, and that's it. Growing up, I never really wanted to confirm if that was true, and I never had any inkling that I was anything other than Korean. But truth be told, I identified more with being Portuguese. You are what your mother is, as the saying goes, right? It wasn't until I was into my 20's that I started to want to connect more with my Korean roots, and I did that through cooking. To me, the best way to understand a culture is to eat its food, and now in my 30's, cooking Korean food has become a common thing for me. 

Then, 23 and Me came along, and I started wondering what those results would say if I ever did one of those tests. 

Technology and science has come a long way. It has come so far, in fact, that things that were once synonymous with medical and crime identification purposes has become almost recreational. Everyone has their own reasons for taking this DNA test: am I really Italian? Could we possibly be just German? What diseases am I predisposed for? 

23 and Me provides a way to find out all of these things. For me, being adopted, it was most important to me to know what kind of diseases and health risks I am predisposed for. Since I am adopted, I have absolutely no family history, which is becoming scarier as I get older and am considering having a family. What could I pass on to my kids? 

The other thing that was important to me was knowing if I was actually just Korean. After watching The Try Guys do this DNA test, and seeing Eugene's results, I felt it was a good possibility that I was Korean, but also Chinese and Japanese. My mom has always thought that I am part caucasian too, and I wanted to see if she was right. 

I made sure that I was mentally prepared to take this test, because to me, it was much more than just spitting into a tube. It wasn't just shedding light on certain areas of my life that needed clarification, it was shining a light on areas that have been completely shrouded and have never seen the light before. 

I'll be talking about the test and the results in the weeks to come. 

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