As DNA-testing companies sell millions of kits, they’ve started to rearrange families. The tests have reunited long-lost cousins and helped adoptees find their birth parents, donor-conceived kids their sperm donors. They have also, in some cases, uncovered difficult family secrets.
One such father is Christopher, whose real name we are withholding at his request. Earlier this year, after buying his now-15-year-old daughter an AncestryDNA test, Christopher found out that he is not her biological father. His wife had an affair.
Two and a half weeks after the discovery, he filed for divorce. We spoke about how revelation has changed his family, what it’s like to parent a teen going through this, and the particular difficulties of talking about this as a man.
The transcript below has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Zhang: Did finding out change your relationship with your daughter, even if just at first?
Chris: On the day that I found out, I was like, I wanted to reject her, because I said my boundary was I will not raise another man’s child from an affair. My mom put me straight. She was like, “She’s innocent in this. Don’t blame her.” So I consider her my daughter. I just say she’s my daughter.
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