Adoptees search out heritage through DNA tests

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Sue Amundsen and Clint Miller are both 47-years old. Both living in Southern Arizona. Both adopted at birth.  

Neither individual knows who their biological parents are.

KGUN 9 introduced you to both Amundsen and Miller back in February when they decided to take part in an investigation to use DNA testing to discover their genealogical history.

For their journey of discovery, KGUN9 used two of the most popular online test kits: 23andMe and Ancestry.com.

Amundsen's test results came back first, and she shared with us the moment she opened her DNA reports.

23andMe told Amundsen that her adopted mother and grandmother were from Sierra Vista. The Ancestry results were almost identical.

Amundsen now knows her DNA makeup so she can help her daughter understand their background. Initially, that's all Amundsen was after.

She didn't have much interest in finding any relatives, but with the test results back, her attitude began to change.

"So according to this, I have 964 forth cousins or closer."

The ancestry results struck a cord with her. The list of potential matches, overwhelming.

Suddenly, Amundsen was given a way to connect with close relatives, maybe even her birth parents.

"For me, this doesn't look like a potential DNA match. It means that I have family out there that I didn't know," said Amundsen.

"The hardest thing for me to take the next step honestly is the rejection if I get even closer than cousins. The rejection part is very hard. I don't know if I want that after all of these years."

With some hesitation, Amundsen took a closer into the likely DNA matches provided by Ancestry.

But then she stops. Again unsure of the whether to proceed.

Amundsen left the interview with possible leads, but plenty of uncertainty.

Later that night, she emailed us the second name on the list of matches and her journey suddenly takes an unexpected twist.

"It's within 48 to 72 hours she sent me a message and said I think, I'm pretty sure I know who your mother is," said Amundsen.

"The next day I had an email from my mother, her name is Helen. From Helen stating that based on the information it does seem like I'm your mom."

We asked Amundsen what her emotions were like?

"It's everything that just comes together. The where you come from and who you are. For 47 years I didn't know anything, and within 72 hours I had found her."

Amundsen spends the next few days emailing and then calling her biological mother.

She learns about the abusive relationship that leads to her mother putting her up for adoption at birth. She also learns that she has siblings.

"I have three sisters. They're all live. Helen lives in Indiana, right near Kentucky. She's going to get the three of them together to let them know about me."

Amundsen hopes to begin a relationship with all of them soon.

Regardless of what the future holds for her and her new found family, Amundsen is grateful that she's been able to tell her mother "thank you."

"No matter what I would tell her thank you because she had other options. She did explain to me what happened and I can't be mad at her for that," said Amundsen.

Amundsen says her journey to finding her birth mother wouldn't have been possible without Ancestry.com and believes Ancestry is the clear winner in the side by side comparison with 23andMe. 

Her next step is to begin a search for her birth father, and she has 963 other possible matches to go through.

As for Clint Miller?

He is still waiting on his ancestry test results after having to submit a second sample.

KGUN9 will bring you his results in the coming weeks.

 

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