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DNAngels: Guardians of the DNA Galaxy

Updated On: March 5, 2024

In this episode, we’re thrilled to conclude the conversation Jennifer Schweibinz from DNAngels, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping individuals unravel genetic surprises. From uncovering unknown biological parents to shedding light on forgotten familial bonds, DNAngels highlights the importance of knowing our roots, no matter how twisted they may be.

In the conversation, we unravel the complexities and emotional journeys of individuals seeking to understand their genetic heritage.

DNAngels: Guardians of the DNA Galaxy

Specifically, we discuss:

  • The mission and impact of DNAngels, including their success in solving over 5,000 cases.
  • The unique challenges faced by individuals with genetic surprises and the specialized support provided by DNAngels.
  • The emotional rollercoaster of discovering family secrets and the importance of having access to one’s genetic and health history.
  • How DNAngels navigates sensitive cases, such as those involving incest, with care and professionalism.
  • The transformative power of finding answers and the sense of community and support fostered by DNAngels.
  • The personal stories of discovery shared by Kendall, and Jennifer, highlighting the diverse experiences and outcomes of those seeking their genetic roots.
  • The importance of grace, forgiveness, and understanding in the process of uncovering and accepting one’s genetic heritage.

Join us as we twist open the DNA bottle and spill the tea on family secrets, revealing the profound impact of genetic discoveries on individuals’ identities and sense of belonging. Whether you’re someone who has experienced a genetic surprise or simply fascinated by the stories of others, this episode offers a deep and compassionate look into the world of genetic genealogy and the quest for truth.

About DNAngels:

DNAngels is a collective of individuals, all of whom have been impacted either personally, or through a loved one. The organization is comprised of skilled genetic genealogy experts – Search Angels – along with other dedicated volunteers who offer support and advocacy for our clients. DNAngels was incepted in February 2019. They solve more than 90% of all cases accepted.

Guest Bio:

Jennifer Schweibinz is a Genetic Genealogist. Jennifer found her love for Genealogy when she stumbled across an old family secret. As she rolled up her sleeves and tapped into her Jersey Girl stubbornness, she relentlessly worked until she found answers. After that, Jennifer found herself volunteering as intake manager for an organization that could teach her a more methodical approach to being a Search Angel. When that organization merged with DNAngels, Jennifer was welcomed to the new team with open arms, and enjoys every moment of it.

In her personal life, Jennifer lives with her husband, Mark. They have four sons together. She grew up in a close-knit, supportive family and loves when the entire crowd gets together for barbecues in the backyard.

Jennifer’s love language is Acts of Service, which she attributes to her appreciation for everyone that reaches out to DNAngels looking for help. Jennifer was a keynote speaker for the 2022 Illinois State Genealogy Society Annual Conference, a presenter at 2023 Untangling Our Roots Summit in Louisville, KY, and an exhibitor at the 2023 National Genealogical Society conference in Richmond, VA.

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Transcript

Jennifer: so DNA angels. , that's been around since 2019.

Kdendall: Mm hmm.

Jennifer: And our mission really is just, we just want to become the household name. We, , I'm hungry. Do I want pizza hut? Do I want McDonald's? Do I want olive garden? , I've got a genetic surprise. I'm going to go to DNA angels.

Right? we want [00:53:00] people to know that we're there. We do not charge to help anybody find a biological mother or father. Ever, , we do have charges , to help identify a grandparent or great grandparent, just because it's more removed. And because we're a nonprofit, the funding helps us continue.

To help identify biological parents at no cost, because that funding covers any of our resources and. Sites that we have to use for for the research.

Kdendall: Mm hmm.

Jennifer: Right now, we have solved, 5, 171 cases. 5, 171. It's just, it's massive. Because they say 5 percent of people will have a genetic surprise, that doesn't even include, , people who grow up knowing they were adopted.

That's that word surprise is 5%. So, even larger than that is a number of adoptees and donor conceived who might know. we have just under 100 [00:54:00] volunteers. Just it's just such an amazing. Operation to be a part of, , there are certain people who go out and speak at conferences.

, there's 3 of us. And we have an executive operations team that helps handle all of the back end administration things. We have a training team, we have a research team, we have an intake. Team, and we have the search angel team.

Kdendall: Wow.

Jennifer: And we have special teams for, , clients from Puerto Rico or United Kingdom, because there are just some different nuances and different access to records, different nuances within those records.

So, we have specialized people who, who can manipulate through all of that information to get the answers. And then we also have a special team that handles incest because that is such a sensitive subject.

Kdendall: mm-Hmm.

Jennifer: So that includes, a licensed therapist and we [00:55:00] can bring in a pastor if they want to speak with anybody, , that has that type of a background.

, so very specialized for the needs, but the, the work itself, people come to us. Kendall, they come to us kind of on their knees, right? My mom won't tell me anything.

Kdendall: Mm-Hmm.

Jennifer: get my adoption records unsealed. I grew up in foster care and it was one nightmare after another. I don't have any of my family health information and I don't know who any of these matches are.

I can't make heads or tails of anything. And you can just feel like anguish sometimes, , anguish or rage, , sometimes they're just on the other hand. The, just so I rate over the whole thing and, , they both come from the same place and that's like, I should have this information. Why don't I have this information?

we have a right to know as, as the organization is called. We have a right to know. It's a fundamental right to know where we came from. maybe not have a [00:56:00] relationship with those relatives. But we should have a right. We should know where we come from and who we come from and our family health history and we don't necessarily I don't think that knowing it because I spit in a tube and it said you have a higher chance of having, , high cholesterol that doesn't fit the bill, , like that doesn't include, , is there a family history of addiction or anxiety and depression and things like that.

We should know those things.

Kdendall: Mm-Hmm.

Jennifer: the best we can do is our intake team is, is very soft touch and it's, , we'll tell me a little bit about your story. , how did you hear about us?

Kdendall: hmm.

Jennifer: And then they'll look at their matches and determine how many, you know,, we'll just say in the circumstance, you're looking for your biological father.

, let me look at your paternal matches. , , how high is the top match? What trees do we have? What's the likelihood that an angel can solve this case? Are the names common or rare? What's [00:57:00] the, , family demographic, right? If we're looking at, A 100 percent Jewish biological father, it's going to be tougher.

, just due to the, the normal Jewish endogamy. , so that might go to an angel. Who's more familiar with untangling endogamy. if we're dealing with a family, , a black family from the South records are going to be. Non existent once we get to a certain point in history 1, the unfortunate. Truth is there was numbers and a lot of the last names were the slave owners names Babies were raised by other families not necessarily the mother and father but given to somebody else very challenging So that might be given to someone who's a little more familiar with navigating through, slave records

Kdendall: Mm hmm.

Jennifer: So we have a lot of , , people kind of in different spaces who can, who can help through this.

And then it just, [00:58:00] the truth is when you're working through the records and we have other genetic surprises, so we've got this nice branch here and this separate really nice branch over here, all of your paternal matches, but I can't get these connected. There's another family secret in there. Somebody was adopted or somebody's dad isn't their dad or, , somebody was raised by their uncle's sister, something, something wonky happened, , and we can't get that to line up.

So, we work through all of those things and using, you said, from the obituary, you typed in those names and found that obituary. It's like, at the risk of sounding insensitive, genealogists. Favorite thing is a very thorough obituary.

Kdendall: Mm hmm.

Jennifer: I mean, just give it to me, , you can list the dog's names in there if you want.

I'll pull out what I need and leave the rest. And then you see, there's other obituaries that are like [00:59:00] John Smith, , November 6, 1924 to October 10th, , 1974. Leaves his children and it's like, well, what I need to know who they are,

Kdendall: I know. I know.

Jennifer: , so that can be challenging with our own preconceived notions.

we have to relearn a lot as we come genetic genealogist, for example, spouses can cheat. I will tell you that. I would look at a census record. That can't be the father. He was married then. And literally in my mind, I would check somebody off the list because he was married and it's like, well, that's a little naive.

he could still be a candidate. or he was in the Navy. Well, maybe he was home at that time,

Kdendall: Mm

Jennifer: cousins do have children together. It's doesn't happen often, but yes, it can happen and records can be wrong just because it's a census doesn't mean that it's genetically the truth and [01:00:00] even birth certificates.

We have that issue, you know, my great great aunt's birth certificate says her mom is this one does this one. Well, my birth certificates wrong,

Kdendall: Yep. Mine is too.

Jennifer: hers. Yeah. So, There's a lot of those things we get to work through, but when you figure out, if you're related to this one this way and this one this way, and they're related to each other this way, you can get six or seven of those like different triangulations in there and say, well, there's only two or three options.

I mean, as far as the centimorgans matching, if we look at those. Only two of them had sons, so now we're down to two options.

Kdendall: Right.

Jennifer: And this son died before you were conceived, so congratulations, this has to be your

Kdendall: Right.

Jennifer: , so sometimes it works out like that, and we do that dance.

Instead of like pacing in circles, like out of stress, my husband's like, Oh, you solved a case? And I'm like, I found it! And it just gets, you want these people to have answers.

Kdendall: once I did the, , DNA. , kit, it came [01:01:00] quickly, , when I think about it, it was literally my birthdays in July, I found out in August, when I think in retrospect, , about how long some people have to wait to figure things out, I feel really fortunate and, , I know myself, I think it would have caused me a lot of anxiety if I hadn't.

Found out quickly, , I, I just, I know myself, I would have like to your previous point, I know I would have been fully like, it would have been all encompassing. Like I I would have just, been diving in and never, never come up for air.

Jennifer: Yeah. And that's, that is why we want people to know. That we exist, we want to be recognized as the household name because you went through that. I went through that. I mean, it's many of our volunteers got involved because we tried to solve it 1st, and then we're driven to the point where it's like, I gotta like, you start to do Googles and like, in your Google search, it'll be [01:02:00] like, look at DNA angels, reach out to them.

And then we'll solve their case and then they're like, I don't thank you. How can I volunteer for you? And that's how, that's how we've grown. I mean, tremendously, , 100 volunteers for a nonprofit, a remote nonprofit, , like many of us haven't even met in person,

Kdendall:

Jennifer: it's like a well oiled machine.

Honestly, it is. Yeah. The most fulfilling thing to be a part of to know the, I, I use the word anguish because that was my experience, knowing it maybe it wasn't for everybody, to go from that anguish and that feeling of just being lost. To move into the position where you're able to say, we got you, we, we got you, we've got a community.

, We've got like private Facebook groups, , for clients only you can't join. We have to invite you. , and you're with only people who are in the [01:03:00] same, who, who get it, , whether the case is solved or not. Some, I mean, we still have to have some go on hold, which is just, that's heartbreaking

Kdendall: Mm hmm.

Jennifer: on hold,

Kdendall: Well, it's a, it's a good point you make because even my brother who wanted to find me for so long, even when he and I talk about the experience of finding each other, he can just see how different it was for me. Not that it wasn't important for him. Of course it was. He wanted to know his sibling, but for him, , he was raised with our dad, he had a lot of answers and all he really, he said, the first thing I wondered Kendall about you was.

, do we look like each other? , do you look like dad, , that sort of thing. And I said, but boy, it's so much more for an adoptee or, , an MPE or a donor conceived person is just not, we knew nothing often, , it's just, and, and

Jennifer: We didn't even know that, that he existed. Like, he is wondering if you look like him and you [01:04:00] don't even know that he exists. You know?? So the questions are entirely different.

Kdendall: Yeah. I'm like for 30 years, Chris, you knew that I was out there and I always hoped you were, I always, , in the back of my mind, , I felt like the, I don't know why I couldn't have known, but I was like, I always thought, Oh, maybe my parents were just super young.

And, , they both went on to have other kids and that's exactly the truth. But of course I, I just hoped it, I didn't have any idea, , when I found my family, I was like, Oh, okay, that, that actually is the scenario And my parents, my adopted parents did not know that that was the case, but they would often throw that out there as a possibility for me, like, , cause they were fully supportive of, , they wanted me to find my parents when I could, , they hoped I had half siblings out there because they didn't have other children, you know,, like they did talk about adopting a second child, but they didn't end up doing it.

And my mother ended up dying when I was 10. So, I mean, [01:05:00] yeah. , in retrospect, I think once she became ill, they kind of stopped that like, Oh, well, we shouldn't, , not that my dad wouldn't have been a successful dad of two children, but , it was that idea like, Oh, that's just that much harder on him if sadly, if, , she was considered terminal and she was so, ,

Jennifer: Yeah.

Kdendall: , I, I, but finally finding them was just, , was just amazing.

So, , and Corey loves

Jennifer: parents sound like extraordinary people.

Kdendall: Just, I loved when you started this conversation saying that your mother and father are still in love and my parents were still in love to the day my mom died and, , Yeah, it was, they were so cute and they were that, , they were those embarrassing parents where you, know, , you're a kid and you'd walk in the room and I catch my, my dad pinching my mom's butt and I would just laugh and I'd be like, can you guys get a room?

You know, , it was like,

Jennifer: Yes.

Kdendall: just cute and [01:06:00] fun and funny. And, , yeah, adored each other and me. And, ,

Jennifer: Yes.

Kdendall: they, they were really, really great people. And I talk about them a lot on the show. And, , I love, I love remembering them. Corey laughs and says that he feels like he's met them, even though, , there's no way he could have, because we talk about them daily.

I mean,

Jennifer: They live on through you, right?

Kdendall: they are. They are part of me. And I, , as much as it's been wonderful meeting my birth father, I can tell you, I'm a perfect example of the nature versus nurture argument, because I love my dad and we see some similarities between him and me, but I'm so much more like my adoptive parents, like shockingly, , and part of it's, , You can't escape the things that you were surrounded by.

Right. , there's some of both. Right. But, ,

Jennifer: that's a fascinating study. Nature, oh, I could lose hours, but yeah fascinating.

Kdendall: me too. I'm a sociologist [01:07:00] by, , education. , and, and so for me, , I always kind of bought in more to the nurture thing, but now it's really cool, , because to your point, I think there might be on our website, there might be a picture of me with my birth father's brother.

And When I met him, I was like, Oh my gosh, I am a Clark. Like I look so much like my uncle, Sean, more than I look like my dad, quite honestly, and more than my uncle, Sean's kids look like uncle Sean. I look like uncle Sean. It's, it's shocking. It's like, Oh my God. But, , yeah, it's, it's bizarre. And , I never had that, , I never felt like I looked exactly like anybody, ,

Jennifer: but all the family friends thought you look just like your

Kdendall: oh yeah, yeah, my mother was like this Auburn haired woman with like alabaster white skin, my father. Was part native American with black hair. And I was this blonde haired, blue eyed kid in the [01:08:00] middle. We look like the Benetton ad. I mean, we were just like, it was, we didn't, they didn't look anything like each other and I didn't look anything like either of them.

And, , yeah, but we were cute altogether, but, , yeah,

Jennifer: great. That's it. That's it. And we were just a cute little family.

Kdendall: were, we were. Cause yeah. Yeah.

Jennifer: Yeah, I Think it's great That they were able to let you know that it's okay to have those conversations With them, , we do see it's not uncommon for us to see, you know,, my, are you guys going to like, tell people that I'm looking?

Because my biological or my adoptive parents don't know. Are you going to tell anybody? And when we can tell anybody, , you are a client, we work for you. And even if we're going to reach out to your match, we'll get your approval 1st.

Kdendall: Right.

Jennifer: Yeah, we're not interested in blowing the lid off of anything.

We're just giving you the answers that you asked us to give and. They can do what the client gets to determine how to move forward. that is not our mission. That would be catastrophic. I [01:09:00] think, but we've seen. 1, adoptive woman came in to us and looking for her biological parents and they were identified, , they're married and.

They, she is the, I think the third child. I'm guessing the third child. , they had the first two that they've, , they raised. she was born and they just couldn't afford another child. They were young, , did everything they could do and decided the best thing they could do for her was to give her a chance, , at a better life, placed her for adoption, stayed married.

Years later had additional children. So she's like a middle child. , and they all knew that she existed and had been looking and looking and looking and they have they're just in reunion now. And, , that's been. That's been nice to think about. , but then there's also. It just goes, it goes all over, , the women that get sent away and [01:10:00] the men oftentimes didn't even know that a child was born.

, sometimes it's just as much as a shock to the father as it is to the child.

Kdendall: Yeah.

Jennifer: So, Oh

Kdendall: my biological father, he's like, Kendall, there are times when I almost wish I hadn't known. Because, , he's like, cause I couldn't find you, , like, , he, he said, it was just heart wrenching because he didn't know how to find, you know,, it was, , and I said, well, dad, it was a closed adoption.

There was, you didn't have much hope, , it was, it was hard for him. I know it was hard on my mother, but I know it was also hard on him not to

Jennifer: I'm sure. Well, men, , don't get as much power in that decision making.

Kdendall: Mm hmm.

Jennifer: I mean, odds are she's not going to want to carry a baby, deliver it, and then let the father raise it and have no part. I mean, so it really is, , this is one of the few decisions that women get to make on their own. Oftentimes when they're that young it's made by the parents [01:11:00] anyway, but it's still, I mean, men have very minimal power over

Kdendall: Mm hmm.

Jennifer: these situations.

, and I know men aren't usually used to that, but that's a different conversation.

Kdendall: is, that is, and it is,

Jennifer: different conversation.

Kdendall: It really is, but I, I get it and, and I know that my, just from the stories that I've heard that my father's parents. they didn't want any part of the scenario. They, they thought it would not be wise for my dad to be, be a father at that age, they didn't want to be grandparents that raised a kid, you know,, I get it.

it worked out well for me that that's, , how it all came down because the Austins were wonderful people, but, , not everybody has that, , we're hearing people who were adopted and adopted into. , horrible families and, , mistreated as adoptees and things like that.

that is so hard to hear, you

Jennifer: It's very difficult to hear. ,

Kdendall: I just didn't have that.[01:12:00]

Jennifer: yeah, well, I'm thank your lucky stars.

Kdendall: Mm hmm.

Jennifer: that's just, thank your lucky stars. You, you reminded me of two cases of mine. Actually one of them, this woman was looking for her biological father and We found he was deceased. , but I, I found a half sibling and so she'd reached out to him and the half sibling said, we have looked for you our whole life.

Dad's looked for you. We were told that you died in a car crash.

Kdendall: Oh my.

Jennifer: So when the mother had the child with the father, the father knew and was in the baby's life and everything. And the mother. Picked up and moved halfway across the states and called them and said, she died in a car crash. And he said, dad spent his whole life looking for a death record and obituary looking for anywhere where you might be married.

We couldn't find [01:13:00] anything and, , and she was just like. What,

Kdendall: Wow.

Jennifer: so Just the lie, right? I mean, and, and to think that you could lie about your child being killed in an accident as you're probably, , taking, like, cooking your child dinner,

Kdendall: I don't get the people that have that level of the ability to, to just, I don't know, twist. That's a forever story. You know What I mean? Like there's no coming back from that.

Jennifer: Right,

Kdendall: Oh,

Jennifer: we are trained. You just don't judge like what you're coming to West. You need help. Tell me a little bit about your story. Thank you for sharing that with me. I'll tell you a little bit about how I got to be here. Let's work on your case a little bit.

Here's the client room. You're safe here, , and it's just, but you can't judge because there was. I'm pretty sure that if I talk to that mother, she might be like. There's more to that story. Right, and I don't know what that is, so [01:14:00] it's I can't leave it at that. But I just, I mean, just last week closed a case for this woman who was she lived with her mom and dad.

And then was taken into foster care from the state. And she was like, but they couldn't have been my mom and dad. , they were, , they were abusive. I don't think they really were my mom and dad. And I was like, okay. So she says, I took a DNA test and can you help me figure out who my real mom and dad are?

Like, sure. So I come to these two names, like we work it as an adoption, right? I want to know my mom and my dad. And I come to these two names and I give her these two names. And she's like, those are the people that raised me in that home that I was taken from. They can't be it. And I, her mind was like, a parent would never treat a child this way.

They can't be my, they can't be. And so I was like, all right, let me, so I, , said therapy and this and that and the other thing, and it was like, I am not qualified to handle [01:15:00] this part of the conversation for you, , but let's get you in touch with some additional resources because I'm sorry, those were your parents, .

Kdendall: Well, but at least she questioned it. At least she got an answer, , that's the, that's the big thing. I think, I mean, yeah, the, the outcome isn't always, , what you hoped for, but at least you got, you got, at least you got the real answer.

Jennifer: And that's it. You got the real answer. And once you get the real answer, the rest of the decision is yours for what you want to do with it. And

Kdendall: Right. And you can move on. Right.

Jennifer: He'll, as long as it takes, you just move in the direction of peace and comfort and lean on the people that love. And eventually that falls back into, it didn't matter before I knew it.

, now I know it, but it doesn't have immense power over me.

Kdendall: Right. Right.

Jennifer: that's sometimes the best that we can ask for,

Kdendall: Absolutely. And , I cycle, [01:16:00] right? There are times when I am so frustrated that my birth mother hasn't reached out to me, but then there are other times where, , I'm learning, , , six years in, I'm learning to give her more grace. I try to, . Think about things that she was going through at the time, , how difficult it must have been to be told by her parents that she couldn't keep me, you know,, like those, I, I can't relate to that because I've never had that experience, but I do, I think when I stop and stop being selfish, , and rewind a bit, I'm like, okay, I should give her as much grace as I would want in that scenario, ?

Jennifer: I like that phrase that you used. I cycle. I, I think that's so appropriate.

Kdendall: less, I think as time has gone on less and less of cycling, but man, at the beginning,

Jennifer: Oh.

Kdendall: I would be one day. I'd be like, I just want to talk to my [01:17:00] mom. And the next day I'd be like, I can't believe she won't talk. You know, it's just, I just went through that range in the course of a day sometimes.

And Corey probably thought I was neurotic, , yeah. But, , it's wonderful to have a supportive spouse. Like it sounds like you do too. And, and, , that's what it takes, like somebody to really center you and help you work through it's messy. You

Jennifer: Yeah. He wanted me to leave it alone. He said he could, I think he knew right away when I was just like, what? I think he was like, like, I know I, I recognize this, , stop looking. And when I was like doubling down, I'm like, something is, And I remember him saying, that's your father, that's your mother, leave it alone.

And I said, if I could, I would. And I was like, so I'm just going to need your support, whether you agree with me or not. And he was just like, okay. And then from that point on, he just supported me because it was like, I'm doing it, ? Mm

Kdendall: our [01:18:00] lives too. It's like, well, , cause. Would Corey have moved forward more cautiously than I have? Absolutely. But at the same time, , he will often say, but I can't imagine not knowing who my family is, ? So he's like, I can't. Now, six years in, he's like, I don't know if I wouldn't have done exactly what you did, , just, , yeah.

And, and his talk about supportive, I mean, it was his idea, not only to help me find them, but also to help. Tell these stories, , he is as much of an ally to our community. I say our, I'm including adoptees and MPs and donor can see people. He is a huge ally and will always be. And he thinks it's so important, , to get these stories out there to help normalize these feelings for people,

Jennifer: Normalize well, that's when we become, , for you become. , the person that people talk about when they say, I know someone who knows someone who [01:19:00] took a DNA test and found out that their dad's not their dad. And it's like, I didn't know anybody else. I did not know anybody else who was in that spot.

And, I mean, it's very isolating, very scary. It is not normalized, but it is so common.

Kdendall: Mm.

Jennifer: I mean,

Kdendall: hmm.

Jennifer: one of the most eye opening things about when I first started to volunteer with DNA Angels. people will come feeling they're like, my story is, is so sad and it's been life changing.

And I'm sure that, I mean, I know firsthand that that is very true, but we also hear it. I mean, there are almost sound bites that it's like same, same, same, same, same, , it's like there are just so many commonalities in this very individual and private experience.

Kdendall: hmm. Mm hmm. Yep. Yeah, I've, I've [01:20:00] heard, , enough of the same even on the podcast. I mean, it's, it's shocking, , when I, I feel like sometimes I'll, After an episode, I'll say to Corey, gosh, did you notice that when so and so spoke out, she said what I said yesterday, , it's, it's, it's shocking, , and, , but finding that commonality for me was super helpful because, , yeah, to your point, I grew up with a small set of friends who were also adopted, and we all felt very, , included, like really, , Not stigmatized in our tiny, , town, but at the same time, our, , experience coming through this, finding our biological families has been very different, , and, , I feel like I'm the lucky one.

And, , what I want to do is help the people that aren't quite so lucky, , feel better about their situation. We

Jennifer: but your podcast is, I mean, I've listened, you have a ton episodes out, , so I, but I've been listening [01:21:00] to them and that's, it is, it's just get it out on the table, , what happened, how did it feel, , what are you doing to get through it? And, , there's some, it's just such a, I love.

The transparency that you pull out of people, , and we need this, , we need this, this outlet. And then there are the organizations like right to know, , that could help you find professional resources with therapists and, , are working on legislation changes. And the, , nap, which is, , for adoptive families.

Kdendall: Mm hmm.

Jennifer: Working through all of those different. Channels, , and then there's the DNA angels. That's like, well, let's help you figure out the answers to who your biological family is. And then you can move forward. It's almost like there's just this. We've built a chain, we've built a chain,

and I think we all throw in some, , different links that help people hopefully get from catastrophe and [01:22:00] despair into, , , feeling of community and, and support.

Kdendall: yep.

Jennifer: And I'm, I'm so honored to be a part of, of that chain, honestly, so honored. Mm.

Kdendall: And it's funny. I never knew how much I needed it. I never knew how much I needed the community. , I have a savior complex and I think that I, , can do everything on my own and I don't need any help. , now I don't feel that way, but when I've made my discovery in 2017, I'm like, I, I got this, , everything's cool and everything wasn't cool, , and, , And it's not that I don't, I can admit having vulnerability.

I was just very delusional about what I was going to feel was very delusional. I never ever in a hundred years expected to be rejected by my birth mother.

Jennifer: Yeah.

Kdendall: I never ever thought that would be a thing. And.

Jennifer: Yeah. Mm.

Kdendall: it's funny, I, [01:23:00] now I say the word rejection. I don't even know that I feel that way anymore. I feel now because I'm trying to give her grace.

I'm like, nope, that's just what she's going through. Right. That doesn't have necessarily to do with me. , she's just, , she's just got to deal with her own stuff and, , I'll deal with mine and maybe we'll meet in the middle.

Jennifer: , Amen to that. Amen to that. Yes. And if not, , then you just, you

Kdendall: got six great half siblings out of the deal and, ,

Jennifer: She still gave you life.

Kdendall: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Jennifer: Yeah. And, and you're making it a pretty good one. So

Kdendall: I, I

Jennifer: can always just be in gratitude for that.

Kdendall: Right. I hope she, at some point, I hope she can be proud of that too. , we'll see.

Jennifer: again, complete speculation because I've, I've never had any interaction with her whatsoever, but I feel like she has to be because what is there not to be [01:24:00] proud of? You, you've, you've worked hard on giving her the grace to, to make the decisions that she feels are best for her. you forgive her for anything that she might be blaming herself for.

, you, you sound like you're in a healthy relationship at home.

Kdendall: Mm hmm.

Jennifer: doing things to, to better the world that you live in and the community that you're in. What is there not to be proud of?

Kdendall: Well, thank you. I, I sometimes feel like I need to hear that, right? Like, it's, it's helpful to hear it. And, and I feel like I'm doing good things too. So, , we all kind of need that. And I, and I want to help lift everybody up, , and I, I admire so much what DNA Angels is doing. , what you're doing, , these are important programs.

Messages to get out there and, , Corey and I will continue to, , , promote the services that your organization provides. , they're invaluable quite honestly. And, , and we'd like to, I'd like to [01:25:00] reconnect at some point too, and, , see if there's a, a change in your story, but also kind of re promote, , the services that DNA angels has.

Jennifer: I would love to. And I'll talk less next time.

Kdendall: I know it's all good.

Jennifer: genuinely enjoyed this conversation. I feel like I know you,

Kdendall: Yeah. Me too. Thank you. Thank you.

This is refreshing for me to get to speak to people about something that it's really close to my heart.

Jennifer: Yes. Yes. Well, I can tell that it is. So this is this really has been a nice way to spend the afternoon.

Kdendall:

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