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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 103926
Experience:  Experienced attorney: Family law, Estate Law, SS Law etc.
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I want to know if DNA testing will answer my adoption questions.

Customer Question

I want to know if DNA testing will answer my adoption questions. I am female. I was adopted at age five days from a hospital in Boise, Idaho, in 1952. I was told that my birth mother died in childbirth and my birth father was killed in Korea. I was a true orphan without brothers or sisters. I have no birth surnames. In Idaho I would have to file a lawsuit to open my sealed records. I contacted a family attorney there who would not pursue my case. Now that both adoptive parents are dead, I'd at least like to know genetic markers for medical history and perhaps some idea of birth family surnames so I could do genealogical research. I have no interest in finding any birth relatives and I have no reason to believe that any still are alive. I also have very few living (adoptive) relatives. One, who is nearly 100 years old, remembers when I was born and told me at a family reunion last year that she thought I was one of twins! (I can't verify her memory, at her age) What would DNA testing show for an infant/orphan adoptee like me?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
DNA testing really would not show anything for you because back when you were born DNA records were not kept (the process wasn't even invented) so without anything to compare the DNA to, your DNA results are pretty much useless. The only way to get the information on birth parents at this point is as you have been told, filing a suit in the Iowa court seeking to unseal those records, which once everyone is dead is a bit easier to get done, but it is still carefully reviewed by the court and a real necessity must be found (such as searching for possible inherited medical issues, which you would have to show you have and need the information for treatments).

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for the answer, which I accept. It's Idaho, by the way, not Iowa. Can't DNA testing turn up the name of a birth parent or any birth relative? I know it's less useful for females than for males. You're saying there has to be some DNA on file first, for a comparison, and of course there's no DNA database from the early 1950s. Also you're saying that a lawsuit would be unsuccessful unless I already have a medical condition that I suspect could be inherited. Any suggestions on how I might proceed?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
Sorry, Iowa was a typo. What I was pointing out is if you get your DNA tested they would need someone to actually compare it to in order to prove anything. Thus, you would need to know someone to compare it to and even then the court would not order that person to comply with a DNA test if they refuse. If you suspected who your father was and had a name and he was dead, even then it could cost you tens of thousands of dollars to litigate to get an order to exhume the body to have a DNA test done on the remains and still the court is not likely to grant it unless you can prove some overly compelling necessity for the testing to be done, such as a rare genetic disorder.

The way to proceed if you do not have sufficient information to identify a specific person is to use a private investigator to try to identify a person who is likely your father and do regular research, but just you being DNA tested doesn't help unless that person's DNA is actually on file somewhere which is not really going to be likely. Without something to compare your DNA test to, then your DNA test is really useless.

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