After decades of searching, woman finds her biological father through DNA kit

Posted at 4:58 PM, Jun 21, 2021

SEAFORD, Va. — This Father’s Day was one to remember for a Virginia woman who recently met her biological dad thanks to a 23andMe DNA kit. She had been searching for him for several years.

Adopted at 5 years old, 43-year-old Julie Lane had always wondered who her biological father was. After more than 10 years of searching for her father, she had almost given up.

“I always wanted to know. You feel like you’re missing a part of who you are,” she said.

Julie had tried several things, from researching to several genetics companies. She says her dad’s common name made it hard to track him.

"The information I had, his name, his ex-wife’s name, the fact that he was military. I thought surely I can find him. After about 10 years, I had kind of given up.”

Then her family encouraged her to try something new.

"My husband and best friend pushed me and said why don’t you try one more genetic test before you give up."

That’s when she bought a 23andMe DNA kit as a last resort. To her surprise, she matched with a cousin that led her to what she always wanted, her biological father.

“I just didn’t expect that when the results came, it to go like it did. It's 8 o'clock at night and they’re calling around and saying hey there's this girl on 23andMe and she comes up as a DNA match and she thinks you’re her dad, could it be."

Julie's father had been looking for her too.

"I started trying to find her in the mid-’80s. It still is overwhelming," Jeff Williams said.

In March, her father drove up from Texas to meet her. She also met her brother JP, who’s 10 years younger than her. Her dad left her a briefcase full of pictures during the visit.

She says the first time she saw a picture of her brother she recently met, he looked almost identical to her son.

WTKR reached out to 23andMe and they released this statement:

“With genetic testing readily available to consumers, we are increasingly hearing stories of families discovering and reuniting with newfound relatives, and of customers finding unexpected results in their reports. Although 23andMe was not designed specifically to help people confirm parentage or find biological parents, our DNA Relatives tool does help people find and connect with participating genetic relatives. This feature is completely optional, meaning customers must actively choose to participate and are informed up front that by using the tool, they may discover unexpected relationships.”

This story was originally published by Leondra Head at WTKR.