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DNA Surprises

Alexis Hourselt

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Welcome to DNA Surprises, a podcast that delves into the world of unexpected DNA discoveries. I'm your host, Alexis Hourselt. In July 2021, my life took a surprising turn when I found out I'm an NPE—a person who's experienced a non-paternal event. In other words, my biological father isn’t who I thought he was. Join me as we explore the stories of NPEs, adoptees, and donor-conceived people and their families. Get ready to unravel the astonishing journeys that begin with a simple DNA test —th ...
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Welcome to Family Twist, the podcast that dives deep into the tangled webs of family secrets and DNA surprises. Each episode, hosts Corey and Kendall Austin Stulce explore the complex and challenging truths that come with discovering you are a non-parent expected (NPE) individual—someone whose familial origins aren't what they seemed. Through candid interviews with people from the NPE, adoptee, and donor-conceived communities, Family Twist offers a platform for stories of unexpected parentag ...
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show series
 
Did you grow up feeling different from your family? That feeling of being inexplicably out of place haunts many people in the DNA surprise community throughout childhood and adulthood - before they uncover the truth. In this week’s episode, Sarah shares how while she always felt different from her family - she was more sensitive and had a different…
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During this bonus episode of DNA Surprises, I interview advanced yoga teacher Lanita Ugstad. Lanita will facilitate a gentle movement session at the DNA Surprise Retreat, September 19-22, 2024 in Phoenix, AZ. We discuss how yoga is beneficial for people who have experienced trauma, and what it means to facilitate a session through a trauma lens. La…
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Have you ever wondered about the secrets and stories hidden within the world of adoption? Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao shares her personal journey of being adopted and how it led her to become a therapist specializing in adoption and foster care. She discusses the secrecy surrounding adoption in the past and the importance of transparency and openness i…
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In this bonus episode of DNA Surprises, I speak with therapist Venessa De La Cruz about betrayal trauma. Venessa will facilitate a session on Betrayal Trauma at the DNA Surprise Retreat, September 19-22 in Phoenix, AZ. She defines what betrayal trauma is and how things like DNA surprises can manifest for us both physically and mentally. We also div…
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So many DNA surprises start with a gift. Mothers Day. Fathers Day. Prime Day. Christmas. Almost every month, consumer DNA testing companies offer deals encouraging people to give a DNA test as a present. If you’re listening to this podcast, you know how this sometimes turns out. In this week's episode, Shannon shares how after receiving a DNA test …
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Ever wondered what it's like to discover your true heritage and embrace a multifaceted identity amid societal norms? We're presenting a "remix" episode with Jack Malstrom, a deejay, a drag performer and Two-Spirit educator. Jack navigates the complexities of adoption, identity discovery, and cultural integration. This episode isn't just about ident…
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This special episode of DNA Surprises features Megan Irwin, a licensed therapist specializing in grief, loss, trauma, and PTSD. Megan will facilitate a session on parts work at the 2024 DNA Surprise Retreat, September 19-22 in Phoenix, AZ. During our discussion, we covered what parts work is (and isn’t) and why people typically think of it in terms…
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Race. Ethnicity. Heritage. These are complex topics without the added nuance of a DNA surprise. Author Janeen Jackson grew up with two younger brothers and her parents in an African American household. In this week’s episode, she shares how, through a DNA test, she not only learned that she is adopted, but that her biological father is a white man.…
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How can attending an adoptee summit transform your understanding of identity and connection? In this episode of Family Twist, we're joined by Monica Hall for an insightful discussion on the Untangling Our Roots Summit. Monica shares her profound experiences at the summit, emphasizing the healing power of connecting with others who have similar adop…
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If there is one thing I hope we can all agree on, it’s that families come in all shapes and sizes. Many people with DNA surprises end up with two, three, or more fathers and just as many mothers, too. When Steve experienced his DNA surprise, he already had two men in his life that he called “Dad.” After he learned the truth about who his biological…
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Ever wondered how an open adoption can transform lives and bridge the gap between adoptive and birth families? In this episode of Family Twist, we dive deep into the profound experiences and insights of Lori, an adoptive parent and advocate for open adoption. Lori shares her journey of navigating the complexities of adoption, the importance of open…
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Most of the time, when I speak to people on the podcast, we learn that the reason they took the test was out of curiosity or for fun. Maybe they were given the DNA test as a gift from a friend or significant other. So imagine my surprise when I learned that this week’s guest was given her Ancestry DNA kit by her mother. Welcome to Season 8 of DNA S…
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Adoptee Monica Hall discusses her journey from leaving corporate America to starting her own soap company and finding her indigenous roots. She shares anecdotes about selling peppermint soap to a gay community and the success of her products. Monica also opens up about her personal life, including her experiences with relationships and her challeng…
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Ever wondered how discovering hidden family secrets can transform your sense of identity and belonging? In this episode, Kendall continues the conversation with Pam, an NPE (not parent expected) individual. They discuss the possibility of being the product of an affair or open relationship, and the challenges that come with it. They also talk about…
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Can you transform trauma into a powerful personal narrative? In this compelling episode of Family Twist, we delve into the journey of healing and self-creation with guest Dee Wallace, celebrated actress and healer. Dee shares her unique insights on how to redirect energy and thoughts to manifest the life you desire, inspired by her own experiences …
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Have you ever imagined discovering a completely different truth about your past as an adult? This episode delves deep into the powerful, emotional journeys that unfold when hidden family truths come to light through DNA testing and genealogical discoveries. For anyone curious about their own family background or grappling with questions of identity…
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Have you ever wondered about the alternative ways people can become parents in today's world? This episode delves deep into the fascinating and sometimes controversial world of unregulated sperm donation, a topic that touches on ethics, identity, and the human desire to connect and find meaning through family. Unregulated Donation with Spermworld D…
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Are you grappling with the complexities of family identity and secrets? In this episode of Family Twist, we delve deep into the emotional journey of Pam, an NPE (Not Parent Expected) who discovers her true parentage through a DNA test, uncovering the reality of being conceived through an affair. If you've ever wondered about your family secrets or …
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Have you ever wondered how uncovering hidden family truths could reshape your identity and relationships? Dive into the first part of this intriguing journey of Brian Stanton, an actor and writer who reveals the profound impact of DNA discoveries and adoption on his life. In this episode, listeners will explore the intricate dynamics of adoptive re…
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Have you ever thought about the impact of meeting your birth parents can have on your life and existing family relationships? In this compelling second part of Brian Stanton's story, we dive deeper into his emotional experiences of connecting with his birth mother and the subsequent challenges with his adoptive family. Adoptee Writes His Own Script…
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There is never a good time to discover that the man you’ve called “Dad” for your entire life isn’t biologically related to you, but I imagine that having this realization as he lays in a hospital bed, dying, must be among the worst. In the season 7 finale of DNA Surprises, Dana Schmalenberg shares how she uncovered the truth that both of her parent…
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In this surprise-filled episode of Family Twist, we dive into filmmaker Luke Davies’ compelling journey of self-discovery, ignited by the results of a home DNA test. Raised in Rochdale, England, Luke grew up believing he was white British, only to have a DNA test in his 20s reveal a rich tapestry of ancestral backgrounds, including West African, Po…
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How do you define family? For so many of us, DNA surprises have made us reflect deeply on this question. For Wyatt, Cassidy, Cody, and Angela, the answer is different depending on who you ask. Twenty-plus years ago when Wyatt, Cassidy, and Cody were born, fertility clinics didn’t advocate for disclosure. So when their mother and father asked Angela…
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In this gripping episode of "Family Twist," we delve into Sharon Adams' remarkable journey of self-discovery, initiated by a curiosity-driven DNA test as she approached her 70s. This quest uncovers a hidden lineage, introducing her to a father and two half-sisters, Beth Mamo and Kathy Reddy, she never knew she had. Kendall navigates through their c…
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Many of us who have had DNA surprises spend some time wondering “What if?” What if we’d been raised in a different house, with our newly discovered biological parent? What if we’d known the truth from the beginning? What would our lives look like now? Would they be better? Or…would they be worse? In this week’s episode, Lisa shares how she uncovere…
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Dive into an uproariously insightful episode with Lauren, a stand-up comedian whose journey from genealogical confusion to comedic triumph is anything but ordinary. With a warning for our listeners: we don't censor comedians, so expect some raw and real language. Lauren shares her tale of discovering her donor conception through a DNA test, her que…
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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…
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Picture this: you grow up with a sibling who is convinced they are not your dad’s biological child. No one knows about DNA surprises or NPEs or anything like that, but they just know their dad isn't THEIR dad. Years later, after commercial DNA testing becomes commonplace, you offer them some peace of mind. All of your siblings take a test to prove,…
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Corey here. Comedy has always been a passion of mine. I started watching stand-up on HBO when I only caught a handful of the jokes. Richards Lewis would be among the first I watched. I was transfixed. When I got the opportunity to interview him years later, it was a giddy joy. Sadly, the interview never surfaced. It was to preview some shows in San…
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Secrets. Secrets are often at the beginning of a DNA surprise. But after the surprise is uncovered, is that the end of them? In this week’s episode, Ryan shares how on one fateful Thanksgiving, his mother confessed the truth about his paternity. When he spoke to his birth certificate father and his biological father, they both requested that he con…
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In an episode that epitomizes the very essence of Family Twist, we unveil a story so captivating it blurs the lines between disbelief and destiny. Sit tight as they introduce Jennifer Schweibinz from DNAngels, whose DNA test unraveled a family secret so profound it challenged her identity and reshaped her understanding of family. From DNA Trauma to…
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In the second half of our eye-opening episode, Family Twist host Kendall continues the conversation with Jennifer from DNAngels. This segment illuminates the incredible work of DNAngels in reuniting individuals with their biological families and the profound impact of finding community through this podcast. The discussion delves into the essence of…
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Something that I’ve heard more than once on this podcast is a situation that goes something like this: people are having an argument. A mother and child. A husband and wife. Both parents with their child, or some other combination. And then, in the heat of the moment, someone reveals the truth. So and so isn’t your real dad anyway. And then, just a…
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This week, our guest, Jaclyn Frosolone, shares her compelling narrative, shedding light on the profound impacts of discovering one's origins in the world of donor conception. Prepare to be moved, educated, and inspired as we explore themes of identity, family secrets, and the quest for belonging. Beyond the Donor: A Deep Dive into Conception and Co…
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Tina grew up believing that her biological father didn’t want to be part of her life. Imagine her shock when, after taking a DNA test, she found out that her biological father is someone else altogether. In this week’s episode, Tina shares how she found her biological father and then quickly lost him. She also reveals her family history of NPEs, in…
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In this soulful episode of the Family Twist podcast, we are joined by Janeen, a vibrant soul who embarked on an unexpected journey into her past, unraveling secrets that would forever change her understanding of identity, family and belonging. Following the death of her father, Janeen, along with her brother Jermaine, delved into building a family …
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The thing about DNA Surprises is that they can happen to anyone. It doesn’t matter your race, socioeconomic status, politics, or background. In this week’s episode, my guest, author Robin Schepper, shares her DNA surprise story. For more than thirty years, Robin served at the highest levels of American politics and government. including on four pre…
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This episode takes us through an extraordinary exploration of family, identity and the unforeseen connections DNA testing can reveal. Our guest, Brenna Siperco, shares her compelling story of curiosity, discovery, and the complex emotions surrounding donor-conceived relationships. This episode not only peels back the layers of Brenna's personal jou…
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Imagine being 16 and witnessing your parents’ divorce. Imagine finding out at this time that the man who raised you is not your biological father. After finding your biological father and failing to connect, you go through the next three decades just living your life. You have a child. You get married. You get divorced. And then you take a DNA test…
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In a captivating episode of the Family Twist podcast, Kendall Stulce sits down with author Kate Brody to explore the intertwining of personal narratives and fictional storytelling. Brody, drawing from her own experience of discovering a secret brother, shares insights on family dynamics, the complexities of blended families and the emotional journe…
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Sometimes, DNA surprises happen more than once. NPEs, adoptees, and donor-conceived people might have their worlds shaken, only to have it happen again months, years, or even decades later. In this week’s episode, Daughter Dee shares her late discovery adoptee experience, which was followed decades later by an NPE. She shares how she learned that s…
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In this episode of Family Twist, host Corey delves into the intricacies of family bonds and the impact of distance on relationships. Joined by his niece Samantha in St. Louis, they explore the journey of their family's cross-country moves and the deep connections maintained despite geographical separations. Samantha's candid insights and Corey's re…
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Erika's incredible DNA surprise journey starts with a mind-altering awakening. Erika always felt an underlying sense of 'otherness' in her family. After an experience with psilocybin, or “magic mushrooms,” she realized that there was a big lie in her life. Thanks to a DNA test and a potent dose of self-awareness, a truth emerges that casts her enti…
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This episode of the Family Twist podcast offers a compelling look into the life of Linda Carol Trotter (her Greek name is Eftychia), an adoptee with a deeply engaging story. Linda Carol's experiences, from understanding her adoption to embracing her Greek heritage, take us through a journey that highlights the profound impact of cultural roots and …
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Welcome to Season 7 of DNA Surprises. In the first episode of the season, Jenniffer shares how she unraveled her mother's deep secrets via DNA testing. Jenniffer talks about growing up in a Venezuelan family, fostered at times by her paternal grandparents, only to discover later in life that she shares no DNA with them. In addition, she learned tha…
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In this episode, we have the privilege of hosting Melanie Blanc, self-described "curvy spice girl," who shares her/their deeply personal journey as a donor-conceived individual. Her/their story is a riveting blend of self-discovery, family dynamics, and the complex emotions that come with uncovering one's true origins. Melanie's openness in discuss…
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Join us as we welcome Wendy Kramer, the visionary co-founder of the Donor Sibling Registry. Wendy shares her poignant journey into the world of donor conception, offering unique insights into a realm many of us know little about. Her story is not just about creating a family but also about the complexities and unexpected challenges that come with d…
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Welcome back to our conversation with Wendy Kramer. In this episode, Wendy delves deeper into the intricacies of donor conception, sharing the empowering journey she and her son, Ryan, embarked on and the broader implications for donor-conceived individuals and their families. Wendy Kramer and the Donor Sibling Registry Part 2 Summary of Episode Hi…
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What happens when a chance phone call and a Facebook search lead to discovering hidden family secrets? A Twist-Filled Tale of Finding My Brothers This episode dives into the emotional rollercoaster of uncovering long-lost siblings and reconnecting with a fragmented past, something many of us long for or have experienced in our own lives. Main Benef…
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This special episode, recorded on Thanksgiving 2023, brings an intimate conversation with my niece Mia, and nephews Shane and Nolen. They are my brother Chris' children, and the story of how our family found each other six years ago still tugs at my heartstrings. They call Corey and me their "funcles." Join us as Corey takes the lead in exploring t…
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