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Foundlings, Abandoned Babies and DNA Testing


It is over fifty years since DNA – the biological secret of heredity – was discovered. And today, the test is more commonly available to the public than ever before. Recent TV shows such as the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are and the boom in family ancestry, shows we have an endless fascination with our background. As well as rooting through local libraries and tracing birth and death certificates, more and more people are opting for a test to ascertain their identity. But what if you were a foundling?

Abandoned as Babies

Abandoned as babies, foundlings not only struggle with who they are but have to deal with the fact of being rejected for whatever reason. Journalist Kate Adie, a foundling herself, has written extensively on the subject. The number of abandoned children in the world is quite shocking and often the reasons are rooted in, “poverty, shame, inheritance and indifference.” A DNA test can confirm a foundling’s general identity. The BBC 1 TV programme ‘Found‘ followed the story of Julie Ayers, abandoned as a baby on 9 July 1966 in north London. She started on the path of finding her roots by applying to view her birth certificate and police records and took a test that confirmed her belief that her father was genetically of sub-Saharan African origin and her mother was white European. She believed that tracing her parents using a DNA test would help her settle down emotionally.

DNA Test is The Key

For many foundlings who have clues to their natural birth parents, a DNA test can be a vital key in their identity puzzle.

The Hunt for Identity

Historically, foundlings were abandoned because of poverty, although religion has also added shame and sin to the equation. Although conditions have improved for abandoned children, even those who had a happy outcome and were adopted to a good home can still feel the emotional need to know their past. And many still search for clues and use one of these tests in their hunt for identity. As one foundling child wrote from her pleasant new home: “I would give a hundred worlds like this if I could see my mother.”

Vital Clues

A DNA test can help vital clues come to fruition – for example, one woman abandoned in a phone box as a baby had her hopes raised when a woman came forward suggesting they might be half sisters – an X chromosome test would establish beyond doubt if they had the same mum and solve the mystery.

Reuniting with Adopted Children and Related Articles

Did you know that paternity tests and relationship tests have helped to reunite adoptees with their birth parents?  Once a child learns he or she is adopted, their natural inclination is to learn more about their natural parents, which you are free to do once you are over 18 (or 16 if you live in Scotland). Read more about Reuniting Adopted Children With DNA Tests.

Recent news reports told the story of an adoption racket in Guatemala. 46 children had to be rescued by the authorities. DNA Testing has been used to actually stop the illegal adoption of children. More information about this can be found by visiting this page.

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