Dateline: Father’s Day – The Unexpected Gift

On Father’s Day, NBC’s Dateline aired a full segment about what happened to one family as a result of DNA testing. And it’s not at all what they expected.

A woman tested her DNA, but the family she found was not the family she was looking for.

“I knew everybody, right???”

“She’s just been waiting for us all these years….”

“A moment 50 years in the making…”

“It was a gaping hole…”

Put another way, by Bennett Greenspan, CEO, Family Tree DNA, “History may get righted.”

“DNA is like a history book written into your cells and only now in the beginning of the 21st century are we learning how to read the book.” – Bennett Greenspan

“It was the middle of the night.  He told her he found me.  I can hear her crying…”

“He couldn’t hardly talk…”

“We watched pain turn into joy.”

Poverty and prejudice is evil. In all of its incantations.

Two families about to become one.

There is absolutely no way on this earth that you can get through this dry-eyed, so just get the box of Kleenex now and click the link to watch the segment.



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11 thoughts on “Dateline: Father’s Day – The Unexpected Gift

  1. Wonderful story produced for television, but I feel compelled to play the devil’s advocate in regard to navigating the illegitimate child minefield with war torn veterans.

    Forgive me if I seem mean or callous, but the warriors our government produced in my family struggled to nurture children produced stateside after the Vietnam War. The atrocities they experienced left permanent psychological scars that hindered their ability to have intimate relationships with spouses, offspring, puppies, or God. In their particular cases, exposing them to illegitimate children from the Vietnam War would only put all at risk of emotional or physical harm. Sometimes, good intentions can produce grave consequences.

    I know Vietnam Veterans that will go to Heaven, because they’ve already been to Hell and back.

  2. Wow! Am so glad you shared the link. We spent Father’s day weekend at a friends home in Washington State. 1 box of tissues and two hankies later, I finally was able to dry the tear ducts. What a wonderful story. It’s a good thing that there are Labs that offer testing for Y and mtDNA!

  3. Not viewable in my country 🙁 Can anyone provide a quick summary, or say what made it so special? Thanks ☺️

    • The summary is that the woman who took the test was hoping to identify her mother’s father, but when she received that “unknown match,” it was for a half sibling through her father. In Vietnam. The story chronicles that family’s journey – to Vietnam – back to the US and the reunion. The half-sibling’s mother had died when she was 5. The father went back to the location where his unit was stationed with his daughter. The daughter and her husband and child have immigrated to the US to be with the father and the rest of the family. I’m sorry you can’t see it – it’s a very “feel good” episode. You can also sometimes use TOR to view things that are blocked due to location.

      • Thanks so very much for the summary, Roberta 🙂 The bits I saw in your article now fall into place! A wonderful story … thank you, too, for posting it.

  4. I went to look at this on my tablet, but it required me to download the NBC app, no thanks. I was able to view some of it with my laptop, but then it quit on me after about two segments of the show. Thanks for your summary of it, like all “Dateline” shows, it takes about five minutes of information and manages to stretch it out to an hour, for some kind of dramatic effect.

    Does she ever find anything out about her adopted mother’s side, as she set out to accomplish in the first place?

  5. Roberta, I just found Candice Jane Estes in my husband’s tree. Here is the info I have to date. Is Candice one of your relatives?

    Kentucky, Birth Index, 1911-1999 about Candis J Estes Name:     Candis J Estes Date of Birth:     2 Feb 1938 County:     Estill Mother’s name:     Mary Sparks Volume Number:     013 Certificate Number:     06430 Volume Year:     1938

    Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-2007 about Candis Jane Moore Name:     Candis Jane Moore [Candis Jane Estes] Birth Date:     2 Feb 1938 Birth Place:     Kentucky, United States Gender:     Female Race:     White Hispanic Origin:     Not Hispanic (Latino) Death Date:     4 Mar 1994 Death Time:     09:55 PM Hospital of Death:     Long-Term Care Facilities Death Place:     Dayton, Montgomery, Ohio, USA Certificate:     023508 Age at Death:     56 Hospital Status:     Other/Nursing Home Social Security Number:     273-34-8645 Father’s Surname:     Estes Mother’s Maiden Name:     Sparks Marital Status:     Divorced Education:     8 Industry of Decedent:     Eating and drinking places Occupation of Decedent:     Cooks Census Tract:     0503 Primary Registration District:     5701

    She first married my husband’s uncle Jerome Gale “Jerry” Baker who was born 1938 in Montgomery County, Ohio- died  2008 in same county and buried in Highland Cemetery in Miamisburg, Ohio. Candis was Jerry’s 5th wife.

    Dayton Daily News (OH) – Sunday, March 6, 1994 CITE THIS RECORD Dayton Daily News () , obit for MOORE, Candis Jane, ( : accessed 1 July 2018)

    Love your DNAeXplained columns!!!!

    • Thanks so much for thinking of me, but this one’s not mine – at least not that I know of. She is probably a distant cousin. Many of the immigrant Abraham’s children scattered to Tennessee and Kentucky and left lots of descendants.

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