Alysa Mehl is a current senior at Pascack Valley. She talks about her adoption and her 23andme DNA results. (Curstine Guevarra)
Alysa Mehl is a current senior at Pascack Valley. She talks about her adoption and her 23andme DNA results.

Curstine Guevarra

Left and found

PV senior discovers her heritage through DNA test

May 31, 2018

I was hanging out with my friend, Kaila, one day, and we started talking about our heritage. Since we are both adopted, neither one of us has much information about our background. She told me that a DNA test she took through 23andme.com gave her a lot of answers. I really wanted to learn more about myself, so I decided to take the test too.

I received a DNA kit at the end of January. When I opened up the box, there was a test tube. I put my saliva into the tube, put it back into the box, and sent it to the lab in North Carolina. After seven weeks, I got my results back. I found out so much information about myself, from my ancestry to genetic health risks to different traits I have.

Since I do not know my birth parents, I have no record or knowledge of my genetic history. My adoptive mom lost her husband to cancer before I was born and she thought she would not be able to start a family. When she found out that single mothers were allowed to adopt a baby from China, she immediately started the adoption process. The paperwork took six months to complete and another year of waiting to get the news that she could come get her baby.

When I was ten days old, my birth mother left me in front of the police station in Bengbu City, Anhui Province. I was one of the blessed ones. Because of extreme overpopulation in China and that boys were preferred, most baby girls were aborted or abandoned. I was found and brought to an orphanage where I spent my first year of life. My “sisters” and I were taken care of by nannies that met all of our needs. After I had just turned one, my mom-to-be traveled to China to adopt me.

Alysa Mehl

Through the DNA test, I discovered that I’m 87.3% Chinese, 5.6% Mongolian, 2.7% Korean, and 0.1% Japanese. Thankfully, there were no variants detected when they tested for health diseases, but I do have a slightly increased risk for Late-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. The test also says I am likely to be lactose intolerant. Fortunately, I am not, but I can eventually develop an intolerance.

On the more amusing side, I am likely to have dry earwax and I do not have a photic sneeze reflex. It gave me information about my finger and toe length ratio — my ring finger and my big toe are likely to be longer than the others. I also have a muscle composition that is commonly found in elite power athletes.

Alysa Mehl

My mom encouraged me to take the test and she has always been very open with me about my adoption because she was so proud of me. To this day, thinking about my life in China seems so unreal; it still does not feel like it’s part of my story. If I had the opportunity to meet my biological parents and siblings, I would in a heartbeat, but I know that it is highly unlikely that I could ever find them.

3 Comments

3 Responses to “Left and found”

  1. Aunt Cathy on June 1st, 2018 9:15 am

    Beautiful story Sweetie. So glad that you are a part of our family. We all love you very much, and are so proud of the beautiful young woman that you’ve become.

  2. Rosemarie Kirchner on June 1st, 2018 10:58 am

    Great story – great re-creation of your baby picture! Blessing to you both!

  3. June on June 2nd, 2018 8:41 pm

    Loved this Alysa! Now here’s a story I probably may have told you: I remember the day I sent your mom an article about a single female pastor who felt like something was missing in her life-a baby who needed to be loved. She chose to adopt a little baby girl from China & went through the same process your mom went through till she held that beautiful baby girl in her arms. That child brought her so much joy-they brought each other joy, and if I figure out the years, that little girl is probably about 21 years old now. I immediately thought of your mom, who had been through such heartache with the loss of her husband Rob, just about a year after they were married. I knew Iris had always wanted to be a mommy and I knew in my heart she would be an awesome one! I tore out that story & gave it to your mom, A year or 2 later, she called me with a special excitement in her voice & said, “guess what I’m doing? …Adopting a baby girl from China!” I was ELATED!! The rest is history! God hand-picked you for each other & the joy you have brought to each other’s lives is IMMESURABLE!! We are all so grateful to your birth mom who loved you enough to want you to have the best life possible on this earth! Rest assured, she would be proud if she could see you today! We have been so blessed to have you in our lives & so very proud of the beautiful young godly woman you have become, Alysa. Our God has great plans for you,, “…plans for good and not calamity, to give you a future and a hope.”(Jeremiah 29:11) Always keep your eyes on Him! Love you so much! XOXOXO ❤️😘

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