On occasion, some in the viewing audience might ask themselves the question that seems to dominate most of the programs, “Is the father of the baby the man the mother asserts or was she having sex with more than one man at the time she became pregnant?” And there is at time the corollary: “Can she pass a lie detector test to offer additional proof of her faithfulness?
The identity of the mother is almost always a certainty unless there is a character like Bree Van de Camp on “Desperate Housewives” who faked a pregnancy to cover for her teenage daughter who was in hiding experiencing an authentic pregnancy.
The father’s identity, however, is a different matter and with it come financial, legal, and emotional issues.
What if, however, you are the child in the family pictures with blonde hair, the “cotton-top,” when all your siblings have dark hair? The hair is one thing and then what if, like me, you start asking about height (I’m the tallest), body shape (no small waist for me), the alignment of teeth (in my case, the misalignment), and health issues (so thankful that I’m healthy?
The solution to my doubts seemed to have no answer as my father died decades ago (And what daughter could ask her father about paternity without creating a tremendous uproar in the family?). My mother died in 2006. Yes, I could have asked her because we had a very special relationship.
The problem did not, however, surface for me in any real way until three years ago when someone make a casual remark, a remark that would have been better left unsaid.
With the death of my middle sister in May of this year, my desire to have a definitive answer moved from the depths of my consciousness to front and center.
Your questions might be the following: Why would you want to know? What good will knowing do? Will it change anything? And the big question is always the following: If your biological father is not the man on your birth certificate, will it change how you feel about him? Will it change how you feel about your mother?
My response to the two last questions was a firm NO.
Why no? I was blessed to have a mother who was intelligent, nurturing, with compassion for so many who needed her kind and insightful words. Her days were spent in being a mother: reading to us, talking to us, holding us, taking care of us when we were ill, singing and speaking to us in French, and letting us know in a non obtrusive way that she cared for us, respected our judgment, and expected us to get an education and do well in the world.
And I always knew that I was my father’s favorite child, the one who brought life and light into his eyes, the one who made sure to hug him and spend time with him.
The saying “Inquiring minds want to know” pretty much defines me, so I got my oldest sister, Frances, to agree to participate in a DNA test, made a call to HARH the recent Fourth of July weekend, paid for the DNA test ($400 plus), sent in my swab, verified that Frances had submitted hers, and waited.
The agreement I had with Frances was that if the test did not come back with the results I wanted, we would tell no one.
I received the results via email two days ago, and I was happy: full siblingship probability 99.9999 percent with a 1,466,050 to 1 chance that we share the same mother and father.
Yes, Caleb Powers Bowling was/is my biological father. So I’m still smiling although I would affirm on a stack of Bibles that it would have made no difference if the results had been different.