“Although a stereotype persists of Amerasians being conceived through casual encounters of American military men with Vietnamese bar girls, this was the case for only a small number of the women I spoke to. Most of the mothers of Amerasians report living with the fathers of their Amerasian children, sometimes for periods of several years. Eighty-one percent of mothers of Amerasians responding to a 1992 survey claimed to have lived with the American father of their children. These relationships are generally viewed in a positive light. Seventy-eight percent of the women surveyed “had positive regard for their American husband.”
–from Children of the Enemy (DeBonis 1995, p. 8)
A coworker recommends I try 23andme–an at home DNA testing kit that has a large database of people from around the world. The package sits unopened for at least a week and I’m not sure why I’m suddenly hesitant to learn of any possible genetic connections. I think about how my father said his last name would die with him. My coworker found a second cousin who had recently moved from Syria to the United States–and amazingly to the same city. I spit a handful of times into a plastic container, close the lid and seal it into a bag marked biohazardous. I receive an email about a week later confirming the lab has received my sample. A month passes. I learn my ancestry is 100 percent European, centered mostly in the Nordic countries. I have more Neanderthal variants than 75 percent of the cite’s customers. Sixty-one percent of customers who are genetically similar to me can smell the asparagus metabolite in their pee, and so I’m likely to as well. The DNA test describes other traits that I likely have based on my and others’ genetic makeup. It does not, however, expose any close genetic matches when it comes to family members.