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This podcast is intended for mature audiences. Listener discretion is advised. I do this thing that my kids hate. When they have weekdays off from school. I call myself principal daddy, and I take them to museums and try to make them learn stuff. So there we were, May 2019, waiting in the ticket line at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philly. My kids were sort of percolating around while I stood there checking my email, and there she was in my inbox. Finally, it was Tara, the medium and mystic in California. I'd followed on Instagram. I'd seen so many of her photos, like a swirly, enigmatic painting that she'd made of ravens and selfies after meditating, all with a closed mouth smile that looked just like mine. I had written to her repeatedly, and now here was an email from her. My ears were ringing. My heart was racing, as if the old war cannons in the museum had come alive with explosions. Tara wanted to talk from Waveland and Rococo punch. This is inconceivable truth. I'm Matt Katz. Episode four more of us.


Hey, this is Helena.


Hi, Helena, it's Matt.


Hey, Matt, how are you doing?


I'm all right. How are you feeling? I'd been in touch with Helena for a few months. She was the first half sister I had connected with and now a second half sister, Tara, the one I had first found on, who up until this point, hadn't returned our messages. She was now expecting our call. Okay, I guess I'm going to conference in Tara. Hold on 1 second.


Hi, Matt.


Hi, Tara.


Hi. Hi. So is it Helena? It is. You got it right.


I'm so glad we were able to connect with you. I had tried you several ways and that I was a little gun shy about trying you again. But we figured letter might be a good way of doing it. After trying to reach Tara online and failing, Helene and I finally sent her a letter via certified Mal. Together we workshopped the language and decided to be direct. According to comma, we are all half siblings.


I didn't even read the letter. I, like, opened it up. I saw the word half sibling. I have a roommate. I said to her, I have half siblings. And I just handed it to her and I go, I knew it. Oh, my God.


Oh, wow.


I am nothing like my dad's family. They're all really, really tall, and I'm not. And my mom and dad both had dark hair, and looking back, it seemed so obvious. And I even said to my dad's sister maybe seven years ago, I said, do you think there's a chance that they used the wrong sperm?


Helene and I told Tara that we had struggled with whether we should keep trying to reach her. Maybe Tara wouldn't want to know that her dad might not be her biological dad.


Do you tell somebody, or do you let them continue with the life that they have? Like, it is so hard for us. No, no. I think it's just. It's like, I believe in, like, the truth. Setting us free. Like, I really do. Like, there's a lot of shame in secrets.


Tara's mother passed away several years ago, so we can't ask her questions about what she might have known about where the sperm came from. But Tara knew her parents had struggled to have kids. Her older brother is adopted. And in college, an aunt told Tara that her parents received some kind of newfangled fertility help to conceive her. So, Tarwin, you got our letter. So you had an idea, but you didn't have any information beyond, like, what you suspected?


It's like an intuition. You just sort of always know. And, I mean, I actually even, like, had a dream years ago. And I remember vividly. I was with my mom. I was sitting with her in a car at grocery store. And she said to me, you know, I have something to tell you. There's a secret. And I said, what is it? And in the dream. And she said, there's other kids. Oh, wow. Yeah. And I was like, what do you mean? And she's like, there's other kids? Like, you have siblings?


Well, here we are.


Yeah. And then I was like, well, this makes so much sense. I knew there was something that someone wasn't telling me.


Tara hadnt yet brought this up with her father, but we could now at least rule him out as having been our donor dad. He couldnt have been donating sperm while also getting medical help to conceive a child with his wife. Still, this doesnt bring us much closer to understanding who exactly our father is. All three of us were apparently conceived in New York. Tara and I were born 16 days apart, Helena nine months before that. We don't know if Tara's parents also went to my mom's doctor. Doctor Dubrovna.


The doctor still alive?


Not only is he still alive, he lives across the street from my parents. It's crazy, but the strange piece of this is Helena and I have. Our mothers had different doctors.


And he told her that he could get her pregnant with a donation from one of the doctors in the hospital. So he told her that he got a donation from three different residents or medical students. And then he mixed it all together so that he would never know who it was. What?


Yeah, that was very common. That's how they did it.


Yeah, we've learned a lot about that. This was a really common process back in, like, the sixties and seventies before we reached you.


I mean, it was getting somewhat, like, depressed that we were at a total dead end, it seemed like. And, you know, the reality is we may never know the name or identity of who he is. That's possible.


Like, I wonder if he even knows. I mean, he must, but I wonder if he even remembers, you know what I mean? Like, he could have just donated it.


If he's alive.


Yeah, exactly. If he's alive. Once you start digging with this kind of stuff, it is probably like a never ending thing. Like, there's probably more to discover here.


You know, so much.


Especially, like, this idea of, like, how men of us are there.




Like, can't imagine it's just three.


We compared notes on each other physically. Like, how we're all on the short side, but we round up our height to the nearest inch when we tell people how tall we are and how in certain pictures we make the same face.


And, like, Helena, we have, like, an energy, in essence. It's so interesting because it's not my mom's side of the family. So I'm like, what you and I have is so clearly from our dad. Like, I can see there's something about you that's like, oh, that's from our dad, too. I am so excited to have a sister. I've always wanted to. Sister. It is exciting. It is. It's like. Yeah, totally. It feels like. Yeah, I got two. I got one of each. Yeah, I know. Wild, right? Yeah. No, I think of it as a gift. Like, and just like, I'm just grateful. Like, it. It's like putting together a lot of, you know, answers to questions that, like, I didn't even know I had.


We caught each other up on the last four decades of our lives. We talked about where we had lived and worked and studied. Turned out the three of us came at least close to crossing paths. I lived in the same cities as each of my sisters. While they were living there, we could have walked by each other or chatted in a bathroom line at a bar. Helena actually met her husband at a bar where I used to hang out at the time when I used to hang out there. She got married in the park where I took my wedding pictures. And we ended up having kids at around the same time the two oldest got their training wheels off within two days of each other.


I'm just gonna warn you guys that I have to get on another call at 230. Okay, so we have few minutes. I think we have the rest of our lives.


That's great. I feel relieved. It's so wonderful to make this happen. And regardless of whether we find the old man, I'm glad that we've connected and we can have a relationship. It's wonderful. The phone call I had with Tara and Helena could not have gone better. I left it feeling happy, hopeful. But I wasnt any closer to finding out the identity of our father. Unless we got more matches on the DNA sites. It seemed like we could go forever without being able to find out who he was. And I wanted to know who he was. But there was something else I could do. A little bit aggressive, but maybe exactly what was called for here. Some un on the ground shoe leather reporting following one of my strongest leads. It was June 2022. My kids had a week off from school before summer camp, and they had never been to Europe. Also, the cheapest tickets to Europe at that time were to Ireland. You're driving, we think, to the location where my great great grandfather lived approximately 120 years ago. Oh, my goodness. This is a very narrow road that doesn't appear like it's meant for Toyota rentals.


Since I learned I'm half irish, I'd read some irish poetry, a James Joyce book and a thriller about the troubles. But I wanted to actually experience this place where half of my family was from. And I had some ideas about how I could dig up more information about my family and the identity of my father. So I rented a car, and one morning I told my kids that today might be boring. We might find nothing. But it was time to search for some family ghosts.


Yellow flowers line the roads.


Oh. Spectacular views of the valley. Wow. We're on the road somewhere in rural county cork. Deborah is in the passenger seat, kids are in the back, and we're looking for my dead ancestors, hoping they can somehow point the way to my father. We have some information, like, we know that a man born in the mid 18 hundreds, Michael lynch, is our closest known direct ancestor. That's because we've connected with enough third cousins on DNA sites, and they've posted these family trees which link to all kinds of old records. The problem is, these are big families and the tree fans out pretty quickly. I have no idea which one of great great grandpa Michael Lynch's many kids is my great grandparent, and which one of his or her many kids is my great grandparent, etcetera. So I take the one clue I do have. It comes from the 1911 irish census. It lists the address of Michael lynch in 1911. This is exciting, guys. We're, like, on a treasure hunt. So the census gave me an address, but it wasn't a normal street address. It just had a number and something called a townland. So I pulled up old maps of the townland, and I used a website that converts townland addresses into GPS coordinates.


Without question, this area where we are, our ancestors lived, farmed, walked, married, baptized, all around here. What do you think great great grandpa Glynch would say if he knew that his jewish progeny was driving a hybrid Toyota?


I don't know. I don't even know what language he's spoke.


Well, according to the 1911 census, Michael lynch spoke Irish and English and lived somewhere right here. A rolling, verdant countryside, sheep and cows in pasture. The GPS took me right to an old, seemingly abandoned farmhouse with walls of stone sunken into the ground. All right, let's go check out this old house. Look, there's. I don't think anybody lives there.


Could be the house.


It could be. Yeah. And look, there's something growing out of the chimney. We peer inside and see what appears to be some fake flowers in the window. The place looks like someone just left, knowing they were never coming back. Creepy. Yeah, because it's old and grown over there's moss. Whoa. This house is open.


The door is open on that house. Cause it's abandoned. I dare you to look in. No, I looked in.


I looked. Oh, God. Oh, the thorns. The thorns are protecting this house.


Yeah. Cause no one wants you back there. These look like houses from a horror movie. I'm going after the car.


My daughter Sadie got a little freaked out walking through this overgrown property in the middle of nowhere. Understandable. So Reuben and I went on our Scooby Doo adventure while Debra and Sadie waited by the car.


Be careful.


Traipsing through with my son, climbing over fences, imagining these people I'm related to working this land. Just being a little freaked out about the whole thing. It was just so fun.


Do you think your ancestor, one of your ancestors, could have lived here?


Yeah, I definitely do. We took some selfies and then moved on, looking for more clues. I asked neighbors if they knew the Lynches. Hi, there. So sorry to bother you.




After Michael Lynch's wife died, he lived with one of his ten kids, a daughter and her children. She must have been taking care of him as he was getting older. Her name was Ellie Lehan. And while neighbors I talked to around Karagoula had no recollection of the lynches, I was told the Lehans still lived around here.


They're farmers, so it literally would be just over the mountain.


She sent me to a shop in the village, the only shop in the village, which really looked like a one story house. An elderly woman working the counter told me where to find the lahans.


Keep going over the road and first road on the lift.


First right on the left.


And you would find them there. That's the hands.


Okay, thank you so very much.


This is the house.


I knocked on the door. Hi there. My apologies for the interruption. My name is Matt. I'm from the United States. I'm here with my family down the road, and I'm researching my irish family history.


You better come in because I wouldn't have a clue about my husband.


A woman let me in, brought me into her kitchen, and sat me down with her husband. Hi there, sir. How are you? We soon realize he is not the Lehan I am looking for. My ancestors came from a different Lehan family that lived here decades ago and moved on. The people of the village gave each Lehan family nicknames, the popes and the Yanks, to differentiate them from one another. So just a nickname. They were known locally as the popes. I don't know why. So I stumbled across the wrong lehans. That's the bad news. But this is the amazing news. This Lehand happened to be the local historian. He gets up from his kitchen table. My family is waiting outside in the car, by the way, unclear what's happening inside. And he pulls from a shelf a book that he helped to write. It's called Tales of the Launi Valley. And it lists every family who lived in this area going back more than a century. And it says what came of their descendants who died, who left for England, who left for America. And so he started going through the book, and he finds it a listing for Elie Lehan, my great great grandfather's daughter.


Oh, Lance. That was the hand married Ellie lynch. Ah, that's it. About 100 years ago. This is exactly it. Patty lynch. And then Mister Lehan realizes he had actually known Ellie Lahan, my great great grandfather's daughter. I knew her. You knew Ellie? Ellie barely. She was an old woman like you. Mister Lehan tells me that when he and his father would go rabbit hunting with their dogs on Sundays, they'd sometimes see Ellie, an old woman. Then over on that side of the mountain. She'd be sitting there and Mister Lahan's father would call out to her, say hello. Most of Ellie's kids had left for England and America by then. Just one of her children stayed behind. Mister Lehan says the last son was waiting for her to die, and when she did, he left. Too small a bit of land? Yeah. Troublesome. There were plenty of troubles in Ireland at the time. It's why there's far more people with irish DNA in America now than in all of Ireland. If I get all the answers, I'll come back and let you know, Margaret. Thank you very much. I left the local historian's home with a copy of his book.


It listed a bunch of names that I could research once I got back to the states. Names of my great great grandfather's descendants. Not just Ellie, but all of her children. One of those people could be my grandparent. So then we drove into the nearby town of McCrum to get some dinner. And that's when Deborah spotted Lynch's bakery. Like Michael lynch, my great great grandfather, we stopped in.


Red velvet chocolate.


As the kids perused the cupcakes, I sat down with the owner, Humphrey Lynch. Humphrey, who started the bakery? My great great grandfather, here since 1869. Humphrey, we would quickly figure out, is my fourth cousin once removed, he says. Much of our family emigrated to San Francisco. I connected on the DNA sites with cousins from San Francisco, so this checked out. Can I get a picture with you? Humphrey gave some cupcakes to my kids and Lynch's bakery tote bags to me to bring back to my siblings. Shaking the hand of an actual relative hit me in the gut. I was getting closer to resolving this whole thing. Before we left the country, I went out one night by myself in Dublin. I saw the sloppiest sidewalk make out session id ever seen. I got yelled at and then hugged by two very drunk, very young men. And I passed a guy bleeding from his face and heard his girlfriend say to him, why the fuck are you blaming me? Youre the one who headbutted a window. What a country. I liked it here. I stopped in at the bar at the Irish Whiskey Museum and told the bartender I usually drink scotch.


God bless, he said. And he brought me a flight of irish whiskeys. I told him I had just found out I was irish. He was confused why I couldn't tell I was irish by just looking in the mirror my whole life. As I left, he called me a fellow irishman. Pulling at these ancestral roots was exciting. It was fun. But I did not lose sight of the fact that for other donor conceived people who find out they were donor conceived decades into life, it can be emotionally draining, devastating. When I got back stateside, I call someone who has not been able to reconcile her roots in the same way that I have. Her experience started with a family secret, and it's turning out quite different from mine.


I've pretty much kept it very privately, so this is the first time I've done anything of this sort.


How are you feeling about that?


You know, it's been something that I've been a little bit more interested in talking about, so my parents are very secretive about it. But what I've been working on over the past couple of years is that, you know, this isn't their story. Sure, a piece of it was their story back in 1977 and 1978 when they were trying to have children. But once they had a child, it stopped being their story, and it became my story.


I've spoken to many other donor conceived people who found out later in life that their father isn't their father. Lauren is one of them. I met her through that Facebook group for the Children of mothers who went to Doctor Dubrovna, the group that gave me the doctor's contact information. I immediately wanted to talk with Lauren because I'm desperate to learn from other people who were conceived the way I was and who are also processing it all now. Like my mom, Lauren's mother went to Doctor Dubrovna for help conceiving. Lauren and I were born within a few months of each other, grew up a few towns away from each other, and were raised jewish and white, or Ashkenazi Jewish. Lauren and I both had long thought that all of our ancestors lived in eastern Europe for hundreds of years until the turn of the 20th century. So you, did you grow up, like, go in a synagogue, get bat mitzvah, the whole thing?


Yeah, I did. So, you know, I went to hebrew school until I was 13. You know, I had a bat mitzvah.


And do you remember sitting in synagogue? Because I remember this. I remember sitting in synagogue and just kind of being a little bored and looking around and feeling like I still do that.


If I go, you, like, look around.


And feel like you're different from everybody else in the building?




Like, I would look around to see if there was anyone else that looked like me, and there never was. So, like, there were all these things when I was growing up that I knew that I didn't match.


That's because Lauren, as she remembers it, looked different. The other jewish kids noticed that her skin was darker. And they kept asking if she was adopted. I have a tiny sense of what this might have been like. I definitely remember at Saturday morning services at my family synagogue and at hebrew school and when I studied in Jerusalem during college, id be compared to other white jewish boys and told I looked goyish, yiddish for not jewish. My unknown irishness must have made my skin a little redder, my features a little lighter, but it was subtle enough that I never wondered if I wasnt really jewish and Ashkenazi. But Lauren's situation was different, and Lauren wondered.


And the other thing that I was aware of when I was a little girl that was really different was my hair. So my mom had a lot of trouble. Like, my hair was really curly, and she had a lot of trouble dealing with my hair. So when I was three, they took me to a hair salon in Queens so they could straighten my hair. And if I said anything, my mom would be like, well, your hair is not curly, just ugly, or it's really frizzy and poofy, and that's not how you look beautiful. So we would do this every six or nine months, and they'd put, like, relaxers in my hair, and I would sit there, and it would be like this burning feeling. And that's how I knew it was working. And so I wouldn't say anything because I knew that the more it hurt, the better it would look. Cause I would always get these compliments and how much better my hair looked.


Lauren had a lot of disturbing experiences like that during childhood, experiences she couldn't fully process at the time that she now sees in a new light. The thing is, her parents seemed to know something was up because they kept trying to keep her looking as white as they could.


Like on Long Island, a lot of people do that above ground swimming pool that was basically like a pot in the middle of the backyard. And I was only allowed to go in the pool once the sun was setting because my mom didn't want me to get really tan. So I would put on, like, in order to use the pool, I had to use, like, really high SPF. And I had a younger brother that was four years younger, and he could go in the pool whenever he wanted because he didn't tan the way I did. And then adding to that, like, I grew up in this very italian irish neighborhood, and so there were just a lot of comments about my appearance. You know, I was called the n word, but didn't make any sense, you know, because I was jewish, you know, it just, I was very aware of those differences, and I never knew how to, like, I would ask my parents about it, but their response would always be, you know, like, it was all in my head. Like, I was put on, like, the black Law Students association list. In law school, it was very hard for me to, like, randomly, without me even asking.


That sort of thing would happen all the time. Like, finally ended up joining the hispanic law students association because it made more sense, because, like, at least, like, I didn't feel it.




Like, the weirdo that didn't belong anywhere.


Lauren's white jewish mother had, in fact, grown up in Colombia, and Lauren spoke Spanish, but she worried that she was unintentionally living a lie.


Then there was a story that hit a little too close to home. This was a professor at a university near me. She was jewish but pretended to be puerto rican. So I was starting to freak out. I was really scared that, like, I would be found out as a liar, which I wasn't. But I wasn't being 100% honest either.


With each new move in Lauren's life, inevitably there was a new clarification or correction that she needed to make about her identity. Like, when she made partner at her law firm.


A black lawyer called me, and she started going off. We're so excited. You know, we haven't had a black woman make partner. This is the first time. And I'm sitting there. It's so awkward, and I'm trying to figure out how to interrupt her excitement and be like, I'm actually not black. So finally, I'm like, I've got to figure this out.


And so the annual Christmas sales for consumer DNA kits rolled around, and Lauren sent in her sample. The results astonished her.


I open up my email, and I see right away, like, big purple on the continent of Africa. I was super confused. And, like, that's. I'm like, clearly they messed up because my dad's white. My mom is definitely not black. That makes no sense. And I didn't know what to do with that information. It's like the world stopped. And then I was like, I can't tell my mother because, like, how am I gonna have this conversation with her? So, like, what do you do with this information? Right?


Like, so what did you do?


Well, I was numb. I just, like, kind of, like, lay there finding out that your parents weren't or at least one of your parents at that time. I didn't know, but at least one of your parents wasn't honest. You know, like, my parents lied to me, and also, I felt so stupid you know, because I was asked so many times over the years and I was just like, how could I not know? Because I knew, but I didn't. You know, there were all these clues. They were like screaming clues, but I didn't really know. And then having to go through life and not matching your identity is tough because you never feel like you belong anywhere.


Turned out her mom was her mom, an Ashkenazi Jewish. But her father, the sperm donor, was black. Through a DNA search, Angel Lauren learned about the man who contributed half of her DNA. He grew up in the Bronx, spent some time in Florida, raised kids of his own. He died long before Lauren found out about any of this. Eventually, Lauren confronted her mother. Turned out she knew and remembered that she had been inseminated with donor sperm.


And she said, why are you going digging around into things that have nothing to do with you?


Lauren's parents said they went to Doctor Dubrovna. And her parents said Doctor Dubrovna told them that donor sperm would be mixed with her father's sperm to boost its motility, to get it across the finish line. This was the medically false information that so many would be parents were told in the seventies. Doctor Dubrovner also told them that the donor sperm would come from a jewish medical student of ashkenazi european descent.


That's what they were supposed to get. They were completely lied to in every aspect about who the donor was. You know, they didn't ask for a jewish plumber. They asked for a jewish doctor. And why did they ask for a jewish doctor? Because they thought that they would get, like, a smarter, more capable child, which is ridiculous, but that's what they thought. Why does it matter whether he's a doctor or not?


It didn't even happen anyway. Lauren's father was not a medical student. And that's making me wonder, what the hell does this mean about my situation, about this supposed irish catholic doctor I've been looking for all these years. How much of what the doctor told me is true? Lauren, meanwhile, is still trying to understand how her parents never told her, even though they suspected that her biological father was not the white jewish man she always knew.


There's a whole level, you know, of cognitive dissonance that was going on in order for them to keep it up. Like, when I was 19, I had my nose thinned out. Their idea.


What do you mean thin? Is that like a plastic surgery?


Yeah, exactly.


To look.


To have my nose look thinner. Cause they told me, like, you know, I believed that my nose, I'd broken out as a child. And that's the reason. But then when I looked at pictures of, like, the person that I figured out was my biological father, I have this. I had the same nose.




They just didn't want. They wanted me to fit a mold because they didn't want anyone to know, you know? They still don't want anyone to know. I felt really stupid, like, when this. When I found out the truth, like, I felt so stupid. And then you. You know, I was just like, well, like. Cause, like, how did you not know? Cause I knew. I really did. Like, in a lot of ways, I knew, but, like, I knew, and I didn't. Like, I couldn't comprehend my origin being a lie.


You know, when I first heard your story, it was during this, like, moment of racial reckoning in the country, right? And, you know, through this process, I find out I'm half irish and that my family was likely catholic, and that was a mind fuck for a fully jewish kid who went to synagogue everywhere growing up, right? But I'm just now a different kind of white guy in the end, I still present the same to the world. I still identify as a white jewish man. The revelations that you made carry, like, so much more weight from my perspective, like, culturally and politically.


I mean, yeah, I had no idea. Like, I'm still working through a lot of that stuff. I mean, I think part of it, too, was also, what does that mean for me? It was like, what does it mean within the context of the country? And what can I claim and not claim? So I think it's easier for me to feel comfortable in my own skin.




But the problem is also that I don't know how to identify myself because I didn't grow up, you know, knowing with certain experiences. Like, I didn't grow up in the black community, so there's, like, a giant hole there. I didn't grow up knowing or thinking of myself as a black person. I didn't grow up with black family members. I didn't grow up, you know, understanding how to process microaggressions and racism and things like that, you know? So there's one piece, like, how do I define myself? And then the other piece also is how do I fit in my family?


In the jewish tradition, children inherit their religious identity from their mothers. So, Lauren, like me, isn't any less jewish, technically, but it's complicated.


I mean, you've seen fiddler lore on the roof. Like, that's the story we grew up with. Or I grew up with, was like, you intermarry. You're an outcast. You're not one of us. You rejected us.


You don't belong because we're this, like, tiny minority. And if you've. Your only job is to make sure you pass along. Yeah, you're the next generation, right? That's your only job.


That's my only job, and that's my parents job. And my very existence is, like, a failure and made it harder because if you don't fit in, it's hard to feel connected. So there's, like, this huge emphasis on identifying who's in and who's out.


I mean, absolutely. I mean, it's. It's this idea that we, your ancestors, survived, right?


Thousands of years.


They survived the Holocaust, the inquisitions, the pogroms and all this. And you're, like, ruining it. Like, it doesn't matter. Like, when you get married, as long as they're jewish. You know, they jewish. As long as they're jewish. Like, that's the thing anyways. He jewish. My brother told me that at one point, my mom asked him if he would date someone like me. Like, they were concerned about my suitability. They would never have accepted me, would they? I haven't fully navigated yet this feeling of disloyalty to my parents. You know, right now, like, even this feels a little disloyal to them. Sure, because my parents don't want anyone to know.


You know, I imagine whatever decisions your parents made as they were trying to get pregnant, and then afterwards, we were done, like, in what they thought would be in your best interest.


That's what they say. I think that there's some element of truth to that, for sure, but I think it's stopped. They stopped doing that at some point. Like, I still continue to not feel like I fit in as a jewish person. Like, yes, I was bought misfit, and I went to school, synagogue, and all my relatives are jewish. But, like, when I walk down the street, that's not what people see. But then I also don't really feel like I'm really a black person because I never thought of myself that way. I'm still working through this piece of, like, what do I do with this information? Because I still feel like I'm a secret.


Secrets have surrounded paternity since the dawn of time. Infidelity and infertility, closed adoptions and forbidden love. But now with DNA and the Internet, so many secrets are being exposed. Thanks so much for sharing this with me, Lauren.


Thank you for inviting me. I look forward to hopefully hearing how your mystery gets resolved.


Yeah, I gotta find them.


There's a peace in knowing, even if the answer isn't necessarily what you want it to be or the person isn't who you want it to be. All of those different things that can happen. There's a peace in knowing.


Yeah, that's what I'm hoping for. On January 12, 2022, I woke up to a text from Helena. Holy shit. She wrote, we have a brother. I always wanted a younger brother, someone to beat up a little, someone to share my wisdom or not about girls, someone to actually be impressed by. My Billy Joel CD collection. The man I had thought was my birth father before all of this started had no other children. My two sisters from my dad Richard's first marriage were several years older, so I never had the chance to live with them. On my mom's side, I didn't even have first cousins, so I always wanted relatives around my age. Information from relationships with biological siblings can help you understand yourself. And without those mirrors around you, you wonder what another version of you could be like. Well, I finally found out the brother who had just signed up for was in fact, my little brother. He and Tara and I were all born in the same month. Once we DNA matched as half brothers, I messaged him immediately. I told him everything we knew, that we had a sperm donor father that the men we thought were our biological dads were not.


It took him three months to get back to us. His email subject line, when he finally wrote back, read, ancestry. Wow. I called him up. The first thing he said to me, dude, I lost my mind when I got your message from his father. My brother inherited season tickets to the New York Giants. He brought me to a game, and I got a glimpse into his world at a tailgate party that he ran for probably 150 of his friends. As I stood there drinking whiskey out of solo cups and eating non kosher sausages, several of his friends who didn't even realize we were related turned to me, pointed to my my brother, and said something like, I fucking love that guy. He's my little brother, but somewhat hilariously, he's like, twice my size taller, stockier. We have an Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito, and twins situation going on. He thinks our voices sound alike and carry the same way. He likes the Yankees, I like the Mets, and just like I had crossed paths with my sisters at various times in my life, this brother I took classes at the college he went to when he was going there.


Weve now spent some nights out together, and they were excessive in every good way. In laughter, emotions, drinks. Hes hilarious and he feels deeply and often, but hes still processing this whole new situation. So im going to keep his name and voice out of this podcast. The good thing is he does want us in his life. And that's why he called me one day last year and said, we're going to visit Tara in California, and Helena is going to come, too. Next thing I know, I'm checking into a hotel. Are we checking in? I am. Yeah. I think my brother is already here, but there might be a key. My brother. That was surreal. I just used the phrase my brother in public for the very first time. Four of us siblings spent the weekend together. We wandered around and rented scooters through Santa Monica and Venice beach. We had long dinners and lunches, drank and laughed and even cried just a little. We even told strangers we met our story.


If you give me a phone, if you want me to take pictures of me.


The following afternoon, Tara and Helena talked to me on tape before we went to dinner. I set up three microphones and a recorder right in the middle of the hotel lobby. Helena got there first, and she immediately made fun of me.


You know, you look like a complete nerd right now, and everybody is, like, weirded out by this.


Nobody even notices.


Every single person. They're all giving me looks like they're like, you're gonna go sit with the weirdo in the corner with a microphone?


Yeah, you are. When Tara came down, it was immediately clear that Helena and Tara were dressed almost identically, wearing purple. Our brother came down a few minutes later. Sure enough, he was wearing purple, peach color last night.


I know. I was having a weird, like, twiny feeling with you right there, and I was like, what? And I didn't even realize because of the clothes.


You guys look unusually alike today.


Yeah, right, right.


All weekend, we kept looking for and finding these similarities, meaningful coincidences, and wondering where our father is or was.


Listen, my biggest thing is, I'm good when it comes to ancestry and DNA. What I don't, what I don't have are live people. Like, track down where these people are, track down who they are, track down a picture, a high school yearbook or something of them, and, like, that is.


The type of thing that I'm like.


I feel like I can do that.


That's where I fall.


Like, I'm not useful.


I need somebody else who has other skills, you know, like a PI type.




We need somebody who knows how to stalk somebody, you know, like, who can get, who can look into public records and figure out.


I'm a journalist. That's what I do.


Well, I don't know what you do.


I do a lot of Twitter. No, but I do mean I can do that sort of research.


I have a couple I haven't narrowed down to two people. But there are two things wrong with those two people. A, I have not contacted any of them. B, I feel weird. I feel like there's something weird. I feel like I want to have more information before we reach out.


Yeah, sure. On it. Time to get us some answers about how this happened in the first place. What's really going on? Next time on inconceivable truth.


A combination.


A combination.


My question where did the sperm come? That was so unethical.


It's very bizarre.


I don't know how you're going to ever find out who actually donated that sperm.


Inconceivable Truth is a production of Waveland and Rococo punch. I'm writer and host Matt Katz. The story editor is Erica Lance. Mixing by James Trout. Emily Foreman is our producer. Natalie White is our intern. Special thanks to the Lahans of Bally Negri, Ireland for the history book Tales of the Launi Valley and to the Lynches of Lynch's bakery in McCrum, established 1869. For the cupcakes and tote bags. Our executive producers are Jason Hoch at Waveland and John Perry and Jessica Alpert at Vercoco Punch. For photos and more details in the series, follow avelandmedia on Instagram X or Facebook, and you can reach out via email at podcastsaveland Media. That's Waveland. W a v l A n d. If you like the series, please leave us a review. And as always, don't forget to tell a friend or relative. I'm Matt Katz. Thanks for listening. Sadie, what did you think of today?


It was tiring. Fun, I guess. Yeah, I'm going with Sadie. It was tiring, but it was fun. We got a cupcake and we also were talking to this dude, and there was like a lot of dudes. If you guess what I want what's written on my hand, I'll give you $5.


If you tell me who my father is, I'll give you $5.