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home : columns : dear harriette October 20, 2020

8/22/2020 12:21:00 PM
DNA tests confirms mom's suspicions

DEAR HARRIETTE: My ex-husband was the product of an extramarital interracial relationship. Both of his parents -- the ones who raised him -- are white, and he has always denied he was biracial, despite the obvious physical characteristics that say otherwise. We have two beautiful teenage children who have been raised believing they are white.

We recently took ancestry tests, and what I believed to be true has been confirmed: My children have 25% African DNA. Since our divorce 12 years ago, my children have been raised very open-minded, and for this reason, I don't believe they will struggle with this new information, but I'm concerned about the questions they will ask, how much information to give them about their grandmother's choices and how to deal with their father, who I know will be furious when he finds out. Please help! -- White Mom

DEAR WHITE MOM: Your children should know their true identity. Start by sharing with them the results of the DNA test. Tell them what you know and that you suspected their father was biracial, though it was never revealed to you. Make it clear to them that your father's family chose to have him live as a white man, so he will likely be unhappy about this revelation. Families have secrets; that doesn't make them bad people.

Prepare your teenagers to understand that they may not get all of the answers that they may want. They can ask their father about his roots, but who knows what he will share, especially since he wouldn't tell you?

If it is true that his mother had an extramarital affair that produced your ex-husband, that is a complicated situation that his mother chose not to address. They may not get the satisfaction that they will desire when they start their research, but it is worth a try to learn more about their heritage.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am 77 now. Forty-six years ago, I had the opportunity to have a nose job. To this day, I have NO regrets. My nose had a large hump that lowered my self-esteem. Later, when I found a picture of my grandmother, I realized that, unknowingly, the doctor had configured my new nose to the same pleasant shape. I think this was a "God opportunity" afforded to me. May your reader -- of course after having a doctor check the person's health -- feel the relief and comfort that my nose job has given me. Thanks for allowing me to share my story. -- Nose Job

DEAR NOSE JOB: Your story is an inspiration for many who grapple with the question of whether or not to have elective surgery, especially something that can so dramatically change your appearance. I agree with you that if you make the choice for rhinoplasty, it is best that your new nose have a natural look that is reflective of your family lineage, if at all possible. Then it is easier for you to enjoy your refresh without creating the need for too many questions and unnecessary input.

As you point out, having this type of surgery can mean the world to a patient. You are living proof that it can improve your self-esteem. Thank you for sharing.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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