CARMICHAEL, Calif. (KTXL) — It was a Christmas gift that kept on giving. A Sacramento woman discovered she had several siblings after taking a ’23andme’ DNA test her son gave her as a present.
Michelle Battle told FOX40 News about how she reunited with her long-lost family recently and why that meeting came at a time when she needed it most.
She said that she would notice that she did not look like anyone else in her family as she was growing up.
When she was 8 years old, her parents told her she was adopted. Her biological father, a veteran, passed away years ago.
She eventually found out her biological mother was Korean, but she did not know much else until she received the life-changing Christmas gift several years ago.
She says that she didn’t use the test immediately, but instead held onto it and only used it when she was having health issues in 2020 and 2021 and her son reminded her about it.
“He told me, ‘If you don’t use this, I’m not buying you anything else,’ so I spit in the tube and sent it off,” Battle said to FOX40 News.
When she got the results, messages from cousins flooded her inbox, including one that told her she had a biological brother.
She eventually got a hold of a phone number for her brother, and when she dialed him, he said, “Yes, I know who you are!”
“He calls me back later that day and says, ‘We have been looking for you. Dad has told us all about you and you have seven other siblings here,’” Battle said.
Battle says that during the pandemic she lost her adoptive brother to COVID-19, but also gained these new siblings.
These siblings are the children that her biological father had with three different women. Battle is the only child of her biological parents.
“He was supposed to come back to Korea, but it being back in the seventies, it just was not the way things worked out,” Battle said.
“He ended up going back to Germany, where he had my little brother. He was a rolling stone … It was that loving era,” she continued.
This September, Battle went to Gary, Indiana to meet her siblings.
“To finally go somewhere and blend in with all my family, it was the best feeling ever,” Battle said. “Everyone talks about my mouth, and my siblings told me, ‘Oh, we see where you get it from — You are just like Dad.’”
And soon she will get to find out how much she is just like Mom.
“I had dinner with my brother from Sacramento and when I got home, I got another message from ‘23andme’ that says, ‘Hi Michelle, I am your sister. Your mother and your brother are looking for you. We are in Florida.’”
Battle was supposed to meet her mother after that message, at the end of September, but Hurricane Ian derailed those plans.
She plans to meet her mom in person in December after her son takes her to Hawaii for her 50th birthday. Battle says that this Veterans Day feels more special because knowing not only her adoptive father is a military veteran, but her biological father was too.
Although she was not able to meet her biological father, she received an article of clothing that belonged to him which gives her a sense of connection to him.
“I felt his spirit when I got his jacket,” she said.
She spends these chilly days walking around Carmichael with the gold and black jacket that used to belong to her father. His nickname ‘Tom’ is printed on the spot that sits over her heart.