8 Investigates

Family secrets revealed: DNA kit exposes genetic bombshell

(WRIC) -- Those at-home DNA test kits have exploded in popularity. They may seem harmless and fun. You just want to know if you really are Irish, or could you be French? You can get an answer in just a couple weeks.

8News has found that sometimes, however, with these tests comes a genetic bombshell and family secrets are revealed.

"I had gone back as far as I could,” Kim Corbin told 8News.

Several years ago, the Chesterfield County resident used ancestry.com to build her family tree.

"I knew I had cousins, second cousins,” Corbin said.

What she didn't know is that online tree would lead to the growth of an unexpected new branch.

"Never in a million years did I think I had a sibling that I didn't know about,” Kim said.

Her tree ended up helping a man named Jim. He was searching for his birth parents and had done an ancestry.com DNA test kit. The results connected him to her.

Earlier this year, Jim sent Kim a Facebook message.

"It just said who he was and that he was pretty certain that Judy Wheeler Manning was his mother,” she explained.

Judy Wheeler Manning was Kim's mother, and she only knew of her one younger brother.

"I responded to him and said I was a little overwhelmed," Kim recalled. "I need some time to digest this."

Kim's mom has since passed, so she dialed up her mother's close friend and asked for the truth.

"By chance, do you know if my mother had a baby when she was 17?" Kim asked. "And there was just this pause, and she said, 'yes, she did.'”

As it turns out, Kim's mom had gotten pregnant when she was a senior in high school.

"My mother and Jim Robinson were supposed to get married,” she explains.

However, Robinson decided at the last minute he didn't want to get married and wanted to go college.

“She decided that the baby needed two parents, so she gave him up for adoption,” Kim said.

It's a secret Kim's mother would take to her grave.

"It was upsetting," Kim admitted. "It was really hard, I felt bad for my mother. I just wished she had told us. I can't imagine carrying that for all those years."

A family secret revealed through one of those easy DNA tests often advertised to provide fun family facts.

“I think it is pretty amazing," Kim said. "It's also kind of scary."

Fortunately for Kim and her new half-brother Jim, the news is a welcomed revelation.

"It was kind of like an instant connection really,” Kim said.

They’ve met a couple times now. Kim has been sharing family photos and stories of their mom.

"We talked about resemblances, certain features that he has that remind me of my mother,"
 Kim added. "He perspires a lot on his head and my mother did that, sounds kind of crazy but .. he said well, now I know where I get that from."

Through all of this, Kim's new half-brother was able to locate and visit his biological father. It’s a happy ending for Kim and Jim.

“He is a great guy," Kim said. "I communicate with him once a week."

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