Tuesday, July 30, 2013

DNAConnect.Org Launch

Most in the adoption community recognize the growing participation, both by adoptive parents and adoptees themselves, in birth parent searches. While Research-China.Org was born in 2002 to provide families with finding ads, now we are primarily focused on assisting families in birth parent searching, both through our orphanage analysis and through our birth parent search projects.

Over the past five years, as we have sought out birth families for project participants, we have met birth families for other children for whom we had no contact information. These chance encounters have in the past resulted in little more than a brief conversation, a promise to try and locate a child, and then disappearing. Unless a potential birth parent matched the criteria for one of our project children, there was no ability to collect DNA from these chance encounters. I know from conversations with other searching adoptive families that this is not a rare occurrence, as they too have met birth families of other, unknown children, and they too have not been able, due to financial and logistical constraints, to take DNA samples for later matching.

The problem was complicated by the DNA technology at the time. Even if a DNA sample was collected by cheek swab, where do you send it? Where could the information be stored so that months, years, or decades later a match could be found and a connection made? With the problem of dozens of potential matches being unutilized, and the recognition that an increasing number of adoptive families would experience the same thing over the coming years, the need for a company like DNAConnect.Org became obvious.

The premise is simple -- As a community, we come together and "pay it forward." We all help collect DNA from anyone, anywhere in China, in order to allow a future searching adoptive family or adoptee the opportunity to make a match down the road. By purchasing the DNA collection vials in bulk and providing them to searching families for no cost, the financial barrier to collecting DNA in China is eliminated. As a result, DNA can be collected from hundreds, if not thousands, of birth parents in China, with that DNA being submitted to an established centralized data base. Contact information from the donor is collected and maintained going into the future, so that if a match is made to a searching adoptee down the road, contact is possible. By harnessing the efforts of all of our labors, many in the China community will be benefited that otherwise would never be. DNAConnect.Org will convert the thousands of chance encounters experienced by the hundreds of searching families into viable and long-lasting opportunities.

As we launch this grand experiment, our goal is simple: Raise $10,000 to purchase and distribute DNA collection vials to traveling adoptive families. They will collect DNA from potential birth families, and return the vials to us. We will then process the sample for submission and inclusion in a DNA data base. We hope the adoption community sees the power of this project, and is willing to financially support it. All donations will be used for collection vials, shipping, and other project expenses. None will be used by Research-China.Org or anyone else for salaries, etc. 100% of the donation will be used to help this project grow and succeed.

We welcome all to join us in this experiment in community cooperation and support. We encourage you to visit DNAConnect.Org to learn more, and to help support this project.

Thank you.