CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. – Over the holidays, an Indiana man got a Facebook message that changed his life – and family tree – forever when he found out he had a half sister living in the Philippines.
An online DNA test revealed the connection between Chris Livesay and Jane DeGrand – the common thread between them is their late father, John, according to WXIN.
He spent most of his life in Crawfordsville, except for a few years in the late 60s and early 70s while serving in the Air Force. Part of that time, he was stationed in the Philippines, where he met DeGrand’s mom.
“Apparently, my mom didn’t know she was pregnant until she was already five months pregnant,” said DeGrand, who now lives in the Washington, D.C. area.
By the time DeGrand’s mother realized she was pregnant, her father was back in the U.S. with no clue about his daughter on the way.
“The first thing they would ask is 'Who’s your dad? Who’s your dad?' because I look different than any other Filipino — I stick out in the Philippines,” DeGrand said.
When she sent a Facebook message to Livesay back in December, she had a name from her mom and a likely match to the Livesay family tree from Ancestry DNA. Livesay said he started connecting the dots when he saw DeGrand’s birthday on her Facebook profile, but he wasn’t entirely convinced.
“That’s when he brought up ‘My dad had these slides’ that he knew he had from the military,” DeGrand said.
On one of those slides was a picture of DeGrand’s mom and her dad.
“I was like, 'Well, that’s my mom — and that’s my mom feeding your dad coconuts,'” DeGrand said.
Ancestry DNA couldn’t say for certain if the two were siblings. They took a second DNA test that cleared up any remaining doubt.
“It kind of validated me as having a father. He did exist. Even though he didn’t know I existed, I know he actually existed and he is real,” DeGrand said. “I’ve had this cross for a very long time – there’s a little girl on it, and she’s just there praying. Even though I’m 46 years old, I always see this little girl in me, and I see that cross and the little girl praying so hard for something, and I always like that for some reason and, every time I think of that, I know what I’ve always prayed so hard for is figuring out who my dad is. So, I’m leaving that with him and putting that little girl to rest.”