A few years ago, I took a genetic test with 23andMe. It was part of my routine medical exam. I was forty-eight and in excellent health. But recent deaths from cancer in my immediate family prompted me to look deeper into my genetics. Aside from three pregnancies, I hadn’t gone…


On how the darkest times gave me the greatest gifts.

Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift. — Mary Oliver

During one of the darkest moments of my life as I was hiding in…


I met my biological mother after forty-nine years of searching for myself

“I’d never forget,” my father said when I asked him what my mother looked like. He remembered the way the sun illuminated the gold in her brown hair, the depth of her gaze, and the way she crinkled her nose when she laughed. As I stood at his doorstep with…


I wonder if I chose only one moment to go back to, which one it would be? It might be the day Nana took me to the beach.

The summer before her ninety-seventh birthday, my grandmother, Nana, passed away in her sleep. She was living in an elderly care home, although I hesitate to use the word care. It wasn’t where she belonged, that’s for sure.

The place had an odor of canned spaghetti microwaved in a plastic…


The rattle of his truck tailpipe faded away down the street. Gone. My hand still shook as I fed my son a spoonful of mashed sweet potato. I didn’t like fighting around the baby.

I’d had enough of it, the drinking, the whisky on his breath, the cans piling up…


The summer before her ninety-seventh birthday, Nana was living in a home off Burton Way. My aunt Denise called it “The House of Death” with morbid sarcasm, and I agreed. This move to her final home occurred after she tripped on another one of her area rugs and fell. …


1987. It was there hidden in the darkness I felt invisible. My grandmother’s car pulled up in the driveway. I yanked the window blinds and hid inside the closet. Buried within the fabric of dresses and blouses, I sank, curled into a fetal position among my shoes. …


My DNA test revealed a family secret and solved an existential puzzle

Everything I thought I knew about my life spiraled into a double helix. I stood for some time in the bathroom staring in the mirror, examining every detail of my arms, hands, and face. I attempted to see…


In June of 2018, I had my genetics tested using 23andMe by my doctor. It was an optional part of my physical, but I thought it was a good idea to get a thorough medical checkup.

Being a single mother, I thought about my children’s well-being. In addition to not…


It probably took a few months to disassemble the house on Shannon Road. There were the bedrooms I knew as my mother’s and aunts’ bedrooms since they were little girls and my grandparents’ bedroom with the stained glass window. There was the breakfast room off the patio with the round…

Stephanie Dianne Kordan

Writer, mother, artist, podcast host, word nerd. Currently writing short memoir about my surprise DNA results & adoption as working drafts for long form.

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