My Life Just Changed In a Digital Instant

Last week I learned I have a half-sister I never knew existed. How do I even begin to process this unexpected news? For now, all I can say is, thank God for writing.

Christine Wolf
5 min readMar 30, 2022


Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

For the past two weeks, I’ve been trying to process the unbelievable news.

At 53 years old, I’ve just learned that I have a half-sister who is 18 months older than me. We plan to meet for the first time next month.

With the rise in popularity of DNA kits like 23andme, discoveries like mine are happening everywhere. And while news like this is hardly unusual, it’s created a seismic, nearly indescribable shift in my life.

Imagine seeing a name you’ve never heard of before, accompanied by this graphic:

Author screenshot

When I first saw this note on the Family Tree page of my 23andme online profile, I stared at my laptop, convinced it was a typo, a misunderstanding, and an obvious error.

• My whole life, I’ve been the oldest of three girls, with 1 biological sister and 1 half sister (see family tree below).
• My whole life, I’ve known who the people in my family were: my mother and father; my aunts and uncles; my cousins, grandparents, and extended relatives.
• My whole life, I’ve known who I was and how I fit into our family.

That is, until now.

Until last week, this is how I saw my immediate family — and believe me, it felt complicated enough:

Author graphic

But now, it seems, there’s a whole new way to look at everyone:

Author graphic

Until last week, I’d been through (what some might reasonably describe as) more than my fair share of seismic life…



Christine Wolf

Memoir Coach. Author. Journalist. Marathoner. Lover of emotions, words & spicy nachos. Grateful you’re here. Twitter/Insta @tinywolf1.