A 34-year-old California woman has a DNA test to thank for helping her find the dad she never knew.
Kerry Saucedo's last name was Fortuna when she was born in the 80s after her mother had a brief fling with her biological father.
By the time she learned she was pregnant, the pair had lost touch and there was no way to contact the father, as he had moved.
“She raised me on [her] own so I had always wondered who my real biological father was,” Saucedo said. “That was something in my life that felt like something was missing and I felt 50 percent anonymous.”
Saucedo said not having a father had a huge impact on her life, but in the 90s, by the time she as old enough to search for him, there were limited resources outside of the white pages.
She had a name for him, Mark Saucedo, but she would later find out that what she thought was his first name was actually his middle name. Also hampering her effort was the fact that she didn’t know the correct spelling of her dad's last name.
“Needless to say my search was very difficult to try with the resources I had,” Saucedo said.
But in June 2017, someone presented the idea of 23andMe, a DNA test that can tell a person their racial background but also match them with relatives who have also taken the test.
Saucedo said that when she got the results it was easy to tell which side was which, as she knew her father was Hispanic and her mom is British and Irish.
“My third match was a woman whose last name seemed Spanish and I knew this had to be my dad’s side,” Saucedo said.
That woman ended up being her great aunt on her father’s side and through more research she was able to contact her father’s sister on Facebook.
Saucedo was then given the phone number of her father, who lives in Oregon.
"I called him and we talked for the first time," she said. "He was just like, 'I am so sorry. I didn’t know about you and I feel horrible I missed out on your life, but I am your dad.'"
Her dad had gotten married just a short while after her mom fell pregnant so she has siblings, one of which is only seven months younger than her.
"He literally took over the father role right way," Saucedo said.
Last July, she flew to see her father for the first time.
"That day I met him and it was like literally looking into a mirror," She said. "I waited my whole life for that moment and it was just euphoria and honestly it felt like I was in a dream because I just thought I would never ever know my dad."
She wanted to change her last name to his and her lawyer told her the easiest way to do so was for her biological father to adopt her.
So he did.
The adoption became official in August 2017, and now Saucedo is set to move to Oregon in June, along with her two daughters, to be with her dad.
They are both excited for the future.
"If it wasn't for the DNA, I wouldn’t know my dad right now," Saucedo said.