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What is an NPE (Not Parent Expected)?

Updated: Apr 27

Photo of a black baby chicken with open beak standing between two yellow chicks who look exactly alike
Photo of a black baby chicken with open beak standing between two yellow chicks who look exactly alike

A non-parental event, or "NPE," is a term used to generally describe a situation where the biological father of a child is not who was originally assumed. This could happen due to a range of reasons, including adoption, infidelity, sperm donation, or secret affairs.

The discovery of a DNA surprise can be a life-altering experience. Many NPEs only find out about their true parentage later in life, often after years of believing they were the biological children of their parents. The discovery can lead to a wide range of emotions, including confusion, anger, sadness, and a sense of betrayal. LittleBird Coaching specializes in helping NPEs and their families recovery from DNA surprises.

The advent of DNA testing has made it easier for people to discover their true parentage. DNA tests can provide a definitive answer about a person's biological family, and many individuals are turning to these tests to uncover the truth about their heritage.

While the discovery of a DNA suprise can be challenging for anyone, it can be particularly difficult for individuals who have been lied to by their families. Many NPEs report feeling a sense of betrayal and anger towards their parents, who they feel have been dishonest with them for their entire lives.

For many NPEs, the discovery of their true parentage can also lead to a crisis of identity.

People who have been raised believing they were part of a particular family can suddenly find themselves questioning their entire sense of self. They may wonder who they are and where they fit in, and may struggle to come to terms with the fact that their biological family is different from the one they were raised in.

The impact of an NPE discovery can be far-reaching, affecting not just the individual, but their entire family as well. Family members may be forced to confront long-held secrets and hidden truths, and may struggle to come to terms with the fact that a member of their family is not who they thought they were.

Despite the many challenges associated with an NPE discovery, there is also the potential for healing and growth. Many NPEs report feeling a sense of relief after discovering the truth about their parentage, and some even report feeling a sense of liberation from the secrets and lies that had been holding them back.

For those struggling with the aftermath of an NPE discovery, there are resources available to help. Support groups, therapy, and counseling and coaching can all be valuable tools for processing the emotions and complexities that come with this experience.

Here is a short list of helpful resources:


Coalition for Genetic Truth (CGT) An organization that aims to educate and advocate for adoptees, NPEs, donor conceived people and others fighting for their genetic truth

NPE Friends Fellowship A non-profit organization that “provides emotional, educational, and practical support to those who have discovered that one or both parents were not their biological parent(s).”

Right To Know An advocacy and education organization that believes laws related to genetic information, identity, and family dynamics need to be updated to reflect the changing technology and social dynamics of the times


NPE Stories

DNA Surprises Everything’s Relative with Eve Sturges Family Secrets Podcast with Dani Shapiro Go Ask Your Father Sex, Lies & the Truth

Luke, Who Is Your Father

Although the discovery of a DNA surprise can be a life-altering event, with the potential to upend a person's entire sense of self and family. While it can be a challenging experience, it is important for NPEs to remember that they are not alone, and that there is support available to help them through this difficult time. With time, patience, and support, many individuals are able to come to terms with their new reality and move forward towards healing and growth. Feel free to contact us at LittleBird Coaching if you have questions about a DNA surprise or NPE discovery.

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