Why NPE Support Groups are Important

individuals celebrating at an npe support group

All the Feelings

In my last blog, I opened the window to give you a peek into my NPE (Not Parent Expected) journey and DNA discovery. This is all new to me and I am experiencing all the emotions right alongside the rest of you that are getting “surprise” results. I like to think I’m a fairly stable person, with my life all figured out and standing on solid ground emotionally. Yet I’m suddenly feeling very vulnerable. You may find yourself experiencing new, unexpected emotions as well.

As exciting as it can be to learn about new family members and the prospect of meeting them and the amazing discoveries that can follow, there will be a lot of emotions. Some that you might experience are:

  • Elation (joy, happiness, delight): Though this is a positive state of being, it can also lead to restlessness, irritability, impulsive or risky behavior.
  • Psychological Distress: Sometimes psychological distress can occur a result of a stressful event (like getting surprising DNA results) that exceeds your ability to cope or integrate the emotions involved with that experience.
  • Anxiety: This is your body’s natural response to stress. It can be a feeling of fear or apprehension about what’s to come. You may have trouble breathing, sweating, trembling, trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry.
  • Shame: A painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior may occur. Often NPE’s are shamed by other family members, friends or even themselves. In addition, you may feel the burden of keeping the secret.

The Big Idea

In my personal discovery with my new family and meeting other people (virtually and in person) who are also NPE’s, I made a startling realization. There are very few options for them (us) to get specialized counseling around this NPE status and the unique challenges that face us and the biological families who are also getting “surprise” revelations. I pitched the idea of running support groups for these individuals at Mariposa and our clinical team immediately agreed that it was an arena we (Mariposa) needed to step into. So, we did.

A Safe Space

We created that safe space to process all the emotions that come with being an NPE. It’s a “no judgment” zone and everyone is provided the dignity and respect to share their story and heal their wounds. I know first-hand how important that support is on this journey.Just to have a few people I can process my roller coaster emotions with has been an enormous help for me.

Our group provides a place for individuals to tell their story and find support with their peers. It’s also a place to learn about the emotions you might experience while on your journey of discovery. Our clinicians provide support, psychoeducation and offer real-life tools for navigating the emotions that go along with this “ride of your life”. This is an open group and anyone (NPE) can join at any time.

For more information, please call the Mariposa office at 714-547-6494.

4 Responses

    1. Hi Dave,

      We would love to have you join us. The groups meets on Thursdays 4pm-5:30 PST. If you’d like more information, you can call our office 714-547-6494 and they will conduct a brief phone screen and schedule you with me for a 1:1 and then we will introduce you into the group. I look forward to meeting you.

      Dr. Krista Driver

  1. Found out my real father was my godfather and felt very isolated from my brother and sister I grew up with. Then two years later my brother took a DNA test and found out we shared the same father. My sister is the only one who was the biological child of the father we grew up with.

    1. These stories never cease to amaze me. I’m so sorry you are dealing with that. I do run an NPE support group on Tuesday evenings (online) and I’ve available if you need someone to listen. Please reach out anytime. My email is kdriver@mariposacenter.org

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