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Everything’s Relative: Podcast Transcripts

Everything's Relative: Podcast Transcripts

You Look Like the Swedish Side of the Family

Speaker 1: (00:01)Yeah. Thank you so much. Thank you. Um, yeah, you’re actually the first person I’ve met really in real life who has had this experience now

Speaker 2: (00:10)

are you, you’re in the NPA eat group, are you in PE?

Speaker 1: (00:15)

Yeah, you are to, you understand this from the cellular level is totally understand it. Still processing it. Maybe we’ll never get used to it and yeah, and the only thing that’s a little bit different than for me than the like general population from the, the in the NPE is that I didn’t find out through a test a test. Like it wasn’t an we’ll get to that, we’ll, we’ll talk about that. But so many people in there found out through 23 and me and that kind of thing. And I found out from a phone call then did a DNA test and found out that that is the only thing that’s a little bit different. So I don’t quite understand when people are talking about, um, like I’ve got a relative with 14, 72 CMS or something. I don’t know any of that means that scientific stuff. I mean the sent to Morgan were, that was not the interest in my ancestry. That’s not what got me. And I wonder how many central Morgan’s I share. Right. So I probably should do one so that I, cause I know I will probably are, I hope to meet people who, who, who are into that side of things. But yeah. So I should probably do one of those tests to get, it’s quite interesting, but that’s just not right.

Speaker 2: (01:30)

My focus right now, it might have been had I not made the discovery that I made.

Speaker 1: (01:35)

Right. So, okay. So let’s talk about that. What, how did this all start for you? I have all

Speaker 2: (01:44)

always been absolutely fascinated by members of my family who I, most of them I never met. They were older, great grandfathers and cause they came from other countries and I, I, it fascinated me and it didn’t seem to interest to many other people in my family. Nobody else was very curious. But for some reason I just had this burning desire to know and I was always asking questions and who is that? Well, what did they do and how did they come here and why

Speaker 1: (02:16)

there are a lot of photo albums in your house? Nothing.

Speaker 2: (02:18)

Oh, okay. Nothing. Um, well, we had our, you know, and not really know because when my family, my maternal family, um, my grandfather was born in Stockholm, Sweden, his family immigrated to the u s in the early 19 hundreds. Same thing for my birth certificate father, I guess the man who raised me and the man I believe was my father. Uh, his whole family was in Germany and they emigrated in like 1902. Um, but the Irish came at some point during the famine, like in the 1850. [inaudible]. And you know, that fascinated me because it’s like, Whoa, they escaped. They were all escaping something. Right? Like the Irish were, were almost refugees at that time. They were, they weren’t to frame it that way. No, no, they didn’t. But they were. And, uh, the German part of my German family, I looked up what was happening in history in Germany in 19 of two.

Speaker 2: (03:23)

And things are getting a little bit, so I think they will. And, uh, the sweeter side of my family. I don’t know. I really don’t know. I don’t know what they were leaving. Stockholm was pretty glorious, but, okay. They came here. So I was always asking questions and bunny, but when it got to the part of, but why did they come here? Nobody knew. It’s like my mother would go, I don’t know. I never asked. Grandma died. And what I figured out was at the Times that they all immigrated, there particular nationality was not wanted. Sweets, maybe not so much. The Swedes are so innocuous. Do you know what I mean? They’re, they’re not the, they’re kind of like Switzerland, you know, they’re just really neutral, free people, you know, and uh, eat weird fish, but they weren’t really as good. I don’t think they were escaping anything.

Speaker 2: (04:16)

But the Irish family where they were escaping and, and, but they got here at a time when Irish were really looked down on. So first and foremost on their list was, we are, we’re going to get American, we’re going to be as American, as work in the USA, USA, Chicago, all the way. You know, we’re cubs fans now. No lace curtains, no Irish tea, no corn, beef and cabbage. And none of the stories being passed down. We are Americans. I think that happens. I mean, I think that’s still happening today with minority cultures. When I as a therapist have been with, um, children like an inner city schools and I just never occurred to me that they wouldn’t know. Their family has basic family history. Like, Oh, well where did your parents come from? And they just, I don’t know. I don’t know. And realizing that they don’t, yeah, they don’t want to share that, that information right now they’re trying to be American.

Speaker 2: (05:08)

The German part of my too, they were not, Ooh, they were not, they were not well can imagine. So they adapted. They, you know, they didn’t keep onto their German ways and, and they spoke German in the house but not outside. And it was, you know, hush, hush, hush. So, and I grew up in the south, interestingly enough in a small area outside of Atlanta. And if I had add and I did, I would ask my school friends when we were reading grammar school and even junior high school, um, you know, where, where did your grandparents come from when they might cater or the furthest, the most exotic answer I think ever got with somewhere in Alabama. I mean, these people, they live there forever. Generalization, age, gender roll, gender and generationally generationally. Thank you. Hmm. Um, so that was, I was always really interested and I, but when I was 21 my sister, I have two older sisters. One was 16 when I was born, nine when I was born. So always talking to the one when I was about 21 I was talking on the phone to my sister Robin, who’s nine years older than I, and we were talking about something and it was so long ago that I can’t really remember, but I do remember that she

Speaker 2: (06:36)

put a seed in my head. Then she put a seed in my head and she said, you know, mother had an affair with this tall blonde, really nice, good looking guy. And

Speaker 2: (07:01)

when you were about four, you started to look like him. Oh, Robin and I just went okay. And then we went on and discuss something else. Interesting. I just know. Okay. Okay. Denial so strong. It’s so strong. I’m learning more about that this year than ever before in my life. So powerful. It’s strong. And, and I took that, I remember taking that information in. So you didn’t ask any questions? Like what do you mean mom had an affair? What, like how long I sort of did. I said, well, well who was it? And she said it was this guy named Johnny and now she was only eight when this was going on. So she was just trying to all make sense of. Sure. And, and she said his name is Johnny. And um, at one point he was in and me, he was in the navy and he was a CB. He worked construction and he got stationed at port wine. Mimi from somewhere in Illinois. So my mother decided to leave my dad. Oh, okay. Take the two children and come out here to California and get an apartment near her friend that lived out here. I’m a female friend of the family. And um, sort of trial separation from your dad?

Speaker 2: (08:23)

I don’t think that, I think that was a trial separation cause she was thinking about hooking up with this guy. The Johnny Guy. I think he was, uh, you know, and I think she met him the near, it’s near as my sister so I can figure out, she might have met him in a bar. [inaudible] lots of people need that way. His brother was a bartender. They lived in a small town right outside Chicago, Oregon, Illinois. Very small town. It’s still a small town. And um, this guy, his brother was a bartender on the weekends at this one corner bar and I’m sure my parents went down to that corner bar frequently when they were young. Marrieds and you know, so I think that’s where she met him. I’m not sure how old she was at the time.

Speaker 3: (09:13)

She must have been mid to,

Speaker 2: (09:18)

well she was 38 when I was born. So I would say 30 phone, you know, 35. Um, and

Speaker 2: (09:30)

so you think she was maybe attracted to this Johnny fellow who was over on the east coast or over near you? He was, uh, in Illinois, Illinois. And then you will the, this was later, but first he was in Illinois. That’s where they met. Then he shifted his, his, uh, he came, came out here to port way Mimi, which is stationed out here, which was like five Ventura. That’s what I didn’t know he could drive into Whittier there. I thought you were saying that when they separated she was trying to get away from him, but no, she moved. She took y’all closer and not me because I wasn’t a part of the equation. Okay. So this why don’t, I think they stayed out here for three or four months. I know she took, she put my sisters in school in Whittier. Okay. And they were okay, but I asked them, uh, as an adult we had this conversation.

Speaker 2: (10:29)

Here’s where this, this must’ve been already a nice, okay, good. Okay. Okay. I’m just trying to get a picture of like, and it was what everybody looked like in the 50s. Right? Like right after the war. Things were pretty austere, but on their way back [inaudible] um, so I remember my one sister saying that our dad back in Illinois who was riding my mom letters like, you know, crazy, just daily letters. And my sister being my mother styled of course, sneaked into her drawer and read some of them. Wow. And uh, told me, she said they were asking her, when are you coming back? Are you coming home? What do I do? Men Do? I’m sorry to interrupt it to your sisters. Remember that as an emotional, strange time. The way that we would think of a divorce or separation or, you know, these days they don’t, I don’t know what they felt at the time, but my family was just one of those families.

Speaker 2: (11:38)

We didn’t talk about things. We didn’t talk about feelings. Right. I don’t know if it was because my parents were both children of immigrants. Right. Or if they are, if they were just both dysfunctional in that way. But just, we just didn’t talk about it. We didn’t talk about feelings. You got feelings, okay fine deal them, but don’t bring it to your center table. Entertain, okay, you’ll have him in your room. And so we were never growing up. We were never real sure what we felt because we never got a chance to identify it and explain. It just wasn’t the time and space to think about how they were feeling at that time. So I know my sisters did not like being away from their home and their dad, but it’s kind of cool out here in California. And apparently both of my sisters really liked this man, really liked him and said he was just fun and smart and funny and outgoing, charming and took them lots of places. And my older sister said that for Christmas he bought her an Gora twin set. You’re 15 years old that you know is really dreamy. So now something happened and this, this remains a question in my mind. The story that I was told my whole life was that when my mother was here in Whittier, my father got notification from his company. He worked for a large insurance company and he worked in the farm and hail division. So they asked him to go down to North Carolina.

Speaker 3: (13:20)

Okay.

Speaker 2: (13:20)

To become like a field, uh, inspector after there was a bad hail storm or rain storm or something. I was like, did she mean hail like the frozen? Yes. And it ruins the tobacco crops. So that’s all the tobacco farmers would, you know, put them for their insurance and he would have to go out there and a hat and coat and clipboard and look at the damage. So they asked him to go down there and then gradually they moved him down to Atlanta. I was born in North Carolina, but when I was about six months old, his company moved him down to Atlanta. But my question has always been,

Speaker 2: (14:00)

did they really request him to go down there or did he put in for a transfer because they needed to leave Oregon, Illinois, since my mother came back pregnant. Oh, that’s just a sore story. That’s a possibility that I’ve outlined for myself. Okay. I’ll never know the truth. And they’re all gone. They’re all dead. So I will never know the truth. And my sisters were told the same thing. So none of us have any real story was you have to move for a job. Yeah. So and so your mom decided to come back, you know, whether she knew when she decided to go back to my dad. There’s all kinds of scenarios that have played out in my head. So you don’t even know how pregnant she was. Did she know or did, did she discover it once she got back there and just decided to pass me off his, yeah. So you don’t even know if your dad ever knew? No, although I had a psychic tell me that he did. Okay.

Speaker 2: (15:00)

But, so I, I just don’t know. I question everything and I never questioned anything before. So, and then to back so that when I was 21, my sister put this seed of an idea in my head and I think the reason that she did that was she waited until I was 21, so that she figured if you want to follow up on this, if you want to go digging around for information, you’re 21, you can do whatever you are an adult. But she didn’t give me enough information. She just gave me a seed and it was really easy to just let that seep die in the dark, which is exactly what I did. Um, then much later, once I was living out here and, and much like 1994, I think it was my other sister, my older sister wanted to go to Mac and West Hollywood, but she didn’t want to go alone.

Speaker 2: (15:52)

So she said, let’s go meet. Yes, yes. Okay. She didn’t want to go alone. And um, she said, if you go with me, we’ll go to lunch and that’ll be an afternoon. And I said, great. So we went to lunch, we her to the makeup store and then she live out here or she, yeah, she goes, she lives in here. She lives here. My other sister lives back in Atlanta still. But um, so we went to Mac and we went to lunch and during lunch somehow the conversation turned to Johnny Freeman saying these names made them all, I can be bid out if you want. But anyway, she, she’s, we started a conversation about that and I think I pretty much asked her by this time I was in my thirties, you know, and I pretty much just went, what do you think? You’re the oldest, you’re the oldest.

Speaker 2: (16:43)

So she would be, so you may have been very aware of what was going on. Yes. But there was a lot of denial there too. You know, it’s like, I don’t want to know. I want to know. I don’t want to know. But uh, so we got into a deep dark discussion and she said, you know, I’m pretty sure, I’m pretty sure she’s, when you got to be about four, we started noticing that there was a similarity. And, and I, it’s funny because I always knew something was off. I was going to ask you that. I always knew that there was a secret and it involved me, but I had no clue what it was. And then the rational part of my brain would come in and go, don’t be silly. Everybody feels that way. Yeah, right. You’ve got the two, the two voices, the one that’s speaking your truth and the one that’s trying to get it to shut off.

Speaker 2: (17:36)

And I just knew and I, everybody in my family has the same kind of mouth and it was my father’s mouth and it was like a, the boat, you know, the little, the little book and be very tracked. And what shaped lips? Yes. Almost like a heartbeat. Betty boop. Right. Only, you know, natural looking. And I would just stand as a kid and look in the mirror and go, I don’t have that mountain. You didn’t get those names, those lips. And I didn’t get that. Gosh darn widow peak. Everybody else ready. And I wanted one. And I, there was a lot of things and I just thought, well, and I asked my mom one time, I said, who do I look like? And she said, you look like your grandfather. You look like the sweeter side of my family. Okay. So, okay. So that’s why I don’t look like my father.

Speaker 2: (18:31)

Um, it turns out I look very much like my fault. And so my sister and I had this conversation and a in the restaurant and she convinced me that it was real. And I said, do you think we can contact him? Were you able to take in that information at the time at the restaurant? I was, I was able to take it in and go, okay, so this is really possible. This is possible. This is weird. Right? It’s impossible. You kind of go into another dimension in your mind with it. Totally. And you do good description. Yeah. My mom and my emotions were not involved. It was all factual. It was all historical to me. And it’s fat. I wanted details and I wanted to know and, but, but really in another dimension, nothing to do with my feelings. And she came back to my house after lunch and we sat on my couch with my, this was before cell phones and sat on the couch with my phone, my landline, and we made calls until we located him.

Speaker 2: (19:32)

Oh Wow. And we found a number for him. There was no Google or anywhere else. So it took a while, but we found a number for him and he was in of all places Pahrump Nevada cause you could still call information back then. You could still, okay. Yeah. And uh, we found him in Pahrump, Nevada and my sister got his phone number and she said, I want to call. And I said, what are you going to say? And she said, I just want to tell, I just want to tell him a hello, hello after all these years and see if he remembers me. Start a little bit by along, see how that goes and maybe bring you into the, you know, if it’s going well, maybe bring you into the conversation. I will see. And was your mother alive at this time? No. No, she passed. So she dialed the number and I sat there and just, and a woman answered and my sister said, is John Available? And the woman said, I’m sorry, he can’t speak. He’s very ill and we don’t expect him to last the month. Oh, okay. And my sister just got tears in her eyes and she said, would you please tell him, um, that

Speaker 2: (20:49)

Sherry her, her name, uh, from years back, I remember him from Oregon, Illinois, and from Whittier, California. And he was very, very good to me and I just wanted to let him know that he was in my thoughts. Okay. And she, the woman on the phone said, I’ll give him the message. And then he died, uh, about two months later. Okay. So had my mother told me before her death in 1988 my, my, the father who raised me, the man who I Adore, um, passed away suddenly when I was 15. So that was traumatic. Traumatic. Oh my gosh. Well, especially because in my formative years and in my childhood and as I’ve had a therapist tell me what’s in Utero, I absorbed a lot of her shame, a lot of her fear, um, a lot of her embarrassment and a lot of her anger, I can validate that experience.

Speaker 2: (21:48)

So there was a lot of that going on from, from the, even before I came out. Totally. I was born with that. So all my life, I feel like I’ve been dragging around this big bag of dark matter. Sure. Secrets and lies and cover ups and non-truths and untruths and uh, ah, and I realize, and I’ve always had a problem with Shane, I’ve always had a problem with, with not being able to act, just being frozen with emotion when something happens because it’s hard for me to identify what I’m feeling because I feel so much at once and yeah. And I was never given the opportunity to break each one down and figure out what that was. So, um, she was rather in my very formative years, like when I was,

Speaker 2: (22:41)

first of all, there’s no pictures of her holding me as an infant anywhere. None exist, interest. There’s no pictures of me as a toddler with her. There are no pictures of me as a larger toddler sitting on her lap or even there are pictures of me at my fourth birthday party with her in the background supervising. But it was more like the party was for her. That was, you know, so, and I’m looking completely like this in the photos. It’s my birthday, it’s my party. We all got on stupid little hats and I’m going blank, like get me Outta here. So, so I find that very telling. Totally. And she pawned me off on my sisters because they were built in babysitters. My older sister took me to all my pediatrician appointments and she took me on dates, like literally just pell pond, you off literally and attack people.

Speaker 2: (23:41)

Would gossip think that maybe it was her sister. My mother was raising me as first that no one would look at my sister’s school wide. Yep. But nope, that’s, I was not hers, but she took care of me. And then when she moved away and which she all, Buffy obviously had to, as an adult, she went to college. She came out here and studied at Pasadena playhouse. So then my other sister who was nine years old with me, then she took off her and she wasn’t able to take me to pediatricians appointments and things like that, but she could babysit me all day long. Right. And that’s what she did. And was your mom working? Um, I believe, yes. I believe she had a job at the time and I think she, yeah, I think she was working part time. She worked every day, but she’s still, she had lunches or something.

Speaker 2: (24:34)

It’s fine. She, she, she had things to do things. So, um, so I owe both of my sisters a great debt of gratitude for bringing me up and making sure that, and diapered and, and you know, had clothes on me and didn’t run out in the street and kill myself. So, um, I thank them for that after, um, so I was really interested in this whole ancestry and I wanted to track them, the Irish side of the family and, and I wasn’t having much luck and for Christmas, uh, two years ago, my darling has been, gave me an ancestry Dna kit because he knew I was really Jones. And you already sort of already knew this one variable, but you wanted to see the whole picture. When I got the ancestry DNA kit, I swear to God, I never even thought about the paternity thing.

Speaker 2: (25:28)

I know I never even thought about that. I never thought about, oh, now this is going to give me the answers that are really neat. Oh, I wanted to make sure of was that I was what I was told that I was, am I really Irish? Am I really Swedish? Am I really German? So after, so after this John Man passed away, you just sort of put it away. I did. Yeah, I did. Because what’s the use of delving into it now? I can’t go to my mom. I can’t go to my, the man who raised me and I can’t go to my biological father and say hello. Surprisingly at the time, uh, well he died in 94 so he’s been gone a while and, and so two years ago get this ancestor get and I, all I wanted to do was find out my nationality.

Speaker 2: (26:17)

I just wanted to confirm that the family stories had been accurate. Um, because so many weren’t. And it was very exciting and I got my results and I kept seeing, you know, I’ve years people sharing my DNA. Wow. How fascinating. Who are these people? And that’s all online. Yeah. And um, you will get an a, you can sign up for an email from ancestry. So you get it in your, in your email saying you have a new match. Right. Okay. Go to ancestry and your look and see who the new matches and it, it shows you however much they put online about themselves, their name, sometimes the picture. But ancestry does have a, a little area that you can see the connection. Okay. So if there’s a common ancestral name, it will show up. Right. And I had been, I’d seen some of the Irish names, I’d, I’d seen a few German names since some Swedish names and all of a sudden one day I remember I had gone out for a couple of mile hike and a, this was about a year and a half ago, it’ll be two years in April, April 27th.

Speaker 1: (27:35)

Remember that, how you remember so clearly. And I came home and I was walking, I had been on this nice little hike by myself and I

Speaker 2: (27:42)

came home and uh, her look Ding and oh, I have a new email. My email says you have a new match. And I saw the name and then I looked at how were matched and I saw a whole list of the same name. And that’s when it hit me. That’s when the coin dropped from the mind to the body to the knowing this suspecting and the [inaudible] to be, this is it. This is real to us. Real existential emotional experience. And that was one of the strangest moments. And you wouldn’t think since I had already had wind of it that it would hit me with such force, but just seeing it, confirmation that blood doesn’t lie, DNA doesn’t lie and that that was my paternal family. I was just, I think I literally, I think I just sat there on the couch for about an hour.

Speaker 1: (28:55)

Yeah, no I understand the feeling like, oh I’ve, I mean I’ve heard from other people say I’ve always suspected or I always thought it was this other person but it wasn’t until they got the email or the letter in the mail that just changes the whole experience from an idea to to everything you are or something. It just changes

Speaker 2: (29:17)

and that’s what everybody said and that’s one of the hardest things. Most difficult things about this situation besides the fact that it will blow a hole and yet emotionally when you least expect it. I’m, I’m normally pretty even emotional but this just, I’ve been through years and years of therapy. I mean I know what’s going on in my head and I know what my flaws are and I know what my weaknesses are. I’m pretty self aware, but this news literally shot a hole in me in every possible way. It blew my mind. It blew my stomach and it blew my whole notion of myself and my reality just out of the water and what people say when, what people have said. When I told them, because I was so cavalier about it in the beginning I would just go, oh, guess what? I found out.

Speaker 2: (30:18)

It’s so hard not to because there’s month and a half, two months. I’m just like, okay, coursing through your body at all times, but it’s, it’s the story of this processing it out loud story of Gloria and I didn’t start the emotional, I didn’t start the tears and the end, the literally ugly crying like crying like a three year old where you just can’t breathe anymore and your face gets real red. I didn’t start that for months, months afterwards. I was very flip about it at first and I guess it was a form of self protection because I think I knew it was going to do to me and and it finally did. It takes that long to settle in. Maybe I don’t think you have to let it cause I had a similar experience but it just didn’t. I just had to process the information out loud over and over and over for a while and that’s why I would tell people and their reactions were so they were all pretty much the same.

Speaker 2: (31:19)

At first. It was just an interesting story. It was, wow. Wow, that’s amazing. I got some new shoes the other day and I’m thinking, okay or good. See, it doesn’t make any difference. Your life was your life. You had a father that loved you and cared about you and it doesn’t change anything. And My, my response to that became on the surface from your point of view, no, it changes nothing for me. It changes everything. Everything. I went back and in the last two years what’s been going on in my head is I have gone back to my earliest memories of childhood and I have reexamined. I have taken each one out of its little cage. And I had reexamined every moment of it. And I remember everything that was said, every weird vibe that I felt as a kid. And I felt a lot of them children, no kids, no, they’re there.

Speaker 2: (32:35)

They have not been shut down yet. So I think they’re just so open to your intuition was just the feelings in the room and the feelings coming off of these people that are in charge of you and you’re supposed to be taken care of you. And that’s very confusing to feel. So as a child you don’t have the words, you don’t have the vocabulary or the knowledge to put those into sentences. It all, you know, is, it just feels weird. And every time things got weird, I’d go outside. That’s what I would do as a kid, just go outside. But I would everything from the time I was three until you know everything. And I remember sometimes I would catch my mother’s staring at me. I’d be doing something and I would feel the burning of someone’s eyes on me and I would look over and there she’d be just like with a squint, almost like just trying to figure out, yeah. Yeah. And I don’t, I just, it’s so bizarre and you’ll never know what she was thinking. I will during that time. Well, one thing that my sister said that made me feel a little better about the whole thing was that she said, you know what, mother seemed really happy when we were in Whittier. She seemed happy. She laughed a lot and her spirit was lighter.

Speaker 2: (34:06)

And I said, do you think that’s because she was in love with him? [inaudible] and she said, I think she had, I think they had very, very deep feelings for one another. Um, and I wonder if she had to make a choice. I wonder if she, I wonder if maybe he and my husband brought this up and I went, Ooh, booker. I never thought of that. He said, I wonder, because I was wondering out loud one day, I wonder if the biological father knew. I wonder if she told him or if she thought, no, I’m not saying anything cause that’ll really complicate matters. He really wanted children. I mean, yes, he never had any biological children and he ran it. He really wanted children, but he was also married to someone who was home in Illinois. Oh. He was stationed out here. So they were both married to people.

Speaker 2: (35:14)

Didn’t know that. When my sister said, you know, mom seem to be happy with him. She seemed to happen when we were in Whittier and, and uh, they had fun together and I thought, oh my God, maybe, maybe she wanted to really leave my dad. Maybe she wanted to start her life with this guy, but because he was in the navy, maybe he wasn’t ready to take on a 15 year old and an eight year old. Right. A family of four all of a sudden. Yeah. You know, and, and it’s like, Ooh. Um, but I don’t, I don’t know. I will never know. I will absolutely never know. And you think their relationship was about three months? I think it was probably about a year. Oh, okay. Because I found out later that they met. See I, I of having that in Oregon, Illinois, tiny town. Right. Carried on. And the reason that I know this is because once I started getting these matches on ancestry with this last name, one of them was his niece. I found his niece. So this woman, it’s close father was this man’s brother. So I

Speaker 3: (36:29)

okay

Speaker 2: (36:30)

with a lump in my throat and holding my breath. I tapped out a little message to her. I’m saying I, I have recently done an ancestry DNA dig and I don’t match with her. I matched with her sister. Funny. Yes. But I didn’t, her sister’s name didn’t come up right away, but I found her on another, I found this girl on another site and I put them together as, as nice and, and uh, uncle and I said, I believe our connection is from your uncle John. And if you’re interested, if you want to discuss this, you know, get back to me.

Speaker 2: (37:15)

No, I’m pretty neutral. Or it was, you didn’t want to just drop on all the, drop all the bombs on them right away. Yeah. No, because what if they fought? Oh my God, she’s out for some money. Right. It’s trying to pull, you know, she’s trying to pull something and some of the things I don’t even think about until I’m reading those support group posts, like, oh gosh, I guess there’s just a lot of people with a lot of suspicion and skip skepticism out there. Right, exactly. And I didn’t want them, you know, they live in, they still live in this small town in Illinois. They still have their, the whole family. And um, I’m all the way out here and I thought, I’m not looking for another family. I’m, I’m a big grown up girl. I got my own, I got plenty of fam and uh, but I just wanted to make the connection can just say hello.

Speaker 2: (38:00)

And so we started talking and I told her about my mother and her uncle John [inaudible] was a fair and la La la and that’s when she said, well, my dad was the local bartender when I went all the pieces or more pieces. And so I sent her pictures, I asked her, I said one thing I would like is do you have a picture of your uncle John? Never seen one. And I would like to know a high biological father looks like since I think I look like him. And, and I added to that request, I put a three pictures of me, one when I was three, one when I was 12 my school picture when I was 12 and one is an adult and within five minutes her response was, oh my God, Oh my God. It’s like looking at his face. Oh Wow. And so she went in her family picture boxes and she said, I don’t know, we don’t have a whole lot of pictures here, but I’ll see what I can find.

Speaker 2: (39:08)

And she found one of the whole family and sent me one. And then she found one of him later on as, as an older man and sent me that. And it was hard to see. It’s hard to look at a picture of someone you share DNA with but have never met and you share physical traits go, what am I supposed to feel here? I want to feel something, but I’m not sure what it is. I never met him and I in that brings up the whole nature nurture thing. How much, how much of my personality is from the Dad who raised me. And what personality traits did John have that I might have? I don’t know. I’m always fascinated by families that all look alike. Like when all the siblings are obviously siblings, everybody’s obviously the, the moms or the dads. Um, I always wanted that anyways and didn’t, so yeah, it is the physical traits like, oh there it is.

Speaker 2: (40:17)

And as an adult, all I wanted to do after I became a teenager, all I wanted to do is be different as a young, as a young forming human being, as a little kid, you, I think you need to feel that feeling of belonging. You’re part of the path, the tribe, you’re part of the pack, you part of the tribe and you all look alike. And, you know, I have, I’ve had people say to me in the presence of both of my sisters, you guys don’t look alike, but we can tell, I can tell you, your sisters, your mannerisms, your, the inflection in your voices. You, you know, so that’s nurture. Yeah. I think that’s where we’re all raised. And they raised you so much more than your mom, like similar. And I was raised in a house full of estrogen. Just my dad had no brothers.

Speaker 2: (41:05)

I had no male cousins that I knew of. Um, I, it was all women. So my father was my oasis, especially with my mom, not really being my older sister when I was not when I was nine. The sister who is nine years older than me, he moved away. So I was an only child there with your mom. I was just there with my mom and I didn’t know it was not warm, but my father was there and that made all the difference because he was my partner in crime. You know, he liked the Beatles. So when we were in the car together, we could listen to the radio. And, uh, you know, he, he liked the same things I did. Um, and if it hadn’t of been for him, I, I, I probably wouldn’t be mentally ill. I am anyway, I think, but I think we all are.

Speaker 2: (41:56)

But I would really be in a badge bad way if I had to just depend on my mother. So losing him at 15 was very, very hard to, I don’t know anybody that could get, no one could ever get over that. And so also be denial that I felt with, if that was super strong, uh, as the only way I can explain it is I really disliked school. I was not a fan of having to go and be there for eight hours a day, you know, a half a day maybe I could have gotten used to. I resented the fact that I had to go in a building and somebody was telling me how to think of what to think about when all I wanted to do was stare out the window and write a short story or, you know, I did not like that. I could have when my dad died, I could have milked that and stayed home from school for three weeks and the school would have been fine with it. Right. Grieving. You got to grieve. Um, his burial, his funeral was on a Friday afternoon, Monday morning I went back to school.

Speaker 3: (43:05)

[inaudible]

Speaker 2: (43:06)

now that that’s how bad I needed diversion. I wanted normalcy. I was in denial. There’s nothing different here. He’s just not here. That’s all right. There’s a structure that you understand and I have to go to right now. And that tells me more than anything about why emotional state and the power of my own denial, my feelings, because that was the last thing I would have done had I been in a right mind. Right, right. And your mother wasn’t in a place with you to say, no, no, no, no, no. Oh, she didn’t care. I do whatever your, you know, go eat dirt. Okay. So that was really, really tough. So that when the, when the truth finally hit the truth bomb explode the day that I saw the DNA results and I knew the truth.

Speaker 3: (43:57)

Okay.

Speaker 2: (43:57)

My father’s death at 15 had been stuck somewhere in my site. So in addition to finding out he was not my biological father, we shared no DNA. It was like I lost it twice.

Speaker 2: (44:20)

And that’s why it just because I think this stuff has been so buried in my emotional sack that I keep things stored in short. I don’t want to deal with, I think it’s been so buried for so many years that it’s going to take a long time for it to all get out. You know, I think of it like an emotional boil. You know, it, it gets infected and it gets nasty and then, Ooh, all this stuff comes out and it’s, it’s icky and uh, and it’s painful. But I find that I have days where it’s, it’s at the forefront of my mind all the time. And then we have days when I’m, I’m okay. You know, I’m handling it. Things are fine. Um, but every once in a while, a memory or a song or a fragrance or does, usually it’s just a memory. Um, it’s like somebody hits me on the back of the head with a brick and it’s like, oh, oh, that’s right.

Speaker 2: (45:31)

This is going on, this is, this is happening in my head. I have to think about this. And it just, it, I’ve just been an emotional wreck and, uh, put me back into therapy, which is a good thing. Sure. Um, because everything just seemed to happen at once and once. And it’s just the strangest thing. And honestly and truly, and my husband, who was one of the most sympathetic, empathetic, he’s, he’s enacting. Yeah. Coach, he coaches, he teaches me to be in touch with their emotions. Mr Emotions. He’s a student of Ron doss and, and uh, do Koski all the same time, you know, so he really gets into feelings and he, Stanislavski based in his work, which is all emotional. Um, and so he, for 50 years, he’s guided students on these emotional journeys and, and has said, you know, you have to let all this stuff out.

Speaker 2: (46:34)

You’re holding and you’re holding and you can use it in your work, but you have to let it out and identify it. So you know when to use it. And so he’s so good with that. When I start talking and weeping and, and telling these stories, he just said it’s there with nothing to offer. And he says, I am not able to go there. I can watch this happened to you and I can sympathize, but I can’t truly empathize. I don’t think anybody can jump in and experience. It seems so simple. Who’s just something on a birth certificate. It’s just this, my life was my life and yes, I had a father who loved me and I had a father who would have loved me, how he met me or how do you know about me? So you could say I’ve been super lucky because I had to. Sure. But it doesn’t feel that way. It feels, and I’m starting to get a little bit interested.

Speaker 3: (47:41)

Yeah.

Speaker 2: (47:42)

In this man, John and I started doing some searching about his family, which is fascinating. And I start fantasizing about what would it have been like had we met and we, you know, would we have been friends, would we have gone and done things together? Um, but we have gone down to the corner bar and had a,

Speaker 1: (48:06)

I don’t think you, I don’t know. I mean I just don’t know if I don’t, I’ll find out because I’m, as I talk to people, but I don’t know if anyone can not think of those things and not start

Speaker 2: (48:17)

being decent, you know, oil to the wonderful man who raised me. Right. And then I get all emotional, I feel guilty. And I know that if he was sitting here in this room, he’d say, no, you, you need to find this out.

Speaker 1: (48:30)

Right. Right. Your journey. Yeah.

Speaker 2: (48:33)

I want you to know it didn’t change. It doesn’t change us, but oh, I just get, I feel so bad.

Speaker 3: (48:42)

Okay.

Speaker 2: (48:43)

And I feel so sad that if he knew, if he agreed to raise another man’s child, to the extent that he did with me to the wonderful care he gave me, I just think he is my hero. And I feel so sad that I lost him without one ever, ever being able to say goodbye. It was sudden. It’s not like, you know, a lingering illness where you can go and just visit and say, I love you, I love you, I love you. I never got that chance

Speaker 3: (49:27)

Okay.

Speaker 2: (49:28)

So now my heart is broken in two places at once because he died and once, because he wasn’t my real father, but he was my real,

Speaker 1: (49:39)

I no, I know there’s a, we don’t have enough. Yeah. We don’t have the words for these relationships because even the other day I was, I was trying to explain it to somebody and I said something. Yeah. Just something, one of the mundane things like, oh well my, my dad is my real dad, but my not dad. I said, you know, or, and this person felt the need to interrupt me and say like, well you’re the man that raised you is your dad and, and but the other man is your, and she felt, and it was so interesting cause let’s clearly about her, you know. Okay. Like I don’t need you to explain my who my relationships are with these men. Right. And who’s real and who’s not, and what blood means and what, you know. But she was somehow triggered, triggered by

Speaker 2: (50:28)

my description of who was who. And, and I find that happens. People really want to jump in and, and so that’s what I’m saying. There’s not enough language for who’s the, the re the words, real dad and not real dad. Dad, that sounds a heck. Does that mean my real dad know that sounds like something a nasty five year old would say. Yeah. That’s not how I mean it, but real, they were both raised. We’re both human beings, right? One sperm was just one sperm. Yes. That’s the winter. That was the winter that night. And that’s it. Um, I try not to, and I, I’m trying to come to the, to the comfort level and

Speaker 3: (51:10)

yeah.

Speaker 2: (51:10)

Knowing that it is what it is and my life is my life. And, but now that I know, I think it opens things up in, in a lot of areas. It, it does, it opens up parts of my brain and it opens up parts of my imagination.

Speaker 3: (51:29)

MMM.

Speaker 2: (51:30)

I daydream a lot about him.

Speaker 3: (51:32)

Mm. Uh, and

Speaker 2: (51:36)

why he was like, and what he liked. And I, I asked his niece that I tried to get more of a not real forthcoming and not because she doesn’t want to be, she totally believes me. In fact, she calls me cousin. I know. Right. And, um, I wanted to say, I wanted to ask her, did he like music? What kind of music? Just trying to check the battery on this. Oh, okay. Hold on. Pause. We’re gonna stop for one second because I need to [inaudible].

Barbara

Speaker 1: (00:12)

Testing. One, two, three. Oh, maybe I should go get a glass of water for myself. Okay, hold on. So here we are. We’re back again with everything’s relative. I’m Eve Sturgis. This is a podcast about the modern world of DNA testing and the way that it’s affecting people. Um, and we have Barbara here tonight, which is, I’m very excited because she reached out to me about this and, um, we’re just getting settled.

Speaker 2: (01:20)

Okay.

Speaker 1: (01:20)

So we’ll start in a minute. Yeah, sorry. Yeah, so it’s the one that bothers me. So that’s what people say. You can go up and going down. Distribution is different. I said it’s going down. I get that. Like getting up off the couch. I can. Um, are you more comfortable holding the microphone or that is not, we don’t need that at all. Oh, okay. But you can put them on a shoe that makes you feel more professional. Um, I’m just wondering, are you the same?

Speaker 2: (02:13)

Okay.

Speaker 1: (02:13)

Are you the, I think Easter, just, I know there’s a famous, each server each you’ve Sturgis. I don’t think I’m famous, but that would be so cool. No, she’s a marriage counselor. Okay. Well I’m a marriage counselor. Do you have a website? Do you have a website? What is it called? Each Sturgis. Oh, just to you’ve sturgeon. No, I don’t know if you’re the same one then. I mean that would be amazing. If I have a doppelganger and author. I do write, I write and I’m a therapist. Licensed marriage family issue. Okay, cool. What have you heard of you? Cause I kept thinking I know that name, I know that name and I’ve been racking my brain and so, you know, cause I, I don’t know why I your name, it just somehow

Speaker 3: (03:00)

your name was familiar to fun. Okay. So, but it’s not the website you’re thinking of. It’s all right. Maybe it’s just a coincidence. Maybe. I don’t know. So it’s up to you. Um, is it okay, this is totally, I don’t want to no, no, no. So you are, you’re, you just came from a meetup with other nps. How was that? Correct? Was that your first one? No, this is not my first meeting within payees. Um, this is my third or fourth and I enjoyed it. We met up in Fountain Valley, we were a small group tonight. I notice a lot of people said on the Facebook group they couldn’t come. No, normally it’s larger. But yeah, a lot of people, I think also the weather probably contributed to that, but it was still nice because when it’s a smaller group, it’s easier to share. And I don’t mind the large groups either.

Speaker 3: (03:59)

Either way is good to just talk with people, bring different things to, and you know, listening to other people’s stories, other people that get what you’re going through. Because what a lot of people don’t realize is, I mean, they just don’t understand. They just don’t understand. It’s so true. No, they don’t. And um, you know, my family, my husband has tried, but he just doesn’t know what to say to me. And my kids, they’re like, whatever mom, they, you know, they never, you know, only my one son knew my mother and he’s 36 and my mother’s been gone for a long time, so he never knew my dad’s, I never knew. Right. The Dad. But yeah. So, and then my siblings are, I have a lot of siblings and I grew up with, and I’m the youngest and they don’t like to talk about it.

Speaker 3: (04:55)

As a matter of fact, I don’t even speak to the three oldest ones anymore because of this. Yeah, we already had a strange relationship, but now it’s a really strict, because of this, and I don’t want to say negative things about my family. They’re not here to defend themselves, but it’s like, it’s been rough and I think they believe I should just be happy that I had a dad at all and just get on with it. And I think they feel like when I talk about it, I’m disrespecting our mother or I’m embarrassing the family and I don’t see it that way because I still love my mom a lot. Not Saying I didn’t get angry. Right. I mean I’m, I was, I’m sure you did. But I actually, I guess I shouldn’t be, I shouldn’t assume, but screaming at the ceiling, you know, like, how could you do this?

Speaker 3: (05:43)

What did you do? But I’ll never have those answers. Right. So I guess they’re all gone. And it feels like that might be the most frustrating element for so many people is that not only is there a surprise results, but then there’s no, there’s no, there’s no answers because nobody knows and I wasn’t looking for this. Right. So tell me what, um, so tell me what happened. Well, I’ve always been the ancestry person in our family. I’ve always been the one that’s been putting together our family tree ever since I was young, I’ve always been interested in who was in the photos and putting the photo albums together. And I’m in the 80s you know, I found an ant that we long lost aunt and I that was without Internet and that was just using phone books and operators. And I have to say that our family is the r part.

Speaker 3: (06:31)

My parents were Canadian and we are, I’m a first generation American and so they came here, they immigrated here. And so I have dual citizenship, but all my relatives live in either Canada or England. We are the only ones, my siblings and their children and that live here. Nobody else lives in the u s uh, with the family I grew up with. So, um, my dad had always said, oh, we’re mostly English, but we had a little Irish and Scottish and I knew my mother’s grandfather was German, but the rest were all British. So I said, well, let’s see how British we are. So I decided to do the ancestry test. I believe it was 2015 and it didn’t come out with any surprises. I, I, I came out like, you know, 73% British, which expected I didn’t see any German. I kind of blew me away.

Speaker 3: (07:30)

But um, they have since revised it and added 25% German, which would account for my, my mother’s side. So they found, they found one and the next time you did it well, yeah. What happens though is ancestry keeps updating their information and as it updates, it can change your ancestry, but you don’t have to retest again and they will just, they just what you’ve got and think based on that data, right. They change adding the new data. And so now I actually have the German in there along with, instead of just the English, I also have some Scottish, Irish and French, which it’s like an operating system. Yeah. And even Sweden and I was like, Sweden, where does that come from? So that’s, you know, cause I never heard Sweden before, but so, but there was no red flags in that. But I did see a bunch of names because when you do your ancestry, they give you a list of matches to your DNA.

Speaker 3: (08:24)

And when I looked on there, I didn’t recognize any names and those matches. I’m sorry, I’ve never, I’ve haven’t actually gone on ancestry.com I clearly need to, if I’m going to continue talking with people. But, um, there are people that have done the test as well. Correct. So if no one you’re related to ever in, in the history of the world has submitted to ancestry.com nothing would come up. Correct. They have to have done the ancestry test or at least have, um, there’s, uh, people that test to, you know, you’ve heard of 23. Oh, sure, sure. I know that as I went through ancestry and they did give you a list of matches and they go by, they give you what the probable relationship is. You also have a thing called sent to Morgan. Yes, I see that on the, on the groups, but it also goes with cross DNA segments.

Speaker 3: (09:14)

So, uh, I saw names on there that said first and second cousins and I didn’t recognize the names and of course it goes away down hall, third, fourth, fifth, sixth cousins. But I thought I knew who all my first cousins were, at least on my dad’s side, because my mother only had one brother and he had never had any children. Um, so I just kind of looked and thought, well, who are these people? But I, uh, to be honest with you, I never doubted my parentage. I always felt different as a kid. So I have to say this, I always used to say, oh, I must be adopted. And I used to ask my sister, are you sure you saw mom pregnant with me? Are you sure she didn’t, I didn’t get mixed up with the hospital. Yes, because I felt different. Not that it’s because I, I looked a friend a little bit, we all, you know, our fair complected, but I just felt I’m very emotional and they’re all more pragmatic and analytical and I’m the opposite.

Speaker 3: (10:07)

I’m a little emotional and about feelings and keeping the peace then, I don’t know, I thought, well maybe it’s just because I’m the youngest and as a big momma’s girl. And uh, so there was, you know, I always had, and then I got sent to my grandmother’s a lot and they didn’t. And I used to think, how come I have to go? It’s not that I didn’t let my grandmother and I wouldn’t mind going, but it was like you’re all alone there for weeks and weeks at a time there for a long time. Yes. And question, you know, how come not when I was really little, but as I got older and then when I was older, why did I only get sent, you know, and my sibling, my one sibling, my sister who is closest to me in age, you know, said mom was saving you.

Speaker 3: (10:47)

I said, saving me from what you know. And, um, I always just felt I was being abandoned, you know, I have issues with a band and mint because of it. And, uh, so anyways, getting back to my DNA, I didn’t have any interest or concern cause I thought my dad’s, my dad, my mom’s and my mom and I’ve, nobody’s ever said otherwise. And uh, finally I think maybe six months later, I finally said, you know, I’m going to reach out to the person on the top of the list and ask, because maybe he’s a cousin. I don’t know about that. Maybe one of maybe me, my aunt fellas who died in the 60s. Maybe when her and my uncle were getting divorced. Maybe she was a bad girl. I don’t know. You know, this is a secret love child. I don’t know. That’s where I was going.

Speaker 3: (11:34)

And so I messaged him. Yeah, I know. I didn’t know I was going to be, so I messaged him on ancestry and he said he had no clue how we were related. And um, that was it. So I left it alone and I didn’t bother with it for like a year. He was the one who started researching. Oh. And then he finally started contacting me, asking me just random questions through ancestry. So he doesn’t have my direct name. He doesn’t even know my name, but my profile is protected. Matches can see my, my, my chart, but they cannot see my name. Anybody who’s alive, it’s just private. So, and I don’t use my real date on ancestry, have a private name that nobody would know. I want to ask you what it is, but you can’t tell me

Speaker 3: (12:24)

Don’t tell me. I’ll just tell you that everybody, you know, he was referring to me as a name that was not mine and I didn’t correct him at first, but um, he first came out with a short message, you know, or do you live in California? And I was like, yes, but I didn’t ever specify anything. Another what do you live in southern California? Yes. Were you born between 1959 or 60 61? And I’m like, yes. And finally it really freaked me out was when he asked me, do, did you live in or around or near all? Hambre it’s like, uh, it’s like 20 questions. Yeah. But all like, but more. And I’m like her small ones. Yeah. And I was getting a little right, like creepy, creepy, 20 west, like, you know, who’s this person and why is he, I knew who he was cause on my ancestry, you, I’m like, why is he, how did he know about all hambre cause it’s not on my profile and my names and then no one knows about Alhambra.

Speaker 3: (13:23)

No. Well they do now and they, everybody, El Hambra is in southern California. Los Angeles. Yeah. It’s right on the border. I let grew up right on the border and not too far from cal state. And um, so yeah, I said yeah. And then he says, you know, thanks. And I’m like, what was that all about? So now I’m, you know, I’m like, what the heck? And I called my sister and she’s loved, don’t trust it. You don’t know. It could be a scam. And I’m like, yeah, I, you know, it could be. So finally he decided to inform me. He says, okay, I’ve got, cause he kept sending me, asking me more little questions and, and I just set, finally said, you know what is going on? What, you know, I, I’m not comfortable to telling you are sharing with you anymore. I want to know what you know and what is going on.

Speaker 3: (14:11)

I think that’s fair. And I didn’t quite say it that way. I said it a little nicer and we’re still just messaging through ancestry. He doesn’t even know my name yet. And um, so he finally says, well, I have some information to tell you that I think’s going to rock your world. Oh, oh. And those were his exact words, rock your world. And I thought, rock my world. Why would it rock my world of my, cause I’m still thinking it’s an aunt or an uncle that was bad. Right. And this is their illegitimately Charles and still rock other’s worlds. Well actually he’s showing us a first, a second cousin. Oh, okay. Oh, hi. Match. And, and he pointed that out to me in one of his messages. You know, our CIENA Morgans are too high for us not to be closely related. So that’s why he dug well.

Speaker 3: (14:58)

It turned out, um, he told me, I, I realize you’re wary about this and you’re leery. And finally he identified what he did for a living and he says, you know, I do this. Um, and uh, he does not live in the state of California. We’re just going to use his first name. His first name is Ken, but he is an attorney for the state. He lives in, he works for the state as an attorney. And so I think he was trying to get, and he, you know, sent me his business phone number sent me so that I would feel more comfortable knowing that he wasn’t a scammer or as a legitimate business and it doesn’t need to pull up. I totaled them up and he sent me his picture and then I matched it with looking him up and yeah. Okay. He is an attorney and he does work for the state.

Speaker 3: (15:47)

He lives in me. He is a, he works in, you know, it’s an attorney in the state, so said, okay, so he’s legit. And uh, so then I said, you know, I’m going to give you my private email cause he started to tell me things. So I gave him, I used to have three emails back then, so I thought, okay, if he’s a scam me, I can just delete this email. So I gave him one of my email addresses and then finally told him my real name, my first name, and I said, you’ve been calling me this, but this is my actual name. And then he proceeded to tell me the family history and that I was one of two men’s daughter that he believed, um, you know, that, that I was one of his uncles, uh, children. And I just was in total disbelief because I’m like, no, my dad’s my dad and you know, this can’t be true and I’m reading this and I’m really upset.

Speaker 3: (16:44)

I mean, I’m like, who does this to somebody, you know, this is a horrible thing to say to me and, but I didn’t, who just dumps us information. Yeah. When he was trying to be very tactful and he did work up to it over like six months. This wasn’t something that just happened all in a week. And so, um, after I read his very long email, I got really upset. I didn’t answer him and I immediately called my sister, that’s the w whose color Jay. Um, and I told her what happened and she goes, oh, it’s gotta be a scam. Send it, send me everything I’m going to, I’m going to check them out. So I sent her everything and she started checking it out and then I got more information from him, even sent photos and I’m like, freaking out now. Now I’m crying. Now I’m really distraught and I’m, so this went on for three days. And uh, finally my sister says, look, I don’t know anything as far as I know your mom and dad’s kid decides. Even questioning if I was my mom’s kid at that point. Yeah, I totally relate to that feeling of just like maybe, maybe

Speaker 1: (17:49)

it’s all diff. Maybe it’s all something I don’t understand or know.

Speaker 3: (17:53)

They may be mixed me up at the hospital because this man lived in Alhambra where I lived and I got, I asked for his address, I asked for his blood type and he’s like, and I said, look, you asked me where it

Speaker 1: (18:05)

my turn I bloody blood type. And I said, well ask it’s sudden. What are his blood type? So funny cause I, that was one of my questions too, was about blood to, I don’t know my blood type, but I was like, and what’s his blood type maybe needed to know for my math

Speaker 3: (18:20)

what I was a teenager, I became ill and I was in the hospital and I remember the doctors telling my mother my blood type and my mother was dumbfounded because she said there was no way that could be my blood type, kind of I’m going to share my family’s blood type. My brothers and sisters and my mother and my father were all a positive and I was being negative and that’s not possible. That’s not possible. And so my mother knew that as a teenager when I was a teenager, but I didn’t, I saw the look like she was like, and then I knew at that. Now looking back to that moment, which to me as a teenager didn’t think anything about it. I remember. So I think she knew at that point. So she may not have not, she may not have, well it’s a 50 50, 50 50 I’m dad’s there and I looked enough like her to pass, you know what I mean?

Speaker 3: (19:10)

And it, so anyways, I said I needed more DNA proof from, from him that I wasn’t satisfied with just cousins I needed. So he said, well, you know, you’re either this persons or this persons, but I think you’re this person’s, and it’s so strange because my biological father and my birth certificate father both have the same first name. Both had blonde hair growing up. Both had blue eyes, both balded early, you know, receding hair out of their hair, turn Brown. I’m, the difference was where they came from, different, you know, they were, he was an American where my father came from Canada. And then my grandparents were all from England, so we were English and Canadian and, and I’m just like, so I guess my mother had a type right. And, uh, I did ask my siblings to test for, for, for further proof. None of my siblings would test my brothers and sisters and not one of them would come forward and test for me. I said absolutely not. And they got really angry with me and I, there’s, I won’t go into all the details since they’re not here to defend themselves, but, um, it was very hurtful. That would really hurt me. It’s really strained my relationship with them. Um, my two eldest siblings reacted the harshest, I won’t even go into that, but let me just put it this way. I no longer speak to the three eldest, I don’t eat. Did they?

Speaker 1: (20:41)

Wow. It just, okay, I’m dumbfounded. They feel I’m disrespecting her mother, but my,

Speaker 3: (20:48)

my eldest sister just can’t handle the drama. And you know, my one brother said I should just be happy and my other brothers, so this is just crazy. I don’t even want to talk to you. I don’t care what happens in your life. Don’t call me anymore cause I was really distraught. Yeah. Yeah. And they felt I was being so disrespectful to our mother, but I wasn’t, I didn’t do anything wrong. You didn’t do anything wrong. I, they were elder, I mean they’re all a lot older than me, so I thought they must know something maybe. And that’s why I spoke to them. My sister did warn me, don’t talk to the others, just keep it between us. And I should have listened to her, but I didn’t. And uh, but I waited three days before I contacted them and then of course it was really horrible.

Speaker 3: (21:28)

Their reaction was very bad. And um, and so I no longer just, I, this whole idea is just too much for them. They can’t, they just can’t do, my sister that does talk to me can’t handle speaking about this anymore because she feels it has such, it brings such negativity to the conversation. So I really don’t talk about it with my family now. I just rely on my friends. But my new family, so my niece is tested. I didn’t know they were my nieces at the time and they came out pretty high match to their father tested. And of course it came out really high, too high to be a first cousin. So we knew at that point who my father was, his name is John George and my real Father John George and my dad, I thought was my real dad was also John. It was John Kennedy.

Speaker 1: (22:18)

Okay. I was like, tell me he’s not John George too. And I’m married to a jury. I was kind of scream John’s, it’s funny

Speaker 3: (22:24)

because even up to this point in my life before I found this out, John’s had been a running theme in my life. I’ve always had a John in my life, whether it was my dad, um, uncles, grandfathers, all the line. And my dad is just except one, just all Johns. I’m married to a John. Both my sisters married to John. He and my niece is married. John’s, whether it’s the variation, John, Jonathan or, uh, and then my mother, my mother’s mom, my grandmother, my maternal grandmother, her father was Joe Hahn, which is another form of John. Yeah. And then it turns out that my new biological father, his brother, he named his son John, my brother was now John and he named his kids John. My husband is John, my stepson is John and my father in law’s John. This is like, yeah.

Speaker 1: (23:13)

And My, and all my grandparents on that line with my new dad. They’re all John Being John Malcovich or something. Yeah. They’re all just like a thing about where you opened the door and there’s the same pictures inside and it just goes and goes and goes or something. Yeah. And so I said, I know it’s gotta be true now they’re all John. Of course, it’s more testing needed, you know, it’s been my whole life. Yeah.

Speaker 3: (23:34)

And so I accepted it and I’m part that was hard though, was I was so afraid. My new family with now reject me and I couldn’t take more rejection. I’d already felt like I was not I, you know, you don’t know who you are. I am. I, this am I that is that really my mom, I mean I felt like my whole life was a lie and already questioning things because of being sent away to your grandmas. Yeah. Anyway. And then these older siblings that have had a different experience than you and they won’t help. No, they wouldn’t help. So I had to reach out to a first cousin. Um, my father had some brothers and sisters, so, and they don’t live in the u s so I had to contact him. He lives in Canada and I asked him if he would test because his mother and my dad are brother and sister.

Speaker 3: (24:25)

And of course him and I did not match. So he was how I got proof for the paternal side. We did not match at all. Right. And that was really upsetting. Yeah. And he did the ancestry just like me. And, uh, so, but then I couldn’t find any matches to my mother either. So I was really upset thinking maybe my mom’s, and this is when I was grilling everybody and they thought I was disrespectful, but I, I, I said, are you sure I wasn’t, you know, maybe swapped at the hospital as a bay. And right now hammer back then was pretty small. And um, but I finally found a third cousin that we share the same great, great grandparents. So that is in my mother’s line. So I know now my mom is my mom because your mom is rumbling as well. I feel like part a part of this strange experience is since, since, uh, since it’s, since it was, since this thing was previously unfathomable, it was unfathomable and now it is suddenly scientifically proven.

 Speaker 3: (25:26)

Right. Anything could be possible. So, so why not switch to the hospital? Why not picked up off the side of the road? Founded a basket in a river? Like it could be anything. Yes, it could be. And people don’t understand that. Like it’s like your brain opens up a whole new section and it may sound and life was tough growing up crazy. But it was, it was hard growing up in our house. We, we were a family of secrets and it turns out that carried on and into, you know, whatever went on at home. You, we were not allowed to tell our friends. You didn’t, you didn’t even discuss it with our own family. Everything was stiff. Upper lip. Keep it to yourself. We don’t share our problems, not even with each other. It, I grew up in a, in a household like that and my siblings are pretty much still that way. 

Speaker 3: (26:15)

Yeah. But, um, I guess I broke that mold. Um, a lot. Right. One sister does too. I guess we’re more, but I’m even more so than her. And so, you know, I, it, it was a difficult childhood. You know, my, I kept questioning, so why would my mother do this? What was her motivation? But I, you know, I, you lie to yourself so long and you hide the truth of your upbringing for so long. You don’t want to face the painful realities of that. Your household was your father was? My father drank a lot and he was quite physically and emotionally abusive to my mother. Oh, that’s all right. This is all conjecture on my part because I do not know anything because my father died. My father I know died in 1973 my biological father died in 1987, uh, in Monrovia because not far from where I looked at it.

 Speaker 3: (27:15)

He didn’t go far. Yeah, he moved from El hammered in Monrovia and then my mother died in 1992 so I will never have those aliens. Never have those answers. Never know. But I do wonder what her motivation was. And I thought, well, Gosh, Barbara, your dad was so abusive and criticized her and put her down. And I don’t doubt that my dad loved my mother, but it was a control thing. And he did change in the last year of his life when he was dying. He became a much nicer person and it didn’t do that. But, and that’s the man I like to remember. But I’d like to believe that she just felt so lonely in broken hearted, that she was reaching out for some kind of comfort to the affair, the affair, the motivation to, I don’t want to think they’re right because I have to tell you, my mother is not the type that you would think of doing or having an affair.

 Speaker 3: (28:10)

Like first of all, when did she have time? She didn’t drive back then. She had five kids already. And I mean my dad was just there, you know, when he wasn’t working and she didn’t drive, so she’d have to walk. They came to the house and I think the kids would notice and I just, so I don’t know how it all happened, how it went about, but I’m just assuming that she was seeking comfort. That’s, I prefer to believe that then, you know, cause a lot of mothers tell their nps, oh, I was raped or I was attacked. Sure. Yeah. And I, but I don’t know. So my little mind likes to believe that she needed comfort and love and she sought it out through him. And that’s what I tell myself. And, um, I spoke to my new brother and it was hard for them too because they’re like, he’s much older than me. 

Speaker 3: (29:00)

He’s 76 now and John and yeah, have another gentleman. And um, he told me things about my dad I wanted to know and I said, can you tell me anything about him? And what I heard was he was just like my dad, my other dad. So I don’t know what my mother, right. She, like I said, she must have had a, she had a type and a, I asked him, is there anybody in the family who can tell me anything else? I said, cause I really, I like to look for the positive in people. I like to form my own opinion of someone. I’ll never get to meet him. And I thought, well gosh, he was a womanizer and he drank too. So what the heck? I so, uh, you know, I just left it at that and I don’t ask any more questions because nobody can give me any answers. And there’s no way to cross check like what he was doing in Alhambra that would have crossed paths with your mother. Like there’s no way to even figure out, like I asked like where was he working that she would have, yeah,

 Speaker 1: (30:00)

Ben or like my questions are not original. I asked him for his address in La Habra and I did. Can you list all of the grocery stores and bars that he did? Like they had a lot in common. Him and my dad was a very big fishing.

 Speaker 3: (30:14)

They both belong to the fishing stuff in Alhambra and they like to go fishing. And my dad was telling me about fish when I was, when he was dying and they both, um, we used to have a man that came to the house and brought us fish. Could it have been him? I was never allowed to go to the door when he was there. And was it somebody my father knew? Was it one of my dad’s drinking buddies because they told me he used to frequent the bars there at Alhambra. I’m soda. Right when you said fishing, I thought, oh, maybe they were friends. Maybe they did. Maybe the dads were friends. And my father did work for hostess at one time. So I thought, you know this, they told me he was in food wholesale. I thought, well, maybe they knew each other. Yeah, I bet.

 Speaker 3: (30:53)

I’ll never know. Well, and then you start remembering things from your childhood. You know, the time when I was a little girl, three, four years old in bed, parents are fighting. Well, mostly my dad’s fighting, my mother’s listens. And he’s saying, you know, that’s not my daughter. It’s the postman’s. It’s the, you know, I’m talking about. Yeah. Oh Wow. And that memory came back. It did as an adult. And I kept saying, you know, but at the time even I was like, why would my dad say that about me? But you’re little, you just blow it off. Right. And I say all sorts of things that you don’t understand. And I just never,

 Speaker 2: (31:30)

yeah.

 Speaker 3: (31:30)

And I did think of it later in my thirties and forties but you don’t share it, you know, you just don’t say anything. He just say, Oh, it was just dad had had too much to drink and he was just mad at mom and he was trying to make her feel bad. But now I know maybe he was suspected, maybe he knew, you know, and, um, my one sister said, don’t know if dad known he would’ve killed mom and you. And I’m like,

 Speaker 2: (31:52)

okay,

 Speaker 3: (31:52)

I don’t know. But either way, I was his daughter in the end, you know, and he was trying to teach me things, but it’s been very hard in the, in the here and now questioning and just that nobody understands. And

 Speaker 3: (32:08)

you know, I haven’t met any of my new family, um, because they all live out of state. They all live in the south or the Midwest. Nobody’s here in California. And uh, so, uh, yeah, and they’re all in different states, so it’s not like I can just can’t have a meeting point where everybody could get together. We would have to have, they have a tendency to have family reunions so many years apart. Um, so hopefully they’ll have one and get to go. And I hope I’m welcome to be there. I, it’s just been really hard. I mean, when I told my girlfriend, she was just blown away and I did do a small little piece with CBS. Um, but we didn’t talk about my story or anything, just how hard it was because I don’t, I want other people to realize, you know, you’re not alone.

 Speaker 3: (33:00)

And there’s a lot of us, the website, you know, the NPE website, it’s growing and growing so fast when numbers are climbing so fast. When I joined it was under a thousand and now we’re above what, 5,000. And it’s insane. And I’m like, and that was just, I only just joined at the end of June, beginning of July. Me Too. Yeah. Yeah. And it was like, May, I think I came in on in May or June or something. I was like 900 or a thousand, something like that at that time. Maybe even 800. I can’t remember. Yeah, it is. It’s, I am, I mean, I’m fascinated about every facet of the situation, but the fact that there’s so many,

 Speaker 3: (33:43)

uh, but every single person is, is treated as a secret. So then you can’t, I don’t know, it’s just, it’s such, so incredibly isolating when it turns out there must be someone in the room, someone else in the room who, who, who’s gone through what you’ve done or who gets it or, or something. It’s just, it’s just a really, the isolation is really, it is hard range. And believe it or not, and this is going to sound crazy, but I came from a generation where there was a lot of shame around this. Now my mother was married so I wasn’t, she wasn’t unwed. But you know, back in the fifties and sixties, there was a lot of shame attached to being,

 Speaker 3: (34:25)

you know, oh yeah. And married having a child or having an affair or being divorced. [inaudible] so sometimes I feel shame. I feel ashamed. Like I’m the dirty secret. I’m the one that should never have been born. And I’m, because I heard it was hard growing up. That hurt a lot of things from my elder siblings. Um, in particular, my brothers were very cruel. I just, you know, they won’t be happy hearing this, but it’s the truth. And I’m not going to hide that secret anymore. I had seen sacred, so all my life and I’m done with secrets. Well, and how else is it going to stop? Yeah. Right. I want to break that cycle. No, never. This will now submit that. I’ll never speak to that again. We’ll have, and also the shame, I can’t imagine that that your mother, whatever the situation was, I can’t imagine that she wasn’t struggling with shame around it. Right. And it had talked to that whole thing away until the, till the blood test, when you were in high, the blood type came out and when you were in high school, which probably made chain resurface and to think of you developing in the fetus as a fetus in the womb with all of that shame happening. And there’s all these

 Speaker 1: (35:38)

studies now about the kind of things that pass through trauma and experience and emotions that come through that genetics and DNA. So I have major abandonment issues. So I think, I think struggling with shame, it’s like the least crazy thing you could feel. Yeah. I think even if they logically know, like I shouldn’t feel ashamed. This makes no sense. This isn’t my fault. You’ve got all these pieces, cells in your body that only know that. Yeah, maybe.

 Speaker 3: (36:13)

No, it’s true. I know people tell me, you know, and what you shouldn’t be ashamed. But um, other nps telling me, yeah, but I’m like, I can’t help it. I feel like an even talking about it, I feel like I’m embarrassing my mother and I don’t want to disrespect. I love my mom. Right? I’m not one of those people that, you know, thinks my mother’s horrid or I don’t.

 Speaker 1: (36:35)

Well, anything. Think about how long did you live with your mother? How long, how old were you? When I was 31 when my mother passed away. First of all, that’s very young to lose a mother, but 31 years of loving her and respecting her and knowing. Sure. So seeing her faults, but knowing, knowing what it was to like to love someone unconditionally. And I was a mama’s girl. Right. And you said that. Yeah, big time. So all of that, you’ve got 31 years of that and then this new information comes. So it’s making you think things or feel things that yeah, that you for 31 years never would have or, or you know, like of course there’s a conflict in your heart about it.

 Speaker 3: (37:22)

Pregnant with me was she like thinking, oh my God, you know, cause abortion was illegal back then. And I know you shouldn’t think those things cause I’m here, but I often wondered did she think about it? Did she wish I would just go away? Was it, was I wanted, was I just that terrible mistake that she had to put up with because that was, there was no choices. And I know we shouldn’t think like that, but I do think that because she was so tired and she had, she had had actually by that time seven children, two had died before I was born. They were still bored. And here I am, baby number eight, you know, and she lived with an abusive husband and women didn’t have the rights back then. You know, your husband treated you that way. They’d say, you know, well what did you do to make him angry and how it was bad and there was no women’s movement.

 Speaker 3: (38:13)

Not In the way we know it now. You know, and I, you know, I do wonder sometimes, did she, I know she loved me because in the end we were close and obviously not as close as I thought we were because the secrets you never told me and she knew she was dying, but I, I did wonder, you know, you know, was was I even wanted, did she even really, did she just look at me with dread? Was it just like, oh my God, there she is. I think later that changed. Well, how could you have been a mama’s girl? Because I was really claiming because of you. You feel like that was, we could, there’s a possibility that could have all been coming from you. So terrified of losing my mother when my dad died. I really got scared cause I was 12 when my father passed away and I’m talking about my father. 

Speaker 3: (39:02)

I knew my birth certificate father. Um, I was really terrified of losing my mother and she wanted to carry on with her life. She got a new boyfriend, she got remarried and I resented that. And there’s a lot of things that happened in my life that are far beyond the NPE. I mean I had my own little experiences where I went with my first husband and they were all against us and having my son and having children. And I look back and I have discussed it with my ex and we’re like, God, your family put us through hell and look what your mom did. Look at your family. Did you know to us and look what your mom did. And you know, and I, and it makes me angry because I think, you know, if I had known what I know now, I would’ve been willing, who are you saying anything to me? This meant, you know, they put us through a lot when we had our son and

 Speaker 2: (39:53)

okay,

 Speaker 3: (39:54)

I’m just, I look back at everything that I went through and I think, oh my gosh, you know, they kept telling me I was the black sheep of the family. I was this, I was putting shame on the family. Even back then it was like, you know, by going with this man and it was for racial reasons, he was not white. Then you’re putting shame on the family and oh my gosh, we can’t do this. And you know, he wanted, you know, to be married with me and have our family together and have everything. And they were just, they gave me such a hard time and I look back and I think, wow, what hypocrites, right. For anyone to be, yeah. Judging anybody. So, you know, I am now married to somebody else, but I feel like in some ways when I look back, like it ruined my life.

 Speaker 3: (40:38)

And that sounds, I know that sounds dramatic. I had good jobs. I have retirement, I have health insurance, I’m married, I have a nice house. I have great, you know, my kids, you know, everybody has problems in their life so it’s not like my life’s a disaster. But emotionally that’s how you feel. A lot of baggage. That’s how you feel. You don’t have to validate that to anybody or to me anyway, at least see a therapist on a regular basis. I am not ashamed to say that I take antidepressants and I take any anxiety. I have a lot of anxiety and panic and um, I already had it, but it kind of excelled with this because I really now felt like the outsider. Right. Are you able to even conceive of what might have been different had they been honest with you about? Well, when I think about it, I didn’t have a dad and my, my father died in 1973 and I was angry for a while there because I thought my dad lived nearby and whether or not my mother knew that, I don’t know. 

Speaker 1: (41:42)

But I know like in retrospect, he may have been around to be present as a man in your life. Right.

 Speaker 3: (41:48)

Whether or not he was still drinking or whatever. I mean, I, I like to believe he changed because he did remarry. And I’d like to believe that, you know, as people grow up, they mature and realize, and I wondered what it would be like if he had been in my life. I probably wouldn’t have been able to accept it very well when I was younger. But I think over time with maturity, because like with my mother when she got married is very angry. But once I had my own family and my son, I, I realized, you know, she can’t be alone. She needs love and so accepted my Stepdad, I didn’t, in the beginning it was maturity comes empathy maybe. And then I was, and that’s when I, and then after that relationship, when apart especially with a lot of interference from my family, um, I actually clung more to my mother. Interesting. Yeah. But now that I look back, I think, wow, you know, you guys are some of the reasons we weren’t still together. Not Completely. It takes two and it takes the whole, but I’m thinking, you know, we never had support.

 Speaker 1: (42:50)

That’s a strain on a relationship that I can’t fathom. Just like I can’t just go, I mean, just in my experience of dating and relationships to not have family support is support was so stressful. No support whatsoever. And now when I have, you know, we want to have stuff clients, I have young women clients, women who mostly are talking to me about this. Like they’ll be dating someone that their family is unsure about and, and they, they don’t, they don’t get it yet. Like they’re young and I’m like, are you sure they’re parents don’t like that, you know, whatever. I just try to get them to understand how big of a deal that is. Um, and I’m not trying to talk them out of it, I’m, or have a relationship. I was just like, okay, is that like something you’re, you’re prepared to deal with the rest of your life, you know, and they just, it, you know.

 Speaker 3: (43:44)

Yeah. It was, I mean, first of all, we were different backgrounds. We came from different socioeconomic backgrounds as well as race. So back in this was, you know, seventies so that was a big deal still.

 Speaker 1: (44:01)

You were just blown it, but I didn’t, it didn’t 

Speaker 3: (44:04)

matter to me. Right, right. Okay. But it mattered to them. And to me, I couldn’t understand why they were so upset and this person really loves me a lot. And um, it bothered me, you know, and uh, yeah, he was not, did not come from a wealthy family and was a working guy. You had to work really hard. He would have been considered, you know, regular blue collar, you know, lower class. They said he’s not in your league, he’s not in your class. He’s not in a, you know, my family came from a really big brat background of barons and earls and yeah, I know because I looked it up. So I guess they felt, even though we were middle class living there, I guess they never forgot their roots and they just felt I was going beneath me. And I just thought that was, so being a child of the sixties and seventies thought that was so, you know, it’s not how I thought.

 Speaker 3: (45:02)

No, that would be so hard. No, I mean, I was thinking I was younger, so it was like, you know, for me it didn’t, I wasn’t a hippie or anything, but it was just for me that wasn’t that pickup. And what’s the age difference between you and like the oldest sibling? The one I grew up with is 75. Okay. And I’m 57. Right. So I was born in 61 and my parents, my mother was 42 when she had me and my, my BCF as you know, there was a year older. They were, you know, born in 1918, 19, 19. So they were, uh, when they were adolescents, they were depression era, depression era. Uh, and then you had a rough life and at that point, but, um, they always made it through because they, oh, you know, they’re good family. Right. And, uh, but, uh, I don’t know why by the time I came along, you know, I was born in 61 and then, you know, I always thought my siblings would be more liberal about things like that, but they weren’t. 

Speaker 3: (46:14)

Right. Well, it’s almost, well it was going to say, I mean like you’re, it sounds like your oldest sibling, it’s like that’s almost a different generation. I mean, he was born in 1944. Right. He, you know, he was that during World War II and like prime baby boomer, I’m at the end tail of the baby boomers because that goes to what, 63 64. But yeah, it’s a whole different generation and they’re not, I don’t think they’re like that now. [inaudible] maybe. No, I don’t think my, I don’t think my sisters or my, but I think the two oldest, not about race and class, but maybe still about, no, I think they are still about race and class. That’s not who I am. That’s not who my other siblings are because our family is all mixed now. I was the first one to break that mold. And um, after that, it just kind of, I’m so glad because I made it easier for the other.

 Speaker 3: (47:11)

I feel like you’re breaking the mold all over the place. You’re really like setting, showing that you can live a different way, be different kind of person, everything. So their mother, you know, or, or fathers didn’t have to be shocked, but I, I did have to go through on Facebook and unfriend a lot of family because I thought if I decide to talk, I don’t talk about this on my private Facebook page, but I thought if I am friends now with my brother and my nieces, one nephew and three cousins on Facebook, and I thought if anything comes up, they’re just going to get all upset. So it’s just better if they don’t see it. So I unfriended them since they don’t want to talk to me about it anyway. I mean, if it’s not, and I even unfriended some of their children because, um, I figured they’d run and tell them. Right. Yeah. And even though they haven’t done anything to me, I just don’t want them to tell my siblings. So I, 

Speaker 1: (48:01)

well even they might, I mean I get worried because I also don’t, don’t say anything about it on Facebook because it’s, um, it’s still very secret in my family and I just don’t know what is going to pop up on someone else’s feed. And then they’re just going to innocently, they’re not even like gossiping about me. They’ll just say to there, my aunt and uncle, you know, like, Hey, like did you know that Eve Dah, Dah, Dah, you know, just something, something so innocent that actually a guy, you know, um, yesterday a guy from high school put on Facebook that he discovered an older brother that he didn’t know existed because of 23 and me and I immediately wrote on it, commented on his thread that just said like, Hey, I’m doing a podcast, would love to talk to you about it. And I don’t know where that showed up in my family’s Facebook feed world and now realizing 24 hours later, that would, yeah, I haven’t told them, you know, like that. I haven’t told my parents yet. It’s coming. It’s coming in the next. Um, no, no. I mean they know about the NPE part, but I just haven’t told them about the podcast launching yet. I just haven’t told them they, they want to, I’m not talk. They want to not talk about it ever again. Um, which saw, they all are. And I, my oldest siblings. Yeah. Yeah. They’re in their sixties. And uh, and I, I, I understand. I understand. And it’s a wish. I can’t honor right now. Um, you know

 Speaker 3: (49:36)

what though, you have to, this is your story. This is our story. This is our life, our choices now. And there’s been too many secrets and I think we have the right to tell our own story. I’m sorry if it hurts. I don’t just, I don’t know if you feel this way, but I don’t want to hurt anybody, right. No, I absolutely understand dead. So who am I hurting? I mean my siblings feel hurt. Well, I’m sorry, you know, but this is my story to tell. Not Yours. Right. And you, you can’t tell me not to share it if I don’t want to. Is it widely? No, no. I don’t share it on my private Facebook page. Only my closest friends and closest family know I haven’t. The one cousin that tested is sworn to secrecy. I so afraid of rejection from my other cousins on my paternal side lessons on my maternal side.

 Speaker 3: (50:29)

My mother only had one brother and he had no children. They’re all second, third cousins because my grandmother had, it comes out that like, actually you’re not related at all. I’m afraid they’ll judge Smith be like, okay, nevermind. She’s not a real one of us. Yeah. I’m so afraid of that. And some of them I’m really friendly with. They don’t live here. They all live. Like I said, they live in the UK or they live in Canada and I’m actually embarrassed and ashamed to tell them. Hm. I don’t want them to know. The one cousin that tested said it wouldn’t make a difference to him. I’m still his cousin, but I have asked him not to tell the siblings. Are you, would you say you’re the closest with him? Like why did you choose, why did you reach out to him? Because we weren’t communicating.

 Speaker 3: (51:10)

You just communicate more often. And I knew he was directly, you know, the first cousin and I’m friends with his sister as well. Um, the other two siblings he has, I’m not, you don’t really communicate at all. Nothing, but the two of us do. I know. And you know how you just click with some people. And then I have more distant cousins in England and I’m very friendly with them, especially one couple in particular. And um, I could link where we’re descended from and, and I don’t want to tell him that I’m not because he, he posts, he posted something on his Facebook page one time, two things. One was that, um, there were certain people he needed to get rid of his out of his life. And I said, oh. And one of our cousins who I now know was not actually my cousin, right.

 Speaker 3: (51:58)

Posted on there, you know. Oh, I hope that doesn’t mean me. And then I put on there, well, Gosh, I hope not me. And he goes, oh no, not you. He says, I’m too emotionally attached to you. I could never get rid of you. And I was like, but then there was another one that we private, we work, we also private and we were talking about this other cousin. He says, well, she’s not really one of us. She’s by marriage. So she doesn’t really count, but she’s still, and I’m an admin on our family page. Oh, him and my cousin and I are the admins on our family page. How do I tell him I’m now not really that. I mean legally I am legally, he is my father. He is on my birth certificate. My mother was married and as you know, law here, if the woman is married, that man is presumed the father.

 Speaker 3: (52:44)

Right. So legally, just like as if it was an adoption. He is my father and I have no intention of changing my name. I know that it’s a big subject with uh, yeah, well I go by my married name anyway, but I’m not changing my maiden name. I even if my marriage was something was to happen, I’m not, no, this is who I am and I’m actually still strongly about my name as well. Yes. I mean my name is actually, uh, a really rare last name. I’m not going to share it because um, that’s okay. You don’t have to do one to, yeah, don’t do that. But um, my marriage name is not rare, but my maiden name is a very unusual name and if you meet somebody with that name, my father always told us you’re related. You’re probably related if you, and it’s funny cause my cousins, even their third, fourth cousins, they tell me the same thing that there’s parents always told them. And I’ve actually nailed it down to where, you know, I’ve gone back to the 14 hundreds and it’s so, and he’s not even my dad.

 

Speaker 3: (53:47)

I’m going to go visit this castle that belonged to one of the Earl’s that is now a museum. And I thought I was going to say, Hey, you know you’ve got a blood relative here. And I was said, I’m not even applied relative. You know, I can’t. I just, it’s not that my mother doesn’t have that on her side. She does, but it’s just like I was so identifying is this, cause I’ve done this research like I did. You will really resonated with you for whatever reason. I’m the ancestry person, my homes. I’m the one that, and now I’ve lost my fervor. I don’t want to do it anymore. And people said, well, you can do your new family. I said, I don’t need to. They’ve already done it. They go back 10 generations. I’ve lost my interest in looking at whether it be my mother or my father’s side. I feel like I wish I never knew. I almost wish that I, I don’t want to hurt my new naces or my brother by saying that, or the new family. I don’t want them to think, you know, that I’m not going to appreciate what I could have with them, but it’s not about them. It just caused me a lot of pain and I sometimes wish I had never done the DNA test. I only did it for fun. I never thought I’d find anything. I just did it to do see how English I was, you know, and

 Speaker 3: (55:06)

never expected this kind of outcome. And, and I, I kind of wish I didn’t know, but I am embracing, you know, I’m very cautious with the new family and I know they’re cautious with me, but they said they’re very open about the situation and I’m hoping that maybe there’ll be the family I never had. That’s a possibility. I mean, I don’t want to get my hopes up either because I’m so afraid of being hurt and rejected again and I don’t want to be rejected. And I can’t really explain that to them because they all seem pretty confident. But it sounds like my grandparents on that side were very good people. They grew up, it sounds like the family with the exception. I read the family memoir, one of the brothers wrote a big memoir about the family. So I really wish every family, every family did that really change this experience for everyone.

 Speaker 3: (56:02)

The only family member that had anything negative was my biological father and John the drinker from Alhambra, but you know, and it’s uncle John. Yeah. What I’d like I said, you know, later on they can’t, he came back into their lives and I think, you know, I know he tried to make amends with my brother, so I am hoping he had his redemption in the end. Um, I have older cousins that could give me answers, but I haven’t spoken to them yet. I have first cousins that are in that generation of the 70 they’re in their seventies, sixties and 80s but they haven’t reached out to me. Just my brother and my two nieces. I’m friends with a nephew, and then the three cousins are all second. They’re my first cousins children. So I guess that’s, is that

 Speaker 1: (56:46)

cousins once removed? I’m the worst. I don’t know cousins. Well, I think it’s second. Yeah. The reason they’re first cousins once removed or they’re second cousins. So their parents are my first cousins. I feel like I figured that out number of times. Even with my cousins we fit. We have sat down and figured out who’s the one who’s the removed and who were, and I still never remember from meeting to meeting. It’s been very,

 Speaker 3: (57:11)

I don’t want to come off as a, as a, you know, Debbie Downer or negative Sally, whatever you want to call it. I’m trying to be very,

 Speaker 2: (57:19)

yeah,

 Speaker 3: (57:20)

realistic, but just being real. I don’t think any of this is Debbie Downer and I’m trying to be real, but I don’t want to, you know, my sister says, talking to me about is so depressing and she can’t handle it. It’s like she says, when I talked to you, I feel like I’m talking to or, and that really hurt.

 Speaker 1: (57:34)

Oh, that’s because I’m being real with my sister. I’m telling her how I really feel. Well, and if you said that you grew up in a family that didn’t want to talk about their emotions, no, they didn’t ever probably meant they didn’t want. Talk about the quote unquote negative emotions being called, it’ll probably rain today. Yeah. Oh Man, I don’t have my tail.

 Speaker 3: (58:00)

I realize now that I’m just going to have to have a superficial relationship where it’s all sunshine and roses and just how are you? I’m great. How are you? Which is what they want and yeah, and, and that’s, it’s not a real relationship. That’s really hard. I’m so sorry. That’s what I’m going to have to have. And I, it took me a while to accept that it’s, I can’t tell you how much I think I’ve done more crying this last year than I have in a long time.

 Speaker 1: (58:29)

And how long has this been since the, it’s been a year since this

 Speaker 3: (58:33)

is it not even a year. It’s your cousin from another state. May was when he told me of his suspicions. July was when it got confirmed. Right. Cause you said that’s when you joined the group. As a matter of fact, the last time I was here visiting, I come stay with friends. Like I told you, I grew up with them in Alhambra. They live next door. So they knew my whole family. The last time I came here, about three, four weeks ago, I went to where my mother and my grandparents are buried and I, I just had to talk to my mind. I know it sounds crazy, she’s dead, but I just went to, I had to go to the cemetery and I just, I found the grave and I’m just screaming at my mom from, and there was nobody around. It was a Tuesday and bringing crazy, no will I, you know, the security guard came and he was like watching me from afar and when I realized he saw me pacing back and forth yelling at this grade that he probably thinks I’m a lunatic so I better, you know, I did the sign of the cross. It’s a Catholic, the Catholic cemetery. So I did the sign of the grizzlies incubators, just start praying because I pray because I didn’t want him to think of some limit tick that was there to, you know, having a breakdown. And forgive me for anybody who has mental health issues.

 Speaker 3: (59:38)

Cause I already said that I have panic and I [inaudible] no, I don’t think, I don’t think you were saying anything offensive. Yeah, I just didn’t want him to think I was somebody who was going off the rails in the cemetery and uh, I just, you didn’t want him to take any action right? In that way. So I was just getting it off my chest, just asking her how could you do this to me? You know, why didn’t you tell me before you died, you know, why didn’t you, you know, when you saw everything that was happening and how my siblings treated me. Why didn’t you intervene? Why didn’t you say anything? Why didn’t you tell me that? I had other family and nobody in my family is really religious. Um, they’re all atheists. If they’re not atheists, they believe, but not an organized religion. But most of them are atheists.

 Speaker 3: (01:00:19)

Your siblings? Yeah. My one sister, I don’t, I don’t really want to make this about religion, but one sister was a Jehovah’s witness. I do not believe she’s practicing anymore. The other one. She believes in God but not organized religion. The brothers are all atheist and we were not raised with a lot of religion. Right. Grandmother was half that interests me because I mean, I know that culturally and socially it was not, um, you know, having a child out of wedlock or from infidelity is not acceptable. But I just was assuming there was a religious blanket on that as well. No. Well, my parents were raised with church. They just didn’t raise us with church. Now I did go to church with my grandmother and with her nurse and with her daughter who I used to play with when I stayed with my grandmother and they were Catholic. My Grandmother was Catholic. Why? My Mother didn’t become Catholic. I have no idea. When did you become Catholic? I, I kind of had a transition,

 Speaker 4: (01:01:22)

mmm.

 Speaker 3: (01:01:24)

Over years, but officially I made it official about, oh, I don’t know, five, six, seven years ago. Um, I didn’t get baptized till I was in my thirties. I went through confirmation and stuff though. 2011, 2012, 2003. I can’t remember the exact date. You think I would know. But I’ve had so much happen to me, but it’s been, I’m not expecting the exact date. And I always thought, I’ve always had faith though. I’ve always had this, I’ve always asked, I’ve always been a child that used to ask questions, which was really annoying to my family because I’m supposed to stay quiet and not ask questions. And I would always ask, you know, you know, how come we’re here or why do we exist is, you know, why don’t I see my cousins and I, I mean, I was always questioning everything and you know, I was always told, just be quiet, don’t ask questions you’re seeing, not heard those days. And so meeting this, talking to this new family and I out, a lot of them are Catholic and I was just like,

 Speaker 1: (01:02:22)

oh, interesting. Really? I cried because I’d had no

 Speaker 3: (01:02:29)

buddy that’s Catholic. And I’m just like, you know, my, my boys are, you know, my children are all baptized and my boys are Catholic, but they never went with the faith, like went their own way. But I was like, oh my gosh, I have cousins and, and, and stuff that are,

 Speaker 1: (01:02:44)

can I, so that might be a really, that might be a point of connection. Yeah, that’s, that’s really happy. That could feel really good. Yeah. I mean, I’m really Catholic. Well it’s recent, so I made, I’m assuming, I was like assuming like if it’s new then yeah, it’s,

 Speaker 3: (01:03:01)

I was going to church long before I made it official. I’d been going to Catholic Church since I was a little girl and I actually started praying the rosary like in the 80s, and nice to have my mother’s, my grandmother’s things, uh, the Catholic thing she had, but, um, I didn’t make it official. I was still going to Catholic church. I did go to Christian Church, you know, um, nondenominational Christian churches. And, um, I was just looking for a night. I even studied with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I read part of the Koran. I mean, it was just like really looking and I, I finally knew 

Speaker 3: (01:03:35)

that this is where I was meant to be and, but I’ve always had faith in religion and I don’t want to use religion, sphere, APP spirituality. I’ve always questioned our existence. Where does, everybody else was like, God, that was wrong with you or you know, just, we were, we were monkeys, you know, and, you know, and so I just, but I never could accept that and I was always different. I was always different than everybody. So I, and so I think I found out that that whole family was raised, whether they were Baptist or Catholic and, uh, one of them is now more women, but by choice, he, he switched. He was Catholic. But I think the faith and religion had to come from that family because they’re all believers. And I’m thinking like everybody,

 Speaker 1: (01:04:20)

somehow that got passed down to so some good, like, just some like lovely. Yeah. I mean, it’s like just gotta check the battery here really quick because I don’t seem to battery if that happened to you, but it’s like I, I sometimes think maybe it’s genetic. Right? Well, I mean I just think you can’t help but wonder all of it. If I’m, if, if I can say like, oh, the shame you’re feeling could be genetic then why not? Also the spirituality. 

Speaker 3: (01:04:46)

Well there were a lot of things I am, I’ve inherited from my mother. I always thought it was also my dad’s side, like migraine headaches. We all have the unfortunately. Yeah. And there’s that. Uh, I inherited dad. Um, my mother was a very nervous person. She had a lot of anxiety and panic. I know that’s where I get that. My sister has it as well. She was going to hate that I said that and so does my daughter and my mother. I feel like sometime I might’ve been the cause of some of my mother’s distress. My Dad was too, let’s not forget that WHO’s responsible? But she ended up in camera, real state hospital for a while

 Speaker 1: (01:05:27)

cause I hate, I hate framing it that way.

 Speaker 3: (01:05:30)

My mother went through a lot. She wasn’t mentally ill. She was, I believe she had some nervous breakdowns. She was stressed out. Well yeah, I mean all the things that was happening and I’m that depression. I, I’ve always been somewhat depressed. I had been diagnosed with chronic depression but that didn’t come til much later in life. I never would admit I was depressed. I kind of went through always just pushing forward one foot in front of the other. It’s, I didn’t even start taking medication till like seven years ago. So stubborn. If I had known medication was going to help that much, it would have taken it 30

 Speaker 1: (01:06:07)

years ago. But I think that therapist, um, I’m going to stop you for one minute because we have to change the battery. 

Speaker 2: (01:06:15)

That’s okay. 

Speaker 3: (01:06:18)

And if I’m talking too loud, I apologize. You’re not talking too loud because I have a hearing issue, so, no, no, no. I have tinnitus. Manir is disease. So, oh my dad has that. Yeah. So I talk, I have, I am losing hearing. I talk really loud because I’m trying to hear myself and over the ringing. It’s really loud. No, no, no. I need you to talk about, let me just, I kind of forget that. Geez. I just don’t want to bore your, no, no, no, no

 Speaker 2: (01:06:45)

edit. We’ll shave it a little bit. Hey Kayla. Kayla,

 Speaker 1: (01:06:57)

and I don’t want to make it all about my mental healthy passed, so now we know how to do it. I know, cause we’ll probably, I’ll probably shave it all down to be about an APP, you know? So yeah, I just, I think it’s hard not to just like, I mean, that’s part of the nature of just having a conversation is that we just meander into different topics. Yeah. And I gotta tell you, there’s a lot of things I haven’t said hello to choose the battery and I forget what I’m supposed to do. So I hit them. 

Speaker 2: (01:07:24)

I hit the room. Oh, I guess I am. Well, I hit it once.

 

Say it: Sperm

Speaker 1: (00:00)

Absolutely, no, I totally agree. So, okay. So that makes her on May make his aunt double checking to make sure I don’t make that same mistake. Hello? Hello. Okay. Is My mic on? 

Speaker 2: (00:14)

Your mic is on. So I’m a hello. This is everything’s relative. I’m Eve Sturgis. I’m sitting here with, uh, Carla who reached out to me and said she had some, a story to tell. So I drove down to Orange County. I’m kind of doing an Orange County tour today. Uh, and I’m super excited to hear her story and find out what this experience has been like for her. And, uh, she’s gotten notes for me. She’s got pictures, she had coffee. This is really fun and great. So, um, why don’t you get started and then I will interject as necessary. Does that make sense? Sure. Okay. Take it away.

 Speaker 1: (00:56)

Thank you. Uh, so I was born in 1967 in the summer of love and, uh, in this house that we’re sitting in, you know, it was my child, gorgeous house by the way. Everybody gorgeous. I’m dying. Um, my parents split when I was seven, but they remain best friends very close for my whole life. My Mom’s still living. Um, my dad passed away in 2002. And just for the sake of clarity, I think a lot of people in our world, um, in the, in PE world referred to birth certificate father and a birth father. I use the terminology, my dad and my donor. Great. Okay, great. Thank you for clarifying. Yes. Um, so growing up, you know, I felt very loved by both of my parents, but there was sort of a disconnect and I always felt that the two of them connected with each other more than either of them connected with me. Oh. Either of them. Right. I just didn’t feel like they got me or they understood me, but there was always something there that I really couldn’t put my finger on. Um, in addition to that, I didn’t look anything like my dad and we didn’t have any shared mannerisms. I definitely did with my mom. Right. But there’s just something kind of underlying. Um, but, uh, anyway, so, you know, my parents split, but they’re very good friends and you know, I have a decent upbringing. Everything. Nothing terrible,

 Speaker 2: (02:29)

mad at everybody. Stayed. Did your dad stay living right near you?

 Speaker 1: (02:32)

Uh, my destiny living in this house moved out. Okay. So, um, but you know, I saw my dad on the weekends and things like that. Um, when I got married, um, which was a few years before my dad passed away. Um, we were in our early thirties and my then husband and I spent a lot of time talking about, um, you know, starting a family, what we do if we couldn’t have kids naturally, because at our age we were starting to see our friends having a lot of difficulty and sometimes using fertility clinics. And you know, we saw this road that they were going down and thought that in some cases they were being taken advantage of a bit and in the heat of the emotion. Oh yeah. You know, making decisions when you’re already on fertility, drugs and things like that. And it just didn’t sit right with us. So we had a lot of really deep philosophical conversations and decided that, um, if we couldn’t have kids, naturally we go straight to adoption. And we were very firm about not wanting to use any kind of artificial means of getting pregnant and, uh,

 Speaker 2: (03:45)

great discussion to have. By the way, for anybody who’s getting married, I would recommend that as well and to be on the same page so you’re not having that discussion while you’re trying to get pregnant. So thank you. Um, money, religion kits, do it guys.

 Speaker 1: (04:00)

Yes, I recommend that too. Um, so basically we used to joke around about, you know, we don’t want our kids ending up on Jerry Springer. Right, right. And Yeah, so I’m waiting for Cherries, were going to call me any day now. Um, so fast forward about three years later after we get married and we’re just starting to really think about having kids and my dad passes away suddenly unexpectedly massive heart attack. Um, and I, we were living in San Francisco and he was here and he left behind horrible physical and financial mess. So this house that you’re sitting in, imagine you can’t see the, the floor in the entire house. There was one pathway from the front door into the living room, but it was filled with papers and everything. You can imagine a hoarder, hoarder, there’s an attic that spans the length of the house full, had you known garage full, not to this degree, basement full. So, um, clearly had some issues and there was no will. And so I had to go through all the stuff. So without getting into too much about that, it was basically my full time job for a year to go through, deal with his stuff, clear out the house, manage his estate, deal with his finances. He hadn’t filed taxes in 10 years, things like that.

 Speaker 2: (05:25)

That sounds like it was. And so that’s the point emotionally, like emotions not withstanding, I mean physically exists, just sounds so hard. Part of the problem here is that I never got a chance, a chance

 Speaker 1: (05:37)

to grieve the loss of my dad. I just had to, I’m an only child. I had to jump around running, taking care of business. Okay. So this is kind of sets the stage, right. So, um, during this time my mom is supportive, but you know, my mom and dad, never anybody else, you know, I think they were each other’s soul mates and she was grieving. Okay. But I couldn’t deal with that. I had to deal with all this stuff. So fast forward a year, we finally got through the house. Probate has ended, we’re getting back on track of having her own family and all of that. And my mom says, I need to talk with you. So she comes over and I’m thinking, she’s going to tell me she’s got cancer. A lot of people in her family had kids, so why don’t we go or you can tell me you have cancer. 

Speaker 1: (06:30)

And she said, no, no, this is about me and you and your father. And I said, are you going to tell me that he was not my biological father? And her jaw dropped. And she said, what on earth would make you say such a thing? And I told her, I said, I always kind of suspected, um, you know, look like him. We didn’t have any shared mannerisms. I said, but I’ll tell you there. The moment that I knew was when I graduated from college and he was a college professor at the college that I attended. And so back in those days, it was the late eighties there were physical pictures, digital pictures, so physical pictures. I get my physical pictures back. There’s a picture of my dad and his robes arm around me. Really proud. And the next picture, it’s one of my English professors, same pose in his robes, arm around me. Really proud and I’m looking back and forth at the two pictures. No, no, no, no. Like, oh my gosh. I look more like my college professor, then my own dad. And it freaked me out. Side Note, I am not my college. 

Speaker 2: (07:33)

[inaudible] was like, no, but if you saw there, man, okay,

 Speaker 1: (07:39)

born in 1967 it’s the summer of love. They’re having all kinds of parties, whatever, you know. So this is what’s going on in my mind as I’m looking at these pictures. Oh my goodness. You know, who knows what happened. Never in a million years would occur to me that I might be adopted because I know I’m my mother’s daughter. Like there’s just no question. Right, right. I look enough like her, it’s just, there’s no way, but the only possible explanation and to me is that my mom had an affair. And whether my mom, my dad knew, I just, I didn’t want to go there. And the two, like I said, the two of them were best friends. So they found a way to still have a great relationship. So time I’m thinking, I don’t even want to touch this. I don’t want to bring it up. I am so not drama kind of person.

 Speaker 1: (08:35)

Um, it just didn’t seem like any good could come of exposing that are asking questions about it. Okay. So again, I’m 21 just finished college and I’m like, I just not going to say anything. So I just decided not to. So my mom brings the science of fast forward. So I tell her, okay, this happened and that’s from that moment I just knew. And she said, wow, well why didn’t you ever say anything? And I told her, I thought it meant have an affair. You, she said, no, that wasn’t it at all. She said, we went to a fertility clinic and used a donor and then my jaw dropped because, okay, so I’ve already told you, I’ve decided that that’s not a choice that I would make for myself. So now I’m processing

 Speaker 2: (09:22)

and you’re, and I’m sure you’re painting your mom at least was aware of that conversation that you and your husband were having at all? Honestly, probably not. Okay. Maybe not that close.

 Speaker 1: (09:30)

Okay. Okay. So, um, but it’s kind of, it’s enlightening that it would show you that she doesn’t know me well enough to know that, but then, yeah. Yeah. Okay. So, um, I was pretty floored and I guess she had seen an Oprah episode where the donor, you know, United with his offspring and it was kind of, you know, sunshine and roses and everything went great and she thought that this might happen for me, is the second person today to bring up Oprah and away. Thanks. So Oprah. But you know, back in those days, it was the happy side of these things. You didn’t really see that there could be another side of it. Right. So, but you know, I think out of respect to my dad, she waited until he had passed and then, um, told me she did not check with the clinic first before telling me.

 Speaker 1: (10:26)

So she gave me all the information and it was a clinic through Ucla where my dad had gotten his phd. And so that was how they found out about it because in 1966 yeah, nobody talked about, yeah. That was not something out in the open. Absolutely not completely taboo. Like I don’t even think most people would know that this was even an option, right. In those days area. I don’t know. So, um, so she gives me that the information and I called the clinic in. What my mom had told me is that the paperwork they filled out was that they wanted a donor that matched my dad’s description physically. Um, he was like, just genius. You know, they want somebody really smart, really intelligent, same ethnic background, German, Polish. Um, and so that’s what they asked for. And you know, I looked more like my mom, I didn’t look anything like my debt. So it’s hard to tell what I actually

 Speaker 2: (11:25)

yeah, it’s always a gamble, like, yeah.

 Speaker 1: (11:28)

But you know, it’s not like I have like blue eyes and red. I mean, I dye my hair red, but I’m blonde. So, um, you know, it’s not like I stood out or I looked like I didn’t fit in. I looked like my mom. I had the same coloring is wildly, wildly different. No, not at all. Not at all. Like she has Hazel eyes, I have Hazel eyes, my daughter has Hazel eyes, ironically. Um, so anyway, so I called the clinic and said, you know, my parents came there in November of 1966 and, um, you know, I’m just curious if you have any information. And the guy says, well, we had a fire a couple months ago and uh, everything from that time period was lost. Okay. So now I’m starting to feel like you believe that soap opera at the time? Not really. I just figured they probably just didn’t save anything. If they add anything. Right. But yeah,

 Speaker 2: (12:27)

I would be like, that was like a script written on the wall that was like, that’s the way we maintain confidentiality.

 Speaker 1: (12:34)

Yes, we have fires. But I will say I did research later on, like many years later and I was able to confirm that they did have a fire at the clinic and they had to move locations and the clinic ended up shutting down after having some issues. Other issues, not fire related at the, I can only imagine, but um, but no, but the reality is I’m sure they probably didn’t even save anything. So, but what the guy tells me is, you know, he says, I’m really sorry that I don’t have anything for you. He said, just look in the mirror and it’ll tell you everything you need to know. So I get off the phone.

 Speaker 2: (13:14)

That feels also like something they had written on the wall. 

Speaker 1: (13:18)

It’s like how does missive thank you. Lifetime movie? What? Yes. So this is becoming a soap opera, right? But because of what my father, my actual father has taught me, you don’t just let that go. Right. So I thought, okay, I’m a teacher, I believe in teaching and training. This is a teachable moment for that person that answered the phone and you might need a little sensitivity training. So I send an email to the director of the clinic and said, I called and this was, you know, the dialogue we had and I just one, maybe you could speak with that person about being a little more sensitive to the people who are the results of these procedures at your clinic. And he writes back and said, oh, I don’t remember that conversation. That was me. Oh my God. I thought, okay, if this is the director of the clinic, um, I’m probably not going to get anything out of this.

 Speaker 1: (14:17)

Right? So I just walked away from that and the best to let that one go. But at the time I didn’t look into any information at the clinic. I didn’t look to see how long the clinic had been in existence. To me, I assumed this must’ve been something brand new, cutting edge when my parents went. So at that time I assumed if I ever connected with siblings I would be the oldest and it would probably be people younger than me. Never in a million years occurred to me that the clinic would have been around longer than that. So okay. So I get nowhere with the clinic. And then, um, a friend who had seen that Oprah sowed told me that something they mentioned on the episode is called the donor sibling registry, which I can’t remember, this is, this is a 2003 when this is all happening. Um, so it was a website, pretty rudimentary. It didn’t have like a super robust search function or anything like that. It was just a bunch of people posting, you know, I was conceived at this fertility clinic during this time period and that you would look and see if you had any matches and then you would contact those people. Right. And I didn’t see anybody who was conceived around the same time for some reason at that time it didn’t occur to me to look for other time periods.

 Speaker 1: (15:49)

Right. Cause I think I started out looking for the donor and then I started looking for siblings. But I didn’t think, oh, I should look for anybody who was conceived in the sixties or seventies

 Speaker 2: (16:02)

well, why? I mean the whole, the whole process of donor ship, I don’t even, I don’t even know how it works. Like I, I mean I know that we all know the basics. We know that like a man gives his sperm. Yes. And that’s about, I mean, I mean it’s just like not, it’s not a, it’s not an industry or a like, it’s just not an area that we know about. We don’t know how they make the sausage.

 Speaker 1: (16:29)

I have never thought more about sperm in my life than I have in the last few years. Um, but, and how prolific it is and how detached, at least some men can be from what it can create.

 Speaker 2: (16:46)

Totally. Well, yeah, I mean, and I just am wondering, like, I just didn’t even, I’m just, I’m dying to know how many people used a donor, um, facility and ever considered that that would be, that would come up for their child. Like, no, that would be an issue. Like I just don’t think. Yeah. Okay. And back in those days, especially in those days,

 Speaker 1: (17:09)

no conception of DNA, like genetic matching, something like, um, what we can do through ancestry 23 and me that you could just spit in the tube, send it off and it can match you across, you know, millions of people. No concept of something like that. So at the time the prevailing thought was the most important thing is that anonymity of the donor and saving the pride of the father in this scenario. Okay. So clearly my parents tried to get pregnant for eight years, couldn’t they go to clinic one time, get pregnant? We know obviously the donor, but to save face, what they did in those days a lot was they would mix

 Speaker 2: (17:58)

oh yeah.

 Speaker 1: (18:01)

Donor sperm and starting to see stories coming out that there were doctors. Yep. Yep, Yep, Yep. We’re treating women who would use their own also contributing. We’re also contributing. Okay. Without getting super graphic. Um, back in those days there was no freezing of sperm so that you could get a donation, freeze it. And then come back and use it later. You had to have fresh. And so if the planets aligned and the woman’s Abi elating and the husband can be there and all this and that, the doctors, you know, ducking out into another room, coming up with a local donor. I mean, oh my God, Oh my God. You can see why I have issues with this whole thing. Just fist a rabbit hole. It is. And ethically, those kinds of things just make my skin crawl. Okay, so you have that whole aspect of it and sort of this God complex.

 Speaker 1: (19:04)

Right. And you have to remember that fertility clinics, their purpose, their mission is to get women pregnant and have live births. After that happens, they could care less. That’s why there’s that dismissiveness it’s like you’re alive. You know? What do you care to look in the mirror? What does it matter? Who cares what your genetic makeup is? You know? It’s, it’s unbelievable. So there’s, there’s that aspect of it and then now there’s much more control about how many offspring you can generate from one donor. Back in those days, there were no, it was the wild west.

 Speaker 2: (19:42)

I have a question or don’t know. I have a question and it is, I mean, none of nothing, no question about sperm is not gross. But because this came up recently, someone was telling me that some either a country like Australia or the UK, somebody just made a rule that you, no one can give more than 10 you can’t have more than 10 submissions. So here’s my question. There are like millions of sperm per submission, right? Does each submission get used for one person or does it get divided? Do you know? Those are great questions because I was like, well, they said my, the person saying it was like, well you can only do 10 now in that country. So then you would know that your offspring would would cap off at 10 and I was like, not if they’re splitting it, you only need one sperm. So write a donation doesn’t

 Speaker 1: (20:38)

necessarily equal the number of offspring. Right. Unless they only use one to one session for one in semination. Oh Man, I’m going to figure this out guys. Yeah. These things are on my list. Like who’s dividing the sperm? Whose job is that going down this road? I, it’s like I get angry and angrier and more frustrated at the industry as a whole. The system at the system. And I feel like out of this, there needs to come something. I need to do something to be helpful to someone somehow. I’m not exactly sure what that is. Um, part of it too, I think is this what used to be such a focus on the anonymity of the donor. So imagine too that imagine you’re a donor and you donate, you have no concept at this time, 1966 that somewhere down the road you might be identified. Hello?

 Speaker 1: (21:32)

Yeah, no, I’m fascinated. I, yeah, I think about those men a lot. Like what is it like for them to get a phone call? Right? I mean, in my mind it’s like a knock on the door and someone is standing there, um, that was not their intention. And so this is a piece of the puzzle. And honestly to me, I feel very strongly that if you’re gonna donate and you’re going to create a human being at a minimum, you should provide medical history in some family information. You know, you could still remain anonymous and still provide some of that I think. And I think the laws are changing or maybe they have already changed. Um, so that you cannot remain completely anonymous anymore. It’s just not realistic in the age of Home Dna kits. You, you just can’t, and I don’t think you can go into it.

 Speaker 1: (22:25)

You should go into it with that belief that you’re going to remain completely anonymous. Um, okay. So I find out, I get nowhere. I have no information about anything. Okay. And again, this is 2003 and you know, what do I do with this? So my mom has told me this, so I can’t do anything about it. I’m not going to have this Oprah moment with my donor or my siblings who, if they exist and there could be hundreds, thousands of us. Right. And you know, I didn’t, I grew up in the only child. I wanted brothers and sisters. My whole life. So that was really my interest. You know, I had a dad had father-in-law, I didn’t really, it wasn’t really looking for a dad. It would’ve been nice to thank him. I suppose for me just donation sharp. I’m alive because of you. Whether I agree with that or not, it’s the case.

 Speaker 1: (23:17)

It’s the truth. So thank you. But that’s all I really needed as far as that went. Um, and I remember talking with my brother in law about it after this all came to light and I was saying, you know, I’m really frustrated that I can’t find any information about possible siblings. And he said, what are you looking for? You have siblings now? And he meant my inlaws. And I said, you know, that’s a really good point. And I’ve thought about it and I thought, okay, my brothers, my brothers in law, they earned that title. You know, they were in my life. Like when my dad died, they stepped up. They were there for me. That’s family, you know, and we don’t share any DNA at all. And it doesn’t matter if they’re my family. And it was a really good point. And I thought, what am I looking for?

 Speaker 1: (24:07)

I have what I need. I wanted family, I’ve got family, you know, just let it go. And back then there’s no ancestry 23 meet any of that stuff, right? So you could get a paternity test with somebody if you thought they, they might be your parents. But other than that, there was really nursing to databases that are out. There was nothing to do rowing. So, excuse me. So at this point I just sort of just have to put it away and I, I put that aside and then it really started to kind of come up for me. This whole notion that I’ve been lied to and what I thought was true isn’t true. And you know, even though my parents did this out of love, it’s still, it’s very disconcerting and it’s uncertainly when the, the, the people that you should be able to trust more than anyone in your whole life.

 Speaker 1: (25:04)

Your parents have lied to you and over and over again, you know, you have a family history project that you have to do for school, you know, all that kind of stuff. People bring up school projects so often. Yeah. And it’s looking back, wow. You know, none of that shit that’s not my family history. You know, I’ve been, I’ve been telling all these untruths because that’s what I knew. And so then I started perseverating, all of that. Right. Because I’ve given up now on any chance of finding my biological father or siblings. Okay. So then I have a kid and then I have a divorce and I become a single parent when my kids, three and a half years old. Okay. So again, I just don’t really have the luxury of dealing with not a lot of time for family research in there. No. And I, and there’s grief along the way and none of the grief am I really having the opportunity to deal with. So I’m just having a kind of squish it all down. So fast forward to probably like 2014. Okay. Um, it’s about five years after my divorce. And I’m finally getting out there and kind of getting in the dating world. And my best friend says, you could take your brother.

 Speaker 1: (26:25)

And she wasn’t totally off because she said, you are in the geographic region where this happened. You could date your brother. And she said, they have these kids now. And so she told me about ancestry and she said, you should send in for one of these things. And I think part of it was just, she really wanted to know. She’s a very curious person. Yeah.

 Speaker 2: (26:46)

I just feel like, yeah, to me that would do like the chances would be so slim that it, but it’s so revolting. However I guess that that’s a possibility. Yeah,

 Speaker 1: (26:56)

it really is. And um, so of course I at that moment resigned to never ever date a Jewish guy again in my life.

 Speaker 2: (27:05)

Just the one taking like spitting into tubes everywhere. And it made me so sick

 Speaker 1: (27:10)

I think of that. But, um, so, but she really kind of pushed me about it. And at first I thought, you know, she’s just curious. You know, obviously people are very curious about my situation because this is not typical. People my age were not donor conceived nowadays. This is very common. Right. But my generation, no, I give you, if you had told me that I was adopted, I would’ve been able to find other people I knew that had a shared experience. I don’t know anybody that will accept now that I’ve met people through the, um, the Facebook group where we met. But other than that, I don’t have anybody in my life that has been through something like this. So yeah. And it just doesn’t, doesn’t come up anyway. No, no. But, um, so she kept kind of bugging me about it. So finally I bought the kit and then it sat on my counter for, you know, six months or something. Finally send it him. I get the results and I look in there and it says 96% eastern European Jew. This is what I see on the first screen. And I was so annoying. It’s like I paid $70 for that. I know more than that. I knew more than that before spinning in the tube. I was so frustrated and I just shut it down.

 Speaker 2: (28:29)

That’s why I’m not very interested in those tests. If I had clicked through seeing that there was more information

 Speaker 1: (28:36)

and then that, but, and I didn’t even think to look at the matches, the people matches. I just saw that I thought this is bs. This is so stupid. I wasted my money. Why did I do this? Shut it down and didn’t go back in for a year and a half.

 Speaker 2: (28:55)

Oh, you really shut it. Shut it down.

 Speaker 1: (28:57)

I was so annoyed that I wasted my money. That’s what I just, I couldn’t get over that. And I think my friend was really disappointed. Like, oh, I was really hoping that it would get you some information. So then I start getting these email messages. So if somebody messages you through one of these sites, you get an email message, but you have to log into the site. You got a message from somebody. So this woman is like a fourth cousin, distant cousin. We barely have a connection on my mother’s side. Right. And I’m thinking, okay, I don’t need to be dealing with something on my mother’s side that I have enough on my plate.

 Speaker 2: (29:31)

Right. Let’s move along. Not Interesting. Okay. 

Speaker 1: (29:34)

But this woman is, I want to say she was harassing me, but every couple of months she’s sending me message persistent. She was, yeah, she was persistent and clearly needed some answers and I just felt bad for her after a while and I wanted her to stop and leave me alone. So this was, it was December, 2017 I logged into ancestry or tell us woman to stop in a very nice way. Um, and I just said, look, you know, I’m going through a whole thing and I’m really here looking for siblings and I seriously cannot handle more than one screen at a time. So I said, I, I, I’m sorry, but I said also, I just really don’t have much information for you, you know, and um, I wished her luck and you know, she thanked me for responding. Well, when I looked to see like where in the lineup she was, cause I had like thousands of matches, right?

 Speaker 1: (30:33)

There’s my mom and then there’s two people below my mom and it says close family and I have no idea who these people are. And then everybody else is a much smaller match. So I also, I go back to my messages and I realized they had also those two people had messaged me as well. And so I looked at the messages and one of them is saying, I’m not sure why we’re connected. I have reason to believe that my father is not my biological father after all. But this is all a surprise to me. Maybe you can help me find some answers. And again, I’m looking at that and I’m like, help you find the answer. Let people stop asking me for help. I am a mess and I’m looking for answers. And so again, I see that and I’m like, I can’t deal with this. So I shut it down and I don’t go back. It’s amazing for seven more months and now, okay, I looked back and I feel terrible that I did that. And especially after being this Facebook group that we’re in and reading people’s stories and seeing how desperate they are just to get some answers. And even if you don’t have an answer, at least responding to somebody and acknowledging them how important that is. So I do feel kind of terrible that I didn’t do that. Now I know better 

Speaker 2: (32:00)

[inaudible] this is just the whole, it’s a whole, it’s a whole new world and it’s a, it’s an area we don’t, you can’t imagine. So you don’t have empathy if you can’t imagine it or true. 

Speaker 1: (32:10)

That’s very true. So, so last summer, so this is July, 2018. Um, it was that really oppressively hot week where it was just hot all around the country and we were visiting our friends in the south and you go, oh, it was awful. It was so hot. You couldn’t even go outside and doing things. We’re stuck inside all day. And for some reason I decided maybe this is the time to log back in and write these people. Yeah, I’m off. I’m a teacher. I’m off in the summer and that’s, I’ll decide to deal with this. So, so I logged back in and I respond to them of course, you know, seven months after they’ve contacted me. And um, so the one by this point, she and the other one, like the two of them have not only connected but they’ve met and they have determined that their sisters, half sisters.

 Speaker 1: (33:07)

Okay. So it, you know, the writing’s on the wall. I’m half sisters as well. So there’s the one who she had no idea. She did DNA testing and that’s how she found out both of our parents are dead. There’s nobody to APP. Okay. The other one, which is what’s really throwing me for a loop, she’s not a donor kid. She is the result of an affair and she’s given me permission to talk about this. So I was not expecting this at all. Right. Yeah, no, I’m like, I can’t even put the pieces together right now. I’m like not breathing. So our donor had an affair with her mom and long story short, I mean that’s, you know, her story to tell. But basically she didn’t meet him until she was an adult. She already had children. And um, so she met, she grew up thinking another man was her father. 

Speaker 1: (34:10)

Yes. Or not knowing who her father was for part of the time. So that’s a kind of its own best. Right. Um, but I think publicly she had to pretend as though her brother’s father was her father. Got It. Okay. So family wise and everything, you know, they all had the same father, but behind the scenes everybody knew kind of that wasn’t the case. So, um, so she meets him as an adult and you know, they have sort of a lukewarm relationship, not great, but to hurt. That’s her father. Right? So the first thing she does is she contacts him. I mean, she just did ancestry just for fun. Right. Is to find out her ethnic background. Famous last words she said later on, she remembered that when she was a teenager, her mom had said at one point, you know, your dad was a sperm donor.

 Speaker 1: (35:07)

You might have all kinds of brothers and sisters out there, but I think at the time maybe she didn’t really understand what that meant or you know, again, this isn’t stuff that people talked about back in those days and it didn’t really resonate. And so when she went to do the DNA testing, it didn’t even occur to her. So she starts matching with these people. She contacts her dad and is like, I think I’m matching with your people from your donations and you do you want me to put you in touch with that? How do you want me to deal with this? And he was like, absolutely not. I want nothing to do with them. So on the one hand it was good to just get that definitively know that that’s the case. Yeah. No ambiguity there. No, but I have to say for me, it kind of sent me in a tailspin because it was much easier when this person was abstract and they didn’t know anything about them. 

Speaker 1: (36:06)

Um, my question has always been like, you know, medical history is important. Family history, whatever. To me, the most important thing is, is he a good person? Do I call somebody who’s a good person? That’s what’s most important to me. Okay. And I don’t know that that’s [inaudible] excuse me, and don’t know that that is what’s most important to my siblings. But for me personally, that’s the key. So if he’s not a good person, I don’t want to know about the rest of it. I’m not interested. I don’t care. I’m out. But it would be really nice to know that half of me comes from someone that has done some good in the world. Right. Um, because those are my values. And, uh, when he just completely shut it down, I mean, not even, you know, selfishly wanting information about us. I mean, anything’s just completely denying that we exist. And it was exactly the same treatment from the fertility clinic.

 Speaker 2: (37:08)

Yeah. Right. Yeah. And um, you know, and I didn’t take it as a personal rejection. It’s like you don’t even know anything about me. How could it be? It, it’s the opposite of a person. It’s like a nothing, it’s not even an acknowledgement. It’s not even enough of an acknowledgement to be a rejection. Right. You get that. Yeah, I get it. I don’t, yeah, you’re right. I mean, I’m struggling to find the words to, to summarize what you’re saying and you’re doing it great. 

Speaker 1: (37:34)

Yeah. But it, but it is, it’s a weird thing to wrap your brain around. And so that was really disconcerting. And um, so she gives us this information and the two sisters and I are kind of, we’re all figuring out, we’re sisters, we’re sharing our stories, getting to know each other. And Oh, here, pop’s brother. 

Speaker 2: (37:54)

Right. During that week when we have the, I finally decide that you’re going to look at this suddenly siblings everywhere. Here comes a brother. And

 Speaker 1: (38:05)

so, and then a couple of weeks later he happened to be visiting nearby where I live. And so he asked, do you want to meet? And sure. Okay, why not? It was mindblowing.

 Speaker 2: (38:19)

Yeah. Yeah. I don’t know anybody that’s, well, I don’t, I don’t know. I don’t know if I known anybody that’s met their siblings yet. We just stared at each other. You literally staring at each other and he’s like, can I see your toes? And Oh yeah, no. [inaudible] you

 Speaker 1: (38:36)

do the same thing. And you know, we’ve got this, you know, cookie curly hair, this crazy thick curly hair that nobody in our family has. And um, and then we both took off our glasses and um, it just, I’ve never looked so much like somebody, and I’m looking at, he’s got these eyes that look like they’re Asian but we don’t have any Asian. I was like, where does that come from? And we have the same cheeks. And it was really unbelievable. And his son was with us and he’s in his twenties and he said it was remarkable to watch,

 Speaker 2: (39:10)

watch this experience. Yeah. That must’ve been so interesting to witness. You know, it was weird. It was,

 Speaker 1: (39:17)

it wasn’t like we just met. It was as if we’d known each other for years. We can finish each other’s sentences. We had so much in common, both teachers, and it’s just, we just got each other immediately. And it was such a powerful experience. It was amazing. It was so amazing. I couldn’t ask for a better experience. Right. And then, um, after that I created a private Facebook group for the four of us. And I said, you know, why don’t we share pictures and we can share our stories and then if we match with anybody else, they can just come in because otherwise we’re going to have to keep going through this over and over again. Cause we’re thinking, I mean really, there could be hundreds of us out there.

 Speaker 2: (40:06)

And you all, you all just happened in your own lives, individual lives decided to do a mail in test and you all coincidentally chose the same company?

 Speaker 1: (40:17)

No. Um, I think the brother and I both did it to try to find siblings. He’s probably, he was probably trying to find the donor to possibly, he’s a bit more interested in that, but he knew before as well. So he’s known for years. His mom told him, um, so same kind of thing is my situation, that there really wasn’t the mechanism to connect with anybody. And now here’s the mechanism to do it. So he and I kind of did it for the same reasons, but at the same company. No, he did 23. One of the sisters had done 23 and me as well. So they matched and she told him, you need to do ancestry and connect with the others. There’s more of us. Oh my gosh, there could be, now I’m getting it. Okay. Yeah, there could be hundreds of you. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. So, um, yeah. And then the other two I think just did it for fun. They weren’t looking to connect with anybody, but the two of us were looking specifically to connect, so we knew going in. Right, okay. Right, right, right, right. I, I think both of us are very grateful that we didn’t discover this by taking the test. Like so many people, it just adds this whole layer of,

 Speaker 1: (41:44)

it’s just that, that, that pain of the DC and betrayal and all that kind of thing. You know, I’m so grateful to my mom that she came. Yeah. Yeah. So at least like I don’t have that to deal with. Um, so we, you know, we’re all talking, getting to know each other and we realize that we’re all going to be in the bay area for Thanksgiving. So we met San Francisco Bay area, San Francisco Bay area, so we all met in person and most of the kids as well. And it was so wonderful. So great. Oh yeah. And you know, so far everybody’s like a good person. And, um, we all have the same dark, sarcastic sense of humor. We get each other. Um, we’re all like either for the most part, you know, teachers or social worker or that type of thing. Excuse me. So you inherited something from this kind of mystery man.

 Speaker 1: (42:46)

Yeah, yeah, I think so. Um, but you know, we’re all different too because we grew up in very different circumstances. We all have completely different, sure. Family Dynamics and situations. And, um, so we met and it was good. And when we left, my daughter, who, she’s 13, she said, I already feel like they’re my aunties and my uncle and my cousins. So to the kids, that sounds so fun to me. It just, it’s just love. It’s just more people to love and you know, that kind of thing. I don’t think the kids are freaked out by it at all. It’s more you know, us. But um, so you know, so we kind of stepped back from that. And then, um, and by the way, I’m the youngest of everybody. Oh, how funny. It’s exactly the opposite of what you imagined. Absolutely. I never thought it would be the baby, the baby.

 Speaker 1: (43:40)

So this is the running joke is, you know, so then one sister sends me a text message, hey, little sis don’t get too comfortable in that baby spot because we’ve got a live one. So somebody matches with us. You got a new one, new one. And this is, it’s exciting, but it’s also kind of disconcerting because it’s like boom, you have a sibling. Yeah. Just, yeah. You know what I mean? Like at least like with a pregnancy, if that can happen, that you have nine months to adjust and kind of get used to this idea. Right. Your whole understanding of the way families are formed is totally blown out of the water. No, the stork comes through email and it’s an announcement and now all of a sudden you a baby and it, it’s just, it’s kind disconcerting. But by this point I had put, um, not a disclaimer but in my profile on both ancestry and 23 and me a description saying, you know, I learned as an adult that my father was not my biological father. My parents used this clinic, you know, and I basically explain in a nutshell my story where I was conceived and when, so the new match told me later, it was very helpful because she was not expected. It was a surprise. So she logged in and then we’re all waiting for a connection and then she logs out and doesn’t go back in for like four days. And I told everybody else, cause I’m active in that Facebook group. I said this is a shock. Didn’t know she didn’t know or there’s something about this that is surprising to her because she’s not reaching out at all.

 Speaker 1: (45:27)

And in that, the, my profile I put, I’ve connected with, you know, several siblings already. It’s been a great experience. I’m open to connecting with anybody else. Please reach out to me if you want to have a conversation you, so it’s very open and warm and welcoming. But you know, I don’t want to hound the other person. I want them to know if you’re ready. I’m here. And um, it did, it took about another six weeks or so and I heard back and you know, in her situation she knew her parents had used a fertility clinic, but it was a surprise that it wasn’t her father. 

Speaker 2: (46:14)

Oh, okay. So they had used the clinic and actually got it. Okay. No, if that should be okay. We can take it out. You edit that out. Totally. Um, yeah, I get it. I get it. And she’s kind of the freshest thing. So it’s raw. I got it. So a new sibling connected with us

 Speaker 1: (46:36)

and um, it was a bit of a surprise for her. And so she,

 Speaker 2: (46:41)

she considerably younger? No, she’s for, she’s a little bit here. So you’re still the youngest? She in the brother. 

Speaker 1: (46:49)

We’re born in the same year. And then the first two sisters that I connected with are born in the same year, within a few months of each other. So,

 Speaker 2: (46:57)

and there’s no, because this guy won’t talk to you, there’s no way to know like what was going on for him from his,

 Speaker 1: (47:03)

okay. No, and I feel terrible for the sister who has a relationship with him because she has some of these answers. 

Speaker 2: (47:11)

Oh. 

Speaker 1: (47:12)

And I didn’t even think about that. He has asked her not to share information with us, but I have to say that I think she has tremendous integrity because she is honoring her father well also trying to relationships with us. And it’s one of the things I admire about her, even though it’s frustrating to know that she has the answers to our questions or at least some of them I admire that she’s made a commitment, you know, to me that shows loyalty,

 Speaker 2: (47:46)

respectable way to go. But I assume that she would

 Speaker 1: (47:49)

be that loyal to me. And, um, we have a very close relationship and you know, I’ve actually expressed to her my frustration about this whole thing. I can talk with her openly because she doesn’t take it personally. Right. Like she can understand their stance, why you’re frustrated. Yes. And she can understand everybody in the situation, but she’s still doing the honorable thing and she’s keeping her word to her dad and I totally get it. But it is weird to have that connection and to know somebody who knows him. It’s, yeah, it’s, it’s, that’s the part of this that I would have never expected. Right. Yeah. So that’s, you know, every situation has its own unique

 Speaker 2: (48:35)

is everybody. But uh, okay, wait, everybody from the same clinic fertility place or was he donating all I, wherever he was at

 Speaker 1: (48:45)

so far, I, no, now you’re giving me something else to obsess about that honestly never occurred to me that he might have been donating others.

 Speaker 2: (48:58)

So you were all from the UCLA place. Okay. 

Speaker 1: (49:00)

And he was apparently a nursing student, I think at the time is how he found out about it. So back in those days, that’s a lot of, um, where the donations came from or doctors, medical students, nursing students, you know, people in the medical field. Um, makes sense. Yeah. Yeah. And I, you know, I honestly have no idea if he had a genuine interest in wanting to help people or if it was just beer money or,

 Speaker 2: (49:29)

you know, I, I have no idea. No way to know baby.

 Speaker 1: (49:33)

Yeah. But, um, I thought I came up with a really great compromise. Um, when we all got together at Thanksgiving the next day that sister was going to see her dad and the other siblings were like, oh, can you deliver 

Speaker 2: (49:51)

me asking person, here are 37 things I’d like to know this time. And I said,

 Speaker 1: (49:56)

you know what, you guys, he has already said he does not want that. So I said, instead of all of us in inundating him with a bunch of questions, what if we come up with maybe the three most important questions that we have collectively give those to the sister, she can take them to him and ask, would you be willing to answer these questions? I’ll take them back and that’s it. So at least we get something, he still remains anonymous. She’s keeping her

Speaker 2: (50:28)

work. You know, everybody like you, someone that understands boundaries.

 Speaker 4: (50:32)

Yeah, good point. And that

 Speaker 1: (50:37)

everybody gets a little bit of what they want and compromises a little bit.

 Speaker 4: (50:42)

Okay. So

 Speaker 2: (50:46)

the sort of happens in sort of doesn’t, but he shoots it down anyway. It just not going to respond to anything. It doesn’t want to give any information burn with his boundaries. Yes. And so

 Speaker 1: (50:58)

to me, this is clear then, and I think my feeling is I’m not going to bring it up with that sister again. He’s made it clear she has tried twice. I’m not going to put her in that position again. I can’t speak for my siblings. I don’t know what they’re going to do. But, um, I will not bring him up to her now. At some point, later on in life, he passes. She may feel free to share things, you know, but it depends on what agreement they had.

 Speaker 2: (51:23)

Right. So this Thanksgiving that you all got together, was that this past thanksgiving, 2018 yes. Okay. Yes. And so, and then the new sibling connected with us new year’s this year. And she’s five months fresh. Yes. So

 Speaker 1: (51:37)

the table that you’re sitting at right now in my dining room, this will be filled with all but one of the siblings. So the one who is not donor conceived as the one who can’t come, but the newest one is flying out. She lives on the east coast. She’s coming out to visit her mother. And so I said, why don’t we all try to get together so everybody’s coming together so that we can meet her in person? 

Speaker 2: (52:01)

Huh. So she’s interested. Yes. She’s interested in, you know, I think, sure. I wouldn’t say standoffish, but you know, she’s not even skeptical, cautious, cautious. I think she’s just trying to catch her bearings like I was. But you know, I sort of assured 

Speaker 1: (52:21)

her, I said, look, I can tell you were a good group of people. I can’t guarantee that moving forward, anybody we match with will be in the same. But so far everybody seems like a very genuine, heartfelt person. We care about each other. Um, and I, you know, all I can say is jump in.

 Speaker 2: (52:42)

Yeah. I imagine that even if she decides that it’s not a connection that she wants, it’s a safe attempt. It’s like a safe, you’re a safe group to meet for an afternoon. Yeah. And at first I was thinking we would meet at a restaurant or something like that 

Speaker 1: (52:59)

and then people individually started saying, you know, that seems kind of impersonal, right. And so, but I, I was trying to make it so it wouldn’t feel like an intrusion or whatever. You know, I, I love hosting parties and having people over and things like that. And, um, my inlaws are a Filipino from Hawaii, so this whole like know Aloha spirit and everybody is Ohana and, you know, like I told you when you came in and go in the fridge,

 Speaker 2: (53:30)

yeah. Whatever you want. I made myself right at home. Thank you very much. This is what we do here.

 Speaker 1: (53:34)

Right. But not everybody is that way. Right. So, um, but I just kind of put it out there, hey, what would you think about coming to my house? We’re happy to host. And I think everyone actually ended up really liking that idea and that we’re not out there in a public place talking about these really personal things,

 Speaker 2: (53:50)

really personal things. And the other thing about restaurants, I mean it just depends on where you go obviously, but then there’s a time constraint maybe and yeah. And you just, yeah. You just don’t know what’s going to happen. And I was thinking the time constraint aspect, you might be positive. Right? Totally. If you’re not getting along, that’s awesome. Yeah, totally threw at my house and you’re kind of right. But, um, but no, it’s,

 Speaker 1: (54:14)

I think it’ll be good. And um,

 Speaker 2: (54:17)

and what made you choose this weekend? Is something coming up or just you just do mother’s Day. Oh,

 Speaker 1: (54:24)

and it just, it’s like the only weekend that kind of worked for everybody. Um, we have a crazy week next week and it’s just that the timing worked out.

 Speaker 2: (54:34)

Oh, interesting. Yeah. Okay. So that’s sort of, that will be a presence. Yeah,

 Speaker 1: (54:40)

that’s kind of where we are. I don’t know if you have,

 Speaker 2: (54:43)

yeah. Uh, Gosh. I mean, I don’t know if I have a need to fill out. You did such a great job. Um, I guess, I mean I think I know the answer to this, but does your, your 13 year old now this whole situation. Okay.

 Speaker 1: (54:56)

And so she was at that, um, please give me,

 Speaker 2: (54:59)

right, right, right. With the cousins and everybody’s, all the, all the, all the offspring know all the children now she has a cousin that’s her age there three weeks apart. Oh, how funny. Okay. She loves that. Right. So for her it feels more just like a family. Yeah. Okay. That’s great. I’m sorry, I’m just going back over stuff you already said, but I will say

 Speaker 1: (55:18)

just adding something, she asked me a very poignant question. So when I told her about all of this and you know, it’s something that I’ve been grappling with and I’ve been very honest with her about it and she asked me, is there any time when grandma could have told you this and it would have been better.

 Speaker 2: (55:38)

That was my next question and I mean this is from the 13

 Speaker 1: (55:43)

and I had to really step back and think about it and answer honestly. And I said No. I said if she had told me when I was a teenager I absolutely would not have handled it well, especially toward my dad and in my twenties I don’t think I could have coped with it. No really. I said, I told her the only way this could have been any better is if it were just the narrative of my life and this is what I was raised with and I knew from the very beginning that this was the case. And I think you would have that about anything, whether it’s adoption or probably the only situation where that would be helpful would be if you were conceived as part of assault, a trauma, trauma, rape or incest or something like that. Growing up knowing that probably not so beneficial. Right. But other than that, yeah, that’s really, but there really is no time when my mom could’ve told me.

 Speaker 2: (56:44)

But that is such a great question cause I was, cause everybody has a different answer.

 Speaker 1: (56:48)

Yeah. And it really helped me to be able to forgive my mom or kind of move past that feeling of I’ve been lied to my whole life and it’s when could she had told me and back then they did with the doctor. The doctor told them, you know, they came in, they got there, the insemination, the doctor said you go home and make love to your husband and you’ll never know who’s it is. Right. And from what I’m finding out, this is very common. This is what doctors told couples and you know, 

Speaker 2: (57:24)

why would she tell you?

 Speaker 1: (57:26)

And if she, you know, no, for sure. And yeah, the doctor said never speak of it to anyone. Don’t even speak to each other about it. And I think there’s a good chance they’ve probably never did talk about it again. Um, you know, my dad’s name is on my birth certificate and even when my parents split, I mean he stay present as your dad. Yeah. Yeah. And, uh, I honestly believe he probably would not have wanted me to know because yeah, after he passed away and I was going through his medical records and things, I found some things that like he had kidney disease. Right. Why wouldn’t he had asked me for a kidney, you know, why would he let it get to this point? He died at 67, you know, didn’t even get to retire. And as I was going through this stuff, so this is before I knew the story. I’m looking through his records and I’m thinking, why wouldn’t he have asked me? You know, like I would have done that for my dad. But now that I know this information again, it’s like a soap opera. Oh my gosh. Probably through that process it would have come out that we’re not biologically related 

Speaker 2: (58:48)

related or like types like tired or something like that. Yeah. And it’s too bad. We can’t know if that was because he just would, could never bear like, also it’s like he, there’s probably parents are like, I could never ask my child for a kidney that’s, you know, like brothers. No, I didn’t know either way, but you’re right. Like anything medical. 

Speaker 1: (59:09)

Yeah. And on the one hand, so that’s one of the good things that came of this is that there are some things, like his mother had Alzheimer’s, so you know, now, I mean, I might still have a connection to, but I don’t know for sure that I absolutely do. Right. But I mean, I ended up doing 20 maybe it’s different in some cases maybe is better than definitely, you know, all of it is like you really can’t control him anyway. So once, once our donor refuse to give us any medical information or anything, I did 23 and me to get the health report part of it and I figured it probably doesn’t hurt to be in both the systems in case people match with us. Bigger dining room table.

 Speaker 1: (59:57)

We’re barely gonna fit it this way. Oh, you’re right. We’re gonna have to do the kids tend to get some leaves out there or something. Yeah, we’ll add that card tables. Yeah. So, you know, I mean it’s, I feel better knowing the truth and okay. I wasn’t crazy suspecting this. I’m excited to have siblings, you know, 51 years old and I hadn’t had [inaudible]. He was really fun. It seems really fun that way. And really those are good things. It’s just the, um, and I think through the experience I’ve developed a greater empathy for other people, especially being in the Facebook group. Um, and seeing so many stories and it’s helped me appreciate that my mother came to me and truth. Yep. Yep. Yep. Um, that’s a big deal. Um

 Speaker 4: (01:00:50)

hmm.

 Speaker 1: (01:00:50)

But on the other hand, I think this whole experience has really reinforced my feelings about fertility clinics and that whole world. And that’s a whole world I know. Nothing about me. So interested now. It’s a, it is interesting and I think what you would find what’s going on now is very different from what was happening before people into and before people question doctors, right? 60. Yeah. Whole different ballgame. Doctors were gods, you did not question what a doctor told you. Right. Plus there was no Google or diagnose yourself or, um, you couldn’t find alternative ideas or things and bad things about back then. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Um, but, uh, and then there’s another kind of strange aspect, which is you kind of feel like a lab experiment. Yeah. Okay. So even though, yes, this happened because your parents loved you and wanted kids so badly and stuff. Still you weren’t, you weren’t conceived in an act of love. Right. It’s a bit sterile and clinical and it’s petri dish fee. Yeah. Yeah. And um, we read an article and they used the term genealogical bewilderment. Oh yeah. And I’ve read that. Read that too. Yeah.

 Speaker 2: (01:02:20)

It really kind of totally is a great, captures it in for sure. And it’s like Danny Shapiro said inheritance, you know, this changes nothing and it changes everything.

 Speaker 1: (01:02:31)

It’s, it’s really hard to, to describe or to understand I think, unless you’ve

 Speaker 2: (01:02:39)

experience it like most things. Yeah. So fresh that people don’t even don’t even have a reference. No. So, but it does, 

Speaker 1: (01:02:48)

it’s, it’s about your sense of identity and you don’t realize how much your, your ethnicity or your culture or your parents hid affects your sense of yourself until it’s kind of pulled out from under you. Right. At least for me, I think the clinic really did do what my parents asked and found somebody with the same ethnic heritage because like I said, I had the most boring results in anybody I know, you know. But I know other people who’ve logged into ancestry and found out their 30% something they had no idea about or

 Speaker 2: (01:03:36)

yeah, totally, totally unsettling for people. Yeah. And so I didn’t have that

 Speaker 1: (01:03:41)

part of it. Um, but definitely, like I said before, this idea of wanting to know who I come from, who is this person that makes up half of me, I have no idea and I will probably never know. Never know.

 Speaker 2: (01:03:59)

But you’re experiencing,

 Speaker 4: (01:04:02)

yeah.

 Speaker 2: (01:04:02)

The benefit of these relationships with these siblings. Yes. Who also don’t know except for the one. Right. But so you guys sort of say, you know, like if somebody asked me,

 Speaker 1: (01:04:11)

do you wish you had never done the test? No. I mean, cause then I wouldn’t have my siblings. Right. But that aspect of, of connecting with somebody who does know him and knowing for sure that he wants nothing to do with this, that’s been difficult.

 Speaker 2: (01:04:26)

Sure. Is that something that you guys talk about the siblings together or it’s just you don’t need a little bit, but I think

 Speaker 1: (01:04:36)

I’m probably having the hardest time philosophically with that aspect of it. I think the others, it’s more like they want medical history. They want to know about our family. They want to know like what this person is. Let you know, what are his hobbies, what are his interests, what you know, I, for me personally, I can care about any of that kind of stuff if he’s not a very good person, I don’t even know, don’t even want to know the rest of it. But, um,

 Speaker 2: (01:05:06)

yeah, we all kind of have like a different, a different take on it, which is interesting. And I guess that’s how families are. I don’t know, because I didn’t grow up with brothers and sisters, but it’s very enlightening

 Speaker 1: (01:05:19)

to me to see, you know, even though we have these commonalities and we have, you know, the, we call it the cheeks and chin, we are family crust, cheeks and chin. Um, but we each have our own personality, some of which is, you know, nature and some of which is part of our environment. Some of it’s just us, you know. And did everybody grew up in California? Yes. Okay. Yes. And my brother and I who are two years apart, we hung out in the same spots and we could have very easily cross paths. Wow. Wow. Wow, wow. Wow. Okay.

 Speaker 2: (01:05:59)

Right. So your friend was onto something. 

Speaker 1: (01:06:01)

Yes, she was. Cause we showed each other our high school pictures. Oh yeah. Like yeah. I would’ve thought you were cute. Wow. Maybe we should edit that.

 Speaker 2: (01:06:11)

[inaudible] the stuff you don’t know is in growth. That’s true. But that’s true. But it’s complicated no matter what. Yeah. Great. Thank you so much for sharing this perspective. It’s so wonderful to get a new everybody. I mean everybody has a different angle, but already the diversity of stories has been, um, great. Greater than I than I could’ve hoped for. Um, yeah. So thank you so much for giving me your, your afternoon.

 Speaker 1: (01:06:43)

Thank you for getting the word out, to help build understanding about our situations. Yeah. I really hope. 

Speaker 2: (01:06:50)

Yeah. I really hope that works, if that makes any sense at all. Um, yeah. All right. Turn this off.

 

The Nicest Man in West Virginia

Speaker 1: (00:00)

Earned, staying with her. Um, bye. 

Speaker 2: (00:02)

I have a younger brother and sister and, sorry, I have to stop you. Um, we have this, this is so embarrassing. Um, just start again with when your wife got you that tense. Just say, just start over from there. Okay. So what got you in to this? Um, I got an ancestry free 

Speaker 1: (00:24)

DNA test for Christmas 2017 from my wife. She had seen me get very interested in genealogy. Um, my mother had had dementia for the last several years of her life. She passed away in October of 2017 but my younger brother and younger sister, my only my only two siblings, uh, took turns staying with her for like 12 hour shifts until we finally, uh, moved her to assisted living. But she had no real short term memory left, but her longterm memory was, was very good. And she had eight brothers and sisters and she remembered all their maims middle names, birthdays, most of their children, you know, the longterm memory was really good. And I think it made her feel good to be able to talk about something and know what she was talking about. Yeah. At whatever level of grounding, whatever. Yeah. Whatever level, you know, that she was aware that she was having memory problems.

 Speaker 1: (01:36)

Uh, but you know, then she couldn’t remember that she’d have lunch 15 minutes ago. But, uh, which is again, a typical scenario. But, so I got into that and I hadn’t had a whole lot of connection with her family. They lived on the Far Eastern end of West Virginia and we’re at the far western end. And we didn’t go to the small town where she was from very often. I mean, in the pre interstate days, it was like a six hour drive. Right. So, uh, yeah. So I didn’t really know too many of those. She said, we, well, you’ve got three dozen first cousins. Yeah, I know, but I’m like, he could name most of them, but yeah. Well, well, you know, eight brothers and sisters, two of them had 10 kids, 10 kids each. So yeah. Um, yeah, yeah. Um, yeah. And then on my father’s side, my paternal grandfather had divorced.

 Speaker 1: (02:35)

He and my grandmother gotten a divorce in the early forties and he was totally out of the picture and never heard from again. And I didn’t know a whole lot about, you know, the, my father’s family going back very far except on him, on his mother’s side, but not, not as father’s side. So that was, those were kind of mysteries. But I didn’t think know that much about the DNA tests at the time. I never really would have done one on my own, but when my wife got me one, I did it. And uh, for herself, no, no. And she’s still, she still doesn’t want to do one, especially, especially now after web app and would make,

 Speaker 2: (03:16)

right. We’re watching the worst case scenario go down.

 Speaker 1: (03:19)

Yeah. But, um, so I got the ruse. I think I waited a little while after Christmas before I did it. So I got the results back I think in March of 18. And you know, I got the ethnicity thing that, that one of the things, you know, they advertise a lot online about, you know, where your roots were and they were pretty much where I expected. England, Ireland, Scotland, northern Europe, a little bit of Sweden, yellow, nothing surprising or, or earth shattering or anything like that. And then you get that list of DNA matches and there was a whole bunch of names that didn’t ring a bell at all. You? No. Uh, I couldn’t figure out who these people were. I did have a, a great grandmother on my father’s side who had been adopted. So I figured, well, maybe some of those are our, her, uh, family at some level.

 Speaker 1: (04:16)

And, uh, and then again, there was some mystery about the, the paternal grandfather, maybe he had another family or other, you know, offspring after he disappeared from, from our part of the world. But, uh, yeah, but I just, there were eight of my top 10 were, you know, two of them were, were my mom’s side. I recognize them, but eight of the top 10 were just names I didn’t know. And, and, uh, there weren’t no, nobody of my surname or my grandmother’s Sir name, paternal grandmother, surname or w, you know, made name, whatever. And, um,

 Speaker 2: (04:56)

was it just, I don’t know how the, I don’t know. I’m sorry I didn’t repped. Oh, I don’t know how that will sort of show up. Did it show that those, those eight of the 10 that you didn’t recognize, did it indicate whether they were on paternal or maternal side?

 Speaker 1: (05:12)

No, no, it doesn’t end. Okay. But, uh, but like again, Ya know, I, I recognized, definitely recognize two of the people on, on Mom’s side and uh, so I figured the other eight had the B, Ya know, on my father’s side and, and uh, yeah. 

Speaker 2: (05:29)

But I was just thinking it was so many cousins. Yeah. I just think of so many cousins that, that I would have just been like, well, I don’t know everybody I know who married to, well, I mean, I asked, I asked

 Speaker 1: (05:42)

my mother, I think, no, no, I didn’t. I’m sorry. Cut that with that. That’s not right cause she, she had passed already by the time I took the test. Oh, okay. I’m sorry. But I, I asked, asked a few of the relatives I knew and they didn’t know. Yeah, know I’m the on Mom’s side. They, they didn’t recognize those names. So, um, so anyway, I just went along like that for a few months, which was, I, I kind of get the feeling now and with 20, 20 hindsight, maybe I knew there was something up because that’s not me. You know, when, when I had cancer, you know, I tried to get every word I could find about it and know exactly what could happen, what, you know, what would happen if, yeah. Just be as educated as possible. And this is like, well, I just threw up my hands.

 Speaker 1: (06:28)

I’m like, I don’t know what’s going on. So, uh, the big thing that happened was a distant cousin on my mother’s side contacted me through the ancestry messaging system and said, you know, this is who I am. You match me. You met my grandmother, you match my great uncle. Again, this is on my mom’s side. And, um, you know, I do. And she says, uh, and I’ll give you her first name because he’s an angel. You know, she became my search angel at the second cousin three times removed. I’d never heard of lives in New Mexico. And, um, I bet her her is amber and she’s, I can’t thank her enough for what she ended up doing for me. But, uh, so she said, if you would please download your DNA. And she told me how to do it all and from ancestry and upload it to those other three family tree DNA and my heritage and the Jed match or GED match.

 Speaker 1: (07:30)

However you say that. She said, I do, I do things like, uh, DNA painting, tracing, which parts of which chromosomes come from, which ancestors? The, I mean, she’s really into it. So I think she’s entirely self taught at this. But, um, so I said, yeah, I’ll do that. And then my add kicked in and I didn’t really do that cause I was kind of, again, maybe subconsciously staying away from it all. But several months later, maybe not until like November or December, I think I finally downloaded and uploaded it and all that and told her it was out there and that she told me how to look at some of the compares on those sites and have one of the matches or one of the sites. There was my niece, uh, my brothers, youngest daughter, and she had found, she had done a 23andme test that, you know, you can upload either time to, uh, I think of this was at TVD match.

 Speaker 1: (08:31)

And, uh, so I messaged amber and I said, well, you’ve got another distant cousin, you can work with their, Ya know, this matches. And told him, told her who, uh, who it was. And then the fateful day arrived December 28th, amber messages me and says, uh, um, when we were still messaging through the ancestry system and she said, I’ve got some news for you and it’s going to be upsetting. And I said, okay. I said, why don’t we become Facebook friends here, we can message easier. So we did. And, uh, she said, well, you and your niece only match at 1000 cent, the Morgan’s tms, which another term that’s become ingrained in me. And, uh, and I said, okay, what does that mean? And she said, well, an uncle niece should match it about 1800 on average and at least 1300. And I said, okay, what does that mean and why?

 Speaker 1: (09:32)

Baby babies said they’re amber. Yeah. And she’s like, well, you know, that means that one of your parents was not your biological parent because your niece has DNA from both of them through your brother, but you only have DNA from one. That’s why the matches are there and it’s gotta be Your Dad because I’m at you on your mom’s side. Right. And I like, oh boy. Y’All know, how, how on Earth could that be? You know, I’m, uh, my parents were married six years before I was born. You know, they really, really, really were trying hard to have a child. Uh, we think from what my sister has told me like that maybe mom had a miscarriage or two along the way there, but when I was born they named me after everybody. I have two middle names. Yeah, no, they tried to cover all the male name basis there cause they weren’t sure they’d ever get another one. Maybe send my brother, my brother, I am the oldest and my brother came along two years later and they totally made up his name. Thirdly, there’s nobody with either of his first or middle name in her family. So they use them all. And then my sister five years after that. 

Speaker 1: (10:51)

Oh yeah. So, okay. So why do we do now amber? Right. I kept, go ahead. I’m sorry. 

Speaker 3: (11:01)

Oh this to say, how did you, were you able to process the, the suggestion at the time?

 Speaker 1: (11:08)

Well I was, I was kind of Numb, but you know, I’ve, I’ve always been really interested in, in data and it’d be on my own thinking logically as you know, with a computer science degree, did a lot of programming and database design and things like that. And so I’m like, okay, I’m not, I’m not afraid of the truth here. Just, just tell me what’s, what’s the truth? And she said, I can take your matches and do, what do they call them, mirror trees and things like that. And, and put together a scenario, Ya know, to see who your biological father was. Okay.

 Speaker 1: (11:52)

She told me a little bit about what she was doing. She went along, she even knew what to do. Like I wouldn’t even know where to start. She had found both of her grandfathers were not, um, you don’t know who they should have been or whatever. Oh. Um, so she had some experience at that. She’s worked with a cousin who was adopted I think. And, and, uh, you know, she, she had done this a lot, just, just totally like as I, just as an amateur searching for people. But, um, and, and I, I think I thanked her every 10 minutes for everything she was doing. She probably got tired of seeing that. But, um, so over the next few weeks she looked and worked and whatever, and came back with a name for me. And it was a man named Emmet. And, um, wow. He obviously, he, he passed away. 

Speaker 1: (12:52)

I, I’ll go ahead and give his, his name is Amet. It’s K, e r e. N. S, but it’s pronounced Kearns. And, um, so we’re looking into who he was and he passed away nine months after I was born at age 29. Uh, yeah, he had, he had a heart attack basically, and I was able, in West Virginia, they’ve got a lot of old death certificates on the vital statistics stuff on the, you know, at the state level. So I found his death certificate and he had had rheumatic fever as a child, like at age nine. And that’s, that’s a disease you don’t hear much about anymore. It, it went away a with a lot of better antibiotics and things, so, but at a damaged his heart and, and uh, and he died down that, like I say, at age 29. So I’ve got that information now.

 Speaker 1: (13:56)

I think maybe that was a week or two after, after that December 28th date. So I go to tell my brother and sister everything now. And, um, I’m telling them the story and I talk about Emmett and I said he was married to a woman named Ruby. And my sister says, is that Ruby and gives me another last name than the one I had for that. I looked and I said, well, that was who she married after Emmett, you know, after Ramadan. And she said, well mom stayed in touch with her for, you know, until she passed away about eight years ago. So you know, the plot thickens and, and come to find out that ruby is also the sister of a woman that married one of my mom’s brothers and they, they were one of the ones that had 10 kids there. So was there was definitely connection and, and come to find out ruby was my mom’s best friend really growing up in there in their smaller town than the, than the small town that all this took place in.

 Speaker 1: (15:03)

And um, so, you know, it ends up ambit and Ruby were married the year after my parents and lived there in the same town. And matter of fact lived a block away and that had been I think a year ahead of my father at the high school there. And um, you know, so they’ve definitely knew each other and did things together and that kind of thing. So somehow, and the, and the big thing that’s missing and the big neon letters that kept flashing in my brain is like, y, y, y, y. You know, at the point of my conception, you know, Emmett and Ruby have been married for five years. My parents had been married for six. It wasn’t like anything that happened at the start of, uh, you know, we’re a break in the relationship or anything. So I’m that big. Why is missing?

 Speaker 4: (16:00)

Huh? 

Speaker 1: (16:01)

And there’s no one to talk to, no one to talk to. No, it’s a [inaudible] gone. Amyx gone. His siblings are gone. There were a couple nieces that were not even teenagers when he died, but then my sister says, well, Ruby had a daughter and, um, we’ll just call her, see if he was living and she’s, you want him to contact her? So I contact her and she said, well, I was always told that I was Emmett’s daughter. He’s on my birth certificate, even though I was born the year before he and Ruby got married and I, so she said, I’ll bet we’re half siblings. And I said, well, would you take a DNA test if I paid for it? And she said, oh, I will, but you know, I’m sure were half siblings. And I said, I’m not believe in anything without, you know, for awhile here. And uh, so she took the test and she is not

 Speaker 4: (17:05)

okay.

 Speaker 1: (17:06)

It was not Emmett’s daughter. So I had to give her the news that amber gave me. Ben Say, yeah. So here I didn’t even know what an NPE was and I had my own event and then I had the conveyed the news to cause somebody else’s event. You know that with him within three months. But there, there was a kicker on, on a CS test. I said, you do have a half sister that I think you don’t know about and uh, we’ll call her g. And by the time I told c about this, I’d already talked to g and found out that she had been Ruby’s daughter like two years after three years after Amet died. Ruby wasn’t married, remarried or anything. So she gave her up for adoption and gene knew gene knew about that and had tried contacting Ruby about 20 years earlier. G is now 58, I think sees 68.

 Speaker 5: (18:12)

And uh,

 Speaker 1: (18:14)

and she tried contacting Ruby through a social worker and Ruby said, well, I’d really nobody in my family, you know, I did all this in secret and nobody knows I had you. I really don’t want any contact. I’ll give you any medical information you want about your family. And, uh, but I prefer you not contact me again or, or my daughter and g lived up to that. But, but once I called her, you know, I was managing a CS DNA test at ancestry. Once I, once I called her, she said, well, Telsey I would love to have a relationship. I’d like, you know, let her know about me. And, and they ended up, they live an hour and a half apart. And, uh, and so the next, the day after I visited, say we had a w this is about six hours away from us, but we had just again, totally coincidental, we have planned the trip there for, uh, for a dog training conference and yeah, in March, the same area, same area.

 Speaker 1: (19:17)

So I, one day I went to cc and told her everything I was lucky enough to be able to tell her in person and sat there and held her hand and told her, you know what, I had to tell her and about and about g and said, I’m going to be having lunch with g tomorrow, can we call you after lunch and I’ll introduce you to, and she said, yeah, she was really in shock. Although see as told me now several times, I’m, I’m really glad to know the truth. We have that. Oh, she felt like I did. And so the next step, so I have lunch with Judy the next day and we called her and uh, and they, they had a nice talk and c said, you know, can you come visit this weekend? And A, and g couldn’t actually, they have not met yet in person, just due to some health and, and work concerns, but they still plan to obviously.

 Speaker 5: (20:10)

Okay. 

Speaker 1: (20:10)

But, uh, but so that, you know, that’s kind of the thing that makes me feel good about this. At some point it’s like, well, yeah, you know, I don’t know why and this upset the apple cart and I feel got that feeling all of us and P folks seem to have the, you know, we’d w our sense of self has been disrupted at the very least. And, um, but I do have that kind of good feeling that C and g, you know, are gonna meet just because of what happened with me. And, and the one other fun party is c and g and I are very distantly related on the order of about 15 or 20 CMEs there. So it’s not like I have no reason, you know, ever see them again or talk to them again now. Now they’re, you know, they’re distant cousins too. We haven’t figured out exactly what the tree look like. Looks like. The connects is, but yeah. So that’s, that’s the whole, we have the whole convoluted story and it’s, um, you know, I’m still assimilating all this. I’m getting some therapy, uh, to deal with all this. And I know you’re in favor of that. And, uh, and um, it again, it just, it disrupts your sense of self. I told somebody you would be like, if you woke up tomorrow and one of your legs was like an inch or two longer than the other one, Ya know, you’d be able to do what you needed to do, but you’d never feel normal again. 

Speaker 2: (21:45)

Right. Just a little, uh, like disoriented. 

Speaker 1: (21:49)

Yeah. Yeah. It’s, and, and I’ve few people that I’ve told the story to, I pulled some former coworkers and some, and some relatives and, you know, they say, well, everybody’s gone. It’s not like you have to, you know, you didn’t inherit any new siblings. You didn’t have to deal with helping your, your, um, father that raised you. You don’t know that he’s not your biological father. Everything, you know, he’s been gone for, for 23 years. And, and as I said, my mother 18 months and, and the, the biological father, like I say when I was nine months old and I find myself at times wondering did he even ever hold me, you know, just because he was a friend of my, of my parents, you know my right. Yeah. And um,

Speaker 2: (22:38)

man, so it’s, you didn’t inherit, you didn’t inherit out. It’s a lot of things that people are referring to, but you inherited like so many questions that you can’t get an answer to.

 Speaker 1: (22:51)

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, yeah,

 Speaker 2: (22:53)

I think you’re the first person that can’t even, I don’t, I don’t even know how to describe it. Like you just, you’re just, you’re the last or the last line of the, of the conversation.

 Speaker 1: (23:06)

Yeah. Yeah. I have, I have spoken to a gentleman who is 90 and still lives in that town and was my father that raised me. He was his best friend in high school and he also knew amate cause he was, they were in high school too. And then ended up, they were in the Jaycees together. They’re in that town and they were in the elks club together. And, uh, and this man said, you know, I remember [inaudible], he was a fine young man and I, and I’ve read his obituary also, and he did a lot of good things and was very active and that kind of, and charities and the organizations like keep saying you sounds like a great guy, except he was married and he’s got another, a married woman pregnant. But you know, uh, and uh,

 Speaker 2: (23:58)

right. And there’s no way to know if that was even an arrangement. They all knew about [inaudible] or something. I don’t know. 

Speaker 1: (24:04)

Yeah. Um, and, but this guy, the 90 year old friend said, you know, he said, I just couldn’t imagine any, any reason why that would’ve happened. You know, he just said like, your parents are like the best people I ever knew. And I can’t imagine that anything like that happening or any reason it would have. So there’s, you know, that, that it happened, but nobody knows why.

 Speaker 2: (24:29)

Right. And I’m sure you have come up with all the reasons. Yeah. All the, yeah, I mean there, yeah,

 Speaker 1: (24:37)

I’ve won one exercise my therapist has had me do is kind of, I wrote a letter to, well first to my, my dad’s the dad that raised me, his mother, cause I was really close to her as my, as my grandmother. I was the first grandchild. We lived there two years, share the house with them before we moved away, have one and one, you know, the dad that raised me, graduated from college and um, so I’ve, I that hurt that really, that hurt more than anything else was thinking that I wasn’t related to or even for all. I’ve still got all the memories and everything and her husband, you know, was her second husband, was not my blood relation grandfather, but he couldn’t have been a better grandfather and uh, Ya know, so I know that, but it’s still, it just still really hurts and um, the, to think about that loss of, of, you know, physical, I don’t know, blood or DNA connection and I’m sure,

 Speaker 4: (25:45)

but

 Speaker 1: (25:46)

it’s just, it just doesn’t, it just doesn’t make sense. My sister is groping for straws, somewhat thinking that maybe there was an rh factor conflict and you know, because of the miscarriages, maybe they were just trying to have a, a successful pregnancy or something, which, you know, there was maybe a chance of that, but I, you know, kind of amateur sperm donor kind of thing. Um, you know, though in the fifties, I’m not sure how that, how that would’ve worked. 

Speaker 2: (26:21)

Yeah, no way to know. So when you told your brother and sister about all of this, um, how did they feel about it?

 Speaker 1: (26:30)

Well, they didn’t want to believe it. I mean they, they just said there has to be a mistake, which I know that’s a lot of, a lot of people’s reaction to. And, and um, I told my wife, I said, I don’t want to hear know any time in the future. I don’t want them to think, well, that was a mistake. That was a mistake. And I would keep hearing that. So I did a 23 and me test, uh, just to try and confirm things. And that’s, that’s where my niece had had tested originally. And the, and the ended up, my brother tested there too because she, my niece got him one for before Christmas that year also. And the, and we did matches has half siblings, not as full siblings and uh, so that, that really confirmed things and he has matches people with the right last name that I’m missing.

 Speaker 1: (27:26)

So, uh, the, that, that confirm things, I never had to hear that again. And the other thing I told them both, I said, now you know, obviously this means genetically we’re half brother, half sister relationship. I said, I’ll never say half again and in your presence, cause you know, you’re my brother, you’re my sister. I said yellow, I’m off. Yeah, I’m on, I’m on groups and discussion boards and stuff on the, on Facebook and, and you know, that’s, that’s the discussion there but, but not when you’re just talking about genetics, but you’re my brother. You’re my sister. Yeah, your kids are my niece and nephew. It’s not never going to be the half thing again. And that’s, and that’s been the case. We’re not terribly, terribly close. They both live in the area here and you know, I don’t, they see each other a lot more than I see their or them just because my sister’s husband and my brother both worked at the same place. But, um, but you know, I’m, I’m very satisfied with their response. They’ve been very supportive. We’ve, we got together for something recently and they never even mentioned it and the, and which was wonderful because it wasn’t about me that what we were therefore, you know, it doesn’t have to be talked about every time we get together. Yeah. I think that’s a good feeling. 

Speaker 6: (28:55)

Yes.

 Speaker 1: (28:56)

Rough. Everyone’s, it’s settled in. Yeah. I’m trying to think if there’s anything else I wanted to, what did they convey? I mean that’s that again, that’s pretty much yet the, this letter writing process. I wrote a letter to my mother. We all know that, that what I would say to her, and I tried to express that if, you know, if you had told me I was, I, I, I found that I was really mad at her and not for what she did, but just that she didn’t tell me of the possibility. Right. You know, and when I wrote the letters to my, yeah. And I, you know, if you told me and asked me not to tell anybody, I wouldn’t have got to know now, but you didn’t tell me anything. And now, now, but I know it’s my story and you know, and I really am, I’m free to do what I want with it. Not Out of spite or anything, but just trying to find if there is anybody who has a clue.

 Speaker 7: (30:05)

Okay.

 Speaker 1: (30:06)

Yeah. So, but then the letter I wrote to my biological father was, I was, it, it came across, I was really bitter and, and mad at him for what he did. And I know it takes two to tango, but you know, it just, that obviously I wouldn’t have ever have known him. You know, there was no opportunity since, since he died so young. But, um, but that again, just talking to them both abstractly, I was more upset with him for what happened, what happened, you know, you’ve messed up my life kind of thing. Yeah. And uh, but I bet, yeah.

 Speaker 1: (30:56)

Um, well that, I think that, I think it sounds like the letter writing process has been helpful. It, it really has. My really, my wife first kind of suggested it and then the therapist thought it was a good idea too. And I, and I got it. I write it and I, I, it seems like I throw a lot of facts in there and then I, I go back and put in feelings and then I never, I, it’s like I don’t really, you know, break down and, and let my emotions out until I’m reading it out loud, which is, it’s, it’s kind of an interesting process. I’m learning a lot about myself through all this, not just what my, you know, what’s written on my chromosomes, but, but sure. But it’s really been, it really leads you to question, you know, how much that the nature nurture thing.

 Speaker 1: (31:57)

You know, uh, my father was a civil engineer and, and um, you know, and I was really inspired to get a college degree and have a professional career. Uh, because of that. My mother, the father that raised me, you know, um, damn it, I think what it was that he was a bank teller. He had gone to college for two years but was a bank teller and, and part time bookkeeper for the bank. And uh, you know, I just wonder if I’ve seen one picture of him, the a c gave me one of, one of the pictures she had. She said, you can have all my pictures because if he’s not my dad, I don’t need them anymore. And she, wow. Well she was seven when he died and a lot of those years, she said, actually she spent with her grandmother, her mother’s mother for, for whatever reason. And uh, so she offered me all on him. She had three pictures of him and I only took the one that was just him because the other two had her mother [inaudible]

 Speaker 2: (33:06)

so wow. So did just from a, just to clarify the timeline between c and g, she, Ruby had one baby that she was raising and then she had another child that she gave for adoption. Yes. Or the other way around. Yup.

 Speaker 1: (33:27)

She had c and then, you know, and then married the the next year and then Amet died six years later and she still had, you know, still had see you there. And, and uh, although like I say, some of those years, she wasn’t actually with, with ship her an [inaudible]. But then three years later she had g, um, before she had, before she remarried and she gave g up for adoption. And then actually then she did remarry about a year later and had a boy and uh, kept kept hammering and I was with the second husband

 Speaker 5: (34:07)

and I’m [inaudible] 

Speaker 2: (34:10)

so, so actually am I just questions and mysteries everywhere. Yeah. 

Speaker 1: (34:15)

Yeah. Gee. Found out who her, who her biological father was. But we’re, um, I want to mention amber, my, my search angel. Thank you again, amber and, and my, uh, and I are trying to find seeds. Yeah. Trying to find cs father. You know, cause he doesn’t know still we’re, we’re having, we’re not having a whole lot of luck getting matches and things, but uh huh. But you know, we’re, we’re trying to find that and [inaudible] and that’s kind of become a, uh, a real quest for me. I, you know, if I be, if I gave her the news and asked her to take the test and then gave her the news that took away who she thought her father was, I’m going to try and find out who he was. But the bamboo’s doing all the, all the real work on it at night.

 Speaker 2: (35:07)

Wow. So does the only way that it will work define that to find her father sees father is if people from his lineage have submitted stuff to one of these companies.

 Speaker 1: (35:22)

Yeah. Yeah. There’s going to have to be a close, a close. Matt, we haven’t got any matches closer than second cousin, I think. And not many of those. And uh, and m m m actually amber, thanks. There may be an NPE at work somewhere in the matches we’ve gotten, you know, that the, that there that they may not be aware of or something. The trees and the DNA maybe don’t match but uh, but yeah, that’s, yeah, I just, I don’t know. I really want that to happen for cause she was, she was on the, I told her when I’ve asked her to do the test, I said no matter how it comes out, I’m going to come, I’m going to come meet you and you know when we’re in the area there and, and the and get to know you whether you’re my half sister or not. Cause I talked to her on the phone four or five times I think over that period. And, and uh, and Ya know, she’s a sweet person and, and the man, I want her to know, I want her to have some peace in her and her sense of self too.

 Speaker 6: (36:31)

Okay.

 Speaker 2: (36:33)

That’s really nice of you. I think that’s important to remember that everybody involved in this, in these scenarios are human and that we want connection so badly.

 Speaker 1: (36:45)

Yeah. The, the groups on the Internet are just amazing. Some of the stories and, and, uh, of course most of them are dealing with living, you know, ramifications of the, of the MPE event. And, um, but it’s, it’s, it’s just neat to be in a group in groups where you can be there for people and, and just listen and, and understand and, you know, and, and if there’s something that you can relate to, you can offer a little advice or, or comfort or whatever is called for, but, uh, but it’s just

 Speaker 6: (37:23)

okay,

 Speaker 1: (37:23)

you know, we, we all know how, how we feel and the, and not many people do.

 Speaker 2: (37:32)

Yeah, no, it’s in a totally amazing sort of phenomenon to be experience something so isolating, but then discover how many other people are experiencing it as well. So it’s sort of like no one understands and yet more people than you expect understands. Yeah. 

Speaker 1: (37:52)

Yeah. I mean, I don’t know what the, I’ve seen people guess what the percentages might be of of how many actually existed or somebody in one of the groups one day said just what exactly was going on, you know, in the fifties and sixties. And I said, well, what’s going on is the same what was going on as the same thing that’s going on now? Just nobody talked about it. Yeah, 

Speaker 2: (38:18)

no, I think you’re right.

 Speaker 1: (38:20)

And if, you know, people were afraid of it getting out and that’s why, you know, that person like ruby would go away and, and have a, have a child and give it up for adoption. And I think hardly anybody in her family knew.

 Speaker 4: (38:36)

Yeah.

 Speaker 2: (38:38)

But um, yeah, so much secrecy.

 Speaker 1: (38:41)

Yeah. So secrets. He’s shame, you know, and, and, and a lot of us, US NP type folks feel or get fingers pointed at us and all we’re do is just, they, this is all I found this out. You know, I didn’t cause them to do anything. I didn’t arrange my conception or whatever. There’s a lot of myths. There’s being shot in our world here. I think, you know, I’ve figured it out.

 Speaker 2: (39:11)

Yeah. No, I think you’re right. People don’t know where to put their, um, it’s like confusion that turns into anger or something and then they don’t know where to put it. So they put it at the person that saying it out loud. Yeah. Well I love hearing that you are trying to be kind of be of service to people and you’re already a person that really likes to be a part of the community and help out. And it sounds like you’re finding a way to, to use those, those traits. Um, well with your new, your new found information too.

 Speaker 1: (39:49)

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, the honor, why, why wouldn’t you? I know how I know how much it hurts. I know how strange the feeling is. You know, it goes from pain to just a lasting feeling of, of difference. You know, I am in a post a couple of weeks ago, I said, you know, on December 28 I f from then on I didn’t, I don’t feel like I used to feel. Yeah. And, and it’s, it’s hard to convey that, but when people that have gone through it, they don’t have to convey it to us. We, you know, we know we’ve, we’ve been there, we’re, we’re, we’re going to be there. 

Speaker 4: (40:32)

Okay.

 Speaker 1: (40:33)

I know I mentioned I had cancer, you know, thank God for a great surgeon. If it was removed 14 years ago when it was cured. Yeah. But it could, it could have killed me. This isn’t going to kill me, but it can’t be cured. Right. You know, it’s a weird, I don’t want anybody that’s had cancer to the jump on me for saying that, but it’s, you know, I’ve had both and one we had a, one’s a lot worse than the other, but, but that one was found early on was cured and, and this one can’t be that and this one’s found late. I mean, you know, 62 years late. Right.

 Speaker 4: (41:12)

Okay.

 Speaker 2: (41:14)

Right. That’s it. Yeah. No, I think that’s a great way to look at it.

 Speaker 1: (41:18)

Well I would definitely hope. Yeah. I hope I said that well cause again, I don’t want to give the wrong number.

 Speaker 2: (41:23)

Thank you to that. Nobody jump onto, um, all defend you. I understood what you meant. Thank yeah. You,

 Speaker 1: (41:34)

you know,

 Speaker 2: (41:36)

yeah, I do know. I do know. Well this is, this is so great. I’m so glad that we finally got to connect. Um, you know, listeners don’t know this, but Dick and I have been sort of in conversation for, um, a few months now just because I was interested to know who might be in West Virginia cause I have to go there every four to six weeks. And I thought, well there’s another place I can look around and I’m connected with Dick. And it’s been really great. So we’ve been wanting to get him on tape for Awhile and uh, we finally did it and it was a few hiccups there in the beginning. Yeah. And I think, I think this one’s gonna work. I’ll let you know if we have to do this again. Um,

 Speaker 1: (42:24)

fine. Yeah. Yeah. No, it’s therapeutic. Talking about it. Every time I talk about it, I think, you know, it helps, it helps somehow. And, and, um, I didn’t mention, you know, cause this is the, you want this to be kind of timeless, but I’m going to a family reunion of my mom’s side of the family next weekend, uh, driving all that way over to the, to the eastern Pam handful. Uh, and I’m going to talk to the 50 or 60 or so maternal family there. I’m going to talk about it to them. Wow. And, um, and if things work out, you know, because again, this, you’d obviously, this won’t be part of the, the podcast hopefully, but g is gonna come over there in Maryland, by the way, there she’s in there in the both in the DC suburbs is where Brad C and g both live and she’s gonna come over because, you know, since her mother’s sister was married to my mom’s brother, you know, she, those first cousins of my mom’s brother are her first cousins also, Ya know, so, and she’s going to come over and I’m going to introduce her to some of those and,

 Speaker 2: (43:46)

cool. Yeah, that sounds so cool to me. Yeah. Yeah.

 Speaker 1: (43:49)

It’s, uh, you know, I’m looking forward to seeing her again. She’s, she and I are going to be, I think closer than any fifth cousins maybe ever. Hopefully just because I’ve done, you know, again, that’s that one shining kind of light in this, this whole thing. Well if it had to happen, at least somebody got something, something good out of it, you know, I got, I got the truth. I may not be happy with it, but I got the truth. But she’s got siblings for the first time in her life. Right. And she loves that. She told me I was the first, first blood that she had ever met in person 

Speaker 4: (44:34)

and she’s 58. Yup.

 Speaker 2: (44:38)

Sounds like that was so powerful for, okay.

 Speaker 1: (44:40)

I started shaking when we were sitting there eating and I was like three or four minutes for, I couldn’t eat anything else. Y’All know, I’m like wow, I’ve never even occurred to me. Cause she said she had talked to her, you know, her biological father’s sibling or, or a children. Couple of them. But she’s, but she’s still never met them in person. He was, he had passed away. She never met him. And, uh, and then, you know, and then after lunch she got all nervous. I thought, okay, let’s call. See. And she’s, she’s all nervous. And I’m like, Gosh, what do I say?

 Speaker 4: (45:16)

But, uh,

 Speaker 1: (45:19)

oh, it is. Yeah, the eve, it’s great to finally, uh, I’ve obviously I’ve heard your voice before, but uh, on the other episodes, but, uh, but it’s nice to talk to you and, and uh, we, we do have to get together, uh, when next time you’re back. Um, there are three others in Huntington here that I know of. Two of them. I know personally that I think,

 Speaker 2: (45:43)

yeah, I remember you mentioned that once we were talking. I just, yeah, like, uh, I mean it’s something to do with small towns, but it also has to do with just how common this is. Yeah.

 Speaker 1: (45:54)

I think I told you the one was a caterer for a luncheon that we, we go through every year. I, she and I just hit it off and we’re talking, my wife had to come chase me out of the kitchen twice when, because Susan was trying to, you know, to fix the food. She and her, she and her son was helping or even so, you know, she said, you know, this, this guy had gone through the same thing here. So she and I are Facebook friends now and, and staying in touch. And then the other young is a young woman in her twenties, I think, who is the, my wife’s best friend’s daughter’s best friend is, is the connection there.

 Speaker 2: (46:34)

Yeah. And so it wasn’t just happening in the fifties and sixties. Yeah. Like this, this stuff that kept going. Yeah. So, yeah, the younger people have different sort of challenges with this to, to grapple with. Yeah. Interesting. Yeah. I can’t wait. Can’t wait to meet everybody. Yeah. Um, well let us know when you’re coming in a, I’ll get up, get as many of them together as I can and, and we’ll,

 Speaker 1: (46:59)

yeah, no, we’ll get together for dinner or something and, and uh, have just our own little NPE table there.

 Speaker 2: (47:06)

Yeah, that’d be so fun. I, um, I’ll be back in the fall. My daughter’s coming back to La for summer, so we’re going to be here and then she wants to continue high school out there. Okay. So, um, she’s gonna, she’s gonna do that. She’s really enjoying being at Cabel Midland, so, um, I think it’s a good school. So yeah. My niece, yeah, she’s having a great time. Yeah. My, uh, my niece,

 Speaker 1: (47:30)

not the one I matched DNA wise, but the oldest niece, um, is the secretary at the, at Huntington high, the other high school in the county. Okay. And, uh, and my mom had done those. I’ve seen that school. Yeah. My, it’s the one up on the hill there as you come off of the, that how Greer exit. Yeah. And, um, but yeah, that’s that. I just want to say that’s wonderful. I know that’s a, a lot for you to, you know, to have her that far away, but that’s, you know, you’re, you’re willing to let her, let her do what she, what she wants to do and what she thinks is best for her. You know, that’s, uh, that’s wonderful of you. Very, very selfless.

 Speaker 2: (48:10)

Ah, yeah. It’s been quite the process and she, I don’t know what it would be like, but it would be different if she wasn’t. Um, I don’t know, doing so well, but it seems like people, the people there are taking care of hers in a good way, so she’s so she wants to stay. Yeah, yeah,

 Speaker 1: (48:30)

yeah. No, you’d that you’d definitely pass pass the mom test. Ah, my child before me. I’ve used that a few times in posts on there. You know, it’s like, yeah, the way some of the bcs and people act, but I think that’s wonderful of you. I read your article that you wrote about not being a single mom anymore when you got married. That was, I thought that was, that was very interesting. 

Speaker 2: (49:00)

Oh, thanks. Yeah. Yeah. I went through lots of transitions in our, like 15 years together, but, uh, I think we’re doing good. I’m excited to see here for this summer for sure. Yeah. Yeah.

 Speaker 1: (49:15)

And I, I, I, I listened to your husband’s podcast too, the one you guested on the, the, um, sleepless in Seattle.

 Speaker 2: (49:25)

Yeah, that was, that was funny. Cool. Okay. Alright, cool. Great. Well this was a great way to end my week and begin my weekend and I’m hope you have a nice weekend. I heard thunderstorms. I hope you guys get some nice weather.

 Speaker 1: (49:42)

I think it’s, I think they’re over for now. We’ve got a lot of mowing to catch up on, but yeah, no, but yeah, thanks again. Thank you so much for the opportunity. I hope you and I, we didn’t collide talking too much there that you have to do a lot of, a lot of editing, but uh, yeah, no, it’s weird. I’ve, I hosted a podcast for a little while about Marshall football and, and, uh, and you know, I’ve, I’ve tried to watch my pauses and things, but here I was the one on the other end of the questions here and, Ya know, some required a little thought or choosing the right word or whatever, but I hope, I hope it’s not too hard to edit.

 Speaker 4: (50:20)

Okay. 

Speaker 2: (50:21)

No, I think it’s going to be fine. And you know, um, part part of podcast for me is that it just has to be imperfect. Like we’re just trying to have a conversation and sometimes people talk over each other. So I’m sure it’ll be great. Uh, I will let you know as soon as I know when it’s gonna be up and I’ll be in touch if I have any questions. 

Speaker 1: (50:44)

Yeah, that’s the assignment my therapist gave me next is to, is to write how I’m going to tell people on Facebook.

 Speaker 2: (50:53)

MMM, okay. So keep me updated about that for sure.

 Speaker 1: (50:56)

And, uh, okay. Eve, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

 Speaker 2: (51:01)

Right. Thanks Dick. Have a great weekend.

 Speaker 1: (51:04)

Bye. Bye.

 

Joy

Speaker 1: (00:00)

Right. Cool. Yeah. So we’re rolling. You’ve got your coffee. Got My coffee, get your coffee. I got my tea. Perfect. So I don’t know anything actually. I was like realizing that only what you put on only what you’ve, what you, there’s a lot more background. Yeah. I don’t know how this all started. I don’t know. I was not looking okay for him specifically. Okay. But wait, did you know you were donor conceived baby? My mom told me when I was 10. Okay. Um, and so my sister, I have three siblings. None of us have the same dad. My sister and I are both donor babies and my brother is from a subsequent marriage that my mom had. Um, are you the oldest? I am. Okay. Yeah. So she told me, didn’t tell my sister. So that was an interesting dynamic growing up. But I will scale up the drama.

 Speaker 1: (00:55)

But did she say like, this is a secret? Don’t tell your sisters. It was like, I’m telling you this now. Never speak of it again. Oh, I don’t know. I was like, hi, I’m 10. Cool. Yeah. Oh No. Oh Gosh. So yes, growing up it was, it was weird. Like I realized when I got older and started like dating and like making out with dudes and I was like, wait a minute, what if one of these people is my half brother? Oh, you started think about that. Like brought that up and it just like doesn’t even occur to me. So I would like ask weird questions like, oh, like where did your dad go to school for college specifically? [inaudible] I’m just curious. Yeah, no one visit. Yeah, exactly. Okay. So it was interesting. So many questions. Uh, where did you grow up? Connecticut. Okay. And then, okay. And when your mom told, okay, okay, just continue, just continue and then I’ll, and then I’ll, I don’t know, I may or may not interrupt. So I didn’t know. I kind of didn’t really care. Um, I’d had a bunch of,

 Speaker 2: (02:07)

hmm.

 Speaker 1: (02:08)

Fake dads, you know, like Stepdad’s whatever. And um, it, none of them were great role models. So I also was like, what do I need another dad for? Like, this is sort of unnecessary. I can take care of myself. It’s my mom. Like we’re good. And did your mom have partners at the time she conceived you or was she, she was married. Okay. Yes. Okay. And they had trouble conceiving, so, okay. They went to the clinic for me and my sister, um, age three years and 10 months. Okay. And my brother is almost 10 years younger than me. Um, but he knows his biological father. Um, so I’m trying to think of the best way to, to lay everything out cause it’s so, like confusing. Um, they’re all little like, yeah, it’s all over the place. So like my sister and I never, 

Speaker 3: (03:00)

we were never on like a hunt for our dads and I look very much like my mom, so I couldn’t just like open a yearbook from like a certain day, you know, and like look through and go, oh, that kind of looks like me. Like I had no hope. I was just like, I look like my mom. What information did your mom have? She said he was a 21 year old medical student at NYU in early 1978. Okay. So she had just, um, then that’s the information she had chosen. That’s all they gave her. They said, we will find someone who looks like your husband. [inaudible] okay. Who was, uh, Italian dark hair, dark eyes, not very tall, you know, like all of skin. Um, handsome sounds like he’s very sure. Right. You know. Um, so they’re like, we’ll find somebody who looks like your husband. She’s like, great, cool. Sign me up. Um, and I think it, she told me one day that it costs like 60 or $80 every time you went. And I was like, oh my God, I know how much I cost. That’s, 

Speaker 4: (04:00)

yeah. Okay. That’s predict cheap. Like it’s like what everyone goes through now. Yeah,

 Speaker 3: (04:08)

yeah. Yeah. And I didn’t know, I’ve recently spoken to her a little bit about it. Um, and she said it was not like a sperm bank. The donor came in at the same time she was there and was like in the next room.

 Speaker 4: (04:27)

Well, okay. So it was just like, what? Okay. So, yeah, not what I was thinking when I was [inaudible]

 Speaker 3: (04:34)

growing up. Like she told me this recently and I was like, oh, I thought that I didn’t realize he was like right there. She’s like, no, I could like here the next route, like the door opening and like the nurses

 Speaker 4: (04:43)

going in and coming back and I was like, oh my God, like pump your head out the door. Like I’m too nosy. I never would have been able to like just sit with her husband with her.

 Speaker 3: (04:54)

I don’t know. But I don’t think so. Probably not. I mean, this was all just so, so taboo. Like she’s still, she still has a hard time talking about it. Like I don’t wanna say like her name. I don’t want to say like the family’s name or anybody else’s name because I just, it’s super personal to her. And I grew up with this like shroud of secrecy around so much that now as an adult, I’ve turned into like, 

Speaker 4: (05:21)

here’s all my shit. I don’t care. My Dad would, 

Speaker 3: (05:27)

he was, uh, he’s been, he’s been really wants to be supportive of this podcast, but he’s struggling for obvious reasons. And at one point, 

Speaker 4: (05:36)

I know it’s a thing to tell everybody everything now. Oh yeah. I kinda tell every family and like 

Speaker 3: (05:48)

with my profession, like my clients, we tell each other a lot, 

Speaker 4: (05:54)

very similar to like hairdressing where you are like sort of somebodies therapist and yeah.

 Speaker 3: (05:59)

Yeah. Well you’re like also because you’re working with bodies, it’s just like intimate by default. You’re already in a very like vulnerable position. And so yeah, you just kind of talk about everything. So over time, like my clients have, they know about it. I haven’t been like shy about anything. I just don’t really bring it up with my mom. Not so much. I mean, admittedly less because I don’t want to bother her and more because I just don’t want an argument,

 Speaker 4: (06:28)

you know? Like sometimes my mom needs to get like bothered a little bit by things, but this is more like protecting myself at this point. Like this conversation isn’t going to yield anything. We’ll just argue and it’ll be stupid. So why bother?

 Speaker 3: (06:41)

Great. Um, so yes, shroud of secrecy, uh, started asking people that I was dating where their fathers went to school. Um, but I never had this like need to find him. I never was like, oh, there’s something missing from my life. And like all of these other things that you hear about people. And I was just like, no, I’m cool. Like I have things to do. I’m getting all I wanted was, cause we, my mom’s side of the family is, um, Italian and Irish and Bohemian from what we knew. So I had done like some research into our ancestry and like I’ve always been really fascinated by it and where everybody came from and where they lived. And it was just so frustrating that I only had half of the story with me. Right. So it wasn’t like a relationship piece that was missing. It was like a carrot.

 Speaker 3: (07:32)

It was like a heritage history piece that you just wanted to know my background. I was like, well, I’m these nationalities that I know of. Uh, I don’t know the other half of it. Yeah. So, um, and I wanted to know as I got older, I wanted like medical history because I’d had like a few weird things happen medically that people were like, oh, well that didn’t happen in our family and we don’t know. So it was just like, it just practical like logical reasons to want to know the, your entire makeup. Um, so life kind of just went on, um, didn’t really think about it much. And then I had done research with ancestry.com to look for census records and anything find, like I was living in New York City at the time, so I was looking for where my ancestors came and where they lived and where they were.

 Speaker 3: (08:20)

And I was like, oh wow. I walked by that street all the time. That’s crazy. Like, so stuff like that. Um, and then they came out with the DNA test and I was like, oh, awesome. I talked to my sister, I was like, listen, this is the easiest way for us to figure out where we’re from and what our dads are like because we can take the test and then whatever we don’t have in common is our dads. That’s brilliant. I was like, let’s just do that and then we don’t have to worry about finding anything. We don’t have to ask anybody anything. So ancestry used to just do heritage. I had been on there for just like family tree sensors, like the census stuff and like records and I hadn’t done the DNA test. Okay. Um, this was, I mean I think I’ve been on there since 2008, 2006 it was a long time ago. Like an original. Yes. I was like, where did this nerd thing get me? Let me let him sign up for it really quickly. Um, so we got the test, we did them, they came back. And of course, because of my life, my life is always ridiculous. We have a whole bunch of stuff in common. Yeah. And then she’s got all of the same things that I have an extra and I have nothing that differs from her.

 Speaker 3: (09:36)

So it would be like you have, she had like, you know, a through e and I would have like a through c but I wouldn’t have like anything else she had. We had all, it was like my mom, I used to tease my mom that she had cloned herself to have me because we were so similar and I was like, great, this just bolsters my theory. Um, just her and that’s it. Fine. Um, so we laughed about that. Whatever we find out like this total, you know, unexpected thing that my sister is like 30% European Jew and no one in the family that we know is Jewish at all. And she’s like got blonde curly hair and blue eyes and the rest of us are like dark, dark. Right, right, right. So she grew up thinking for sure she was adopted. She was like, please just tell me, tell him.

 Speaker 3: (10:20)

I was like, wait, when did she find out I had to take her out? We recently talked about it. I had to take her out. She was like, you took me out one night and we went to friendlies and we had like ice cream and we’ve talked about it and you explained everything. How old were you guys? Um, I was in high school, so I think it was probably like I was probably a senior and she was probably like just about to come into high school. Yeah. Because I just couldn’t take it anymore. And she’d be like, can you please tell me if I’m adopted? Just tell me. And I’m like, talk to your mother. Like I’m a kid too, man. Too much information. Totally. Um, so yeah, they, that was the original, um, DNA stuff with ancestry. Didn’t really hear much else going on.

 Speaker 3: (11:11)

I heard a lot of stuff from 23 and me occasionally, but I hadn’t done that one. I also did National Geographic, um, just cause again, I’m a nerd and I was like, call me through. You’re both in the undertow. Yeah. Um, so flash forward, um, we had done my husband’s DNA also and his test, my test, and my sister’s tests were all on my account. So any messages that were coming in can be for any three of us about tests. Right. So that your husband or my sister and her sister. Okay. So very often they were coming in and it was just asking about my husband’s family tree and I’m like, [inaudible], I don’t know, blah, blah, contact his mom, whatever. So like I’ve just been very lackadaisical with checking ancestry 

Speaker 4: (11:54)

because there’s other things going on in my life. I’ve had like two major moves. I’ve had a child, like all of this stuff has happened since the original test. Yeah. And occasionally they update, um, DNA. So I would find out a little bit more and I’d see like, oh, what is this like French Canadian thing. Right. What? But oh no, like this is, that’s definitely different. So they, little things hints here and there, but nothing solid. Um, so finally, one day, I dunno what happened. I like just randomly had some free time, which is odd. Super Rare. Yeah. And I went through the messages on there

 Speaker 3: (12:28)

and I was like, wait, some of these are from my sister. Oh wait, this one is for me. Oh. And this woman and her daughter were telling me that I came back as a very close relation to them, like, um, first or second cousins. And the woman who wrote me, it was her husband who was the match and then their children. So I’m like, who are these? What’s going on?

 Speaker 4: (12:54)

I just wasn’t in that mindset. So I was just kind of like, I’m going to just take a minute and like all kinds of internet, stock them a little on ancestry and see if they’re real people cause I don’t trust anyone.

 Speaker 3: (13:06)

Um, and at the same time my sister had gotten a message from people saying, Hey, we’re related to you somehow. So at the exact same moment in our lives, right. So when we started talking to my mom a little bit about it, she was like, why are people immediately asking, no, I don’t trust it. The both of you. At the same time, I’m like, I know it’s weird, but, and she’s basically said, I don’t really want to have anything to do with it, which is a super bummer, but um, I’ll get to them. So we start corresponding with these people that say they’re our family and the woman who would be my aunt by marriage, she wrote me back and she said, cause I was like, yeah, you know, this and this. I didn’t give any

 Speaker 4: (13:53)

details because again, I don’t trust anyone. I was like, oh, what are, that’s weird. What do you, what do you use? I don’t know. My Dad’s side.

 Speaker 3: (14:02)

So she said, you know, I, I’m sure the first thing you’re wondering is why I’m reaching out and why he isn’t. He passed away 30 years ago. Oh. Um, but we knew that he had chosen to be a sperm donor and a lot of us are really excited.

 Speaker 4: (14:22)

Oh, I’ll find you and to hear about your life.

 Speaker 3: (14:29)

No, I’ve had, it’s unexpected. Completely. How did that feel? I don’t, at the time I didn’t really like process. I was just, I have a tendency to go like logical and just take the information and put a little compartments and I’ll deal with it at another time. Um, so I, I kind of focused on the science of it and I, I went into [inaudible]

 Speaker 4: (14:54)

to seeing how many center Morgan’s meant, what relation and did all of that research to make sure that this was the right connection and these were the right people. And it wasn’t something weird because I can’t go and talk to my mom about it until I have like all of my ammunition

 Speaker 3: (15:08)

stay on the data. Yeah. Yeah. So, um, it, I mean everything lined up and it wasn’t just like one person whose DNA came back. It was this man who was my uncle and his like five kids and like their cousins and second and third and fourth cousins, they’ve like all taken the tests. Wow. They’re just like a really, so it was really happy family. Yes. And it was interesting that like, I suddenly had all of these connections to people and it blew my mind. And do you think that they, do they all take it because they were all, all with the same goal? No, I think they just, I mean, I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing they haven’t all contacted me. Um, and my aunt has said that some people are kind of like, we want to just take a back seat to this and we’re not sure how we feel and other people are really interested and you know, whatever. Um, and she said, you know, my husband wasn’t really sure at first and he was like,

 Speaker 4: (16:13)

I don’t know why we need to get involved in this. And now he’s more, well, maybe if we’re in the same place we should like, see if we can get coffee sometime. So she was basically like, you know, baby steps, whatever,

 Speaker 3: (16:25)

he’s warming up. Right. And they told, she told me stuff about my biological father that just like floored me. Um, like I said, my mom’s brother-in-law. Yeah. Okay. Um, she said that he was an actor and a singer and they were in the Midwest. They grew up in the Midwest, but he moved to New York and he was an actor and a singer and he toured the u s with different shows. Okay. 

Speaker 4: (16:54)

And when he was in between med school classes, uh, I’m putting bad school in quotes because this goes back and like, then I talked to my mom about all of these things. This person told me

 Speaker 3: (17:07)

and she’s like, oh, but, but, but that’s, that can’t be true because that’s not what the doctor told me. And I was like, okay, listen,

 Speaker 4: (17:15)

it was the 70s the doctors were not thinking that in a few decades you’d be able to spit in a tube and send it to the computer and get back. Like no one was thinking that they were doing whatever they wanted. Yeah. So she was like,

 Speaker 3: (17:30)

but they said he had, you know, he looked like this and he went to med school and I was like, well, this guy, from what I’ve heard, uh, was tall and thin and had red hair, 

Speaker 4: (17:45)

and then she’s like, no, no, that can’t be it. That would make me so

 Speaker 3: (17:50)

angry. Was she angry? I think she’s angry, but also I think she has the same reaction that she’s had. Any time that this comes up, it’s that we’re just hers. Right, right. Well, she, she’s had us just hers for so long that I think she is worried about maybe sharing or us being taken away or something. I think that that comes up a lot for the parents. Yeah. Um, but it’s not that, I mean, I just really wish she could get past the, the hurriedness of it and realize that this is something that I find just incredible. Like the way that it happened is incredible. Um, but also like I’m having emotions about myself that I wasn’t expecting. Like I heard you know, that he was a singer and an actor and this and that. And I, when my aunt wrote me and told me all this stuff, she said I had to laugh when you said that you were in the arts because he was two and my mom all the time growing up was like, I don’t know where he got that from. [inaudible] I’m like, yes, you

 Speaker 4: (19:00)

okay. You literally know where that came from. Right George. She’d be like, you didn’t get it from me. I’m like, well, um, I mean and there are a few people on her side of the family who draw a little bit or like play a little guitar. But I went like 

Speaker 3: (19:18)

headlong into music and art when I was a kid and theater and all of this stuff. And I always, now that all of this is like come out and I’ve kind of processed it a bit. Um, cause this all happened this year. I got these messages from 2019. Yes, February, I think February. March was when we first started talking about it and it’s July now. So, yeah, so fresh there has not been a ton of communication back and forth. Um, and I am having a little anxiety about that cause I’m like maybe they don’t want to talk to me anymore. Maybe, but, but they ha I had literally wrote them. I know that I’m not a priority. It’s OK. Like I’m interested in pursuing this. I’m interested in staying in touch. Like let me know what’s going on. If you find more pictures of him, you know, let me see. And this and that. Um, and actually one of the pictures that she sent was of my dad and his two younger brothers when they were kids. And there’s my dad with his red hair and his two younger brothers with like white blonde hair. And my son has like white, right. 

Speaker 4: (20:27)

And I do not have a voice.

 Speaker 3: (20:29)

I haven’t seen any seniors on it. Um, and like his dad has blonde hair, but it’s, yeah, even my mother-in-law’s like, it was not that color blonde. He had like golden blonde when he was little. So there’s all those interesting little things that like pop up. And I, when I was pregnant before this even happened, before the dad stuff came up, I was like, oh, maybe he’ll be a redhead. [inaudible] maybe like I, since I was a little kid, I’ve been obsessed with red hair for no reason or maybe a reason now or reason, but no one in my family there were like, there’s a group of like cousins who all have red hair, but that’s it. Yeah. Um, and I remember telling my mom and my friends like, no, I have the wrong hair color. It should have been red. I like snuck up behind her back and dyed it red when I was really little.

 Speaker 3: (21:18)

Um, it’s heading kind of reddish now. Like it’s usually comes back to being some form of red, like over my lifetime. Um, and that, I mean, I probably sounded like a crazy person writing this new family back, but like, oh my God, red hair. I have just been like, don’t every doll that I got every like, I mean if there were two guys in a room and they were the exact same and one of them had red hair, I was like, well, the red haired ones hotter, like everything red constantly. Huh. Um, so that was definitely weird. Yeah. Oh my gosh. Um, and then I figured why not since he had been since my dad was in, uh, the theater and in New York, it’s like, hmm, I know a pretty red group of ladies on the Internet who has a lot of like entertainment connections.

 Speaker 3: (22:13)

Let me see if anyone from my mom group can put me in touch with anyone who might know him. Oh my gosh. So somebody wrote me back and she said, oh, I know so-and-so who was in the original cast of Dah, Dah, Dah. I think he might know somebody, let me find out. So wildly random. I know, but I was like perfectly like I can track the whole thing. It’s random, but it makes, and I waited. I was like, the moms will know, I just need to wait until I’m ready to like have contact with this person. So somebody wrote me back, they were like, okay, uh, my friend actually know somebody who was in that specific show with your dad. Here’s her number. She’s expecting to hear from you on believable. And then I sat on that for a while because I just like, I mean, aside from all of this, like we moved to La 18 months ago, I remember, um, so this happened like a year after we moved here.

 Speaker 3: (23:11)

I’ve been having like super anxiety issues. I’ve been having my own shit going on. Like, I can’t, my sister and I talk about it a lot where we kind of like obsess about looking for dad stuff for a day or two and then we fucking leave it for like two weeks. We just can’t. Yeah, no, I get my hands off. I feel like that all the time, and I said this in another podcast episode, but like I don’t have time because it’s kind of all consuming. Yeah. And I don’t if I had an hour in my day, there’s other things I would do like up the, yeah, there’s 12 other things,

 Speaker 1: (23:48)

like there’s practical things like laundry, but also it’s like, oh gosh, I have an hour to get to know somebody. Why don’t I call my best friend who lives in San Francisco? That would be somebody’s mom [inaudible] with my mom. Why don’t I have like an intimate time instead of somebody in this group? People that I don’t know at all and I’m not sure. I mean I know I know what our biological connection is, but I’m not sure what else. Well, that was the other thing to do. I don’t even know if I mentioned this, but like I Tattoo

 Speaker 3: (24:16)

for a living and I’m very heavily tattooed and I’m kind of very vocal about my political opinions. And this is a group of people I don’t know that are in the Midwest. I have no idea what they’re like. And I was like, Ooh, they might hate me. 

Speaker 1: (24:30)

Yeah. Cause they might be like, this girl is weird. Pretty sure I’m me. Like prayed about, prayed about it, prayed for like, there’s definitely, Oh God, there’s a group of people that are trying to save me from afar. For sure. I think,

 Speaker 3: (24:47)

I think I’m okay. Um, with that side of the family, I think I’m all right. I mean, if I can like grow up in an Italian, Irish, Roman Catholic, Republican,

 Speaker 1: (24:59)

New England family, and they still all, yeah, none of them have said anything. I just, it’s just all from Internet stalking. I’m like, Ooh. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Um, so yeah, I sat on getting in touch with this person and I finally texted her. We set up a time to call and that like came and went and we had a little miscommunication [inaudible] 

Speaker 3: (25:23)

and I felt like, I feel like I’m dating through this whole thing, which I was never good at ever. Like I’m married because of okay fucking cupid. Like I just would, I’m terrible at it. I would rather work than go out on a date.

 Speaker 1: (25:40)

I’m trying to think if I know anybody that’s like, I was good at dating. Like I loved it. Sign me up. There’s one thing I miss being in the dating world in the 21st century. I’m like, Oh, I sent a message and I hadn’t heard anything back. What do I do? 

Speaker 3: (25:53)

Do? How long do I wait? That’s how I feel with this. Um, so I messaged her, I was like, I know it’s kind of like hard because you’re in New York and I’m here and you know, my schedule is not really a schedule and crazy. Um, if email is better than trying to set up a phone call, let me know. And she like immediately called me. I was like, oh, hi. She’s like, I’m sorry. We must’ve gotten things mixed up, you know, I thought you were gonna call me when it was a good time and I was like, no, I thought you were gonna like let me know. So it was totally innocent and like no one was doing anything weird and I didn’t need to get

 Speaker 1: (26:30)

concerned like I do about everything. So we talked briefly, she said she had a class to go to but she was sitting having coffee in New York and she gave me a call for a few minutes and a bunch of us before

 Speaker 3: (26:44)

this phone call had had suspicions about why my father passed away. Um, he was in the arts, he was in New York City who was dancing and singing in the theater. He was 32 when he died in 1988 so we had some suspicions. Um, so she, you know, we started talking and she was, she said that she was his partner in the show. They were in, not only did she know him, right, she was in la fall with him. That was the touring us company when they say, and she was like, he was so handsome and so tall and you know, red hair. And she’s like, I have red hair too. But his was like a little lighter than mine. And you know, whenever we would come up like, um, the director would always say something really nice about the way we looked. And like she just spoke so warmly of him and saying that he, um, both she and my aunt had said that he was very quick witted and really funny and a big personality.

 Speaker 3: (27:54)

Um, you know, and I won’t go into details cause I don’t wanna like blow up anybody’s spot if they don’t want to be talking, you know, don’t want this stuff public. Um, but she, she said that, you know, the first time that he met her, he was way more grandiose about it than like normal people where and like just a little extra and we’re like talking back and forth. And then she goes, you know what? You sound like him. Oh. And I was like, what are you talking about? Cause I sound just like my mom and she like no, the way that you talk, she said the brightness and the vibrancy in your voice sound just like him. And we had been like two to three minutes into the conversation. 

Speaker 3: (28:37)

Weird. Like it’s kind of like the same thing. Finding out that he was in the arts and finding out that he was in theater and that he’s saying and was a dancer and all of these things. I did all of those things growing up. I still like do all of those things, just not quite as like publicly [inaudible]. Um, and I always felt when I was a kid because I didn’t grow up with anyone else in the theater, in the family, nobody else, like we’d sing around the house, but it wasn’t like no one was making up a guitar and singing. Right. Um, and that’s what I was doing. I was playing my guitar that I begged my parents to let me buy for like eight hours a day on winter break until literally my fingers bled. Like teaching myself stuff, um, and recorded demos and all that stuff. Did Theater or whatever, but I always felt like I had to be perfect because it was like I didn’t have a right to it. Oh, I didn’t come by it honestly. So I’ve had to be extra and I didn’t like, I didn’t know that then this is me saying this in the last six months, I put it back over your experience.

 Speaker 1: (29:42)

Um, so it’s like now I feel like, oh, I’m allowed to do this. Like it’s OK that I can, so I’ve found myself like kind of gateway to permission. Yeah. Like I found myself singing along

 Speaker 4: (29:55)

a little louder in the car and not like worrying about it so much. And you know, just, it’s been like a weird freeing thing that I was not expecting at all. Because remember I didn’t give a shit. I was like, I don’t care who the dude was. Thanks for the sperm by me. Yeah. So it’s just been this like whole Oh, okay. And like finding out that he was like silly and like would joke around and make like a big display of things. And

 Speaker 1: (30:26)

you know, like I’m always the one that’s like making jokes and trying to make everybody feel better. And so it’s just, it’s been really interesting. Weren’t missing any pieces, but it’s like pieces fell into place. Yeah. These things happened. That’s so crazy. I’m just checking the battery power. We’re growing. Okay. And because you know, I live in La now, 

Speaker 4: (30:45)

I got a therapist last year. Um, cause that’s what I’ve heard you do. Or you get a vape 10 and a therapist and you’re good. How that’s sage. Oh yeah. I have that in house all the time. How about some smoothies? Okay. Yeah. All of that’s your Kale intake. Well, I lived in Brooklyn, so I mean that was fine. You already met your quota. Yeah, yeah, for sure. Um, therapists. Yeah. Um, I’ve talked to my therapist about this, a lot of Bruce Lee and she’s like, you know, it’s really remarkable how much nature, virtue versus nurture will come in. Right. 

Speaker 1: (31:26)

And [inaudible] 

Speaker 4: (31:28)

I just think so many people are wrong when they’re saying there’s not that much nature. And I’m like, okay, well you explained to me like, why I like these things and why, you know, I’m obsessed with red hair for no reason,

 Speaker 1: (31:43)

no my own, I had a therapist that used to just, he just was fascinated studying like twin studies and identical twin split at birth and then who grow up to have the same careers with the same interests and he was just very, very pro nature. [inaudible] that’s unreal. He used a really fascinating, um, so I, um, I continue to talking to her for a couple more minutes and um, she did say, she said, well he was gay and he did die of aids. [inaudible] and I felt like a whole bunch of things at the same time, like, Aha, you know, like, okay, that’s what I was suspecting. Um, God, that’s so sad. Oh Man, I’ll never meet it. And like just all of these things all at once that I had just shelved. So there’s all stuff now coming up

 Speaker 3: (32:40)

where it’s like, I’ll see somebody walk by and I’m like, I wonder if that’s what my dad walked like. Or like somebody will just like catch my eye. I’m like, that kind of looked like him from the side. Like maybe, maybe that’s how he moved and I won’t, it’s not like I go out into the world and I sit down with all that free time I have and go, let me just people watch and see. It’s just like I’ll be shopping at target with my kid and they’re like, oh, that guy kind of felt like my dad feels at this idea of him that I have in my head. Yeah. Um, well there’s something even about the way you described him that made me feel like like, oh, I want to meet this guy. Oh my God. No, I mean, I don’t know, like just the little information on like I want to go hang out with my dad. I feel like he would’ve been a good fucking time. It sounds great. I was watching like the studio 54 documentary. I’m like, is he in the background? [inaudible]

 Speaker 3: (33:37)

it just seems like any, he, what they’ve described, him being as seems a lot like, um, people that I enjoy spending time with, which is another weird thing cause I like, I’ve had a number of gay friends and have spent a lot of time like at gay bars or hanging out with the drag queens and it’s like, oh, I love it so much and it makes me feel good. And this is a nice warm space and I feel comfortable here. Oh, weird. My weird man. And there’s a lot more, like growing up I’d always classified myself as straight, but girls are hot. [inaudible]

 Speaker 3: (34:20)

but I’ve made out with girls, but I wouldn’t date one. So I guess I’m straight because it’s rough. I mean, I’m 40, so when I grew up, gay straight was a thing. Um, that was still gay was still frowned upon where I grew up, but it was still a thing that existed, you know, like you could be either and then in high school people start off. Right, right. And then in high school people started saying, Oh, well I’m bi. And I was like, hold the fucking phone. So that whole thing happened. But it seems still like there are just these categories. You can’t feel like you’re in the middle somewhere because I grew up as a tomboy and I grew up, you know, I started a business when I was really young and I would get called, oh you’re too aggressive. And like if I had a dick, you would never use that word to describe how I’m conducting business. 

Speaker 3: (35:09)

So now there’s like all these new emotions attached to that where I feel like it’s okay for me to feel like, not straight but like not have to put a label on it. And then I see all the kids now that are just so fucking fluid and it makes me so happy. I’m like, yes, wear that fucking eyeliner. I don’t care what is in your pants. It looks like it looks great. Just fucking do it. Um, I want that. Like I go out with my son and he is like, I want these rainbow glittered like rain boots. I’m like, get them. Cool. That’s the one. There’s also dinosaurs and there’s also firetrucks. And there’s also these plain blue ones. Whichever one you want. Yep. No, I want the rainbow. Alright, cool. We’re getting and let’s go. Yeah. Like I just love that whole feeling of not thinking certain things are only for you because of your genitalia.

 Speaker 3: (35:59)

Right? Yeah. Like my family was like, you can do this because you’re a girl. You can’t go skateboard, you can’t go play hockey even though you want to do those things. And then in the same breath it was, you can be anything you want to be when you grow up. You can be president if you want. Right. And I was like, but I can’t skateboard, skateboarding president, wait a minute. Never has president before. Escape. No. Impossible. So there was a lot of that. Like I just don’t know where to put myself. Yeah. I feel like I’m not this damsel in distress. I feel like I saved plenty of people on the rigs. Like I’m not that person. Um, so yeah, I haven’t, I haven’t heard a ton back. Um, I have exactly four pictures of him that my aunt sent and then I did a whole bunch of like crazy internet slew thing on the show that he was in. I finally found a recording of one of the shows.

 Speaker 3: (37:02)

I mean, it’s been hours of me like, yeah, there’s been like hours of like Google searches of let me just take this keyword out and put a different one in and that, and his name is the same as an author that’s out there. So trying to go through the searches is just maddening to comb. Yes. Wow. Um, what, when, what’s going on with your sister? Oh my gosh. She has her own story. Oh, she does? I mean, you should probably talk to her. She’s, if I can ever get her out here you shouldn’t. But she has found three half siblings. Okay. I’ve found no half siblings, so I don’t know if that was the only time he donated or the only child that happened from it. But I have seen nothing else. I’m sorry. And did his, so did his family know that he died of AIDS?

 Speaker 3: (37:55)

My aunt said that he did tell some of the family that he wanted it to be a donor. Okay. So some of them knew and it was a thing that the family knew. And when I first corresponded back after she told me about him, I kind of like sort of apologized to just be like, I didn’t want to come out and say anything because I grew up with it being such a secret that if it was a secret for you guys, I didn’t want to like mess that up for anyone. I didn’t want to ruin anyone’s relationship or idea of their, you know, whoever. Um, because you didn’t know that he decided to do this. Right. Um, and so was very like,

 Speaker 5: (38:37)

yeah,

 Speaker 3: (38:37)

just played everything really close to the chest and almost like, oh, what do you mean? Like kind of a little dumb because I just didn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. Um, and then what about him dying? Did they know? She has not told. Okay. Why? No. Yeah, I, but I haven’t said a few of US suspected. Yeah. I mean, like I didn’t know my husband, like people that I’ve talked to about it just because the timeline. No, no, no. And I was like, oh man. Yeah, yeah. Um, but he was in a show touring like less than a year before he passed away. So whatever it was, I, I don’t have details about it, I’m just speculating, but you know, whatever it was happened quickly. Yup. Um, so I have a few pictures of him and my aunt sent me a picture and she’s like, this is a picture of him from one of our ski trips wearing his favorite coat that he named 

Speaker 4: (39:34)

a specific name that I’m not going to say cause I don’t want to and just in case, but it’s like this amazing picture of this very tall, handsome redhead, the beard wearing giant fur coat. Oh my God. Like holding a drink and I’m just like, oh yeah, people don’t one that is your people so much. That’s, I really love that. It’s just amazing. So I’ve like taken the photo collage, like apps and put like his pictures and my mom’s and mine in the middle. And just [inaudible]

 Speaker 3: (40:05)

cause I’ll show people pictures of him and they go, oh my God, you have his smile. You have the shape of his face. And it’s stuff that I don’t see readily because I’m so used to just seeing my mom’s face on me. Right. Um, so it’s been this like, just, I don’t know, this like crazy thing where now maybe all of this time I’ve lived in my room,

 Speaker 4: (40:26)

mom’s shadow, and just kind of thought that I was this. And now I’m like, oh no, I’m, I’m my own person. Like I’m 40 and I figured that out first.

 Speaker 3: (40:37)

Your therapist must be so proud. God, she’s amazing. Wow. Okay. Yeah. So it’s obviously not a finished story. No, no, no. I mean, nobody’s yet, that’s not true. I want to say nobody’s is, but no, the, I mean, my loose ends and a lot of the, some of the people that my sister was in touch with, um, I’m not going to go into hers too much, but she had

  Speaker 3: (41:06)

not the greatest experience with some of them because they reached out saying, oh, we’re related. Let’s find out how maybe you’re related through this avenue. And when she presented information that they didn’t like, they said never contact us again. I don’t know what’s wrong with you, why you would say these? Like extremely rude, horrible things that drudge up all of those. Like I want to protect my sister. Yeah. Till these people work for Mama bear comes out. Yeah. Yeah. Um, no, there’s a lot of that. There’s a lot 

Speaker 1: (41:34)

morality, morality and judgment that comes out and it doesn’t, and there seems to be the only person that people can like project it at is the PR, the, the, the you like the other person and you know. Yeah. And it’s really not fair. Well, she was so upset about it and I like read, she screenshotted the correspondence and I was like, you know what, this sounds like exactly what mom would say to someone. [inaudible] sent this to her that like older white lady.

 Speaker 4: (42:10)

Hmm. Entitled kind of like, how dare you? A little like

 Speaker 1: (42:16)

parents really know. My Dad, my dad did and my dad did. Amazon, no, my dad had ancestry. Um, my dad did ancestry on his own like a long time ago or a few years ago and he said that people contact him all the time and he gets messages and that him and my mom are like, oh no, don’t look at them like don’t those are, and he did it for heritage stuff, but he’s like, oh no. I mean you just never know who’s out. You just don’t know who to trust and true, but you’re in control of what information you’re getting. And so now like maybe we should take a look at that as yeah, what’s going on? Or He’s like, well, it’s just, just seems like they’re, they’re very distant, distant relatives. I don’t know. Just, I don’t contact them like the seventh, eighth, like whatever distance stuff that was coming up, I was like, Hey Myra, I’m going to help me. But this is like the uncle that came up as a close relative has a higher sense of Morgan Count in common with me than my sister and my mother’s brother. Right.

 Speaker 4: (43:20)

So I’m like, oh, well we’re all clearly in the same category here. And I don’t know how that works. I should go. I mean, I should just ask my dad if I’m him

 Speaker 1: (43:29)

take a look. But it’s, it’s just, I mean I, it’s so confusing for everybody and it’s, it’s, so, I feel like generationally it’s so much harder to, because we’re on this, like we grew up without all of this tech and we’ve figured it out and we kind of have that idea of like rolling with things changing and it’s just so much harder for the generation before us. Totally. Yup. Mom’s like, I’m, you can’t shoot. She won’t buy stuff online. You know? Like she won’t use Etsy because she’s afraid that like something’s going to get stolen. And I’m like, all right, just give me your address. What do you help send it to you, you know, whatever you want, mommy. Yeah. I always wonder what it will be for us in 30 years that we just are terrified by robots. I can’t tell like it’s fun.

 Speaker 4: (44:18)

Yeah, whatever it is. Like, Ooh, I’m freaked out all the time and my phone knows where the fuck I am. Every moment I get a blood sample everywhere I go in 30 years that we’re just like retinal you right.

 Speaker 1: (44:32)

Cool. No, no, no, no, no.

 Speaker 3: (44:35)

Yeah, I know. It’s weird. Yeah. Do you feel like you, if somebody were in the same shoes as you now and came to you and said like, this is the stuff I just found out. Do you feel like you have advice? Yes. Um, don’t overthink it. [inaudible] relax. Go on with your life as usual. Um, understand that it’s going to take awhile. You know, like you might drop off for a little while. Like these people in my, like new family, that whole side of the family, I haven’t heard from them in a few months. I also have not gotten back with the woman who was in the show with my dad in like a month or so. [inaudible] not because I don’t think about her every day, but because I just don’t, it’s hard. Yeah. So there’s lots of stuff going on and just, I was listening to the episode, you did one of them where, you know, it was from the other side where someone is talking about how their family found them and they were pushing to talk to them and pushing them.

 Speaker 1: (45:35)

Awesome. They’re like, I don’t even know if I want to talk to you that this is, I didn’t have you. 

Speaker 3: (45:39)

You have to look at it from both sides. Yeah. It’s terrifying for everybody in a different way. Yeah. Um, and it causes more emotions than you’re expecting.

 Speaker 1: (45:50)

Yeah, totally does. Cause I always try to prepare for the worst and like hope for the best and I,

 Speaker 3: (45:56)

I’ve just blown myself away with the stuff that I think about. So yeah, take your time. Don’t make it a priority. Don’t like, I don’t know, don’t be that Weirdo that’s going to text a hundred times because they didn’t answer you.

 Speaker 1: (46:13)

Yeah. Yeah. Give him some space 

Speaker 3: (46:16)

a man like, yeah, Yup, Yup. I’m taking a really long time to get hard to keep, keep in touch or get in touch with these people and, and um, yeah. And so then I’ll read about people that are like,

 Speaker 1: (46:28)

I’ve emailed them a hundred times. Yeah, just copying what you just said a hundred times but, and, and no one has done that to me, but I’m just like, oh, like I promise I’m not ignore. I don’t know how they’re feeling. If they’re like she won’t get in touch with us, she won’t respond and I don’t know how yet. I, that’s what I keep doing, how I want to like messages swimming

 Speaker 3: (46:47)

woman in New York back and we had gone out east and I was like, oh, maybe I can like meet up with you. And she happened to text me, hey, when you come into New York. And I was like, that’s really weird. I’m in the airport right now on my way there. And I was like, let me text you in a few days. And my husband got an ear infection and we had to go to urgent care and things were just bananas. And then I got back and I just started feeling worse and worse about it. I just haven’t had the, I don’t know, backbone to like sit down for a minute and say, I’m sorry I’m coming back this time. If you want to talk on the phone, give me a call. Like, you know, basically just say I’m a jerk even though I

 Speaker 1: (47:29)

know that I’m not, because it’s just hard. It’s loaded and it’s, that’s, I really feel like the number one thing to take away from all of it is like it’s not the priority. Yeah. It’s not anybody’s like you’ve made it this long. Without this information, you could have had a completely happy, normal life without any of this information. Don’t go crazy short. Don’t go. That’s when I say all the time to my fault, don’t go crazy as a bumper sticker. Yeah. Don’t go crazy. But it’s crazy. Even though it’s totally crazy. Yeah. It’s a mind fuck. But just stay focused.

 Speaker 1: (48:20)

Awesome. Thank you so much. And I do plan on meeting up with her at some point again in New York, so maybe we can talk again as an update. Maybe I can get her on here. Oh my God. It’d be amazing. It’d be someday I’ll go visit my cousins in the Midwest. Yeah. I would do that. I’d be fine. I have a super fantasy of like a major tour. Yeah. Um, and we’ll just see. I just see it’ll happen when it’s supposed to happen. Time and resources I can get together to make that happen. Um, but yeah, not a priority. Right. If I were to really list what’s going on in my life right now, um, yeah. A couple of the things [inaudible] pressing one need to have his baby any day now, um, to, you know, a job like, you know, whatever. Okay. I’ll stuff who will feed the children. Alright, I’m gonna turn this off. Okay.

 

Her Adoption Story Keeps Changing

Speaker 1: (00:02)

Alright, I’m just gonna go ahead and start recording. Um, so we have about an hour, just so you know. Um, so I’m here. This is, um, hold on. Let me wake up for a second. Um

 Speaker 2: (00:17)

hmm.

 Speaker 1: (00:18)

Oh, okay. Um, alright, so welcome to everything’s relative. This is Easter Sturgis. I’m sitting here with Krista. She’s going to tell me her story. Um, we’re here on a foggy, foggy early morning. I’m in Orange County and she says that she also has a DNA discovery and, um, identifies as having an NPE experience. So you want to take it away? Tell me how, let’s see, we can start with, um, how did you find out

 Speaker 2: (00:54)

that you were not related to all the people you thought you were related to? And I think everybody has their own unique story with this. And so mine’s not necessarily unique, but it is. So I was actually adopted, so I grew up with the mystery of my biological parents. [inaudible] has adopted just before my fourth birthday. So when I was 20, I met my biological mother and it was closed adoption until then. Um, kind of don’t we just start at the beginning? I’m just going to keep asking. I’ll just do that here. Yes. Okay. So my birth mother was 15 when she had me and homeless, living in a van and um, she was arrested when I was just months old and I went to juvenile hall. I mean, God, let me start it. You can cut this, right? Yeah. Okay, good. Okay. So my birth mother was being in juvenile hall, so I know as an infant that would be kind of fun. 

Speaker 2: (01:57)

Um, okay. So my birth mother was 15 when she had me and homeless. She was on drugs and just couldn’t take care of a baby and she went to juvenile hall and I went to foster care. So I spent the first four years of my life in foster care in California, in San Diego. And it wasn’t a big mystery to me. I knew that I was adopted. I knew that, uh, I didn’t know my biological family, so I had years to marinate in that and wrap my head around the mystery of it. Were you an only child? No. Am My adopted family. They had two biological children and then multiple foster kids. So I was surrounded by kids. And uh, growing up, my biological mother did have another daughter three years after I was born and that sister was in and out of foster care, but she always managed to get my sister back.

 Speaker 2: (02:51)

And you knew about that? I did not know. I did not know. Okay. So fast forward, you’re 20 years old. Okay. You get to meet all lemme let me back up for a second and tell you, you know how in uh, elementary, junior high, they give you those assignments to do your family trees. And so because I didn’t have real information to put in there, I just made stuff up. Like my parents were missionaries in China, like outrageous stories. But that was how I handled not knowing. And uh, so when I was 20, I was in Grad school and they gave us an assignment to do your family trees and I decided to really try to find the information. And so I located a, a biological aunt and made arrangements to go down and meet with her. And, and how did you find her? Um, oh, I had found her through a phylogeny. 

Speaker 2: (03:42)

Uh, when I was 13, I decided to find my biological family from watching an Oprah Winfrey show on adoptees and half of unions and one of that myself. So I didn’t tell anybody I was doing this. I just went and did my own research and found my biological great man, great grandparents. And they told my parents at the time, I docked the parents not to have anything to do with my biological mother. She had problems. Don’t let her meet her. And so I did. This will not be an Oprah episode. No, no. So when I was 20, I reached out to them and they put me in touch with this biological anthem’s going to help me fill in the family tree. And it sounds great, but she decided on that day it was a good idea for me to meet the rest of the families. So, you know, I walked in the fantasy, I walked in thinking I was going to meet this aunt and be able to fill in these gaps.

 Speaker 2: (04:32)

And she had her mother, their brothers, and she arranged for my biological mother to also be there. Okay. And so that was, you know, a shock and unexpected and, um, you know, a lot of emotions that I really wasn’t prepared to deal with wasn’t mature enough really to handle that. That night, my biological mother told me that Michael was my biological father. And so I set out to find Michael and I did, I met him, his family, he gave me all the medical information, like, you know, think this guy’s my dad. He’s in San Diego also. Still there. Right. And so for 26 years I’ve thought that Michael was my father. And when this ancestry have relationship with him, no, not really. I mean, there was, you know, Christmas cards exchanged and things. Um, I really wasn’t looking for a relationship. I mostly wanted medical information because, you know, we’d go to the doctor and they say, does this run in your family? 

Speaker 2: (05:28)

I don’t know. Don’t know. So when the ancestry DNA test came into my, my life, I really was doing it for the heritage and for medical information, which you don’t get from ancestry, you get more from 23andme. But so I was not expecting, I wasn’t expecting anything other than 50% Italian and everything that would go with Michael being my biological father and he wasn’t, oh yeah. Surprise rights as so when I got the results, I didn’t recognize the names you want answers, you will match you to people that make their profile public. And I didn’t recognize any of the names that were coming up as a match for me. How many were there? Several. There was um, you know, answers you to commit to titles. They may say close family or first cousin, but it’s an, um, it’s an estimate. So it came up at first.

 Speaker 2: (06:29)

Cousin really ended up being an aunt, but I didn’t, I didn’t know any of these names. Family trees. I didn’t know who these people were. And so none of them are my goal. None of them are Michael. None of them were Italian. So I knew something was off thing was a myth. And your mother’s side of the family hadn’t done it at all. So they coming up on there, they weren’t coming up some on their yes. Yeah. Um, and so when I got the results, I, uh, I, I messaged them right from ancestry and it was kind of this moment of what do I say? Hey, um, somebody in your family knocked up my mother, like you want to talk, let it get together. So, and how many years? I’m sorry, 26 years after you’d met Michael, right? 26 years as Italian. Michael was your biological dad, right?

 Speaker 2: (07:19)

And now he’s clearly not exactly. And so I messaged straight from ancestry and just said, you know, I just got my results. It looks like we’re related. I’d love to talk to you some more. Just a very simple message, not knowing will seems to be better on the other side of it. And what is the circumstances in their life. I didn’t want to blow up anybody’s family, you know, or whatever. So it very simple message. And uh, they responded a couple of days later. And that the aunt, it’s her brother, this my biological father, and his name is Thomas. Oh yes. And Thomas is not Michael Thomas is my yes. Not like definitely know Michael and he’s at Scandinavian and you know, British and not Italian. So, which was really disappointing because I love Italian, so, oh yeah. I mean, I, I mean I’m laughing, but I know that for a lot of people, identifying with their heritage is so important.

 Speaker 2: (08:19)

And to discover that they’re not from the land they thought they were is really, really upsetting. It can be traumatized, traumatizing for people, traumatizing. And I think when we look at human nature and human psychology, we are pack animals. We are, uh, we have, uh, an intrinsic need to be connected to a group and identify with a group of families. So when that doesn’t happen, it sets your whole world, you know, it, it just confuses them. The whole, you know, I don’t know what I’m trying to look Italian. You, I would’ve gone with it. Well, I’m clearly not. But anyways, so, um, I’m, I text message my biological mother and we had had, uh, you know, we weren’t really close, but we communicated and I texted her and said, hey, who’s this Thomas Guy? Cause apparently he’s my biological father. And she never answered. Oh, she would not tell me anything.

 Speaker 2: (09:18)

In fact, she never responded to my text ever again, ever. And then a few months later that sister, my half sister with my biological mother didn’t text and said she was ill and they thought she was gonna die. But this had been happening. Like, you know, she’s going to the hospital, she’s going to die. And after so many times of that, I stopped rushing down there when they said that. And this time she really did die and she took the secret to the grave. And I have no understanding from her guys a few months after I find out Thomas Information with her. Yes. Yeah. So that was in, um, um, let’s see, I found out in June and she died in January. That was fast. Very fast. Yeah. And never told me. And have you been able to connect with Thomas? Um, no. Let’s see. So, um, I met the aunt, she flew out from the east coast and met her, was really wonderful lady.

 Speaker 2: (10:19)

Uh, I met with an uncle that lives less than a mile from my house, has lived there for 30 years, have mutual friends with my parents, like six degrees of separation. This man lives so close and he’s my uncle and I was able to meet him and his wife and, uh, funny at the lunch I said just just off the cuff like, hey, any relationship to Dick Cheney? He was like, well, as a matter of fact, we are, I was like, Dang, it could’ve been anybody else. I did Cheney. But, um, but they’re just really great people that are very accepting and open and welcoming. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Even with everything being positive and being a, you know, good. I still had emotions that came up that I was not expecting. And it really, um, it may be wobbly in my life for awhile and I’m pretty centered. I’m pretty stable in my life. But it, it was an unexpected emotions. And that happens. I hear it from so many people. Right.

 Speaker 1: (11:26)

I mean, it happens to me and I still, they still am surprised because intellectually or something, if you ask me any day of the week, I’m like, no, I’m, I’m fine. It’s all very interesting, but I’m fine. And then something will trigger. Yeah,

 Speaker 2: (11:40)

it could be. I didn’t think it could be a song. It could be just anything. So for me there was a lot of [inaudible], I wouldn’t say negative emotions, but just difficult or challenging emotions. And some of those were like, um, when I met my sister for the first time, so I have siblings with Thomas, there’s, there’s three of us that we know about. There’s two more that they’re kind of out there somewhere. But when I met the sister for the first time, it was really great and wonderful. And then I had this feeling of, oh my gosh, we will, we will robbed. Like I could, I could have had a lifetime with this girl. And she’s funny and smart and artistic and you know, I’ll never have those. Those first breakups are their first and your prom or their wedding or the birth of her first child.

 Speaker 2: (12:28)

Like those experiences that we could have had as sisters. We’ll never have. And it was this [inaudible], she’s in San Diego and um, you know, it’s nice and wonderful to have her in my life now, but it’s of like, ah, we could have grown up together, you know, so, and there’s this helpless feeling that the adults in my world and globally as well made choices that affected us and we didn’t even have knowledge of it or a say in it. It’s really difficult to navigate that in current relationships with their families. Right. So how was your, your adopted family, how have those parents been about this whole there? My parents are really great. So when I say parents is my adopted mom, I have a Stepdad and then my adopted dad and his, his wife. So they’ve been great in accepting and accommodating and I’m sure it’s challenging for them in their own ways.

 Speaker 2: (13:24)

But this isn’t our first round with this. So I met my biological mother at 18, so now we get to go through it again on the other side. But, so a, the Thomas as denied paternity, oh, he’s denying that he, uh, fathered me, which actually is okay with me. I don’t need a relationship with him. I really mostly wanted medical information or things like that. So you were able to get that? Yes. Yeah. So, um, that’s my experience. It’s wow. Okay. So, so Thomas remains industry man. And have you, have you maintained a connection with um, Michael? No, I probably shouldn’t exact to him to let them know. Yes, you’re not my dad. I mean I should probably loop back them and we haven’t spoken in many years, but, um, I’m, I don’t know what his life has been like, but I should probably let them know, hey, you’re off the hook or not my dad. 

Speaker 2: (14:24)

Um, well, okay. So I always ask if people feel like, if you feel like there’s an age that you would have preferred to know and you have a different kind of story. So, I’m not sure how that fits in, but yeah, you did run with this Michael Idea for all that time. All the time. Um, for me, I always had knowledge that I didn’t know. So a bit different than somebody just finding out. Yeah. But research has shown in studies have shown that the earlier the conversation happens with a child, the better their trajectory of, uh, assimilating that information into their life and, and, and really developing a solid identity around that information. So the earlier a child’s told that they were donor conceived or that they were adopted, really? Um, I think speaking of this is my sister texting me. Oh, funny. That’s funny. I’m turned on set. But anyway, so we should show that the earlier the conversation happened the, the more solid that child is growing up. So I would, I would do say as soon as they,

 Speaker 3: (15:34)

I can understand that the conversation should at least begin with them, then you’ve always known you were adopted. I always knew though that wasn’t, yeah, that wasn’t part of the surprise. But yeah,

 Speaker 1: (15:46)

cause I think of, I mean it’s a discussion often on the, on the online support group cause I want to tell my children yeah. Um, and my, my, my oldest nose and couldn’t care less. And part of that is being a teenager. So he just is like, what does it have to do with me? [inaudible] um, but I don’t, I don’t know. I mean she knows about me. I don’t know if there, if I would have understood it as a teenager. I don’t know.

 Speaker 3: (16:15)

It’s a hard question. Yeah. No I don’t. I think at any age is, it could, it could be more difficult when you’re older and you already have a set understanding of your life. Right. And then have to change that up. Right. You know, is it age appropriate to tell a 13 year old that their father is a different man? I don’t know. I mean we know we’ve lived with this secret. Yeah. And understanding that secrets do make us sick. Right. You know, so, and then really, why do we keep that secret from a child? Usually it stems from shame or guilt or something. That’s a negative thing. And if we could change the dialogue around this and not make it such a shameful thing, you know, the women are mothers and you know, they made choices in a time that maybe that was the only choice they can make or who knows why or what societal pressures were on them to do what they did. 

Speaker 3: (17:12)

So you can kind of understand. Right. So it’s nice in 2019 they have the hindsight or look back and say, well they did this, but it was a terrible thing. But really would we have done the same thing? We don’t know. Yeah. 15 years old making those decisions and then having to remember later. Yeah. Um, it’s a lot. It’s totally a lot. So tell me about the book that you want to write. The ebook. So the book that I’m working on now is about this whole DNA. It’s more of a self help kind of what to expect book. Yeah. I have my story in there. So it, it gives the, the platform of me as an NPE and understanding just uh, personally how that is also my clinical experience. And some research around, um, this, this new phenomenon that’s emerging and overall the bleak outlook or whatever you want to say.

 Speaker 3: (18:16)

There’s, there’s no data, there’s no empirical research has been done. So really drawing attention to that and um, that’s great. We need that so bad for somebody. Like when you take a DNA test, what do you, what do you look for? You look for the center Morgan. So what does that mean? So I explained that in the book what a to Morgan is and how the higher the number, the closer that probability of your matches. So kind of the nuts and bolts of navigating this. Oh that’s awesome. Yeah. When you’re done, do you have a title? Ah, well you never know what your title is going to end up being cause it goes through your publisher and things. But tentatively is who’s your Daddy? Which it sounds so elemental, but really we’re dealing with basics of life,

 Speaker 1: (19:03)

right? No, I mean that I think like everything, everything like that’s around this subject. The WHO’s your daddy joke comes up, right? Cause you’re like, oh. And it just comes back around.

 Speaker 3: (19:14)

Well and I think it lends some humor to this whole process and right. If we can have [inaudible] it might, it might make the journey just a little bit softer for us. And so that’s the title that I’ve landed on, but, okay, cool. Keep me updated. You never know.

 Speaker 1: (19:31)

You can let everybody know when it’s available and what it’s finally called. Yep. Very cool. Awesome. And what is the advice you would give somebody who has just discovered, just gotten the surprise results? 

Speaker 3: (19:44)

[inaudible] mail? Any, any, I mean, well in tests or any, any kind of information that has surprised them. I think it just, and, and I’d be, I really want to hear you a story as well, but there are a lot of emotions that come up. And so just like people that are going into recovery, you know, starting AA or whatever they say, don’t make any life decisions in the first year of your life. I would say the same thing to somebody who just found out that father is not really their father. Don’t make any life changing decisions like, you know, don’t sell your house and move or anything big. You just kind of let the sit with the emotion. They lean into it a little bit. And when I say lean into it means understand that emotions are normal and you’re going to get to the other side of them and just feel them for a minute, but don’t make any life changing decisions because sometimes that’s what we do. Right. To distract from this, I’m going to go, I don’t know, sell my car and get a motorcycle. Like something impulsive and yeah, some would say universe response.

 Speaker 1: (20:46)

Yeah, we quit there. Quit jobs or

 Speaker 3: (20:48)

fate start new relationships or end relationships. All sorts of things happen. I think that’s great advice. Yeah, that’s awesome. I mean, I didn’t do anything major. I caught my limp mid midlife crisis and I have them periodically. It’s, I’ll go buy a Newsmodo home or something or you know, tear up carpet in my house or something that I think is productive. But, um, this is living room, you know, it has the potential to really disrupt someone’s life and just that knowledge alone will disrupt it. So, yeah. Cool. Great. So straight forward, um, I love it. It was so much, I’ll just go ahead with that. Let’s see what else. Is there anything else? Um, I can tell you why are you in a secret Facebook group? Uh Huh. So the secret Facebook group, uh, you know, I first joined there was about 3,500 members and uh, now it’s like 7,000 and, and growing and growing.

 Speaker 3: (21:46)

And you know, I read Lievable, I’ve read some articles cause there’s, there’s very little information out there about mpes or this whole phenomenon. But one estimate I read said one in 25 people are taking DNA tests and that 10% of the population are getting surprised results. Yeah. That’s a lot of people that are getting this shock. Either they’re finding out their father had an affair and has had the other kids out there, whatever the variation of the story is. Uh, but there’s not really anything in the mental health community supporting this, specializing in this. And I, and my research for my book, I couldn’t find anything. Even at, um, a psychological theory on personality or development addresses, lean into attachment theory or finding the therapists that are good at adoption adoption. So that adoption was a closest thing I could find. But there are still some nuances that are unique to mtes, you know, the grief is a different kind of grief than losing somebody that the trauma of it is different than the trauma that we know.

 Speaker 3: (22:49)

And we’ve studied today, but there really wasn’t anything I found. I did find a theory that comes out of the UK that fits, you know, my perspective. It’s called identity process theory and uh, Briquelle as the originator of that. And of course it’s, it pulls from vendors and different psychologists, but it really, the premise is that your identity is attached to the groups that you’re attached to. So external and internal. So as we go through life and new information comes in, we accommodate that new information to keep our identities whole. And when something comes in that’s so big that just knocks us sideways. It’s your identity. It’s a really, what I think NPE is experience is an identity crisis. It’s not just a, I found out this information, oh, isn’t that interesting? It really calls into question our entire identity. And people that aren’t nps don’t understand that, right.

 Speaker 3: (23:52)

Those are all let it go. Or what does it matter? What does it change? Right. And people sitting in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones because they’re probably the people that went to the doctors and said, Oh yeah, breast cancer runs in. My family had that information, or yeah, I’m, I’m, you know, French. And they had that information for somebody who, who finds out that they, they don’t have that information or what they thought was, was it it that, that, um, could traumatize their identity? Or is that the word I’m looking for? You know? Yeah. I don’t know. I don’t know. I know what you’re saying. And I don’t know if we even have the words yet. I don’t think so. I tried. The unsettling is discombobulating. But yeah, it’s beautiful and wonderful. All these great, exciting, and it’s almost like being bipolar with your emotions when you find out you’re an NPE because you have, you know, maybe anger towards your biological mother or your family or you find out that, hey, yeah, mom’s sister and best friend all knew that this was my circumstance, but nobody told me to the betrayal.

 Speaker 3: (25:00)

There’s so much for trail. Yeah. And then how do you actually have a relationship with them with this new information wanting to understand or, you know, wanting to understand people’s choices as just people and humans, but being affected by it as a child or a relative of these people can be really conflicting by and extending grace to them, but also somewhat holding them accountable to it. It is, it’s an interesting path. And, um, I think more people are going to find themselves on it. And you know, I think when people were donating, you know, donors years ago or I know just from donors, whatever, they never anticipated that in 30 years there’d be a DNA test that would reveal their identities. So, you know, and now with so many people taking the test, it’s not a matter of if their secrets come out. It’s a matter of when I think people need to understand.

 Speaker 3: (26:01)

So when we are doing it, you know your, your work around, um, dusting the podcast and getting the word out there and bringing awareness to this, the more we can shape the national dialogue around this and even global, I mean you are singing my Song Krista and I actually, what I’m trying to do, I’m the UK seems to be, yeah the UK, UK seem to be a little bit ahead of us. So in 2005 they made anonymous donor sperm donors illegal so they, they can no longer be anonymous and England and the UK. So if we could just catch up to that and what I, what I hope I saying shaped that national conversation and global non conversation is so that we don’t go to the polar opposite end of that and people stop donating or people stop adopting or putting their children at for adoption. Didn’t even think of that because, yeah. Because of the negative whatever surrounded me and NPE what I would rather is that there’s just a clear understanding and the sting is taken out of it so that people can make informed decisions and the children can have knowledge and information as they develop.

 Speaker 1: (27:16)

Yeah, absolutely. What, yeah, what, yeah. I keep, I keep trying to explain it. Um, to some people who, who don’t think this is a very good, this podcast is a very good idea. And I’m like, if I could just offer some kind of relief to the people feeling shame more than anything, it’s like this happens, this happens in, in specific circumstances or different for every person. Yeah. But if we could, yeah. If we could make it some kind of, if there was an opportunity for conversation around it night, and I know there’s,

 Speaker 3: (27:51)

I think your podcast is, is a vacuum. I think your podcast is excellent idea, not just for people discovering their mpes, but also people on the other side of that. Yeah. People who, um, maybe just friends or family members or professionals in the community or a mental health community that are working with as individuals. So, um, for me, uh, I think the more awareness is brought to this and the more the conversation shows both the good, bad and the ugly. Yeah. Yeah.

 Speaker 1: (28:24)

Well, and I also would love to get people to come talk to me who are from different perspective to have it. Like I would love to get some mothers who made the decision 30 years, 30, 40 years ago. Yeah. To keep it a secret. And what they’re thinking was I have, um, I would love to get some of them to come talk or, or a sperm donor who has this like surprise phone call that’s like, wait, I did this thing for 50 bucks. Yeah. 50 years ago and now this person wants a relationship and I feel fill in the blank. Um, yeah, I would love to get all sorts of perspectives about it because I just think we all need to talk about all of it. I agree. Yeah. Great. I had a thought and now I, so, um, yeah, we’re, we’re actually sitting on, maybe you could pick this up listeners, but crystal works in the mental health community. Um, and so, and we’re actually sitting in a, in a mental health clinic facility. Um, rooms, rooms have counselors here. And um, have you had anybody come through?

 Speaker 3: (29:19)

Yes. So what happened when I had my own experience and realizing there wasn’t a place to really go and get specific specialized services or counseling around this, I started looking at our own agencies. So I, I am the CEO of a nonprofit counseling center in Orange County and we work with trauma and grief and anything on the mental health spectrum, substance abuse, we serve about 3000 people a year through our, our programs. That’s a lot. But there wasn’t anything that I was finding. So I talked to the leadership team here about opening a group for mpes and just seeing, you know, what, how it worked or what would the interest was. And we opened in February and our, our groups are full and we get calls, we get calls and people that are in the groups that are now wanting individual work. And so there’s definitely a need.

 Speaker 3: (30:14)

We are starting a virtual platform and in the next month or so to be able to offer services across California, across the United States for people really specializing in this area. The Orange County register did a piece on me and my story and the groups that were starting at Mariko sense. So from that article, there’s been a lot of interests and we’ve actually had people coming in that are mps. We’ve also had people on the other side of that, that our siblings are, they share a biological father, but they’re on the other side. They’re not the NPE, but they’re in groups together. And it’s been really beautiful because they’re able to help each other have empathy for the others’ story. So it blends it and it’s, this ended up being a really good group. 

Speaker 1: (31:06)

This is so cool because Christa didn’t tell me any of this before I showed up, so I just came. I’m doing a whole bunch of interviews today. Um, so this is a whole side that I am so excited to talk about and so excited to connect with somebody who’s also trying to broaden the conversation and actually be of service in that community. This is so cool. I’m so excited. 

Speaker 3: (31:27)

Yeah, we did the first four weeks, we scholarshipped everyone. So we were able just to kind of pilot it and see what the interest was and the interest was so wide that um, we ended up opening up more groups. So, um, here we are and we have a group here in orange and also San Juan Capistrano and we are looking to do by a pilot with cat, you know, broadening into California and then across the United States. And my interest isn’t just in providing the services for mpes. Uh, it’s also to provide training for counselors who may come in contact with 

Speaker 1: (32:03)

so much on that Facebook support group that we are both a part of people post about disappointing experiences with therapists. 

Speaker 3: (32:10)

Right. Which is heartbreaking. It is. And, you know, but then the psychology, well then and the United States hasn’t caught up to that yet, so it will, it will. And so Mariposa is really emerging as that thought leader and um, and provider. And so hopefully we can get more people just trained on what it is. Yeah. And so, um, are you comfortable saying the name of the program or a number they should call or, or email? So our number here is (714) 547-6494. And you can also look us up 

Speaker 1: (32:46)

on our website. It’s Mariposa center.org. Okay, great. And I will put that, I’ll put all that information, uh, on the website or on the blog. I’ll, I’ll make sure that that’s available and if anybody doesn’t catch it, um, either re listened to the episode or, um, send me an email, he, that everything’s relative, podcast.com and I’ll make sure that you get connected to the right people. Yeah. Yeah. So great. Thank you so much. Yeah. Um, anything else you want to tell me about the way you’re changing the world, 

Speaker 3: (33:14)

taking out the world? Um, interesting. No, uh, I did approach a university and ask if they would be interested in doing a study on this because there really isn’t or hasn’t been especially conducted yet. So impressed. Um, you know, they haven’t, they didn’t bite, but they will, I think the more there’s chatter in the media and the more those chatter and, um, in print material and perhaps they, the, there’ll be funding available for a university to do a study on this. So I think that’s important for us to be able to really direct, um, even treatment for individuals, but really a broader understanding of the impact of this. We haven’t seen it yet. You know, you’re starting to see, hey, I’m so glad you used the word phenomenon. Right. When I, when I remember when I took my DNA test and I was spitting into the little vial, I had the conscious thought like, oh my God, please don’t let me be related to a serial killer. Like that was one of my biggest concerns is that I would be, and like shortly after I did my test, they caught the golden state killer, right through DNA testing. [inaudible] Australia rapists through DNA testing. So forensics are going to be able to use this as well. So it’s gonna have good implications, but it could also, you’ll have what negative implications for individuals and their families. So that,

 Speaker 1: (34:36)

no, the fallout, I mean we’re, yeah, I think you’re right. We’re just at the tip of the iceberg of just watching this whole thing shake out.

 Speaker 3: (34:41)

And Technology has advanced us, meaning we haven’t, we haven’t really prepared adequately for the advancement in technology around this. We’ll catch up, but right now we’re just reeling from the how expedited these things are. When I say I had years to marinate in the idea of not knowing, people that get that surprise DNA test may have minutes to realize that their life was alive or whatever. Right. Minutes. So they’re experiencing this compact life altering, you know, information quickly. And we’re in an age where everything has to be immediate, you know, but this might be an instance where maybe time is your, is your ally. You know what I mean? Many people

 Speaker 1: (35:33)

in the group, I’m sorry, I keep talking about the group. Um, but that, that’s my biggest pool of understanding of what’s going on. So many people are like, Hey, I just found out last week and these are the things I’ve done or, and yeah, if, if there could be some kind of, um, message to, to just pause with this stuff and take the time, take some time to process it and not even before making big decisions,

 Speaker 3: (35:58)

but then the small decisions. It’s true. And, um, I think the Facebook group is really good for people to go and, and know they’re not alone, know that what they’re experiencing is widely felt by others. And, uh, it’s a, it’s a great place to connect with other mps is not a replacement for mental health services. No. I’ve seen people on there that are relapsing, that are suicidal, that are having really adverse reactions to this and there’s not the level of support. And they have a disclaimer on the Facebook page that it’s not, it’s not to replace mental health services and if you need help to do how to get that. So, um, but I think it’s an excellent place for people to, to make that first connection. 

Speaker 1: (36:47)

Yeah, no, I think you’re right. And I think that they just, um, they came along at the, the, the few people that, um, that started the group like came along at the right time. But there are tons of support groups probably out there if you look, and this is not the only one and they are not, I don’t know. Everybody needs different things. So I don’t want to say that they’re the best one or that they are the authority on this subject. They just happen to be, um, a group that’s got some [inaudible]. 

Speaker 3: (37:12)

Yeah. I think Katherine St Claire was one of the cofounders of that Facebook group and you know, she’s got her own personal story with it. So, um, the, the impetus of it was her own discovery and um, she’s done a phenomenal job at bringing people together in the community together. And there have been offshoots of that. I haven’t seen many other online support groups for this, just that the one that Catherine and they’ve started subgroups. So they’ve started groups for people that are single and finding out that people that are you just a male, you know, just men only. And so they’ve started subgroups of the little group or whatever, the whatever’s younger than yeah. Millennials. So they’re onto something that they’re trendsetters in a way of of this. And with everything being online now, it’s, it’s a perfect opportunity for people to conduct. So, um, for sure. Yeah. 

Speaker 1: (38:12)

Did I? Yes. You’d be, everything you just said is true. I just, um, I also want to make clear to people that don’t have to be a part of this group. Um, or it’s not the only way or going on there is not, it’s, it’s one representation of this experience. Um, but it is some people,

 Speaker 3: (38:32)

right. And then as we get more professionals that are in this, there may be a in person support groups or other avenues for people. I have seen in their people that are in remote parts of the country that don’t have access to. And so an online version is indicated for them, you know, or you live in a small town and maybe they don’t want people to know because of the shame and the guilt and you know, there’s, there’s other options for them.

 Speaker 1: (38:59)

People like the people that find out all this stuff and then it turns out they’re still, they’re friends with all the people like in the small towns or it was their next door neighbor growing up or, yeah, I mean, yeah, layers and layers of possibilities.

 Speaker 3: (39:13)

Oh my gosh. Located and if anything, this should kind of raise the, um, the need for maybe like getting DNA tested before you get married. No. Right, right. They’re getting another question about that 70, maybe you should do a swab and just make sure we’re not like cousins, everybody just spit. And especially in a small town where you know, the, the pool is limited. I’ve seen people or heard people say, oh my God, I just found out my ex husband’s my brother. Like this stuff happens. So, you know, and for me as an adopted person, that was always in my mind because you never know if this person’s really related to you. That could be a brother, it could be you. So I’ve lived in that and I’m going back to my search as a, as adopted individual searching from my biological family. This was in the day before the Internet.

 Speaker 3: (40:05)

Yeah, it was a card catalog and microfish, you know what I mean? Yeah. It was days or months and weeks, writing letters that meet your male doctors. So there was time in between to wrap my head around it and, and process that weren’t, if you sent a DNA test off, it’s like a matter of weeks before we get those results back. And we’re in May. So they, they estimate they sold 1.2 million kids over the holidays. Those results should be rolling in about now. So there’s going to be thousands of people that are going to 10% of that hundred and 20,000 yeah, yeah. That took me a minute. Clearly. Yeah. Clearly I’m a therapist, not a mathematician. Right. So a lot of people, and I would say it is phenomenon that we, um, we’re not expecting, but it’s here. So now why are we going to deal with it?

 Speaker 1: (41:00)

Yeah. Oh, good. Yeah. Well, thank you. And I’m so thankful for people like you who are really trying to do something.

 Speaker 3: (41:09)

I think the more we share our story and the more we normalize it as abnormal as it is, and the easier it’s going to be for those that come behind us and find out

 Speaker 1: (41:18)

[inaudible] that’s great. Absolutely. Amen. Thank you so much. I’m gonna go ahead. Turn

 Speaker 3: (41:24)

this off. Okay, good. Now you’ve got to tell your story. Yeah.

 

The Wrong Sister

Speaker 1: (00:00)

Okay. Great. Awesome. We can just dive in if it’s okay with you. Sure. Cool. Um, so I’m here with Amy and you are going to tell me about your NPE experience. So why don’t you go ahead and just start where you want to start and then I’ll ask questions about, about the stuff that’s missing. Sure. Okay. So, uh, I think we’re like most people, my husband and I did ancestry.com for fun. Um, the people that do the data, it was one of his clients. So he, um, you know, bought to the kits for Christmas a couple of years ago. So we did the test and his came back as expected. And um, I had grown up in a primarily Ukrainian home and mine came back with no Ukrainian, knew nothing at all. So it came back French and German, which my mom was. And then I came back Irish and Welsh.

 Speaker 1: (01:00)

I love Scandinavian and I, that’s so not Ukrainian. So not your granted at all. A good thing as we all like potatoes, so it’s fine. So anyways, we honestly thought nothing of it really. I just, I didn’t know to look at matches. I didn’t know really much about it. My husband, it was all under his email address. I, I wasn’t paying attention to anything else really. I just didn’t think about it. Kind of laughs at, oh my grandma was left with the milk man. Ha Ha. Never thought about it again. Other than once in a while we would joke about it. Like someone would say, Oh, you have nice skin and I can’t, it’s my Ukrainian. Ooh, no, it’s not my Irish skin. And I would laugh and just didn’t think anything of it. And you didn’t say anything to anybody in your family know, didn’t, didn’t occur to me, just it was just like whatever.

 Speaker 1: (01:46)

Um, and then, um, my husband got an email from someone again, I didn’t know there was even a match, but, and I, I hadn’t really paid him at the test that was so, um, he got an email from a woman and she was saying, I really need to talk to your wife. Um, I also did my test and we show up as matches. And again, my husband told me, and we just kind of said, well, my mom, um, her dad had had a first wife and she’d had a baby, died during childbirth. My grandfather at the time was in the war, so he couldn’t come back and take care of his baby. So he gave the baby to her parents, like up for adoption. And then that was that. And he never saw the baby again. And my mom knew about it, but w so she had a baby that died in childbirth and then another child she gave up for adoption? 

Speaker 1: (02:39)

No, no, no. So my, this is my grandfathers on my mom’s side. My grandfather’s first wife had a baby gate, died during childbirth during surgery. I had the baby died and I was like, how did they give the baby? Okay. The woman died, mom died, died and so could you take care of the baby? So gave the baby okay. Pains. So he couldn’t, I’m with you. Yup. We somehow, again, not thinking this through, obviously not well, this first have to do something with my mom and that whole thing. So my husband forwards the email to my mom who, right, who says nothing about it. She says, this must be spam. Um, you can’t trust anything on the Internet. Um, all these kinds of things and never spoke to me about it. Never told me that type stuff. Did you know this was happening at all? 

Speaker 1: (03:33)

No. No, no club again, because we, he and I just didn’t clue. Well, when something, I mean we actually just talked about this so much with the other, with the previous person. It’s like when something is unfathomable, like it’s just not on your radar. It’s not on your radar. And I don’t know, like the absence of it is rest. Downing. Yeah. And there’s, there’s other things that after this, the same thing. It’s just like nobody thought, never thought about this. So in the meantime, I started getting friend requests from this woman and I didn’t know, again, we hadn’t talked about this, I didn’t know this woman’s name that had sent these emails. That was the same woman that was friend requested me on Facebook. I owned a dance company for many years traveling all over the country. So I have friends all over the place. It’s this woman was in Texas and I’m thinking, well, it must be something that happened to do with that, but I’m not an industry anymore.

 Speaker 1: (04:27)

I’m just going to decline, keep declining these requests. She emailed my husband one or two more times on the, on the ancestry site and said, and you know, I’m really looking, I think for your wife and I’ve been looking for her for a long time. This has a sense of urgency or desperation. Yeah. But again, he wasn’t really saying much to me about it because we just didn’t like, we thought this is some crazy person and our daughter was a former actor and so we, we dealt with crazy email. Things would be faster, but we just kind of brush it off again. So one night I did not know that on Facebook you can have a, like some can send you a message if you’re not friends and it goes into a separate little inbox is June, I’m upstairs. It’s like 10 o’clock at night. 

Speaker 1: (05:20)

Um, husband’s out of town. I’m looking through this. Like, if I’m somehow click on this inbox and there was about like eight messages from this person saying, I really have been looking for you for 11 years. Oh my God, I’m pretty sure I’m your sister and we need to talk. And I said, I don’t have any sisters. I don’t have any brothers. I don’t know who you are, but like you, like what are you talking about? This doesn’t make any sense. So you have no siblings? No, I mean until right up until that moment you had no siblings. So, um, I again, I, I kind of just, I was irritated with this person. I thought, I don’t know what you’re trying to do. I went to bed, you know, got up in the morning, more messages from her and I find this like, what would you written back at all?

 Speaker 1: (06:16)

Yeah, just saying like, you don’t understand. I don’t understand what you’re, what you’re trying to say here. I not following at all. So the next morning, the email or the message is, Hey, um, my dad, this is his name. I know that he had a relationship with your mom in 1968 this is where they were working. This is the town they were living in. This is, you know, how what I’ve been told had happened. My Dad told me 11 years ago, I’ve been trying to find you. Wow. So it was those, those details that made you realize that this person was serious. Right. Right. So I, uh, what, what do you want from me? You know, kind of thing. And she’s like, I mean, I’m just so excited and I’m so thrilled to meet you. And like, you know, I, where do you live? She’s asking me all these questions.

 Speaker 1: (07:07)

She really wants a sister. Yeah. And I’m like, Whoa, hang on. Like, I don’t know you, I don’t think I want to right now. And you’re, I think you’re walking a little crazy. So when she goes in and she had, she was certainly anxious, very anxious. Yeah. She’s just, she’s still very anxious. This was a very happy girl. Um, but, but I, I didn’t, uh, you know, I get off the, I finally, like, we exchange all these messages. She had too many details for it not to be accurate. Um, you know, again, she knew exactly where they worked, what town it was in, and I knew those things to be true about my mom. Yeah. That happened to me where like it all seemed bananagrams until, until the mention of a neighborhood. Yeah. And it was like nobody knows that neighborhood. This is whatever this is. 

Speaker 1: (07:53)

It’s got to be. And I, and I grew up in Canada. Um, this happened in Royal Oak, Michigan and I now live in Los Angeles. The person’s contacting me from Texas, from Texas, and I grew up in a really, really small town in Canada, so that, you know, she had, she had to know all this. There’s no way that she could have even stopped me enough to probably figure all this out. So, uh, I get off, you know, finished messaging her. I call my husband and freaking out a common best friend and freaking out. And I’m like, I like, what do I do? Like I, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with all this information. So, um, that I was just really angry with my mom. Uh, and, and part of that anger was my dad that raised me died 30 years ago, 29 years ago.

 Speaker 1: (08:41)

Um, so I’ve been out with without a dad for all that time and he died with crazy health issues. I thought that I had inherited, oh, that’s serious. And I also are, we have a 20, almost two year old daughter. And she had had said it, these are all kidney issues. And she’d had some blood work done at one point in time a couple of years ago where her kidney levels were a little bit wonky. And I mean, I lost it. I, you know, and I shared that with my mom that, oh my God, I think she has the same thing as my dad. Like, you know, oh my God, he died. He was 46. I mean, is she gonna get married? She could have kids. Like, I mean, I’m losing my mind. This is horrifying over these health issues. Um, my, my parents, I was an only child.

 Speaker 1: (09:30)

They tried to get pregnant for a year or more before I was born or before I was conceived. And then they try for 10 years after me to have another baby. So I’m a one and if I have slept with two different people in the same week and I’m suddenly pregnant and I hadn’t been able to get pregnant all of his time and I never got pregnant again, you know, um, that’s a different kind of science. That’s pretty clear. Yeah. But it got to put together. So, um, my husband said, I’ll talk to your mom because I, I’m was not able to. And where was your mom at this point? My mom still lives in Canada in a small town. Um, we’ve had a troubled relationship my whole life. Um, I would describe her as a narcissist. Absolutely. Um, and most people would. Um, so I just knew that if I tried to have this conversation with her, it just wouldn’t.

 Speaker 1: (10:27)

So my husband was very clear and concise with her and that’s super supportive of him. Yes. And had the conversation. Um, I didn’t talk to her after that for about six or eight weeks and then I flew back to Canada. I hired a therapist to sit with, she and I for three days in a row for an hour and a half each time to facilitate the conversation. So you really thought about this, you really like to know her and I needed that. It would be no way to get any answers. There would be no way to actually have a conversation with how her trying to take it somewhere that she wanted it to go or to twist it in a way. You know, that sounds that to me seemed so brave and so smart. I mean, I don’t know if it was brave. I would say it was, it was for me the smart decision to the way to do it.

 Speaker 1: (11:14)

We had originally planned to go back to my hometown for like a week and a half and then we had a cottage rented and all this, but I wasn’t ready to do that because I didn’t know how to talk to rest of my family or anything like that. And it was still too fresh and I was too mad. So I just, that was the best way to kind of go, okay, we’ve, we’ve got three days, we’ll talk about it and then I’ll come home and process, which is what you said. Um, and then we actually offered for her to stay working with that therapist for quite a while afterwards as well. That’s really nice.

 Speaker 1: (11:53)

Take it feels a nice the but um, so in the meantime, um, this, this half sister that now I realize I have is very communicative and wants to meet me and is so excited and she’s Gung Ho ready to go. Like let’s do it. And she contacts my birth father who’s not as Gung Ho, uh, at all and in fact is very angry with her for messing with everyone’s life. So he didn’t know that this has been an 11 year project for her? No, because as it turns out, I’m not the daughter that he told her about. Oh No, the daughter, he told her about this disease before her. It’s not funny, but it’s amazing. His name is hope. And we all just keep laughing, looking for her sister for hope. Amazing in this. Um, so, and I, between two girls, I’m the middle girl of this family.

 Speaker 1: (12:52)

Um, but there’s someone out there so that there’s no love children. So the sun was still out there, um, that would, we haven’t found, so that’s why I think my mom was super confused because she didn’t, she claims she didn’t know it was his, but he had told my half sister that I existed. Right. And then he knew about me. So are there multiple women in the F in the knee that he knew about? It was that somebody else. He had gotten married and he was working for a summer in Florida for an ad agency, was, had a little tryst with this other woman. She got pregnant. He knew she was pregnant. He knew, he found out was that she’d had a girl and, and that he named her hope or that they named her hope. But in the meantime, he went back to his wife.

 Speaker 1: (13:39)

She, this other woman said, go back to your wife. Um, and he had, uh, another, another daughter. So my older sister, the sister that I said, I would wait until you were done with the story to ask questions, but I’m jumping in. Um, the sister that found you when she listed like living in this town and they worked together at this place, she was incorrect about that because she was looking for hope or he worked with, he was sleeping with all the women who worked with, no, they weren’t at the same time, but he mixed up the women, like he got up. Got It. Okay. The time, the place, I mean he’s, you know, 74 now. So at that time you would’ve been 60 something and he had the woman with the wrong event. Yeah. It’s hard to keep track, so I don’t get it. 

Speaker 1: (14:28)

I imagine. Yes. I got to get back there. Um, so he had a daughter at this point. My oldest sister was an infant when I was conceived. It was a one night stand in the back of the car after a party at an ad agency or mom’s mom running and he was working very mad men. That’s exactly what he says. He said, if you saw the show mad men, that’s exactly what it’s like. Um, and then as soon as he was after he’s with my mom, his wife found out she, you know, freaked out. They were living in Michigan and she’s like, that’s it. I’m pulling the plug, we’re moving. And they moved out to California and then they went on to have another child and um, and then that woman passed away and then he remarried and that one passed away and his third wife, um, so he, he was very upset with her because he just, he thought, you know, why are you messing with everyone’s life?

 Speaker 1: (15:25)

And she’s like, well, you told me all this information, like you set me up to want to find this. So she was surprised that he wasn’t happy about it. Yeah, she thought she, she was ecstatic. She was like, I found her, I found her. And he’s like, who would you find any? Oh, no, it was, no, her name’s Amy. He was a little confused. Um, she also then told her younger sister, so my other half sister and who was also not particularly excited by this whole situation is just like, why are you messing with everyone’s life? Um, and I, it was really angry with her too, just like, you know, cause he’s, every night you go to bed and you think like, can I just, can I just wake up and pretend none of this happened? I just like those just go back to the way that it was and it’s fine. And you know, yeah, I relate to that. Yeah. Yeah. But over time, I guess kind of, you know, she, she kind of wore me down, so she would text me and email me every day and, you know, good morning and how are you?

 Speaker 1: (16:31)

I’m great and I’m not great. You just totally destroyed my life. But, you know, um, so I’d set up a meeting with her. She was coming to California, her daughter’s southern California. Um, and then I backed out. I just was like, you know, I’m not ready. I hadn’t talked to my mom at that point. So I found out in June, this was probably in July, August, and I just July and I said, I’m not, I’m not ready. That’s really fast. Yeah. So then, um, I don’t know, my husband was great and super supportive. We’re kind of pretty pushy with me about this whole thing, you know, like, this is your family. You need to, you need to at least meet them. Like they’re open to meeting you, you need to meet them. So I, in the meantime I had emailed my birth father, um, and just said, hey, you know, here’s my story, here’s about me and my life.

 Speaker 1: (17:30)

And um, uh, you know, and I guess more than anything it was kind of want to know about your health, you know, what are, what are, what am I looking at now? Because everything I thought that I had to worry about, I don’t, so it was great, but you know, what’s your, what’s your scoop? And he kind of was like the same way. Like just, hey, yeah, this is kind of really weird and I don’t know either how I feel about it and, you know, yeah, I’d be open to meeting you one day and here’s all the health information. So not rejection. No, no, no, no. But not super enthusiastic, but then maybe you could relate to, it’s not exactly, he didn’t run the guts in here. Yeah, I know. Right. Uh, in the meantime, I, again, my husband was kind of pushing me towards this and then I went and saw a therapist and they, you know, same thing.

 Speaker 1: (18:22)

They were kind of like, you know, you really should at least explore this. They lived two hours away from you. Right. Wow. Yeah. Like, you know, meet them. You don’t have to have a relationship, but you should just see what this is. So I that I email my other sister, um, hey, hi, I’m your sister. Um, and to two nieces and said, hey, I’ve never been an answer before, but you know, hi, uh, don’t know what to ask you about really. Um, and so we, uh, set up a day that what we were going to go down or up and meet them. They live in northern California, so central, so I’m my husband and my daughter and I, um, we went and, uh, we decided that we would just go on our own. We have a son who’s almost 21 and he has autism. Um, and we just didn’t know he’s high functioning, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to explain who these people were to him because he just knows that, you know, his grandfather is in heaven and that’s that.

 Speaker 1: (19:28)

So it wasn’t really sure what to do, do that. So we just decided not to. I of the gate in case of it never went anywhere anyway. I didn’t really want to mess with him. 100% makes sense to me. So we drove up, uh, I was freaking out the whole time and I was meeting my, my younger half sister, my other half sister, hurry to go back to Texas. So she was really bummed because everyone got to meet me first. She’s like, wait a minute, I’m the enthusiastic one. I did this and now, you know, um, so it was going to meet my, um, my younger half sister and her husband, um, two, four nieces and they’re two of the nieces, their significant others. And um, you know, so like a family reunion. It’s cut me off. They rented a room in a, in a like a winery restaurant. 

Speaker 1: (20:25)

They live in solving and um, we describe it as so first we get there and I, I really think I’m going to maybe throw up, I mean, I’m just not sure how to handle this. And My, and my biological dad is wanting to make me alone separately. You didn’t want to do it with everybody else. So we’re meeting them the first day. Um, and I, we get to the restaurant and I mean, I don’t really know what anybody looks even looks like. Yeah. Really know them. So it, except that I’d seen a couple of pictures where that my other sister had sent me, you know, when we, Gosh, we look alike and yeah. Can we do so anyways, we get there and there’s nobody there in this restaurant, really like a couple of tables of people, but obviously not what, how they expect it. And they said, oh wait, are you Ashley? I’m thinking, Oh yes, yes. That’s be my niece’s name. I to know these people. Oh, they, they’re in the back room. So that opened the door and we describe it as a surprise party, except you don’t know the people that are there to surprise you. Yeah. Like we opened the door to this room and they’re all like, hey, I was like, wow, okay.

 Speaker 1: (21:39)

Thank goodness this isn’t a wine restaurant. Yeah. Like I don’t know these people and they’re all there to meet me and my husband and you know, uh, and our daughter and I’m thinking, I terrified. I mean I don’t, it actually turned out hysterical. They’re there, they’re funny. And we all just went and had some wine and laughed about, you know, my biological dad and his escapades and you know, they laughed about that. It was easy for me cause I thought, I don’t know how to handle this one. Your Dad, John Hamm. Yeah. Yeah. And um, and my nieces were great with our daughter and two, like our daughter and my one niece look like they could be twins. Wow. Um, and then there’s things that I will be doing and they were, they would say, oh my gosh, that’s right. Exactly. Like Sonia. I’m like, my older sister, uh, she had, I look a lot alike so it was kind of like cool, but super weird.

 Speaker 1: (22:41)

Super Surreal. Super Surreal. Did it feel like there openheartedness and like open and through openness and enthusiasm felt, um, like really? I mean, that sounds like it. It was really nice, but to me I would feel nervous for them. For them. Yeah. Like they don’t know. Like I would be like, you don’t know me. I could be, I could be, I could be an expert. I might not be somebody. You’re so happy to see. Yeah. Like it was weird. It was just weird. Just weird. [inaudible] it’s the next morning I go to breakfast to meet my biological dad and he’s sitting at the restaurant like on a golf course and he’s just sitting there, you know, I’d seen pictures of him. So anyway, look like he’s just sitting there waiting for us. And I, I really then thought I was gonna throw up getting out of the car. And, uh, he gave me a great big hug and he just said, welcome. We sat down and kind of just talked about it, you know? And His story was the same as the story my mom had given to my husband, you know, how I came to be. Um, and he was super warm and like easy. I think I was nervous, but it was easy and he’s very inquisitive. He wanted to know about me and things like that. And so I thought, okay, well the at home and I’m thinking now, now what? No, no.

 Speaker 1: (24:13)

So, um, my oddly, my best friend lives about 20 minutes away from my older sister in Texas, so, wow. Okay. Okay. Yeah, he keep saying, wow, I know. So I decided, okay, well I feel bad now. I’m out of reality. Chicago meet her. So, and at this time she’s still like messaging me all the time. And in the meantime, now my younger siblings and my nieces and my biological father are, you know, texting me from time to time, I get the emails, the phone call and like,

 Speaker 1: (24:48)

okay, I mean I’m not mad. Right. It’s, it’s interesting. So when I met her and her husband and her and my nephew, her son, and again that was just like funny, weird, but oddly easy. Um, and then we get any laughed and then, you know, I got invited back up. My, my niece was having a baby, so there, you know, you should come in up and meet the baby and do all this kind of thing. And I said, okay. So yeah, I, that time I went by myself. Um, I stayed at my niece’s house. People started to call me aunt. This is, Oh yeah, this is my aunt. How did that feel? Weird. And then kind of then kind of, okay. Okay. Um, and my, we were at a winery and my, my sister’s like telling these people, oh, you know, they ask like, I dunno how they asked the question of what we were doing there.

 Speaker 1: (25:55)

Sure. Oh, this is my sister. Well, I mean my sister that just found out I had and we laugh. These people are like, what? And then she asked me, do you mind if I tell the stories? No. So we tell a story and these people are like, oh my gosh, like this is a television show. And you know, he kind of laughed again just, but it was fine. It wasn’t weird really. I mean, and then we went up again, a southern again and then it was Christmas time. So my, the time before Christmas by biological dad had gone out with him and my step mom for dinner by myself. Um, and we just talked a lot about our lives and that he was, you know, the next that that they said they asked if we would come for Christmas Eve. And I said, I actually use the excuse that I wasn’t sure if our daughter could get off of work because I needed to, that I would need to process that. 

Speaker 1: (26:56)

Yeah. I need to sit on that one for a minute. So I, um, you know, I can home and again, my husband with much encouragement. It’s like Amy, like let’s just do it. We don’t have to do it again if we don’t like it. Although I was thinking they do Christmas, I’m kind of, I’m kind of in, I’m kind of committed, um, and written for Christmas. It was my step mom, mom’s birthday, so I sent her flowers and um, you know, she was just all super touched and those kinds of things. And also in the meantime, my sisters had put pictures of all of us meeting on Facebook. Oh, okay. That didn’t label it just there we were and my dad raised me sisters and they would like the photos, but they didn’t know. Oh my gosh. Liking. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Okay.

 Speaker 1: (27:46)

Which stresses me out and I keep saying to my mom, you need to tell them, you know, what are you going to say something? Cause I’ll call them, she would love, she said no, she wants you to it. So it was, we get to Christmas so we get there for Christmas. Um, and you know, they’re saying, okay, so we’re all going in on the golf club for you know, Grandpa, all the grandkids and we’re, you know, this is kind of how we do it. And you know, what do live and Spencer are kids like, do you know, what do they like? And I’m thinking, Oh okay. All right, we are, we are in, in, in, in, in, in, in, so I’m buying Christmas gifts and things for people that I don’t really know, but it kind of learning to know. And I, and then I decided, you know, okay, I kind of, you have to go all in or I have to kind of bow out.

 Speaker 1: (28:35)

So I decided to go in and actually made my biological data book. And it was pictures of like my whole life story and pictures of me from sport and as a child and I wrote and things that I liked and you know, the other games I like to play and then you know what I did. And then when I met my husband and our wedding pictures and pictures of our kids being born and then at the end I had pictures of all of us like, wow, that sounds really nice. Yeah. So, uh, but we got them for Christmas Eve and on the mantle was all the grandkids stockings, all embroidered and our kids names were all in birth order. So they even know that. All right. Um, and you know, we, we pitched in and what we’re supposed to bring in Nice, wonderful people and what you can’t see because this is a podcast is I’m making a lot of uncomfortable faces after she says, wow.

 Speaker 1: (29:38)

Um, yeah, I mean it’s, it’s super crazy. So we brought our son and um, all the grandkids call my biological dad buzzy and I was just there a nickname for him. So I thought, well, I’ll just tell him this is his buzzy buzzy and this is Lindy, his wife and these are, I did tell him these were his aunts and things like that because that I figured he could figure out, but you know, but, um, our son brought his Santa Claus suit and, uh, had everyone’s singing, you know, Christmas songs. And my niece was on the piano or son was on guitar and everybody sang Christmas songs. We had a full on Christmas dinner.

 Speaker 1: (30:22)

I’m serious. I am, because I’ve never had it cause it was like that. So, and our daughter, you know, she’s freaking out cause she’s like, I wouldn’t do it. Is this because we don’t, we never had any of this. So she’s just like, I don’t really see that was on television duty is, but we did it and we laughed and I all went home was getting text messages from everyone’s saying it was the best Christmas that they like everyone’s had. Of course, like everyone was like, this is awesome, this is great. Um, you know, and, and I mean, it was, it was just so surreal. Uh, and then I got an email like maybe three weeks, four weeks later. And it’s a, from my biological dad and step mom and it’s to me and my two half sisters and my step mom’s son. So my step brother and it’s like, Hey, you know, we’re selling the house. We have an offer. We haven’t offered a new house. Here’s the address Lah, Lah, Lah. Can’t wait for you guys to see it. Love Daddy and Lindy. And I was like, and I’m on the seat now.

 Speaker 1: (31:34)

And, and honestly like that’s it. Like they text me, it’s, I mean, I’m going up again, I’m not this coming weekend, next weekend we’re going for the weekend and we’re going to my one sister’s house one night and two my biological dad’s the other night and go to another shoe. Didn’t drop, revealed some no motive other than we finally my mom, we’d given her a date that she had to tell my, my aunts, my two aunts and my uncle that I’d grown up with. Um, and like, you have this, you have to tell them like, we had pictures all over from Christmas. Like my, my, My, my biological dad had posted pictures saying my eight grandkids and my kids are tagged in a picture and I’m like, we have embroidered stockings. Why not? Why is no one picking up on this? And again, back to the, because it just wasn’t, you want crime to them?

 Speaker 1: (32:27)

No. So, um, there’s lots of things on Facebook. Yeah. But it’s a whole group of people that look alike and he’s putting like Chris was his great with eight grandkids, my kids for the picture. Um, so I finally did call my dad’s sister, you know, just said like, you know, I even, not my mom but don’t mean that in a mom. It really was a one night thing. Um, here I am, you know, hope you still like me and, and, and uh, and they all except for my dad’s brother, they were all like, okay. Wow. And were you nervous calling them more? Actually nervous about my mom, the wrath of my mother, which I did get the next day. Um, you know, because I just didn’t bother to call her and tell her I had given her the day. You get another boundary. I said she didn’t want to, you know, do it. 

Speaker 1: (33:26)

So, um, you meant what you said? I did. Yeah. She wasn’t, she never very good at that, so, so I told you, I told them and uh, they were like, wow, are you okay? Um, and that is a considerate question that my mother never asked me or asked my husband if that was okay. Um, it’s all about her. Well, that comes up that I’ve know I’ve, that’s a pattern I’m noticing is that it’s the people that asked are you, how are you that stand out? Yeah. Yeah. She’s my mom. She’s supposed to ask me. She did. Um, she was just more worried about what it was going to think about her. So, you know, they all seem to be fine. It was her birthday on Sunday and I saw on Facebook they all wished her happy birthday. And I mean, you know, she’s mad at me because I spilled the beans.

 Speaker 1: (34:24)

How old are all day? All of them. My Dad’s sister would be 74 maybe and my aunt would be probably like 60 something. It’s nice to imagine that by that time you are just accepting as a person about things that happened years ago. Again, I would think it would be. Um, and I, and I said the same thing I, you know, in, in the therapist is just my mom. I said, look, I’m not, I’m not mad at you. She was, she was 20 years old, you know, um, when she slept with this guy and she was drunk at a party and she was mad at my dad. And you know, like if I didn’t speak with any, every person I know that has had some kind of indiscretion in some way or done something really that they shouldn’t have done, I probably wouldn’t have very many friends, you know.

 Speaker 1: (35:16)

So I’m not, I don’t judge that. Um, I don’t like it, but not mad. I’m mad that after he died, you know, that she had 30 years almost to tell me, especially watching the agonize over the health stuff. Yeah. You know, you may have had a relationship with a man and yeah. And the health stuff just sounds agonizing. Yeah. You know, and I had all this time that I could have had siblings that had never had and actually known my niece and nephews from the time they were born. You know, and my kids could have had cousins cause they don’t have them, but now they do. But they never had, they’ve never, none of us have ever had that. You know, our, our Christmas is like, you know, Miss School and we’ve always just, there’s almost, you know, especially since we moved out here and we’re far from our parents.

 Speaker 1: (36:05)

So, you know, it’s like why, why? I just don’t understand. You know, why? And She just claimed it. She just, it never occurred to her that that wasn’t that I was his. Oh, okay. So her version of events is that she just insists she didn’t know. Yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah. Okay. Okay. And again, I’m thinking if you tried to get pregnant for a year, you all of a sudden get pregnant after sitting with one person another time and then you can’t get pregnant again for the next 10 at what point? I don’t know. I’m a woman. I know how it all works. You know, I’d be thinking like, Oh, who’s the Daddy? I just imagine she wouldn’t let herself. Yes. She, that was just another thing that you, she couldn’t, yeah. So it was not a reality. Right. Cause she said it wasn’t done right. So, yes. So I know my, my stories, it’s funny because I read all the stuff on the, the um, the page and I, and I had never kind of come out and said mine on there because I almost feel guilty because mine has been,

 Speaker 1: (37:14)

yes. Pretty lovely. Yeah. Yeah. I’m super accepted. I’m part of the crew, like my sister, you know, for Christmas got me an ornament that, you know, it’s like first Christmas, his sisters and the other one’s sent me a mug. Good. That has our initials on it and you know, like they’re all so like, alright, well this is it. And here we are. And I really taken family, I want to say take family seriously, but that’s not the word I want. Like lovingly is just, excuse me. Um, like lovingly or I kind of think, you know, wholeheartedly my biological dad and he’d had the affair are like obviously with my mom on his first wife and then he was having an affair with another woman. And then, you know, like he has had a history of not being super faithful to his spouses. Uh, except for oddly this last one, they’ve been together for 12 years or something and everyone’s like, nope, whatever reason, this is the one that stuck. It doesn’t have so much game anymore. Maybe. Probably, um, you know, he doesn’t, um, I know when I see him with her, he’s wonderful to her. You know, they might my, uh, half sisters or, yeah, particularly, 

Speaker 1: (38:33)

well, lovely to hurt, but they have a history, you know. Right. And you know, a couple of times when they tried to say things about her, I said, I don’t, please let me make my own, you know, judgment. I don’t have any history. I don’t, you know, I don’t, I don’t need to know any of the backstory. I’ll figure out my own opinions. And in doing that, it’s been interesting because my nieces and things have said to me, you’ve softened everybody up. Like, oh, I kind of think I kind of came in at a time when my sisters weren’t getting along that great. You know, one of my sisters was kind of mad at my biological dad. They both didn’t really like their step mom. You know, there was a lot of tension and, and so I think my story kind of defused all of that cause I was new story.

 Speaker 1: (39:26)

That’s a new city, new thing to focus on the news flash. Um, and I’m the shiny toy, you know. So I think it kind of just having a time for all of them that maybe made it easier then if they were this perfect tight knit and everyone was getting along crew, I think me coming in would have probably rocked a boat. You might really be on to something. But I think my coming in just gave everybody a new focus. Um, and that’s when like at Christmas, like every single one of them said this was the best Christmas we’ve had and years and years and years, you know, and Spencer are sun coming in with a Santa Claus suit and singing Christmas songs and he had everyone doing the 12 days of Christmas. You know what I mean? Like these are things that hadn’t happened before, but he’s just so joyous that, uh, I mean he’s never not in a good mood. 

Speaker 1: (40:22)

Um, that, you know, I think they just kind of were like, oh, okay, well these are new traditions to kind of, you know, hopefully. Yeah. I think that’s kind of why to all, and the funny thing is, is there our sudden you’ve never told use the word grandfather or told him anything like that, but he came home and told people that he met his grandpa. Oh. Which is weird. So he was picking up on it. Oh yeah. So what are he was whatever he was seeing and observing and feeling yeah. On his own. Yeah. So it’s just, that’s what I, I haven’t posted it because I almost feel bad. I feel like I can read so many that are so yucky. There are a lot of hard stories to read on there. Yeah, no know. And, and, and I’m really lucky that my dad raised me is not alive. I feel super fortunate about that because I wouldn’t want to have to write, you didn’t even have to go, you didn’t even have to go there. Didn’t have to go there. No. And that’s the one thing that my aunts, both of my, his sister said that that’s the thing that they were really, that they would’ve broken his heart. So they’re just like, okay, well, you know what this is then this is great and we’re happy for you and we want to hear about them and, you know, don’t leave us out and,

 Speaker 2: (41:41)

okay. 

Speaker 1: (41:44)

So it feels like everybody else is expressing like real confidence in the situation. Yeah. Except for your mother, but also, I’m, I’m curious how you feel at this point 

Speaker 1: (42:01)

as you’re kind of, I mean, it sounds like so much of it you’re moved through with like bewilderment and openness, but caution. Um, yeah. I, I mean, I have probably the best group of friends. You haven’t gotten tired of hearing about it. That’s so helpful. And that was more for me than the therapist was for sure. Because, I don’t know, I just felt like the, at least the present I talked to all he really kind of in a way wanted to do was like just make me mad at my mom, which I was already mad. I didn’t need any help. Right. Um, and so I just didn’t feel like maybe he was asking me the right questions where I’ve been able to have friends that I can just, you know, go, I’m sorry guys, but I got to talk about this again. Yeah. Um, and my husband’s been great and my daughters amazing about it too.

 Speaker 1: (42:48)

So I think that’s so lovely to hear. Yeah. And even like my Gung Ho half sister when I, you know, want to kind of say like, I still find this very weird and freak out about it. She doesn’t, she’s, she’s really, I think she’s probably apologized to me probably 200 times. You know what I’m saying? Like, I am so sorry. I did not our intention at all, but I’m happy that it happened, but I am so sorry that I put you through that whole thing. I’m an apple cart. She wasn’t thinking about, you know, and, and she feels bad and she’s like, I’m just, I’m so, it’s just, it’s always been my problem. I’m impulsive and I didn’t think it through. And I guess that’s like what my, my dad said to her too. It was like, what, what are you, what are you doing?

 Speaker 1: (43:31)

Like, you know, you didn’t know if this other man was alive. You didn’t know their story. I get, how would you do this to somebody, you know, kind of the way he presented it to her and he was really upset with her. All Fair questions. Yeah. Yeah. So, um, now I honestly, it’s, it’s, it’s pretty cool. Like, I’m, you know, like I said, we’re going up next weekend and, you know, we’re taking my two nieces wine tasting, you know, one afternoon, and then we’re going to see the new house of mine, the data, then we’re all going out for dinner, and then we’re driving. And my sisters the next day, I mean, it’s, it’s weird. Sounds Nice and fun, but it’s, it’s, it, it’s fun, you know? And, um, we were like, oh, should we, you know, get a cottage here or there this summer for a week? Because now, well, they’re all there. So, you know, like, it’s just, it’s kind of, it’s kind of neat. And I do find myself saying, oh, my sister or my dad, you, because I know who raised me. Right. You don’t have to, but, but when I’m talking validate things to other, yeah. You know, oh, we’re going to my dad’s, you know? Yeah. I don’t have to say, oh, we’re going to my, you know, my bio daddies.

 Speaker 1: (44:47)

I did that at the beginning and now it’s just, it’s easier. And, you know, um, when I gave him the book and I, I sat in the back, you know, something about, well, you know, I hope that over the course of time we’ll have together that, that you’ll be proud, you know, that I’m your daughter. And he cried, you know, showed everybody the bulls. Very, very sweet. Um, you know, he wants me to call him dad. I haven’t done it to his face, but you know, do it like, and my sisters, my sisters will be like, Oh, you know, well, when are you going to dad’s at, what time you get to dads? I have that too. Yeah. And you’re like, and you’re like, right, because that’s my dad, right? Yeah. So it’s, it’s kind of that, but I haven’t done it. I haven’t said it to him.

 Speaker 1: (45:33)

I, and I assume that I will, you know, I mean, he’s healthy. He’s, you know, 74 but you know, strong these days. Yeah. And he plays, plays go off every other day and you know, he does his thing and hit me, you know, so he’s, he’s still a going concern and I, you know, so I feel like I probably will, um, our daughter, it’s interesting cause you know, she’s, she’s 22 and um, my husband’s parents are quite a bit older and they’re not in great health. And for them to travel out here again, it probably may not happen. They’re just, they’re, you know, they’re going to old and my mom’s not in great health either. Um, and so she said to me one day, she said, he knows is going to be weird because I think when I get married, those are the grandparents that are going to be out there, you know, not the ones that I’ve grown up with.

 Speaker 1: (46:22)

And like a whole separate experience for your children to have to gain a new family as well. And we’ve lived away from Canada for 20 years. I’m not quite 20, 19 years. So our kids have always seen their grandparents like twice a year, sometimes once a year, you know, all of a sudden now we go up, you know, every couple of months. So for her, Christmas was weird when she first walked in, she kind of freaked out, which is all the stockings because it’s two totally break out. She’s never had them do, never had stockies was our grandparents before, you know. And we usually spend Christmas here, like just us. So, and that was our big thing. We were, we said we need to drive back Christmas Eve after, like we’ll do the festivities, but we need to be home. You know, for Christmas, Christmas morning, we’re not, we’re not going to deviate off that far from where our norm or norm is. 

Speaker 1: (47:18)

But well your traditions are important too. Yeah. It’s important to take each thing. I would imagine step by step and figuring out where your comfort level is for everybody. Yeah. You have a lot to consider. A lot of comfort levels to take into account. Yeah. You know, especially with your son. Yeah. It’s my nephew’s birthday the other day. So, you know, it’s his 21st I sent him a check and a cart and you know how a drink on us kind of thing. And I’m thinking, I’ve never done any of this before. I’ve never had to, she didn’t have any of them. Right. You know, my, I had a grand nephew born, I was like, oh I’m okay, I need to take stuff. Well at least you can do something like that and then decide how it felt. Yeah. And then the next birthday that comes along you can decide.

 Speaker 1: (47:59)

Yeah. How you feel this time, like, yeah. Yeah. I think, I mean, again, maybe because I’ve never had them before, so probably a bit of a novelty for me too, to have nieces and nephews and well, it’s like you get to decide what kind of anti you get to be. I know. Yeah. So it’s, it’s, you know, try something different every couple years or something. Yeah. Like now I’m nice to aunt now. Yeah. You know, so, and it was funny because this year for Christmas, cause we agrifood Canada, although now I’m actually Canadian, I have two American parents. But I thought it was Canadian. Um, oh, that’s funny. Yeah. And I’m not Ukrainian either. I bought them all stuff from our favorite store in Canada, so they all got like roots, sweatshirts and socks and you know, perfect is Canadian thing because I know that nobody else is going to get from that.

 Speaker 1: (48:53)

So that was kind of fun. Be like, okay, well this is, you know, a little part of me. Well, and who you are, whether it’s scientifically real or not is important too. Yeah. Like I’m, they, they clearly are competent in their, their presentation, but I feel like that’s important for you to say, Hey, I, I’m, I’m me and this is my experience and where I’m coming from as well. Yeah, it seems, and they, they’ve been, again, just so great. Like it’s, it’s weird again, I, you know, I’ve talked to other people and you know, the other day I went for lunch with the other three ladies and I’m the only one who had a story. A good story. Yeah. Well and I can, I can, I understand what you mean when you say that you’re feeling guilty, but I also know that this is blowing up so fast that, uh, that I think that it’s going to, I imagine, I don’t know. 

Speaker 1: (49:51)

I don’t know. But I imagine it’s going to even out like statistically, and that by nature of the group that, that you and I met through, it’s a support group and so, so many people are going to it because they’re, they’re having negative feelings. So it’s, it’s a skewed perspective. When I went in, I mean, when I joined it, that was exactly, yeah. So you know exactly why. Um, and it’s funny because it was a colleague of my husbands who, oh yeah. Does he know this is a colleague know about all this now? Yeah. Yeah. Everybody knows. Um, so my, my husband had tool to colleague and then this colleague, you know, had seen something about the support group or read about it, send it to him that he sent it to me. And you know, so that’s how I found it. Um, you know, and that was before the stuff had been on TV about popular.

 Speaker 1: (50:48)

Yeah. Yeah. So I found it and I think I probably would, I joined it was like 800 or 900 members and we’re what, 5,000? Yeah. So it was like a year ago that you joined a more than a year ago. Yeah. So then maybe that’s what, 1100? I was June. Okay. Yeah. So not that long with that much growth. Yeah. And that is really fast. Yeah. You know? Um, but I do feel like those are the people elsewhere I’m reading, they’re coming onto the beginning of their journey. Yeah. That’s it seems like, and I think I wrote more to, yeah. When I participated more weight when it was in the beginning and now I do much more reading then. Yeah. You to participating. Do you feel like you have anything that you would want to say to somebody that is just finding this information out that you didn’t know?

 Speaker 1: (51:41)

I, I guess it just depends on every person for me and I had a lot of encouragement to do it. I, I would’ve, I would’ve gotten to where I’m at and went to me a lot longer. I think I just had, you know, my husband who was really instrumental and at times I was a little bit irritated with him because I thought he was being pushy. Yeah. Uh, with it. And I was just like, this is a fine line between persistent and pushing it. You don’t, you don’t get it. Um, nothing for you is changed. This is all changed for me. And you know, I think that whole part of it just,

 Speaker 2: (52:14)

um, I don’t know.

 Speaker 1: (52:17)

I, I would encourage if, if you have the opportunity and if it’s an option for you to explore it, you know, I’m so glad I didn’t, even if it didn’t turn out the way that mine has, right. Think just having that knowledge of, of that part of who you are for me has given me a lot of peace. Yeah. That’s wonderful. And you didn’t even, I mean, you’re not even bringing this up again, but like the health history stuff, I didn’t even, I mean, when I found out I did, that didn’t even occur to me. Like I’d like, there’s so many layers that I’ve done that I’m still like, Oh yeah, oh yeah, I got to like call somebody about that, I guess. Yeah. Um, and for older people older than me, uh, an older than you, like, that’s a much bigger concern. Like these things are very important later in life and that, that part was a big one for me, but my dad that, you know, he’d died and there’s so many complications and things. So for me that was a huge, a huge one. Yeah.

 Speaker 1: (53:22)

Yeah. And do you think, and um, I’m just curious, there’s not, uh, do you feel like there is an age or a time in your life that would have been a good time for your mother to tell you? Yeah. You do. Yeah. I really wish you had told me when I probably, when I had kids. Okay. You know, I think that makes a lot of grandma yet, but I’m assuming that when I become one, um, hopefully, um, no pressure, think pressure. Uh, but you know, I would assume that when your child’s in there having a child that it reminds you of when you had your child. I can only imagine. Yeah. Like it seems like you wouldn’t like to me that when I am having a baby or when she sent me a baby, it’ll be, it’ll remind me when I had her. Um, and so I think their head, I don’t, I still don’t buy.

 Speaker 1: (54:19)

And then in my eye I operate very differently than my mom, but I don’t buy that. It never occurred to her. I don’t believe it. Right. I just, I understand burying things, I get all of that. But so many situations along the way that maybe if in that moment she didn’t want to believe it. Okay. So then what about, you know, 10 Oh, 10 years after they were trying to have a child, they found out he was in fertile, like, oh, they did find that out. I mean, cause that’s kind of what I was just assuming he’s a fertile, they were told he’s a fertile. So again, you know, she said, well we just thought that anywhere a miracle baby because of his, of his kidney diseases and things like this. And I’m like, again, my brain maybe is just works a little differently. I’m thinking that if I know, I find out that my husband is a fertile and I have a child, like nobody thought didn’t occur to you that right.

 Speaker 1: (55:16)

I saw that guy back then. You know, when my husband brought him up, she knew exactly who he was talking about, what his name, you know, Oh yeah, no, this is his name. And this is when he drove me home and he used to drive me home sometimes and we worked together and he looked like this. I mean she had very clear memory of this man. So it’s not like, you know, I wouldn’t understand if it was a situation where she was unwilling participants. Sure. But she was very willing. So again, you know, or you find out he’s in fertile. It doesn’t occur to you then, you know, uh, I have kids. It doesn’t occur to you then I’m freaking out.

 Speaker 1: (55:55)

You know, when I was 46, I honestly, the whole year I’m stressed out. I might die this year. Like it just, it was always in the back of my head because he died at 46. Um, and you listened to me talk about that. You watched me freak out. You, you heard me. You know, he’s stressed. At what point, you know, did you, could you not put yourself aside for a minute and care? Put me first as your child, that’s really hurtful. You know, that’s where that, that’s the stuff that’s still for me. You know, I can’t, you know, we have, I talked to her, you know, twice a week I listened to her talk about her to appointments or whatever she’s doing, but I will never, you know, I don’t trust her the same way at all. You know, she had opportunity to tell me, not really makes me mad.

 Speaker 1: (56:46)

So I think, I think when I had kids, she should’ve told me, I mean, ideally she should have told me after he passed away because I had all this time and I could have had, but um, you know, and, and her reply to that as well, maybe it wouldn’t have gone well, maybe he wouldn’t have wanted to have a relationship with you that could have hurt you more. Okay, fine. Sure, sure. I’ll take that shit. Whatever. But, you know, once the whole health stuff came in and when I had kids, like that’s what you should have told me. Yeah. You know? Um, and the fact that I had to find out because, you know, someone came looking for who they thought was me, um, you know, like I should know. And you no one has connected with this hope. No one, there was a doctor.

 Speaker 1: (57:27)

So there’s a fourth daughter. Amazing. The oldest one. So we’ve tried, we’ve all done like 23 and me as well. Maybe she did that and we don’t know if she’s alive. I know that my hope out there. Yeah. Yep. Um, my dad did look for her for time. Email me eve searches@gmail.com. If you’re out there hope and you think it’s you. Yeah. Um, my dad did look for her on Facebook and things like, cause he knew her name and you knew her mom’s name and he, he looked for her for a little while, um, after he told my older sister and never found it. And it kind of just, you know, yeah. Okay. Wow. Well, cool. Well this is actually nice to hear a story that’s not so, I’m so sad. Like it gets a nice, um, it’s, I think your story is as important and should, should, should, um, you know, represent the optimism that is present in these situations.

 Speaker 1: (58:26)

I know I’m, we’re lucky and I, again, you know, my, my daddy raised me is not alive, so he never had to feel the hurt. My Biological Dad likes me a lot, things some great, you know, we, we, we have a whole relationship that’s, that’s emerging and growing and all that kind of stuff. I’m, I’m super fortunate and so for me, I’m like, cool. To be able to say the flip side of the story because I know that most of them are, or not most, but a lot of them aren’t quite as simple as mine has kind of turned out to be. Right. Because it really is like, okay, well what time do you want to be at the house? That’s so cool. Yeah. I mean, I would argue there’s nothing simple about embroidered stockings, but I know what you mean. Yeah. Who was, it was a little freaky.

 Speaker 1: (59:11)

Yeah, yeah, yeah. But we got, oh, Mike, Mike, do they know it’s a little bit freaky? I don’t think so, but we all got equal. Like I got equal gifts is siblings, the parents and, and my kids got from their aunts and uncles, we all, it was all same. Wow. It was, you know, it’s not like, oh, there’s the new ones will give him, you know, something kind of, we don’t know. Cool. I am like, they, they, they, they did their research, they do their homework and you know. Yeah. That’s really nice. Cool. Well, thank you so much for sharing your story. Um, it’s weird. No, no. I mean, they’re all a little weird. So far, no ones has been weirder than another in one way or or another. Okay. So, yeah. So thank you so much. I’m going to, I’m going to go ahead and turn this off. Okay. Um, that was just, but so awesome. Thanks for giving me your afternoon.

 He Was Tall Dark and Handsome

Speaker 1: (00:01)

Um, okay, cool. Cool. Cool. All right, so we’re gonna start in, I’m just double checking to make sure everything’s on 

Speaker 2: (00:10)

great. I’m here with Charlene and her dog penny. There’s

 Speaker 1: (00:16)

a beautiful swimming pool. It’s a foggy day. It’s my last term view of the day. She’s going to tell me her story. Do you have a plan of how you do it? Always tell the story the same way.

 Speaker 2: (00:28)

Um, yeah, I think I, I kind of do. So, so my NPE story started with not me doing my DNA, but family members. So it started with my daughter and my niece and they decided to do DNA. My, my daughter is all into ancestry and my daughter is, yeah. Okay. And then my sister’s daughter, you know, did her DNA and she came back, you know, half Italian and which I thought I was all my life. Um, and, and so, yeah, well actually she was half of something and then there was Italian and Portuguese and her, which I thought I was half Italian, half Portuguese. My daughter does hers and she comes back and says, mom, why is there no Italian in my DNA? And I’m like, I don’t know how accurate are these things. Everybody said, brand new, you know, she’s just starting to do this anyway.

 Speaker 2: (01:23)

And she’s like, oh no, this is really weird. So my daughter’s really kind of getting into this. She’s learning about all these numbers and how everything connects, but she’s still a little confused. She talks me into getting my mom’s DNA done, but she says she can’t spit in a tube. So do this one where there’s a swab. So it’s a different, a different DNA than that we did for her. That was not hers. We, hers, it was originally 23 and make, and I talk about that. Yeah, you can say them all, I guess. Whereas I did my moms on family tree DNA, so I did my mom’s and you know, she comes back, you know, all this Portuguese, like almost all Portuguese and, and that was all right. Um, and then my daughter’s smart enough where she literally uploads her 23andme data onto this family tree.

 Speaker 2: (02:12)

So she knows how to work this. She knows interconnected system. She’s good at getting created. Good. So she comes back and says, Gee, you know, mom, there’s this Portuguese lady now. My original Portuguese family came from Madera Islands through Hawaii. And then my grandmother was born in Hawaii, but then most of them immigrated to California. Okay. California, um, you know, Santa Clara area. And she said, this lady has the same history, but she is not related to grandma. Okay. And I’m like, well, I don’t know how that can be cause grandma’s the only port again, this family that, you know, we have, she says, well it’s, she’s, she’s related to me but she’s not related to grandma. And I’m like, well that’s weird. Totally weird. Like are already confused. I mean a following, but it’s, yeah, it just gets, I’m like seeing really fast how accurate is this stuff. 

Speaker 2: (03:07)

So in the meantime, my brother up in Oregon, um, does his DNA for, for medical reasons. He wants to know some medical things and then he does 23 and me, he connects with my daughter and he connects with my niece. He should be related to them identically, but he’s not. And he says, why am I half his related? He tells me this to your daughter as I am to our sister’s daughter, right? Like it’s 24% to my niece and 12% and you haven’t even done the test on my desk. In fact, it’s, it shows him as a, as a cousin, not an uncle to my daughter. Oh. And in the meantime, my son does his DNA and it’s the same story with him. So these two niece, niece and nephew are not as much related to him. So my daughter calls me and she says, mom, something’s wrong.

 Speaker 2: (04:07)

And I think it’s you. And I’m like, what? And she told me this and she goes, grandma’s got a lot of splaining to do. Right? And I said, well, now that you mention it, I think I’m the only child my mother ever told these stories to. But she always said, you were meant to be me. Oh. She said, because your dad and I were separated. She had my two brothers and they were separated and she said, I got pregnant with you. And that’s why I went back to your dad. And 11 years later they had my sister. Okay. Right. Who is the one with the daughter? The cousin that’s matching the DNA. Yeah. So I’m like, well now that makes me wonder, because she also told me about this really tall, dark, handsome guys she dated that was like woo. And, but she never told me any thing else and I never even questioned it.

 Speaker 2: (05:07)

Right. When I used to question, I always did all my life is why I look nothing like my dad. Oh, that all your other siblings do? All of them do. Okay. And my sister, you know, all of our lives, people say, wow, that’s your sister. You don’t look at all like her. Well, the answer to that was, well, she looks like my dad and I look like my mom. Right. Which I do. And then that happens. It happens. Totally. But what I didn’t know was that this man who is now I know is my dad. My DNA dad is also a hundred percent Portuguese, came from the same island, immigrated through Hawaii. His family and my family were close. Like literally my great uncle is somewhat related to them. So it goes back to Madeira. So there’s a lot of features that are similar. Right? 

Speaker 2: (06:06)

It’s the same, you know, Portuguese family and you know, different family but very much similar looks, well I didn’t know this right when she told me this. I’m like, well this can’t be, but maybe it is. So she’s like, get your DNA done now. Right now. Right now she gave me my, for my mom’s order it online right now, so I get it or it get it and she’s calling me everyday. Did you get it back? Did you get it back? Did you get it back? I said, look, here’s my thing. You log on, you check it out. And how were you feeling at that point? Um, I was feeling a little like, it was kind of funny. Like, like, I don’t know, you know, maybe, maybe not. I mean I really wasn’t making the connection in my head that this could be real. Yeah.

 Speaker 2: (06:53)

Does that make sense? Or what real would feel like? Yeah. And my sister is laughing. She’s like, Oh my God, you are somebody else. You have a different father. This is so cool. And I’m like, I don’t think this is cool. This is weird to me. And she’s laughing, cracking up. Well, the results come back. My brother’s my half brother and my niece is like a cousin to me. Like a distant niece. Exactly. My kids are obviously my kids. And then she uploads my stuff onto the family tree DNA. And the same thing happens. This woman is related to her and I, and not my mother. Um, and my daughter says, mom, she’s our connection. Yeah. She is the missing link. So how did I feel when I found this out? I was devastated. Yeah. I mean, you have been through that, right? It’s like I felt like I lost half of my identity in a day.

 Speaker 2: (07:57)

Yeah. It’s, it’s a, um, yeah. I mean, I’m just, I just, I don’t, I don’t really have the words, I keep saying we don’t have the words like it, but yeah. And, and people always say, well, it doesn’t matter. Your Dad was your dad. My Dad was no longer alive at the time. And what, what does it matter? You know, your family’s your family. Yes and no. Right. It’s like having the rug pulled out from it. Totally. It’s a rug pulling out or uh, yeah, half your half, your understanding of who you are just is gone. Poof, vanished. And, and not just vanish, but almost like a lie. Like who knew somebody must have known, how could this be and why am I 63 years old finding this out now? What have I missed? And now it all started to make sense about the looks. Right?

 Speaker 2: (08:50)

And I used to literally go back to grandparents and see my dad’s parents and my mom’s parents. I would see me in that. I couldn’t find me in my dad’s family anywhere, ever, ever cousins, nothing. So now I’m kinda devastated. And when people say that to you, well, what does it matter? That’s almost hurtful. Yeah. Yeah. No, I agree. So, but now I, I’m thinking, okay, I need to find out where I come from. And so my daughter, this Luth starts Facebook stalking and Instagram stalking people, starting with this lady, right? Starting. Okay. And in the meantime, I go on a trip. I’m, I’m up in Seattle. You haven’t said anything to your mom? Not yet. Um, no, not yet. I haven’t said anything to anybody except my siblings and the family that knows that we’re looking into this. So, uh, Sarah is doing all this flu thing.

 Speaker 2: (09:53)

In the meantime, I’m up in northern or up in Seattle. I get an email from family tree DNA from this woman. Uh Huh. So she, she was also making connections. She made that. She said to me, you just popped up on our DNA and you, I am more related to you than anybody I’ve ever found. How can this be and who are you? Explain yourself, explain yourself. Well, my daughter had done a lot of research. She is one of five kids and three brothers and one sister. And so my daughter is doing all this research on those kids, those, those sons and her father because she didn’t know. She was like, Whoa, we don’t know which one this is, but it’s one of these men in this family. And through process of elimination, one of them was deployed at the time. The other one was way too young and a process of elimination. We came out to this one brother named, um, uh, I knew that was gonna happen. You can answer it if you’d like. No, actually turned off these ringers. You can cut this out, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let’s cut that. I’ll take the opportunity to check the battery power. Good on battery. Why does this keep turning yellow?

 Speaker 2: (11:25)

I don’t know. You’re doing great. I changed. Okay. Okay. Ready when you are. I’m ready to go. Okay. Gilbert, the brother Gilbert. So I, I emailed her right back and I said, well, we think that your brother Gilbert is, um, and my mom had met in 1953 and I am the product of that meeting. And she emailed me back and she was so excited. Oh really? Oh my gosh. She was like, this is so exciting. Oh my gosh. I can’t even believe this. We need to confirm this right. In different ways, which we did. Yeah. So it turns out he’s no longer alive. Gilbert. Right. He died. Um, I think he was in his mid to late fifties. Um, all, everybody else’s alive. He had three kids later after me. Um, two girls and a boy and the one boy, the son had done his DNA on, I think it was 23 and me might’ve been ancestry.

 Speaker 2: (12:34)

I’m not sure which one it was, but he had it private. Oh, okay. So she contacted him and said, can we see it? Yeah. Can we just connect with us and see if this is a match? Came back. He’s a half brother, so now we know who it is. Stephanie Gilbert, Definitely Gilbert. And she starts sending me photos and I was floored. I was amazed at the family. Resemblance is like almost scary. Like you finally, I finally need that. I found the missing link and all of a sudden I felt almost immediately like I belonged. It also helped that she was so warm, warm, and accepting and I was very lucky with that. You know, cause it, I can choose to have my glass half empty, but I feel like it’s half full. Yeah, absolutely. I think that makes such a difference for now. Um, I, I met her, um, last year, so she is an aunt and she is my full aunt.

 Speaker 2: (13:43)

Okay. Yes. Full-Blooded aunt. Um, and, and she was just thrilled. She was like thrilled. And she told my siblings new siblings about me and they were thrilled. Wow. And the reason why is they said they feel like it’s a little gift from their dad. Oh, that’s interesting. Even though he’s gone, um, that, that they had more, that there was a surprise that they were kind of excited about. Wow. That was a really, really lovely perspective. And, and what’s funny is my grant’s, my oldest grandson is 18, almost 18. And we showed him a picture of Gilbert when he was about that age and he said, is that me? The resemblance is amazing. It’s almost scary. Wow. So, you know, now I know. I mean, I really, I know, I feel, I feel like I’ve gained so much because yes, the dad who raised me, I adored and I always will, but now I have all this new family that I just met.

 Speaker 2: (14:49)

I feel like I just met all this new, like they’ve always been there. Like when I found family in Hawaii that I never knew and all of a sudden we’re family. I feel that way. You feel it. You feel a connection. Yeah. Yeah. I was going to ask you where they’re all located. They’re all located up in northern California. Okay. I’m near where I was born and raised. Um, and where my mom had lived at the time, my mom and dad. And um, I recently went through, it, kind of took my time with this, you know, communicating back and forth, getting friends on Facebook and Instagram and, and, and all that. And you know, Kinda got to follow these people, get to know him a little bit. And then I, I contacted, um, my aunt Donna and I said, I’m going to come for a visit. And uh, and we did. And she had family members there. We met at her house once and there were family cousins Galore. One of the cousins says, I’m so glad I’m not the oldest one now you are.

 Speaker 2: (15:47)

I’m like, thanks for that is a gift. You’re welcome everybody. And, uh, and then we went to a restaurant and more family members showed up. Wow. So really huge family. It’s a huge family and I haven’t even met them all. I have not met my, my DNA brother. I met a sister, a half sister, my half brother lives in Manhattan beach. Oh. So close, close. So I need to arrange a time to go and meet him. When did all of this go down? When did you find all this? About a year ago. Okay. Year, year and a half maybe. And since then we’ve grown closer. In fact, I just, I just emailed my aunt today because we’re going back up there. Um, we’re going to take my mom’s ashes and the family plot, you know, with everybody there, but we’re going to go back up there. So I want to see her again and she’s like, I feel like I’ve known you all my life. Oh Wow. And this the sweetest thing. Yeah. That must feel so special. Yeah. Yeah. It’s a little, my sister wants my, my older, you know, my sister that I’ve always known wants to meet her. She says, I feel like it’s part of my family too, but not everybody in my family feels that way. I was, that was my next question. How’s it going for? Yeah. Um, some, some family is a little intimidated by it.

 Speaker 3: (17:10)

Um, 

Speaker 2: (17:11)

I don’t know why I, I think feeling replaced, um, replaced or left out kind of. No, they shouldn’t be left out there. They’re included in everything. 

Speaker 3: (17:24)

Um, 

Speaker 2: (17:25)

I think feeling like they have to share me now when they never did before. And that’s a hard thing for me. That’s been my, probably my most difficult thing to deal with is too, 

Speaker 3: (17:42)

um,

 Speaker 2: (17:44)

make them feel that nothing’s changed. Right, right. My love for them has never changed. You know, you’re always gonna be that special person to me. In fact, you’d been there all my life, so that makes you even more special. But I need also this in my life. This is my family and, yeah, and you can hold both. You can do both. I should be able to, you know, I don’t want to make people mad over here, but you get, they have to understand that they have both halves of their family and I think both halves of mine. It’s my story. It’s really, yeah, it’s my story. I have a good story. I’m sure there’s a lot more controversy that other people are dealing with cause I’ve read some of these things on the NP. But um, yeah, it was, it was devastating. It was, I felt like I felt like an orphan at first and then I got a little bit angry because I felt like, what am I going to do if this family doesn’t accept me?

 Speaker 2: (18:54)

I don’t know. Right. Where does that leave you? Before I actually got in contact with them and then I said, well, I have a right to know my history. I have a right to know my medical history, which also was an issue. My, my DNA sister has informed me of some things I need to know about now. Oh. Which is great. It’s, it’s really good to know this. Um, and then feel kind of scary. It is scary. It feels a little scary to me. Just you’re talking about it like, Ooh, it is scary because all my life, you know, it’s like you, you go to the doctor and you say, no, no, no, no. On those lists and all of a sudden I have to go, yes, yes. In fact, I have an appointment with a Jean Gin genetic counseling, um, because of something that has come up in my DNA that is also in my sister’s DNA.

 Speaker 2: (19:42)

Oh Wow. That could be very serious. But I don’t have the condition. Neither does she, but it’s something that needs to be always watched for if you’re carrying it. Yeah. Yeah. Um, so that, you know, but that’s good that I know that I actually have the ability now to know this. Um, and I wondered, I wonder how this happened because my aunt tells me that her brother, his downfall was, he was extremely handsome. I was going to ask if he was as handsome as your mom described and women went after him all the time and he was very good looking quality problem. I think. So he was younger than her. And here she was, you know, a separated women with two kids. Um, and I think she found herself at a crossroads. You know, she hasn’t told me the story, but I’ve kind of put it together and I’ll tell you why.

 Speaker 2: (20:40)

I think she so many interruptions. I think she found herself at a crossroads in life. She, she was having trouble with my dad. You know, they’d been married a few years. They had these two boys and she always said as we were growing up, you know, never, nobody should ever have a stepfather. Um, cause she didn’t like her stepfather. Oh, okay. So I think she was thinking, I don’t want these boys to have a stepfather. And my dad was older. He was more stable. He had a job, you know, he had the ability to take care of us. So I think she made the best choice. Yeah. But I think she knew, they made the most sense. And I think she knew, I think she knew and, and I’m pretty sure he did. Pretty sure he did. Now that I know what I know. So my oldest brothers are four and five years older than me, and my very oldest brother obviously was five years old. 

Speaker 2: (21:40)

He remembers a lot. So that’s a lot. Yeah, that’s old enough to remember what’s going on. He remembers a lot. He remembers the times when they were with the grandparents and mom was out. Um, he remembers it was your mom. Yes, she was young. She was, uh, 24. He would’ve been 22. So they were young and my, my dad was like 27. See what’s the older guy? The Dad that raised me. So, um, he, many, many years later, this was not too long before he passed, but he spent some time with my oldest brother and he told him, oh, he said, you know, Charlene isn’t my daughter. And My brothers said, Oh dad, don’t be crazy. You know, that’s how it goes. No, she’s, she’s not my daughter. He thought maybe, you know, he was kind of losing his marbles a little bit, but um, no, he knew.

 Speaker 2: (22:39)

Did your brother tell you that at the time when that happened? Not when it happened. I told you later, I have this all came up, this happened. He was like, Ooh, that reminds me. I think that I think that my dad was protecting me in his own way. He didn’t ever tell me. Um, he, I know things were a little different in my life when my sister was born and one of the things that was different as my relationship with my dad and he obviously, you know, a little cute little girl. I mean, he’s got this nice little cute daughter, which is normal. And my mom would always tell me that, well, you’re just the older daughter. It’s okay. You know, you’re feeling a little left out, but the baby of the family. But I never felt that way with my mom. I did with my notice as the shift.

 Speaker 2: (23:24)

Huh. There was a bit of a shift away from our closeness because we were close. He loved me, he adored me. But there was a change when she was born and I think because he knew this one’s mine. Yeah. Yeah. And who knows? Knew that I wasn’t, and as much as he probably never admitted to himself that there was a difference. It was a little thing that I sensed some kind of primal, primal connection that maybe couldn’t be vocalized. I didn’t understand it. Well of course not, you know, I’m a kid. In fact, I was kind of devastated by it for a while till I got get to be an adult and then, you know, we got close again and everything was okay. But he never told me. And I love him more for that. I really understand that because I think he was protecting me.

 Speaker 2: (24:12)

I think they did what they thought was best. And I’m not angry at my mom. I’m a little disappointed cause her and I were extremely close. And in fact, in her final days I’m more or less her caregiver, you know, and all this going on. I wish that as an adult when she was telling me those stories that she would have told me, you know, she had an opportunity and she chickened out. And that’s my mom. That’s my difficult, my mom, you know, I don’t want to go there. And this was 1953 53 and imagine 1953. Yeah. Small Town, little Portuguese community. Whoa. That would have been, that would’ve been a big deal. A big deal. A big deal. That’s not something you admit to anybody. So I, you know, I have a cousin, um, who is my age and it was my mother’s brother’s wife is still living.

 Speaker 2: (25:16)

And I asked, my cousin asked your mom about this, you know, and she said, you know, we didn’t talk about those things then. Um, but she didn’t say that they didn’t know anything. No. I’m picking up on the subutex for sure. Yeah. And there may have been something that everybody has. I have a great uncle who’s my mom’s age who was just sharp as attack. And I asked him, and the crazy thing is he went to school with this guy. Oh, he knows him. He has him. He knows my aunt. He knows the whole family. And he worked with my aunt’s husband and he said, wow. He was a really great guy. He said, I, I remember when your mom and dad were separated, but he said I was also deployed at the time, so he doesn’t, he wasn’t actually physically there. Men notice different things maybe too.

 Speaker 2: (26:06)

Yeah. How long were they separated? Your parents, your mom, Dad, I wish I knew. I wish I knew. I would love to find out from somebody, sit down with my aunt, my cousins mother. Um, my dad’s sister’s still living and uh, she was my mom’s best friend since junior high school. Oh. I’m thinking she knows more, but I have not, that Italian side of my family was always very distant and we actually got her contact information and spoke with her back when my dad passed away. We’re trying to get ahold of her right now because, you know, we want to let her know about my mom, but we can’t seem to get ahold of her. But I would really like to ask her, you know, what do you know? Yeah, yeah. I think there’s a lot. Yeah, there’s like a whole world of does like a whole life that our parents lived with, their friends and their siblings.

 Speaker 2: (27:08)

And as a, as young adults that we just don’t even think about. And I wish that I would have known earlier when my mom was more lucid. You know, we’re talking just a few years would have made a huge difference. It made a difference because I would have asked her all these questions. It’s come on mom, tell me that. Just tell me, you know, how did you meet? How did it happen? You know, I know it wasn’t a one night stand. I know that, I know there was a relationship going on. Um, and I think that she ended it when she found out about me and she went back to my dad and that’s probably the best I can come up with. Right. And you’ll know. Yeah. I don’t know timing. I know she was living in my grandmother’s, well they had like a basement apartment. She was living there at the time, next door to my grandmother’s house.

 Speaker 2: (28:00)

Um, and I was born when I was living, when they were living there. My Dad must move back in there, but I have nobody to ask. Yeah. So you seem kind of a piece with that though. Some for some people that’s really, really, that’s really agony to not be able to know for sure. Yeah. I guess what I know for sure is that I have an incredibly large new family that has really accepted me. Yeah. That would one ways that I really can’t even be more thankful for and what I don’t know are details that I really don’t. I guess I don’t need to know. I would love to know, maybe that’s an important difference to note to understand about yourself though. The difference between wanting to know and needing to know that’s true or curiosity. That’s true. It doesn’t define me either way. What defines me now is that I’m kind of special, right? 

Speaker 2: (29:02)

Well that when I said that your other siblings could feel left out, it’s almost, that’s what I was thinking about that like all of a sudden it was a little bit funny that you might have a different dad, but it’s not so funny that you get this like twice as big family and this really cool story. I do. I do have a cool story of my issues. Might, my siblings were really cool with this earlier. Oh No, no. I imagined that they were, but, but, but yes, feeling a little bit left out. And my sister, she’s just, she’s so funny about it because every time we talk or something comes up, you know, we talk about, well, who had a, especially lately, you know, with my mom just passing, we’re going over all old stories and we’re talking about, well, what was your, and what did you, who called you what? And you know, I said, well, my mom always called me Sherlyna and my sister goes, I never had a nickname. And I said, well, you know, your name is so pretty. Her name is Dominica

 Speaker 1: (29:53)

[inaudible], which is my grandmother telling grandmother’s name. Good thing. I didn’t get named that name. Right. But, and she always says, Gosh, this is no fair. You had, you had nicknames and now you get a whole new family. Totally, totally. I was saying earlier to somebody that like someone, they get what, you know, they, everyone always asks like, did you feel different as a kid? No, but I thought that the idea that I could be adopted was really cool. Yeah. That’s, it just seems really cool. That’s true. Second Grade. Yeah, but that’s second grade. I always wanted to be a twin. Yeah. That too. I mean, we handle our cool kids were adopted. We’re cool. Every families that all looked exactly alike.

 Speaker 2: (30:30)

I thought that was cool. Yeah. Or, or just really different than ours. Yeah. I, I, I would have liked to feel like I fit in physically. Obviously I fit in, you know, my, my siblings and I all, you know, we love each other and we’re a pretty close family, but I would’ve liked to look like them, you know? Is that funny? Is that odd? 

Speaker 1: (30:54)

I don’t think so because I almost everybody I talked to has that same desire. It has something to do with belonging. 

Speaker 2: (31:04)

I think so. And I, and I felt like I belonged, but I felt like something was missing. You know, these all start talking about this and about that look and about that look. Yeah. Look like mom. I looked like mom. I look like, mom, why don’t I look like anybody else? And suddenly I find this huge family that I look like and my kids, my daughter a lot, the one who’s the sleuth looks a lot and her kids. And it’s so easy to embrace that when you have that.

 Speaker 1: (31:34)

Yeah. I wonder if that really like, I wonder if it just touches on how people look. I don’t know. I like I, I have, there’s some kind of theory forming, but I’m, I don’t know how the words for it, but like we’re supposed to look more like our families, you know, then we’re not our families. I don’t know. I think that we are naturally drawn to familiarity. You know, when you’re a baby, a baby sees their mother’s face

 Speaker 2: (32:02)

all the time and that familiar face when they’re in a room and they can’t see mom, they cry. They’re looking for that familiarity. And I think as they grow up, it’s like a tribal thing. You know, we, we 

Speaker 1: (32:16)

kind of tend to go toward familiar faces. Yeah, no, absolutely.

 Speaker 2: (32:21)

And I’ve always thought, this sounds silly, but you know, most babies are just adorable. When they’re born. Some babies like you know that Seinfeld, 

Speaker 1: (32:32)

right. But the parents don’t see, right, totally. Yeah. Because every day when they look in the mirror, that’s what they see. Yeah. And the familiar face with this baby is they can’t help but love it. It doesn’t matter. Right. It just doesn’t matter. So I think, yeah,

 Speaker 2: (32:48)

that that whole familiar face thing is kind of a big tribal human thing that we do. It runs really deep for sure. Yeah, for sure. What you want. Yeah. That’s why probably you know, when people immigrate you notice that they of course the language is one thing, but they all end up in like the same place. But they like to be together, you know, like communities. And we had this Portuguese community up up there in Santa Clara. We had the Italian side too, which is how my mother met my dad because my mother, her best friend was my aunt. And so she would go over there to eat the Yummy Italian food and my dad came walking in one day and she was like, who is that? And what’s funny is there similarities in there? And the type sure. Oh yeah. I like to be a such a common, she loved curly hair. Oh my gosh. And I have this wild hair that is has to be straight. And so she always said, well, you got your curly hair from your dad. But now 

Speaker 1: (33:55)

my dog’s at different dad. Yeah. Different Dad with curly hair. That was the only thing I could lay claim to is that at least I don’t have my mom’s here. I got this guy get this great curlier. Yeah. Um, so you wished so you do wish that your mom could have, could have told you.

 Speaker 2: (34:09)

Yeah, I do. I have a regret there. I have a regret. My aunt tells me, I really wished that Gilbert would have known about you.

 Speaker 1: (34:21)

He would have adored you. Oh, that’s hard to hear. Or what he says. I know

 Speaker 2: (34:26)

he never knew because she was always at his side when he was dying at cancer and she said he would told her death bed kind of thing. Um, and everybody talks so much about him. You know, my, even my uncle said he was a great guy. I wish I’d have met him. 

Speaker 1: (34:51)

Yeah, that sounds when you said that earlier that year, their uncle said he was a great guy. I thought, Oh, I wish I, I wish I’d have met him. I wish he would’ve, 

Speaker 2: (34:59)

he would not have missed out when he passed away. He didn’t know he had grandchildren already and at the time his kids had not had kids yet. He would’ve been so blessed by that. Then the flip side is that my life would have been very different, especially if I’d found out young. Yeah. And a lot of things would have changed. So I can’t regret the way my life panned out. I’m happy with my life. I still would’ve liked to find out as an adult. Yeah. Just to go back and step in time and say, hey, did you know this? You know, tell me about it. [inaudible] and I couldn’t because it was already too late. That happens to so many people, but that doesn’t make it less painful experience. Yeah. To be common. I see on the Facebook page when, when people meet their dad and I get a little jealous and then I hear the bad stories and then I feel like, oh yeah. You know, thereby the grace of God. It could,

 Speaker 1: (36:12)

oh man. Alive. I mean the spectrum is just so broad of what could happen. Yeah. Do you have any advice for people that have just found out or people that, like people that are just entering this world? Is there something that you wish you had known?

 Speaker 2: (36:33)

Um, I think, I think that the best thing I could say is that, do what you can to find out the truth. But don’t let it change who you are. Don’t, don’t let this be a life changer for you. That’s gonna spiral you into somewhere that you don’t want to be. If, if it doesn’t work out the way it did for me. So be it because you had a life and you’re in a good place. Even if that life you had wasn’t what you wanted wasn’t the best. It’s what you had. So you gotta make the best of it. And I feel like it’s not what happens in our lives that defines us or that makes us who we are. It’s what we choose to do with. So choose to use it wisely. Right. The information. And the other thing I would say to anybody out there going to get their DNA is, you know, be ready, be ready.

 Speaker 2: (37:35)

And I went into it knowing I had no desire to do my DNA before that, but I went into it knowing, I can’t imagine if somebody was just saying here, let’s just give this up to all the family and this will be a fun Christmas game. And then Kaboom. And all of a sudden your world is rocked. So be ready for them. Right. And you knew when your end, you still described feeling devastated and right. Confused. Yeah. So really good idea. Yeah. And the other thing is you got to go let your doctors know. Right. And you know, every single yes, whole, um, it’s a whole different ah, animal changes, party, whatever you want to make us an LG. It’s why I think it’s important to know, you know, we, we have so many preventive things we can do nowadays. Our medical fields are getting so good that, um, it’s good to know. 

Speaker 2: (38:31)

I had actually told my doctor about it and his daughter in the front office, so he came out and he, you know, he’s writing things down and he says, we’ve got to change some things in her file. You wouldn’t believe her story. So we told her, she went and bought DNA kits for the whole family. Oh my gosh. We did our DNA. You inspired me. You didn’t find out any surprises. She’s like, I think this will be fun. And you’re like, no, no, you didn’t. You clearly weren’t listening to the devastation part. Yeah. She said, well, you know, my dad said that he had a few indiscretions in college and he was a little worried about that. And I said, well, I’ll have you be prepared and buckle up. Yeah. That is wild. Yeah. So here we are. Here I am. Um, and I just hope that everybody, I just wish everybody had a story like mine.

 Speaker 2: (39:18)

Yeah. It’s too bad that they, they can’t all be that way. No, they can’t all be that way, but they can still make the best of it. No, absolutely. No, I think, yeah, no, I think that’s really important that you can choose. Yeah. Choose what to make, choose what to make of it or what to do with it, which is a process you have to, it’s not like you can just wake up the next day and decide like, I’m going to make this, you know, and that’s positive and move forward and everything’s great. Take your time. You know, I didn’t really do much of anything with it right away. I started exchanging emails and making friends on Facebook, sending photos, getting photos back, you know, by an email. My aunt sent me like a little handwritten family tree that sweet, you know? Um, and I just had to kind of slowly absorb it.

 Speaker 2: (40:12)

Yeah. I um, just sent a note this week to somebody and said, okay, like I think I’m ready to connect. Here’s my email address if you don’t mind being the messenger to the other people. So we’ll see. We’ll see. If they reach back out. And how long has that been for you? It’s been a year. Yeah. Yeah. It took a year before I decided maybe. Yeah, that’s just to exchange the emails and I often wonder what was I waiting for? I don’t really know. I think, I think it just needed to kind of settle in me, am I ready for this? Am I, you know, even though I knew I was being accepted and then I get all excited if I friend a new cousin or somebody on Facebook and they accept my friend request, I’m like, Yay me. You know, it’s kind of silly stuff, but it matters if it matters.

 Speaker 2: (41:15)

It matters. We had the, within about six months, we had a 23 in may contact us to do like a big event in New York and bring people together that had found this out through DNA. And I contacted my new relatives and asked him if they were interested and they said, well, it was like Christmas time anyway, they were too busy, but they said no, now we’d rather meet Ana, you know, quieter basis. Right. So they want, so 23 and you wanted it to be the first time you guys all met. Exactly. Yeah. And they wanted to record it and make it kind of a public thing. And I was like, well, you know, how do you feel about that? And they, they weren’t okay with that, but it was also kind of new. Right. And it was a little bit early and I’m not sure we were already yet to jump into that idea who you’re meeting.

 Speaker 2: (42:06)

You have no, I mean you got, you exchanged some notes and things like that, but you still don’t know the kind of, cause I think of the worst case scenarios, uh, which I’m sure, you know, I wouldn’t, despite what 23 and me was maybe said or, uh, you know, they, everybody’s hoping for something a little bit wild if it’s going to be stuff to watch and true and, and they don’t know. They might be expecting drama and maybe there wouldn’t be in my situation, you know, maybe there’s not enough, I don’t know. Right. But, uh, it was a little bit weird, so, yeah. No, I think that your, you and your family are right to be cautious. Yeah. And we needed to do it slowly. A little bit at a time. So my aunt, you know I was, I was saying her husband’s not real well, but I was saying we’re coming back up north, I’d like to see you.

 Speaker 2: (42:57)

And she said, okay. She says we can either, if you don’t have a lot of time, just come over. I’d love to see you again or I can bring more family members over. It can be a community event. Right. Either way. But my sister wants to meet her, which I think is very sweet. Yeah. That’s really sweet and supportive. Yeah. That’s really cool. Yeah. It sounds like you’ve just got like support. I do on so many sides. I’m very blessed. I really lovely. I have a lot of support and if there’s anybody in the family who really is not okay with it, nobody said it. They haven’t said it to you. The only, the only thing I’m getting, you know from a family member too is, is that little bit of jealousy kind of a thing. Like, you gonna stop loving me now, but I’m dealing with that, you know, in the best way I can will time will tell full time will show them.

 Speaker 2: (43:51)

Yeah. Yeah. It’s hard, you know, to be the only one in this person’s life and all of a sudden there’s more. Yeah. Uh, yeah. So, yeah. They’re cool. Yeah. It’s so funny. Well, thank you so much for sharing your story. I welcome that. Um, I don’t have a lot of drama to show, but every story is different, but I have a story. Yeah. It really is. Yeah. I want to see a picture of this Gilbert Guy I can show you. Yeah. Just wonderful. You know, I think it’s so important to, for people to hear the good stories with the bad stories and, or to not categorize them as good or bad and just understand that anything can happen. This our story, right? They’re all different, but they’re the same story, right. There is surprise. They’re like, amazing. This would never be happening. How many people have been born and died and never knew.

 Speaker 2: (44:46)

I mean, so many. For now, DNA is available. It is a phenomenon. And My mother and my dad never dreamed that this would come out ever. Why would it have ever, I’m going to take this to my grave? You know, she didn’t. Yeah. But it would have been easy to do. Yeah. If it weren’t for that Pesky Internet. I understand too. Why, um, why they do that? I give you them a lot of grace. I know the world was way different than, and I, I really feel for people who are angry with their parents, I feel sometimes I, I try to reach out to them on the Facebook page, you know, give them a little grace. You know, they were scared. Yeah. Yeah. I think, um, I think it is so important to remember, yeah. To remember the age of your, you know, I talk about that a lot on it with everybody and say, how old was your parents or your parents?

 Speaker 2: (45:42)

Um, and I know that it’s not age is just a part of it, but to just put yourself in the sh in the shoes of being well agent and social norms, being being young and being scared and being, trying to figure out what the best decision was and world was so different, so judgmental. So you know, nowadays, uh, there’s really not a reason to keep these things secret, but personal reasons maybe, but not like it was back then. There was no, my mom always said she actually tried to have my, uh, tea to drink tea. My grandmother was a midwife, gave her a tea that would make your uterus contract and she said, if it’s not a strong pregnancy, you’ll lose it. She was lifting furniture and she said, you know, she says, I’m really glad at the time that abortion wasn’t legal cause I don’t know.

 Speaker 2: (46:35)

I might have. And I thought, well Geez, you know, so you really were. So there’s lots of reasons that, or ways that she could see you as like a miracle baby. Absolutely. A marriage together and you weren’t going anywhere. She was determined. Yes. She never said it in a negative way. Not once. She always said, I’m so glad I had you. You know, you’ve turned out to be such a blessing in my life and I didn’t want you at the time. So, you know, I mean that doesn’t hurt me at all. It makes me feel special. But now I know what she’s talking about. What she was also going through inside had to be frightening. Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. So here we are. Here we are in 2019 in a new world, in a world where that just, our parents never imagined. No. And nowadays in this world, in this day and age,

 Speaker 1: (47:29)

don’t try to keep those things secret cause they will come out as they should. I also feel that people have a right to know. Yeah, no, I agree. It’s, I think people, I think it’s going to take a while for the, I think it’s going to take a long time for people to understand that these are secrets that cannot be kept anymore. But I agree that should not be, the shift is going to, I think the shift will be slow.

 Speaker 2: (47:54)

[inaudible] but I think it will happen. It shouldn’t be kept. And the thing I really like, the fact that you’re doing this for people who aren’t in this situation or who have an NPE in their life to understand what they feel and why. You know that always, I think the first response is, well, what does it matter? Your life was good. You had a dad, you know he loved you. Yeah. So many people say that kind of thing. It’s like, I don’t know. It’s like telling a person who knows who finds out they’re adopted and if they want to find their family, well, what does it matter? No, you, you adore your family. None of that. None of that changes. None of it. You can hold both guys.

 Speaker 1: (48:35)

Okay. Yeah. I recently talked about it in a group and it was women people, Group of people I didn’t really know very well, but we were just discussing projects and I said, oh, I’m doing this podcast and this woman like interrupted me to clarify that I still loved my dad or something. It was, it was so interesting she asked you that question. Yeah. Well. Well, it was like, it wasn’t a question, it was like a rhetorical question type statement where she was like, I said something like, well, my dad, you know, I, it’s always confusing for everybody if you say your dad or your biological dad or your, and I was just getting the tiniest summary and she interrupted to be like, well, your dad, the man that raised you is your dad. And I was like, well, yeah, you know, you don’t need to clarify that with me. Like I, yeah. But she was a little combative. She was clearly rattled by the, by the, by the concept. Um, they’re a little like protective of her dad while you’re yeah. And this woman, I don’t know, this woman is like, you don’t know my dad. I do love him, but,

 Speaker 2: (49:37)

and it’s funny because when I say my dad, that’s the man I talk about. Right. Um, and I, I always say there’s my DNA Dad, and there’s my dad. That’s another thing that goes on the questions about what do you call them? Uh, no, there’s my dad and there’s my DNA debt. Yeah. I have my sisters. And my brothers and then I have my new

 Speaker 1: (49:58)

sisters and brothers. That seems like a pretty clear and simple way to categorize it. But it’s really hard for some people.

 Speaker 2: (50:05)

[inaudible] none, none of the feelings that I have for any of them is any different. And I don’t know how any of them could ever think that or how anybody on the outside, like you were saying, could even dream that you would consider that. No, it’s the same. Um, yeah. Don’t, and don’t be angry. Don’t, don’t, don’t be mad about it is what it is. Yeah, it is. It is what it is. Yeah. If you only her emotions, but man, yeah, if you can move through the anger, it’s really better for it for sure. And talk about it. You know, you do need to talk about it. Yeah. It’s funny cause whenever I share my story, like we’re on a hike one day and I shared my story, people love it. They think it’s the coolest thing. They’re like, wow, you know, but I always share it in a positive way. 

Speaker 2: (50:58)

Well, it’s a cool story and everywhere I go, um, there isn’t, I mean I haven’t always, somebody else knows someone who’s had this experience really every, I mean wow. Yeah. Just feels like everyone I meet is like, oh that my neighbor is going through that. My friend is going through that and my husband is going through that. My cousin is going through that and, and finding out through the DNA, like finding it out through paperwork and not somebody actually telling you is also a different way. It’s not like somebody sat you down and said, I have something to tell you. Right, right. You are blindsided. Yup. The blind side it is. Um, yeah, it’s all different. Just like, it’s like fingerprints are like no two are the same. I wasn’t as much blindsided as most people cause I kinda saw it coming, but I still am not until your daughter did hers.

 Speaker 2: (51:53)

Right then. Then when I went to do my DNA. Right. You saw it coming when you did your test. I kind of saw it coming, but you know, you really can’t emotionally prepare yourself for that. It’s like, you know, my mom was 89 years old and I, I knew she was, she was declining, but you’re still not ready for that to happen. And this was like that. It’s a good description. Yeah. Very similar. Like, oh my God, I didn’t know I’d feel this way. Right. Like on paper it’s very simple or intellectually it’s very simple. But cut and dry emotionally is a whole. Um, it’s a whole experience. There’s just not for coast something, you’re just not, things you can’t fathom are not things you can prepare for. No. No. And my new aunt, you know, she said, oh, this must be so exciting for you. 

Speaker 2: (52:46)

And I said, well, it’s funny because at first it was kind of scary and I felt like I didn’t even know who I was. Yeah. You know, my identity was gone. Half of it, what’s the rest of me? But now that I’ve found you now, right? Yeah. It’s like those books that are like, fortunately this happened. Unfortunately this happened. At least I have that some people are really still just looking for the family. They haven’t even found him yet, which is, that would be really hard. That would be kind of good thing. My daughter’s such as sleuth. She just, she knew what to do. I wouldn’t, I don’t know that I wouldn’t know what to do.

 Speaker 1: (53:26)

Yeah, exactly. So, yeah. Yeah. That probably will be a, well my mind was going to say it’s probably will be a growing profession is people that help other people find. Absolutely. But then I might, and then I’m like, why don’t we, it just depends on how long this phenomenon lasts. It’s true. It’s a short, it could be a short lived profession because then everybody will just start telling everybody and figuring it out on the Internet yet. Well maybe people just won’t keep those secrets. Right. That’s what I mean. No, they’re going to come out. So, hey, so it’s a couple generations profession. I don’t know. It’ll be interesting. Do you find that a lot of the people are older? Like in my age group, I would be so interested to see like a full statistics statistics of that. Um, cause I want to say yes.

 Speaker 1: (54:16)

But then I also know that I also know that it’s just a matter of, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. It’s just a matter of time. But I do think it has been, I think traditionally it’s been a little people a little bit older than me that are interested in ancestry.com I don’t know a single person my age, a peer of mine that has done it, but in a lots of parents, lots of people’s parents, um, have done it. You have done it. This is interesting because you’re in the same demographic as my daughter. Right. And I know I’m so interested that she did it so, and I wasn’t interested in it really. In fact, I know a few people that have described family, like older family members being sort of addicted to it and like, oh my God, my mom is just obsessed with ancestry.com and she won’t stop.

 Speaker 1: (55:00)

And, and I was always like, oh, I am just not, I don’t feel attached to, to any sort of heritage. I’m not a person that has like a heritage pride. I’ve always just been very satisfied. That’s in the present. And so they’re always a family historian. Somebody that’s kind of interested in it. My Dad looked into it, why? You know, he went through a phase. Um, yeah, there’s probably always there’s, you know, and just some people are interested in history and some are great uncle is that man, he, he has it written out the size of this table with the family tree. Now he’s got to change it. Right. And he’s also on Facebook and I love it because he literally sends pictures and puts things on Facebook and tell stories that are just priceless. Yeah. I mean that’s, I guess it’s it. I don’t guess I, that sounds wonderful. It’s, it’s awesome. And he’s 89 years old and this guy’s on Facebook and he’s putting all this stuff out into every go through old photos. I see all these coming up on Facebook and this is so and so. And he names the class. Oh, his student’s classmates in the pictures. I’m like, how do you remember that? So people like that too. So valuable. Yeah, no, it’s absolutely like a trait that people, that certain people have that I don’t have. So I, so the world is new to me for sure. Um,

 Speaker 2: (56:25)

but yet my daughter has kind of gotten into that. So I connected her with my great uncle a while back before all of this so she could get more family history from him. And she was doing family history on my husband and who is not her DNA dad, but she knew that can and so she was kind of one of those people really interested in it.

 Speaker 1: (56:49)

Yeah, it was, I was going to say, wait something about the people that are into that. Oh, I think this is what I was going to say. I think you have to keep in mind that the, a lot of the people that are willing to talk about this to me, um, their parents have passed away and so there’s a, they feel more free to talk about it. So younger people who still have parents, um, there may be a layer of complication that’s preventing them from talking. So just because only older people are talking to me doesn’t mean that the younger people don’t, aren’t there experiencing it. There’s just a different level of comfort.

 Speaker 2: (57:27)

The point, that’s a really good point. Of course my mom was still here when we were, were talking about it, but you know, for the last year and a half. But, um, but I, I could see how people would be hesitant, especially had my dad been still living. Right. Cause I wouldn’t want to hurt him. So I think that would be a little harder. Yeah. I have to think about it. But I think almost every single person I’ve talked to almost maybe seven, seven of the 10 so far or something, every parents have passed. Interesting. That may put, that may play a big role. Yeah. You’re going to have to find some who still have parents to talk to them, put on this podcast. I know. I’ve got to find every, I gotta find everybody who would be such a different perspective from their view. Yeah. Um, I also think that, uh, that back in the day, you know, in the 50s and stuff, I think a lot of this that we’re talking about after the war, oh my gosh, there was a lot of this stuff going on. So I think you’re going to find a lot of people in that situation totally. Like a whole baby boomer world of secrets. Whereas later, I think people were just more free to say, I’m free to talk, cause the social norms were different. Right. Yeah. I’d be interested. Yeah. It’s all stuff I’ve got to figure out. Yeah. Because we had to research it. Well, I appreciate you doing this to finally try to figure that out because I think talking to people and getting into the stories is the only way you’re going to, yeah.

 Speaker 1: (58:54)

Yeah. It was fun. It’s been really educational. It’s been amazing. I’ll go ahead and turn our mics off. Yeah. Thank you so much. It’s been great.

 

The Eyes are a Giveaway

Speaker 1: (00:00)

Knowing in our Canyon. Oh really? Oh, that sounds, sounds so nice. So nice. 

Speaker 2: (00:09)

Beautiful. I like the cooler, but I’m not ready for the snow yet. So

 Speaker 1: (00:13)

yeah, snow it. Snow is its own animal, but, uh, but I am ready for cooler days in LA for sure.

 Speaker 2: (00:21)

I bet. How’s your baby?

 Speaker 1: (00:23)

Um, she’s good at it. She’s really good. She’s um, yeah, she, I’m like, I’ve got to say, I don’t, I don’t even know. Uh, she’s, you know, like seven week old baby, so she’s, uh, sleeping and eating and crying and that’s about it. Right. Exactly. Yeah. So, yeah. Yeah, yeah. And we were just starting, I think the whole family’s starting to finally settle into kind of a routine, uh, get the feeling for how things are going to go for a little while. Oh, right. Yeah. But we’re waiting. We’re so grateful. She’s a pretty easy baby.

 Speaker 2: (00:59)

Well, good. I’m glad to hear it.

 Speaker 1: (01:01)

Ah, so tell me, um, we can just dive right in if you want or we can talk some more, but you, your story is a little bit unique because it includes like birth certificate discussion. Yes. Yeah. So we can, we can just dive right in. I’m gonna tell ya, tell me, tell me what’s going on. And I may interrupt you. I’m sorry, but I have five questions. Um, but, uh, yeah, otherwise I’m, I’m here to listen.

 Speaker 2: (01:34)

Okay, perfect. Um, well when I say I kind of tell you like how I grew up

 Speaker 1: (01:40)

like that, or do you want me to tell me everything. Okay. All right.

 Speaker 2: (01:46)

So my mom, um, had me when she was very young, she had me when she was 17 and I was her second child. She had my older brother right before she turned 16. Wow. So, yeah, you know, kind of a lot going on. And she, my grandmother, um, took custody of my brother because my mom was so young and you know, kinda said like, Hey, you’re not going to be able to do this type thing. You know, my mom was still very involved and his father was actively involved in his life and he and my mom kinda continued, you know, on and off for quite awhile. And then my mom met the man that raised me and he was not ready to take on somebody else’s child. So at that point, my grandmother legally adopted him, like took full custody of my brother and, um, my mom found out she was pregnant with me. 

Speaker 1: (02:50)

[inaudible] and how, how old was the, was that man

 Speaker 2: (02:54)

just out of curiosity? Um, the man that I believed with, my father, he was much older than her. He was about six years older than her, so she got pregnant with me when she was six. Well, 16, seven, let’s see. Yeah, she got pregnant with me when she was 16, had me when she was 17, so he was in his twenties at this point. And um, you know, so she found out she was pregnant with me and my older brother’s dad asked, you know, is it my child? She said, no, you know, it’s his child. Like she was young, naive. I think she genuinely, you know, honestly didn’t know at that point how close it had been and you know, kind of what the, so she, you know, stayed with this man that she believes was my father and went on to get married three years later, had two more children and they, you know, they ended up getting divorced when I was a teenager and she went on and had one more child.

 Speaker 2: (03:54)

So I had four siblings total. Two I believe that were full siblings and then two half. And you know, kind of through my whole life, I honestly, I never really knew where I fit in. And what I mean by that is that, you know, I, I constantly looked in the mirror and I didn’t see that I looked like anybody, like my older brother and I looked a lot alike. Like I saw that for sure because we both have very unique ties. We have yellow, green eyes. Like that’s the first thing that people always say about us and you know, so I always was like, how do I have these eyes yet my full siblings have like these deep blue eyes. You know, and I have thick hair, they have thin hair, you know, I’m, I’m much curvier than the girl that I thought was my sister.

 Speaker 2: (04:50)

Like, you know, my full sister. And so, you know, just kind of all these things that I always ask these questions and my mom just always said, you know, you favor my side of the family. But I, I never saw that either. And you know, sadly I grew up in a house full of addiction and you know, a lot of, a lot of stuff there. But the man that I believed was my father, he and I never, like we always butted heads. We’d never going to have on that. Okay. I never fit. Like I could never fit into the box, if that makes sense. Like, you know, here I was trying so hard to fit into this box that I didn’t fit into. No matter how hard I try it. And you know, I was just always more outspoken. I was, you know, I just had a mind of, you know, I always just had a mind of my own, I guess.

 Speaker 1: (05:44)

So you always had these ideas and you felt like you wanted, you wanted to fit into the box. You know, I think I could, if I wanted, he could have, you know, I think I just his approval,

 Speaker 2: (05:58)

you know what I mean? Like I never got that approval that I feel like I thought my whole life [inaudible] and you know, he and I just constantly butted heads, butted heads. And when my mom and him got divorced, I left with my mom and my two siblings stayed with him. And you know, that that causes even more strikes like right. You know, when me and him continued to have issues. And 

Speaker 1: (06:27)

how old were you at the time? 

Speaker 2: (06:29)

Um, I was 15 at the time and then when I was 17, I got pregnant. And um, that causes even more issues with, between him and I because basically it was, you know, you’re, you’re going to be like your mom type thing. You know, you’re young, you’re pregnant. You’re,

 Speaker 1: (06:51)

that’s so interesting. Cause I thought I had hoped when you first said that, that he would have maybe understood, I had empathy for the situation because he had been so close to it. No, no.

 Speaker 2: (07:02)

Okay. Well you know, and that was exactly, that was, you know, I mean, you would hope so. And unfortunately that, that continued through the years and he and I always just had this very turbulent relationship butted heads. It unfortunately fed into my relationship with my siblings. Like a lot of now after going to counseling and stuff, I see it with a lot of triangulating relationships because yeah, they have unhealed trauma of their own. Right. Right. And so, um, when I would, you know, fast forward, um, 2012 I went to go get my, um, driver’s license renewed and I could not find my birth certificate everywhere. So I go to vital records and I get a copy of my birth certificate and [inaudible], you know, I didn’t even look at it. They’re like, put me on below. I get to the DMV, I sweat in my paperwork. Right. Yeah. So I’m sitting there at the DMV, I like pull it out while I’m waiting for my number and there’s no, it’s just has my mom’s name on it. Huh. And I was like, that’s weird. So yeah, I get my driver’s license, I call my mom and [inaudible]

 Speaker 1: (08:20)

did it. Sorry, did it say unknown or anything or just was blend it just, no even, huh? I didn’t even know you could do that even now. That was,

 Speaker 2: (08:29)

well, yeah, kind of like, I was a little bit surprised. So you know, I call my mom and I said, Hey, I just got a copy of my birth certificate. This is a little bit weird. Why is my dad’s not listed? And she said, well we fixed it. And I said, you fixed it. What do you mean? And she said, you know, which I kind of the situation a little bit, but like when I was born there was questions about, you know, basically like the man who raised me was like, Hey, am I really the dad type thing? And, but she, she said that when after they got married, they went in, fix my birth certificate and had him added. And so I just kind of shrugged it off. Like maybe they gave me the wrong copy. Right. Like, do they give me the amended copy?

 Speaker 2: (09:23)

Right. You know, I’d put it in my space. Right? Yes. You know, so I put it in my face and I honestly just kind of shrugged it off. And you know, as the years go on and I continue to have all of these different, you know, issues, everything with the man that raised me. And in 2016 ironically, after a very big fight with him, I called my mom and I was like, you know, can’t you just tell me that? Like, you know, maybe we butt heads so much because he’s not my dad and you know, I didn’t, I didn’t mean it in like, you know, I meant no disrespect, I’ve met no anything by it. It was just, I genuinely could never understand why we couldn’t connect and why, you know what I mean? Like, I just felt like I was treated very different than my siblings with him. Huh. Between, you know, I wasn’t invited on a certain vacation or, you know, just random things that really hurt my feelings. And I’m, I’m not saying I was the perfect child and I made things easy on him by all means, but I was the child. Right,

 Speaker 1: (10:41)

right, right. Yeah. I mean you don’t have [inaudible]

 Speaker 2: (10:43)

does this explain it to parents and yeah. You know, not, not my job to facilitate the relationship and I know this now, but then it really hurt me, you know, over and over again. So, you know, she laughed and she was like, you know, there’s no way. Cross it off again.

 Speaker 1: (11:05)

Only interesting. Only interesting. Cause we may already know the end of this story, but, 

Speaker 2: (11:08)

yeah, exactly. Well that’s good though. No, we laugh about it because it’s, you know, I mean I was actually on the something, so, um, so in 2018, um, you know, everybody starts doing all the DNA. Well, I, I’m guessing people were doing them long before that, but it kind of blew up on social media. Right? Everybody’s like, Hey, look what I did. Right. So, you know, my husband and I are like, Hey, this will be fun. Let’s jump on this bandwagon, you know? Sure. So we got our tests and we did them. I got my results six weeks later, you know, no big surprises about my ethnicity. Like it’s 100% European, you know, I’m held really led eyes, like it fits. So I honestly glad for that. I think once or twice and then I didn’t do anything else with the app. Like I didn’t know that there was like a messaging feature on there. I didn’t, I knew there was the relative feature. Like I went in and glanced at the relatives, but I didn’t see any names that I knew. So I was like, okay, no big deal. So 

Speaker 1: (12:21)

Steve, you’re not looking for it if you’re just not expecting it. I just, yeah, I don’t see, sometimes it’s right in front of your face.

 Speaker 2: (12:29)

Well, and that’s what’s so funny is I was just like, okay, I have no idea who any of these people are. But it didn’t shock me just because like when it came to the man that raised me, we never knew any extended family outside of like our immediate cousins and stuff. Right. And, you know, I mean, I knew a lot of my mom’s family, but you know, I still didn’t see any names or anything that jumped out at me. Right. And so I, uh, I ended up getting a new phone and I didn’t even download the 23 and me app at the, you know, at the end of 2018. I was like, Oh, I’ll download it later. And, uh, on January 3rd of 2019, my husband and I went to a comedy show

 Speaker 1: (13:12)

and the chameleon was just soaking about January this year.

 Speaker 2: (13:16)

Yeah. You know, he’s talking about his 23 and me results and you know, just funny stuff and we’re laughing about it and we get in the car when we leave. And I was like, Oh, I keep getting emails from 23 and me that I have new relative matches, I should really check that out. You know, I didn’t even really know what it meant.

 Speaker 1: (13:36)

Yeah. And so [inaudible] 

Speaker 2: (13:42)

so we get home and you know, we get into bed and I download the app and I log in and um, you know, I’m trying to figure it out because I hadn’t really taken a lot of time and I was like, Oh, here’s the relatives. I click on it and I have a first cousin match and I see it. And I just kinda like stopped because I immediately recognize the last name. It’s my older brother’s last name. And I just sat there and I was like, huh, that’s a coincidence. Like, you know, my first thought was, Oh wait, right. I was just like, huh. And so I like turned my phone to my husband and I’m like, do you recognize that name? And he goes, yeah, that’s the plus name. And I was like, I was like, it’s saying this person is my cousin. And we’re both like, huh. And so I screenshot it and I texted my brother, I’m just hoping he’s awake because it’s almost midnight. Yeah. And I texted my brother and I’m like, Hey, I’m like, really weird thing. I just matched with this call, has your last name. And I sent this screenshot and he goes, Hey,

 Speaker 1: (14:57)

I know her, that’s my cousin. And I said, I said, well that’s my cousin. And he goes, Oh my hell, like in big letters like,

 Speaker 2: (15:10)

and he goes, you know what this means? And I was like, you know, I just sat there for a second like kind of I think just like everything, like almost like a movie reel in my head of like all these random things in my life. Like, I don’t know, I just sat there and I thought of all of these things that I had like asked questions about or, you know what I mean? Just random things. And I was like, 

Speaker 1: (15:38)

how many forgettable moments that become

 Speaker 2: (15:41)

crystal clear? Like exactly. You know. And I said, we sent me a picture of your dad because I hadn’t seen him since I was much younger. And so he sends me a picture and like my hands were like shaking at this point, like you don’t, me and my husband are just sitting now, we’ve got like the lights on, we’re sitting here and my hands are shaking. And I opened that pitcher and I think both of us just like our jaws, like wow. Because it was, I mean everything, my lips, my cheekbones, my smile, my like round her face, like just everything. And I was just like, Whoa. Yeah. And my husband goes, that’s your dad. 

Speaker 1: (16:29)

That’s okay.

 Speaker 2: (16:31)

You know? And I just kinda like,

 Speaker 1: (16:33)

and you block, I guess your, your brother just didn’t had never thought of it or hadn’t seen, hadn’t, wasn’t close enough to hear

 Speaker 2: (16:45)

like, yeah, like we, so here’s the thing, like once we start talking, he goes, this all makes sense.

 Speaker 1: (16:55)

Like,  you know, you start kind of putting it together of like, you know, he and I looked like twins when we were little, like, yeah. Identical. Oh wow. And you know, we’re only 15 months apart, so it’s your like, we’re not, you know. And so, you know, at this point it’s like 1230 and I’m like, I have to call my mom. Like I can’t wait until the morning. Oh wow. Uh huh. So I, I, yeah, I was just like, I have to ask. So I send her a text and I said, Hey, are you awake? And she called me. Right. You know, she called me right back and she was like, are you okay? What’s up man? And so I kind of go through everything. He goes, what? And I, I’m like, hang on, I’m going to send you a picture of this. I want you to look at it on your phone. And she says, so she, I think first she was shocked and then she laughed and she goes, you know, well, DNA could be wrong. 

Speaker 1: (18:00)

[inaudible]

 Speaker 2: (18:01)

and I miss like the DNA. I don’t, I don’t know how DNA can be wrong. Like, and so then

 Speaker 1: (18:09)

even if it was wrong, it would be such an amazing coincidence if like it was wrong and it identified this other family. Right. Amazing. Yeah. 

Speaker 2: (18:20)

And so she goes, well, I hate to break it to you, but this, this isn’t incorrect. And she said, because we did a DNA test when you were a baby. And so then I’m like, Whoa, that’s new information. Like I remember you telling me that he questioned, but you know, so she proceeds to tell me that it was actually my, his parents. So my, you know, I still consider it my grandparents of course, but they, they were suspicious that he wasn’t my father based off of what I looked like, that they hadn’t been together for so too long. So on the down-low, my mom’s mom, my mom, me, and then my alleged father, his parents, they all went and took me and got me a DNA test that supposedly came back and said I was his child. Um, this was a 1980 so I don’t know what DNA testing was at that point. 

Speaker 2: (19:27)

Um, you know, I don’t know the specifics there, but you know, that’s what she tells me and I was just like, well, this is really suspicious. Like, I’m looking at this picture of this man that I look like, like I’m telling you, you know, and she says, yes. Well, you know, she’s like, it’s just, it’s not possible. And I’m sure she was just in shock at this point. And so we hang up the phone and you know, my husband has to go to bed, he’s got to be up for work in the morning. And I’m just like, really? And you know, my mind is just like, Whoa. And so, you know, my, you know, my kids are all night owls and so start talking about with my kids and then we start digging out photo albums, like, look, 

Speaker 1: (20:12)

looking at me as a kid, how different I look 

Speaker 2: (20:17)

absolutely. Like it’s just, I mean, standout, you know, I’m there with the, the dark hair, the led eyes, like it’s just very obvious. And so, you know, the night my mom called me back actually about an hour later and she’s like, I’m, she’s like, I’m just tripping out. 

Speaker 1: (20:38)

Yeah. He, yeah.

 Speaker 2: (20:40)

You know, she’s like, I don’t know how this could happen. I don’t know. I don’t think this is true. And you know, she always maintained a very like good cordial relationship with my brother’s father. Um, despite my grandmother having, um, custody, um, her and his dad always just talked and you know, they stayed in touch all these years. And so she said, you know, I actually talked to him today and she said, I’m going to call him in the morning. And I said, well, I’m sure Jay will want to call him. Yeah. My brother. Yeah. And kind of give him the heads up. And so, you know, we hang up and the next morning, you know, I’m getting, I start getting all these semesters because my brother is very excited for a couple of reasons. Number one, you know, he kind of always felt like the, um, I don’t know if I can say this, so bleep it out if I can’t. 

Speaker 2: (21:42)

He kind of felt like the bastard child, um, you know, he, he didn’t ha, you know, the whole situation with my grandma and my mom. And then the man raised me, didn’t want to raise him, you know, full siblings, you know, just kind of this whole thing. So he’s just excited. Like he’s just like, Oh my, you know, it makes sense and he’s so happy and we just, you know, and so, you know, the next day we’re just talking and I said, okay, well to settle this for everybody before, you know, it kind of explodes. I’m an order, we’ll do like a sibling DNA test. [inaudible] you know, it’ll be me, my brother will do my mom’s DNA as well because that makes it more accurate. So I get online, order the kit, do all of that. And then my, I was contacted by somebody else in the family that, um, basically told me that I shouldn’t like open this door.

 Speaker 2: (22:44)

Ah, okay. I know that I’m, I’m opening a door that I shouldn’t open and I’m going to, you know, I should keep this on the down low. It’s nobody’s business. It’s, you know, and like I stopped right there and like I called my husband after and I was like, you know, first my first emotion was I was angry and I was angry. I know because I was upset that it’s like my truth that I should get to share. How I want like, but other people are trying to, I dunno. I felt like I was raised that way a lot. Like you keep stuff under cover, right? Like let’s just sweep it under the rug type thing. Like, so, you know, I actually contacted my, I, I had been going to counseling for a while at this point anyways because of my issues with the man that raised [inaudible] me, you know, and just my own stuff.

 Speaker 2: (23:38)

Oh. I actually texted my counselor and kind of gave her the rundown of what was going on and she said, you know, it’s your decision. Like, you know, your choices, you can, you can say what you need to say in a respectful way that’s not, you know, shaming anybody or you know, all of these things. And so she just said, remember like, this is you, this is your story. You don’t have to do what anybody else wants you to do. Yeah. Oh yeah. And you know that I, I understand that perspective for the fact that it was different times in the seventies and eighties right? Like women were shamed a lot more for, you know, having, you know, multiple partners. Like it’s not like my mother was out sleeping with everybody at once. It was two people in a very short amount of time. And you know, 

Speaker 1: (24:28)

yeah. About like, Oh no, I drink pot type of thing. Like I think that was, 

Speaker 2: (24:36)

but I was going to make her look bad in a certain light or something. Right, right. You know, which was never mind.

 Speaker 1: (24:44)

Right. People would say things when people don’t mock or, yeah, yeah. I know how people do it. People talk. I think that’s so, I think people, people, a lot of people on the podcast talk about like, which, what era it was. And I still, I’m not sure that we’re, we’re that much more progressive now really, honestly. But I agree 100%. I believe we haven’t made much progress. Continue. Yeah.

 Speaker 2: (25:09)

So, you know, all of this is kind of going on and then I start getting messages on Facebook because my brother’s excited. He’s talking to people. Um, some background on that is that I knew a lot of my brother’s family, like his uncles and because me and my brother were always really close too. Right. Not growing up in the same house. I would go and hang out with him. 

Speaker 1: (25:34)

Pam. Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah. 

Speaker 2: (25:36)

A lot of our uncles are our age [inaudible] so, right, right, right. Yeah. You know, and so we were always close, like, so I started getting messages and they’re like, Hey, we just want you to know we love you, support you, we’ve always raised you like in our family, like your little sister type thing. And you know, so I felt so welcomed because then everybody starts reaching out to me that I didn’t even know. Yeah. And so sweet. And so we, so fast forward to Sunday, like we had gotten the DNA test. We did, we went up to, my mom’s all met together, did it. I shipped it out on Monday morning. And then my brother called me on Monday morning and he said, Hey, my dad wants to talk to you. Are you ready for that? And I was just like, I don’t know, what do I say? 

Speaker 2: (26:30)

What if it’s weird? Like, you know, I just kind of panicked and I was like, you can give him my number. I said, you know, tell him to call me in a couple of hours. Like I need to kind of get my mind. And I think my whole underlying thing, there was majority of my interactions with a man that raised me were always so tense. And I always felt like I had to be on guard, I guess. Like I could never let my walls found because no matter how hard I tried, I wasn’t successful, you know, in, I never got what I wanted out of the relationship I guess. Like I never got the praise or you know, any of those things that I wanted so badly and [inaudible] so, you know, I kinda waited like on pins and needles. Like what if he doesn’t call? Like what if he doesn’t want to talk to me or, yeah. 

Speaker 2: (27:23)

You know, I kinda start like building it up in my head. Like it’s going to be a negative experience. And I got a phone call and I answered. And the weird, like the sense of calm just kind of went through my whole body. Like I heard his voice and it was just so, he’s just like McKell and I just like, I wanted to cry because I, I felt so instantly, like connected to somebody that I didn’t even know, like, Oh my gosh. And it was just like, how, how does that work? Do you know what I mean? Like, yeah, I’ve met this man a handful of times in my life with a child and I can talk to him on the phone. And it was just, it was, I was so worried about like, awkward pauses or, you know what I mean? 

Speaker 1: (28:13)

Yeah. I mean, it’s the, the idea of it is awkward. Undeniably. 

Speaker 2: (28:17)

Exactly. And it wasn’t though, like it was just, it just flowed. And it was, you know, he asked me, you know, just about me. And he was like, are you okay? Like, how do you feel about this? Like, you know, and then he was very honest with me and he told me, he said, you know, we were young and he said, when your mother found out she was pregnant, I asked if you were mine. And you know, he says, I truly believe that she didn’t know it was such a small window. And um, you know, then he just proceeded to tell me about like his wife and then about, you know, I have eight other siblings from him. Gosh. And, and this is the crazy thing. So my dad has 10 children total. And so we range in age from my older brother’s 40 and then it goes all the way down to us having a seven year old brother. 

Speaker 1: (29:12)

Oh wow. Isn’t that crazy?

 Speaker 2: (29:18)

Yeah. So, you know, he’s, he’s telling me about everybody and he’s asking about my kids and he’s asking about my husband and you know, I just, it was such a genuine conversation and it just like when we hung up, I felt so, like my heart felt so full because I, I had always like wanted that.

 Speaker 1: (29:42)

Yeah. So I was thinking was like finally you finally got the conversation you wanted or the or the relationship.

 Speaker 2: (29:49)

Exactly. And that was our first conversation, you know, and we talked for an hour and it was just, it just was fine. It wasn’t awkward. It wasn’t tense. I wasn’t worrying about, you know, like being reprimanded or something for, you know. And so, um,

 Speaker 1: (30:09)

that sounds exhausting. The other kinds of conversations. 

Speaker 2: (30:13)

Yeah, it really was a bit, you know, I mean, it’s still makes me sad and so to go back to the band that raised me at this point, he doesn’t know what’s going on because we wanted to wait until I had the DNA.

 Speaker 1: (30:25)

Right. That makes sense. That makes sense to me.

 Speaker 2: (30:29)

You know, in the same sense, like I have not had a consistent relationship with him for many, many years. Like at this point when this all went down in January, I had not talked to him for months

 Speaker 1: (30:42)

and he wasn’t even married any, he hadn’t been married to your mother for so long and forgot it

 Speaker 2: (30:47)

many, many years. Exactly. And so, um, you know, just, that’s just kind of how our relationship went, like here and there. And it’s not like we talked on the phone, it would be a random text here and there. And so the day, um, like that Tuesday I had melded the results on Monday and that Tuesday I text him and I said, I said, Hey, you know, I would like to talk to you. I said, I, I would, I would like to do it in person. And I said, I know that, you know, we have our issues and stuff and you know, but I would like to come and see you. And my ultimate goal there was, you know, me and my husband go and meet with him. And that way I could sit down with him, I could explain this situation. And you know, this man has been in my life for 38 years. So it’s not like I just want to say, Hey, see you regardless of our relationship. And you know, my, my whole goal was, Hey, maybe we can sit down, I can explain everything and then we can maybe move forward. Like, we can try to build a relationship. Like, you know, my hope was that he would be like, Hey, you know, you’re my kid. It doesn’t matter. You know, I still love you. Like I do need to try harder I guess is what I want. 

Speaker 1: (32:06)

Which I cycled about unrealistic expectations. Well, well I was, I was, yeah, I was imagining that the two of you might find a connection over both being being sort of surprised and both being accidentally sort of accidentally tricked or you know, [inaudible] not that your mom was malicious, but of course though, and that, you know, this would be, this would be, this could be a way to come together. I could like opening the door, I can tell them, see, I can totally see where your optimistic came from.

 Speaker 2: (32:41)

Well good because 

Speaker 1: (32:42)

right, no, I look at it and I’m like, Oh my God. Yeah, sure.

 Speaker 2: (32:48)

So, you know, he responded hours later and he, you know, he was like, why, what’s going on? And so, you know, at first I was just trying to be like, Hey, you know, like everything’s fine, but I want to talk to you in person because I felt like this needs to be something that I said face to face, not a phone conference. 

Speaker 1: (33:09)

Yup. That makes sense to me. 

Speaker 2: (33:11)

So we kind of text back and forth and then, you know, I, it was late, I didn’t hear from him again. And the next day I got the results.

 Speaker 1: (33:20)

My brother and I were full siblings. Huh.

 Speaker 2: (33:23)

So, um, I took, I took a screenshot of the results and I sent it to, um, my mom. Um, my biological father, I included my brother. And then I also had my step mom’s number. I had talked to her the night before. My dad had called me back and said, Hey, you know, I would like you to speak, you know, with my wife. Like, are you comfortable

 Speaker 1: (33:46)

on that? And when you see a step mom, you say step-mom meaning like your, your biological dad’s wife

 Speaker 2: (33:52)

Y yes, yes. And so, you know, I sent a text basically what the results, and I said, it’s a girl, but the pink card

 Speaker 1: (34:01)

don’t

 Speaker 2: (34:03)

like I, you know, I was kind of shaking like, Oh, I don’t know what to say at this point. Right. Um, 

Speaker 1: (34:08)

LOL,

 Speaker 2: (34:09)

you know, and you know, everybody responded very well. And, um, at this point, the only, well, so my youngest sister knew at this point, um, from my mom and cause I had talked to her and then my, my sister from my, um, from my, the man that raised me, she, she and I had talked, I had updated her and um, you know, so she and I spent some time talking and she, she and I had many years where we had a really rough relationship because of that kind of triangulating. So we both, after going through counseling, like she and I have a very close, very positive relationships that we were able to, you know, like she’s been a huge rock for me in this situation. Soundboard. And you know, so I made sure to tell her. And then I text the man that raised me and I said, you know, I still would like to talk. Are you able to get [inaudible] 

Speaker 1: (35:10)

yeah, there’s night. And

 Speaker 2: (35:12)

he ended up, he ended up like panicking type thing thinking that something that’s wrong with my health. And so, you know, I guess I needed to be, I was trying to be vague but not, you know what I mean? It’s kind of a hard line, like

 Speaker 1: (35:24)

totally hard. Yeah. Especially in this day and age of text messaging.

 Speaker 2: (35:28)

Exactly. You know, and we had not talked on the phone for almost a year at this point. And so finally, like I was going to go over to his house at 11 o’clock at night because he was pestering me and pestering me. And then I finally just said, you know what? I’m going to call you. And so I called him and you know, he’s like, what’s wrong? What’s wrong? And I was like, I said, you know, my health is fine. I said, but this is something that I really want to do in person. Can we talk tomorrow? And he was like, no, no. And so finally I was just like, okay. And so I just kind of blurted it out. Yeah. And you know, he sat there for a minute, really quiet and then he said, um, he said, how do you know for sure? And I explained like we did the DNA test.

 Speaker 2: (36:17)

Okay. Question 23 and me. Yeah. And then he said some, you know, not so nice words about my mom, which I can understand like his probably frustration at that point. And I said, um, you know, I just kind of sat there for a second cause I didn’t quite know what to say. And he was quiet. And then I said, did you know I wasn’t yours? Which I felt like was a third question based off of our relationship. And yeah, he said, well, I suspected it when you were little, like when you were born and you know, then I asked him if he knew that they did a DNA test on me when I was a baby and he said, no, he knew nothing of this. And, um, I kind of felt almost in that moment, like back to being like a teenager between them, like triangulating the parent relationship because it was just kind of, you know, and I, I didn’t want it to go there and I explained to him, you know, where I stood on things. 

Speaker 2: (37:23)

So, you know, I did plan to meet my biological father that I did plan to pursue a relationship with my family was, yeah, exactly. You know, and he said, you know, I think that, you know, and then he goes, why? Why would you do that? Ah, I said, why, why wouldn’t I do that? You know? And I, I tried to explain to him like, I’m not doing this to hurt anybody or to do anything, you know, like, my intention is not to hurt you and asked you out of my life. And I explained, I hope this is like a stepping stone that you and I can actually genuinely try to build a relationship now. And you know, he said, you know, you’ve, you’ve been my child. You know, I hear my child, you know, which it did. It gave me kind of that little, that little spark of hope that we could actually build something.

 Speaker 2: (38:13)

And um, you know, he and I texted a lot those first couple of weeks. Um, you know about everything he was, that was the first time that he told me the reason, you know, that he was in the wrong when it came to like my brother Jason, he’s like, I was a coward. Like I wasn’t ready to be a father. Oh sure. [inaudible] you know, and that, so that, that was huge. Like I thought that was very big of him because he’s not the type to admit he’s wrong and you know, so we talked a lot those weeks. Then I told him where I stood and that, you know, I was going to meet my family and then kind of radio silence, you know what I mean? Like we, I still haven’t, I still haven’t seen him. I don’t really talk.

 Speaker 1: (38:57)

Okay. So this, cause, this all, I’m still reeling this. So this all started this year in January, so yeah. Okay. So it’s only been, it’s only been eight months total that his entire experience. Okay. So when you say you haven’t talked to him, it’s like that. Okay. That’s like all this is 

Speaker 2: (39:16)

okay. It’s still new. Yeah, it’s still fresh for sure. And, uh, so fast forward to like two weeks after I found out, um, my biological father, my step mom and six of my siblings.

 Speaker 1: (39:29)

Okay. Is anybody, is everybody in Utah or in the area?

 Speaker 2: (39:34)

Um, they’re kind of all over. So I have a sister that lives in Boise, a sister that lives in Virginia and then a brother that lives in salt Lake. And then my other, like the younger siblings based the limit at home with, with my dad and stepmom in down South in Utah. So. Okay. Um, so they came into town, we rented, we got like a banquet room at a hotel close to my house, just because you know, my husband and I have five kids and then, you know, you’ve got my dad and my,

 Speaker 1: (40:06)

no, that makes perfect sense to me. If a lot of people.

 

My Dad and Barbara Streisand 

Speaker 1: (00:01)

Okay. So is there anything else you need?

 Speaker 2: (00:04)

No, I’m good at talking when you start out and you can always edit it, right? Yeah. Oh good. Good, good. Now it’s my job to hold the mic. I forgot. Um, okay. Um, Oh well I didn’t ask you if I can say your name. Yes. Okay, Randy. So I’ve got Randy here. Um, so, all right, so, so I never know really where to start except to just ask you where you like to start so you can tell the story how you want. Um, and then I often interrupt when I have questions, but, um, but let’s see. I definitely don’t want to start with what just happened. I want to get to the beginning. Yeah. Okay. Well I could start from the beginning. Great. 

Speaker 1: (00:45)

Um, in 2006, my dad, my birth certificate dad,

 Speaker 2: (00:51)

I just spilled my drink all down my shirt while Randy began. It’s warm up. I was like, I just completely missed my mouth. Amazing. Randy, would you please begin again?

 Speaker 1: (01:07)

Yes, yes, yes, absolutely. That comic relief was very, very important.

 Speaker 2: (01:13)

I wish I could have. I wish I just could say I planned it. Like every time I have a guest I do something really silly.

 Speaker 1: (01:18)

Good. That’s good. It creates an, an easy fee. It more of a relaxed interview as a result. Um, in 2006, my birth certificate father died and my mother tried to tell me after he died that he wasn’t my father, but she couldn’t, she didn’t really, she just said red, I have to tell you something. I, I, you know, dad wasn’t around and I had to do what I had to do. And I was like, what is she talking about? TMI. I don’t know. And how old was she at the time? She was 80. She was in her early eighties. I think she might’ve just, yeah, I think 81

 Speaker 2: (01:57)

I’m just asking, cause a lot of people say that that happens, but they’re their mother or parent that knows is so old and says kind of off the wall things anyways, so it’s like, Oh, did, was that real? Was it dementia? What was that? Yeah,

 Speaker 1: (02:10)

I felt like I, I thought, I don’t believe her. I did. And then she ends up telling my partner at the time, years later, like maybe three years later, well whatever, I think it was two years later that he wasn’t, that Murray was probably not my father. And she said, tell Randy for me. And my partner was like, I’m not telling her she couldn’t. She eventually she made, she had my mom sit down and two of us were next door. She goes, Vivian, you have to, you should tell Randy the truth. I can’t keep it a secret. And she was shaking and she goes, dad’s probably not your dad. And I went and I had a feeling I did. I did.

 Speaker 2: (02:49)

You always had had a feeling I had a feeling. I think

 Speaker 1: (02:51)

she tried to tell me when I was a child, but I couldn’t deal with it or something came up. Cause when I was 30 I thought, I feel like he’s not my father, but I have no one to ask. So 

Speaker 2: (03:00)

I never, and that just came out of the blue, that feeling I was doing all this spiritual work and looking at stuff. I thought, Oh, next question. Did you, do you have siblings that you grew up with? Okay. Okay. Right. Where was she during this conversation about she was that she was in Los Angeles. Oh, she was around but not in, but not like in the room. Okay. Yeah.

 Speaker 1: (03:19)

Okay. And I think she also tried to tell my sister too, what my sister just didn’t, you know, think it was real because my mother at that point was at pretty much out of it, you know, had had,

 Speaker 2: (03:33)

right. That throws such a wrench into these experiences. It does.

 Speaker 1: (03:39)

So my friend, my, my partner, uh, you know, said tell Randy the truth and my mom was shaking and then she said, he’s probably not your dad. I said, well, was he nice

 Speaker 2: (03:50)

guy? Did you have a good time? I don’t know. I didn’t know if, yeah, I said great.

 Speaker 1: (03:55)

And I didn’t even, I don’t even think I asked her who it was cause I didn’t believe it.

 Speaker 2: (04:01)

And then later on like, Oh, I didn’t believe so you just didn’t believe it and believe it. And then eventually I did ask him 

Speaker 1: (04:07)

was his name. I don’t remember. She didn’t remember. I don’t remember. And at one point she’d say, well, I, there was a furniture salesman. And I said, Oh, okay, do you remember his name? And she just, she just didn’t, she just didn’t remember. I guess maybe she believed it for so long, believed the why for so long. I had to cover up because it was protecting her marriage, protecting me. Who know, you know, in 98. Yeah, 

Speaker 2: (04:32)

I 100% believe that that you can just, that you would just kind of blanket, draw blank, you know, or cross that out in your mind and then just not remember. Also, I’m suddenly at the age where I can’t remember classmates in high school. Like I can’t remember their names and I never thought I would ever do that. So if I think it totally makes sense that people, these, these people, when women especially who are, who we talked to the most, the moms, um, who, when they say they don’t remember their partner’s names, it’s like from what, 60 years ago, right? From one night. Yeah. Right. It could have been one night. 

Speaker 1: (05:07)

It’s completely possible. It was one night, but I’m feeling it was more because my dad that raised me and my dad, I knew it was gone a lot. He’d be gone for six weeks at a time and she was, she was lonely and, Oh, that’s really hard. Yeah, that’s hard. And she had a baby of six, you know, should a young child. And my family, her mother and aunts and uncles were all in New York. She was by herself on the West coast and she had had a nervous breakdown, um, after my sister, there were problems and she wasn’t happy in her marriage. And she even told my sister, 

Speaker 2: (05:40)

do you think probably postpartum depression at this point

 Speaker 1: (05:44)

when she was, I think when she moved to California, she was upset that she left her family and it’s hard. It is very hard and yeah, very hard. And they said, well, stay in the marriage and take this. They gave her something to take. So she became kind of an addict, but she was, she had like anxiety and which I could have been a combination of things. But, um, she, you know, self medicated and uh,

 Speaker 3: (06:12)

I don’t know.

 Speaker 1: (06:13)

She was a lovely woman, but she was troubled, you know, sad. And I, I love my mom, but [inaudible]

 Speaker 2: (06:20)

and keeping the secret too. Right. That’s what I was just thinking was yeah, you’re only as sick as your secrets they say. And if you’re just holding in all this shame and fear and worry and an unknown, that’s a lot to carry for years and years and years and years. Yes. And she was,

 Speaker 1: (06:37)

she got pregnant in 58 and she got jabbed me in 59. And you know that you didn’t do that. I mean, my sister had said to me, the one I grew up with recently, she goes, what? It was bad enough she had an affair but then to get pregnant,

 Speaker 2: (06:50)

right. Well, we’re finding out everyone did that, but, but the idea is that nobody did that. We all believed that nobody was

 Speaker 1: (06:58)

right. And I had for a while was saying, well, she took care of herself and then I thought my poor dad, how he had to deal, but then who knows? He might not have been loyal when he was on the road, but, um, but you know, it’s interesting cause I thought if I was in her position on my dad’s, which I would be, it would be hard to deal with a spouse.

 Speaker 2: (07:17)

I’m going to fair. Absolutely. Oh my gosh.

 Speaker 1: (07:20)

Decided to stay together regardless. And um,

 Speaker 2: (07:23)

so he, you think he knew, he knew

 Speaker 1: (07:26)

he did, but they made a decision,

 Speaker 3: (07:29)

uh, you know, that no matter what,

 Speaker 1: (07:33)

I was still his, he was going to raise me as his baby, his child. So, um, and then I, I just was, I would think about it and think, well who am I and what was his name? And I, it took me years to take the test. I finally decided in 2017 to take it. And sure enough, my sister that I was raised with shows up as a half sister. So that’s when I knew,

 Speaker 2: (08:01)

okay, go ahead. How did that feel to see those results? It was confirmed. Validating. Okay. Okay.

 Speaker 1: (08:08)

Didn’t want to feel, I felt crazy. It made me feel crazy, you know, like, cause I didn’t have the facts. Um, so it was, it was definitely validating. And then I, uh, what happened, I decided to up upload my raw DNA to five different sites. I 

Speaker 2: (08:25)

had his surgery, dove in. You

 Speaker 1: (08:27)

dove in exactly. And had this one woman from Australia, Irene, who was helping me. She was great. She was so great. And she’s the one years later, not years later, I mean it was January 3rd, I’d get a message from her. I hadn’t talked to her in six months and that, why is Irene contacting me, you know, and um, she said, how are you, how was your holidays and you know, have you checked your matches lately? Well, I had just gotten home from being out of town for the holidays and I hadn’t checked in three days and she goes, check your matches. Your job may drop a little. And it was my other half sister. She is, I’m more, I’m more, uh, cinema Orbens with her than I do with the one I was raised like a hundred more or something. So I was just, this was it. I finally got a high match

 Speaker 2: (09:19)

and before then, no matches at all. I have more just like distant, distant cousins. Okay.

 Speaker 1: (09:24)

And I would reach out to them and so a couple of them tried to help me and so, um, yeah, it was real. It was wild and so right away. And my sister was looking for, her name’s Gail. She was looking for our half-brother who she hadn’t talked to in a really long time. Years. And so, 

Speaker 2: (09:46)

okay. And this was this, I’m sorry, this was the sister, the new sister that you just discovered? She was looking for a brother. Half brother would have been my is my half brother, but not okay, but not somebody you grew up with? No, but she knew there was a half-brother out there. It was looking and you popped up as a surprise sibling. I wrote to her.

 Speaker 1: (10:04)

So do you want to, is it okay? Would you like to, you know, I’d love to communicate. Um, I’ve tried to, I tried, I was being very gentle and I, and she said, well, I’ve hit the jackpot and looking for my brother, you know, and it turns out he was, he was, he would’ve been my half brother too. And they were mean. They were like three miles from me for years

 Speaker 2: (10:25)

in LA, in California. Oh my God, not Gail Gail. It’s funny cause my father was from doing

 Speaker 1: (10:29)

and from Massachusetts, you know Cape Cod and then in Medford but, and Gail is in North Carolina. But my dad moved to California and my biological father in Florida and then the forties and he’s married to two women at the same time. I mean he knows he’s very colorful guy. Character total. So what happened was she was willing to talk and then I called her and you know she’s 79 and she can’t be on the phone for two and a half hours. It was wild, you know. So I got named, it was, I was blown away cause I thought I would never find a name. So it was this whole other universe Eve that I discovered.

 Speaker 2: (11:09)

Right. So you went from having like just this iota of an idea, like the stranger is out there to having named family sisters history. Yes. All the information you needed

 Speaker 1: (11:20)

and I have like instantly. Yeah. And then I had, I fell, I had another stepsister that I was, Oh God, I can only deal with one at a time. So eventually I, she was, she’s my, you’re younger than me. She FaceTimed me immediately. See she was with [inaudible]. I grew up with my father since she was 12 because her mother married Wallace, his name was Wallace and she had three, her mom had three kids. She, yeah, and she, she had two half siblings and then, and they also, Wallace brought my brother Adam to the mix. And Adam, it was kind of like a Brady

 Speaker 2: (11:54)

bunch of 2010 I think it was a drug overdose.

 Speaker 1: (11:58)

Sad. But he was, he was, he had problems. He was, you know, fetal alcohol syndrome is so can be very subtle. And I think that’s bad cause his mother was pretty bad alcoholic because he could not, he was, he had a lot of problems, but he appeared normal.

 Speaker 2: (12:16)

Right. Am I just manifested itself in some kind of self destructive way? Yeah.

 Speaker 1: (12:22)

So my sister and I would talk, talk and talk, and she’d tell me stories. And then I saw another tree on ancestry and it was my, a friend of my cousin, friend of my cousins, my first cousins, two males. This woman was helping him, helping Mark May, uh, May 3rd, that’s the, my dad’s last name. And I contacted her and I said, my father’s in your tree. And I told her the whole story, who I was, and then immediately he called me.

 Speaker 2: (12:54)

Wow, this is so interesting that all these people are so interested and enthusiastic. I was lucky. Yeah. Wow. 

Speaker 1: (13:03)

So funny because my sister and my stepsister who don’t even know each other, so the same thing when they found out about me, they said, Oh, I’m not surprised. 

Speaker 2: (13:13)

Oh. And my is my sister who’s from, you know, Matt’s, because I’m not surprised with our five.

 Speaker 1: (13:22)

He did what he wanted me. Everybody loved him. So he was a really interesting guy. He was the cleanup guy really for Bing Crosby. He was his, that’s why he didn’t have to go overseas. He was, because that test, Shay, I guess you call it, I don’t know, 

Speaker 2: (13:35)

he has valet or attache or something

 Speaker 1: (13:37)

and he put on the USO shows in California and he didn’t ever had to go overseas. So,

 Speaker 2: (13:44)

so that was his role in this service was to be okay. That was his role. So that kept him traveling all around as a handsome service man. Yeah, yeah. That’s kind of a thing. And then he worked with us closely with a star, which is impressive, right? He was, I’m seeing how this all worked out for him.

 Speaker 1: (14:06)

Yeah. Worked out for him and he was married five times and so my sister told me five times, twice to the same woman is Latin, the last one when he was with, but he was married to two women at the same time and got in trouble for it, but got out of it. He didn’t have to go to jail. My girl’s mother said to get said, give me a divorce and we’ll, you know, we’ll move on. But

 Speaker 2: (14:26)

do you ever feel like, or do you ever think about people that get married that many times and just think like about their belief in marriage and like they really believed in it? Like he really, he just really liked getting married. I think he did. I mean there’s more to it than that. And I’m not trying to be flippant, but, no, I just am fascinated by, um, by, by the commitment to marriage despite evidence that it’s not really maybe for you or, right, right. But that’s a different subject maybe.

 Speaker 1: (15:00)

Yeah. He, but he always cheated. And my sister said, gal, who you, I knew sister said, well, if you couldn’t deal with it, you can’t be with them. But I found out that his second wife left him. I didn’t know Louise left him for like an oil man. 

Speaker 2: (15:15)

Oh, left him. And she showed him. Yeah, 

Speaker 1: (15:19)

I did. And my, my S uh, Gail’s mom was really hurt by the fact that the grant, my grandparents covered for Wallace. They said he was missing overseas while he was married to this new woman. 

Speaker 2: (15:33)

Forcible am I. And then my Gail’s mother found out, this isn’t, go ahead. That’s just really sick. And that’s, I know. And then, then she [inaudible]

 Speaker 1: (15:42)

found out she left and they were so worried. They loved Gil so much. They had, you know, since she was a baby, they, and, and then they tried to steal her away and, and, but it didn’t work. And then my grandfather kept writing to Gail’s mom and to apologize. But it was very, it was difficult situation and complicated. And Wallace tried to take her away when he, when she was 13. And so he was, um, he was an interesting guy. He was, I mean, he was the type that he would do all these horrible like, you know, betrayal things and, and then you walk in the room, this is according to my sister and my cousins. You’d walk in the room and you’d forget all about it cause he knew, I guess he knew how to really, 

Speaker 2: (16:21)

John. Yeah. I mean, I think we all know those people, right? Like we’ve all met, we’ve all met that guy. Yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah. And so, and it turns out a lot of them are our fathers, you know, and my mother, it’s like a side effect of this personality trait. And my mother couldn’t

 Speaker 1: (16:41)

not resist him obviously. And I w I’ll never know the true story of their relationship, but I think he, he gave her a lot of attention

 Speaker 2: (16:52)

and that must’ve felt so good.

 Speaker 1: (16:54)

Did and, but I think she knew he wouldn’t have made a good husband. She wasn’t ready to leave him, leave my dad for him, but my dad, he was a salesman, so it was my dad that raised me. They were a year apart and I yet everybody a year apart. So, and um, so it was really, really interesting. Um, and to hear more and more about how he was an athlete and how he competed and had a F he, he had a um, record I think in the 50 yard dash that nobody broke. It took 50 years and I was obsessed with that one of the kid 50 yard dash. 

Speaker 2: (17:27)

Oh really? Is that specifically the 50 yard dash?

 Speaker 1: (17:32)

Well, he was a sprinter. You know, I just have a new picture of him as the sprinter when I was a kid. It’s really, it’s very cute. So, and um, yeah, so it was, it’s been quite the process and then telling my S talking to my sister that I raised with talking to her about it and she thinks he, she, she doesn’t like him. What I’ve told her about him, she thinks he’s her. She, she’s just focused on the, I don’t want to say like focused on the negative, but that’s what she’s taken from it is the, the pain he caused. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I think sure. The dark, the dark side of this whole character. Right, right. But I also, when I think about it and what I’ve heard about him, that he was there, he was, there was a lot to him and he was a great guy in a lot of ways.

 Speaker 1: (18:20)

He was very caring. Like my cousin was telling me his story, how he was so loving and can be very caring when he was sick. He did all these things for him and he didn’t say that. One bad thing about him and my step sister to go, I’m not going to trash him. But she did say a few things. Let’s see. They got into drugs and that’s what brought them down. And you know that rude destroys everything right in the 70s. And yeah, I don’t know. The kids got into the kiln, dad, the dad would be, Wallace was into, he was like a drug dealer to freebase I can say this. He’s said they’re all dead based to the stars. He made cocaine and he was doing this in the 60s and wonder, he died at 75. Right. It, you know, so and so. It was hard. I came with a lot of movies about men like that. I feel like I have a very specific visual, that kind of man. Yeah. It was like, yeah. So, and my sister hadn’t seen him in years. She didn’t even hear about them here. Here. She didn’t even know when he died. She saw it online or something. But she had lots of stories to tell me about him. 

Speaker 3: (19:28)

Um, anyway, so it’s been really interesting to like to get over the shock of it, but I still feel it. It’s like this process, I don’t know if you went through this, but it’s like this shock feeling like the shock will come back. Yeah. It kind of comes back at times. Like, cause I, I was sitting with my new family, you know, I just went to see them and I thought, is this really happening? Is maybe there’s a mistake, maybe that. And I have two friends that don’t believe the test. They’re like, yeah, it does not real, you know, and it’s invalidating in a way cause but science, it doesn’t lie. The site, you can’t eat DNA doesn’t lie at all. And I look like him and I, my cousin said, you know, I could see Wallace in you and there’s certain things about my body I can tell where like his and

 Speaker 3: (20:21)

um,

 Speaker 1: (20:22)

yeah. And my sister and I have certain expressions that are sending, I looked at our baby pictures, you know, we look alike in my, you know, my partner had said, well, you and Gail really look alike in these pictures, but she’s, yeah. So it’s, it’s been really quite the experience. So there is now. So I decided to go see my family. I’ve, cause they, you know, they have this house that my great grandfather for $25 a on Cape Cod and [inaudible] and they redid it. They re, you know, they redid it and my dad was bought out years ago. So, um, it was, it’s not, it’s in a little town called Truro and it’s beautiful. So I went there and I stayed there for five days. I just got back and my sister came from North Carolina. They drove and it was, there was a lot of like tension built up. There was all this expectation and all this, Oh my God. You know, even though we talked on the phone, but when we met it was great. Oh God. They were lovely people, lovely people. 

Speaker 2: (21:24)

So it was the, it was the sister, sister,

 Speaker 1: (21:27)

my cousin and his wife, and then my other cousin, his brother marks Martin.

 Speaker 2: (21:32)

And those were people you would also connected with via the site or your sister had done that. Okay. They hadn’t taken the test but got it. Okay.

 Speaker 1: (21:40)

Grew up with them either because of the split and the grandparents side with Wallace. And this is uncle uncles, children. So, um, anyway, so it was a, they wanted to, you know, they, they weren’t surprised and they wanted to tell me all about Wallace and, and uh, they gave me [inaudible]

 Speaker 2: (22:00)

so everybody knows Wallace, but nobody knows each other. Right. They didn’t, they didn’t,

 Speaker 1: (22:04)

I really know they knew about each other, but they hadn’t spent time together. Maybe they cited to their grandparent’s funeral. So it was a big deal for my sister to go and see them too. So, um, it turned out, actually, it was very nice. It was lovely. And you know, I F I felt a little like the odd California girl, you know, I’m half Jewish, I’m darker than them. Oh, I’m Jewish. You know, they’re all, you know. But Wallace was supposedly dark with green eyes and I mean, but you know, there are blue up blue eyes and blonde hair and co toe heads, a couple of them. Um, so, you know, and they mentioned that they talked about that

 Speaker 2: (22:46)

in a nice way. I mean they’re, they’re all educated. 

Speaker 1: (22:51)

Um, and there, there it, it was very nice. It was, it was, you know, I F I felt comfortable in a lot of ways because I knew they were family, but at the same time, that feeling of, well, wait a minute, I don’t even know these, I didn’t grow up with it. 

Speaker 2: (23:06)

What does that even mean anymore? Like what does family even mean? If, I mean, I’m with you. I don’t know. I don’t have the answer. It’s like, I right, I know what, like you or I don’t know what, and I can’t imagine what it would be like to meet somebody as an adult that, that maybe looked like 

Speaker 1: (23:26)

my dad. 

Speaker 2: (23:27)

If I, if my NPE experience had not happened, I don’t know what it would be like to have grown up with my dad and then to meet someone else that looks just like him or, and so there’s no emotional feeling of family, but there’s a very literal like biological connection that’s in your face and that’s disgusting. And then there’s like this existential thing. Yeah, it’s exactly, it’s, it’s hard to describe. 

Speaker 1: (23:53)

It is. And my half brother died in 2010 and I cannot find a picture of him. I, there is my, uh, step sister’s brother has the pictures, but she’s not talking if she goes, Oh, he has all the family pictures. So I’m working up the courage to try to call him and see if he has any of Adam cause I, I, I want to see what he looks like, you know. But um,

 Speaker 2: (24:17)

so that was how you got recent pictures of your, uh, of this Wallace though, is because of this trip you just went on. They had some pictures for you? They have pictures, but not recent one? No, no. Stepsister who lives in Concord, which I’ve, I’ve stayed with her twice. She’s, she gave me more recent pictures. He died in 92 so she gave me 

Speaker 1: (24:34)

pictures of when he, you know, at her wedding, um, a picture of him winning. He was a major golfer. He was a, like a really, really good scratch golfer. And there’s a picture of him in that house in Hawaii and he, there’s a picture of him in this book on the 50 year anniversary of mana K. I don’t know what it is. And he’s in the book and I could see, he looks really happy. He’s in his fifties. He won the tournament. But I, so I have, he, I have pictures of, you know, more recent pictures of him when he wasn’t well, two, when he looked, he looked like he didn’t feel good or he didn’t look happy. 

Speaker 2: (25:09)

[inaudible] what’s it like to look at pictures of him? 

Speaker 1: (25:16)

Uh, it’s weird. It’s weird like at that, so my dad, actually, my father, no, Cathy, you know, you’re my entire life. I thought my dad that raised me was my dad. I would think about things. How Oh, you know what were similar? I would think, Oh, I look like him. But some of them would say, you don’t like your dad at all. And I say, but I do. And then you know, I have a, but my sister would say that’s from dad’s side. My grandmother had it, but you know, so these little things that I, okay, I do look like him, but 

Speaker 2: (25:50)

I don’t write it all just, well, you might look like him, but it’s not, it’s just a coincidence. It’s not biologically, it’s not genetic. Right. Right. And we share so much energy. You live with so many things you, but when I look at it,

 Speaker 1: (26:04)

Wallace, I, I think, Oh, I do look like him. And it’s really weird. And looking at him when he was younger as an athlete too. I thought I do. I was an athlete, you know, am I most of my life? I still am. But, um, so it’s, it’s wild. It’s really interesting. Um, so I’m, uh, I, I felt at one time, I, at one time I feel like I would have to talk about it and talk about it because to convince them 

Speaker 2: (26:33)

it’s real. There’s something to be said about like processing. I think for me, I think it was like a processing mechanism was to talk about it. I had say it out loud. Um, or else I would explode or something. And it wasn’t like, I don’t know, it had something to do with my brain. I don’t know. I don’t have the, what, you know, like it’s, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a comprehension process too, I think for people, for some people to say it. So they talk about it

 Speaker 1: (27:03)

over and over and over again because the lie believing a lie for so long, it’s message, it’s kind of screwed with me. Might mess me up, you know? I mean, but I’m, I do know I’m okay, but it’s, so anyway, it’s been very interesting. So I have this new family and they’re, they’re lovely people and uh, you know, I’ll probably see them again. And it’s so weird to think I, my dad was, you know, from new England, but you know, he, I don’t think he, he wanted to get out of there and he, he loved California, you know, and it bothers me. I have moments where I think he was so close, why didn’t I do it? But they say my cousins and my sisters say, Oh, he would’ve, he would’ve been looking for you. He would’ve made a major effort to see you. But I don’t know, because my mom was married and he was in the intelligence part of the service. He knew how to keep a secret. He, you know. 

Speaker 2: (27:59)

Right. So they, so if he had known about you, he would have, that’s what they are saying is that if he didn’t, if he had known about you, he would have come and found fun to find you. And since he didn’t, he must not have known about you. Right. 

Speaker 1: (28:09)

I think my mother, I th how, I mean they live so close. I’m a feeling she did see him and maybe they did talk, but

 

Speaker 2: (28:16)

like the just must’ve been at grocery store run in at some points. Right. 

Speaker 1: (28:21)

Oh God. I ran into each other at Gelson’s or something. Who knows? I mean, so I, uh, but anyway, it was not, not meant to, it wasn’t meant to be that I, you know, and I had more stability as a result, I think, you know, um, that’s what I tell myself. But 

Speaker 2: (28:42)

I mean, I’m nodding. I the, yeah. Like that’s, I can, I don’t think there’s anything to argue about with that. Like, yeah. 

Speaker 1: (28:48)

Oh, but yeah, it’s just, I think the hard part I think is the lie or the being lied to, you know? [inaudible] 

Speaker 2: (28:59)

yeah. And your mother has passed and so, 

Speaker 1: (29:03)

Hmm.

 Speaker 2: (29:04)

So there’s no way to get answers from her, 

Speaker 1: (29:07)

but I did call it random versus alive still. Oh. Before I knew that was brilliant. That’s brilliant. I found her number. She’s 92 names. Rini she got really angry with me. Oh, she said, you’ve destroyed me. I [inaudible] said that I kept, your mother didn’t look at another man. I said many, I’ve taken two tests. She goes, you don’t believe those? And then she said that, you know, she got very upset and it’s, I could, she mentioned Wallace, his name. She could’ve been Wallace or Bruce, our bosses Ann, but she had a

 Speaker 2: (29:41)

different last name. Huh. And they maybe knew each other in New York and then she wouldn’t call me.

 Speaker 1: (29:47)

Oh, I’m sorry. I love you. I didn’t mean to upset you. I left her message and call me back if you like. No, that’s it. 

Speaker 2: (29:53)

Hmm. This information, I wonder if it’s really, really scary for people. Um, and I’m trying to think of like what kind of information could come my way that would, that would make me angry and I can’t think of anything, but I [inaudible] but I don’t have any morals. Like I, that’s not what I mean. But like, I’m like, what, what, you know, right. Like people really like, like you like to suggest that a friend, not even, you didn’t even suggest that, that she did something. You’re just suggesting that your mom, you know, her friend did something that she didn’t agree with and it’s that upsetting. I don’t know, like if maybe if somebody suggested, like if somebody called me and said, I know that your very best friends that you grew up with is a murderer, like in that would maybe really shake me. Like, I’m just trying to think of what really, um, what was it?

 Speaker 1: (30:47)

Yeah. I mean, she goes, I’m like a second mother deal. Well, I haven’t seen her since my mother’s funeral.

 Speaker 2: (30:52)

I, I’ve seen it. You know, you’re like some mother. So she goes, well, you’ve just destroyed it

 Speaker 1: (30:59)

with this. You’ve just, you know, devastated me. And uh, you know, I think she, I don’t know, she might’ve known, but they kept it a big secret or I don’t know.

 Speaker 2: (31:13)

Well, I’ll never know. And the shame, the shame and the secrecy might’ve run that deep that she didn’t even tell her very best friend.

 Speaker 1: (31:18)

That’s right. The shame and the secrecy. That’s it. That’s it. So she had to keep that to herself. So sad. Yeah, I’m sad. But anyway, so, and I think I, she couldn’t go to the grave with it. She had to say something. But she, and thank God for the DNA test too. I mean, this, it’s given me, you know, giving me a name. I had this family, but yeah. 

Speaker 2: (31:46)

Yeah. And for you, it turned out to be a real tool to go to get the answers that you wanted.

 Speaker 1: (31:52)

Yeah. Yeah. And, and I think I think about it, I thought, did I feel different? You know, not really, but people would look at me. It’s interesting. eBay a couple times, quite quite a few times, you know, that people didn’t think I was really Jewish or, or even you’re not fully Jewish. I heard that a lot growing up, growing up. Even my friend, my best friend, I remember her parents said to me, they were drinking or partying, Randy, come here. You’re not, your dad’s not somebody who wasn’t Jewish. And you know,

 Speaker 2: (32:26)

it’s interesting like what they were suggesting that based on your looks,

 Speaker 1: (32:29)

by the way I looked, I, you know, 

Speaker 2: (32:33)

that’s bananas and it’s rude. It is rude. And I’ve had other, like, 

Speaker 1: (32:38)

I remember this, the one was part of, um, very religious, uh, had said to me, no, you’re not, you’re, you’re not, or that you’re not someone parent isn’t for sure that I thought this was like 20 years ago. I mean, I hear these things that would really upset me. Yeah. That was kind of kind of like, what is it, first of all, the whole thing of like, you know, how do you look Jewish, you know, the Jews, it looks a medic. So it’s very, it’s very interesting. So it’s a kind of screwed with my identity. I think it, you know, 

Speaker 3: (33:12)

um, 

Speaker 1: (33:14)

so I’ve now I know, but I think, uh, you know, and I think about my dad that raised me and my family, you know, and I think I start to feel more relaxed, less. And this new family, I am trying to like navigate, I don’t know. [inaudible] 

Speaker 2: (33:32)

so the thoughts, thoughts of your dad that raised you relax is relax. [inaudible] was, I was ready to know that and that’s a solid, yeah. 

Speaker 1: (33:39)

You know, that’s what I grew up with. That’s who I, you know, the whole nation. 

Speaker 2: (33:44)

And it was a solid, it was a solid experience. 

Speaker 1: (33:46)

Yeah. And he never really gave me any reason to think I wasn’t his 

Speaker 3: (33:50)

child, you know. No, he never ever, you know, he was the normal kind of family man at that time who would [inaudible] 

Speaker 1: (33:59)

you know, they don’t know how to communicate. He would blow up and have raid, you know, you know, normal kind of crazy stuff.

 Speaker 2: (34:05)

Right, right. That makes sense. But you’re not, you don’t fit into the category of people that really sort of like resent who they’re the man that raised them. No, it wasn’t the dad they wanted or something and no. Yeah, he was very,

 Speaker 1: (34:19)

um, we got close to when, when he was older we got really close. Yeah. He was a,

 Speaker 3: (34:25)

it was a good guy and he was very good to my mother.

 Speaker 2: (34:29)

That’s really important.

 Speaker 3: (34:30)

Very good to my mother. He really took care of her, but he enabled to do, but he, he really took care of her. And um,

 Speaker 1: (34:38)

so anyway, so it’s been quite the experience. And I realized when I went to the East coast how brave I was and how, how, what, you know, adventurous I was doing

 Speaker 2: (34:48)

absolutely.

 Speaker 1: (34:50)

I mean, and then I wanted to go to North Carolina to see my sister in October, but I think I’m going to wait.

 Speaker 2: (34:56)

Oh, maybe give it some more time, process it a little bit more. Yeah.

 Speaker 1: (35:00)

It’s okay. You don’t have to come, you know. Um, I think I’ll [inaudible]

 Speaker 2: (35:04)

like he knew it might’ve been overwhelming in the end. Yeah,

 Speaker 1: (35:07)

I think so. Yeah. And you know, she’s getting used to the fact that she has a sister and you know, we both bought each other presents.

 Speaker 2: (35:15)

Yeah. Did you love each other? Yeah. That’s a lot. Yeah. It’s nice. But it’s a lot. You brought, did you bring like the key chains or something? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. That’s so, that’s so sweet. So you gave, 

Speaker 1: (35:29)

then I came with all these groceries. I came, I brought my cousins cause it’s my cousin’s house, him and his wife and I brought her a, I wanted to just, you know, really, you know, come with, cause they were hosting us. I wanted [inaudible] gifts and, and I also got my sister in the, I bought a necklace, you know, that had this little poem about being sisters and, and she got me this stat, the statue of two sister stash or these two women together. Wow. Yeah. You very sweet. Yeah.

 Speaker 2: (36:00)

It’s free. It’s like sweet and it’s, it really like those all, all those things sort of like symbolize or represent like the intention. Like there’s really an intention to

 Speaker 1: (36:12)

okay.

 Speaker 2: (36:12)

To be sisters, whatever that means. Yeah.

 Speaker 1: (36:15)

And, and she brought folders of family history. Um, she loves to dig and she’s really interested in genealogy. So we each got a folder and she gave me more pictures of Wallace too. And Oh, he was so good looking when he was younger. He was like, just really, you know, women liked him or he could charm, you could [inaudible]

 Speaker 2: (36:36)

right. See it. She said dark hair with green eyes. Like I started to think, Oh, he was probably very handsome. I think a lot of these men I think were a lot of us are or a lot of people are finding out that these men were salesmen were charming and were good looking. Yeah. I think that’s like a very common denominator.

 Speaker 1: (36:54)

Yeah. And my sister told me more stories. Got him when, well she had with her husband, she was supposed to meet him somewhere and he always would stay at some really expensive hotel. I wish I could remember the name of it in New York. I can’t now. It’s slipped my mind. But [inaudible] one time she said, let’s go meet my dad and you’re going to S you’re going to see something, it’s going to be wild for you. And he walks in and he’s with Barbara Streisand.

 Speaker 2: (37:28)

Okay.

 Speaker 1: (37:28)

And so my, my sister’s husband’s like [inaudible] I know it’s driving me crazy cause he met her on the plane and said you need to stay at this hotel, which I can’t run that she’d so she went right. I can only think of the rents in New York that’s got it. Some other in the most, must’ve been in a six. Must’ve been in the seventies Oh, it’s bugging me now. I’ll think of it. But um, you know, he hadn’t, they just knew each other. They just met, you know, he was that kind of guy. Oh yeah. He can charm. He would come in and just come out in the room and he would be going to these really expensive restaurants in LA and in the 70s and a lot of Pudge joint, nobody stopped him. He was the type, this is kind of obnoxious. They don’t, you know who I am. Yeah. I’m Wallace made there. Yeah. Do you know who I am? And he fired get, get somebody fired on them. You’re on the

 Speaker 2: (38:21)

spot. I’m imagining a lot of really, really crisp suits. Oh, that were just so great in the 70s totally. This is what I heard. I bet he had a pinky ring. Oh wow. Wallace Allen made their hand. Oh God. I should put together images of that time to show you what I imagined him. Oh yeah, you’re right. That’s right. He did so. And he’s a great cars. Totally.

 Speaker 1: (38:53)

Always had like a Corvette or a Benz, you were saying when they were doing it, when they were still in a lot with the dog, you know, so much money selling. But he did very well as a salesman before that. But then yeah,

 Speaker 2: (39:07)

he just applied his salesmanship to a new um, product and did really well. People still do that. They do

 Speaker 1: (39:18)

good at that. But the fact I didn’t know, I didn’t hear that story about Barbara starts out though. I hadn’t, didn’t know that one. Hello. Yeah, he and he was a great storyteller. Really, really good. So that, you know, I kind of missed, it would have been nice to know to have known him, but you know, I can’t, I mean I’m getting to know him through my family, through my sister and my cousin. So, but so it’s wild.

 Speaker 2: (39:47)

Yeah. You see, but you seem really at peace with some of the, I don’t know those re the harder realities of it. Yeah.

 Speaker 1: (39:53)

Well, you know, I feel sorry for my mother. I feel like, and I’m not, and you know, I’m a feminist, so I, you know, I have sympathy for her. The fact that she, what she went through and she was lonely and um, and I’m not angry with her really. You know, she, um, and may, you know, she knew when I think about it, she knew he wasn’t, he wouldn’t have made a good husband. He was so unreliable in a lot of ways. I probably, I, this is what I tell myself to feel better, but that maybe I would have, he would have disappointed me. Maybe, you know, he might [inaudible] me. 

Speaker 2: (40:30)

Yeah. I mean, well, I mean if like, if, if, I don’t know where you were in the, in the timeline of all those marriages, but he certainly, um, wouldn’t have been present for you. Right. Supposedly, he, he loved having kids, but he did not let them get in his way of what he wanted to do. You know, that he liked the idea of kids. He did like, yeah. And he also,

 Speaker 1: (40:56)

he, he spoiled my brother so badly that it made him, he was even to him, he was so excited that he had a boy and he, he really, he bought him a car before he was 16. [inaudible]

 Speaker 2: (41:08)

really, but you know, will kind of crazy thing and let him be an asshole. And you supposedly a real jerk. So you know a lot about that because of the other sister could tell you like what it was like to grow up with.

 Speaker 1: (41:19)

Yeah. Wow. Right. Yeah. So, but he was born in 63 and I’ve only seen baby pictures of him then when he was a little boy. But um, yeah. Well I will see, I will find other pictures and my goal now is to find video of my father like, Oh, because of course he was on jeopardy. 

Speaker 2: (41:40)

He was on, of course he was probably wasn’t even that smart. He just talked them into it. Totally. And he was on match game. You’re killing me right now. You are killing me right now. Right. And he was a writer on some TV,

 Speaker 1: (41:57)

Michelle, but she couldn’t remember what show he wrote for a while. Cause his neighbors, you know, were in show business.

 Speaker 2: (42:02)

Yeah. So he just was like, I can do it. Let me sleep.

 Speaker 1: (42:05)

What was his name? The guy from, um, the Jefferson’s Helmsley. Oh yeah, you’re so young. But he was close with this guy who was in the Jefferson thing. He’s very close and so he, you know, he hung around with Holly types. So, um, yeah. And I want to find that footage. And I went to, um, the Paley center, the media center, but they didn’t have it. But I think I kind of, I feel to find it if I dig enough, you know, make some calls, write some emails or something. I’m hoping, I don’t know.

 Speaker 2: (42:39)

Yeah, I feel like you must, you must be able to do it somehow. I feel like there’s gotta be archives of all that stuff. Yeah. And who can help us? Can you help us? Are you out there? Yes. Contact me quick.

 Speaker 1: (42:53)

That would be so cool if I could, um, find video of him. And then to see his personality. And here I really want to hear his voice, you know, and um, my stepsister might have video of him because she took all this video of the baby and he loved her first job when, when he was a baby. So they’re, you know, her husband’s editing stuff now. So I’m hoping she’ll come across it at some point. And then her, she has an uncle that’s in Glendale that supposedly has a ton of video, but she goes, Randy, I’m going to get it when he dies. And he’s, he’s not going get it yet. No, no, but, but I just would love God. I mean the fact that I was able to even get a name and find, you know, this much. I think I will, I’ll find video. I think I will. I’m, I’m, I’m ha. I really, I, I’m hoping,

 Speaker 2: (43:44)

yeah, I mean maybe Babs has something you could, you know, he was kind of a,

 Speaker 1: (43:54)

you and me. We would remember him if you met him. He was that type. Honestly, I know. Maybe balancing, you know, you never know what went on. And also there was, my sister is convinced that he was part at one time, part of organized crime because

 Speaker 2: (44:11)

that seems very likely to say I’m not a historian, but I can say from the little I know, Oh we’re doing great. Okay.

 Speaker 1: (44:20)

Um, yeah. Cause he would go to San Juan when they had the big meetings and it was always that time of year. Um, and he was the type that would make so money and then it’d be gone. So when he claimed bankruptcy, big deal and then he’d have it again. [inaudible] you know, to me that means this, but not like, you know, not like how we see in the movies, but

 Speaker 2: (44:46)

the kind though [inaudible] well, yeah, but he would, he maybe wasn’t, he wasn’t dangerous. Maybe dangerous. I hope. I hope not. But he would get away with stuff and it wasn’t violently dangerous. He was dangerous in other ways. Maybe

 Speaker 1: (45:01)

he wants to be, he beat up, he wants to be, my stepsister told me some stories.

 Speaker 2: (45:06)

Oh, okay. I take it back. This man was on real character.

 Speaker 1: (45:10)

Someone touched his stepdaughter, his, her sister that he supposedly adopted. We cannot find her name. Her name is Linda and she’s about 65. We don’t know where she is in the Mayfair. We can’t find her. She was in Hawaii and somebody touched her on the behind.

 Speaker 2: (45:26)

Oh, he just lost it. Yeah. The guy couldn’t even walk when he won. Oh my gosh. And they were high at the time. Of course. So he would,

 

Speaker 1: (45:39)

but he, yeah, so he had, he would get angry and he blow up, you know, like that. Um, and he was the type that would say, don’t you know who I am? Can you know, they were going to Hawaii, they were all going to Hawaii and my stepsister was 12 at the time and she was so embarrassed. 

Speaker 2: (45:56)

He was, you messed up our tickets. Don’t you know who I am? He threw a fit. They all live first class. First class. Oh, can you imagine? No, I just liked the first class part, but the rest, yeah. Like so embarrassing when you’re a 12 year old girl. Yeah. So

 Speaker 1: (46:10)

he was, yeah. Very interesting in her. So anyway, I am, I really want to find that video. Some video of it and I do have to call somebody at the media center who was also from [inaudible] from Medford where my dad was from Medford, Massachusetts and he was also on jeopardy, works at the media center and he said he was his context at the game show network. So

 Speaker 2: (46:36)

and a follow up. Yeah. It’s just a matter of connecting all the dots. I’m excited for this sort of sleuthing. It’s kind of like Nancy drew or something new went from one piece to the next. It’s really exciting. And you know,

 Speaker 1: (46:53)

they were all, well I have another cousin, second cousin, my uncles daughter, my great uncle’s daughter. When she found out she’s 87, she said just one.

 Speaker 2: (47:03)

There’s just, Hey, I better keep checking for those matches. I’m there is supposedly [inaudible]

 Speaker 1: (47:11)

the another one but not maybe in this country. I mean, we don’t know. So, and my sister and my sister gets, it’s like, you’re enough.

 Speaker 2: (47:21)

Wow.

 Speaker 1: (47:22)

I know. But so, um, yeah, it’s been a really wild, interesting and wild [inaudible]

 Speaker 3: (47:33)

parents and I really wanted to know, and now I know, and now I’ve been,

 Speaker 1: (47:38)

you know, it’s a process, it’s quite the process to deal with.

 Speaker 3: (47:43)

Um, but I feel like I would

 Speaker 1: (47:46)

really, really want to see his, I want to hear him, I want to hear him and see what he was like.

 Speaker 2: (47:52)

Give me like one more piece of, of who he is and yeah. Understanding. Did you ever, did you get to meet your dad? No. Father, no. But you’ve seen pictures of [inaudible] and there’s lots of, there’s lots of stuff. Yeah, I can hear him. Yeah. Wow. Um, yeah. And I, yeah. How’s that for you? Um, well I hadn’t thought about it in the way that you’re just, you’re sort of exploring it right now. So I’d have to read, I’d have to like go hear it again and think like, okay, what does it mean to hear his voice? Um, [inaudible] [inaudible] um, but uh, Oh wait, before we go, before we end, um, let’s, uh, do you have any advice for people that are new? Yeah. Going through this, either new to it or,

 Speaker 1: (48:46)

or not new to it? Well, my advice is that there’s a lot of support, get support to support online and P E DNA, NPE group, which is so

 Speaker 3: (48:57)

awesome. It has helped me tremendously. Um, and

 Speaker 1: (49:02)

yeah, and there’s groups that w you know, where we meet in person that really, you know, that really has made a difference. The meetups, the meetup. Yes. Yeah.

 Speaker 3: (49:10)

And um, yeah, that it’s, you know, that it’s,

 Speaker 1: (49:15)

well, it’s not our fault and we weren’t even there. We weren’t even around at the time, you know. Um, and to be gentle and easy with yourself about it, you know. 

Speaker 2: (49:26)

Yeah. Yeah. That’s good.

 Speaker 1: (49:28)

Yeah. Not be, not, it’s, it’s okay. It’s a lot of emotion. It can be a lot of feelings

 Speaker 3: (49:34)

they come up, so, yeah.

 Speaker 2: (49:37)

[inaudible] take it easy. Take it easy. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Was going to say thank you so much. Thank you so much for coming. This is, so is there anything else you want to tell me about your story? I tell everybody this, but, um, definitely like contact me if you think of something that you didn’t put in or something bothers you that you want to change or okay. Et cetera, et cetera, definitely contacted me right away. Um, but thank you. Thank you. Yeah, your story is, it’s intro, it’s, it’s interesting, but it’s also got this sort of fun element because we’re choosing to be, it’s cool because you seem to be able to hold like sympathy for your empathy and sympathy for your mom and recognize the really hard side of this and, and also see that the personality traits of this guy are not actually, um, something we would look for in a father or maybe a partner. Right. But still sort of enjoy the stories of it and still consider it, um, what it means for you or how it’s a part of you. Well, I did [inaudible]

 Speaker 1: (50:45)

think about, I’m sorry. I did think about one more story when I had to come back to [inaudible] because he was married to two women 

Speaker 2: (50:52)

[inaudible] he walks in this, that’s hard. I imagine

 Speaker 1: (50:55)

it was 1947, I think. And he had, you know, they wore spats then and he comes in late to the court, to the court and he’s swinging a watch walks in and says, what seems to be the problem here? I mean, he was, you’re married.

 Speaker 2: (51:12)

I’m fighting to get rid of one. What, you know, that’s how they thought of what it was. No big deal. Yeah.

 Speaker 1: (51:19)

And he did. He ended up, well, he finally did. He, you know, my sister’s mom wanted the divorce, so he gave finally gave it to her. But you gotta write all this down. I know. I could I, and she was going to write a book, my mother, my sister’s mom was going to write it cause he was, you know, couldn’t be, can’t believe how things, anyway, yeah, I should, I need to write it down. This is true. Anyway,

 Speaker 2: (51:45)

thank you. So, yeah. Oh my gosh. So fun. So fun. And I’m so happy to have you here in person. Think I’ve been to, had to do, you know, I, I’m so happy to talk to anybody and I really, um, I’m so glad technology has made it possible for me to be able to do the telephone and the, the computer interviews, but it’s just such a difference to be in the room with somebody and be able to look you in the eye while you’re telling the story and hear your voice and feel your energy. It’s really great. So glad you came over here. Yeah, I’m going to turn it off.

 Speaker 1: (52:13)

Okay. Is it off.

 

Who Has Time for This Shit?

Speaker 1: (00:00)

All right. Amazing. Cancel my doctor’s appointment. Yeah, we’re good to go. Okay. 

Speaker 2: (00:08)

Amazing. Amazing. Yeah. For now until something else happens. But also it just makes me make the struggle. Makes me appreciate it all the more.

 Speaker 1: (00:19)

Fair enough. All right. So what’s up Aaron? Um,

 Speaker 2: (00:30)

how have you, you know, have you been in the past 20 years? 20 no, 26

 Speaker 1: (00:36)

six years. I left. I left California in 1995 so yeah. Okay. 2024 whatever those years have been, you know, a net positive. It’s a really amazing, it’s amazing, you know, it’s like an amazing frame of reference that create a ups and downs. Sure. Okay. Well, so the last, the last,

 Speaker 2: (01:06)

the last thing I remember, is that you or not that I remember, but my, my understanding is you and your brother came to Petaluma from New York

 Speaker 1: (01:19)

and is that correct or did you come from, you mean initially like in 1992 yeah, we moved there from New York, from New York. Great. Yup. And then,

 Speaker 2: (01:31)

and so then you were, we all did sort of middle school together. Your brother was a little bit older and then,

 Speaker 1: (01:37)

and then, uh,

 Speaker 2: (01:38)

and then you moved away, you moved back to New York.

 Speaker 3: (01:42)

Okay.

 Speaker 1: (01:43)

Yup. Yeah, after that was the last I ever heard of. Um, I came back a couple of times. I met, you know, uh, yeah, I mean I came back at least a couple of times to visit, I mean, and hung out for a couple of days or whatever. But the last time I was in Petaluma it was, Oh, it was right before I went to graduate school, I guess 2000 fall of 2007, I guess. Um, I went to see some friends in San Francisco [inaudible] who weren’t, who were, I had nothing to do with, you know, my time in Petaluma, although one of them, one of them, I mean it’s people I met in college, one of whom happened to have grown up in Sebastopol.

 Speaker 1: (02:33)

So I convinced them when I was visiting them and hanging out with them that we should like, Hey, what if we went to the North Bay for a day in your car? And I dragged them around Petaluma and had memories. And feelings. Um, yeah. But then we moved back to New York and I went to high school there. And it was compared to, compared to what, you know, my Petaluma experience was, it was pretty miserable. Um, there’s a chance it was the town I grew up in, which is fine. It was in the woods and I like the woods, but it was like, it was not if, you know, I didn’t, I wasn’t able to, I wasn’t able to skateboard anywhere. I lived on a dirt road, but like I couldn’t skate into town. I could ride my bike into town, but it was a tiny town with nothing going on.

 Speaker 1: (03:19)

And my friends all lived down other various dirt roads and other towns. Um, so then somebody gets a driver’s license and things sort of open up. But I was, I’m a November birthday, so I was young for my grades, all this stuff. Right, right. This is more than I would say about high school in general. But, um, yeah. So it was definitely a less, and I resented my parents for years and years for moving back. My brother went to, my brother went to college anyway at that point. So it didn’t matter really. Right. I mean, he, while he was, yeah, he, we arrived in Petaluma and he was entering 10th grade and I was entering sixth, whatever. Anyway. Um,

 Speaker 2: (04:00)

so your memories, I mean just, just the Deena here nor there, but just, yeah, it’s just interesting. So your memories of Petaluma are at the end of middle school are that,

 Speaker 1: (04:12)

yeah, and some of that I think is because it was nice to suggested that they were incorrect. Right, right, right. Um, and some of that I think is also because of the sort of what I built up in my mind around it when we left. Um, and just came to a less, I mean, where I came from in New York was like a bedroom community for New York city. And so in theory it was very cultured and very, um, I mean it was certainly well better, you know, better off town or whatever than Petaluma. Um, but ultimately that meant a bunch of like preppy jackasses and a couple people, a couple people I, you know, was good friends with, but, um, it was not as diverse or interesting as Petaluma and, and I think I knew better Luma was those things when we were in junior high, um, mixed with all the horrible bullshit in junior high of everything’s steaming like the end of the world at all times. Yeah. Just being a teenager. Right.

 Speaker 2: (05:12)

Yeah, for sure. Definitely. Um, okay. And then I remember that you always were wearing blue doc Martins.

 Speaker 1: (05:21)

Yeah. At that time I was, I’ll have those blue doc Martins tied to nut and my feet are much larger. I have not worn a pair of doc Martens, uh, probably since well, well that was the other thing is I arrived in high school in New York to this sort of like hippie white, preppy white hat scenario in my full kind of Petaluma, like third wave Skog gear, which I make no judgment of me or my classmates in New York. It was just not something that they recognize. Right. Um, uh, yeah, no, I uh, went on to be a person wearing other kinds of shoes. Um, yeah. But yeah, I mean if you want to brief what the hell I’ve actually been up to Burlington, I’m happy to tell you that and I’d love to know the same.

 Speaker 2: (06:17)

I want you to want to know that I have one picture of you that I, that I is like my permanent image of you and it’s at my, my, we had a huge birthday party for my 14th birthday and it was with two other girls. Um, and uh, your S and there’s just a picture of you there sitting, sitting next to another girl that we went to school with named Tara and she was wearing a hat with a propeller on the top and you are in a flannel with sort of a, yeah. Nineties skater bull cut. That’s a little bit lady and your braces. Uh huh. So that, yeah, that’s so it’s, so it’s, it’s like, it’s not hard to imagine you as a grownup, but it’s a very, very different idea. Right. It’s like incongruent in my mind.

 Speaker 1: (07:10)

Yeah. I wish I could remember that party. I look at them every day. Sure. I’m sure you do. I have, I have very, my memory is not, um, I don’t know. I guess I don’t have a very good memory. Um, I remember like very little about almost my entire life. Um, and, and so like, it’s more impressions. Oh, I can remember being at like certain shows at the Phoenix or hanging out in work or whatever. Um, anyway, uh, after all that, um, and after high school, which was like, I also later on turn, you know, realize that, you know, like, Oh, high school was going to be high school anywhere and everything was going to seem awful because teenagers. Right. Um, and do you have one of those I think, right? So you’re the same. Yeah. And you’re getting to relive that through or I guess, um, terrible. Uh, so yeah. So I went to college, um, in Western Massachusetts at a place called Hampshire college, which is in the town of Amherst, but is not connected to your,

 Speaker 2: (08:14)

yeah, I know Hampshire. Who do I know that went there. I’ll figure it out. I know someone that went there,

 Speaker 1: (08:19)

I almost feel like there’s a pedal in my person. Um, but, uh, say I went to Hampshire and I studied, uh, well you get to the, make your own nature there. So I studied experimental music and cultural studies, so I was doing, um, kind of avant garde music stuff and as well as kind of film and literature theory stuff. Um, uh, you know, kind of all right. Um, so, so the music I was making at that time and since, um, this was pretty open ended and, and often improvisational and, and often about kind of repurposing materials that aren’t intended to be musical or so it could be some pieces of metal or it could be some something that was intended to be musical, like a Casio keyboard, but it has become broken and makes the wrong sounds. Um, or, and really this is something that I really do at the moment, um, in my music practice.

 Speaker 1: (09:21)

And I also am a sound artists and make sound art. And the main thing I do now is field recording, which is why I have all this recording here with me. On the patient that I’m not using because it didn’t work with the computer. Um, but so recording natural sounds, uh, human made sounds and leaving them be and presenting them as they are or repurposing them and editing them. Um, I have an installation that just opened at, uh, one of the art museums in Louisville, um, created some from mostly from field recordings around Kentucky. Um, and that’s something that I do, but that is not my job. Cause you work at the library. Yes. I work at the Louisville free public library and I could say that again later if we could go to a part of this that isn’t just catching up. Um, but to get us from here to there.

 Speaker 1: (10:17)

Um, yeah, so from Hampshire I moved, I was playing music and touring around a lot and I moved in the early two thousands to Louisville, Kentucky for no particular reason other than people were nice when I played shows there. And, um, let’s see. Well, before that even I worked, um, I worked in the public library in the town of Amherst, Massachusetts and then moved to Kentucky and eventually worked at the university library at the university of Loval. And then from there I figured, um, that I had an utterly useless, uh, bachelor’s degree in experimental music.

 Speaker 1: (11:00)

Yeah. Not useless to my, you know, wellbeing or even ultimately to my skills. I mean, I would, well, or honestly to my ability to do good work. I’m definitely saying that as a joke and not a reality, but it wasn’t going to, but there aren’t any jobs in it for sure. Um, directly. Um, and my process of becoming a librarian is that I had been working in libraries as a paraprofessional. Um, I figured that I was not a good enough person to become a teacher, but I figured that I was, I was the next step down. Um, I was a good enough person to become a library. Good enough. Uh, I, I mean, I think, I think dedicated enough would be another way of saying and watching all the teachers that I knew and know. Um, I don’t, I just didn’t think I was had, you know, what you had to put in to be a good teacher, even though that’s something that occurred to me in the past.

 Speaker 1: (12:04)

Right. But I felt that I did have what it takes, what you need to put in to be a good librarian. Um, so I moved from Kentucky to Montreal in 2008 to get a master’s degree in library science. And I specialized in archival studies and spent most of the last decade as an archivist, which relates to what we’re talking about today. Um, and, um, and really enjoyed living in Montreal. And I would, I would like to have stayed there. Um, but, uh, I met my wife. There is also a nice important thing that happened and she is cubic was um, and bilingual and, um, she was the music director of the campus community radio station at McGill university where, where I was a volunteer starting in my first semester of grad school. Um, and so, and she makes experimental music to say in real life. Exactly. Um, uh, so yeah.

 Speaker 1: (13:21)

And then from there, uh, I needed the job and I couldn’t find one there. So I worked, moved to New York city, um, for a couple of years after finishing grad school and worked in the archives of, um, this Jewish aid organization. And there is actually a relevant, uh, relevant to the podcast. Part of that, that will probably come up. But, um, yeah. Meanwhile I didn’t really want to be in New York. I didn’t have any special love for that organization though. They certainly did good work. Um, so I was kind of frantically trying to get to back to Montreal cause my wife, we weren’t married yet, she was still in Montreal. Um, she was in Montreal and we’re, I just want to do somewhere I had lived before because I was getting too old to make new friends. Uh, and uh, so I was looking in New York or in New York. I was living in Montreal. I was looking in Maine or I happened to be sitting right now, I was looking in Western Massachusetts and I was looking in back in Kentucky and the job came up in Kentucky after like two and a half or three years in New York. Um, so I’ve been back there since 2013. Um, and my wife came down, we got married so she get her green card and she came down and we bought a house. So we adopted a dog and uh, Oh.

 Speaker 1: (14:44)

Yup. Sorry about that. I’m going to close. I am next to an open window because it was quiet outside and it’s hot, but I’m going to close. Um, there we go. Um, yeah, so, and then I got, you know, this is relevant to any relevant to the podcast, but I pretty much never loved archives. It turned out there were parts of it I liked. I, I kind of positioned myself as a multimedia archivist, so I was working on film and audio archives and that interested me, but, Oh man, it’s, it’s, it’s a lot of deal turn out to not be a detailed oriented person in the way that is relevant to that job. Um, and uh, and I found my way back into, um, this job at the public library in Louisville that I, that I really, really am, am enjoying doing adult programming, um, and basically booking lectures and all these things.

 Speaker 1: (15:41)

And the skillset comes from the 20 years of putting on kind of music shows at bars and basements and art galleries and like, it’s booking, people would call it curating now, but it’s booking and I know how to do. Um, and it’s sad that I paid so much for my master’s degree, but, um, so that’s what I do. Um, sound art, library stuff. Um, riding a bicycle, walking my dog, um, trying to read and stuff like that. What have you been doing since? Not since our, do you love Lowville people? Some people that I talk to that Novo, no, I don’t, um, what Louisville has going for it, um, that I’ve not found anywhere else really. Um, it’s a place that I, there are a lot of ways that I really dislike it, but the people, it’s very hard to leave. It’s just, it has an just a phenomenal community of human beings that in the, at first ever set foot there in 2002 when I first ever lived there in 2005.

 Speaker 1: (16:47)

So, uh, you know, coming up on 20 years, um, I just, you know, the community of people is so strong and renews itself over time and something that I noticed moving there from Western Massachusetts and I don’t know, um, how much you know about Western Massachusetts. It’s a very progressive place. Um, and probably one of the most progressive places in the country and the rhetoric is all kind of great there, but there’s not a lot of necessarily chances to live that rhetoric. So for instance, the word community, um, was bandying about almost endlessly, but I didn’t feel there was one. And in Louisville at least. Then in the early two thousands, you know, you’d never hear the word community, but you would just experience it. And I had a lot of, I still have, you know, a lot of friends in Western Massachusetts and they form a community in a way, but, um, Louisville was great for that. 

Speaker 1: (17:46)

Uh, I am not suited to the climate. It’s just so hot and humid in the winter is disappointing cause I like winter and um, that stuff’s tough. The politics are tough. I mean local politics are the most progressive in the state, but, um, it’s, it’s, you know, grading and wearing and now as a public employee, um, of course being attacked left and right and trying to be denied a pension and all that. Um, that’s pretty grading too. Um, it’s, it’s, it’s lovely, but it’s not California beautiful and it’s not a Massachusetts or Maine beautiful and it’s not right. But you guys have created a life there. I do have to say to you, because you are as far as I know in Los Angeles that my wife and I own a 1200 square foot, two or three bedroom bungalow on a quarter acre. That costs,

 Speaker 2: (18:44)

yeah. Priced. Yep. Totally sure I’d be said. 

Speaker 1: (18:54)

I mean, I, yeah. I don’t say it to upset people. I do say it though to suggest that even though I don’t love Louisville, but I do like to always tell people in the very big cities that like, I’ve also spent a lot of time in Nashville and Cincinnati and lots of in Minneapolis and like Americas, midsize cities really have a lot to,

 Speaker 2: (19:17)

yeah. Yeah. And one of the things we have to recommend them is that you can live there and they turn out to be culturally. Yeah. Oh, absolutely. Yeah. No, I, I fantasize. Yeah. I find if I fantasize all the time about those, those, those city, those places. Um, how far is Louisville from, uh, from West Virginia? How long does it take you? Is it, do you have to drive across the whole state?

 Speaker 1: (19:41)

Uh, yeah. It depends where in West Virginia. Um, so we have friends in Charleston and that’s a good four hours, maybe a little more. Um, but there’s, but there’s more of West Virginia than that. And the problem once you get into West Virginia, um, and Eastern Kentucky is that it’s very vertical. Um, so there’s a lot of things that on the map look close together, involve a lot of going on. Um, uh, but yeah, I mean West Virginia itself is not incredibly far. That’s another neat thing the local does have going forward is it’s three hours to Nashville and it’s four hours to st Louis and it’s five hours to Chicago and it’s five hours to Memphis and it’s an hour and a half to Cincinnati. You can go to a lot of other similarly sized cities and see slightly different things. Um,

 Speaker 2: (20:33)

yeah, that sounds great. Um, my, my daughter, the teen, the teenage daughter, she lives in Huntington, West Virginia now, um, which is a, yeah. And then there’s a long, long and exciting story that goes, goes along with that. But, um,

 Speaker 1: (20:48)

but she, yeah, so I’ve been, I’m actually going there next week. Um, but I’m, I’m just starting to become familiar with that region. Well, Huntington’s a college town, it is a college town. Um, go heard. Yeah. Or something like that. All of the mountaineers, right. I guess, I don’t know. It’s a bowl of some kind. It’s like a Marshall. Oh, right. It’s a marshal. It’s not a West Virginia state, which is some kind of bowl with your, with, with ears bulletin boards. Um, yeah. Well great. Yeah. I heard like heard pride or something like that is what they say. Say. Yeah. So that’s why I was asking just to, well, if you’re ever, if your flight has ever diverted to Louisville, please stop by and we’re happy to have, you know, I never know where, you know, starts just starting the college discussion with my, with my daughter, um, to, there’s some weekends where we’ll be driving around to various various university places, but right.

 Speaker 1: (22:06)

Uh, well for real, if you are looking in and around, you know, Louisville or some part of Kentucky and you need a place to say, uh, plus. I mean, I don’t, I don’t know if to being an Huntington as indicative of wanting to remain in the, in the upper South or the East or whatever it is. But, um, Kentucky has some, some pretty interesting. Um, yeah, it’s liberal Berea and center and I know alumns of all those places for sure. Yeah. No, she, she, that’s definitely like her vibe. She’s, she, she has fantasies of or, or plans or dreams of being a, a creative writer. Um, so, so we’ll go to Berea and hang around books. That’s what I’ll tell her to do. Um, no problem. Well, she doesn’t have to take my order. Sure. The town of Berea, Kentucky has one very good, uh, East Asian noodle restaurant more than most small towns in Kentucky.

 Speaker 1: (23:14)

Totally. Uh, that’s awesome. And what has your brother, he’s good. Um, so he now splits his time between New York and Rhode Island. Um, he’s right. So he went off to college when, when we were leaving California. Anyway, he also went to Hampshire college, um, before years before me. So I guess I also went to Antioch college. Um, he was in theater initially doing like electric and lighting and stuff. Um, but then he and my sister in law started, um, we started a number of businesses, but first they started this business called the Brooklyn kitchen in Brooklyn, um, at a time when, when food was just being invented or you know, by people. Um, and so he had, he had actually, you know, very good foresight to see a, a whole, I mean, my brother and sister in law have both really deeply care about food and are great cooks, um, and, and really interested in, in all of the aspects. 

Speaker 1: (24:23)

But they saw that in North Brooklyn where they live, there was nowhere to get, uh, basically quality cookware or anything. So they started to kitchenware store. And then that grew into a kitchen where store with a butcher shop in it and a small grocery and then in a cheese counter, all this stuff. And then it grew into a school. Yep. And, and a cooking school. And what survives of the Brooklyn kitchen. Now eventually they got out of the stuff business and are now just in the, uh, you know, teaching and experience business. So they still run the school and, um, they, you know, also rent the school out for, you know, cooking, cooking classes as corporate retreat or as party, you know. Um, and my brother, my is also the U S sales president or something for a Japanese for an 800 year old Japanese label company, um, through a relationship built through that, through the store.

 Speaker 1: (25:18)

Um, and they are, they split their time with Rhode Island, my sister in laws from there. Um, she was an engineer, uh, like a, like a building engineer, um, before they did the food businesses. But they, she’s from Rhode Island, her family’s all up there. Um, my brother and sister in law very smartly, um, bought a building in North Brooklyn about 12 years ago and sold it about two years ago. Um, and I guess you can avoid, I guess if you buy more real estate, you never have to write something like that. So they brought, so they bought a neat house in Rhode Island on the water. We’re not on the water, but near the water. Uh, that’s, um, basically to use on, you know, on weekends. And they rented out a bit and so they could go and see family. Um, but then they just like last week, I don’t know when school starts in California, um, but here it usually starts right around labor day, right after labor day. And like basically last week they decided, Hey, what if we enroll the kids up here instead of in New York? And so in the course of like 48 hours, they enrolled their kids in school, in Rhode Island and now are now, at least one of them is in Rhode Island with the kids at all times. Um, and the, and, and the other goes to New York to do their business and then they trade off. Um, so that’s pretty weird to

 Speaker 2: (26:44)

[inaudible].

 Speaker 1: (26:45)

Uh, it’s about three hours to the part of Rhode Island where their house is, um, and a little bit farther to, to Providence where her family is. Um, and they have two kids. So I have a niece and a nephew. Um, my niece, my niece’s name is Moxie and yup. [inaudible] but my nephew’s name is Frank. So you know, different kinds of [inaudible] names.

 Speaker 2: (27:07)

Brooklyn, right.

 Speaker 1: (27:12)

Yeah. But they’re great. And, um, occasionally they come to Kentucky or I go see them and yeah,

 Speaker 2: (27:17)

that’s really cool. You guys, it seems like you guys have done well by I buy some one metric or another. Um,

 Speaker 1: (27:29)

I think we’ve done interesting things and, and you know, squandered our, you know, immigrant great-grandparents endeavors to the best possible outcome.

 Speaker 2: (27:42)

Cool jobs. Right, right. Your, your brother’s carrying on the line. You’ve got a great dog, you know it. Great. Cool. So, yeah, I mean, yeah. Uh, I did other things too, but he’ll tell me a few of ’em. I got a C I M I just, uh, I, um, tried quickly grabbing, quickly grab, like grabbing and discarding different moments. Um, I, I went to, I went to UC Santa Cruz and did not like it. And, um, so I stayed, I stayed long enough to, to qualify to go to a France program and for a program and for, and a for a program in France. And, um, so I lived there for a little bit and really loved it and came back and never went back to Santa Cruz. Um, but went to San Francisco and then, um, got pregnant pretty quickly, um, with, with a guy. And, um, and so, so Lily was born when I was 22 and, and then we moved, we moved to New York for a minute cause he, cause he was from New York, her dad’s from New York, Brooklyn, uh, Irish Catholic, firefighter family, um, original parks, slope people.

 Speaker 2: (29:19)

Um, and we lived there for a minute and that didn’t, didn’t work out for lots of various reasons, lots of reasons. Um, and so I moved back to California with, with Lily and then we, um, made our way down to LA and we’ve been here now for like 13 years, which is crazy. Um, and I’ve been, I’ve been writing for that time and, and waitressing for a lot of it. And then, um, at some point my husband and I, he’s also a writer to sort of like discussed that, um, at least one of us needed to get, get, be in a position to get a job anywhere at any time if we needed it. So I went back to school to become a therapist. Um, so I’m now a licensed marriage and family therapist. Um, yeah. And uh, we have, we have some kids and um, we have, uh, we have, uh, uh, Dallas is almost four and Margo is seven weeks old. And uh, yeah, the new one, the new one is new. Thank you.

 Speaker 1: (30:36)

Well, congratulations. I don’t, I mean, I think I knew about, uh, the other two from social media, but maybe chose to not post as much on social media this time or something or I don’t pay attention. 

Speaker 2: (30:50)

I posted once, once or twice about Margo, but that’s it. 

Speaker 4: (30:53)

Um,

 Speaker 1: (30:55)

good. I’m not gonna encourage anyone to post anything on social media ever. Um, well congratulations. That’s great.

 Speaker 2: (31:03)

Yes, we have a, we have a pretty good time. I have a pretty good time here, here in LA. And my husband is a writer and I’m on a show right now, so that’s great. And uh, and then my daughter, um, are you a year and a half ago? Uh, she, it, I won’t get it. I won’t get so into it right now, but uh, she, she went from like zero to 60 on the teenage rebellion, wild self destructive behavior thing so fast, so fast. Um, it was just,

 Speaker 1: (31:41)

I mean, Huntington, West Virginia is, is beyond 16.

 Speaker 2: (31:46)

She uh, yeah, she just started, she, we couldn’t get her to just start, we couldn’t get her to reel it in and she was getting in trouble. And more importantly, we were extremely worried about her and her dad now lives there in Huntington, West Virginia, so, so, so at some point it just became clear that that LA was not, the, was not a good place for her. So she, uh, so she went there and it’s been like a year and a half. She started her junior year. She did her sophomore year there. And now is doing her junior year.

 Speaker 1: (32:20)

Oh. So teenager and I, you know, it’s the kind of thing that I hope we’ll all kind of come out in the wash for her and it’ll all be experienced to lead her to be, you know, when I look back at any of no, I mean, I whatever, I didn’t get, you know, I don’t think I was much trouble my parents or anything, but all the things even like moving back to New York, which was like such a drag at the time and it made me so angry. Um, you know, ultimately it’s like, well now it just doesn’t, the cool thing is it just doesn’t matter at all. I wish it hadn’t gone and gotten a master’s degree, but also right away. So, but then it’s like eventually what happened? I don’t know.

 Speaker 5: (33:05)

That’s the like we just, the, this, the struggle, um, nah, right now or the like, the sort of emotional struggle is just to hope it’s a phase, you know? And there’s no way to know until we’re there. So it’s like we’re just in it and we assume it’s a teenage thing. And we can, we’re all assuming this will be a time that we talk about in the future, you know, but I think to do in the meeting and nothing to do about it, this is kind of, well if she’s still like this when she’s 25, we’ll have a different kind of conversation.

 Speaker 1: (33:39)

Right, right. I know that this, I know that this happens everywhere with teenagers, but there is a very, but there is also, um, and this could be a conversation for another time or another podcast, California. Oh, I mean I guess you’ve lived almost all of your life there. California is such a goddamn weird place and just the combination of everything. California is supposed to be that. I mean by the time you and I were growing up there, whatever it wasn’t, it wasn’t being sold as the garden of Eden to dust migrants anymore. But even so, just the reality, and this is Manson and this is the Yahoo after, you know, father yod call and this is all of the cults and everything and the germs and the LA punk scene, like all avail, all of California’s culture ends up coming out of this. But like, Whoa, that’s a disparity between what California is supposed to be and all of that sunshine and all that sea breeze. And then you have to actually like be a kid and grow up in it. It’s, it’s easy to imagine how it doesn’t,

 Speaker 5: (34:42)

How it goes to skew fast in LA. I mean everybody, you know, everyone’s like, Oh, LA LA is a hard place to grow up and be a kid. I mean, because there just isn’t a lot of space for kids. They really, they really ask you to, the city asks or suggests that you grow up pretty fast. So, uh, it’s not as bad as it especially is especially shocking. But, um, but it’s not fun. It’s not fun anyway. But, uh, but I think 10 is a new kind of culture and that we’re learning about.

 Speaker 1: (35:15)

Yeah, there’s all kinds of truffles a way. It’s probably not trouble. That’s not available in LA. Yeah, it’s funny, you know, kids die all the time in mud logging accidents. No, no, no, no. I know I it out of the trucks into the mud, but then they die

 Speaker 6: (35:38)

anyway. Turned out fine.

 Speaker 2: (35:45)

We just, I just keep making her promise me that she won’t take any pills. 

Speaker 6: (35:52)

Yeah. That’s a good place to start.

 Speaker 2: (35:55)

Um, that anybody’s offering you anywhere. Uh, yeah. So. Okay. All right, let’s get to this. What, alright here. Uh, Aaron, you’ve got your masters in library science with, uh, explain that to me again and with a specialty in archival. 

Speaker 6: (36:17)

Sure. I have a master of library and information science and I have a specialization in archival studies that led you to work.

 Speaker 6: (36:33)

I worked, uh, for a couple of years in New York at a place called the American Jewish joint distribution committee, which everybody there and elsewhere calls JDC for short. And JDC was this eight organization founded around world war one a to help Jewish refugees from that conflict. And of course worldwide one was not just in Europe, it kind of stretched into the present day, you know, middle East and North Africa where there were Jewish communities. And so the organizations sprung up to to bring American Jewish communities and American Jewish philanthropic communities together to provide aid to those migrants. So they did that and world war one and then this other world working him up. That was kind of, uh, impactful to the Jewish community, especially in Europe. Yeah. Right. Um, so what I did there for the most part, uh, was processing archival records of, of mostly the immediately post world war II era.

 Speaker 6: (37:38)

But something that JDC did, and this was not specifically my project, but something JDC did was to help connect people. Right. People were fleeing Europe. People were people who came out of, um, concentration camps and military prisons were just kind of being sent to places and ending up where they ended up. And there’s no internet. And if you’re those folks, there’s no telephone or nobody to call. And so JDC compiled lists of who was where, who was on what ship, you know, going where going to America, going here and there. And they had this, this

 Speaker 6: (38:18)

ability to help families connect back to each other after world war II. Um, you know, help survivors connect with their families. And those lists have lived on the physical lists and the physical passenger lists, any kind of ID cards for different people that came in contact with JDC and those who’ve all been digitized. There’s a great digital project@jdc.org probably slash. Archives. I can’t actually remember, uh, call this names index, uh, based on these lists. And you can go now and see kind of who was, was moving around where and see the original kind of cards, people that were, that were typed up or written up whenever someone came in contact with JDC in any of their, um, kind of services.

 Speaker 6: (39:10)

And, and that’s a huge reference now for, um, Jewish American folks doing family history and genealogy. Who may know well, my grandfather, my great grandfather, my great grandmother, they came after the war. I know they showed up in New York or they showed up in Baltimore or wherever they showed up. And, and I don’t, I don’t really know. They didn’t tell stories or died before I was born or whatever. Um, but you can, you can figure out, you know, when they showed up and who else from the family might’ve come and things like that. So it’s really powerful tool. I was working more with the administrative records, which were, um, powerful in a very boring way. Uh, and they spoke to the, just really the dedication of the JDC staff in that era. I’m just working tirelessly to, to provide for displaced persons and refugees, um, but not as, not as thrilling in a kind of one by one name by name sense. So it was the JDC. So they had branches or, um, or agents working, um, in places beyond New York city.

 Speaker 6: (40:20)

Yeah, absolutely. So, and you know, and I should say it’s currently still active as an international aid organization. It is less, um, it’s nondenominational now. Basically they do all kinds of aid around the world to Jewish communities and to other communities. Um, but no, I mean, during world war II, after world war II, there were offices everywhere and there were, I mean, agents makes it sound like, um, sort of spy thrillers saying that they had employees or, or what we would now call, I don’t know what we were drawing on program coordinators, program coordinators. Yes. Right. We exactly. I mean it’s very much social work. Exactly. Um, so case workers, um, for in established offices. And then also, um, you know, as things would pop up. So there’s, there was this massive evacuation of Jews in Yemen and now I think 1948 I could be wrong on the year.

 Speaker 6: (41:28)

It’s been a while since I looked at all the records related to it. But, you know, JDC I think was known and probably is known for being able to kind of mobilize very quickly and develop a plan and implement it. So they contracted with these, um, airlines, you know, commercial, you know, freight airlines or, or just kind of a, what do you call that? Nope, there’s my dog working. Um, so they were able to, you know, contract with airlines, get planes to, you know, make some agreement with the, whatever government was in Yemen to say, Hey, if we come and bring air transport, can we move these people out? Okay, we can, we’ll, we’ll hire turned out to be Alaska airways. I don’t know why it was Alaska airways, I guess. I mean, whatever. A lot of the air travel in the North, uh, and the work, Jake is this kind of hired, you know, cargo, et cetera. Um, so charter, that’s the word I’ve been looking for. So this charter, you know, so they chartered a bunch of planes and they evacuated all these folks out and then, and then I think they were out of Yemen and probably did not have anyone there as soon as they were done. Um, but yeah, they responded all over the world in, in that era.

 Speaker 5: (42:43)

Cool. Uh, good, I guess. Great. So, so, so talk to me, um, a little bit about what, uh, what, none in a, this is not my, this is not my ego asking, but what, what about my podcast? Uh, did you sort of feel connected to or that, that thought you thought you’ve got something to talk about and it’s, and it’s about being an art archivist in this place and, um, and working with people on genealogy. And I have to admit that I actually, uh, I’m, I, I’m sort of like struggling with this, but I just, I don’t, I, this whole experience has came to me so unexpectedly. Um, and part of that is that I’m not, I wasn’t interested in my ancestry, so the, the, the people that are, I definitely, um, I don’t, that’s not something that, that I understand. So you, you may understand. Right,

 Speaker 6: (43:46)

right. Well, I don’t know if I do. So it’s really the following job in Kentucky before my current job at the public library, um, that brought me much into much closer contact with genealogists and family historians. So at JDC, they were mostly kinda interacting, you know, we had digitize most of this stuff so folks didn’t have to come see us. But when I moved to Kentucky in 2013, it was to take a job at the Filson historical society, which is the oldest and largest private historical society in Kentucky. Like most States, Kentucky has a state historical society that’s a public institution, but the Filson started in 1884 and that’s before there was a Kentucky society run by the state. And it is a pretty major geological library for the upper South and the Ohio Valley region. It is a pretty major repository for paper collections, manuscript collections, historical photos, and lots of other materials, artifacts, a great museum collection. And again, I want to clarify, I don’t work there anymore. I worked there for about five years and

 Speaker 6: (45:03)

I worked in a department that was partially about archives and manuscripts and cataloging. And partially it was about a public facing referenced services for our researchers. And those researchers were academics and academic historians and people coming to look at our collections for whatever, uh, extremely obtuse academic purpose. And I say that with love. I mean, it would, there would be really, really bizarre requests that were fascinating. Um, but the other large part of the Filson’s patron group or researcher group are genealogists and family historians. And that was new for me too. So I’m part of the American Jewish experience that kind of starts in the lower East side of Manhattan in the early 20th century. And I know what countries my ancestors came to the lower East side from. And sometimes I know what part of what countries they came from. And that’s kind of enough for me personally. I is that information that you grew up knowing or you yeah, no, I mean the, you know, stories where they are in my family and I knew that I had German ancestors and Russian ancestors and Hungarian ancestors. Um, and, and, and again, I think the specifics of that were less interesting to me. And maybe it’s because I grew up in New York, not far from New York city that it really, but to me kinda history begins in that immigrant experience as the lower East side

 Speaker 7: (46:43)

[inaudible]

 Speaker 6: (46:45)

of Manhattan turn of the century. That’s, that is my grandparents. My grandparents were all but one were the children of immigrants. One was an immigrant and that’s where they, they grew up there in Brooklyn. And their experience to me I think is, was kind of at the beginning of time as far as my family is concerned. And that’s not, cause nobody would talk about the war. And my family absolutely lost, you know, lost family members in the Holocaust. Uh, again, directly my direct family had come over in the teens mostly even before, before and after world war one. But that just, that’s just seemed like were history began to me. And that’s still, it’s still kinda does. I mean, I’m interested in the European Jewish experience. I’m interested in European history, uh, and I’m interested in American history, but it, it wasn’t something finding my seventh grade grandfather on whichever side was not something I even realized people did.

 Speaker 6: (47:40)

I was coming in as ed. So at the Filson I was coming in as an archivist and I was coming into catalog materials and preserve historic film. There’s some really neat amateur film from that, that even the twenties and then the thirties and forties. And then here I was put at this reference desk and was asked to, you know, serve folks, working on their family history and genealogy. And Kentucky has a long history. Uh, I have a friend who’s, uh, his brother is the, I believe the eighth generation to live in their, in their family house, their family homestead in Louisville. I mean it was when it was farmland and woods and it’s now part of suburban Louisville. But you know, people have been in the same place for eight generations, which to me, again, just based on my experiences is kind of dumbfounding. Um, I imagine, I imagine your family hasn’t been in California for a generations cause now a lot of white people have been, um, Oh my gosh.

 Speaker 6: (48:43)

No. Right. Yeah, that’s uh, yeah, it’s like unfathomable to me. So, so that was interesting. And, and so I was there for about five years and throughout that time I would spend part of every single week on that reference desk answering questions for genealogists, helping them find resources, answering phone calls and emails, um, looking at County histories and state histories and tax lists and cemetery indexes. And census records and all of the tools that we’re and, and really still are the mainstay of genealogists and family historians, which I’m finally answering your question. What I heard in your podcast was, was this kind of interesting, you know, the genetic part of genealogy is, has definitely, you know, it’s become a big factor in genealogy and family history. Um, but it’s replacing, we’re not gonna placing it’s there in addition to all of this kind of, uh, you know, pounded on the sidewalk looking for that one district advocate and that one birth certificate and that one naturalization record and that one land claim that people spend not just years but decades on. And so I just, I hoped maybe that it would be of interest to kind of turn some of this on its head and show what it even, what genealogy has been about for a long time. And I don’t think it’s all about, I’m very wholesome things necessarily and to kind of just,

 Speaker 5: (50:31)

okay.

 Speaker 6: (50:32)

You know, look into that a little bit and, and have folks who are just starting to think about what genealogy is because of genetic testing. Because of finding relationships with the living relatives to think about some of the other things it does. And is

 Speaker 5: (50:49)

[inaudible] Nope, absolutely. Um, I am, I’m, I’m so excited. Um, and if I feel so stupid, cause I, I w when you, when you, when you contacted me, I was like, Oh, of course. Like why haven’t I thought about talking to, to someone who, who knows about this, about genealogists beyond just a person that says like, I’m the, I’m a family historian and then I did ancestry.com and this happened, um, because I, yeah, I don’t even, um, uh, understand how, how it gets started. I sort of, I mean, I, I’m not, I’m not like so, so blind to, to, to family interest, but um, but yeah, people, people that are digging and digging. And then when you said spending, spending decades to, to unders to map all this stuff out, um, I’m, I am

 Speaker 6: (51:47)

well, right. Um, and I want to say that I worked with just darling, wonderful, lovely researchers who were doing family history and genealogy and I worked with darling and lovely people who were doing academic historical research. And I worked with less easy to work with people in both of those regards and really nothing that I want to say about genealogy is, is you know about and you know the individuals pursuing this. But it is about what it’s what it’s for and what causes people to get into it. And, and to me, I guess, and this is relating back to my own interest or lack of interest in not in family history but in, in genealogy, is that it’s about specificity, right? So I can say that my ancestors almost certainly lived in, you know, shuttles, Jewish communities in Eastern Europe in the 16th and 17th and 18th and 19th century.

 Speaker 6: (52:56)

And so to me that means, okay, I want to go read a book about that experience of which there are many and I will learn what that experience is like. And then I will in my mind, place my ancestors there because it’s not about a sin, you know, an individual ancestor in an individual place for me. Right? But what is going on in genealogy is not well, were Scots Irish? So there’s the Scots Irish experience and I don’t want to say that people with lineage aren’t also interested in the general experience. They often are, they often travel to the places where their family came from. But it’s about saying my sixth grade uncle four times removed was this person. And for the kind of, you know, a pretty inevitable place for that to go. Not all, not all genealogists I think we’re looking for this, but a pretty inevitable place for it to go is that my sixth grade uncle four times removed was King Edward or King James or, or you know, someone else important role Royal to their lineage societies.

 Speaker 6: (54:05)

Right? Um, you know, lineage societies, which um, the example people probably know in America are the daughters of the American revolution and the sons of the American revolution, right? There are, there’s a whole, there are whole constellations of lineage societies, the may flower society. And when you get back across the ocean to, to um, especially England, but other countries as well, you have these lineage society saying, well, we are all the people descended from this Monarch or this family. And you know, I think it’s fine for people to take pride in that. For me personally, uh, it comes up against kind of, um, just this difference in how I see history and, and kind of your own place in it because many people who came in to do research were descendants of people who fought in the civil war and as often as not you would be descended from people who fought on both sides of the civil war. That’s not at all unusual. And I’m not saying anyone express any particular preference for either side, but

 Speaker 7: (55:14)

okay.

 Speaker 6: (55:16)

Nonetheless, I guess what’s important to me when looking at history, it’s neat to be related to Ulysses S grant, but at the same time you neither, or Sherman I guess would be a better example. So, um, you know, by today’s standards, Sherman was a worker, I’m an honor. It is March to the sea, kind of really bringing the war to civilians all across the South. Right. And if you are descended from Sherman, I guess my point would be that you neither, you’re not, I would not hold you responsible for what he did. That would now be called war crimes. Right. And I also wouldn’t credit you for his, um, ingenuity if that’s what that was. And a creative way of, of waging war that was very effective for the union. So the personal relationship to history is an interesting concept that I think operates differently for, for different people where I, you know, pride in your ancestry. I don’t, I think, I think you can have a healthy pride in your ancestry. Um, but I also think it’s necessary to kind of, um, marry that to an understanding of the limits of, of that, of the impact of your ancestry, I guess. Right,

 Speaker 8: (56:45)

right. Okay.

 Speaker 6: (56:54)

Yeah. So, okay. And so you, so and so in your, in your position where there was, there was people that were coming in just, just looking for their own, their own, um, just like private citizens coming in, looking with everybody, right? Yeah. Right. For the most part. And, and there’s something really important that I, that I want to say about that, which is that for the most part, it was individuals. It was individuals with time on their hands. I’m often retirees, but that requires being able to retire. And it’s also very often people who can travel. The Filson had in-person researchers and does now from, from all over the world. And, and that might be a, you know, the most distant visitors are probably academic researchers. We get researchers from Scotland and from China and from Germany and from all across the U S and from Canada.

 Speaker 6: (57:53)

And, and that’s not so unusual, um, for a researcher to be on, um, sabbatical or, or coming for a conference and doing research where they are, that’s relevant to their topic, but many genealogists too. We’re coming from certainly around the U S and sometimes beyond. And so you have to have the ability to do that. And then, and then world’s more important. And I think really related to to what I think you’re interested in is that in order to do genealogy or family history, the, the paper way, I mean, the research way, you have to have been documented, right? So I don’t, well, I kind of do, but I don’t mean that immediately in the sense of documented or undocumented like immigration, although same thing. Uh, but you have to be somebody who, your ancestor has to have left a trace on paper and your ancestor has to have left a trace that has a first name and a last name and a location.

 Speaker 6: (58:54)

And so at the largest part of that in North America in the 18th and 19th century is white people, right? Male people, landowners especially. Um, and there it’s harder to do genealogy of women, right? It’s certainly harder to do genealogy of non white people, especially black in the United States before and after the civil war. It is in some cases possible to use the records of slave owners to do genealogy for black families. That was one of the most fascinating and interesting. And, and to me personally, meaningful things that I was able to do while performing that kind of reference service. Yeah. That was my goal was to work. Yeah. Okay. Right. So black family historians obviously hit a roadblock because their ancestor probably only had a first name. [inaudible]. Um, the way that we find names of people if before they were on censuses is in the records of these families.

 Speaker 6: (01:00:06)

The, you know, historical societies across the South have family records, family manuscript collections, and you would have wills and estates and tax inventories and human beings. Slaves were taxable property. They knew where you’d be, right? They could be willed to other people. So you’ll be looking at a will and it’ll say, you know, the furniture and the livestock and the carts and you know, three men ages, you know, 1920 and 25 and two women ages 17 and 33 and two children ages seven and nine. And they have a value assigned to them. Yeah, I mean, it was, I mean, I’m not, yeah, I mean, forget, you know, my experience, the more important experiences is the experience of that black genealogist or black family history. But I don’t know what their experiences was. My experience was that I went from JDC in New York where my daily existence was looking at records of an organization trying to deal with the aftermath of the Holocaust and traded that for,

 Speaker 6: (01:01:26)

I mean, I should say the Filson has collections stretching right into the 21st century and going all the way back to the 17th century at least. But most of the, you know, a lot of the research was antebellum Kentucky, which was a slave state. And looking at stuff, you know, picking up a shred of paper, truly just a shred of paper that was a receipt for a human being’s life. And um, point being, it probably said, you know, the relevance here is that that piece of paper, other than being horrifying because, Oh no, Oh, am I still here? Why would I, that would be the worst moment to lose you. I’m still here as far as I know. So I’m sorry, the slip up.

 Speaker 7: (01:02:19)

Right.

 Speaker 6: (01:02:20)

So, you know, part of the experience was defined, you know, a slip of paper that’s a name and a dollar amount and it’s signed by the owner or the, or both. The former owner and the next owner of this person. And that’s not a lot to go on for a genealogist to get back to the point here of, of finding your family and where you came from. Um, so the roadblocks are, are pretty incredible for non white and to some extent non-male genealogists and family historians. And there’s an inequity there I guess. I mean, nobody has to go do their family history. Um, I, this is, but this is where something like genetic testing, when you have a large enough data set comes in and really allows, um, I know that that um, black people interested in this kind of history or going to a genetic test to find out more about where, for instance, in Africa, their ancestors might’ve come from if their ancestors were slaves, Africa.

 Speaker 6: (01:03:26)

Um, and that to me, I mean, is, is great because it allows access. So again, I think we’ve covered that. You and I were interested in finding our, our, you know, deep genealogical past. But if you are, and if you’re black woman whose ancestors were in the South during slavery, you now have an Avenue open to you that you know, where before at the very best you might find the papers of the family who owned your ancestors. And that happens. And then you can learn about the family that owns your ancestor, you know, something and you can learn where their land was, but it’s not learning about your family.

 Speaker 5: (01:04:05)

Right, right. You know, it did, it didn’t, it didn’t ever occur to me until you described it that way, as having gone from the, from the JDC to the, to the, to the place of Kentucky. Um, that those are both, it’s both lineages, um, and is a grand generalization, but like both lineages are like rooted in trauma. Like there’s so much diaspora in both. Um, and I’m suddenly wondering if there’s something too people’s need to, um, to organize data in order to process trauma. Um, I don’t, I don’t, I, I’m just suddenly,

 Speaker 6: (01:04:55)

yeah. And I think

 Speaker 5: (01:04:57)

considering this through, through the trauma lens, something, something about you saying like specificity,

 Speaker 7: (01:05:05)

um,

 Speaker 6: (01:05:08)

trick triggered something. Yeah, I mean, I think, I think definitely in the case of JDC and just as being an organization created around these traumatic, right, disruptive events in the lives of families and individuals and communities. And in the case of the Filson, it’s a little hard to say. I mean, I want to say, I mean the Filson continues to have a really incredible staff and a mission that is ever growing in its scope in terms of, of who had documents. I’m not, I mean, in 1884 it was founded by a group of white men, older, well-to-do white men. And that’s what it was about at the time. That’s not what the Filson is about now. But I do think, at least in the, in the founding sense, less so in the case of the Filson, but in the case of, of white or black genealogists yeah, absolutely. I can, I can see that. And people, yeah. Needing together, gather this information and organize it probably fills, you know, fill some need to do that and create order. Right. Or even even if,

 Speaker 5: (01:06:29)

I don’t know, I mean I’m, I, there’s something about even understanding that your lineage is a part trauma. I don’t know. I’m, I’m, I have to like cook this idea a little bit more, but, um,

 Speaker 6: (01:06:44)

something I will say that I perhaps shouldn’t. Um,

 Speaker 9: (01:06:51)

okay.

 Speaker 6: (01:06:51)

You know, I just, there are definitely people I experienced, you know, people coming to look for their family histories, bringing, bringing a kind of full lens of, of the implications of, of their histories to it. And, and people who seemed not to be, and I don’t know, I don’t, they were there to get information. I don’t know what they thought about their research when they got home, but it definitely seemed like there was a spectrum of, of concern or interest and, and you know what the slave holder in Virginia might just be a stepping stone on the way back to King Charles. So maybe, maybe it doesn’t weigh on your mind. Um, and there were definitely people, you know, for whom it did matter. And in fact, finding out, you know, what kind of implication their family had in, in slavery was, was an important step for them and they wanted to directly address it. Uh, so I think there’s a whole spectrum for that in family history and genealogy. Yeah. That’s so, yeah. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Um, that makes, that makes sense to me. Um, and, and my brain, sorry, my mind

 Speaker 5: (01:08:16)

now I’m just, I’m feeling so blown away that I’m almost speechless. Um, but you said some of these ideas, but, um, 

Speaker 6: (01:08:25)

you’re sure you’re not blown away by having a seven week old being a totally acceptable reason. Sure. I’m tired. So I don’t know the lab that last time I took a shower, uh, but, um, I don’t either cause I’m on vacation. 

Speaker 5: (01:08:43)

Yeah. Uh, what, uh, okay. So do you know, just out of curiosity, do you know if you, you do end up being a descendant of, of somebody important? Um, is the primary purpose, just the family pride? And then I know you can be a part of the group of like the daughters of the American revolution. But does that, um, 

Speaker 6: (01:09:06)

do you get, or is it, is it, as far as you know, pride more than anything, you just get to be in the club? I think in an extremely small number of circumstances. And I definitely had researchers coming because of kind of family estate questions or having to do with how land was partitioned, but that sure, first of all, the further you go back, the less likely that is to bear any, any fruit. And I, you know, I don’t think that’s the motivation for most folks. I think. I think there’s a lot of pride, um, involved in being able to join the lineage societies on the way a lot of lineage societies work is that you prepare your application and you document everything to the best of your ability and you send it in and then their in house genealogists see if it all adds up.

 Speaker 6: (01:10:05)

And so there’s a, there’s a challenge aspect. I think there’s a kind of a reward aspect. So, so having correctly inadequately documented yourself to be a descendant of someone who fought in the revolution, um, is a big task. Your reward isn’t having it. I think the reward is having external validation. That’s, that’s going to be instant reward for the lineage societies. But they also have, you know, they have annual meetings and they have get togethers and they have, you know, it’s a very, as far as I can tell, you know, convivial and congenial thing, you know, you kind of join a club, right? And again, a community with very noticeable limits. I mean they make them, they make those limits very obvious, um, by being the stated structure. But, um, but it’s also, I mean I will say a, you know, I can be critical with that, but I can also say from people I have known involved in them that it is not, it is not the only thing that those people are involved in, in that. So, um, I think it would be unfair to say that they exist solely to exclude anyone who doesn’t meet some criteria in their life. Right? I mean, nothing is, but nothing is black and white, black or white, except to the issuers. Speaking of that, amazing.

 Speaker 6: (01:11:36)

I just like looking over my notes. I have so many words like scribbled everywhere. Um,

 Speaker 2: (01:11:42)

so did you, and while you were working there, did you have any experience with people with genetic [inaudible]? Like did you watch anything change with genetic testing as far as people’s genetic,

 Speaker 6: (01:11:55)

yes. Scary genetic genealogical experience. So, so yeah, I mean the historical society was not directly involved in genetic testing and anyway, I wonder about ways we might, researchers might, a historians might use that data eventually, but what, what I would hear and see would be genealogists and family historians talking about it and discussing how it had impacted their research because it, it, it can be a powerful tool for confirming, you know? Right. So really that’s about as making, it’s kind of saying, well ancestry DNA are 23 and me says I’m related to this other person who’s already in this lineage. And I think my paper work lines up with theirs and this is a good confirmation that it probably is. Right. I should say, I have no idea how each or any of the lineage societies look at genetic testing or if they do at all when they look at kind of admissions or however it works.

 Speaker 6: (01:13:06)

But it was definitely a topic of conversation in the reading room of, Hey, this really helped me confirm and it told me that I should keep looking up this alley and not down this alley. And then the flip side of that is that if you have a genetic test and it’s a, and you’ve been hunting in Scotland and you know, been hunting in, in Kentucky and back to Virginia and back to Scotland or England and it looks like you are mostly central European, then you know, something’s up. And I, and this of course, this kind of in, in, in the most headline attracting way leads to things like some of your interviews with people where something, something really comes up that was unknown or that was hidden or you know, couldn’t possibly go along with, with the stories that a person has been told. I have not heard anything like that. I’ve heard more subtle, you know, well I’m 75% out of Eastern Europe than, than it really couldn’t be all of these ancestors and in England or Northern Europe or wherever. So maybe one thread of this is accurate, something like that.

 Speaker 5: (01:14:29)

Did you find if, if G if genealogist ran into that kind of thing, um, once, once our research was combined with DNA results, a R is that exciting because it means your, your research changes a different direction or is it devastating or does it just case by case basis because you’ve done all this research and it turns out you were wrong.

 Speaker 6: (01:14:51)

I think it’s case by case. And I think another part of the concern that relates to that was the idea that it would be because like with all new technologies, people got, people have ideas about it and they don’t quite know how, you know, it works until they, until they go look and they find out. Um, but the idea that the hundreds and hundreds of hours spent might be replaced by a cheek swab. Right. And that’s not, that’s not the case. It’s certainly not the case yet. But that was part of the kind of hubbub as well that I certainly experienced was even a little kind of blow back of, Oh, these people think they can just do a cheek swab and they’re going to learn anything. But I know because I’ve seen, I’ve been to the County courthouse in 45 of Kentucky’s 120 counties and I’m going to go to the rest of them and I’m going to know. And, and there’s something, you know, from a kind of historian, researcher perspective, there’s something to that. And I think, you know, it’s hard to, I can’t look down upon the legwork that I’ve seen genealogists do and the, you know, the doggedness in pursuing things. Um, but I think overall it has mostly moved to, this can be a tool, this can help, concerns, things that will be exciting if it confirms something that I’ve been looking to confirm for a long time.

 Speaker 6: (01:16:15)

And I, you know, I did not see any, I don’t think I was ever present when someone, you know, got the email notification on their phone and don’t forget and found out that they’re Irish and not witnessed

 Speaker 5: (01:16:29)

and present for the, for the, for the biggest surprise. Yeah. Interesting. Cool. This is so much to think about. Thank you so much. Um, uh, yeah, I, uh, is there anything else you want to tell me that you were waiting for me to ask about? 

Speaker 6: (01:16:52)

Yeah, I mean, there’s something, again, and I want to say this as many times as possible because I still, I’m and dear friends with people at Filson historical society and I believe in what they do and at JDC and I believe in what they do and they are both great organizations. This is more of a, uh, you know, Southern historical, you know, this is more of a Filson historical society thing that I witnessed happen, um, and again by well-meaning people. But there’s a desire that I think might play into, to some of them were living family relative stuff that you’re interested in. I have witnessed this intense desire for people to, or in people to make these connections happen no matter what and kind of no matter whether they exist. So handwriting in the 19th century, in the 18th century, it was a lot different than handwriting today.

 Speaker 6: (01:17:57)

Spelling was a lot less standard eyes including with names. And something that I would see with, with some frequency would be someone looking at a document sometimes, you know, pretty rough, sometimes an original document. I’m on original paper and sometimes that’s pretty rough facsimile or microfilm of something that was already deteriorating when it was filmed 60 years ago. And they need, they need to find, um, you know, Sarah Smith in eight heir County around 1795. And here’s Susan Smith in eight gunny in 1795. And, and I witnessed that. Overheard quite a bit of don’t you, don’t you think this could say Sarah doing it too? Couldn’t that say Sarah and not Susan or don’t you think that they must’ve just gotten it wrong and, and, and it really is the person I needed to be. I’ve definitely have seen that desire drive genealogists and that is an emotion and a motivation that I assume is kind of shared with folks now looking for living relatives, looking for a biological parents or children. And, and I, you know, it was, if I was asked if it was, if it was, excuse me, reference librarian, Aaron, can you come and look at this and see what you think is, I would give my honest opinion always of what I thought it said. And, you know, and, and sometimes, I don’t know, sometimes it looked really unclear and it could’ve said Susan or Sarah. And sometimes it definitely looked like it said Susan or differently looked like it said, Sarah.

 Speaker 6: (01:19:56)

And that goes in and, and so there’s a part of genealogy and family history that absolutely is people taking what they want to from it. Yep. And, and you’re the host of the podcast. You can figure out what that means, but I do think it’s relevant. Do you think it connects these different processes? You know, finding someone 300 years ago and finding somebody now, um, and wanting it, you know, in the way wanting it makes you, you know, yeah. Makes you move ahead.

 Speaker 5: (01:20:30)

Yeah. And it makes you, makes you see things, see things and think things and understand things in a very particular way when you don’t even know it, you don’t even know what’s happening. Wow. Aaron, this is amazing. Right? Uh, this is amazing, right? There’s like so much I want to like, we could keep talking I think for hours cause I, I feel like I’m just barely, like, my brain is just waking up to this, this whole universe that you’ve just introduced to me. Um, but we can’t, we can’t talk for hours. Uh, so yeah. So, so I like, I may just think about it and I may email you some questions or I’m, I, I don’t, um, this is shit, this is amazing.

 Speaker 6: (01:21:15)

I could also, I mean, I want to say as a, as a person who left that world, um, and who was never quite in it for the genealogy and family history, but was there for the, the, you know, the archives and the, and the sort of academic history. I can, I mean, I’m also happy to, you know, you could possibly have a more productive conversation with somebody is much more a part of that world. You can point you to some people, 

Speaker 5: (01:21:44)

you know, like they’re like, I’m sure there’s like lots of different genes or just like everything, there’s different facets to all elements. So this is, this is one of them. Um, and, and I just, that’s, that’s what I want. I just want to talk about all the, all the things. Um, right. So, so, uh, don’t worry, I won’t say you’re an expert, but yeah. But yeah, no, this is just so, so fascinating and has me sort of thinking largely about, about groups of people and then about my, and then it’s hard. It’s impossible for me not to consider my own identity and my understanding of genealogy or lack, lack of interest. Um, and now suddenly wondering now, but then, you know, like as soon as you started to describe handwritten papers, I was like, well, that sounds totally amazing. Um, I don’t know. I’m just,

 Speaker 6: (01:22:41)

yeah, I mean the, the thing about, I mean, something else I can describe that happens. I mean, whether you need more here or not. Um,

 Speaker 6: (01:22:54)

you know, when did you neological resources exist as you know, published things like tax lists and, and, um, you know, cemetery indexes and all these different things. And then, and that’s kind of the censuses and that’s the meat of what family historians are, are looking through. The Filson happened to have family papers from hundreds of families from, from Kentucky in the Ohio Valley. So sometimes, you know, a researcher will be working on a family that we happen to have the family papers of. And interestingly, sometimes that was of intense interest as you would guess. And it, wow, I can see my great, great grandfather’s letters and see his handwriting. That’s incredible. Yes, please. I’ll move to the archives reading room, which is more secure and stuff. Right. And I’ll call up that stuff and I’ll get to look through the wonderful, but sometimes that’s not, again, if it was just a step on getting back to King Charles or whomever, you know, sometimes folks not interested didn’t want to see that stuff. Um, right. Cause it was not, it wasn’t about even kind of who the person was. It was about who that person was descended from, which I’m not, you know, I’m not judging that. I just, I witnessed both and I think for me, I would have been delighted to see that human aspect. Um, but that’s just me.

 Speaker 5: (01:24:28)

Yeah. Yeah. So interesting to like learn about what different people are, are, are interested in for lack of a more articulate way of saying, saying it. Um, awesome. Uh, I have to go because I have another, I have another interview coming up, but um,

 Speaker 6: (01:24:54)

Oh, there you are you there? Yup. You went away for 20 seconds or so.

 Speaker 5: (01:25:02)

Yeah, I see that. Um, anyway, um, yeah, this is amazing. I have to go because I have another interview coming up. But, um, this is, this is just like,

 Speaker 10: (01:25:13)

okay, 

Speaker 5: (01:25:14)

this really, this was like informant, it was informational, but it tip, it sort of tipped into, um, into me thinking about a lot of, a lot of bigger things than a lot of more emotional things. Um, so thank you. And I’m so glad we did.

 Speaker 6: (01:25:31)

Yeah. And if it’s only that yeah. If it’s only informational and, and, and, you know, helpful to help think about other things. Great. That’s fine. I’m glad that it could be of interest.

 Speaker 5: (01:25:43)

Absolutely. Yeah. Um, yeah. So, yeah. So I’m just gonna keep saying thank you over and over again. If anything keeps you up in the middle of the night or wakes you up in the middle of the night, uh, that you want to change or amend or edit out, just send me a message and I’m going to, um, this will be edited a little bit, just a little bit, um, for clarity and stuff. But, uh, I don’t know. Like I’ll be in, I’ll be in touch. I’ll let you know when this is coming. It’ll be pretty soon. Uh, thank you so, so much. All right, Aaron, maybe I’ll talk to you again in less than 26 years. 24 years, six years. I know. So. All right. Thank you so much. Have a wonderful day.

 Speaker 9: (01:26:29)

Alright, bye. Bye.

 

Black Man Talking: An African American Experience

Speaker 1: (00:00)

How are you? Do you want me to call you Spencer or Mr. Warren or Lauren? 

 Speaker 2: (00:06)

I’m sure it’s perfectly fine. Perfectly fine. But people always got my name backwards. They want to call me warn. Excuse gives me flashbacks back to military days. 

 Speaker 1: (00:18)

Oh, uh, um, how long were you in the military? 

 Speaker 2: (00:23)

Uh, too long. How about that? No. Um, six years. But you know, I did well in it, but that was not my thing. So nonetheless, let me get myself set up here and I’m going to ask a favor of you. Absolutely. I tend to ramble. I know I talk a lot, so if I start, you find me rambling, just push me in the right direction. I will not take offense because I have no perspective and I’m going to yell at my son one last time. Hey Alex, come here. Do me a favor please. Sir, can you watch this for me and try this for me? Thank you sir. All right, doors closed or it’s locked. No one will bother me and we can begin whenever. [inaudible] 

 Speaker 1: (01:17)

awesome. Uh, yeah. So we’ve been like trying to get ahold of each other over. I’ve been trying to try to schedule an interview for awhile. Um, I’m so glad this finally happened. Yeah. 

 Speaker 2: (01:30)

Yeah, I’ve been, um, honestly I’m a little nervous and tense about it and thinking about it and how I want to approach it and so forth. Um, of course I’ve listened to the first season and I absolutely enjoyed it. And plus the NP group, you know, kind of been in and out of the group, um, for a while. Um, but I’m reading everybody else’s story, which has given me insight. So hopefully my story will add a different perspective. Cause I know everybody thinks their story is different, but it’s just, you know, there are similarities that help each other. Right. And there are differences that give people perspective.  

Speaker 1: (02:08)

Right, right. That’s a really great way of putting it actually. Yeah. Great. So, um, so we can just, we can jump right in if you’d like. 

 Speaker 2: (02:18)

Sure. Because I mean if you’re already recording and then you edit this out later, 

 Speaker 1: (02:22)

yeah,  

Speaker 2: (02:26)

go with it. 

 Speaker 1: (02:28)

Yeah. So, so what, so let’s just start with, um, let’s start with some basics, which is just, where did you grow up? 

 Speaker 2: (02:36)

Um, I was born in, uh, North Carolina and, um, a small place called Tarboro, North Carolina where there is a, you know, pretty relatively if anybody grew up in a small area, a lot of families history had been there and a lot of 

 Speaker 1: (02:53)

my, uh, I’ve just gonna interrupt you to tell you that my best friend moved to Tarboro like two ago and lives there now. 

 Speaker 2: (03:01)

Sorry for your best friends. 

 Speaker 3: (03:02)

And, um, 

 Speaker 2: (03:03)

I call it the, I call it the mosquito capital of the world. 

 Speaker 3: (03:06)

Oh my gosh. 

 Speaker 2: (03:07)

Honestly, I don’t, I don’t, I’ve never spent a lot of time in Tarboro, but there’s a larger city called Rocky Mount that’s right near it. Um, just a bit West of it and that’s where I spent a lot of my summers growing up as a child. Okay. Um, but, um, just, just to tell, well, eventually I ended up moving to Richmond, Virginia with my mother. But just to tell the story, let’s start from the beginning. Um, one of my earliest memories is just me and my mother. My mother was a teenage, uh, how to teenage pregnancy. She was 17 when she had me. This is back in of course telling my age, 1972 things were a little bit different. Now it now, today we’re expected to go to college, or at least we want to go to college. Back then that wasn’t necessarily the highest thing that was reserved for people who had money and so forth. 

 Speaker 2: (03:55)

But, um, my mother had me single mother. I’m 17 years old. She, uh, from what I can put together, knowing my little history, um, she left me with my grandmother, um, and Rocky Mount North Carolina, and she went to Richmond, which is a large city to the North of that, and she lived with one of her older sisters. My on my mother’s side, which I know very well. Um, it was my mother, my grandmother and her husband. They were together for many years and he passed 1971 a year before I was born. And my mother had 13 siblings. Very, very large. Yeah. So she had older siblings, there were adults when she was pretty much a child. So that was the dynamic that my family went through. So as my mother being one of the youngest, actually my mother, which this is important, she’s the 10th of 14. We’ll come back to that later and a couple of get to remind me, write that down. Yeah.  

Speaker 3: (04:51)

Okay. Okay. Writing it down. 

 Speaker 2: (04:53)

So nonetheless, she, uh, left me with my grandmother, moved to Richmond with one of her older sisters. Then she stopped for me later and from age two on, she and I lived in Richmond together. So it was just she and I and then, um, and, and, and I didn’t grow up with a father around. And of course, being a smart child, knowing that, you know, I had a father somewhere. Eventually she met my stepfather, who has been in my life since the age of three and he has been the father figure in my life, good or bad, we won’t get into all that stuff, just knowing that he’s out there. So he was my father figure. And around the age of eight, um, my mother introduced me to a gentleman by the name of Calvin and she said, this is your father. And of course there are a lot of things. I know I’m rushing through this, I don’t want to. 

 Speaker 2: (05:50)

But um, Calvin became was my, he’s my father. And in that same breath I met wife and his son who was younger than me, Calvin jr, which of course caused some issues for me because I’m thinking I’m the oldest, why am I not jr yes, yes. So that kind of threw me off a little bit. Plus it was just a lot to take in for any, um, to have to deal with it. And one thing I learned quickly, um, is that Calvin, like the title, but he didn’t like the job. So he wasn’t much of a father figure that to go a little deeper into it when a child in my case or I would like to think in my case, not knowing who my father was growing up with just my mother. You kind of romanticize who your father is and good or bad with your stepfather. 

 Speaker 2: (06:43)

Um, some people have stories about step parents and so forth like that. You always romanticized that your father would come and steal you away or rescue you or something like that. And it was basically a big disappointment cause Calvin was not that person. He was a person who went to work every day and he paid his bills on time. It wasn’t like he was a drunk or anything like that. He just was more into himself than anything else. But he was good with his son Calvin jr just with me. It was very sporadic. So nonetheless, 

 Speaker 1: (07:12)

or do you know how do you know his, I’m sorry. Do you know how old he was when, um, when he was with your mom, when they got [inaudible]? 

 Speaker 2: (07:19)

Um, so I, I not knowing exactly how old he is, I would assume he was about a year older, not more, more than a year or either the same age, 

 Speaker 1: (07:28)

17 or 18, something like that. Okay. Around that age. But when you met him, he was 25. Okay. Yeah,  

Speaker 2: (07:34)

he was, he was, he’s already established in his marriage and had a kid that was a year and a half behind me. Of course doing the math you think, okay, if I was born and then Calvin jr was born within a year or two, there was breakup or whatever. We just kind of fill in the pieces. So I spent a lot of time, I would spend some time with, uh, Calvin and his family and I got really close to his wife, Eva. Okay. Great lady. Um, Calvin jr and I had a time of it because me being an older child, I had a, I have a half-brother through my mother and my stepfather at this point. Um, and I’m being the oldest between Calvin, jr and myself and Calvin junior already being an only child and having all of the attention. It was kind of a weird dynamic process.  

Speaker 2: (08:22)

It’s a lot to this and there’s so much more to it. Um, I really need to write all this stuff now. Um, but things didn’t work out very well between Calvin and I. um, and going forward, uh, when I got to be about 18 years old of having Calvin in my life and him not putting forth the effort which I had thought he would or should, or I finally got to a point where I gave up on that relationship and decided to move on with life and I went on and got married and had kids of my own and Calvin was never a part of that. He was never part of my children and so forth. Now I’m going to stop. I’m going to put a pin in it for a second. Let’s talk a little bit more about the dynamic because this comes back to the end. 

 Speaker 3: (09:06)

Yeah, great. 

 Speaker 2: (09:08)

When I met Calvin, um, well before I, before I met Calvin, the reason why I would go to North Carolina, we were talking early about the fact that I spent my summers in North Carolina is that one my family, my mother’s family came from that part of North Carolina. And every summer I would go back and spend the summer with a cousin of mine by the name of Derek and his mother and my mother are sisters and they were only separated by 11 months. They’re very close. 

 Speaker 3: (09:34)

[inaudible] 

 Speaker 2: (09:35)

older and they went to school together. Um, Darren and I spent our summers together. We ran through creeks, we did everything and play with bugs, play the dirt, dirt bike, all that kind of thing. And we grew up really, really close. Um, one of the, one of the more, I don’t even know the word for the or times of the summer, which great experiences was that Darren’s father who wasn’t with his mother, would come to pick Darren up and take them away for the day. All right. And I would sit around going, why doesn’t my father do? 

 Speaker 3: (10:09)

Yeah. You got this other father modeling interest. 

 Speaker 2: (10:14)

I’m feeling sad. He picked him up, tickets for haircuts and all that stuff. And I remember one particular time not knowing who this man was, um, and not having any affection toward men. Cause all I had was women in my life at the time. My mother, my grandmother, my aunt, um, I had some uncles, but they had their own lives. But my mother and her sisters were really the mother, like tight to me or to my, my, uh, in my life at the time. One particular time, this man whose name was Jimmy Earl, we call him general. It’s our country way of mashing to work together. So we’ll come and pick up Darren, my cousin one time he picked both of us up and I was elated. I was, and I’m like, I’m hanging out with Darren father and he took me around different places. I don’t remember much about it. I just remember one time going, well, this was the catalyst of why Calvin came into my life. The reason being is that I found out later on that Calvin and tomorrow we’re brothers. 

 Speaker 3: (11:13)

Oh, okay. So my mother’s  

Speaker 2: (11:17)

mothers or sisters, it usually takes people time because our mothers just sisters. And now I’m looking at my bestest buddy, my closest cousin, which I have like thousands of cousins cause I have 

 Speaker 3: (11:29)

right. Oh my gosh. Yeah, the biggest family. 

 Speaker 2: (11:31)

Yeah. Um, my closest cousin, we’re three weeks apart in age. We practically grew up together. Um, um, it was affectionately he’s darker skin than I am. I’m an African American male and I’m lighter skin colored than he is. And they would call it salt and pepper. 

 Speaker 3: (11:50)

Awesome. That’s cool. So this is showing the, hold on, I’m sorry. Can you hold on one second? Close the tour. Okay. You need to go talk to dad about that. Can you please close the door? He’s probably with Marco. Close the door all the way. Thank you. Alright. Sorry. Four year olds, four year olds. Just don’t get it. I have two of my own. I get it. Okay. Salt and pepper was you and sorry, you and Darren. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. 

 Speaker 2: (12:32)

And so when we found out that our fathers were brothers, 

 Speaker 3: (12:35)

Oh, made us even closer. Right. 

 Speaker 2: (12:39)

So every summer I would spend in Rocky Mount North Carolina with my cousin Darren. I would go see him every summer. I would always have to spend a week with Calvin and his family because they lived there. I hated it because I didn’t want to be away from Derek. He was like, I loved it. Yeah. But I loved it because now I have my father in my life and I’m happy about this and this is great. I’m trying to move forward. But also sad because Calvin’s not really paying any attention that I think he wants. He should pay to, again, me romanticizing as my father was also just side note, I’m a very feeling person, so you’ll, I express myself a lot. Um, so most people and side note as an African American male are in the, our sort of culture, and I’m sorry if this sounds weird. 

 Speaker 2: (13:30)

It’s very, it’s hard for men to express their emotions cause they were like, you know, if you scan your date, get up, stop crying, there’ll be a wimp. You know, those kinds of things. Right. I feel like it’s more so in the African American community. So me being this way tends to be a little bit more offsetting to people. I dunno. It’s really weird. Really stupid. But you, you understand that. Yeah. So anyway, I go through life. Darren and I are best buddies. We spend summers together where birthdays are three weeks apart. We’re the same age. We go through the same things at the same time or dating girls at the same, you know, we’re just connecting and we’ve got the same grandmothers in the same grandfathers and the same lineage. We’ve got everything the same and we’re so proud of it. 

 Speaker 3: (14:14)

That’s so fun. Yeah. Yes it is. 

 Speaker 2: (14:16)

It’s like we’re, you know, and most people are like, that’s weird. Cause double cousins, I don’t get it. But that’s where we were. And I was happy about it. Better to be closer to them. My, my best, his buddy in the whole wide world. Now, whenever I would go to visit North Carolina, my cousin would say, Hey, let’s go to grandma’s house. And he met. Now I’m confused. Which grandma is it? Our mother’s mother or our father’s mother, you know, and he would say, Oh, let’s go visit our father’s mother. And I would try to connect to this woman. And she didn’t seem to have a very big connection to me. Also. It was neither here nor there, you know, and it kind of shattered my idea of what family was. It didn’t make sense to me. Why are they so offset to me? Why is Calvin so pushed off or why is his mother so pushed off? 

 Speaker 2: (15:01)

I’m right now going through life, got to age 21, 18. I decided I had enough of Calvin. This is not working out. I’m moving forward in life. Um, I just felt like he tweeted Calvin jr and I differently. The whole lot of dynamics were going on and I needed to move forward in life because life was starting for me. Um, by this time, his first wife who I had connected with, Calvin’s first wife who I connected with Eva, she had divorced him, but I still kept a connection with her just because she was such a good influence in my life. And she welcomed that connection to me. And she also helped build a connection between myself and Calvin jr to keep that going because she felt like the brother should have that connection even though her Calvin wasn’t fostering that. So I go through life. 

 Speaker 2: (15:53)

Let’s skip ahead a few. Okay. Now I’m married late twenties, early thirties. I’m married now. I’m having children. My wife, my beautiful wife. I’m married. Uh, she’s from Barcelona, Spain and learning more about her culture and wanting now having a child. I wanted our child to know his side of the family in Barcelona, Spain. So we ended up moving to Barcelona to live for a few years. And while we were there, we were tracing back our family history and we were, he was meeting a lot of, uh, his family and cousins and I was very happy for that. And I started to think to myself, I need to do that on my side, right. For my son. He needs to know our history on that side. And by this time we’ve taken, 

 Speaker 1: (16:42)

I was gonna say you just wanted it to be like a whole, a whole experience. Like a holistic experience like from both sides. Yeah, correct. 

 Speaker 2: (16:49)

Now w by this time we had moved back to America, um, and we’re setting up roots again and this is where the whole ancestry had started to take off. And I was very interested in genealogy and I started to do our family tree. So what I did was, is I went to my mother and I pulled her aside and I said, Hey mom, listen, I’m going to do, I really want to do the family tree for your side of the family. Not for Calvin’s side of the family. Cause I don’t know anybody on his side of the family. He didn’t, he didn’t really put forth the effort to spend time with me or to put me in front of other people. I don’t know anybody on his side of the family. I’m just going to not worry about that. Just worry about my mother’s side of the family. 

 Speaker 1: (17:31)

Right? Yeah. He didn’t promote it. 

 Speaker 2: (17:34)

Correct. Now mind you, when I was born to my mother on my birth certificate, there is no father listed on the, on the birth certificate. And I never knew why. And I got a copy, you know, when I got married and I probably put passport, I seeing this and I started saying, started questioning in my head, but I just put that in the back of my head. So I said, mom, I’m going to start doing the family tree now, not to be hypocritical. Tell me the full story of my conception and birth and so forth. So that in case I find out something embarrassing about someone else in the family, then it wouldn’t seem like I’m putting out their garbage rather than putting out my own garbage. And so I thought that was noble reasons and I said, please, can you tell me? So she decided to tell me the story of my consumption. 

 Speaker 2: (18:27)

So the story of my conception was she was a young lady. Um, she was doing really well in school and she, uh, was really focusing on her schoolwork and the opportunities that were presented to her. Um, and this very poor area of North Carolina. And she did really well in school. So there was a summer program coming up where she could do extra schooling and for gifted or whatever they wanted to call her. And she was dating a young boy named Calvin. But she found out through the grapevine that Calvin had a need to have many women in his stable. He was quite the player, very centered on himself and what he wanted. And there was a rumor that he was chasing a very young lady by the name of Eva who went to a different school or was a lot younger, um, rather than they went to the same school. 

 Speaker 2: (19:21)

And so my mother got tired of the rumors and said, Calvin, it’s over between you and I, and broke up with him that summer. She went away to this, this special program at a school, it’s not that far away, but if you live in rural North Carolina, before there was internet before, there’s a lot of maps. Uber’s that was pretty far away. So while she was there, her roommate introduced her to a much older young gentlemen who was, um, that she decided to start dating my mother’s mother. My maternal grandmother was not very happy with this. And so she spent a lot of time keeping my mother in check from dating this older woman, older man. 

 Speaker 1: (20:00)

Well cause he was older or he or he was a bad guy or what was your 

 Speaker 2: (20:05)

I really didn’t know at the time and I, I ended up pressing later what it was is, I think it was just because of the fact that one, my, um, my maternal grandfather had just passed away. So now my grandmother is trying to put everything in perspective. She’s gotta take care of these, what she had now, she had six kids at home and she was just trying to keep things under control the best she could. She didn’t have her husband around and a lot of the older siblings had already moved on and moved away from the house. And it could have been, could have been a lot of reasons. I can only, I never got around tasking. My maternal grandmother, she had passed in 89 before. I got to bring her into this whole free of asking her questions. So, um, and part of this was done to honor her because she’s like the matriarch of the family by my, my perspective. So, so my mother said that she started dating this gentleman, um, and things went, went on for a while, but Kelvin was constantly trying to get back with her, trying to entice her back into a relationship. Um, but, uh, I got the impression it was sort of in a weasel way. Like, I don’t want to be a boyfriend, but I just want to be around you. I know you’re dating this other guy. 

 Speaker 3: (21:26)

I want the most attention from everybody. So yes, 

 Speaker 2: (21:29)

yes. That was his nature, which, which totally played true and his seeing him as an adult and now I’m in being his life. So 

 Speaker 3: (21:36)

sounds like attracts for sure. Yeah. 

 Speaker 2: (21:38)

So then my mother of course, and we all know that when people tell stories good or bad, they tell stories that Dennis said can not make it seem like they’re the bad person. But I just took it with a grain of salt. And my mother said that she eventually had been in a romantic relationship with this older guy and then he would, he actually lived in Washington, D C he would travel back each weekend cause he was from this area because his mother was dying of cancer. 

 Speaker 3: (22:05)

That’s awesome. 

 Speaker 2: (22:07)

And so he would come home every Friday after work, after he finished working in Washington, D C he would drive the three, four hours back home. He would pick up my mother, he would take her back to the house, they would spend time with his mother as she was, you know, getting bedridden or so forth. Um, and then they would go out and do things or whatever. They went, what kids did back in those days, that part of McConnell. So they would do that every weekend. But during the week, my mother would go to school and see Calvin. So Calvin’s constantly hounding her without this older gentleman being around. Right. Um, so my mother said she admitted she succumb to his charm and she was intimate with them. And then she said in her own words, you know, I could have had a BA, I’ll never do that again. And walked away, you know, just like, yeah, that was great.  

Speaker 3: (22:55)

And so she continued to see the older gentlemen 

 Speaker 2: (23:00)

and so she continued to see the older gentleman until his mother passed away. And around the time that his mother passed away, um, which is around October of 71 or no, I’m sorry, November of 71 she realized that she was pregnant. Now put a pin in that for a second. Yup. I am a male. I understand women through women. So I have questions, but I didn’t want a question at all. People, my mother, like, why didn’t you do this? Did you, I don’t want to ever put anybody in that. So if I ever sound like I’m being the typical, you know, um, hardheaded male, forgive me. It’s just me learning through my mother, through my wife, through my daughter, through, you know, things like that. So to me it didn’t make sense. And I said, okay, that’s what happened. You found out you were pregnant. 

 Speaker 2: (23:46)

And she said, I told the older gentlemen and her impression that she gave to me not knowing her exact, what herb, remember her words, but that he basically said it’s not my child. Goodbye. And never came back around again because of course it’s mother’s passed on now. There’s no need for me to come back. That’s the impression she gave me. So now I don’t like this older gentleman. How dare he treat my mother this way? Totally, totally. Um, and then she said, you know what, I’m just going to go through life and I’m going to raise my son. Good for you, mom. And powerful. And of course, that makes me more loving to my mother, that she took care of me. And she raised me and made me into this wonderful gentleman that I liked, the big guy. Um, so I said, that’s your story. 

 Speaker 2: (24:31)

And she says, yes. I said, well, where did Calvin come into this? And she said, well, as time went on, um, and you would spend time in North Carolina, Calvin’s brother [inaudible] would see you all the time and said, you look like hell. Even when he was a little boy from pictures and so that it went to, came together and they came up with four but two and two together, they came up with for that one time, that general picked me up. He actually took me to Calvin for Calvin to see me. So there was a underhandedness to it. Like, let me, I’ll take, I’ll take a fencer out with them, you know, and so forth now. Now, um, from that point, that’s when Calvin decided to get involved in my life and do the right thing. That’s my son. I want to meet him. He contacted my mother through my aunt cause they live in the same city because Jerome connected to, um, my aunt, my mother’s sister, and that’s how this all worked out. And I, and I remember seeing her, okay, great. Now I know right now I can move forward. It’s not the most pristine story. It’s not without some fault, but that’s human life. Nobody’s perfect. We can’t, 

 Speaker 1: (25:45)

do you feel like, um, Calvin’s brother sort of pressured him to participate? 

 Speaker 2: (25:52)

I don’t know. 

 Speaker 1: (25:53)

Okay. Or maybe he just felt it. Yeah, 

 Speaker 2: (25:56)

I know. Calvin’s brother, I could contact him if I want to. I just don’t know what, who to believe. Cause everybody tells me knowing how things are falling into place, I can feel him so much. Never, ever know the real truth or intention or motivation. 

 Speaker 1: (26:14)

And it may not matter. 

 Speaker 2: (26:16)

Yeah, it may not. They may be neither here nor there. So life has gone through, um, life has moved forward. Um, and I’m now married and I’ve got, I’ve moved, I’ve lived international. I’ve come back and now I start my whole quest. Now this portion of the story is a little bit off away from the whole NPE, uh, thing. But, but when I started going through my ancestry, it was very, very frustrating for me as African American. And I don’t know, I’ve listened to your first, uh, the, the, the other people’s stories. I don’t hear enough of this, but I can only imagine for other African Americans, um, or people who are adopted of different ethnic backgrounds like who’s Asian who was adopted by American Caucasian American parent, but he has no connection because China doesn’t share their DNA per se or something like that. 

 Speaker 3: (27:09)

Right, right, right. No, I, you know, I don’t, um, I don’t have a lot of that in the first season. And that was something that I really, that we really like re, uh, wanted to, to change about about the second season for sure, was to start inviting in and representing more diverse stories. Cause it’s so different. 

 Speaker 2: (27:26)

It is, and it tells and everybody has a different story and there’s a perspective that we may not even get because we don’t, we can’t put ourselves in other people’s shoes when it comes to different ethnicities or religions or, or, or situations. So it’s good that we hear these different, the round it out. So when I started my journey, of course the ancestry had just started, there wasn’t much of a database compared to now. There’s much more of a database. Um, I started with ancestry.com and I started searching. Now I have done, I’ll say this out loud, I’ve done some comedic work. I’ve done some standup, something as a hobby. So sometimes I’ll tell a joke, please just laugh and move on from it. 

 Speaker 3: (28:13)

Sure. 

 Speaker 2: (28:14)

And one thing. And if you think these various, just laugh and move forward. 

 Speaker 3: (28:18)

Okay. All right. I’m, I’m bracing myself, getting ready for the, for the awkward humor.  

Speaker 2: (28:25)

Well, this is part country and this could be part of the African American culture, but I was going on a lot of things that my ancestors or my aunt and uncles were telling me. And it was hilarious to me. They were like, Oh yeah, your uncle Pooky, Pooky. And I’m like, Pookey somebody. 

 Speaker 3: (28:41)

I can’t find a record for a Pooky or Ray Ray or a little John 

 Speaker 2: (28:48)

real name. And it was hilarious because I had an aunt tell me, I don’t know what my grandfather’s real name was. We always called them this. And it’s just like, so it was very frustrating on that set. Right. But then also for the African American community, we didn’t get to own property. 

 Speaker 3: (29:06)

Yeah, for some, 

 Speaker 2: (29:09)

but there wasn’t a lot. We didn’t, we didn’t get to register to vote, so we weren’t on the census. And then one of the, one of the most heartbreaking details of the research is that I would find census record and I would read through the census records and they, my grandmothers, my maternal grandmother’s name is lo theme lot, H. I. N E, very odd name. I’ve never heard of it before. And I’ve never heard it used in other ways. It’s not a very, it’s not a name that carries per se, but they write her name and they couldn’t spell, either they couldn’t spell Lutheran or they didn’t understand leucine or, or were, you could only imagine was it that her mother called her leucine and couldn’t read and write so she couldn’t spell it for the census taker to write it down. Right. So they just worked with the Cod or did the citizen like or not have an education to the point where he could write or she could write? I’m sorry. I’m assuming. He said they could write and I would assume it would probably be heat for it because they were traveling a lot. It was unsafe for women to travel sentence workers. 

 Speaker 3: (30:13)

Yeah. Or they didn’t care. They didn’t care enough to make sure they had it right. 

 Speaker 2: (30:17)

But the one part that really broke my heart is that my family were from a long line of sharecroppers and they would work a part of the land that was owned by say, and not to be controversial, anything owned by a white landowner. 

 Speaker 3: (30:31)

That’s a controversial, 

 Speaker 2: (30:33)

controversial, but I don’t want to, you know, you know, I’m sorry, I don’t even, I’m just muddling through this.  

Speaker 3: (30:39)

No, you’re doing, you’re, you’re just telling the truth. 

 Speaker 2: (30:44)

A sharecropper and instead of going to the black family’s home to ask them, who lives here, how old are they? You know, all these questions they asked. They would just ask the white land owner and white land land owner would only give him as much information as they do, whether it was a lot or little or if they made it up themselves. I don’t know. They had six kids or whatever. The reason, whatever the motivation is. So it found it very frustrating to sign any type of information. So for a couple of years, three or four years, I’m on the side, I’m off the site, I’m frustrated, I’m trying to find things, asking people, I’m moving around, just a lot of work to it. And, but at the same time, my Caucasian friends are like, Oh, you’re doing that. Hey, show me how to do this. And I’d pop in their name, I pop in their grandparent’s name, and then next thing you know, we’re in the 15 hundreds within six hours. And I’m like, wow, we’re only back to ancient, you know, Ireland. Right. Comparatively, it was very frustrating. So crazy. Built up a lot of frustration for me. Um, but on the flip note, I started to do my stepfather’s side of the family and his came back relatively quickly. He’s African-American. It came back relatively quickly, but mostly because his family was mostly from Baltimore, the city. So a lot of records, a lot of jobs, a lot of things were there. Whereas if you lived in rural North Carolina motor side of the family, you didn’t have it. 

 

Speaker 3: (32:08)

Right. More administrative records. Correct. 

 Speaker 2: (32:12)

Back to say. It just led to a lot of frustration on my part. But I’ve given up, I’d come back, I’d given up. So I built up a lot of frustration. So I got to a point and the reason why I said all this, cause I got to a point that the DNA test came out and I was thinking, Hmm, what if I do the DNA test that may show me that I’m connected to people that I might not even known about? Yeah, I know humans do things that are not necessarily the best things for each other. We have extramarital affairs and so forth. I know that could be a possibility. I was not afraid to put my DNA out. Some people are and I was very, I was going forward, but I didn’t want to be selfishly spending the money for the DNA test, which was great because come Christmas time of 19 I’m sorry, 2006 was like five years ago, four years ago when it first came out. That first Christmas we were sitting there and watching the melt. Weiss and I were watching a commercial and it said, Hey, do the DNA tie, and my wife says, Hey, that’s what I could get you for Christmas. And I believed that I didn’t have the money for it. Well, it’s our money, but nonetheless that she gave me permission. 

 Speaker 1: (33:23)

Right. It felt like a selfish, a selfish project or something. 

 Speaker 2: (33:27)

Yeah. I said correct. She knew my frustration. She knew how bad I wanted to do this. I had already gotten to a certain point, hit a brick wall, so I ordered the kit. The kit was in the mail. My mother and I spend time talking to each other on the phone all the time. I love making her laugh. We connected as best we can. She called me after I decided to buy the kit in the mail. It’s on its way. My mother. Hey, what 

 Speaker 1: (33:51)

you guys, I’m sorry. You guys live in Richmond at this point and she, or where do you live at this point? 

 Speaker 2: (33:56)

I live in Richmond at this point, 

 Speaker 1: (33:57)

right 

 Speaker 2: (33:58)

for about an hour and a half away. She’s in the Tidewater area of Virginia, Virginia Beach. And so my mother is, she calls me, Hey, what are you doing? Blah, blah, blah. We’re talking. And she says, what are you getting your wife for Christmas? And we had this and then I said, guess what? My life is getting me. And she’s helped. And I tell her and she laughed and nonchalantly goes, Oh, you young kids know how to waste her money. She thinks it’s a waste of time and money. I’m not giving much. She’s old school. She still has a PCR that still flash. It’s 12 o’clock which says once she has a VCR and second she hasn’t learned how to program. 

 Speaker 1: (34:35)

She doesn’t know how to program it. Yeah. 

 Speaker 2: (34:37)

She’s laughing at me at spending money on technology. So end up conversation. We laugh, 

 Speaker 1: (34:42)

please. Just so you know. Oh wait, maybe I’m not [inaudible] okay, continue. Sorry. 

 Speaker 2: (34:51)

Um, so the next day, 25 hours later, my mother calls me, she’s on the phone and her voice, Oh, everything’s fine. I just wanted to, I just thought we should have a conversation. I said, what about, and she says, Oh, about your consumption. And I said, we’ve already had this conversation. She goes, no, I think I might have left some things out. And I’m laughing to myself thinking, you left some things out. I gave you an opportunity. Tell him what could you have possibly left out. So she tells me your story all over again. But she tells me pretty much word for word the same exact story. And I say to her, I said, mom, you’ve already told me this story. This is the same exact story she tells before she’s at the, why are you telling me this in the bathroom? I’m thinking, she’s telling me, because about to do the CNA test. 

 Speaker 3: (35:38)

Right? Did you feel scared? Did you feel scared or did you ha, did you have any strange feelings about this when she was telling you? 

 Speaker 2: (35:46)

Not at all. But to answer your question about strange feelings when you grow up through life, especially us, the, the group of people that are in this situation today that we know now, we can always look back and feel some strange notes. We just didn’t know what it was. Right? And, and when we find out the truth through these tests or what have you, then it all clicks and falls in the slope. So the strangeness was there. I just didn’t know what it felt. Um, I didn’t know how to express it. So, um, I said, mom, you’ve already told me this story and why are you telling me this? And she says, well, I got really sick last night after I got off the phone with you. I got really, really sick to the point I thought I needed to go to the hospital. And I panicked. 

 Speaker 2: (36:32)

I felt like I hadn’t told you everything that I deserve to tell you about your life. And I said, I said, well, mom, I’m really sorry you got sick and feeling about him today, but I’m thinking if you were that sick, you wouldn’t be on the phone or you’d be in the hustle. That’s, that’s what I consider to be real sick. Like I had a heart attack. And she goes, I just, I just thought I’d share that with you. And I said, well, and I’m a very perceptive person. When people talk to me, I read between the lines, which people call me paranoid, but they’re just hiding something, which is fair, no in itself. 

 Speaker 3: (37:05)

But if you’re not, if you’re right, when you’re right, it’s not paranoia. When you find out, 

 Speaker 2: (37:09)

you get facts when you get true. So when I said to her, I said, well listen, you’ve been talking a lot and you’ve told me about Calvin and you know, I have no connection with Calvin whatsoever. I don’t talk to him. I have nothing to do with them. Um, um, I said, but I said, you’ve talked about a lot about this older gentleman. Can you, what? What is the deal with him? I said, who is he and to be honest, I don’t know if she told me who he was before or told me his name before. I think she did, but my memory, you don’t have memory as you remember something, you add things to it and it things just change, so I don’t want to, I don’t want to misrepresent my mother. I think she told me before and I got over the fact, but I’m going to tell you this now because this is the continuity of my story. She told me what his name was. Okay, and this is the mind blowing part. His name is Spencer. 

 Speaker 3: (38:04)

Ah, okay. 

 Speaker 2: (38:07)

She tells me his name is Spencer. Whether she told me at that moment after we had that conversation about me getting a DNA test or she told me years before she told me his name was Spencer and I remember asking her because of all of this has gone on, I cannot remember the timeline anymore. My brain has blown a fuse because we’re going to get to in just a second. When she’s telling me his name was Spencer, I said, why did you name me Spencer jr cause you know how I’m sensitive this junior? 

 Speaker 3: (38:35)

Yes. 

 Speaker 2: (38:36)

Yeah. So I’ve already experienced that to a certain point. Why did you name me Spencer? And she said, I said, did you name me Spencer? Because you thought I was his child? And she said, she goes, um, I just liked the name. And I said, no, nobody’s got no woman in her right mind. I don’t care if she was 16 or 17 is going to name her child after her ex boyfriend. 

 Speaker 3: (39:00)

Right. The guy that dumped her. Right. Yeah. 

Speaker 2: (39:03)

Um, that either shows it a little bit of craziness or something else is going on here. I said, why did you name me that? And she said, Oh, because I liked the name. And of course it’s my mother. I respect her. I didn’t push it. I let it go. But I would get the reconcile the fact that I’m named after a man that basically deserted her. 

 Speaker 3: (39:20)

Right? Yeah. 

 Speaker 2: (39:22)

This is, this is my story. It’s a bit shameful, but at the same time I’m laughing about it. I’m making a joke out of it. I’m, I’m making, I’m doing standup comedy about this, about the fact that I name, you know, so I go on stage and I said, is anybody here named Spencer? I just want to know if you’re my dad or not. 

 Speaker 2: (39:42)

So I said, mom, listen, you’ve talked and now we’re the conversation where we’re having around Christmas time, after I got the DNA test ordered, I said, mom, can you please tell me something seems weird here now I’m getting really weird feeling. And I said, well, what’s his last name? And she tells me his last name. And while we were talking on the phone for some stupid reason, thinking this guy has gotta be like 67 68 at the time, I just had to go on Facebook and look him up. Sure. I go looking for a mom. My mother’s just talking. I’m not even here. And all I hear is Charlie Brown adults. Mom.  

Speaker 3: (40:18)

Yes. 

 Speaker 2: (40:20)

Pulling up his name and up pops several people with that name. The first listing, I click on it and I look at the picture and it’s me 20 years older. 

 Speaker 3: (40:31)

Oh my gosh. 

 Speaker 2: (40:34)

Do you know the Alfred Hitchcock movie or, um, he passed, I think he patented this, this, this, this vision. It was in vertigo where it looks like the world is pulling up. The camera’s pulling away, right? 

 Speaker 3: (40:44)

Yeah. That’s what it felt like. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. 

 Speaker 2: (40:48)

Got it. It was vertigo just sitting in my couch feeling, I don’t hear anything else from that point on and I’m stuck. I cannot even think straight at this point. And my mom’s like, no, he’s not your father. Calvin’s your father. I’m sure of it. 

 Speaker 3: (41:03)

No. Yeah. 

 Speaker 2: (41:07)

I’m dealing with the fact that my blood type, no, my mom’s blood type. I used to study biology in college. I’m thinking anybody could be my father. That’s the way the genotypes workout when it comes to the blood and so forth. So I’m not mad at her that she doesn’t know who my father is. I’m not shaming her because she had two boyfriends or it might’ve been intimate with two men within the same week. I’m not throwing that type of shame of my mother. That would be wrong with me. Um, 

 Speaker 4: (41:34)

I’m not mad about that at all. I’m just overwhelmed by what this might mean if Spencer is my father, right. The, I deal with that. I get off the phone with my mother and I’m looking at his picture on Facebook and I’m looking at his wife and I’m looking at his children and I’m going, wait a minute. And I’m just, all of this is coming to me. Like, what could this possibly mean? But I’m looking at this man’s face and I’m, it’s like I’m looking into a mirror. Yeah. Funny thing. Funny thing is that I’ve never, I had at the time, I had never been able to grow a beard. It would come in and patches, like I felt like this, you know, like hormonal teenager with weird facial hair. Um, soon after side notes, soon after, probably within a year I was able to grow a full beard after seeing his picture of a full beard. It was so hilarious.  

Speaker 3: (42:24)

Oh,  

Speaker 4: (42:26)

and it’s like my brain released, 

 Speaker 3: (42:30)

right? Yeah. It was just waiting for you to make the connection. Wow. 

 Speaker 4: (42:35)

Looking at this guy and I’m trying to convince myself that he’s not my father. Now this picture doesn’t look like me. No, that’s good. No, that, you know, and I’m just, the test comes, I do the test, I send it off and I totally forget about the test. This is Christmas of the text. And if anybody had did one around that time, I can’t remember what year it was. What year is it now? 2020. So it might’ve been 2016, 2015 or something like that. Um, there was a real backlog. It does allow for the results that come back. So I think I did it right before, right after Christmas, and my results didn’t come back for like three months. The whole time. During that three months, my brain is just working. Just how do I deal with it? I even forgot I had done the ancestry test, not even on my radar anymore. I’m trying to process all of this. Um, I’m quizzing my mom. I’m asking her for more information. She’s like, look, I’m telling you center is not your father. And I’m like, mom, I just, something’s weird here. And of course I’m not talking to Calvin. I’m still close to his first life, but I’m not telling anybody about this. I’m just dealing with it. And so 

 

Speaker 3: (43:47)

did you tell your, what do you tell your wife? 

 Speaker 4: (43:49)

Oh yeah. I told my wife, this is the blurry part. This is, this is the joke part. I’m going to preface it by saying it’s a joke. So my wife being a Spanish, she’s Caucasian. I look at her and I said, honey, look at this picture. And she’s there when I’m discovering this. And I showed her and she looked at it and she just looked at me and she just shakes her head left and right. She doesn’t say anything. And I go, tell me this doesn’t look like me. I need you to help me with this. I need your perspective. And she just looked at me like I’d spoken a different language that she didn’t understand that she speaks two languages and I go, you know what? You’re no good. Get away from me. And I’m just so distraught. I go to work the next day. And um, I work with a lot of Caucasian people in my field. Okay. The only reason why I’m telling you this because it leads into a joke. I am bursting with this and I tell all the people at work, Hey, this is what’s going on. The slip, my mother told me last night, does this man look like me? And they’re like, they, he looks like you and I’m laughing to myself and I’m like, all black people look alike to you. And 

 Speaker 3: (44:51)

yeah, 

 Speaker 4: (44:51)

well I’d go to ask a black person and they go, yep, he looks like your father. And I go, crap. And it’s true. Black person knows I look like this person. So I’m laughing about this years later about the fact that that happened. Um, so anyway, I am dealing with this over the next three months trying to get this in my head. Totally forget about the DNA test and I’m trying to figure out a way I need to know if this guy is my father and I so I can just get this out of my head and move forward in life. So I asked my mother, does he have any siblings? And she says yes. And I said, did he have any sisters? And they said yes, her name is Alice. That I remember. And I said, great. My theory one [inaudible] she Alice would probably be more discreet than say a brother. 

 Speaker 4: (45:34)

Okay, I don’t want to ruin this man’s life. I don’t want to introduce myself to him if he is this crappy person who deserted my mother when she was pregnant for 16 yeah. So I’m going, I’m trying to be a even keeled and nice about this without being disruptive in any way. I figured if I can talk to her, maybe she’ll do a DNA test with me like a home kit. I’m not even thinking ancestry has anything to do with it, cause I don’t know what to expect. I don’t know what’s going to come by. We all know what comes back now, but I didn’t know what. Right, 

 Speaker 3: (46:06)

right, right. Yeah, that’s true. You know, it was when it was fresh, it was like a, yeah. 

 Speaker 4: (46:10)

So I reach out to her. I see his profile on Facebook. I changed my name to encompass my full name, not just Spencer Warren, but my middle name and also to, in case she knows me because I’m sorry I didn’t tell you this before. Everybody on my mother’s side calls me by my middle name, first name Spencer, but you know me by is, is my school name. It’s my professional name and so forth. Nobody calls me Spencer. I’ve never liked the name Spencer. I’ve a got teased on being called Spencer because Spencer pre-hire the show came out, I got [inaudible] 

 Speaker 3: (46:44)

it affected 

 Speaker 4: (46:44)

me, but kids are just weird like that. But um, I never used Spencer before so I changed my name to, to shows my first middle last name. I’ll put it on Facebook and I find his profile and I find his connection to a friend who has the same name as his sister. And I reach out to her and I say hello. Now we all know if you’re a Facebook user, if you’re not friends with someone, if you send a message to them through messenger, it used to go to their spam or to another folder. I did not want to friend her because I didn’t want Spencer to see me as her friend. If he’s active on Facebook, obviously he’s up a profile. I just didn’t want to cause that stir. I just sent her a simple hello Ana thirsty that whole day. Nothing return that Friday, nothing in return. 

 Speaker 4: (47:33)

That Saturday I’m having a cookout with my friends and we’re all at my house. For some reason I pull up my email and I see, Hey, your ancestry results are back sometime in the spring now, April, March, no March, um, three months. I totally forgot about this DNA test, which I’ve said a couple of time and I say, let me read it and it shows me my genetic makeup, which was surprising. I had, you know, I’d never do that. I had this genetic makeup and so forth and told me great dandy. I’m making jokes with my friends because it turns out that I’m 23% great Britain and so I’m laughing and I’m going, I’m a quarter white. This is why I can’t dunk a basketball. This is why a whole bunch of things, making jokes and so done with that. Uh, the cookout is over with. I clean up, I go and sit down again.  

Speaker 4: (48:27)

It’s 11 o’clock at night and I go through my results again and now it tells me I do it on my laptop this time. And now you have some genetic relatives are to look at them. Now of course my, my piece size brain is not processing very well. I’m overwhelmed and you have a close relative relative new to this. Don’t understand what close relative mean. And I see their screen name and I go, who is this person I can’t even imagine what could be. And then I go and I send that person a message and I don’t even know because I want to be discreet. And I said, um, you know, I’m just seeing that we’re close. Would you like to talk cause this is all new to me, blah, blah, blah. 11 o’clock at night I send a message, I don’t expect to respond to court. 

 Speaker 4: (49:16)

Then I looked through the rest of the list and it says, you have a first cousin. And it has a picture, but of course you can’t really see the picture. It doesn’t let you expand it at this spot. And I see the space and I can barely make it out, but it doesn’t look like anyone I know. Now mind you, I know everyone on my mother’s side of the family, even though I’ve got, my mother has 13 siblings. I know all my first cousins. We get together all the time. I really close to Darren, but I know all my first cousins. I’m not even thinking about Calvin’s family. I’m not even thinking about that. I’m just thinking, who is this person? How could it be my cousin? And I’m blown away. So I send that person about such as well. And then I go to sleep, sleep.  

Speaker 4: (49:56)

The next day I get up, I had to travel, uh, two, two hours away to, I used to coach, uh, competitive soccer and I had a game the next day that was nearby my mother’s house. I was going that direction anyway. And I get in the car and I start driving and my mind is just reeling about what I just learned about the night before. And on one of my breaks driving down, I check my email and it’s that first cousin replied, not the close family, but the first cousin. She goes, Hey cousin, it seems like we’re first cousins, um, are your people. And I’m thinking, I really don’t know at this point, 

 Speaker 3: (50:30)

right? But I need you to help me out. You need to tell me. 

 Speaker 4: (50:34)

So I’m blown away. And I, and I, and I go and I’m playing Colet and she’s playing coy. This is the internet. You don’t want to give too much information away. And I just finally, we go back and forth while I’m at this break and, and my driving and I’ve got time built in and I’m going, let me just get this over with. I said, Hey, listen. Um, I really think my father’s not my father. And gee, are you related to anybody named Spencer who lives in this area or North Carolina? And she goes, she replies almost immediately. That’s my brother’s youngest brother. I’m floored. That’s her father’s youngest brother. So she is definitely my first cousin through our mother’s side. And I’m just sitting there looking at this email, reading it over and over and over again. And she says, well, if you need any help, here’s my number. Call me. I won’t be, I’m not home today. I’m traveling, but call me next week. I need to know today what will be the next week. So I now know that I’m related to someone who’s related to Spencer, which makes it less unless Spencer and Calvin are related. Spencer’s my father and Calvin’s not right. And I really don’t think Spencer and Calvin are related, but at the same time, I still don’t know. 

 Speaker 3: (51:46)

Right. I don’t think it happened. Anything can happen. But at this 

 Speaker 4: (51:49)

point, so I drive down, um, my head is in a fog. I coached the game, by the way. I had some pent up aggression. It seems like we killed that team. I don’t know. My coaching abilities came on, came to life, finished the game, did our cooldowns, and then I drive back to my mother’s house, which is on my way back to Richmond. I get to my mother’s house. Oh, what a pleasant surprise. Hey blah, blah, blah. We’re talking blah, blah, blah. I stepped out there. Um, and the reason why I didn’t do this in front of my stepdad is cause my stepdad and I had a very, very difficult relationship growing up now or an adult. Um, it’s a little bit more respectful. Um, but we’ve not throwing any daggers at him. He’s, I consider him to be my father. He was the one in my life. 

 Speaker 4: (52:34)

But good or bad, he’s my father. That’s the way I look at it. Um, now I didn’t want to say this in front of him because I needed to get my mother to not lie to me. I needed her to understand what I’m learning today. And I needed to tell her that. And I, and I didn’t want to bring my stepdad into this. He’s not very good with drama and controversy is very earthy punker to himself. So I, I said, Hey mom, didn’t you want to go to this place? And she kind of picked up on that clue like I needed to talk to her. So we stepped outside and got in the car and went somewhere and I told her what I learned and she was in genuine shock and she said, um, she said, I’m sorry. And I just looked at her expecting something else to come out but nothing. 

 Speaker 4: (53:18)

And then I just kind of went, okay, I still need to process. Took her back home, got in the car, drove hour and a half back home, got home, told my wife, my wife just looked at me blankly again as if I was, she didn’t know what to say. And I spent that Sunday night dealing with that. Okay. And thinking of the ramifications and saying still, I’m not sure I could still be Calvin’s child if Calvin and Spencer are related in some way. I just don’t, I can’t, I’m trying to figure this all out. I go to work on Monday, my head’s in a fog and I opened up my laptop and I start work. And I know some people are probably amazed by this. I get on Facebook while I’m at work. Sorry, 

 Speaker 3: (54:00)

I work in it. I can get through these things, you know. So I sit there, 

 Speaker 4: (54:04)

I opened up my laptop and open up Facebook and there is a message from Alice, the sister of Spencer, and she finally responded after five days and she said, hello, I have been looking for you. My whole world just fell apart. 

 Speaker 3: (54:20)

Oh my gosh. 

 Speaker 4: (54:22)

So I respond, you’ve been looking for me. And she says, yes, I lost contact with your mother when you were a baby and I’ve been looking for you all this time. But I could not remember her last name. But now that we have basically now that we have the internet and all this stuff, and I go, wow. And I’m still responding being a child of the internet. And she goes, can you just call me? Go? 

 Speaker 3: (54:43)

Yes. 

 Speaker 4: (54:45)

So I get on the call and I call her. Now, um, a lot of people may already know this. When you talking to someone who’s older, you of course talk to them with respect. Yes ma’am. No ma’am. And so forth. But another thing that I do, I’ve always learned to do what she would say yes ms, whether they’re mrs or not usually yes ms. and then their first day, Mr. Howard [inaudible], no, miss Alice, I’m being totally respectful. And she finally got tired of me calling her that and she says, she says, would you stop calling me miss Alice? I’m no stranger. I’m your aunt and I’m going, you know me to be your nephew. This is blowing my mind. So now my whole world is destroyed cause I’m thinking Spencer was like, that’s not my child and I’m gone. So why would his sister still consider, maybe this is really bothering me. So I am at work and I’m like, I really can’t get into this, but I, I needed to know something. So I say to her, do I have any siblings? And she says she, I could hear her smile through the phone because you don’t know. And I said, no I don’t. 

 Speaker 3: (55:45)

And she goes, I don’t know anything. 

 Speaker 4: (55:48)

She says, you have four siblings, you have three sisters and a brother. And my heart just exploded. 

 Speaker 3: (55:54)

Huh? 

 Speaker 4: (55:55)

I’m just like, really? Now one thing you’ll know about me or learn about me or if you want to later on in life. 

 Speaker 3: (56:02)

Love the women in my life. I was raised by my mother. My grandmother is very important to me. 

 Speaker 4: (56:08)

Darren’s mother. 

 Speaker 3: (56:09)

She was very important to me because I spent my summers with her second Spencer. Hold on one second. Something weird just happened with my recording. Hold on. 

 Speaker 5: (56:48)

[inaudible].  

Speaker 4: (56:49)

Hello? Are you there?  

Speaker 1: (56:51)

Okay. That was very strange. My other, my podcast recording. 

 Speaker 4: (56:56)

Sorry to play in my ear 

 Speaker 1: (56:59)

like an old podcast, but it’s done now. I’ve got it. I’ve got it turned off. All right, so you knew, you’re telling me that you, you, you love the women in your life. That was right. Lost.  

Speaker 4: (57:11)

I love the women in my life. I have a very fond affection to the women in my life. Men have been disappointing to me. My stepfather and I didn’t get along very well. Calvin and I didn’t get along very well. So I have this very, I’m very apprehensive around men per se, even though I have a boy and a and a girl child. I’m very close to both of them or like feel like I am. I don’t treat them any differently, but I just don’t tend to congregate around the men, older men in my life. So I’m very affectionate toward the females in my life. I coached girls for 20 years, that kind of, you know, I just get it. So now I found out for the first time, mind you, I had Calvin jr who was my brother, my mom, my mom and stepdad had a son. 

 Speaker 4: (57:56)

Uh, he’s my younger brother. We grew up together, um, where it’s cow Calvin jr and I didn’t really grow up together and met each other later into our childhood. Um, so there’s no real deep connection, but there’s a connection between us. I now have three sisters and I’m like over the mirror. I can care less about the extrovert, but I’m just lead it of having the sisters and I’m going, I have sisters. And then I started thinking to myself, what if we look alike? I’m going to see what I look like as a girl. To me, ugly, hugely ugly picture of me looking like I’ve just female. Uh, cause I’m not, I don’t think of myself as like overly handsome guy. Like I’m thinking this isn’t going to be interesting cause now I get to see things. Now going back, you and I were talking about the fact that how did we feel anything strange? 

 Speaker 4: (58:45)

And I alluded to the fact that you go through life, things feel strange. You just don’t know what they seem like. I never felt comfortable around Calvin and it was from the day we met. And I don’t know if it was, I don’t know if it was nature or nurture. I don’t know if he, he set me off or what happened. I always feel comfortable with his wife. I just never felt comfortable with him. It felt like there was this, this, this energy between, um, they didn’t work out. But then everybody would always say, Oh, you look like them. And that would always go, I’ll go, okay. But now in hindsight, when saw that picture of Spencer on Facebook, I knew instantly that that was my face. That was my nose. That was everything. And so for child, which is a phenomenon that a lot of people take for granted, cause they’ll never experience it when you grow up in this situation and then you find people, you look like you become a part of that tribe just by your genetic makeup, it satisfies something inside of you. It’s like a piece has been missing for so long and you go, wow, that’s where I got that from. That’s who I look like. So that was very satisfied. 

 Speaker 1: (59:55)

All right. So that’s, yeah. Well yeah, I was going to say, so that’s what happened to you is you felt like a peace settled into place. Okay. 

 Speaker 4: (01:00:02)

I knew I looked like my mother, but I never had my father around to figure out which one I looked like the most or which where’d I get this from or what happened. But I never felt like that came from Calvin. So that kind of meeting my sisters or wanting to meet my sisters, I would see the other side of me. I would, it would complete, it would make me whole, that’s the feeling that I got and I was rushing to that point. Um, not to get too much. Not that I don’t want to, but not to get too much into it. There is a reading other people’s story on these, these, these NPE groups that uh, you and I had been a part of or that you’ve talked about before. Um, you find that some siblings don’t want anything to do with you. You find some siblings are like, Oh yes, please bring them, bring them. 

 Speaker 4: (01:00:50)

We want, we want to give you love just because you’re genetically related and you find out that you may be culturally different cause you grew up in different folds or you grew up in that secret. Um, this was odd in the sense that I finally went to meet my sisters. They are both adults and they both have children of their own. And I went and they were living in Rocky mountain, North Carolina where I had my son. And so I go down there and I finally meet my aunt Alice. She’s the one who the conduit for me because, because, and we’ll get into it. She hadn’t told Spencer yet. So I said, I need to meet you as soon as possible. Nobody’s guaranteed tomorrow. I’m coming down there if you have a problem with that. No, I drive down. I’d leave work in the middle of the day. I tell him I’ve got to go. 

 Speaker 4: (01:01:39)

I drive down. No, Kelly and I go to her house and as I’m pulling up to her house, when this rural railroad in the back of North Carolina’s Woodlands, whatever, I go past the sign that says their last name towing company. So I’m seeing that the family has a, has a business and that makes me feel like, wow, you know, this is what I come from and I’m starting to feel it. Like that’s my spirit, my entrepreneurial spirit. Maybe this is where I get it from. Is this genetic, is this, is this nature or nurture? And I pull up and she’s so warm to me and she’s so sweet and she says, okay, we’re going to go visit your sister. And she hops in the car and we drive on through and she’s telling me stories 

 Speaker 2: (01:02:20)

about, yeah, when you were a baby, I used to babysit you and [inaudible] 

 Speaker 4: (01:02:26)

and I’m taking, I’m not stopping, I’m just letting her and I go, 

 Speaker 2: (01:02:30)

you used to babysit me? She said, yeah, when your mom had to work, I would babysit you. Because my daughter would always ask me, when she was talking about her daughter, she says, my daughter said, Hey, do you remember that? Or you remember little center? You know, we used to babysit him, whatever happened to him. And she was like, I dunno honey. I’m looking for him. And she would tell me these stories. I’m looking at her going, what is this woman? 

 Speaker 4: (01:02:49)

There’s no way that it should be lying to me. I don’t know these people, but I’m, I’m, I’m curious. I want to know what I want to know more about me. So we show up at my sister’s house and I’m huggy. I’m a hugger. I’m very affectionate. And I’m like, Hey, how are you doing? And I look at her face and she looks like, and she’s gorgeous. And I’m thinking this is the most beautiful face I’ve seen and she’s got, and this is funny because I have a dimple in my writing, but I don’t have one of my left growing up. People always said, you know, um, um, your mom couldn’t afford to, you know, we’re so poor you could afford to temple. She has a temple in the same cheek. So it blows me away that I’m sitting here looking at her image. I see our simulator 

 Speaker 2: (01:03:38)

and I’m, I’m in her house and I’m, she’s got three daughters. And of course, again, I coach girls for a long time. I’m being affectionate with the daughters 

 Speaker 4: (01:03:46)

climbing all over. 

 Speaker 2: (01:03:47)

So nice sweet. And I go outside and play basketball with the, with the, with the [inaudible] 

 Speaker 4: (01:03:53)

one and it’s just, it was just like a home. And the sister, her name is Olivia, she goes, you look just like our uncle Brooke. And I go, what? And she goes, yeah, you look just like me and you look like that, but you look like Brooke. So now I’m feeling even more of a connection, right? Cause now I look like more people. I see my genetic makeup and this is great. And then she says to me, you know, dad used to talk about you all the time, what? He deserted my mother. And I don’t say that 

 Speaker 2: (01:04:30)

because I don’t want you tick anybody off. But I’m going, huh? And she goes, yeah, he’s telling us about you. We go to bed, he tell us about you. I’m like us. He goes, yeah, my, you know our the, well actually first she goes, my sister, our sister, she corrects herself because now this is new for her. But I’m thinking, I’m thinking now in my head as a woman, why did she  

Speaker 4: (01:04:53)

with her motherly nature come looking for me? 

 Speaker 2: (01:04:58)

And she never did. She knew I was out there. She just never came looking for her. And, and I said to her, why didn’t you come looking for me? And her knee jerk response was, and I think this has started a bad blood between us. 

 Speaker 4: (01:05:11)

She goes, why didn’t you come looking for us? And I looked at her and I go, cause I know you existed. And right. Then that moment I started to feel something toward my mother. I’m starting to think something bad here. It started to sink in and I said, I’m not going to go down that route just yet because maybe I don’t have all the full story. Now I realize this is going to be a very sinister or possibly dark reason behind. And I need to figure this out. I need to figure out who Spencer is. I need to figure out really who my mother, right? So the other sister comes over, they’re a bit standoffish. The kids, their kids are all over them. But, and I’m warm, but I feel this coldness coming from my siblings and I just kind of let it go. Now  

Speaker 4: (01:06:03)

my father finally calls me and I hear his voice for the first time, which of course nearly made me explode with tears cause I’d never heard his voice before. And, um, I laugh to myself because I, uh, coming from North Carolina, we have a very distinct dialect, just like if you’re from Alabama or Georgia or whatever. But if you listen to my voice now, I don’t think that comes out. I think a lot of people can’t tell where I’m from. They think I’m from the Northeast or from some major city or something. I learned how to get rid of that accent. But every now and then I can bring the accent back if I’m around my family alone and his voice has that accent. So I’m laughing to myself that, you know, he’s got that accent that I’ve been trying to get away from, but it was so warm to hear her voice for the first time and he’s very coy at first and he says, Hey, there’s some things I’ve got to take care of, but you know, I’m going to call you very soon and we’re going to get together and I would love to meet and I’m glad you found me.  

Speaker 4: (01:07:03)

I’ve been waiting for this day to happen and I’m like, wait day. You knew I was out there. What? And I don’t want to be angry because I want to get family history. I want to get medical history. I want to get, I want to be amicable without being divisive. There’s some points to this. So, um, moving forward, um, I ended up meeting him. He finally tells me the story and his thing was, is that 

 Speaker 4: (01:07:34)

he and my mother, his story is that he and my mother were connected all the way through my childhood. My mother even came to live with him in Washington D C actually after I was born. It just didn’t work out. And my mother ended up going back to Richmond to live with one of her sisters and over times he eventually would tell me more information. He just was very coy about what he was going to tell me. And I think, and I respect him for this, I think he didn’t want to say anything had about my mother not knowing who I was, knowing that that’s all I had my mother and I respected them for that. I appreciated it. But I also told 

 Speaker 2: (01:08:15)

them, I said, listen, not everybody’s [inaudible] I, I don’t know you, but tell me your side. That’s all I need. And I’ll try to figure out what’s real, what’s up. You know, what I believe, what I feel, what, what would happen. He just to this day will not speak ill of my mother. So part of the story is missing. But the reason why this has been difficult for me is because hearing his side of the story doesn’t match it with my mother’s side of the story. Right. But it makes my mother’s side of the story seemed to be 

 Speaker 4: (01:08:52)

right. Right. Just because it didn’t make sense 

 Speaker 2: (01:08:55)

if he was in contact with my mother for so long, why did my mother erase that history by telling me that story of my conception twice, admitting him both times, paying him in [inaudible]. 

 Speaker 3: (01:09:08)

So interesting. [inaudible] 

 Speaker 2: (01:09:11)

so the reason why I decided to have this conversation with you and hopefully, 

 Speaker 4: (01:09:17)

yes, 

 Speaker 2: (01:09:21)

there have been some NP situ NPE situations that had been from, from from a fair, um, from less than desirable reason. But one of the aspects that I think is unique in this situation, and there’s so much more to my, my story, um, one of the unique situations is the, the amount of guilt. And shame that women 

 Speaker 4: (01:09:43)

when this happened, and 

 Speaker 2: (01:09:47)

historically, culturally we’ve put women on a certain path to be a certain way, whereas men get a, 

 Speaker 4: (01:09:55)

all right. 

 Speaker 2: (01:09:57)

Um, and if a woman were to have an illicit affair or if a woman were to be, um, on alcohol or drugs or a partier or, or such and this were to happen, it shames the woman when she has a child out of this situation where she has to say faith. Um, to a point where, you know, what if, um, she was, you know, following a band and she decided to sleep with a band member and the band member doesn’t even remember, 

 Speaker 4: (01:10:27)

or the child finds this out machine that they have to deal with. The mother protects the child by lying or the mother protects the child by having a fare and lying to them. And then even when found out by DNA, there are some mothers who are like, I don’t believe in DNA. That’s all a lie. And it’s like, well, how did it pick out this person out of 330 million in America who lived in Utah? How did you know? And you happened to live down the street from them back in 1960 

 Speaker 3: (01:10:52)

right, right. 

 Speaker 2: (01:10:55)

The amount of guilt that our mothers in these scenarios are carrying, they start with a lie and they live that life for the rest of their life, not knowing that DNA was going to [inaudible] 

 Speaker 4: (01:11:08)

catch them in that line and end the mental [inaudible]. 

 Speaker 2: (01:11:14)

We don’t even understand our brains and our personalities and our psyche. The fact that a woman has told a lie in my case for 47 years, yeah, it’s hard for her to release herself from MetLife because everything she’s built on it that helps a card she’s built on, it comes crumbling down. And so their defense mechanism is to say to the child, don’t tell anyone they want us to carry that weight. Which my mother said to me, don’t tell anyone. And I said, why not? This is my story. And she says, but it’s none of their business. Right. And I’m thinking, no, you don’t want the shame of this. And I, and I’ve even given my mother a path to the point where I’ve said, listen mom, you were 16 years old. That’s a major decision to have made at the age of 16. You would just lost her father. 

 Speaker 2: (01:12:06)

You had all your other older siblings who had left the home. There was no one there to look after you. You had a, you had a, you had a mother that was reeling from losing her husband of so many years, you know, at least 20, 30 years. Um, you were growing up in a very poor sharecropper situation where now the breadwinner who had been stricken with brain cancer and sick, most of his last few years of his life finally had to leave. I mean, I don’t blame you for that, but let me let you, let me release you from that. And she says she basically deal with that. Now another response is the mother will turn on the child and basically go out and go out of their way to poison everyone else with their version in order to vilify the child who learned them. And what doesn’t help is when the child learns out this new truth, whether it’s from a rape or whether it’s from, um, incest or from an affair or my case, it was not conventional rice. 

 Speaker 2: (01:13:14)

Yeah, maybe it was a little sketchy in the sense that she was between two men, which some people might turn our nose up to even to this day. But back then even more so you have more people would probably turn the nose up to the fact that this young girl was sleeping with two different men. Um, that guilt she carries from 1972 to now, you know, and, and that guilt has built up this 42, this, this, this wall around her that she has stuck into. And I feel bad for my mother because now she can’t let that go. She can’t just live in the truth. And, and the aftermath of all this is that my mother and I have had an argument and, and I think it built from the fact that I was not going to hold her secret anymore. And she knew this and she was feeling it and she felt the pressure. And now she and I haven’t spoken in about, Oh no. Which is, yeah, it’s been, she’s found a reason to be angry with me. And she’s used that as a reason to not speak to me. And it’s one of the most ridiculous small reasons I’ve ever seen. But she had to find something in order to justify hiding her shame. Right.  

Speaker 2: (01:14:31)

And, and sadly, people are allowing this to happen. And I’ve just basically just said, okay, eventually she’ll, this’ll come back around. But I just want her not to live in that shaman. I know a lot of us, a lot of us and P people are dealing with mothers who are living in that shame. And it’s almost like the truth. 

 Speaker 1: (01:14:52)

Right? And you know, I know 

 Speaker 2: (01:14:53)

trying to help them, even though we’re, even though we’re suffering because our whole world got rocked and now we see the world in a different way. And you know, my case, I’m 44 I had children and now this whole quest to bring a gift to the family turned into a life changing thing for me. It’s a bit of trauma from, it’s almost not to discredit anybody else’s ailments where they’re, they’ve been a victim of violence or rape or anything like that where they’re dealing with that trauma. No one knows what you’re going through unless you go through it, but nobody knows how to help us grow it where they’re telling us things like, Oh, get over it. Oh, you already had a father. What do you complain about? 

 Speaker 1: (01:15:33)

So isolated. Yeah. 

 Speaker 2: (01:15:36)

Yeah. So it’s almost like they’re patronizing us when we don’t even know how to deal with it. Also, I don’t think the mental health, uh, um, the mental health community is necessarily prepared for this too. I’ve seen a therapist and she had no idea of how to, 

 Speaker 1: (01:15:55)

yeah, that’s annoying. 

 Speaker 2: (01:15:59)

Telling this story over and over again. It’s been very difficult through different therapists and each therapist is like, ah, well let’s deal with your mother’s issue. No, let’s deal with mine. And dealing with the fact that I have a whole new family now. That’s the reason why I decided to come on and tell my story because maybe it might help someone else to know they’re not alone, even though this wasn’t a sense of, you know, infidelity or whatever. Um, I’m dealing with, uh, siblings who don’t want anything to do with me at this point. And I think that comes from the fact that, uh, other issues, but I’ve seen it’s a phenomenon where if your situation is because of, um, infidelity, your existence tarnishes their father. Right? So that’s why they don’t want anything to do with you. You, you’re a reminder of the negative. 

 Speaker 1: (01:16:55)

Yeah. It’s like, well, I think a lot of people for this other person that appears, you know, even though they knew about you, like, uh, I mean, I sort of had the same, a similar situation with siblings and I, I, I just get the feeling nobody knows what to do with me and I kind of don’t know what to do with them either, to be honest. It’s like, it’s all weird and there’s no, because this has never happened before. There’s no language and there’s no like platform, like there’s no protocol. It’s just 

 Speaker 4: (01:17:25)

totally unchartered territory. And, and in the end, I’ve looked for all these ancestors and I feel like I’m left with because I went looking. And that’s the part that destroys you the most, you know, so, and the aftermath, I don’t have a connection with Mike. The two older siblings and I, I kind of skipped around my father. He, um, the story I got later on too, if anybody’s ever wondering if anybody’s listening, remember, wondered when I met. My father is a really nice gentleman. I look just like, um, he’s very warm. He’s very sweet. I, I’d get a good feeling about him. Um, he won’t speak ill of my mother. That’s great. He’s married. He’s on his second marriage. Um, his first marriage was around when I was about five years old, um, and he ended up having a child, which was my sister, Olivia. 

 Speaker 4: (01:18:19)

And then later on about 13 years later, they had another time. Um, my other sister, um, they had a very Rocky relationship. They got divorced. He married another woman who misses hilarious to me. Um, he was, I think in his late thirties, early forties. I didn’t cause my head was hurting. Um, but she was, she was 18 and they ended up having children. So I have a sister who is a month older than my son and her name [inaudible] or something, which I thought was, Oh my gosh. And then the other part is I have a brother who’s 13 years old, you know, near 15 and he’s 13 years old, so he’s like my son or could be my grandson. But the sad part about it is that his name is center. 

 Speaker 1: (01:19:08)

Ah, right. Okay. Here’s the story behind that. Yeah. 

 Speaker 4: (01:19:15)

If you go look at it, you’re going to find crazy. Ricky married his first wife. She was aware that I was in existence and that’s why he told his first two daughters about Mike distance and my mother decided it wasn’t going to work out, but for some reason there was a falling out between my mother and him and my father. Spencer decided it was best. He stayed away. You can read into that whatever you want, whether the threat or whether whatever it is, I don’t know. But he decided to stay away for the safety of someone or some sanity or piece of whatever. So he’s always known about me his whole life. He just decided to wait until I found him after I turned 18. Speaking on that, I think that’s a cop out, but at the same time, I’m a father. I do things differently. I if was in that situation, I would probably press, but again, male rights to their children and custody in 1977 was a lot different than 2000, you know, um, he had a divorce from this woman and he married this other woman. They had children, but he never told the second wife. So when I pop up out of the blue, the reason why he didn’t come to me right away was because he had to break it to her that she had done out there and also this 

 Speaker 1: (01:20:37)

and so, 

 Speaker 4: (01:20:39)

which does not make any sense because why would he let his second wife named the child, Spencer, if he knew he had a child out there, unless he didn’t know my name was Spencer or unless he just was hiding a secret. Again, here’s another secret that people hide that comes back to me. 

 Speaker 1: (01:20:57)

Right, right. He just couldn’t, couldn’t, couldn’t reconcile all these different narratives. Yeah. 

 Speaker 4: (01:21:04)

So here I am stuck in limbo. I’m feeling like a eight year old child again and dealing with all of this. It was just not a very pleasant, it is still something I’ve gone through. It’s still up and down. It’s still all over the map. Um, so my mother, I’m going back to her, I confronted her, I asked her questions. She’s very coy. She’s having a pawn. She’s, when I tell her stuff, she says, no, that’s not true. And I’m thinking, okay, this is the woman who raised me and my father is telling me something and I go back to her to confirm it so that I can put this on my store. This on my head is being true, and she tells me no, that’s not true. And now I don’t know who to believe because now I have reason not to believe my mother because she’s lied about. 

 Speaker 4: (01:21:51)

She’s totally erased the first five years of my life. And here, here’s this man who’s gentle and sweet, but I know nothing about. But I’m thinking I already have a father, good or bad with my stepdad, but I’m trying to reconcile this, this piece of my life. And it’s just been, she’s been a tornado of a moment where sometimes I’ve got to drop out. Sometimes I stepped back in, but everybody on his side of the family, Spencer’s side of the family knew I existed, but nobody came to look for me. And now that I’m here, nobody’s putting forth effort to keep me here. They’re just basically like, Oh, you’re there. 

 Speaker 1: (01:22:33)

Curiosity. Lots of these. Satisfied. Okay. Yeah. Right. So 

 Speaker 4: (01:22:38)

that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I think I rambled and bounced around enough. 

 Speaker 1: (01:22:43)

No, you stayed very coherent. I was, I was with you the whole way. It was great. 

 Speaker 4: (01:22:48)

I’m there. There’s so many points. That’s the main Mark. 

 Speaker 1: (01:22:52)

Yeah. So many little points. No. Yeah, no. I mean every story has like all, it’s like digressions that you can just sort of rabbit hole down. But um, 

 Speaker 4: (01:23:01)

yeah, Nope. It’s just a matter of trying to, I hemmed and hawed about what I wanted to do with this, how I wanted to portray the story, what would it benefit and I was hoping that it might help someone else to know. Of course they’re not alone. Um, that there are different scenarios. I like to think of my situation as being unique. Um, but there might be people out there who are going through this, so it’s not so unique and I would gladly offer my support to them as well too. So. 

 Speaker 3: (01:23:32)

Yeah. Yeah. That’s really nice. It’s just one of those. Yeah. 

 Speaker 4: (01:23:39)

So, but if you have any questions or clarifications or, 

 Speaker 3: (01:23:44)

Oh, I know one thing. I was gonna I you hadn’t, you told me to ask you about and so I wrote it down. Why does it matter that your mother was the 10 to 14 children? Oh, this is where it gets bad. 

 Speaker 4: (01:23:57)

So as I’m dealing with all of this, and of course I still got my ancestry going to make a long story short, um, my mother is also NPE. 

 Speaker 3: (01:24:06)

Oh, find out her father. 

 Speaker 4: (01:24:11)

It’s not her father. Now this is where it affects me. I have my mother’s last name, which is her father’s last name. Okay. Um, and that’s the only last name I’ve ever had. I’ve never had Calvin’s last name. I’ve never had my stepdad’s last name. Nobody’s ever like my stepdad always talks about, you know, I wanted to adopt you, but I did. Yeah. Whatever comes tells me that unless you really go through with it. 

 Speaker 3: (01:24:35)

Right. 

 Speaker 4: (01:24:37)

I took pride in having my life 

 Speaker 3: (01:24:40)

[inaudible] 

 Speaker 4: (01:24:42)

this was the last name of my family because I didn’t know Calvin until I was eight. That was my family. My mother got him. I didn’t know Spencer. That was my last name. When I found out after doing all this family research, I researched and I couldn’t find much information. Again, African-American sharecroppers are hard to find information. I started to find some civil war information about ancestors that carry the same last name that are connected to my paternal grandfather. Um, I never met this man. There’s only one picture. Um, and my mother never really talked about him that much. Um, and which I thought was odd that she didn’t have that sense of telling me about my lineage was almost like life started with her and that was it. Um, so I’m drawing a very close connection to a man I’ve never met before, but he is the patriarch of our things or what I know to be. 

 Speaker 4: (01:25:43)

And I realized that my mother, um, not to get into in the African American community as a classes are more colorism, we like to call it. Have you ever heard of that before? Um, um, my mother is a fair skin, more fair skin than most of her siblings. They’re dark, darker. They all have the same facial features and so forth. Um, but everybody kind of kept it to themselves. And it wasn’t until I realized that my mother father was not her father through this that had started to come out, that some of my cousins and aunts and uncles are like, you know, we always wonder that my grandmother being that mother was 10 of 14, what story? Why did this happen again? I don’t want to judge my grandmother. Yes. And, and part of this journey, which may be going a little bit off topic, I know we’re going close to time, so forgive me if I go too long, but part of this story of anti street is that we romanticize history. Yeah. We’ve remained by as history. Like, Oh my grandparents got on the ship and they came across. They were, 

 Speaker 3: (01:26:56)

yeah. 

 Speaker 4: (01:26:58)

Oh, it wasn’t, it wasn’t Leonardo DiCaprio, you know, on a boat, you know, drawing pictures of whoever the character worlds. And this was hard. This was, and they came and they met opposition and humans are not nice to each other and there’s racism. There’s a lot, there’s a lot of parts of the story that we’re not aware of. Right. You start to see the ugly side of being humans by researching your ancestry because you start seeing things that are not very prestigious. And so I found a part of Mike history. Let me go back. The whole part of this whole journey was to tell my story of how I got here in order to pass it off to my children do, I’ll do the work for them. Knowing where you came from, who you came from, what you came from again, which is romanticized. Um, knowing the adversity that you went through, whether you are a minority or whether you, you know, when you come from adoption, whatever that reason is to know that your family life overcame that, to become the person that you are today is an uplifting story. I think to know that your, your, your grandparents were immigrants from Lithuania and they came here and now you’ve got this great home, this great family and that is a, uh, an inspiring [inaudible], 

 Speaker 3: (01:28:21)

right? We love that. We love it here in America especially. 

 Speaker 4: (01:28:25)

Um, but when you find the dirt, if it’s in a perspective where you realize that your grandmother who is a Saint next to mother Teresa, she wasn’t the same. You don’t show up. And, and a lot of people want to hide that. They don’t want that to, um, to be safe. They don’t want that to be, to be put out there. And I think that also led to my mother being a little bit more, you know, defensive like, Oh, what else was she going to? And my mother, I was aware that her father wasn’t her father too. She finally confided that she, she, she’d heard grumblings about that growing up. But then you wonder what happened.  

Speaker 1: (01:29:03)

Oh, that’s interesting. Well, my grandfather, 

 Speaker 4: (01:29:05)

I was sick with brain cancer. My grandmother was having an affair or there’s a lot of stories that come in from the King could pop up. 

 Speaker 1: (01:29:13)

Yeah. 

 Speaker 4: (01:29:15)

That was important. Telling you that part about her being 10 or 14. So not only am I NPE 

 Speaker 1: (01:29:21)

in too. Yeah. And it’s too bad. I think it’s really common when this happens. It’s too bad that you guys can’t connect over that, connect over that disconnection, um, that, that these other, all these other details are muddling are muddling the, um, the basic sort of like existential crisis of identity. 

 Speaker 4: (01:29:43)

It’s almost, it’s almost like you can parallel like AA or NAA meetings, people who are going through it can help you through it cause they’ve already been through it, you know, like how do we support each other? How do we help each other? And that’s why I love this podcast. I love what you’re doing and that’s why I love these groups. Um, good or bad. I love these groups that we finding out here on Facebook that are helping other people to connect on different levels because as humans we’re not ready because we are still writing these romantic books about, about history, which is not always so prestigious. 

 Speaker 1: (01:30:18)

Yeah. Wow. Great. This is so awesome. I have two, I have two questions for you. One is the regular question that I ask everybody, which is, um, do you wish your mother had told you and when would that have been inappropriate time? 

 Speaker 4: (01:30:36)

Um, that’s [inaudible] 

 Speaker 1: (01:30:38)

yeah, it’s super hard. There’s not always a straight answer. 

 Speaker 4: (01:30:41)

I wish she, I wish she had told me and when I say I wish she had told me I don’t want it because it would have saved me some grief because I had a lot of grief with Calvin. Um, pain builds character and I like who I am today. So I don’t wish it went a different way. Cause I like who I am and what I am, what I stand today. So when was an inappropriate time, when I asked her, I said, Hey, tell me the story. Am I conception? If she said, if she had said at that point, I’m really not sure who your father is. I’m more confident. It’s Calvin. Right. And we’ll never know. Cause at the time there was no DNA. There was no, 

 Speaker 1: (01:31:21)

right, right. Easy paternity. Yeah. 

 Speaker 4: (01:31:24)

They’re, the fraternity’s has was up to a certain point. There was more. 

 Speaker 1: (01:31:29)

No, no, no, no, no, no. 

 Speaker 4: (01:31:33)

So, so with that being said, there again, there’s no regret. I, the only regret I have today is I still believe she’s living in that shit. And she’s living in that loss and she’s not ready to let it go. And, and that shame has caused her to remove herself from my life over something ridiculous. But now a lot of things make sense. A lot of things make a lot of things that happen in life that I never, those pieces didn’t fit, but there were always fragments in my memory. Now they all fit. They all make sense. So some of that was unnecessary, but here we are and in the end I’m a better person for it. Also, I’ve met some really great people and that I might not have met in the NP world. And um, I, I’m going to toot my horn a little bit here. 

 Speaker 4: (01:32:30)

Um, I’m going to brag a little bit. I think I can do it. When I originally joined the NP group, a coworker, she was going through the situation. She turned me on to this one group we have on Facebook. And I joined the group and I was reading everybody’s story and realizing I wasn’t alone and so forth, but I was at a point where I had discovered I had dealt with it. I was moving through it. Everything was going in a positive way. So I decided to roll love back off and this is going toward meeting people that I probably would’ve met before. I’ve realized that a lot of siblings are pushing us away. A lot of half siblings out there pushing us away. So I reached out and I said to blanket it, put it out there. If anybody’s looking for a brother, even if your genetic siblings are not accepting you, you’ve got a brother here. 

 Speaker 1: (01:33:17)

Yes, I remember. Yeah. 

 Speaker 4: (01:33:21)

Yeah. From there I have reached, I am sure other people have done it. I don’t think of myself as any more special anybody else, but it was me giving out that love because I follow a lot of people hurting and I was hurting because I got rejected from my siblings. They don’t want anything to do with me. Um, that was beautiful to me. Again, Pat myself, I felt that was my gesture to give that love out to people who might have needed it at that time. And from there, I’ve made friends through Facebook that are still my friends and we still talk. We just don’t talk about NPE, so we don’t need it because now we’ve got a bigger connection than that. That is a positive that comes from that came true that, that problem, you know, so yeah. 

 Speaker 1: (01:34:06)

Yeah. That’s cool. Uh, yeah, I know people really appreciated that when you did that. Um, and then my last question, um, is just did you, because you talked a little bit about the struggle of, um, of getting records and in general, um, the history of African American genealogy is, were difficult. Did you, is there anything that you found that you felt like was a good resource or was a tip that you would give other people of African American or people of color or minorities, like a way that they, um, that they can do it or just, um, or is it just that everybody has, you just have to keep trying. 

 Speaker 4: (01:34:50)

You just have to keep drawing? Sadly, I don’t have a tip for anyone. I just kept trying and of course my search stopped because of this NPE situation. So I haven’t been looking anymore. 

 Speaker 3: (01:35:01)

Yeah, that’s so common. 

 Speaker 4: (01:35:04)

But I, but I, I’ve kinda gotten to a point now where I kind of see my family, my warn families to certain point. I’ve already done Spencer side of the family as well. Um, and I see where I came from and so forth, and I put that together and I kinda got to a point where I’ve, for lack of a better word, I’m burned out so I can’t, I’ve kind of stopped. I just don’t do it anymore. I don’t, look, I don’t, I, I’ve seen too much of the negative that it’s made me stop. And I don’t want to discourage anybody. If you want to look, if you want to keep searching, please keep trying. New records come up all the time. You never know what’s going to happen. But if it’s not there, if there’s a, there’s landowner records and you just don’t have that as a minority.  

Speaker 4: (01:35:43)

That’s just, that’s just a part of our history. But we need to add many different perspectives culturally. Um, as Americans, we need to understand that this is just another perspective of our history that we need to be aware of. I think we should speak more on it and we should be aware, but it doesn’t mean that we need to, you know, vilify any group of people because this is what happened, you know, 10, three, 400 years ago. This is just what it is. But we need to be honest about it and that goes into a different realm. But, but yeah, we just, just being honest about the fact that there aren’t a lot of Rutgers, it’s not ancestry.com 23 and me or whatever reason, it’s just what it is. Here’s the weather aspect. I’ll throw this out here and this is not to vilify anybody. 

 Speaker 4: (01:36:29)

This is just my experience that might connect with somebody else. Being African American. I know that along my historical line, there have been some Caucasian DNA to mix up that was already aware before you even got the time. I have lighter, lighter, a lighter complexion than say a lot of my, um, my, my aunts and uncles and siblings, one because I kind of know that my mother was NPE and also, um, just the fact of historical, we can go back to Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings if we want to talk about all that, which is part of the MPE story to a certain point. Um, but knowing that the history of our country with slavery, with, with a lot of things that happened, we understand that there were some mixing of the DNA between one class and the other slaves and the results for, um, now with that being known, um, I think I’ve talked myself out of a point. I forgot what [inaudible] 

 Speaker 3: (01:37:29)

that is so embarrassing. There was a point of history. 

 Speaker 4: (01:37:35)

I knew this was going to happen. I told you to keep [inaudible]  

Speaker 3: (01:37:37)

no, you’re doing great. You’re doing great. I was following right along. Um, 

 Speaker 4: (01:37:43)

here’s the point. So I’m looking through my DNA, right? And part of the reason why I wanted to do the DNA, and this is going to sound outlandish, but it made perfect sense to me that if I did the DNA test, I thought one scenario let’s say with me on that once scenario is that if I found someone who was Caucasian that was a fourth or fifth cousin, maybe they know their lineage. Because like I said previously, a lot of Caucasian people know their lineage just a little bit easier than say, African Americans here in the country. Um, which is not 100% always the truth. Just in my scenario being the South North Carolina being the police state, so forth, um, that maybe they could trace themselves back to say plantations where they might’ve had a Bible that wrote down all the slaves. One of my heart heartbreaking points of looking for my ancestors is that I can get back to the 1861 and then it just goes cold and it goes cold for the reason that slave owners didn’t necessarily write down in their sentences correct synthesis and the sense of they didn’t break down. 

 Speaker 4: (01:38:55)

Um, they didn’t write down, say they had 10 slaves, they didn’t write down their names. They just said, boy, girl 14. So that girl 14 could’ve been sold from one plantation to another and then girl 14 on another plantation. But there’s no way to back that record. So 1860s is where it stopped for African Americans right before that you would be lucky. So I was hoping that if I did a DNA relative to DNA, that maybe there were a Caucasian person who shared DNA with me that knew their lineage and maybe they told me, Oh, well, you know, fifth grandfather owned a plantation in this area of North Carolina, which would have been on our area and here’s the list of the slaves and this is the other name. And I could match it with someone that I knew from the 18th, which I found a name that went back to the 1860s. 

 Speaker 1: (01:39:48)

Yeah, I mean, 

 Speaker 4: (01:39:49)

and this is all based off of census records, but again, that person might not be genetically related to me because a lot of slaves, like they were sold and traded. So say scenario, um, a female got sold but her baby, 

 Speaker 1: (01:40:07)

right. 

 Speaker 4: (01:40:08)

Unfortunate part of it. And someone took that baby in as their own and raise it as their own child cause there was no way they were going to see the mother again being the slave assault somewhere else. And so the census over years just added that person as a 

 Speaker 1: (01:40:22)

family. Remember they’re not my genetics. Yeah, sure. Totally. Yeah. So 

 Speaker 4: (01:40:28)

I was hoping to connect. Now here’s the point that I’m trying to get to my experience. Whenever I look at the faces, the pictures of people on ancestry.com and I see one, of course they, they, they, they put them in groups of close family, first cousin, second cousin, you know, F but then when it gets half, I think it’s fourth cousin, they just go fifth to eighth. 

 Speaker 1: (01:40:50)

Correct. Right. 

 Speaker 4: (01:40:53)

You might share a little DNA that you really, the trace that back a fifth or eighth cousin. You can’t even really trace that back unless everybody had pristine levels. So I start at fourth cousin, third cousin, second cousin. I would reach out to a Caucasian people that were four cuts or third cousins. I don’t, I don’t think I have any second cousins that are Caucasian or visibly or look Caucasian and when I reach out to them, I didn’t reach out to every last one of them, but of the 10 of ones that I reached out to, I had 0% response rate. 

 Speaker 1: (01:41:29)

Huh. That’s interesting. 

 Speaker 4: (01:41:34)

My whole perception on that controversial and not take somebody off or not. I think a lot of us, again, we romanticize history. I think maybe they may feel threatened, may not be the right word or uncomfortable, that if I reach out to them and they respond, then they’re worried. I’m going to be like, well, your ancestors did this.  

Speaker 1: (01:41:57)

Oh yeah, I guess,  

Speaker 4: (01:41:59)

and they say, I’m not going to get involved with that, and I can be as sweet as a pop. Hey, Hey, finds out where genetic related. I just wondered if you could help me. I’m just doing this. Maybe they go, I don’t want to talk to that person because of his race. Maybe I don’t want to talk to that person because they’re third cousin away. Maybe I don’t want to talk to this person because I’m only doing this to figure out who I am. Like where my people come from, Italy or Germany or whatever, but, and they don’t sign up for the restaurant. Or maybe they just don’t want to be involved in something that could be of a Thomas Jefferson, Sally coming. Right. So that’s the heartbreak. 

 Speaker 1: (01:42:37)

Yeah. That’s really hard. 

 Speaker 4: (01:42:38)

American we were still not dealing with, 

 Speaker 1: (01:42:40)

we’re not talking about, they can’t talk about it. Yeah. 

 Speaker 4: (01:42:43)

Well talking about it, we’re not dealing with it. And when I, when I mentioned this to people, they go, Oh wow, that’s bad. So tell me about your dad again. And I’m like, no, no, no, no, no, forget that. Let’s talk about that. That’s an uncomfortable situation for a lot of people and that it’s heartbreaking as American. Yeah. So 

 Speaker 1: (01:43:00)

interesting. And it’s so frustrating that you can’t, you can’t follow up with those people. Let’s say like, Hey, like I’m just doing it. Like you can’t survey them and say like, why won’t you respond to me? Well ABC, I’m trying to, I’m trying to understand if this is personal or cultural or 

 Speaker 4: (01:43:18)

it could be like, like if I was on Tinder, Hey, why would you swipe left? 

 Speaker 1: (01:43:22)

Right, right, right, right. 

 Speaker 4: (01:43:24)

You can’t hide behind the internet. And that’s a heartbreaking part of this whole process as a minority in this country. Now mind you, if this was Spain where everybody was Catholic and everybody was, that might not be the issue. Even though they do have their own personal internal insurance that we don’t know. But you would think, you know, if it was, I don’t know if it was, uh, after the Holocaust, um, there were a bunch of projects and I can’t remember their names right now, but there are a bunch of projects to document and, and historically write down everything that happened, all the Jews that went into and so forth. And they’ve done a really good job of keeping that legacy alive so people can go back to that repository. That’s not happened here in America, even though you could say ancestry.com, but it’s not happened for African Americans, for a lot of Asian Americans who’ve come here, native Americans, so forth. Um, that’s just one of those things. It’s just, it’s a, it’s another sad part of the human experience, but it is the human, right. So anyway, I’ll call. 

 Speaker 1: (01:44:25)

Thank you for giving me both. Yeah.  

Speaker 2: (01:44:28)

But I do talk a lot. That’s just [inaudible] 

 Speaker 1: (01:44:29)

it’s just you. Um, which is what this is all about, right? Figuring out who and why we are who we are. Um, yeah. Awesome. Thank you so much. This is so great 

 Speaker 2: (01:44:41)

and thank you so much. I’ve been looking forward to doing this and you are so awesome for doing this and I appreciate you and I wish you continued it. 

 Speaker 1: (01:44:50)

Thank you. This is, I’ve really liked, this was really a joy. Um, and really fun and really like, it’s always a, it’s always like a little bit of a relief when like just the basic technology is working. And then also when the person, uh, has a great story and knows how to talk and it makes it easy for, it makes it easy for me, but mostly more importantly, it makes it more enjoyable for me. Like I just get to, um, kickback and, and enjoy an amazing story. So thank you for sharing that and [inaudible] and there’s vulnerabilities and thank you for sharing the unique parts of your story and, 

 Speaker 2: (01:45:24)

and my care for you because I know you’re taking on a lot of this on your shoulders, just listening to what it takes a lot out of you. So I, as long as you’re taking care of yourself, I hope the best for you. And of course, you know, you can always reach out. 

 Speaker 1: (01:45:36)

Thanks. Cool. And if anything comes up that you remember that you eat or you, you know, if something occurs to you that you either are uncomfortable with that you said that you want me to take out, just let me know or if there’s anything else you want to add, let me know. Um, 

 Speaker 2: (01:45:55)

no, we went, I think we’re good. Um, and I think if I second guess myself, I’ll probably take [inaudible]. 

 Speaker 1: (01:46:01)

Okay. 

 Speaker 4: (01:46:02)

I didn’t use any last names and no, no, no names have been changed, but 

 Speaker 1: (01:46:07)

right. Cool. So I will, um, I’ll be in touch with you and if you don’t hear from me, like definitely reach out and just ask me what’s going on or, um, I’m not sure what, what the lineup is going to be, but I’m getting, getting ready to send a bunch of material to the editor and, um, get this ball rolling for season. So. All right. Thank you so much. Have a great rest of your weekend. Bye bye. Bye.

 

Julie Dixon Jackson of Cut Off Genes Podcast

Speaker 1: (00:12)

[inaudible]

 Speaker 2: (00:12)

Trying again. Hello? Can you hear me? Yeah, I can totally hear you. Sorry. Hold on. I’m going to plug in my just cause it feels more present when I do that. Can you hear me? Yeah, I can hear you. Great. Okay. Hold on. They’re awesome.

 Speaker 2: (00:40)

So what’s up? How are you? I was like, what a weird way for us to reconnect, but, um, but it’s, but I’m, you know, I’ll take it. How are you guys holding up over there? We’re fine. It’s fine. Um, now that’s what I keep saying. Like, we’re fine. Like everyone asks it’s like everyone asks everybody and we’re all just fine. It’s like, it has to be, we don’t want the choice. Right? I mean, it was for me, it’s not that, um, cause I I’m, I’m very much a home body anyway. And I worked from home and work wise. I’ve been busier than ever, which is crazy. Oh, that’s great. Yeah. But then my kids are, of course they’re off school. My, my daughter missed her senior year of college and her graduation. Yeah. So, so there’s that and my son never comes out of his room anyway.

 Speaker 2: (01:37)

So, you know, right. That’s pretty normal, frankly. That’s funny. What about you guys has a baby. She’s great. She’s great. Um, but yeah, we’re the same. It’s like, we’re fine. We’re managing, uh, we’re as good as one can be. We’re you know? Um, so yeah, so, uh, she’s good. She’s almost a year. She’ll be a year old in three weeks. Oh my gosh. So she has like teeth and she’s holding on, you know, she’s doing that thing where they stand and hold on to everything and cruise along the furniture and it’s pretty cute. Yeah. Yup. That’s minor elderly. So let’s talk about dr. Laura for a minute. Yeah. Let’s shall we the worst? I know. Um

 Speaker 1: (02:39)

[inaudible]

 Speaker 2: (02:39)

Yeah. So here’s my question. Did you, I mean, I have a lot of questions, but um, did, uh, before I get to the, how did you hear it about the clip? Um, I saw it on one of the DNA pages pages. Okay. And I was like, Oh, dr. Laura. Cause I’m like you, I, I, I know who she is. Yeah. You know, so nothing is surprising. Um, but of course I had to listen because you know, it’s a train wreck type thing. Um, yeah. So I listened to it immediately.

 Speaker 1: (03:19)

Okay.

 Speaker 2: (03:20)

I started shaking. I was so angry even though none of it is surprising, but it’s so triggering, especially the ungrateful part, that stuff is so triggering for me, especially because, uh, I I’m, you know, I have, uh, my most recent trauma is based on that. Um, so it just takes me from zero to a hundred immediately and I want to cut somebody. So yeah. Yeah. It sucked. Yeah. It was way more triggering than I same thing. Like totally. It was like, all right, how bad is it? You know? And, um, listen to it and just felt like I was on fire. Just, I mean, what, what the hell is it? Because, I mean, she’s always been awful, but maybe just because, well, the fact that she can, she can swear it was, that was shocking to me. Cause she’s so, she’s so uppity, you know? Um,

 Speaker 2: (04:24)

But just the judgment and the condescension and just all of it was so much to take and I’m just wondering how she lives with herself. Yeah. You know, and the fact that she, she people think that she’s a doctor, that she’s a psychologist. Yup. That I, yep. That’s going to be the next part of this. Um, the end of my podcast is me just listing, like all those things she’s done in life, you know, she’s shady as hell. Yeah. Oh yeah. No she, yeah. She’s the twit. Um, she is the twist. Yeah. So, okay. So here’s the, the bites I want, um, as, so for you, um, as an NPE, but also as a genealogist, um, what is your experience when people find out that the man or a parent who raised them is not their biological parent? What is my experience? Um, Can you be more? Oh yeah. Well like, 

Speaker 1: (05:34)

Mmm.

 Speaker 2: (05:35)

Like Tori said, I feel, she said like, I’m struggling with my relationship with my mother. Um, which is totally understandable. Right, right. As you would know. Yeah. You know, I mean, I’m a struggling, I’m a different kind of NPE obviously. Um, cause I never had a mother daughter relationship with my mother in the first place and you know, and I still, it’s still up in the air as to whether or not she even knew that she was giving me the wrong information. Um, so, you know, it’s the only struggle in that respect for me with her is that I just, uh, uh, the indifference is hard for me to take. Um,

 Speaker 2: (06:26)

And I I’m, I’m leaning more towards, she just, she honestly didn’t know and doesn’t know what to say and yes, lied, but doesn’t know how to get out of that lie down right. About there never being anybody else. I don’t know. Um, but just the fact that the part where she said, it’s none of your business, it’s her private business. That that’s the that’s super, super BS because it’s absolute, it’s half of her DNA. I mean, what if he has Huntington’s disease? What if there is it’s there was absolutely no excuse and it is absolutely not her private business, uh, to keep that a secret from another human being about what they’re made of and who they’re made off. 

Speaker 2: (07:21)

And I just, I just the fact that she couldn’t, that, that, that she made that so important. And the fact that she jumped to the conclusion of that the guy was a dead beat. She didn’t even know the story. That part is very strange. That’s a very strange element. I don’t know if maybe there was like something that she was reading that told the story and she just wanted to get to the, you know what I mean to the meat of it. Um, but no, she assumed she made up the whole story in her mind that, Oh, she got knocked up by some guy and he was a deadbeat and didn’t want to be involved. So she found another guy and he was great by end. Yup. It’s totally odd. Yeah. So weird that she would just assume that, and, and that, that narrative is okay to lie about. Right, right. As if that justifies the whole thing. Right. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Um, yeah. And so it’s, what would you, what do you wish Tori? The caller could know? Oh, I wish Tori could know that she is not alone. And I, I so hope, uh,

 Speaker 2: (08:42)

That she, I mean, I bet she was in shock and I bet she was retraumatized by the way. And I hope she finds, you know, the, the NP community, um, that is supportive and validating and based in reality and real life. Um, because I feel so bad for her. I feel, I wouldn’t, I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if she wanted to self harm because that was so degrading and so disheartening to hear. Uh, then I just want to wrap my arms around her poor thing. She just sounded like she was in shock. Um, although I’m, I’m, I’m wondering, I’m wondering if she knew, knows who dr. Laura is. If it was just kind of a random thing. Yeah. Like she was like, Oh, this person, she could help me. Like whether or not, I mean, somebody was mentioning this today. Actually my producer was mentioning this today. 

Speaker 2: (09:44)

I mean, if you know, dr. Laura shtick, right. And what she stands for, you’re kind of asking for it. No, absolutely. Yeah. It’s totally yes. Weird. Yeah. Like how people call in for that stuff. I don’t know, but it’s like, they’re glutton for punishment, but it’s interesting how quiet Tory is. And doesn’t, I don’t know. The whole thing is I think she was shocked. Totally. She was absolutely shocked into silence. Maybe she, maybe she was hoping to just, I mean, I was so grieving at my computer. Yeah. Like responding for her. Yeah. I wonder if maybe she thought that dr. Laura would focus on the mother line and thought that she would say unkind things about her mom. Like, I don’t know why you would call. I just don’t know how or why you would call for that. But yeah. I know. I agree. It’s like, well, and that’s why he doesn’t really know who dr.

 Speaker 2: (10:35)

Lori is. And I think if she, maybe she was like scanning around on our radio and was like, Oh, doctor, Oh, I can call in. She’s a doctor. Okay. Maybe she can help me. Oh. You go to a psychologist for comfort. Right. Um, and, uh, yeah. And just something that she needs to be called out, um, for calling herself a doctor. Yeah. In the first place. Yeah. And I, I just, I can’t with her. Yeah. Yes. You’re not alone. Um, yeah, no, that’s great. That’s all I just wanted, just wanted you to say it so that there’s more people know that I’m not just like yelling into it. I don’t know. I just think anyone who was anywhere near to this, I, you know, the, the NPE, they, um, the ungrateful thing is, is the, is the clincher for me. And it makes me more and more, I need for people to know that it is not okay to call somebody on a grateful for wanting to know their truth. And I can’t emphasize that enough. And I’m so tired of it. I’m so tired of that BS narrative.

 Speaker 2: (11:54)

Yeah. Yeah. I’m with you. Yep. I’m totally with you. Um, great. Well, I’m just gonna, I’m just gonna whip all this together and figure out what to figure out, how to make it a story. Um, thank you so much. Thank you so much for your time. Sure. No problem. This was, this was, um, this was, uh, this was good for your podcast. It’s timely. Yeah. I’ve never done anything. So like timely urgent, so yeah, I’m excited. I’m excited today to good. Good, good. Yeah. That is going to be in this weekend, um, episode. So, um, and in fact, I think I mentioned, you know, funny. Um, cool. Oh, I did. I did. I mentioned you and your podcast. Um, I’m not sure how, but I did so. Yeah. Oh, great. Well, thanks. Thanks. Thanks for the shout out. Um, great. Yeah. The other, um, I mean, I totally have to go and work on this, but, uh, you’re I haven’t talked to anybody cause I’ve been working all day today, but I’m in this like crazy sequence of events. My half sister is going to be in LA tomorrow and I’m going to meet her. Yeah. And she’s like one of seven siblings and she’s the youngest.

 

Speaker 2: (13:07)

Oh my God. So I just knew you would understand how that’s a big deal. Why that’s a big deal that I can’t even like look up a place to tell us to meet yet. Cause like I’m working so hard on this, on the edge she keeps being like, did you figure it out yet? And I’m like, no, just hold on. I’ll tell you, I’m working on this podcast. She lives in, Oh, she told me Arizona or something, but no, I know. I asked her if she had a mask. Um, she is, she’s a get this though. She’s a long haul trucker. Yeah. She’s 23. Oh my God. Yeah. It’s all totally. We can’t make it up. Totally. Like so I’ll let you know out a Trumpster yeah. Oh Jesus. Yeah. I’m sorry. Yeah. Yeah. We’ll see. She’s young though. She’s young. Yeah. They’re all. It’s I’m nervous, but I’m excited. Yeah. Yeah. God be careful though. I will. I know. I’ll keep you updated. Yeah. Keep me posted on that. Alright. Thank you so much.

 

Biology 101: Brown Eyes and Big Feet

Speaker 1: (00:01)

Okay. Cool. Cool, cool. Cool. Okay, so you tell me a story is a little bit different. Um, just why don’t we just dive in? We have about an hour, just so you know, but you’re going to edit. Yeah. Okay. Well my story is this. I grew up in north Georgia. Small town mom from a country, southern family. Her grandfather was a southern baptist ministers. She was baptized in a lake, if that gives you a sense of my family. Um, and my dad was um, from a kind of a more silver spoon family manufacturing company. He was a catch, oh, okay. Aspect. Here’s the catch. And um, so right out of high school, my mom got married. Um, I mean she graduated in June, she married my dad in August and moved from her daddy’s house right into my daddy’s house and was very young. He had gone to college, she didn’t.

 Speaker 1: (00:55)

So here we are in this small town and she really is in retrospect ill equipped to handle her marital problems. Not, not good at conflict resolution to this day. So she was like 18, 18. Yup. 18 and a half. So she gets married, but they have one car and he works for his family and he’s a college boy and he’s kind of spoiled honestly. And he’s staying out late. All according to her. He’s staying out late, not coming home. Sometimes the bills aren’t getting paid. He’s partying a lot and she’s stuck at home. So she gets a job. And her, um, her boss with this much older man, she was, he was like 40, maybe she’s 18, 1918. When you’re 18, that’s much older for sure. For sure. So, um, she said the first thing he said to her was, you know, something like, well, look at you.

 Speaker 1: (01:46)

You want to wrestle like right away. He was flirting with her and um, caught a me too story, honestly. So she, um, you know, I think she found comfort at work, but she wasn’t getting at home like many stories and had an affair with this man for a couple of years. It’s a couple of years, couple of years. I think it’s a small town. So, um, and in the carpet manufacturing industry, everyone knows everyone. Everyone does business with everyone. And so my dad knew this man. And um, I have a picture of what was your Dad’s business? Was his family business? Um, rug manufacturing. Okay. And who was loaded this guy do, he worked in the carpet street in my hometown in Dalton, Georgia as the carpet. Everyone’s in carpet and textile industry in that town. Okay. Okay. So, um, so I even have a picture of my mom and dad and birth father and his wife together on New Year’s Eve three months before I conceived.

 Speaker 1: (02:48)

Oh my gosh. Which I used to think was a really big deal, but now that I read some of the stories of other people so much, but back then it was a big deal under your own notes. You did this. So that was anybody I knew. I would think it was a big deal. Yeah. So Dad knew this man, but never knew anything was going on between them. But my mom has blonde hair, blue eyes and fair skin. And my dad has sandy brown, blondish brown hair and blue eyes and fair skin. And my little brother who’s 18 months younger than me, he’s a toe head, blonde, blue eyes and fair skin and chunky little thing. And we looked at zero alike. I look like no one. And so all my life people would say, are you adopted for anybody? You can’t see her right now.

 Speaker 1: (03:32)

But Laurie has very big brown eyes. Definitely not blue eyes, blue eyes, they’re not blue. And my skin is not fair. So, and my hair’s normally brown, not this bright red. So, um, so when I, when mom got pregnant, she told him when this child comes, if she has brown hair and Brown eyes, you need to go far for our way. Cause if anyone ever sees us together, they will know. By the way, he was married with a wife who was sick with Hepatitis C, so she would come out of remission sometimes and be really sick. Mom remembered it as cancer, but either way, um, I’m sure that’s how she justified, but she was doing well. His wife was sick. They’re both lonely, right. And maybe he can probably was. So, um, but he also already, he already had children 15 and 18 years old at the time.

 Speaker 1: (04:23)

So I’m born and there I am just round eyes, Brown eyes, Brown here I also have brown eyes and brown hair. And that connection may have never been made in my family. I’m not sure their parents have, they both have blue eyes. Blue Eyes. Yeah. Well it didn’t occur to me. I mean all my life people said, are you adopted? People would joke with my parents about the Milkman’s child, you know, we were all for that. And at one point, I remember when it was five or six, my mom caught me climbing the bookcase in our house to get my baby book. Cause I wanted to look at my birth certificate and see my real parents where it didn’t occur to me. It didn’t occur to me at five or six. Then they worked. Okay. The truth is up there in a book, way up high on the shelf.

 Speaker 1: (05:06)

So did he go far away when you were bored or did everybody just stay? I mean he lives like take 1520 miles up the road. I’m not sure where he looked at him was, but she stopped working when she started having babies. She stopped working. Um, and so, um, what was I going, you’ll have to edit this part. He, um, she doesn’t go for far away. She takes me home, but maybe book at five years old says my last name is Edwards, I must be an Edwards. That’s what she always told me. And so, um, kids would continue to say things, but I just not adopted no. And my mom would say, well honey, you know what, your aunt Janice on my side has brown hair and your daddy’s sister has brown hair. They both had blue eyes, but we just, she just explained it away.

 Speaker 1: (05:53)

And you know, my sister, she tans really easily just like you do the rest of them bird. Right? Yeah. So, um, so I just believed it because what else? Um, and then my mother, um, always treated me like a best friend, not like a kid called cross generational boundaries and shared with me, thanks. Probably you don’t share with your children. So at 15, she did confide in me that she’d had an affair for many years after my brother was born. You were 15? Yeah, probably not. What you share with a 15 year year. I was really good though at convincing my mother I was mature enough to handle things cause I just always felt something wasn’t right. And like many in our groups a little bit narcissistic your mother. So, um, I, you know, I when she told me that I was very supportive and oh mom, you know, well, you know, you and dad never been happy.

 Speaker 1: (06:54)

This is, you know, you, you deserve to be happy and I can understand why. And I really almost encouraged her because I wanted her to think that she could trust me because I wanted to know what the heck’s going on. It’s way the way of me, I guess, feeling in control. So did you already, you already, we’re putting pieces together. When she said that, I walked away and I started thinking, you know, over time it started occurring to me, well, if she had an affair later, maybe she had an affair sooner. You know, looking backwards. Oh right. Maybe, maybe there was an affair and I dug through her closet and I found pictures of a man who had, that I knew who had dark brown hair and dark eyes and dark skin. And I decided he must be the one. And I almost walked up to him at a wedding and said, Hi Dad.

 Speaker 1: (07:37)

And they got, I did it because it was not him, but it was not, it was not him saying no, but the seed was planted and then, and then I took biology in the 10th grade. And um, you know that exercise where you, you cross jeans? Yeah. I mean you figure out who this SF, yeah. So I put in mom and dad think about that. All the touring because I did it and didn’t you start, you’re doing it wrong. Just Gee, I just didn’t occur to, yeah, it just didn’t, I don’t remember. I don’t remember any discussion about it. Did you already suspect? No. No. But I wonder if Mr [inaudible], my 10th grade biology teacher took one look. It was like, well knew right away. He must see it all the time. Yeah. I don’t know. I think about that exercise all the time. But you weren’t looking for it.

 Speaker 1: (08:19)

No, I won’t. No. Unvaluable yeah. So when I did it, that was just more supporting evidence. Um, and I think I haven’t raised my hand, you know, excuse me, I think I’m doing it wrong. And he probably was like, oh, I’ll get to in a minute. But I knew that after class, I mean, I probably did that exercise over and over and over, just looking for how it could get brown, but you just cannot get brown eyes from a blue by child. I’ve googled it so many times in the past year to Brown eyed people can have a blue eyed child in one of their parents has blue eyes. But it was, this was not possible. And so I’m back to my mother mom, I did this, you know, tell me who my real dad is. Laurie. I swear you’re an Edwards. I swear. I swear. Okay, mom.

 Speaker 1: (08:58)

But I did this. It’s not possible, honey. You know. No, look at your aunt. Look at your aunts and your honey. No, I wonder what she thought. Oh my God, this kid’s figuring it out. But still she denied. So I just continued to press and the older I got, the more I would say, okay mom. She’d say, honey, I swear, I swear you’re an Edwards. I’d say, fine mom, you swear telling me the street before you die. I have a right to know. And that just became like my standard mantra mantra. And where was your dad this whole time? I’m just married to her. And you’re all living in the same house for, you know, they were married 22 years. He didn’t know this discussion was going on. Um, she had toward the, turned me against him anyway, I think to justify why she was doing the things she was doing. 

Speaker 1: (09:45)

She was pretty much otherwise engaged there on during their entire marriage if got to me. Yeah. Um, and maybe he was too, I don’t know, small town. I don’t know. But, so I went off to college and, and then, um, after call, well while I was in college, I got a job at a child abuse shelter just as a childcare worker. And then when I graduated, um, they brought me on the professional staff. They were just starting to offer a position as a case manager. So now I went to the professional staff and was case managing for these children in the shelters that were, there were homes, were abused, neglect, but I’ve worked for children’s Home Society of Florida and they’re much bigger organization. That was just one contract they had was running the shelters. They also had, um, foster care placement and they did adoptions and they reunited adoptees with parents.

 Speaker 1: (10:31)

Oh my gosh. Okay. So real in Florida at this, in Florida, Tallahassee. So, um, and I was dating a guy who was adopted in south Florida, Catholic private adoption. He could not find out anything. So we kind of bonded over, you know, I’m pretty sure my mom’s not telling me the truth and you’re adopted and can’t figure anything out. And, um, one day my mom gives me a phone call and says she was taking, my parents had divorced at this point. They divorced when I was 18 and left for college. So now I’m 24. Okay. My mom calls and she has a boyfriend, but they’ve not been getting along very well. And she says, hey honey, can I come down and visit you? I just need to get away. Bill and I aren’t getting along. And I go, okay, well what time will you be here? 

Speaker 1: (11:14)

Says, well, I have to work when I get off at the six hour drive. So I think we’ll get there around 12. We, who’s this wheat? Well, Bill striving the bills driving me down like, okay, wait a second you guys, you guys aren’t getting along and you need to get away. You need to get away from him. But he’s driving you down. Well, he just doesn’t want me to drive alone. Got It. This makes no sense. This is stupid said, but you’re staying with me. Yeah, he’ll just get a hotel and go, this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. But okay, so that midnight my mom rolls in, Bill drops her off and in she comes for all I know he was waiting down the street, but I’m so we sit and talk and like we would do, we were prone to staying up till all hours talking when I would first get home from school or she would visit and we start talking and she brings up a friend of hers that I known my whole life and she says, well, you know, so and so is not his biological child.

 Speaker 1: (12:08)

I don’t want to name names. No, no, no, it’s fine. And I said, I said, well that’s just wrong. You know that she has had, does she know she’s going to tell her she was, I don’t think so. And I said, well that’s just wrong. She was, well, why is it wrong? She sending me out. Here we go. Yeah, he’s setting me up. And I said, well mother, we’ve had this conversation a hundred times. You know how I feel about it. It’s wrong because she has a right to know and to what if there’s medical things she needs to know about. What if there’s a medical history, what if there’s some disease that she could be, you know, planning for planning around. What would you want to know? Oh my God, I’m rolling my eyes. Um, yes, mother, you know, I would, well, since you bring it up, since you read yes, there, there was someone before, um, before you were born and she proceeds to tell me that it was this man who was her boss. 

Speaker 1: (13:04)

My first question was, was he in the military? I really wanted, why was that your first question? No, I think I wanted, I think I wanted him to be this big, strong, virile, tough cause my dad was an engineer, my husband’s an engineer and my Stepdad’s and everyone’s an engineer in my life. Maybe this guy was John Wayne. Yeah. Right. So I don’t know. Bionic man something. So, um, no, he had not been in the military that she knew of, but that was the question she would ask. But so, um, she, when she decided to come down and tell me the truth, she tracked him down. He was living just 15, 20 miles away before she came down, before she came out. So she knew, she tracked him down and said, um, he answered the phone. She, she’s, hi, it’s me happy. It’s been 24 years since we’ve talked, but, um, I’m going to go down to Tallahassee and tell Lori the truth.

 Speaker 1: (14:01)

Is it okay if I tell her your name? Which I thought was an seriously, is it okay? Right? You would, you’re going to come and tell me this and then not give me my whole truth. It’s a secret. It’s if you have the right. So he says yes. And while you’re there, I’ll tell my family too. He’s got to, at this point he has, well now they’re 15 and 18 years older than me, so my sister’s 39 and my brother’s 42 and they’re married with children. So, um, so after his wife had passed by then, nope, still living, still working. She was at work the day my mom and he was retired. He was a, she was at work the day he called. She called. So he’s going to go tell his family and yes, you may tell her my name and you know, she wants to talk to me.

 Speaker 1: (14:51)

I love that. So I said, yeah, give him my phone number. Haven’t given me a call. So mom drives home Sunday and on I think Monday morning, Monday night he called me and I get this call and I said, Hello Laurie. Yes, hi, this is Jean Buffington. Do you know who I am? I said, yes, I know who you are. How are you? It’s good to hear from you. And um, we just became friends right away. Wow. I, I didn’t ask a lot of questions about the past and he said to me, you know, we thought you would hate us. And I said, well, I don’t know where in my 24 year little brain this came from. But I said to him, I said, I don’t, what’s the point of that? It’s not going to change anything. It doesn’t solve anything we’ve lost all these years. It’s a waste of energy.

 Speaker 1: (15:41)

Let’s just move forward. And so we did. But, um, after a couple of days he would call me every day as soon as this is why could go to work, he would call me a racist. Okay. Did she know? So I guess he had told her, um, but obviously it’s uncomfortable and as I’m coming to learn, spouses don’t handle this very well. They don’t handle it well even when it was before them, but certainly when it was during their marriage. So that’s fair. So, so fair. And so we started this relationship over the phone. This was 1994 he had a home computer, which nobody had. He was really into genealogy research. A funny, yeah. And I had majored in criminology, was working at the shelters. Um, but it was really tired of the job and was thinking about going back to graduate school for Library Science. Nobody understood why and even he didn’t, it didn’t library, why would you do that? 

Speaker 1: (16:40)

But that said, there’s this thing called the internet coming in. It’s going to be big. This is a hot degree to get into that field. I don’t want to begin the library. I want to be on this internet thing. He didn’t get it, but he was a researcher and into computers and information management. So today he would get it, but he didn’t get it. And so, um, and maybe just became friends and we talked all the time, but after a couple of days, weeks, I don’t remember now, he called back and I said, look, I told my kids, but um, I’m really sorry. They said, dad, this is your mess. You deal with it. We don’t want anything to do with her. And I was heartbroken because I was the only artist in my family and, and I, he’d brought, well at this point I hadn’t seen pictures yet.

 Speaker 1: (17:21)

Um, I didn’t have email yet. It didn’t really exist for me yet. Um, but I was really excited at the prospect of having older siblings and they didn’t anything to do with me. So that was heartbreaking. But, um, I don’t know, week or so later I get this phone call. Hello Laurie, this is Robin. Do you know who I am? Just like that. Yes, Robin, I know who you are. I’m a little surprised to hear from you. She says, well, I know she was, I know what daddy told you, but that’s not the truth. Okay. He says, you don’t know. I’m like, we do and this has been hard for our mother. I said, I can imagine. Totally understand that. And she said, you don’t know him like we do if we accept you. He’s wanting to rub it in her face and say they can accept her.

 Speaker 1: (18:07)

Why can’t you? And that’s just not fair to ask of her right now. I said, totally get it. She said, I do want a relationship with you, but right now I prefer that he not know about it because I don’t want him to do that department other, I said, totally get it totally down. Okay. So he and I talked on the phone all the time and he got me, he wanted me to come up and visit, but um, and I was going at Christmas, but I did not make plans to see him. I made plans to see my sister instead. So she and I started this relationship behind his back. The brother though. Really? I called him at work one time, but he really wasn’t open to a relationship because his wife, what’s her dog in this fight? She wouldn’t permit them to have a relationship with me.

 Speaker 1: (18:55)

She didn’t, didn’t like Jean. My birth father thought it was a scoundrel. I don’t know for whatever reason didn’t like him. He represented something that she didn’t seem as like comfortable with. Yeah. And so, um, so denied her husband. The relationship with me, it didn’t have any empathy for this young woman who just needed some answers. She was a jerk. So I didn’t get to have a relationship with my brother, but birth father, gene told us wife one weekend that he was going to go away for a genealogy research trip. Okay. And um, not, not a lie. Not, not alive. That’s true. Um, and he came to Tallahassee and to visit me and meet me for the first time gallery with the Hampton Inn rolled into town, I don’t know, late morning I knew in any way called me, says I’m here. I said, okay, I’ll be over in just a little bit.

 Speaker 1: (19:45)

Six hours later when I finally had cleaned every base board, every window in my rented apartment, the tops of the cabinets, I mean, I had Washington probably behind the washer and dryer I had when I couldn’t clean anything more. I said, okay, I guess I have to take a shit. And he’d called multiple times, are you coming? I said, yes, I’m coming. I’m just, I’m getting ready. I was getting ready mentally ready and all sorts of way. I got there and I think we sat on the Sofa in his hotel room and talked and told me this, you know, he told me his side of the story, which I don’t really remember many details of that. It is what it is. You want a fair with my mom. Um, I had nobody in my family ever had hands like me or feet like me. And I said, would you do me a favor?

 Speaker 1: (20:27)

He goes, what? I said, take off your shoes and socks on your feet. He says, really? I go, yes. No one has feet like me and these Flintstone feet, he’s boy feet and I’m so he did and we just compared feet and then look where they solar. Oh yeah. Same hands, same feed, same fingernails, which these are not them, but I cover them up for a reason. Um, but yeah, I had the same hands as him. And um, how’d that feel? Felt amazing. Weird but amazing. You know, you, it’s not like a lifetime movie or anyone’s not met their birth parent yet. It’s not like a lifetime movie where you go running into their arms and it’s, oh my long lost daddy and my long lost daughter. Why don’t like that for me? Um, this isn’t a person that I grew up with having a father daughter bond.

 Speaker 1: (21:11)

He felt like a great uncle. Somebody that, somebody that I’m told I’m related to and that I look a little bit like I had all this color. Again, his features and all those things for sure. But really it just feels like a great uncle. Didn’t feel like they more, but we had a nice visit and we went to dinner and I took him to the tree house shelter where I had worked and showed him around to come to my apartment until my mother later that it was neat as a pin, which is exactly what you want to hide it as much. Yes, I did. Um, and then we continued our phone relationship after that, but he was always asking me to come home and visit him. And by the way, I mean back up, I remember I worked at the tree house shelters yet under the umbrella of children’s Home Society where at my office I’m surrounded by therapists whose job it is to help families going through foster care, terminating parental rights adoptions, reuniting adoptees.

 Speaker 1: (22:02)

But they, my mom dropped this bombshell on my lap. I went to work just shell shocked I was going to get back to that because he just kind of gliding what kind of glossed over to the phone call. And I thought, okay, so you were having a lot of feelings and reactions even though you’d always suspected to bombshell. I mean suddenly I look like people, but what do I do with this? How am I supposed to feel? What about the siblings that don’t want me? What about this wife? What about my dad? And my mom by the way, expects me to keep all these things. You can never tell your daddy. Okay. That was coming as a question. Yeah, you can take some heat it and now I’m supposed to keep all these secrets. Um, this point. Yeah. My grandmother is still living. I’m very close to her.

 Speaker 1: (22:43)

His all my grandparents were off, but one, we’re still living at this point. Um, so I’m supposed to keep this secret from everybody, which felt really unfair. I’m excited. I finally looked like people, I finally, I, my dad and I love my dad, but we never had a lot in common. We didn’t quite click. And suddenly I have people that get me. Belonging is important, so important. And you know that round peg, I mean I had been saying to my mother for years, you know, what do I have to do to get daddy to pay attention to me? What I have to get dad to want to spend time with me. We just don’t, I know we get along. Why don’t we click? And she didn’t really have the answer, but that was part of her wanting to tell me the truth. But she realized that I was struggling and there was real, there was no answer she could give me other than the truth that was going to solve this.

 Speaker 1: (23:30)

Do you think he knew and that was part of the distance between you do? No. Okay, I’ll tell you that part. Okay. But so I have these therapists that got me through it. And meanwhile, that boyfriend that’s looking for his birth family, um, found that adoption support group. So we started going to the support group together. There was some really ugly name for what I was back then. Nobody had talked about NPE. It was, um, something with the word bastard and it was so ugly. I was just this illegitimate bastard or something or I don’t know, um, adulterous bastard or I don’t know. It was something awful like that. But that’s what, those examples are. Terrible. They’re awful. But what else? Nobody had ever heard a case if a case like mine, nobody, because nobody talks about these, we have as a secret, not until these DNA tests where there’s thousands of people finding out. 

Speaker 1: (24:18)

There was no one to relate to me. No one who understood this was a book worthy story. It was Oprah worthy. It was even Oprah hadn’t found out about her NPE situation yet. So these therapists got me through it and then it support group got me through it and this boyfriend John got me through it. Um, but gene birth father was always saying, come home and visit me, come home. And I said, it’s cold, it’s rainy. I hated there in the winter time. I’ll come in the spring. So one day in the spring, despite the fact that I was home at Christmas and met this sister, but so it’s Easter weekend coming up. I go to work and I find out I have a three day weekend. It didn’t know we’re off on Monday. So I was like, oh wow. You know, I did. I want to surprise him.

 Speaker 1: (24:57)

So they let me off work. I go home, pack a bag, a jump in the car, and I take off driving with my brick of a cell phone and I get about 45 minutes out of Tallahassee. And I think, well, you know, surprises aren’t always a good thing. What if he’s going to be out of town? What if he’s going to South Carolina to visit my brother at our call? So I called his house from my brick of a cell phone on the side of the road and my sister answers the phone, which is odd. It’s mid day. She should be at work. And I, my first thought was, oh no, he’s going to recognize that she’s familiar with me and he’s gonna figure out, we’ve been talking, we’re going to be outed. And I said, hey Robin, it’s Lori. I called to talk to your dad because it’s her dad, not mine.

 Speaker 1: (25:36)

And she starts to cry. And she said, Lori, daddy died this morning. Oh my gosh. So I had a phone relationship with them, but I don’t like getting to meet him the one time. Um, so I’m distraught because he had less than a year. Less than a year. Yeah. Maybe the winter. You have the winter. Yeah. Um, I forget what my mom told me now, but yeah, it was less than a year. I feel like it was willing to six months or something. I think she told me in the fall and then I think it was less than six months. So there I am on the side of the road. I said, well, I was on my way home. I was going to surprise him. And um, I had mailed him some pictures that boyfriend John had taken. They were still in the mailbox when he died. He never saw him. So, um, I hang up with Robin, my sister, I called my mother devastated.

 Speaker 1: (26:20)

I turned, I called John, I head back to Tallahassee. I’m a mess. My mother couldn’t afford it, but bought a plane ticket and put me on an airplane home. But can I go to his funeral? I don’t know. I want to, so my sister says no, that wouldn’t be appropriate. Oh my gosh, I’m still a secret. Oh Wow. Okay. Now I’m not allowed to go to the funeral and be hired. By the way, my best friend, while I was in college and Tallahassee, and for the 10 years I’ve lived there, had recently gotten tracked, transferred with her job at the gap to all places Chattanooga, Tennessee, where my mother lived and where he lived. And the funeral home that was handling his arrangements was directly across the street from her apartment. It’s like she was magically placed where I needed her. And so, um, I went to my mom’s, but I didn’t know if I was gonna be able to go to this funeral or not.

 Speaker 1: (27:09)

First, my sister says no. Then she says maybe, and let me talk to mom and back and forth and back and forth. And I don’t want to disrupt anyone’s world. I just want to. So finally she says, you know, there’s a visitation tomorrow night. Why don’t you come? So my mom jumped on the phone to her brother. Hey David, I can’t really give you all the details now, but Richard is not Lori’s biological father. Lori’s biological father has passed away. She’s home from Tallahassee. She needs to go to the funeral home tonight for the visitation. I for obvious reasons, cannot take her. I need you. He says, I don’t quite get it, but I’m putting my suit on and I’m on my way. So that’s a nice uncle. I will never ever forget what this uncle did for me. I love him so much for doing this for me. And he came and got me and he drove me to the funeral home and he held my hand as I walked in shaking. And here I stand for the first time among 150 people all who look like me.

 Speaker 2: (28:02)

That’s never happened. It was like a soap opera right here I am amongst all these people, excuse me, and it looked like me and I quickly find my sister because we’ve met once at Applebee’s or something. She recognizes me and my uncle just kind of stands off to the side and my sister comes over and gives me a hug and we chit chat. And then a few minutes later this guy walks over and he reaches out his hand. He says, Hey, how you doing? I’m Mike. And my sister says, Mike, this is Laurie. He didn’t recognize it. So my sister, oh, he didn’t, he wasn’t being polite, being polite. Um, and my nieces were there, but, and I’d been to Robin’s house, I believe. I’m just, I’m just mom’s friend from church because I’m a big secret. My Mom’s friend from church, but I’ve met my nieces and so brother doesn’t recognize me, but we, um, we chat for a little bit and my uncle just stance there politely for several hours while I just stand there and look around and chat with people.

 Speaker 2: (29:00)

And I met my uncle, my dead father’s brother, cousins and lots of people, but they have no idea who I am. So, okay, you’re not, and obviously you’re not saying who you are, but are you saying anything about who you are and just Robin’s friend from church for everybody. Okay. I’m just Robin’s friend from church, so I’m there to support Robin, my friend Robin, who’s 15 years older than me. And so, um, his wife’s there and I see her across the room, but I steer clear this poor woman, the last thing she needs to deal with right now, she’s got to bury her husband in the last thing she needs to deal with as illegitimate daughter from an extramarital affair. So I avoid her. So next day I say to my Robin, I said, my sister Robin, I’d like to go to the funeral home tomorrow and visit with him by myself before the funeral.

 Speaker 2: (29:49)

What time is your mom going? She goes, oh, well the funeral’s at one, she’s not going to go to 12. I said, great. I will go early in the morning. So my best friend Kelly and I walk across the street to the funeral home and we go in and I, for an hour I spend with them. I hold his hand. Like I just stare at our hands, my hands too, but he’s like, just stare at those identical hands for an hour. And I talked to him and you know, thank him for the time. We’ve had to get to know each other. Friends creeped out that I’m touching a dead person, but I don’t care. This is my dad or father. It’s my last chance to ever touch them again. So I visit with them and then she and I go back into the main parlor and sit at the end of the room.

 Speaker 2: (30:25)

There’s only one way out of this room. I said the other end of the room, this big rectangle, and we’re sitting there on this bench just chatting and I might go back in and talk to him one more time before I go, but I’ve got hours. It’s nine o’clock in the morning hours and I look up and they’re at the end of the room and the doorway is my brother with his mother on his arm. I knew that was coming. I have nowhere to go. I panic because all I can think is this poor woman does not deserve this. She’s not supposed to see me. I don’t. I don’t want to hurt this woman and be a problem to anyone I was raised. Don’t be a problem. Be Polite, don’t be a problem for people. I threw my hat in my friend’s lap, excuse me, I just spent, and through my head and my friend’s lap and I, and I tried to hide. 

Speaker 2: (31:12)

I tried to make myself as small as possible, but obviously at the end of the room, there’s this 24 year old woman with her face and her friend’s lap. And I, and I can feel these people around me and I can kind of see my eyes, but I can see shoes in front of me and my friends saying, Laurie, Laurie, Laurie, you need to sit up. Laurie. I kind of look up under my arm and just kind of pick up through my hair, threw my arm and I see them and, and, and my brother and I think the wife Betty is touching me. And I look up and I’ve got these tears streaming down my face. And I said, you weren’t supposed to see me. And she said, it’s okay. And she held her arms and I stood up and she gave me a hug and said, come on, let’s go see him together.

 Speaker 2: (31:54)

And we walked in and we stood in front of his casket together and we chatted for a few minutes and she shared with me, you know, I don’t know why you came back into his life now. And I didn’t know. You know what it means that your mother contacted him, you know, are your parents divorced? Was she trying to get back together with him? I said, none of the above. My mom’s in a relationship. She’s happy, but you know, she does. I’ve been asking for years. I’ve always suspected she decided to tell me. So I, you know, hopefully helped her feel a little better. She gave me a hug. She told me she loved me, her, she said, she said, you know, we’re all gonna get together at my house. He’s going to be interred at a crematorium, but we’re all gonna get together at my house this afternoon.

 Speaker 2: (32:36)

Why don’t you come over later? So, Gosh, I mean, what more could I ask for? So I left, went back to my girlfriend’s apartment for a couple of hours, fixed my bank, fix my face. So I’ve decided, okay, the funeral’s at one, we’re going to get there at 1255 we’re going to sit in the very back. I don’t want, I don’t want her to see me. I don’t want her to be distracted by me. I just want to sit in the very back and not be anyone’s problem. So we get there at five minutes till all the family is seated down front and they seated it all the guests from the back of the room forward. So the only remaining seats are in the front or in the front with the family. So I’m at the very front of all the guests with the family. I’m sitting next to cousins on the binge.

 Speaker 2: (33:27)

I try not to. Right. But that’s what happened. That’s how the cards fell. So, um, I, I, it feels like so much of this is how the cards fell. Yeah. So I sat through the funeral and um, that was that. Let me back up. Okay. Back to the funeral home or learn that morning after Betty and I say your goodbyes and I’m leaving that parlor. My girlfriend and I talk and we’re talking walking down the hallway past other parlors, but I’m starting to lose it. I am falling apart. This is just so much. So it was so much and so we ducked into an empty parlor and I’m standing there and just sobbing into my hands with my face down in my hands, solving, solving, solving, and I heard the door and I felt these warm hands on my shoulders behind me and I can tell it’s a bigger person. So I think it’s my brother Mike and his cry for a minute and then I pull it together and I turned around only it’s not him. It’s a man who looks a whole lot like my birth father. It’s his brother Richard. Oh, now I’ve panicked. Why is a friend of Robin’s so devastated at the loss of Robin’s father? This man’s going to think I was having an affair with Jane, my birth father.

 Speaker 1: (34:44)

That’s what’s on my mind. I’m a product of an affair, right? Everyone’s going to think I’m having an affair with this man because, right. Why would Robbins 24 year old friend from church be so devastated when I turned her head and even thought of that? You see where my mind went, right? So when I turned around and I, you know, I panicked. He goes, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you. You know, are you okay? I said, yes, I’m fine. I’m fine, thank you. And I just, just

 Speaker 2: (35:09)

bolted. He didn’t know what to do. And so we left like a fixed my face. They go after the fee, after the funeral, they go and to do nothing. I said crematorium and it mean that the muzzle Liam, the interment, Amazon, Liam, and then, um, I know three or four hours later I’m panicking or are they going to call it, they’re going to call it, they get a call. I just didn’t expect it to take so long. And what if they forget about me? I think I was calling her house like, like, uh, the scorned girlfriend. I don’t know. They keep calling the boy. Yeah. So anxious to be so anxious. Yeah. So she invites me over and I sit at the table with her and my siblings and we chat, but everyone’s standing around and no one has any idea who I actually am.

 Speaker 2: (35:56)

And um, she, she and I, she said, come on, let’s go for a walk. And we went for another walk and talk to some more. And she said, well, I hope you just stay. I want you to stay in touch with me. I said, sure. I didn’t think she meant it. I really wasn’t going to try to, if she reached out to me, great. But I was not going to assert myself into this woman’s life. And so I didn’t. And my sister and I carried on and I hung up my brother and my nieces and my nephews and I got to meet my brother’s wife, who was very nice to me, but I already knew I didn’t want a part of me. Right. Nothing changed after the funeral. I thought maybe something would change. Nope. She’s still want to know part of me. And so I wasn’t allowed to know him or my nephews, but my sister and I continue to build our relationship.

 Speaker 2: (36:37)

I would go visit her at her house and so now my sister, uh, months have gone by. But living with these secrets is awful. It’s so hard. I, whenever I would come home from Tallahassee, my parents are not divorced at a visit. My Dad in Dalton, my mother lives 30 minutes away in Chattanooga. You know, why are you spending so much time with your daddy? You’re spending more time with him than with me. You mean you’re going back to your mother’s? Why are you spending more time with her where we want to see you too. I was up and down the freeway, back and forth, back and forth, just yanked back and forth. Now I’ve got this third family, which is amazing as an adult to the experiencing that children get torn. But, but I’m home from college. Everybody wants a piece of me and I mean I’m glad they did, but now I’ve got this third family that I’m spending time with.

 Speaker 2: (37:21)

It’s a secret. It’s a secret. And my dad is saying, I feel like you’re spending all this time with your mother were barely getting to see you. I can’t say I’m spending time with a sister that you don’t even know exists. So I’m lies, lies, lies. Meanwhile, my mother, when I’m tuning [inaudible] is exhausting. It was exhausting. And when I’m with my mother and her family, you know, they kind of know. My grandmother knew, her mother knew this whole time. Um, we’re at Thanksgiving and I’m, and I’m saying to my cousins and my brother, guess what? Guess what? I found out my dad, I love my dad, but he’s not my bio dad. I have this other debt and I look just like him and Yadda, Yadda Yadda and our hands and our fate and you know, blah, blah, blah. And my cousin goes, oh, I know Mama told me years ago. 

Speaker 2: (38:02)

Oh, can you imagine? I mean, add insult to injury, right? No one had a right. My brother knew before I did. Oh Wow. She told him, everybody knew. No one had a right to know before me. That was, that was like, just adding insult to injury. It was more betrayal. How dare you. No one had a right, so that would make me feel so crazy. Yeah. And and my mother selfishly, she wanted to test it on other people. Just see how it was going to go over before she told me, Oh, did couldn’t take the what? This doesn’t go well. Maybe I just won’t tell Laurie. I think I asked her a few weeks ago, practice confession. I asked her a few weeks ago, I said, mom, you know, I’m seeing all these stories and some of these groups I’m a part of and people are getting surprises. Boy, it sure is a good thing you told me when you did, because if we were, you know, you guys, you said to me back then, we always thought you might hate us. And I didn’t. I go by and tell you what, if I was finding out now 24 years after he died in a, from a DNA test, I would hate you. It’s a good thing you told me the truth. I said, where are you ever going to tell me? Yes. I was going to tell you when you were 21 but I was 24.

 Speaker 2: (39:16)

She was never going to tell me. That’s her plan. And it was her plan. Right. So, um, so funny. So I had a relationship with those people, but my sister from all the secrets that she was also having to tell how to break down. Oh, went to a therapist and was no more secrets. This is not my secret to keep, this is my sister. I want her to be my sister. I didn’t do this. I didn’t create it. She didn’t create it. He did. He’s gone. I can’t live alone anymore. That have felt so I’m validating to you. I felt terrible for her that she was having a break. Yeah. Yeah. Oh yes, of course. But I just, but what came out idea, she wanted to be open about your sister relationship. Oh, wonderful. Wonderful. I was no longer a secret to cousins and aunts and uncles.

 Speaker 2: (40:00)

So that uncle, the one that put his hands on me and tried to come from me when I thought he was afraid I was having an affair with the deceased. Um, said I knew it, I knew something, but I didn’t know who to ask when I s and I found out from him later when I saw you guys all sitting around the table after the funeral, you look identical. I was just wondering that if you said it when you said everybody was standing around, I was like, it was everyone in the room going like, look at those guys. Look at those. He did. Cause we all have the same outcomes. And he said, I knew. He said, but I didn’t know. Do they all know? And you’re just Robin’s sprint from church and you don’t know. And how am I going to tell you? I would’ve been twisted?

 Speaker 2: (40:42)

How am I going to tell you they’re including you and they know you’re their sister, but you don’t know. I can’t be the one to break it to you. Your Dad’s not your dad or do you know? And they don’t know. That’s like a southern gothic novel. He said, I, my friend says, your life is so Tennessee has, so he had to keep a secret. He knew, but he had to keep his own secret cause he didn’t know. Who knew. He didn’t know. We all knew and he couldn’t take the risk. So once he knew, he said, um, well are you coming home for Christmas? I said, I am. He says, well I would love for you to come over and meet your cousins, Karen and Laurie, he has a car. Turns out it was brother has a daughter named Laurie. And coincidentally he lives right around the corner from my mother walking distance.

 Speaker 2: (41:29)

I have for years, I’ve been looking at his backyard from her kitchen sink from her kitchen window. So, um, he says, why don’t you come over and meet your cousins and you can bring Robyn, she doesn’t normally get together with us on Christmas, but you can bring Robin if that would make you more comfortable. Said yes, please. So, um, it’s Christmas Eve Day and I’m here, I’m going over there. And um, he calls me, he says there’s been a little change in plans now, by the way, their mother, my grandmother is still living, but she’s in a, she’s in a nursing home. I said to my sister, could you take me to visit her? Sometimes she doesn’t need to know who I am, but I’d like to meet my grandmother. So we talked about it, but I didn’t think she was really going to do it. I don’t know.

 Speaker 2: (42:09)

I didn’t push it. I was trying to be nice. It’s what we do in the south were nice. And, um, he calls his change of plans. I’m thinking, oh no, they don’t want me to change their minds. I don’t want me after all as so fragile, fragile. And he says, I know I told you that I thought my grant, my mother was too fragile to handle this, but you know what? I think she’ll be okay. I think you deserve to know your grandmother and I think she has deserves to know you. So I’m going to go to the nursing home and get her and bring her home for Christmas. Whoa. What’s his uncle’s name? Richard from core. Richard. By the way, my dad is Richard. So many coincidences, right? So I, um, I called my sister and one of the nieces answers the phone. I said, hey, Devin, is your mom home?

 Speaker 2: (42:58)

She goes, hey. I said, hey, it’s Laurie. Is your mom home? She goes, hey, aunt Laurie, say, hey, is your mom home? She just did it. You notice it calls your aunt Laurie? I said, I sure did. Why’d you call me that? Well, I know now that you’re, my aunt said, okay, well how do you feel about that? She goes, I think it’s great. And I said, okay, can I talk to your mom? You probably seem so young and hip to them. Oh my gosh. My sister says, takes the phone. She says, surprise and said, oh my gosh. So now I said, well, there’s another surprise uncle Richard just called and they’re bringing me home for Christmas, so don’t bail on me now. I need you. She says, okay, no problem. So we go to uncle Richard tells for Christmas. She picks me up at my mom’s house and we go and I get to meet my cousins, Lori and Karen and their sons and my uncle Richard and his wife and my grandmother Mymy [inaudible] people, the nicest people. 

Speaker 2: (44:01)

They just welcomed me with open arms. Side note, there’s a, their last name is Buffington. I’m a Buffington, not an Edwards. I went to high school with a girl named Buffington. I thought, what a stupid name Karma. Right? So a few weeks ago I’m doing DNA stuff. I found a second cousin and I reached out to her and just sit and she likes to sing and I liked to sing and I reached out to her and she’s adopted. So she’s just gotten another Buffington family too. And she says, Hey, there’s this Buffington family group. And she invited me in and it’s a bunch of second cousins. I mean my, my birth father was one of 11 kids who was one of 11 kids. There’s a lot, a lot of cousins. Oh Wow. But they invited me into this group and announce my presence. Is everyone welcome Laurie to the group? She’s uncle Jean’s daughter. So this is recently? Yes. Recently mass when you were 25 and they all welcomed me and said, you know, our family keeps growing, but we’ve got enough love for everybody. Oh, just been the nicest Waltons. I think those are good people. I’m sorry I missed your name. 

Speaker 2: (44:59)

I don’t know where that girl Buffington he and I got to find her, cause you might be, you might want to check back on. So, um, so, okay. So the last part of the story, you know, I work at children’s home society. I’m out on her side of the family, but I’m still having to lie to my dad and it’s just not fair and it kills me every time I do. So I talked to you. Good. I just change the battery. And then the same when I, so I, I talked to the therapist and said, I can’t do this. How am I going? My Dad had to tell him the truth and, um, how I can I do this to them and that him and they say, well, you’re acting like this is a negative, but it doesn’t have to be a negative. Maybe we can treat this in a positive way and still tell him the truth. And so let me just change the battery really quick while I’m thinking about it. Okay. Hold on one second.

 (PT 2)

Speaker 1: (00:00)

Okay, great. All right. So she said, um, this information doesn’t have to be bad. It doesn’t have to be bad. She says, let’s not treat it like a cause I just thought I was going to devastate my father. She just doesn’t have to be a negative. Let’s, let’s approach it differently. Okay. So we started working through like how to tell my dad and I needed to do this the next time I would go home and home is six hours away and I work now and I can’t just get away anytime. So we figure out how I’m going to do and how I’m going to say it. Um, just gentle and I look at the calendar and I realized the next time I’m going home, father’s day it his birthday, but I wasn’t gonna be able to go home again after that per month. It’s probably not till Thanksgiving and I could not live with this lie anymore.

 Speaker 1: (00:48)

So they said, okay, well again, it doesn’t have to be a negative. Let’s treat this positively. And they got me all prepared and I was staying with my grandmother, his mom, and he came over. It was father’s day morning. He came over and I went out and delivering him and I said, Hey dad, I need to talk to you about something. Can, would you mind going back home and let me come to your house? We shouldn’t talk. I don’t want my grandmother’s house, you know, and we never told my grandmother, by the way, this was, I was her pride and joy. He didn’t want her to know and I have to respect that. So, um, so he says, okay, is everything okay? I said, yeah, everything’s fine. I just would be better if we talk at your house. He said, okay. He didn’t understand, but he left.

 Speaker 1: (01:30)

About 30 minutes later, I went over there and sat down and I said, dad, I need to talk to you about something. I said, mom recently shared some information with me that I need to share with you. And I don’t know if you already knew this or not, but did your mom know that you were going over to tell him? Oh yeah. Oh, okay. Oh yeah. She was not happy with that. No, because she’s embarrassed either. Um, I mean, you got to remember when this, it’s never okay. Infidelities. Never. Okay. Conceiving a child and infidelity is insult to injury. But thinking about the times too, in a small town, it was a scarlet letter. And even though she’s divorced from this man now for six years, she still doesn’t want him, doesn’t, yeah, no. Yeah. It makes sense. It makes sense and get it. So, um, I said, mom recently shared something with me that I need to talk to you about.

 Speaker 1: (02:29)

And he says, okay. I go, well, she told me that you’re not my biological father, that another manager as, and he said, okay. Did she tell you who said yes? I said, okay. I said, do you remember a man named Gene Buffington? And he said, yes, I know who that is. I said, well, okay, I’m a Buffington or something like that. I said, he’s my bio dad. He said, okay. My Dad’s not an emotional. He’s, um, you know, he’s, he’s never wanted to be duped, you know, so I said, did you know this? And he said, well, I always suspected, but I wasn’t sure. Hmm. But I’m not sure. I believe he ever really suspected. Yeah, I think that might’ve been just saving face. I don’t know. I’ll never, I’ll never really know. I don’t ask him these. He’s still living, but I don’t really ask him these questions.

 Speaker 1: (03:28)

We don’t talk about it a lot. I don’t hide them, but I don’t to get up when they’re discussing it. And so, um, so I treated it like maybe he had suspected though, and I said, okay. I go, well, you know, if you knew, you know, I don’t know how, I don’t know what I said, but he said, you know, but I wanted, I loved you and I wanted you for nine months. And when I saw you, I’ve wondered, he said, but I already loved you and wanted you for nine months. He said, in a new, you didn’t have a chance without me. And that part’s true. That’s true. Well, as true, my mom hadn’t gone to college. She married him because he wanted to get married. So if he had denied me, it would’ve been, I mean, she could have done it. Plenty of, plenty of women do it.

 Speaker 1: (04:10)

But it would have been a very different life for sure. And I grew up, I was very well taken care of growing up, so it would have been a different life for sure. Um, but remember it was father’s Day, so I made him a father’s day gift. I had called my mother and said, I’m going to tell dad, sorry, please. I wish you wouldn’t do this to, you know, first she was angry, then it was pleading vested mother, no, I’m sorry I can’t live this lie. It’s not fair to ask him to live with this lie. I’m sneaking around. It’s not fair. And I said, and I said, you go to your photo album and you get me every picture you have of me and my dad. We just like this. And I said, and you send them to me. I want every picture. You have. 

Speaker 1: (04:49)

Just the two of us. And I made him a photo album and um, I gave it to him and after I gave it to him, I mean, he didn’t, he’s an emotional guy. You got to just put it aside. And for a long time I thought, oh gosh, that was cheesy. That was stupid. He, he didn’t like it. But, um, I don’t know, a year or so ago he, he mentioned it. I mean, it’s been 25 years now, but a while back he meant, she said, you know, that photo album he gave me, because I can’t tell you how much that means to me. Yeah. Oh Wow. All these years of like second guessing myself, he does like it. He likes me, he really likes, and so, um, you know, so hard for him. It was, but he didn’t want, um, the day he didn’t really want to tell his sister, my cousins on his side, my grandma, he says this, don’t tell your grandmother she would not be able to handle this.

 Speaker 1: (05:40)

And by the way, she always hated my mother. Okay. So, yeah. Don’t tell her no. She says she doesn’t like it was best. So I, but it’s funny, all my, when my, when my dad’s sister’s son son had a child, um, she kind of resembles me a little bit. And so all my life they said, oh, well, Rachel always was so much like you. I recently had to tell them the truth because Rachel’s all grown up now. And, um, I had some issues with my adrenal glands a couple of years ago and Rachel has Addison’s disease. It turns out she had a near fatal, um, situation and I recognized her symptoms and called them and said, here’s what you need to do for her. Her wedding was almost called off as a real result. And they were like, she was always just so much like you. So they were sending her off for all these testing.

 Speaker 1: (06:27)

And I had told my cousin when we were vacationing together and in Arizona, and he had no plans to tell his kids, but when this came up with her about her Addison’s disease, um, he said, he messaged me and said, look, Rachel’s going in for all these tests. And you know, I don’t know if they’re going to ask her about family history and heredity and she’s going to blurt out, Oh yes, my cousin Lori has this too. And that’s not going to be true. And I don’t want to mislead doctors and helping her. So he says, you know, if you’re comfortable telling her I’m okay with that and he’d rather us or if you’d rather not, we’ll just roll the dice and see. Maybe they won’t ask. No, I’m happy to tell her. So I did, you know, medical history is a complicated variable in this situation for everybody.

 Speaker 1: (07:15)

It seems like for, she keeps coming up over and over. And do you know one time a while back asking my mother about this, she said first her boyfriend that she ran it past told her yeah, Lori does have a right to know what if there is something medical. She does have a right to know the boyfriend bill boyfriend bill who poor bill has don’t pass. The bill passed away two weeks before gene, my bio dad. Oh yeah. Two weeks before, um, as almost like his purpose in her life was to convince her to tell me and then his, his work, then his work here was done. It was the last thing he needed to do. Um, but so she said she, the bill had convinced her. And then, you know, if a few weeks ago she, she’s me. She was coming to tell me when she was 21 but another time she told me I was always just so afraid. What if Laurie gets into an accident and she’s in the hospital and she needs blood and Richard gets there and finds out he can’t donate to her? What if, what if? What if she and she find out that way?

 Speaker 1: (08:12)

What if you just told us the truth because we have a right to know. You know, how about let’s just do the right thing. But no, it was always, because she had all these sorts of what if’s in her mind but never in the right one is right, but never, never just never enough to just say, what if it’s wrong to not tell them what if it’s morally wrong to not tell her the truth? What if it’s morally wrong to deny her? I guess some of that did come into play because at some point she said, you know, Laurie’s anguishing over here trying to figure out why her relationship with her dad isn’t great. So I guess she, maybe I should cut her some slack. She had some of that was on her mind, but she was, she was terrified. And my mom and I were always very close growing up.

 Speaker 1: (08:55)

I said, cross generational boundary, shared things you shouldn’t have early on, codependent relationship. Um, so she was terrified. I would hate her and that she would lose me forever. Right. I think it does. I think that’s a fear. I think that’s very common. It didn’t happen. Yeah. You know, not everyone I’m realizing now, not everyone is emotionally mature enough to handle it. I’m not sure how I was except that I was surrounded by therapists, um, and good friends, and maybe I was. Yeah. He support system sounds so strong in at all. So say this, people have always said to me, God didn’t, you just don’t, you just hate your mother for not telling you the truth. Don’t you hate that you were lied to? Don’t you resent her? It’s true. I was lied to. It’s true that she didn’t tell me at 21. She told me at 24.

 Speaker 1: (09:42)

But in all honesty, I was not emotionally equipped to handle it any earlier than I was told. Yeah, I hear I, yeah, I totally hear that. I don’t, I, I every, every person I’ve talked to you I ask, do you feel like there was a time that would have been a good time to tell and it’s a really hard question for everybody to answer. Yeah. I, and I’m, I was not prepared before that age and honestly, if she had told me maybe I would have reacted in an emotional way that might have soured the relationship with my birth family and made it impossible to have a relationship today, maybe I would’ve sabotaged it and study away or being 21 with that information. Right. I was, I was at that age, I was unraveling and reparenting myself out of codependency, so I probably was not prepared at the time.

 Speaker 1: (10:36)

So I just trust the universe or whatever you believe in. I just trust that things happen when they’re supposed to, how they’re supposed to. My girlfriend was placed in Chattanooga across the street street. I was, I was meant to love people named Richard because I have them. The name Laurie was meant to happen because there’s two of us. I mean all these little synchronicities, whatever you want to call them, things have unfolded like they were supposed to. So, and now I have my, my sister and my brother, my brother. Um, eventually I got an email you’ve warmed up 15 years ago I got an email, subject line said yes, hell has frozen over. And my sister had told me that he and his wife were divorcing. So here I get this email one day. Yes, hell has frozen over. I still have this email. I’m really sorry.

 Speaker 1: (11:22)

Do you know Lori I want to do in my life, but my wife just would not permit it and it was going to make an already difficult marriage, even more difficult and I feel terrible. But if you’ll have me in your life, I’d like to get to know you. And now we do. That’s so cool. And um, when I got married, well 15, 12 years ago, um, they both came to my wedding. Oh, cool. And, um, my sister, we had a brunch at my house the next day and my sister settle in my living room floor looking at old pictures of me. Come on. Oh my gosh. You look just like me when I was a baby with my dad’s sister standing right over her. Who still doesn’t know. Oh yeah. So panic, panic set in Yappy. Pick it up. No, she didn’t. And I’m shooting Robyn looks because here we are all this time later and there are still secrets to this day.

 Speaker 1: (12:15)

25 years later, I’m still having to live with secrets and until my aunt passes on, it will continue to be a secret or until my dad passes away because I still have to protect him. I feel like he has friends and he wouldn’t want this to be advertised to co colleagues, people. My birth father, by the way, right after I was born was that textile rug, rug industry convention in Chicago or New York. It’s like a three day conference, but he passes my dad on the escalator. Hey Richard, how’s it going? Hey Jane. Good to see you man. He says, uh, Jane says to my dad, you heading back today? No, I’ve got one more day. He says, Oh, I’m going back tonight and I’ll see you on the other side. So she knows that my dad’s going to be in New York for another night. He went to our house and he helped me the first and only time.

 Speaker 1: (13:11)

Oh. And then he told me that from time to time, because he worked in Dalton where I grew up, he would drive by my elementary school or drive by my house and see me playing in the yard or my mom picking me up from school just once in a while. Oh, that’s really sweet. He also, when my brother was 18, said, yeah, guess what? You’ve got a sister. I got, I had this affair. And you get this cute little sister almost bragging. Yeah. So for a suite as it was that he wanted to hold me, wanted to come see me, some narcissistic piece of him too. I thought it was cool. It was crowded. It was brown. Yap. It proud of you for what it represented. Proud of me or proud of, hey, look, look how cool I am and come virile. I am. I got another girl pregnant.

 Speaker 1: (13:55)

I don’t know. I didn’t know. I asked my brother recently and he said, yeah, it almost seemed like he was showing off. So, um, yeah, none of this stuff is easy. It’s so weird. And I had a great conversation with my mom and my siblings, Mike and Robin, um, after the whole baby picture on the floor incident, you know, I could see that we were all standing together talking them, talking to my mother, and I could feel a little tension, you know, because this woman all these years ago with their dad. So, you know, did daddy did Daddy, what did daddy tell you about mom? You know, that kind of kind of pointed questions and mother said, well, you know, he told me that she was sick with cancer. No, she had hepatitis, but they ring nice. But you know, a little bit of little bit of guardedness there.

 Speaker 1: (14:41)

And I took this opportunity. I said, Robin, your youngest daughter, how old is she now? She’s 22. 21. I, Huh? I said, no mom. How old were you? I was 21 when you were born, how old were you when you met gene? I was 20 1920 I said, Robin, can you imagine your daughter going to work? She got a boss who’s 40 years old, seducing her, making her feel special and get her pregnant. Can you imagine how she would handle that? She goes, I had never thought of it that way. I said, mom has her. I think so much of this process is about thinking about how old your mother was at that time and having empathy. Yeah. You know, realizing that where you able to make any better decisions at that age. I don’t know if I was, I did lots of crazy things.

 Speaker 1: (15:32)

Oh my gosh. And it was funny. Yeah. Yeah. Hence the reason I wasn’t prepared to have the information anyway. I was not prepared. I was not making good decisions in my own life, so that’s why I’m able to forgive her and then I’ll fast forward. So I got married, I got married late though I was 37, so my husband and I tried to have a family and it wasn’t, I wasn’t able to get pregnant. And so we did IVF and first two tries didn’t work. My sister was so disappointed and cause that she was going to get more nieces and nephews and I said, no Robin, it’s just not going to be possible unless I use an egg donor. She goes, well, my girls would donate. I said, okay, down boy, you know, whoa Nelly and I, but I said, you know, do you think, I mean, it’s not like I hadn’t thought about this because I was looking at the prospect of using an anonymous donor and I grew up my whole life wanting to look like people.

 Speaker 1: (16:26)

I wanted a child that would look like me and be like me are things in common with me. And I said, do you think she has two daughters? One has, um, sandy blondish hair and blue eyes and the other has dark brown hair, dark eyes. And she says, Oh, I’m sure this one would. And I go, well, how about that one? She goes, oh, she’s really young. And I go, I know, but she looks like me. It goes, let me ask her. And she donated x for me. Oh Wow. Yeah. I still wasn’t able to carry, but that, that little girl, I mean just to call her a little girl, she calls me Auntie bestie and she her second mommy and we’re very close. But yeah, she donated eggs for me. That’s really, really nice. So that was really special. We’re a good family. I mean my sister feels like a second cousin, not a sister.

 Speaker 1: (17:15)

We all live in the, in this app, except my niece now lives in Texas. Okay. Yeah. But they’re all still back in that area. And that Buffington family that welcomed me into that face group group that last week someone said, where does everyone live? And all over the country, but a large percentage, I’ve been tracing the genealogy back to rising Fon Tennessee rising fun, Georgia large percentage are still right there. Small town. It’s not south. Yeah. So, and then tell me a little bit now about what you do to, to as a search angel. Well, when I first did the DNA test, I had never really thought about how many cousins we have. And so I did, I made my, my graduate degrees in library science. So I kind of have that analytical research mind and all these random people are popping up and I’m related to them.

 Speaker 1: (18:06)

But I’ve never considered that I’m related to a thousand people out there. How is this thought? My Dna was like that so many people. My DNA is, you know, my cousins, my aunts, my uncles and all those people that died before my mother and father never really considered the branches and how far they reach and how many people until I saw all these third cousin matches and I was like, well where did I put you on my tree? And that’s when I started understanding how big it is. So I started really getting the genealogy bug and the puzzle of it all. It was interesting to me. But then one day I get contacted by a young lady who’s 24, same age I was back then. It says, hi, you matched me as a second cousin. Um, I’m looking for my birth family. I was adopted outside of Atlanta in 1993.

 Speaker 1: (18:51)

Can you, can you help me figure this out? And I said, well, if you’re a second cousin to me, your birth parent is my mother’s first cousin. My mother is 70 years old. That really narrows the field of people that were parenting children in 1993. It was one of her really young cousins. And long story short, I helped her figure out who her birth father is, my second cousin. And then I’ve continued to help her. Meanwhile, as I was doing that, another friend of my husband’s has been looking for his birth family, um, thought he was Italian his whole life. Turns out he’s Puerto Rican and through doing history I learned about in dogging me crazy tree. If you come from Puerto Rico and my husband’s part Icelandic. So the family trees from isolated places like that really have a lot of it. So it’s a complicated tree to figure out, really tangled. 

Speaker 1: (19:37)

Um, and then, um, and then another cousin reached out and said, hey, I was adopted. Can you help me? Not related to the first cousin that popped up a different side of the family. People found you over the Internet and found me through DNA matching. So I’ve started trying to help him peace his story together. And then remember the boyfriend John, whoever. Yup. John and I became Facebook friends, you know, 10 years ago when Facebook happened and he stayed in touch. And as I was helping these other people and I abandoned my own tree, I forgot about my own third cousins cause now I’m solving all these mysteries. Right. Um, I messaged John, I go, hey it all this DNA testing, whatever happened with your birth. Did you ever find your birth parents? He says, funny, you should ask. I have matched with a person who appears to be a sister or a cousin.

 Speaker 1: (20:28)

And, um, he says, go look at my Facebook friends at this person. And I started immediately building like a tree. I said, yeah, I think I know who your dad is. Oh my gosh. But when he reached out to her, she says, oh, no, no, no. You know, like a lot of people, hey, do you know of anyone that gives the child for adoption in 1969? And I’m like, don’t lead that question. Because either yes, they know and they gave it for a reason and it’s a delicate question. Or B, they don’t know. So if somebody says no, it doesn’t mean you’re not there is, it just means they might not know. And they came back and said, no, no, no, you’re not my dad’s. Um, we think you’re the, we think you’re the, I’m the son possibly of his brother who was kind of a wild guy in those days.

 Speaker 1: (21:10)

I said to my friend John, I said, go look at the number of Sinta Morgan’s you and this person to have in common. Tell me how, what does that even mean, Laurie? I said, just go look at, tell me what the number is. He says, 1,689. I said, she is not your cousin. She is your sister. She’s your half sister. He says, you sure? I said I’m sure. Yeah. So let’s put that on hold. Let’s work on your birth mom. Let’s get the story and then we can go back to them. And that’s where we are now. He met his birth mother last Sunday. Oh Wow. And she welcomes like happening right now happening right now. Yup. How old was she at the time? She was 19 and um, we found her because he matched with a first cousin and I said, if this person is your first cousin, one of her birth parents, siblings is more birth parents. 

Speaker 1: (21:52)

So close. Yeah. And if we believe this person, this guy over here is your birth father, then let’s go, let’s go look at this person leads, build a tree for the cousin. Her mother only had sisters and I said, I think we found your birth mother. But the two sisters, one was 19 when he was born, when was 12? And I said either, I mean, well, I said either, I mean, either this one’s your birth mother and she gave me up for adoption or something tragic happened and it took several messages. And um, I learned, I’ve learned through helping both of these people now because now we’ve made, I’ve connected to different people. I’ve learned that it’s not enough to build a tree and just discover who the person is. But there it is a really delicate approach you have to take because you don’t know what the stories are.

 Speaker 1: (22:38)

You don’t have to secrets are there’s reasons people were given up for adoption or if it wasn’t an adoption, it’s a, it’s an affair or some sort of a secret that is not going to be easy to bring up to anyone. So, um, I’ve learned a lot already with, but we’ve had two great successes, well three really because he’s found his birth mom and in the meeting with her after an hour and a half of him getting her backstory, she says, okay, well you have a sister and two brothers, would you like to meet them there across the street? And he has Facebook friends in common with his half brothers and the cousin alone because he was adopted right in the same area where he was given up. Another twist on that one is all of his life. His parents mentioned they’re good friends down in Miami, patent rich.

 Speaker 1: (23:26)

Guess what? His maternal grandparents names are patent ranch for them or just we think it is. We’re looking for photos. His adoptive parents have passed away. His God mother has passed away. The maternal grandparents have passed away, but um, the birth mother was taken. She was hidden away by her parents when she got pregnant. Catholics hidden away, took her to the hospital two days before he was born. She was sedated. She woke up two days later, not pregnant. I was told it’s been handled, never speak of it again. She didn’t even know what the sex of the baby was. Whoa. 

Speaker 2: (24:01)

Yeah.

 Speaker 1: (24:03)

So when she first responded to him, she said, okay, I understand this isn’t a scam, but I have some questions of my own and this is causing some unease and my family, I need some time to work on this, but give me a few weeks, you know, of course he’s saying, what does this mean? What does this mean? I go, she’s not saying, I have no idea when these go away or I have no idea. I’m willing to help you. But I don’t know. She’s not saying that. She’s saying, I have some questions of my own. Maybe something tragic happened. Maybe she was told you died. She believed he had died. Oh, she and she, there’s another twist. She believes the birth father is someone else. Oh my gosh. We still have that issue to work through because we’re pretty sure it’s not, oh my gosh. Yeah. Yup, Yup, Yup, Yup, Yup. She believes his birth father is, uh, as an Italian man, but his ancestry says he’s 52% Ashkenazi Jewish and she’s Italian and Jewish. Yeah. So, yeah. So now I just really, I’ve abandoned my own family tree, much to my family’s dismay. They were like, come on, we’re counting on you to pieces all together. But I’m just so interested now. It makes me feel so good

 Speaker 1: (25:09)

to help others find their truth to, um, and because I’ve been through the funerals and the, and the rejections and the reconnections and, and the cousins and the grandparents and the, just the, the rips and the truth telling and there’s still secrets and the no more secrets. I’ve, you know, I’ve already lived all of that for 25 years. So yeah, it really feels like the community needs people like you who have been through so much of it and can bring so much experience. And I got a lot of counseling experience and that first job with the child abuse shelters, I spent lots of times and therapist’s office helping the children in the child of shelter. So it kind of, and I’ve had a lot of therapy of my own. So, even though I’m not a trained therapist and I think people should try to work with someone, what I’m finding is that there aren’t a lot of even therapists out there that have ever dealt with this and know what to do. It’s a whole new field. It’s a whole new field that’s emerging. So maybe the, maybe in 10 years I’ll be a therapist too. Right. So cool that you’re, you literally have you though you were out there and oh, it feels good. I mean, selfishly it feels good to me. It’s, you know, I feel like it’s all come full circle. So, and maybe I can move on to crime fighting too. Yeah. It sounds like a lot of fun, but one thing at a time. One thing at a time. Oh, cool. Thank you so much for coming your awesome story. Thank you for listening. Thank you for being interested. I hope it helps someone. Oh yeah. I mean it, I’m sure that it will and if nobody else is helping me, so thank you. That’s really cool. Thank you. Appreciate it off.

 Speaker 2: (26:45)

Okay.

 

Where Do Babies Come From? Donor Conception Today

Speaker 1: (00:00)

Start recording and I’ll edit it. Um, but won’t, it won’t, won’t just be like so raw right now. But, um, okay. So what I’ll probably, what I’m going to do is like say why we’re talking and then, and then we’ll get into it. I don’t, we do, I don’t know how much you’ve been listening, but, um,

 Speaker 2: (00:21)

I’ve, I’ve listened to everything, but I have, um, I haven’t paid it under that specific part of like the lead in or anything. Okay. You don’t know the details of the mechanics of how I’ll be honest. You’re my first podcast. This is really exciting. We can do this together. Yeah.

 Speaker 1: (00:41)

All right. So here is what’s been going on on my side of things. Okay. I started this podcast because, well, okay, wait, let me back up. Let me say that again. I, so let me talk about it from my side of things and then, and then we’ll you talk and then it will be clear why we’re like merging together. Um, so, so do, Oh, not two years ago, but a year and a half ago, a man called my husband and said, um, I think that I’m Eve’s real dad. And he was correct. And we figured that out through DNA testing. And in that process I discovered this whole world of people that are, um, connecting and discovering all of these things about who their real parents are. And, um, and, and it’s because these mail and DNA kits are so easy to do so much, it’s so much easier. And then also, um, so many people are finding out as a surprise. 

Speaker 1: (01:49)

Like it’s a shock and it’s a surprise and it’s devastating. And it’s uncovering generations of secrets and varying degrees. And you know, all this, and everybody knows all this, but it just makes sense for me to like kind of go over the history of things. Yeah. Because in the process, I, my, my biggest concern really like in my heart is about people that feel shame and all. So many of these secrets are, are born of shame, you know, and we have this so much of it, I’m like totally fascinated right now about our moral code in this country world and, um, and what we’re allowed to do and not allowed to do and what it means if people are do this, do this, which is mainly what I’m talking about is sex. Although, although in my process, so then I, um, I wanted to talk to people who are finding out the surprise because there’s a lot of shame and emotion and unfamiliar territory about the surprise itself.

 Speaker 1: (02:52)

Um, sex not withstanding. Uh, and then I, um, I met, uh, my interview Carla interview number five, and she talked about how what she discovered unexpectedly was that she was donor conceived. And when I talked to her, she, I, and that was something I had never ever thought about. Um, she sort of acts sort of like exposed or revealed to me like this whole world of what that means to her or what that experience has been like and what the history of that is or some of the history. Um, and then, and then simultaneously like I follow, you know, these different groups on Facebook and the internet and these message boards and stuff, um, of these communities of people and a lot of the donor conceived people have a lot of things to say and a lot of feelings about. Yes, yes, yes. So, so, so that was my journey to you and then you listen to podcast and then yep. 

Speaker 1: (03:57)

So graciously offered to talk with me about donor conception in two. You know, like now like Martin donor conception and I do have a lot of, not a lot of questions. I mean I do, I just, I’m very, and I know that you’re not like representative of the, of like the same sex community. But yes, I do want to know if like, is this stuff getting talked about at all? Because I never thought of it. And I have lots of friends that are in same sex relationships that have adopted or, um, use surrogates or used donors. So, so maybe you could just, you could tell me with more detailed or intimate IX, um, perspective.

 Speaker 2: (04:35)

Yes. Well, I do, I do want to make that clear that I am just, this is my experience and I had no way consider myself like the gay spokesperson. Um, that would be a really excellent business card. So if someone wants to hire me for that, I am in. Um, but so, um, yeah, so I am married to a woman and so when it came time for us to start talking about having a family, you know, it was not going to happen naturally. So when we went out, we started looking at, um, sparring bags and all of that. But at the time when we first started working with the fertility clinic, they had a sit down with a social worker to discuss the potential implications of having a donor conceived child. Um, but that was about the extent of it at the time. Um, I found out about the donor, the feelings of some donor conceived individuals. Um, well after my first daughter was born, um

 Speaker 1: (05:29)

Oh, okay.

 Speaker 2: (05:30)

Yeah. And then, um, and so it was one of those like those barn doors already closed for that one.

 Speaker 1: (05:37)

Right. And what did the social worker tell you? What was the gist of what and which is not fair? I’m sorry, say that again. I thought I wasn’t, I was assuming that the social worker was a woman.

 Speaker 2: (05:49)

It was, you were correct. Um, so basically she said, you know, when you have a kid with a, you want to at least give him the ability to have coffee with the individual, which we kind of nodded and said yes for. Um, but we did not, we kind of not said yes and then left. And we’re like, that’s actually not going to happen. We didn’t bring it up with her because we were just trying to get something checked off that we had to spend money on. We didn’t want to, to get to be able to work with the clinic. Okay.

 Speaker 1: (06:18)

Right, right, right. So when, so she said you want to at least give the, the child the option to have coffee or the okay, yes. With the donor. Okay. Yeah, 

Speaker 2: (06:29)

no about who they, you know, got their, their genetic makeup from.

 Speaker 1: (06:33)

And I’m so sorry. Um, okay. I’m gonna interrupt you a lot. Okay. I’m this, so first of all, I have a lot of coffee, but secondly, I’m so or reverse those. Um, did they, did the social workers suggest if that should be as, as an adult for the child or as a child?

 Speaker 2: (06:51)

Let me back up a bit and talk to you a little about how, how you can buy your, uh, your sperm if you’re interested in purchasing. Um, you, there’s a bunch of different options. So you can go with a known donor, which is just then like you have Bob who’s young uncle who then you explain is actually like the kid’s dad and they get to have a relationship. Um, or you can purchase, um, a sperm with ID options, which then says when the child turns 18, they have the option to reach out to the bank to get the donors contact information. Um, and then there’s also the completely anonymous donation option where, um, you just, you don’t get to know who that is. They are number one, two, three, four, and that’s who, that’s who fathered you. Um, so that’s, those are those three options.

 Speaker 2: (07:42)

Um, and of course, uh, having a known donor means you have somebody in your life that produces sperm that you would want to have do this for you. We did not at the time. Um, I have two brothers, but I wanted to carry on. My wife was not particularly interested in that, so, you know, and she didn’t have any male relatives like that that she would want to bring into this. Um, and so the, the other thing is there is a very significant price difference per unit between ID options and anonymous. And at the time, um, at the time the Supreme court had yet to recognize the legality of my marriage. So we were receiving no insurance support for what we were doing. So we were paying everything out of pocket and it was just not financially in the cards for us to be able to purchase something with ID options. I’ve since learned that, um, a lot of banks don’t try to maintain contact information for donors. So even if I had gotten someone with ID options, they would not necessarily be someone that like I, they may not be able to reach out and like 13 years and get a phone number that works or something like that.

 Speaker 1: (08:55)

Right. I was just about

 Speaker 2: (08:56)

to say like, who even knows what contact will look like in 20 zero email might not be a thing anymore, or Facebook. And definitely like home addresses and land lines are such a, like our archaic system for tracking people in those. Yeah. Um, Hmm. Okay. So, so when we were sitting down to start baby making for our first round, um, we basically decided, okay, there’s just no way we can afford to do this with, um, with the ID option. So we’ll find someone to be like without the ID options. And, um, we’re just going to be very active in the donor sibling community. And so when they’re old enough to understand what’s going on, you could say, you know, look at this point, we can’t give this information about your, um, you know about your biological father, but here are all of your half siblings. Um, and we can have relationships with them. Like let’s have a family reunion, all of that sort of stuff.

 Speaker 1: (09:54)

Oh my gosh. Is that always an option with the, the anonymous IDs? They always go to all the siblings.

 Speaker 2: (10:01)

Well, so it’s not you, it’s an opt in. Like we are stressed informed the bank when we have a pregnancy, which we have done. Um, but there’s the donor sibling registry, which is I believe donor sibling, registry.com. This is something my wife has been a lot more in than I have. Um, and then the individual banks have their own registries as well. So I believe we are on both. And from that we are now Facebook friends with five other families who have kids from the same donor.

 Speaker 1: (10:27)

Oh, that is fascinating to me. I know it’s both really cool and really weird. Yeah. Okay. Okay. Um, so, okay, so is it like, so it’s like an ancestry.com, but just for donor siblings, I think actually even Carla talked about that in episode five.

 Speaker 2: (10:48)

Um, so I, so here, here’s the part where I am, I’m not, I haven’t done any DNA testing. I’m not a part of ancestry.com, so I don’t even really know what that looks like, but it’s, as far as I understand, it’s literally like just a message board where you go to the individual bank and you say, I, you know, I had kids from this number and then someone else can chime in and say, I also had kids from this number. And so they can just, they connect that way. And so once we got names, we all just became Facebook friends and now we have a group chat

 Speaker 1: (11:17)

that we all right. Pop in and out of. Wow. Wow. Wow. And are they, um, are they all local ish? No. No. Okay.

 Speaker 2: (11:28)

Um, I have one local, we just connected with like six months ago that we still have yet to have a play date and we’ve been talking about it for that long. Um, and then I have one, one’s in Rhode Island, one’s in Iowa, one’s in I think Illinois, once Minnesota.

 Speaker 1: (11:45)

And my next question is did they, but did everybody connect initially with that donor at the same place? Like the donation get purchased at the same place? Yes, yes. Is he traveling? Is he traveling or is the no, it’s, it’s the, the units are traveling as far as I understand. So I believe what happened is, so we went out of Fairfax Cryobank um, and so I believe what happened is they purchased another bank that was in the Midwest. Ah, okay.

 Speaker 2: (12:14)

So some people picked up from Midwest and we did Fairfax because um, shipping for units is like 200 bucks a pop. And again, affordability was an option, was a concern for us and my wife works for herself so she could go pick up the unit, drive it to the clinic and drive the tank back. Once they took the stuff out. So,

 Speaker 1: (12:34)

well, wait a minute, now I’m understanding that, that that sperm can be donated at one spot, one place, but then shipped all over the country.

 Speaker 2: (12:46)

That’s, and that’s what they all do. Yeah. So I am on the East coast. I could, um, I could order from California cryo, which is a very popular bank. I could, um, I mean, yeah, all over the place. That’s when people do now known donors. Sometimes they’ll like donate at a clinic in California and they will fly it across country to the clinic in New York. Or sometimes I’ll just like, I guess FedEx it in a specimen cup. I have not been into that side of faith. I’m not sure exactly how they do that.

 Speaker 1: (13:17)

Gone are the days when, um, when the man was just like in the next room. Oh gosh, no. Yeah, that’s okay. Okay. Or the doctor was leaving for 10 minutes and saying there was a man, but really he was the donor.

 Speaker 2: (13:33)

Yeah, no. So it’s, it’s actually kind of like speed dating. So if you ever go into a, um, fertility clinic website, you can look up all of the donors you can classify by, by race, hair, color, eye color, whether they like cats or dogs, they’ll give you their sign. Um, they have a complete medical history of everybody and then they have like staff impressions, which we always like, you know, staff say that this donor is very handsome and some say staff remark on this donors remarkable eyes and we’re like, okay, so they’re not, they’re not cute, but like they got pretty eyes like that kind of stuff and like dating. Okay. Yeah. And the one we did only give baby pictures and so there was a lot of like, okay, this is a cute kid. Do you think it’s going to be acute? It’s all, I’m not sure. Um, and then they also break it down into preparation types. So, um, you can, there’s like a bunch of different kinds you can get. You can get one if you’re succeeding like an interest, cervical insemination, intrauterine insemination. If you are doing IVF, um, it’s a different amount of motility, which is like live sperm per unit. And the other weird thing is like for each donation that the person makes that could be broken out into multiple vials. Um

 Speaker 1: (14:49)

Oh I asked that. No one knew the answer. Okay. Yes, they can definitely can. Okay. And that, I mean, at least that’s what I’ve, my understanding of it. Again, I’m not an expert. I have to spend a lot of time looking at a website. Do you know? Okay. Okay. Okay. You’re not an expert so I will not ask you too many. No, you can go for, I mean like I’ll Google the lot. How many vials? One donation can create that. I don’t, I’ll stop my head. I think it depends on the person. Okay. How much, how much skirt?

 Speaker 2: (15:17)

Yeah, exactly. Cause if you’re doing, um, exceed, which I forget what that stands for, but basically that’s, if you’re doing IVF, the harvest your eggs and then they literally take one sperm from the sample and inject it into one egg to fertilize. So, you know, when we, when we did IVF for my second kid, we actually had them refreeze the vial so we could use it for later. [inaudible]

 Speaker 3: (15:41)

okay. Amazing. All right.

 Speaker 1: (15:44)

So, um, so, so are you comfortable telling me what you and your wife did? Did choose? Yeah, so, well 

Speaker 2: (15:53)

we um, we ended up getting a specific number, um, and we went through three different donors because you know, it was one of the, for whatever reason they were all like at the tail end of their donations or they only had a certain amount of ICI vials available, which were the cheapest kind. And the fertility clinic goes like a thousand and does a Washington account anyway. So it doesn’t matter if you buy ICI or IUI, you’re still paying for that service. You might as well get the cheaper one. Okay. So it started out like, um, the other part of it is, um, I am CMV negative, which is a specific kind of virus that you get where if the donor is positive and you’re negative, it can cause some pregnancy issues. And so they just told me to get all CMV negative. And so that actually winnowed the pool down a lot because there were not that many.

 Speaker 2: (16:44)

Um, again, I’m not quite sure why, but it’s like a, it’s like a cold or something like that where it’s, you know, if you, if you don’t have it, it’s fine. But if you do like, yeah, that’s what I was like, if you have a cold when you’re a kid, it could be a problem. But when you’re an adult it’s not, I don’t quite know [inaudible] cut that part out. Um, but so that winter, the pool a lot. And so like starting out, my wife went out and made like a spreadsheet of all of the different donors and who did this and who was artsy and who was studying engineering and all of that. And so we had these very in depth discussions and we picked one and then, um, ordered like four units, blew through those in two months, no pregnancy, more arguing, what not argue more discussion, picked another one, ordered a form of aisles, blew through those in a few months.

 Speaker 2: (17:33)

Um, and then I moved to, um, I moved to, uh, IUI with Clomid, which is where you could get put on a fertility drug to produce more, um, please more eggs. And then, you know, they do an IUI when you’re ready and all that. And so that went down to one, just one vial. And so we had, we were finally like, okay, I just gotta pick someone. So someone tall, that’s all, that’s all make one, because no one really looked like her. And she’s got, you know, polite hair and blue eyes. I said her name. Oh, well we’ll just leave it. Um, she’s got red hair and blue eyes. I have Brown hair and Brown eyes. So like that’s not, it’s not going to physically look like, or in any way. So someone tall and then we feel like this one’s tall and he looks like Tom Hardy done long ago enough said. 

Speaker 2: (18:21)

Yeah. So we, um, so we picked him and uh, it was the last unit of him on my, I am my second medicated IUI. And like the day before I went to get my blood tests, we were like, I don’t know if it works, like should we talk about adoption and all of us. And then of course I got the call the next day and they’re like, congratulations. And I freaked out for the next nine months. So, so that was what happened with my first, um, my second he’d stopped donating. And so I, we were on the wait list for units for him. We got a call when I was eight months pregnant with my first being like, we have units available. Do you want some? He said, you know, I can’t make that financial commitment right now because you also have to pay for storage, which is like 80 bucks a month.

 Speaker 2: (19:10)

And yeah. So we were like, fine, whatever. We’ll just pass. That’ll be an OB. Oh yeah. Okay. Easy. Okay. Yeah. And they’re like, well, if you buy six units, you know, you get a year of free storage. Like what’s six units is like $3,500. Like, I have that in my back pocket, you know? Right, right. Oh my gosh. Okay. So, um, so then we got to the point where we were starting to think about having kids again and then the donor miraculous had six units available and they were having a sale. And we’ve talked about doing it on Wednesday night and we weren’t sure. And then we went to go purchase on Thursday and they work on, um, so, so yeah, so we started up doing that. We ended up having to pick another donor. Sorry. Yeah, apparently. Um, so we picked another donor and I went through this for my second.

 Speaker 2: (20:05)

I went through five rounds of medicated IUI is, um, I got pregnant, had a miscarriage, and then we were discussing IVF. And so this is the fun story. So all of the donor siblings I talked about that we’re Facebook friends with. Yeah, no, they were all in the process of baby making their seconds as well. And so we’re all just IMing each other like, does anyone have a vile? Do you have someone? And so I had, I had one, um, couple who was like, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re trying, but we’re, you know, we’re not gonna need this file, so I’ll, we’ll send it to you if you want. And we were like, we’re not sure yet. Um, and this was like September and then in, you know, like, I’m like, actually we do want it. And they’re like, well, we just had a miscarriage and we’re going to start doing IVF, so we’re not going to do that right now.

 Speaker 2: (20:54)

All right. All right. Then one of the other families came forward, like, we have a vial, you know, if you, if you want it. Like, how about that? So, so we like, got the vial from them. They did the paperwork with the sperm bank, they shipped it to us. I was like, you know, we’re going to do IVF and refreeze it. And so then, uh, the other, the other family, another family came through and they’re like, so do you have any, cause we’re trying to make ours. I’m like, yes, I do. And so we ended up sending that to them. So it just was this kind of like game of telephone

 Speaker 1: (21:28)

or like musical chairs or stuff? Yeah, exactly. I’m of four here that,

 Speaker 2: (21:33)

yeah, so the funny story is I was friends with were like friends with um, three other main donor families who’ve added two and recently, but of those three families, um, one had a baby, one had babies in November. I had my daughter in December. One had a their son in March and then the other one is having theirs in this December. So yeah. So it was just all of our baby making time I guess. And it is worked out very nicely.

 Speaker 1: (22:08)

That’s awesome. Yeah, that’ll make it so fun to hang out.

 Speaker 4: (22:13)

[inaudible]

 Speaker 2: (22:13)

so, so yeah. Um, I I keep saying when they’re older like in are better able to understand all of this because mine is a be oldest and she’s not quite five. So in like five years or maybe seven, I want to do like some kind of get together. Like let’s run a, a park somewhere in the middle and we can all drive and meet up, like meeting up with each other. Now the kids have a chance to like talk to each other and get along.

 Speaker 1: (22:38)

Right. Wow. Uh, intro. Okay. So, so I’m so sorry. So just to clarify, your daughter and your second daughter [inaudible] yeah. They both have the same donor? Yes. Okay. So both of my kids that, okay. Yeah.

 Speaker 2: (23:00)

Kids are 100%, um, same genetics.

 Speaker 1: (23:04)

Um, okay. So, okay. So, and you and you will, there’ll be no way for you to, to track there who the donor is on behalf, on behalf of your children. Okay. 

Speaker 2: (23:22)

Nope. I mean, I, yeah, not, not at this time.

 Speaker 1: (23:26)

Okay. And um, and then so what are the, and then, but if, but if your children choose on their own to do 23, eight, 23 and me or ancestry.com or any of the, um, oodles of companies that are tracking people, they may end up connecting with this donor.

 Speaker 2: (23:45)

Yep. They may and they will probably, if they do that, they’ll probably find more donor siblings. Um, I suspect, let’s see. So I the once we know we have probably hand counting three thank we now eight siblings from those five families. But I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s another like 20 out there.

 Speaker 3: (24:07)

Right.

 Speaker 2: (24:08)

Which is one of those things when you discuss it in the hypothetical, you’re like, that’s crazy. There’s no way that could happen. But in reality, these banks only lip limit donors to siblings only when they hit I believe 20 recorded pregnancies.

 Speaker 3: (24:25)

Wow.

 Speaker 1: (24:26)

Yeah. So like not even including a recorded. Yeah. All right. And so do you feel like you, you, you and your wife, have you guys discussed, um, how you’ll explain like the birds and the bees to your kids?

 Speaker 2: (24:43)

We’ve done it a little bit. So we’ve done Cory Silverberg, Silverbergs what makes a baby, which if people don’t know what that is, I highly encourage you to go look for it. It is a gender neutral way of explaining conception that talks about all the different ways that you can do it. Whether or not you’re doing it with a doctor or different, you know, if you’re doing it the old fashioned way or whatever it is. Because, you know, the reality of today’s world is that, you know, yes, sometimes mommy and daddy come together with a special hug, but also mommy and daddy go to the clinic or a mommy and mommy ordered some broke college student from a website that got delivered to, you know, a clinic. Like there’s just so many ways that it happens now that it’s just part of, should be part of the conversation.

 Speaker 1: (25:28)

[inaudible] so we’ve [inaudible] 

Speaker 2: (25:29)

we’ve discussed that. And so sh, you know, my older daughter knows that some people have a sperm and some people have an egg and that’s what makes them baby. But we haven’t gotten more than that. We have gotten, um, why don’t I have a daddy, which, you know, like you just, you have two moms. Some people have, you know, Mamita Johnny’s move left you dad. Some people have two moms, maybe we’ll have one mom or one dad. Um, and so she’s, you know, this is one of those with kids, they kind of accept the world as it’s explained to them. So she’s understanding that she wanted a daddy for awhile because she thought a daddy wouldn’t like make her go to bed on time or enforce rules, which are like,

 Speaker 1: (26:07)

is kind of like an imaginary friend or somebody really fun. I get it.

 Speaker 2: (26:12)

So we, we, you know, we explained that that was not, you know, plenty of daddy’s enforce rules and make kids go to bed on time. And so we have a very, um, close friends who have a daughter who’s a little younger than ours. And so it’s like, you know, well, uncle [inaudible] makes, makes his daughter go to bed on time. So why did you think that? And that cleared up pretty quick. Right? But yeah. 

Speaker 1: (26:38)

Um, all right. And is there, um, is there a lot of sort of discussion about the, um, to me new, but I don’t know if it’s new controversy, but, um, sort of like these, all these feelings being expressed by adult donors now, is that, um, no, that’s what, one discussion among the same sex community?

 Speaker 2: (27:01)

Um, again, I don’t speak for like the community as a whole. Um, I have seen that discussion had in a lot of different queer parenting groups, um, as just, you know, understand that this is part, this is one group of people who feel this way. Um, trying to figure out how I want to put this. You know, there’s, there’s many different ways that people come to parent children and regardless of how they come to parent them, some people have negative feelings about that and some do not. So I am hopeful of the fact that if we are open and honest about this and we make sure that our children are raised in a loving environment and get the experience that they want with two parents, that it will be a good experience for them in the long term. And like will they probably have to have therapy about it at some point?

 Speaker 2: (27:57)

Yes. But most people should if not do need to have therapy about something in their lives. Um, so that is, that is my hope. Um, but it is, it is in the back of my head. And this was actually a question that my wife brought up when we were starting for our second and we did not have our original donors. Do we want to go for ID options for our second in? My answer was no, because I did not think that was fair to our current thought to our elder daughter to say, you know, well your sibling gets to have a relationship with their, you know, genetic father, but you don’t, I didn’t think that was fair. And so I said, no, we’re not gonna. We’re not going to do that to, to our eldest. I think we should just do the same for both. 

Speaker 2: (28:45)

Um, yeah. Well, so this is, this is interesting part. I was part of a large queer parenting group on Facebook and somebody this, this is how I found out about this community. Somebody asked, you know, what did you do when you conceived your children? And so I just like middle of a Workday, quick comment. Like we used anonymous, we used an anonymous donor because that was all we could afford. Sorry kid. Like you have good donor siblings. And unbeknownst to me, because I hadn’t read through every comment in a sub thread, someone who was a child of donor conceived parent donor conceived child had been very Frank about how their feelings were about this and that they were upset and they, they didn’t get to have this relationship and that donor siblings weren’t enough. And so they laid into me in the comments and said something along the lines of like, you know, how dare you, you’ll pay for this in therapy later.

 Speaker 2: (29:37)

Like it’s really unfortunate that you feel this way. And I said, you know, I’m, I’m sorry if this came off with a flip comment. It was actually something we put a lot of time and thought into and I’m pregnant now and I wanted to make sure that we didn’t, you know, that we didn’t do this for this one because I wanted them to have equal experiences. And then they commented like, Whoa, kind of therapy together. Yeah. And then, and then they would comment and it’s like, well, you know, your second kid should have this child have to suffer from your bad decisions. And then I just kind of apologized if I hurt their feelings and it wasn’t my intention. And then I miscarried like two days later. So those, those two things have always been very connected in my head because of that. Um, and so I, I try to have a lot of thoughts and feelings behind this. Um, you know, just in terms of there’s nothing I can do about it now. My, my children are here. Um, and if I had used a different donor who had, would you hang on one second.

 Speaker 3: (30:38)

Okay.

 Speaker 2: (30:41)

Hey, what’s up? I am but it’s okay. Okay. Come on. Oh yeah, him, we wrap in life.

 Speaker 3: (30:48)

Her,

 Speaker 2: (30:50)

you’re all authentic. Yeah. I’m here all afternoon to you. I’ll just stop by when I’m done.

 Speaker 3: (30:53)

Yeah. Okay.

 Speaker 2: (30:56)

Sorry. I had like, um, I had like an anonymous, well not anomaly. I had an off the offsite download work lunch with someone and she just wanted to finish up. So, um, yup.

 Speaker 1: (31:04)

No, that’s totally okay. I understand you’re at work. Thank you so much for your time.

 Speaker 2: (31:09)

Um, so where was I? I was thinking.

 Speaker 1: (31:12)

So you were saying that you have a lot of, you are aware that, that there’s some people that are really upset about it or sort of bye bye. Variance of trying to discuss it with somebody and having the same song as close to the thing.

 Speaker 2: (31:29)

Yeah. So inflate all those things. Yeah. And so, you know, this is one of those where like I, that’s what I’m saying, like my children are children and you know, if I had tried to, if I had known about all of this in the beginning and tried to find money in the budget to, um, do to purchase ID options, then I would not have the children that I have now. Right. And so I can’t regret those choices because that would mean that I would regret my children and they are amazing individuals and I feel very privileged to parent them. So I feel that’s, you know, I can’t, I can’t regret those choices. Um, I understand their feelings behind it. Um, and I want to be very open and honest with my children about how these things came about and how we did what we did. And you know, it’s getting to the point now with my kindergarten or I think it’s time to start having a bit more of these discussions with them. Um, but even then it’s still, it’s going to be hard. Um, and, and maybe it’s not, maybe she’s just gonna roll with it and be like, okay, that’s how it was made. And then at like 16, I’m going to hear, hear about it. I’m don’t know. Um, 

Speaker 1: (32:46)

well you can I ask what you think is going to be hard about it? Um, I think,

 Speaker 2: (32:53)

I think it is going to be the, you know, the lack of, I won’t be able to have that experience with him necessarily, but that’s also not necessarily the case. You know, I’ve seen so many stories lately about people who do something like ancestry and find their donor and then get to like, they have, you know, the family reunion and reach out and get to know him. And then there’s that story of the woman who conceived with, uh, with a donor and is now dating him, which I think

 Speaker 1: (33:20)

it’s hysterical. Oh, I still find the link to that. I should put that up. Yeah, that was a, that was one of my favorites. Right. So, um, okay, so you are imagining that that’s doing, you’ll explain to your daughter. Well, like we, we picked a man that had, that had some things we liked and he, we, we got his sperm and that’s,

 Speaker 2: (33:43)

yeah, he wanted to help other people make babies. And so, you know, we were happy, we wanted help and we put him, you know, we, I mean we, you know, we chose him. And so, you know, you may not get to meet him, but you do have these people who can be parts of your lives. So now you, you know, you’re lucky enough you have like five or six new aunts that we can start talking about.

 Speaker 1: (34:04)

Right. Or she may say, so she or another or children might say like, Oh, so I do have a dad. And then you have to say, well, yeah, well that’s, there is a faint, there is a man out.

 Speaker 2: (34:16)

Yeah. And that’s a correction that I’ve had to make with like my parents and other parents where it’s like, no, this is the donor, this is not the father. Because for me, a father is somebody who is involved in the raising of the kid and you know, plays baseball with them and talks to them about family stuff and you know, helps them mow the lawn. And me you’ve got,

 Speaker 1: (34:45)

well actually I just had not thought of that. Um, the importance of rhetoric around variance and how, because also in the like adults and you community, there’s a lot of people that feel like the term donor, 

Speaker 5: (35:01)

um,

 Speaker 1: (35:02)

is D is a offensive to the donor kids because it,

 Speaker 5: (35:09)

um, it means that

 Speaker 1: (35:11)

I don’t, I it, it means that the, the men that, that contributed the sperm art even worth a name and therefore they as their offspring are less than, Oh yeah.

 Speaker 2: (35:25)

See, I’m not, I’ve not been as involved with all of that because I have not had the emotional bandwidth to be completely fine.

 Speaker 1: (35:32)

I mean, I wouldn’t have expected you to, but that’s interesting because I think that goes to show too, like a generational difference maybe than like adults now, you know? And, and these are also people that, um, they’re all, they’re not everybody, they’re not. No one has said, I’m the representative of the adult donor community. This is just like one sliver that I am seeing. Um, and, but that, it makes me really think about rhetoric and how for them and, but how important that is, the difference between a donor or donor or father or, um, and then I definitely foresee your daughters getting super grossed out when they’re like 14 or 16. One thing I’ve learn about sperm, they’re going to be like, wait, what? And they’re gonna be like, wait, a man had to like, Ooh, like masturbate. Ooh, you a lot. I can see a lot of like girls squealing about that. Um, at least, I mean, I’m still squealy about the whole topic. Um, yeah,

 Speaker 2: (36:44)

I mean, and, but that’s, that’s one of those where, you know, regardless of the conception story, the act of, of their conception is kind of terrifying to a kid, you know, whether it’s, it’s, you know, like having some, having some fun times or going to a clinic regardless. There is some part of it where you go, wait, what did you do?

 Speaker 1: (37:04)

Yeah, he’s what were, yeah.

 Speaker 2: (37:08)

Or, or with something like ICI or a IVF, it’s like they do what? It’s like the world’s worse pap smear. Oh my God. That’s horrible. It’s like, well, it was not my favorite. No,

 Speaker 5: (37:19)

no.

 Speaker 1: (37:21)

Wow. Christina, you’ve given me, oops, I didn’t name, we’re gonna trace that. Um, you have given me so much to think about.

 Speaker 2: (37:30)

Well, I haven’t even gotten to the part where I have embryos on ice that I have to figure out what to do with,

 Speaker 1: (37:35)

well, I was about to say, I was just checking over our notes about what we were doing out and I was like, okay, mechanics, we did that. What we choose, we’re making our family and then donor can, and then, 

Speaker 5: (37:47)

alright.

 Speaker 1: (37:49)

Yeah. Okay. Yeah. So tell me, so you have stuff on ice.

 Speaker 2: (37:53)

Yeah. So when I did my retrieval, um, they got nine eggs and all nine fertilized, which is very unusual. And then, um, only one was ready at the five day transfer. And that is my daughter. Um, we’d like to joke that you volunteered. She was ready, she was ready and everyone was like, that is a beautiful embryo. And we said, I don’t know what that means, but okay. Um, and so, you know, the next day they’re like, okay, you’ve got four that are ready for you if this one doesn’t work. So we’ve got, we’re going to freeze them, you know, two or a double a quality ones like, uh, AB and the other one’s like BA or something like that. And so they, they grade two different card kinds of quality. I don’t know. But so potentially, um, you know, we gave ourselves a year after our daughter’s birth to figure out what we wanted to do with them and she was born in December, so I have to decide soon.

 Speaker 2: (38:47)

Um, okay. So, uh, we have to figure what we want to do with them. And so I have considered donating them. But again, this is, I don’t know if that would be fair to my kids to say, you know, here are all of your half siblings. You also have full siblings but we don’t know where they are. Like I would only feel comfortable doing a known donation for that. But then that’s also, that’s also strange. It’s got its own things like do I like pick a nice lesbian couple in the Midwest somewhere that I just stay Facebook friends with? Do I offer it to, a friend of mine I know is going through fertility issues but we’re not that close. Like does anyone really want my genes cause we get nearsightedness and a pre high reliability of diabetes. Like all of those strange questions, I’m just um, I’m wrestling with or do I try to have a third kid, which probably I don’t, but

 Speaker 1: (39:46)

[inaudible] is a possibility. Wow. So, yeah. And I’m, I am suddenly imagining what it would be like to stay if there was a, if you were staying in touch with a family and they had used your, your eggs and then, and then they were making choices that you didn’t agree with, um, like in their life. And that was on Facebook. Like for me, that would be really hard. So I’m wondering how much of this,

 Speaker 2: (40:14)

for every, hadn’t even thought about that. Yeah. That could also be,

 Speaker 1: (40:18)

it might just be odd to watch. Um, but, but that makes me think that all of this is kind of about control and what, what we have control over and what we don’t. Yeah. And um, there’s like this, 

Speaker 5: (40:37)

uh,

 Speaker 1: (40:39)

conflict of an end, maybe a paradox of con of control, which is like a human animal, emotional need [inaudible] combined with science and biology and just cells meeting other cells.

 Speaker 5: (40:59)

Um,

 Speaker 1: (41:00)

and I, and um, so I don’t have a conclusion about that. I just, um,

 Speaker 2: (41:08)

no, I mean it’s, it’s very strange for me to think that like, I have never met the person who helped me conceive my children. I have just and I may never yet to,

 Speaker 1: (41:17)

right. Yeah. So that, that feels strange to you.

 Speaker 2: (41:21)

It does now that now that we talk about it, um, you know, because my children will have two parents and my children will always have two parents and then something strange happens and we divorced in 10 years, then they may have four parents. They will always have two parents in their lives who love them. And that to me is the most important part of that as will, will my children be raised with love. And you know, I also don’t want their conception story to be a surprise. So whether we get out in front of it or whether they go, wait a second, how do two women make a baby? And we go, well, I mean we’ve talked to her about the fact that we wanted to have a baby and we went to a doctor and the doctor helped us. Yeah. And then five-year-old land, that is enough. Totally. Um, and at some point, you know, like, I, I feel like I remember several times if when you’re told something, when you’re a kid and you go, Oh, okay. And then like later you go, Hey, wait a second, what is going on with that? And you delve into it more. So I suspect that that’s

 Speaker 1: (42:22)

flexible work. You take what it said. Um, my friends, Maggie, his parents one night told her that, um, they needed her to stay up really late for a flight and so they told her that that beats were caffeinated and so she ate her beet salad and then was wide awake for hours cause they were caffeinated. And then like didn’t know that beets were not caffeinated until like recently, like as it said something about someone and they were like, wait, what? Yeah, that’s hysterical. I uh, I was told that, so I, we went to the fair, it went to the Petaluma County fair. Um, what’d you think is called? Yeah, the snowmen Moran County fair in Petaluma and on the fairgrounds. And I got cotton candy and we got home and I had to take a nap. So I put my cotton candy in the fridge and when I woke up from my nap it was all gone. And the adults told me that it was because cotton candy dissolves in air. So I thought cotton candy dissolved in air until very recently. Like I thought it would just descending, like evaporate. Yeah. So I can totally see you being told like, yeah, my parents went to the doctor and doctors help you and that’s how you, that’s how you have babies. Like that’s it. Yeah.

 Speaker 2: (43:41)

[inaudible] yep. Yeah. Uh, my story like that is that, you know, McDonald’s had signs up that said, um, no loitering. You have to be out after 30 minutes and then till I was like 15, I was worried that someone was going to call the cops on us. Yeah. If we were there for too long. Yeah. You were like, let’s go guys. Like we have to go like everybody, watch your guys. We’ve, well, there’s one time we were at, at, uh, we went up to Lake Tahoe and we got caught in a blizzard on the way home and so we were hanging out in the McDonald’s for a long time and I was seriously worried that something was going to happen and I was 12 should’ve known better, but, and now I look back and go, gosh, look at my entries and anxiety. So

 Speaker 1: (44:23)

yeah. Great. Your adherence to authority. Yup. Yeah. Wow. Oh, that’s

 Speaker 2: (44:32)

kind of a tangent, but no. 

Speaker 1: (44:33)

Yeah, sure. But, um, what a fun one.

 Speaker 2: (44:36)

Yeah. So 

Speaker 1: (44:39)

yeah, I really am thinking a lot about this idea that, um, that, that um, it’s not, it’s not, not new to me today, but like this idea that that love could be enough and, um, and, and that, and that honesty still is [inaudible].

 Speaker 2: (44:57)

Yeah. I mean, regardless of anything, honesty is best, even if it’s honesty that you curate for the person that you’re talking to. Um, you know, I, I don’t need to go into all of the graphics of what an IVF retrieval looks like for my child because I don’t even want to tell you everything that happened with that because it was not a fun experience and it should, there’s someone there considering going through fertility treatments. I don’t want them to be like, Oh gosh, what’s going to happen to me? No, nevermind. I’m going blind people going blind. Oh yeah. Honestly, I would, um, noted or earliest, a little bit blind, like some things shouldn’t be a surprise, but like, yeah, it’s the whole, the whole fertility experience basically is just like plan for the worst and plan for it to take longer. And it costs way more than you ever thought.

 Speaker 2: (45:49)

It would. Just basically how that works. Our first one took seven months to conceive and our second took six, but we had to do IVF, so, right. You know. Yeah. That was not, yeah, that was not fun. Um, but it’s worth it. And then you go through pregnancy, which has its own fun thing and you know all about that. Um, but yeah, I don’t, I don’t want my, my kids ever to feel the lack and I don’t want my kids to ever, I want to, I, you know, this is the one that’s like, you know about this because you’re a parent. My parenting goal is that my kids can come to me if they have questions like this and they can get honest answers. Um, so I try not to shy away from things like this. Um, I also try to make sure I ask my kids if they have questions about things.

 Speaker 2: (46:40)

Like my daughter did a dance recital a few months ago and so, you know, she was talking about what, what you wanted to do. And I said, well what are you going to do if you get upset? And she’s like, well, I’m going to go give mom a hug. Cause like, well you’re going to be on stage and mom is not. So what else could you do? Like those sorts of things. Talking to her the day before I was induced, I asked her if she, she, any questions and you know, she wanted to know if the new baby can wear her cabbage patch dolls clothes, um, could not the next day. I was gonna follow up with that. What, yeah. No little little too small patch. Okay. Yeah. But you know, like that was what, what her concerns were. Yeah,

 Speaker 1: (47:18)

totally. Um, uh, so do you within the, within the community that you are in these days, um, among, um, people that are considering donor conception, um, different parents have different ideas about that or is the general trend towards [inaudible]? So,

 Speaker 2: (47:41)

um, I’m not, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve left most of my trying to conceive groups because I’m pretty much done with my baby making now, so I don’t need that support anymore. And it was just bringing up a lot of feelings for me to be back in there. So I was like, we’re gonna move on. But basically from what I’ve seen is when people start talking about how they want to start their conception journey, someone will bring up, um, like the donor conceived support group on Facebook and share that there are people who have these thoughts and feelings and to consider that when you are making your choices. And so I think it’s a lot of go in with your eyes open. Yeah. But you know, again, however you, however you choose to make a families, how you make a family, right. As long as you’re open and honest, you know.

 Speaker 1: (48:28)

And, and just to clarify the thing that you said in the beginning, which when you met with the social worker and she said it’s really best if you can provide the opportunity to have coffee with the donor. Yeah. And, and you and your wife said, uh, well, no. Um, and that was because of the cost. Correct. That was because of the cost that you’re not anti have coffee with donors. You just know. You just thought, well, I can’t afford that option. So yeah. So that would be nice. But it was unknowable. It’s not realistic for us. 

Speaker 2: (49:01)

Yeah, I, I would have loved to have, have that option. Um, it costs us about $8,000 to make our first child. Um, which, you know, if you’re discussing adoption, that’s like a third of that cost. But if we had done the donor, the identity options, I probably would have been in the 12 range and that would have been out of reach for us. Right. So.

 Speaker 1: (49:24)

Okay. Okay. Do you, um, Hmm. All right.

 Speaker 2: (49:30)

What else? I will say that, um, the other part of that is, um, we live in Maryland and so Maryland has laws that say if you use a donor, you can have two moms on the birth certificate. Like if you use a, um, B use donor and you’re married to a woman, you can have both parents on like both parents have a brush certificate. Um, I believe my donor sub family that’s in Rhode Island, they have very specific things about, you have to have a specifically anonymous donor. I’m not sure if those details, I probably shouldn’t even be mentioning that cause I could be extremely wrong, but I think that was why they went for that specific choice. So there are sometimes are issues beyond that, but um, for us, yeah, I would have loved the idea options, but once we did it for one and had a kid that was that door closed, I don’t think it’s hurt the other ones.

 Speaker 1: (50:23)

Um, and so on your children’s birth certificate, it has both of you on it? Yep. Because me and my wife has no mention of anyone else. [inaudible] how does that feel?

 Speaker 2: (50:32)

Awesome. Yeah. Um, I, you know, it’s one of those where, um, I know a lot of people who still pursue second parent adoption for the non-gestational parent. Um, because in our current sociopolitical climate, it’s not, it’s getting a lot less queer friendly. And so the concern is similar to before when Domo existed, um, if you go out of state and something happens, could they deny you the right to see your children? Right, right. Um, we have not. Of course it is. Oh no, it is. Um, but that’s one of those where it’s a horrifying thought because it’s happened. Um, and there are multiple stories about, um, people being very, very ill and in the hospital and the children or the partner being kept away because, um, they were career in the people. The hospital isn’t like that.

 Speaker 1: (51:28)

I have always thought about it as from partner to partner in that scenario. I have never considered what it would be like for a parent. Yeah. I had not

 Speaker 3: (51:40)

thought of that. 

Speaker 2: (51:44)

Yeah. Um, and I always wanted to make sure that we put my wife on the birth certificate in case something happens and I go crazy and decide that I want to cut her out of our lives. I didn’t want to do that to her. I wanted to make sure that something, we had something in place to make sure she had the same right as access to our kids as a heterosexual couple. Not that I foresee myself doing that, but you know, people change and it doesn’t seem right to me to have her invest, you know, or afraid to. Our kids have had this relationship that grows. I mean she’s, she’s wanting to stay closer with my daughter than I am. She’s been home with her a lot more than I am because I am the person who goes out and works the most. And so, um, to take that away from both of them because I could just seems like I just wanted to ensure we have legal protections in place for that. Um, which is why I should probably pursue a second parent adoption. But that again, that is like thousands of dollars that I don’t really have to spend right now because I’ve got two kids in daycare. So,

 Speaker 1: (52:52)

um, so you don’t, okay. So you don’t have second parent adoption, but she is on the births are too.

 Speaker 3: (52:56)

Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Okay.

 Speaker 1: (53:00)

And there is a lot of this, is your marriage recognized in Maryland? Yes. Yes. Okay. It’d be, yeah, it would be, it was a record where like, we don’t recognize marriage, but we do recognize birth certificates, but I just, yeah. Make sure. Okay. No. So what happened was, um, DC legalized it. So we got married in D C like literally we drove across the street cause he lived right on the DC, Maryland border and got married in a little park. And then we had our big marriage ceremony in Maryland.

 Speaker 2: (53:26)

And then the next year Maryland passed, um, same sex marriage and that it would recognize out-of-state marriages and that, that was like 20. We got married in 2011 and 20. What’s the 2014, it may have been 2014. Um, so like four months before my daughter was born. That don’t look good. It returned

 Speaker 1: (53:47)

[inaudible]

 Speaker 2: (53:48)

and that was a huge sigh of relief. Like we all, we all kind of knew it was coming, but you can’t take anything for granted. But yeah,

 Speaker 1: (53:55)

we were all, we all heard, I’m sure we all think we know what’s going on right now and it feels like, I don’t know if there’s any lesson in not knowing what’s coming. It is right now. That’s, yup. I mean for everybody in different, different aspects, I don’t just mean presidency [inaudible] yes. I mean just think about this thinking your podcast. Yeah. And then like the Supreme court and the Oh yeah. And state by state and marijuana versus, it’s just, um, and I guess my podcast, I guess my podcast is about not knowing what’s coming too. Yeah. Yeah. Wow. That is, this is all so interesting. Is there anything else that you want to say about it that I didn’t ask or that you,

 Speaker 2: (54:39)

I dunno. So the one thing that I have always kind of maintained on my own is that I don’t want my kids to do, I had mail and DNA test until they’re 18 I’m not because of the donors, but because I find it some of the terms of services for those very strange and that it’s, it concerns me that like another company might own someone’s DNA, right. Or like the way that they’re like batching DNA to S to share with pharmaceutical companies or even the way that they caught the golden state killer.

 Speaker 1: (55:10)

Just like, that’s

 Speaker 2: (55:12)

great. But also

 Speaker 1: (55:15)

okay. Yeah, it’s both, I don’t know. It’s, it’s like, it’s like an unforeseen vulnerability. Yeah. To have our DNA as a, as a commodity that gets traded and bought and sent. But also identifies us. Yeah. There actually was, uh, a discussion the other day because somebody said they didn’t believe in DNA tests because, or they didn’t want to do the DNA test. The Mormon church owns all the companies and the Mormon church to have all their information. Um, so then there was a whole thread of like clarifying what that meant. Um, and, and so that’s not exactly true, but it’s also not exactly wrong. Yeah. Um, and I, yeah, it’s, it’s capitalism meets science meets government [inaudible] and now meets the church of latter day saints. Yeah. Well

 Speaker 2: (56:17)

the other part of that is, and I think I shared this story with you a couple of times cause I thought it was very pertinent for our discussion is the story of the woman who, um, did like a 23andme for her five-year-old through a donor, um, through a sperm bank. And they found, identified a close relative that I think was like the kid’s grandma. And she reached out, um, through like an ancestry site and then the donor bank like threatened to sewer and took away her vials. You’d paid for, for future kids. Um, Oh, and so that’s, yeah,

 Speaker 1: (56:49)

I’m sorry. So wait, let’s, let me go over that again. She okay. Okay. So she, she did a deal, he did, she got a 23 meet for her daughter.

 Speaker 2: (56:58)

Yeah. I mean it was conceived through a clinic or she and then, and then so she did that through the clinic and you know, the same way that it pops up, um, your close matches that we all, you know, so a close match, um, popped up. Uh, so the test popped up in the close match for her daughter and so she, she reached out and just said, Hey, we’re here, we’re open to contact if you are. And that closed match responded and said, I don’t know what you’re talking about. And then like a week later the sperm bank called and was like, what are you doing? You said that you wouldn’t try to contact anyone until your kid was 18. We could see you for like 40 grand. And also you have like four files on ice with us. You don’t get access to those anymore.

 Speaker 1: (57:42)

Oh, okay. So she, so she inadvertently exposed a donor situation that those people didn’t appreciate it.

 Speaker 2: (57:52)

Yeah. Oh, so I mean, you know, layered man layered lots of layers. So I’m, I’m all of this is stuff that goes on in the back of my head that I think about and then sometimes I’m like, let’s not think about this right now because your children are very young and you things you should worry about in a few years. But for right now, let’s just get through today. Um,

 Speaker 2: (58:19)

so yeah. Yeah. I’m still want to just get through today, but it’s been in the back of my mind that we need to start figuring out better ways to do this. Better ways to do donor conception or then donor. Oh, no. Better ways to discuss donor conception with my, with my little. Okay. Okay. Okay. Um, so I’m pretty sure what’ll happen is I’ll explain it to the first one and she’ll tell the second one all on her own, you know? Yeah. Did you know Santa isn’t real. Like, I expect that my, my younger daughter will not get to discover anything on her own because my older is, I’m just very, very involved and very into sharing. Um,

 Speaker 1: (59:02)

this was so cool, this whole giving so much to think about and I hope that it gave, I hope it gives people that. I hope it gives, I don’t know. I hope it gives everybody involved something to think about, but I hope I get, um, like adults who are discovering their donors, things to think about. And then it’s also information for everybody. Yeah. To know how this works a little bit more. I never realized how much I didn’t know. I just never [inaudible] just never thought.

 Speaker 2: (59:27)

Yeah. Um, I, and this, this might sound terrible, but it might, I hope I don’t get hate mail, honestly, like this. This is something that I, you know, I said I would talk to you about this and I actually, I talked to my wife before. I said, yes, let’s, I’m in because I wanted to make sure that sharing our kids conception story with the internet as a whole was okay with her. And she was like all, I mean they’re gonna find out anyway. So, um, yeah. So, but it was, it was a concern for me because, you know, I didn’t realize it at the time, but this, there are a lot of feelings or, or from a donor conceived individuals that I had not taken into account and that is from my place of privilege. All I’ll own it, you know, like it just hadn’t occurred to me to look for that. And so I’m hopefully people

 Speaker 6: (01:00:18)

well, well, well

 Speaker 2: (01:00:21)

have compassion for that I guess. Um, or maybe not. Maybe that’s another privileged thing to do. Maybe I’m asking them to do my, my emotional labor for them, but I just hope I don’t get, Hey mail. 

Speaker 1: (01:00:31)

I hope you don’t get hate mail. I’m definitely not gonna provide any contact information for you. Yeah. I mean, I don’t think it was going to like, you know, hunt me down somehow. Right. If anybody has anything to say, you can say it to me, you can contact me. Uh, my email is Eve ATT, everything’s relative, podcast.com. Um,

 Speaker 1: (01:00:52)

and, uh, what I really appreciate is just how vulnerable you’ve been. Like, you, you’re right, like you’ve come on to discuss this really hot topic and you’re really being honest about it. And I, I just think that’s really incredible and a gift. Um, so I’m really, really grateful and, and I think that the whole point of all of this, and, and it’s in, it’s in, in implicit, in my pursuit of, you know, lessening shame and it’s implicit in my, I hope in my podcast in general, is that like, we have to start talking about all of this, um, because, because like you had never thought about it. It never, and I had never thought about it. So [inaudible]

 Speaker 2: (01:01:33)

yeah. And it’s, it’s one of those where, you know, when you’re a queer couple, suddenly everyone is very interested in how you can see you. Yeah,

 Speaker 1: (01:01:41)

I bet. In a way. Uh huh. Oh, that’s in, I think maybe that’s an a practical wedding article. Yeah. Say once or it was like, that’s the number one party question when you’re a gay couple or whatever. Like,

 Speaker 2: (01:01:51)

yeah. Oh yeah, I remember that one. That was like when people offer you sperm at dinner parties. Yeah,

 Speaker 1: (01:01:55)

yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

 Speaker 2: (01:01:57)

I actually, I’ve had not at a dinner party, but I did have that happen. Yeah. And I was like, thanks. I’m gonna leave that alone. Um, but yeah, and then the one person we considered asking and had kind of like low key felt out and he was like, I don’t ever want kids. And so then we got pregnant. He’s like, why don’t you guys ask me? And I was like, yeah, we did. But we were all kind of drunk at a party. But anyway, um, yeah, it’s yeah, when you’re, when you’re queer people are very interested in how you can see and then, uh, you know, are you guys to do it? Like the kids are all right. Like that was one movie that some, yeah, no, that was just a movie. Now we don’t do, we’re not going to do it that way. I hadn’t even, people can make different choices.

 Speaker 1: (01:02:47)

Okay. But what if it really is Mark Ruffalo?

 Speaker 2: (01:02:50)

I mean, if it’s Mark, well if it actually is Tom Hardy, right? Cause I don’t think Mark looks like Tom Hardy. So if it actually is Tom Hardy, I’ll be ecstatic. But I’m pretty sure it’s not. Probably not. Yeah, it is. It is really funny though. Looking at the, um, the donor siblings, like some of them definitely look similar like our, our youngest when she was born, like very similar to one of our friends, one of our donor siblings when they were born. Um, my daughter, my older daughter and one of the other daughters, um, have like the same face shape and knows like it’s, yeah, it’s interesting. And that’s been one of the things I’ve been listening to your, you know, your podcast about, and everyone talks about how like no one looked like me or no one had feet like me. And I’m like, okay, well they can, they could do that with the, but their siblings, they can, they could get that. I’m there. So,

 Speaker 3: (01:03:38)

yeah. Cool. 

Speaker 1: (01:03:41)

Thank you so much. I, um, gosh, I like, I feel like I come to the end of these conversations so often and I’m just like, I don’t know what to say except this was amazing. Thank you. Thank you so much. Um, I sort of want to like, I sort of feel like if, if we were, if we were together, like not on the phone, I would just be walking around the house all day and just coming back to your, coming back to you, like every couple of minutes that you know as like I did, came to hear your thoughts came to me and I would just, I’d be saying, yeah, this is a trip man. Like, yeah,

 Speaker 2: (01:04:14)

I rehearsed everything I was going to say in my head for like weeks, which was when we pushed this, I was like, Oh no, I had it all on my own. And then of course none of it came out the way I was.

 Speaker 1: (01:04:24)

No, you sounded so articulate. I’m so appreciative. Um, the, this was really, really helpful. I feel, I feel like thrilled and excited to have, okay. Have new information and have a stimulating conversation and have all these things to think about. I’m all about is all about the way the world works around DNA, not, yeah, it’s just not black. It’s just not black and white. Yeah,

 Speaker 2: (01:04:50)

it’s not, and you know, as, as reproduction gets more and more medical I’s we’re going to have more and more of these conversations. Yeah. It’s just something now.

 Speaker 3: (01:05:00)

No. Yeah.

 Speaker 1: (01:05:05)

And yeah. Okay. So great. Wonderful. Um, I, you can go back to work, like this is amazing. I’m, um, I’m gonna yeah, we can hang. I can, I’m going to stop recording. Okay. Stopping recording now.

 

We Are Donor Conceived: Erin Jackson

Speaker 1: (00:00)

Okay.

 Speaker 2: (00:05)

Are you there still? Yes,

 Speaker 1: (00:07)

I’m. Okay. 

 Speaker 2: (00:08)

A while sudden. I was like, what if she’s uh, hi, thanks for meeting with me today.

 Speaker 1: (00:14)

Yeah. Thanks for having me. This should be fun and possibly weird and yeah. Yeah.

 Speaker 2: (00:19)

I, I hope so. I hope we can get some, I hope we can get some weird stuff in. Where are you? Where are you located?

 Speaker 1: (00:24)

I’m calling from San Diego, California. Oh,

 Speaker 2: (00:27)

I didn’t know that. I didn’t know. We were so close. Yeah. Okay. Oh, how far, or maybe I, I mean, I’m sorry. I apologize if at some point I suggested that I did know that, but today I did not know that. Um, oh, that’s so cool. Okay. So we’re in the same time zone, we in the relatively same climate can’t understand that. Um, did you grow up there?

 Speaker 1: (00:47)

No, I grew up in suburban Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and I’m. Yeah. And I moved to California about 11 years ago. I actually married my high school internet boyfriend that I met in a chat room.

 Speaker 2: (01:03)

Yes, you are the one.

 Speaker 1: (01:05)

Yep. And, uh, and I thought that was the gonna be like the weirdest story I had to tell about my life until about six years ago and everything

 Speaker 2: (01:13)

Changed, everything changed. So before we get to the everything changed, can you just tell me like a little bit more about growing up? Did you have two parents? Did you get along with that? How would you describe your childhood siblings? All that

 Speaker 1: (01:25)

Stuff. Yeah. I grew up in a dead average middle class, suburban existence with an older sister and two heterosexual parents. I mean, it was kinda like a, nothing to see here kind of situation. That’s, that’s how I would just , you know, idyllic childhood. And I am really grateful for that. Now I’m old enough now to look back at my childhood and, and think actually, yeah, that was, that was great. I really have no complaints. I had great parents and yeah, there’s just not a lot there other than, um, you know, what we’re, what we’re gonna get to. Right,

 Speaker 2: (02:01)

Right. And yeah, it takes a to age in time to get the perspective of like, oh, maybe boring was good. yeah. Maybe learning about what your takes, learning about the world to be like, well, um, okay. And you were Canadian, so, uh, I presume maple syrup. And what else? Mounts, what else is that? Maple syrup?

 Speaker 1: (02:25)

Uh, Tim Horton, Swiss craft dinner. The Canadians listening will understand all these things. Okay, great.

 Speaker 2: (02:31)

Good. I’ve got Canadian listeners. That’s perfect. Okay. And then you had, uh, and, and did you have a, um, like a career pursuit or like dreams when you were young?

 Speaker 1: (02:44)

Um, so many different things. I wanted to be a veterinarian at one point. I wanted to be a dolphin trainer at another point. Yes. Um, yeah. And then, um, I’ve always been interested in writing, so that’s what I actually followed. mm-hmm, , there’s not a lot of dolphin training opportunities, you know, in the real world. Right. Um, but definitely writing and, um, I got more into web content as the internet became a thing. I kind of grew up with the internet. Um, I was born in 1980, so that’s like right at the end of generation and ex

 Speaker 2: (03:19)

Yeah, me too. When’s your birthday?

 Speaker 1: (03:21)

Um, it’s in may.

 Speaker 2: (03:22)

Okay. I’m a little bit older than you. Okay. but otherwise, otherwise we are really CLO really close in age. Yeah. Um, okay. Yeah. So I, yeah, I know exactly. But the how, and when of technology, when you grow up, when growing up, did you have a computer room when you were in your family?

 Speaker 1: (03:40)

No, I had a, well, we actually, yeah, we had a computer in the basement. I remember the, the year we got it for Christmas mm-hmm it was like, it was a huge deal. I mean, looking back it was, really not, didn’t really do much I a dot matrix printer and mm-hmm, , mm-hmm , you know? Um, but yeah, um, definitely I’ve definitely been interested in the internet since I learned of its existence. That’s what I wanted for Christmas one year and, uh, and I really had no idea how much it would impact my life, not just meeting the man I’m married to now, but just in all the other ways with the DNA testing and, you know, being able to look up information about people. I mean, it really was revolutionary. Yeah. 

Speaker 2: (04:26)

Yeah. Wow. Yeah. I think probably, yeah. And you have a very unique take on that experience on that experience, or like experiencing the evolution of how it affected you personally. Um, so let’s, let’s get to, to the how it happened. Tell me what was going on for you six years ago.

 Speaker 1: (04:46)

Yeah. So it was like, I can’t remember what day of the week it was, which is a, a, you know, a work day. I was having this really normal Skype conversation with my mom and I, I was asking her, you know, why is dad being so cagey? He was just like hard to reach, hard to get ahold of. And I, I was just, I was just sort of like confused basically about what was going on. Um, my parents have recently separated and I think to give me context to help me understand why he might be acting differently. She told me that he’s, uh, I can’t remember what word she used, but I think she said, you know, essentially she said, he’s not your biological father. And I said, I knew it, which, which was, which was weird because it just kind of came outta my mouth. It wasn’t like a thought that I formed and then confidently said, it just sort of flew outta my mouth. And then she said, I know you did. And we just had this really bizarre moment. My wow. My brain just exploded. I mean, Uhhuh , it was really strange because it was shocking, but it also made complete sense at the same time, which is a weird head space to be in mm-hmm

 Speaker 2: (06:04)

mm-hmm I relate wholly to that description. Yeah.

 Speaker 1: (06:08)

Mm-hmm yeah. And I’m, and I knew, like I had done lifeguard training when I was a young teenager and I identified, oh, I’m probably a, in some deep shock right now, so, mm. I should probably do my attention to, uh, my heart rate and maybe, you know, put a, put something warm on because even though I feel fine and I feel like weirdly calm, I know that this is really big news. Mm-hmm mm-hmm

 Speaker 2: (06:36)

wow. That’s so self aware of you. Yeah. My goodness. Lifeguard training

 Speaker 1: (06:40)

it comes in handy. Mm-hmm mm-hmm I remember this is funny. I got onto Google chat or whatever, and I messaged my husband and I said, um, we need to go to our fam our favorite burger place for dinner. It’s like, this is, you know, sometimes you will we’ll say that like, when things are good, when things are bad, mm-hmm these are boring. Mm-hmm I need to go to this, you know, this ho dads in San Diego, just for anyone who’s familiar. Um, and I didn’t say anything else. And I spent the next, he was coming home in 20 minutes. Mm-hmm so I spent that time just like preparing, you know, like getting a speech, ready, getting myself calm. I was walking around, I was practicing what I was gonna say, cuz I knew I didn’t wanna freak him out. Cuz as soon as he came in, he would see my face. Right. And it would give it all away that something was wrong and I didn’t want him to worry. Yeah. So I was,

 Speaker 2: (07:31)

Yeah, go ahead. Sorry. Um, uh, uh, first my first question is, can you see me or you not even like, I can see you. Yeah. Okay. So I was gonna raise my hand and then I was like, I don’t know. She can see me. Um, that way I don’t have to go. Um, had you, when you talked with your mom and you were in this shock and, and she said, I knew you knew and you said, I know, did she then, um, fill in all the gaps of the story and give you all the details of the how and why and who’s and what’s so, or were you guys just like, okay, we’ll talk later.

 Speaker 1: (08:01)

Oh yeah, no she, okay. So she said your essentially, uh, your dad’s not your biological father. And I said, after I said, I knew it. I said, who is my biological father? Which I think is the obvious follow up question. And she said, I have no idea. And that just made my mind right. Crazy. I’m like, I’m like, what is the, what do you mean? Is this some sort of like eyes wide shut orgy situation? Mm-hmm like, how do you not know? I mean, I, it never occurred to me that I might be, you know, conceived using, uh, donor sperm. Like I, it just, right. That’s not a possibility that I ever occurred to me. I don’t, I think, I didn’t think it existed back then. I don’t know. But so yeah, she did fill in the details yeah, but for, for a moment there, I was like, I have,

 Speaker 2: (08:51)

I have, I have no idea. Like, uh, yeah. Oh moms. Oh, moms.

 Speaker 1: (08:57)

It was very dramatic. 

 Speaker 2: (09:01)

Okay. So you knew that. And then what about your siblings? Were they also donor conceived?

 Speaker 1: (09:05)

No, my sister’s regular.

 Speaker 2: (09:07)

Okay. She’s regular. Okay. Yeah. All right. Regular conceived. Um, okay. And did she tell you what had led to that decision?

 Speaker 1: (09:17)

Um, I prefer not to get into that. Okay. I, uh, I just don’t wanna talk about, you know, my, I feel like they should, my mom should answer her questions like that and she’s not here, so I don’t wanna speak for her. Yeah, 

Speaker 2: (09:27)

Absolutely. That’s her. That can be her story. Um, okay. Just, I was just trying to place myself in your mom. What your, what your mind. So you did have, have some context for the entire, uh, pro process process. Okay. So that’s okay. So I’m sorry. So I’m back, I’m back with you. Your husband is coming home. You’re preparing your speech.

 Speaker 1: (09:47)

Yeah. So I’m pacing around getting ready to, you know, calmly deliver this information. And soon as he comes in, I blurt out my dad’s not my dad. Um, yeah, so we immediately went out and I had a cheeseburger and, and I just knew this is gonna be a process. And it’s gonna take a while and I need to just give myself time and space and grace to fall apart or, or do what I need to do. And that’s exactly what happened. mm-hmm,

 Speaker 1: (10:22)

Mm-hmm, the other thing that I did that was like immediate, after hanging up the phone with my mom was order a 23 and me DNA test mm-hmm . This is something that I was interested in just cause I feel like it’s kind of nerdy and fun to see what a bio, your spit will tell about you. I mean, that’s just really strange and interesting. Um, but in the past, I, I thought I knew everything there was to know. Um, but this, you know, this bomb dropping made me realize, oh, there’s actually a lot. I don’t know about myself. And it’s all important stuff. Like the missing health information and, you know, what’s my actual ancestry and, and I wanted to find answers as quickly as possible. So it was $200 at the time. And I didn’t, I didn’t blink. I just was like, mm-hmm I, I will pay whatever amount of money it, it costs. I need this information immediately. Mm-hmm did

 Speaker 2: (11:16)

You, you, did you that are like medical history? Um, immediately.

 Speaker 1: (11:22)

That was the first thing. Wow. Yeah. Cause I mean, I was like staring down 40 at the time. Mm-hmm and just like aware of my impending demise and just thinking about my health in, in that way. Um, I did not know that I could find siblings. I didn’t know that I could find a, um, this was before I was in any of the communities for donor conceived people. Mm-hmm so it was Mely, like what is hiding in my body and what am I

 Speaker 2: (11:48)

right, right, right. Right. Just like from a personal iden. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. The cells, the biology. Um, wow. Okay. So you ordered it.

 Speaker 1: (12:01)

Yep. Ordered it. It came, I spat results came back way faster than I was expecting. And you know, I, this story has been told many, but I, yeah. I opened the results and I saw no, there was nothing in the health section. I was just kind of like boring it’s like, maybe this is a waste of money, you know, it’s just nothing mm-hmm back to suburbia. And then I, I clicked over to the, um, um, ancestry estimate or whatever, and it said 25% Ashkenazi. And I, this is how dumb I am. I’m like, what does that even mean? mm-hmm so they literally Googled it and I went, oh, Jewish. Oh, that’s hilarious. It was funny to me. Cause I grew up in a neighborhood that was like predominantly Jewish. So most of the people I went to school were Jewish. I was like really familiar with the culture and, and it was one thing that I hadn’t considered as a possibility I was expecting maybe Greek or, you know, Mediterranean of some sort mm-hmm anyway. So that, that was the first surprise. And then I clicked on the DNA relatives tab and I saw the name of a half brother. Wow. Yeah. And again, like, I didn’t know. That was a thing mm-hmm that happened? Mm-hmm was not, I was expecting, you know, fifth cousin just right,

 Speaker 2: (13:22)

Right. Like what everybody says, like, oh, it’s just a million people from yeah. From so far. Yeah.

 Speaker 1: (13:26)

And I just, it, yeah. And I wouldn’t have, I would’ve been like act whatever who cares, you know, half brother that’s half brother is that’s a little different mm-hmm he had his full name listed. So I immediately Googled him mm-hmm and I found an article that his wife had written about their wedding. So there were like wedding photos and a little story about their marriage and relationship and I’m staring at his face. Wow. And it was, it was so amazing because he’s the first person I’ve ever seen that look like me. And I was just, I mean, it, I mean, my, my brain blew up again. I thought it was already du, but now it was like particulate matter at this point. and I was, and I was just like, okay, all right. This adds a new dimension to this whole thing.

 Speaker 2: (14:14)

Right. And it was in that moment that you realized, oh my gosh, there could be many of us.

 Speaker 1: (14:21)

I don’t think I thought about that. I still didn’t think that. Okay. I mean, I feel like the human mind wants to make things easier to digest, you know, mm-hmm, like, mm-hmm, we, we wanna assume, oh, maybe there’s such a, a couple or something like that. But when I, you know, over the years as more matches have come in and I’ve seen that there’s an eight year age gap between the oldest sibling and the youngest. Now I just assume I have a hundred siblings. Mm-hmm  

Speaker 2: (14:51)

Mm-hmm . Why not? When you saw the brother, the half brother, when you were looking into him and, and looking at the wedding pictures, were you imagining oh, he’s donor conceived as well? Or were you thinking he was a social?

 Speaker 1: (15:06)

I didn’t know. I, I, I remember trying to find photos of his dad. I mean, I was really, yeah. I just didn’t know. I, I thought this is like the moment when you get shocked to a degree like this, you, you become unshockable mm-hmm and it feels like anything is possible mm-hmm so that’s, that’s, that’s how I was operating. Um, it just open to any, any possibility. Yeah.

 Speaker 2: (15:33)

That’s such a good way to describe it. If you’re, when you’re in shock, you become unshockable. Yeah. Um, I think so many people in our communities would under understand or relate to that, that feeling, that description or that experience. Um, okay. And then and then where, where, well, where does your story go from there?

 Speaker 1: (15:56)

Where does the story go from there? Um, well, I, you know, initiated communication with, uh, this half brother and we started to build a friendship and it was . It was, it’s hard to, to look back at that first year when everything was going on. Cause it’s, it is kind of a blur. There was just, it was so emotions were so high and there were so like, there was so much that was going on that when I look back and try to remember exactly what happened in what order mm-hmm, , it’s just like really fuzzy. But one thing that happened is I became very interested in learning everything I could about donor conception, what was going on when I was created what’s going on now. And how do other people feel about this? Um, so I just went into research mode. Mm-hmm mm-hmm I hunkered down, I, I was reading, you know, academic research papers, watching every documentary I could find and reading newspaper articles and just like just trying to learn everything and not, and trying not to form any opinions or, or ideas until I had all the information I possibly could because I, I realize, I don’t know anything about this and I have a lot to learn, so I better get, I better get started.

 Speaker 1: (17:14)

Mm-hmm and, um, around this time, people, some donor conceive people in Victoria, Australia had managed to, um, retroactively, um, stop people from being able to donate sperm anonymously. There’s probably a better way to phrase that, but they, they had ended anonymous sperm donation in one, you know, um, province or state of Australia. And that was really encouraging. I was amazed like, you know, yes, there is this community of advocates and they’re, and they’re doing things out there. And, and, um, you know, it was incredibly validating to know that there were other people who found this information important and life changing and wanted to know their siblings and learn more about themselves. Um, cuz I don’t get, we don’t get any messages from the culture mm-hmm about, about what it’s like, so you’re, you’re really just operating blind. So when I found that out, I was, I felt really empowered.

 Speaker 1: (18:13)

Yeah. And, and I also felt like, uh, you know, kind of a crushing responsibility to do my part, um, in, in this world and having a background in web content creation and writing and journalism and it just became clear that I should make a website or, you know, try to just try to get some information out there. Mm-hmm for the next person like me, who’s like Googling sperm, donor, baby, like, Ugh. Mm-hmm I don’t even know, like I didn’t know the word donor conceived when I first found out wow mm-hmm so I created the weird donor and see website and the main thing that was there at first was just all of the research mm-hmm that I had found. And it’s a very long list, the resources page. I mean there’s tons of stuff there. Um, and then I just, and then I, uh, I thought, well I need some way for people to find this information. So let me start a Facebook group and I can share web content in that group because it is a very niche, you know, area of interest to average person, isn’t gonna be looking at this website.

 Speaker 2: (19:22)

Right. Well, and I think that that speaks to the problem of how there’s nothing in the culture about it. So you can do every single person feels like they are in a vacuum because there’s no, there’s no reference you. Like you said, you didn’t even know the words, Don are conceived. Like you don’t even know where to start, so right. Yeah. Yeah. But, and yet you’re everywhere. 

Speaker 1: (19:40)

There there’s so many of us, we were Legion yeah. so I graded the Facebook group and there were like 50 people in it at first and there were 200 and now there’s like, you know, 3000 or so mm-hmm, , mm-hmm, grew very fast. And I thought it was going to be a place where I would just share web content, but it turned into so much more than that. And now it’s like this amazing community where people come for support and help with their DNA results. And just, just a least for people to talk about all the weird, wonderful aspects that come along with being donor conceived mm-hmm 

 Speaker 2: (20:19)

Yeah. Yeah. Awesome. It’s such an, it’s such a neat resource. Um, and, and it, it also, it seems like it’s also, it’s it’s resources and it’s a community for people, people, and then it’s also, you also feature other people’s writing about it, like essay, um, sort of essay, blog type posts. Yeah,

 Speaker 1: (20:39)

Yeah. Right. There’s there’s yeah. There’s some personal stories on the website. I just identified as a writer that mm-hmm that donor conceived people have the most fascinating stories. I mean, who, like, I mean, it’s hard to explain what it’s like to realize you have dozens of siblings that you never knew existed. Like that’s pretty mind blowing. Um, and I wanted to, yeah. I wanted to feature other people’s voices. So just to increase public awareness, um, of our experience because the, the fertility industry narrative is very focused on parents getting the baby. They want so much mm-hmm and, and it’s almost like that baby is just an object that is the fulfillment of their desire. And that’s not reality. Mm-hmm , I mean, it’s so much more complicated than that and, and so much more amazing. I feel like our stories are way more interesting than, um, you know, than just someone who wanted a baby and then got one.

 Speaker 2: (21:33)

Yeah, absolutely. Um, yeah, that’s such a, yeah. Yeah. That’s such a, that’s such a, a, a needed paradigm shift is that these sort, these objects of dream fulfillment are actually sentient beings that have their own experience, um, their own experience, their own life and have with a voice mm-hmm . Um, and so what, um, what do you think is the most, what do you think is the most surprising, or, or let me ask that a different way. Um, what do you wish people knew about donor conception that you think like everyday life people don’t know?

 Speaker 1: (22:20)

Um, well, I think that people need to know that donor conceive people do not support anonymous donor agreements. This has seemed to be the normal way of doing things. You know, like if you need some sperm, you go onto a website and you order some and you get it delivered to your house. And somehow that’s, normal. I don’t, I find that I find it all very strange, but you know, when I, one of the things I really wanted to do was, um, some research into the perspectives of donor conceived people. Because when I looked at what was out there already, a lot of it interviewed parents of small children who didn’t even know they were donor conceived. Parents were reporting back. I’m like, I’m not research, but that seems well, not very conclusive. It’s like skewed data, 

Speaker 2: (23:15)

As they say.

 Speaker 1: (23:16)

Yeah. So the parents were like, yeah, my kid’s fine. He’s well adjusted and then the, and then the headline he became, oh yeah, they’re the donor. They’re fine. They’re well adjusted. It’s like that kid didn’t is five. First of all, doesn’t even know their donor conceived didn’t know they were part of a study. So I found that bizarre mm-hmm mm-hmm and then, and then the, a lot of the research that was out there that was better. Um, didn’t ask the questions I wanted to know, like, how do you feel about the fact that, you know, one of your biological parents is anonymous to you and, um, how do you feel about the fact that you have all these siblings that you have no ability to connect with? And so I asked people starting in 2016, I did an annual survey of, of people in the group who are interested in taking the survey mm-hmm mm-hmm .

 Speaker 1: (24:03)

And I have a, a really, really voluminous report on, we are donor conceived.com from the 20 data. And it, and it dives into these subjects that other researchers weren’t asking, like, like I said before, about the anonymous donation agreements, I found that 94% of respondents believe all donor conceived. People should have the option to know their donors. I identity if they choose. Wow. Yeah. And the system is set up right now to deny us from getting that information. A lot of us, or some people have to wait till they’re 18 mm-hmm . And, you know, I also in the 2020 survey, I asked some questions that I hadn’t asked before, such as do you, you know, do you, have you been harmed by not knowing your, you know, biological parent or donor’s identity and 70% of people said they had been harmed. Wow. Uh, which I found surprising mm-hmm um, I’m, I’m not surprised it’s over 50, but that that’s notable to me. Mm-hmm I mean, mm-hmm 

 Speaker 2: (25:06)

Yeah. That’s um, I’m trying to find another word for notable. Yeah. Like, uh, but, but bigger than that, that that should really raise some alarms.

 Speaker 1: (25:19)

Yeah, I think so. I also asked if people think it’s a basic human right. To know the identity of both of their biological parents. Mm-hmm and 88% agreed. Yeah. And that’s a, what, that’s what this is for me. Like, I feel like this is a human rights issue. Mm-hmm donor, you know, um, donor conceived people. We don’t choose to be created this way, and yet we have to live with all these consequences that I don’t think anyone would choose for themself.

 Speaker 2: (25:45)

Correct. Yeah. Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. I couldn’t agree more. And, um, and so, and, and on that end, um, are you, um, I think this is like, I think this is the one thing I don’t know is, does we are donor conceived? Um, or do you work with legislation or with, um, the, the other people sort of working to make those big changes or is it more, um, or is it more collection of data for you and, and community?

 Speaker 1: (26:12)

It’s more community for me mm-hmm I feel like I’m on an empathy mission to educate people, you know, mm-hmm, , I feel like that’s the first step to changing the law law changes happen really slowly. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. The first step is to open hearts and open minds. And that’s my mission with we are donor conceive, but there are some other groups that are, are working on the legislative stuff. Mm-hmm and they’re led by people who have that background. Mm-hmm , mm-hmm I don’t have that background. I’m a food writer. Um, that’s a bit of a stretch for me. Mm-hmm but I’m good at the communication piece. So that’s what I’m focusing on. 

Speaker 2: (26:43)

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay. I just, wasn’t sure. I was like, did I see that on there or not? Um, wow. Okay. So for all these resources and community definitely go to, we are donor conceived.com. Um, but I wanna talk about the other part of your, of your project, the other, um, and that is your magazine of call. We are donor conceived. Um, so I, I ordered it on a whim and, um, I have to say, and I, I think I messaged you about it when it, when it arrived. It’s beautiful. Um, I, I don’t know what I expected. I mean, I just, I didn’t have expectations, but if it had come as a pamphlet that I would’ve been like, okay, a great, cool, or like a stapled, you know, some stapled papers you print. And I think you said, like, I’m printing it out, I’m getting it printed now or something like that. So I was like, I don’t know if this is coming from her home Xerox machine. Um, so I, I mean, I can’t, if any, if you, if anybody has any appreciation for printing for graphic design for aesthetics, um, and then for we writing and journalism, this magazine is awesome. It’s so awesome. Um, and I just, I love it. Um, and so what, when did you start making a hard copy magazine from the website

 Speaker 1: (27:59)

Or thank you so much, first of all, thank you so much. I, my whole heart into this magazine and, um, the, the first, the front cover of issue, number one is basically a self-portrait, it’s like a girl with her head exploding. Mm-hmm, basically, um, I, this was my pandemic project. I finally had a ton of time to do a project and I thought, okay, this is it. So I had to teach myself how to make a magazine. I’ve never done that before I’ve worked. Wow. I’ve worked for a magazine, but I’ve never, you know, opened up in design and created something from scratch and printed something. So, um, yeah, that was, it was my pandemic project. I have, I had two issues come out already, and right now I’m working on issue number three. Awesome.

 Speaker 2: (28:52)

Yeah, I can’t recommend, um, any to enough to anybody in the, in, within the community that this is something that you should, you should have, you should just have it in your library, um, as, as, as, um, as a token of this and of this journey. And, um, it, it’s really beautiful and it, and you’ll see, you know, like if you’re in this community, you’ll see, you’ll see some familiar faces and then meet new people and there’s always more information to be had. And there’s all, it’s always a different experience to read something on paper than it is on the computer. I like, I can’t, um, suggest like diversifying your, your resources, um, more, just your experiences of how you’re absorbing things. This magazine is so cool. Um, I can’t get, I can’t get enough of it. so I’ll be ordering the other ones. Um, awesome. So, so if people want to know more about this, the number one resource to go to is we are donor conceived, correct.com. Yeah, 

Speaker 1: (29:47)

That’s right. You okay? Yeah. That, that’s where that’s the main website. So you can find the 20, 20 survey report, you can order magazines and you can read personal stories. There’s also the resources page that has links, podcasts, and newspaper articles and research studies. I mean, you could spend all day there.

 Speaker 2: (30:06)

Yeah. I mean, it sounds like you’ve really created like a hub, like a hub, a hub for this existence. Um, so it’s just awesome. Um, in lieu of, in lieu of an actual building, you’ve created a place that everybody can come. Yeah. Um, and, and find all sorts of things. It’s so great. So great. Um, is there, is there anything that I didn’t ask you that you wished I had asked you, or that you are used to talking about in these interviews?

 Speaker 1: (30:38)

Um, no. I mean, I thought, I think that was really thorough. I would like to, I would like to, um, give a recommendation for something that has nothing to do with my work, if possible. Mm-hmm please.

 Speaker 2: (30:48)

Yeah. Give it to me, give it to us.

 Speaker 1: (30:50)

So I recently, re-watched a documentary called future people, and it’s about a group of siblings from a, a donor from, I believe it’s California Cryobank. Um, I started crying at about 30 seconds in the documentary and pretty much didn’t stop for the whole time. It’s just so heartfelt. Um, the producer of this documentary got the most amazing clips from, from the offspring of this donor. And I think he was working on the project for something like nine years. Oh, wow. So you see them grow up. Mm-hmm like they’re 13 in the beginning and they’re 21 at the end it’s it really is a beautiful, capturing of the unique experience of being donor conceived and the power of the sibling bond that we have with each other. Mm-hmm . And I think that is something that people maybe outside of this community don’t understand. I mean, in addition to a parent or parents getting the child, they want so much, the practices of sperm banks are separating the siblings from each other mm-hmm . And, um, and that just,

 Speaker 2: (32:08)

I never thought of it like that. Yeah. No, I didn’t think I’ll, I’ll be honest. I’ve never thought I’ve yeah. Yeah.

 Speaker 1: (32:13)

You know, somebody said that to me and I was like, wow, that is brilliant. You’re so right. And it’s, to me it’s, I mean, I, I just think that’s a huge issue. I mean, the one thing I hear all the time from adult donor-conceived people, or like late discovery, people like myself who are deep into their thirties when they found this out is that they are aware of all the time they’ve lost with their siblings and they wish they grew up together. So these kids in the documentary future people, they have the benefit of having grown up together to some, to some degree mm-hmm, , you know, they are separated by geography and, and, um, you know, it’s, it is still difficult to create relationships with like 37 siblings, but they do have the advantage of, of growing up together. And you can see in the film how much that has positively affected all of their lives. And I, I want that for all donors conceived people mm-hmm . And the only way to do that is to reform the industry so that we have the right to access information about our own families.

 Speaker 2: (33:18)

Yeah. Yeah. I have to say Aaron, that brings tears to my eyes. Um, sorry. no, I’m, 

 Speaker 1: (33:24)

It’s heavy. Um, excuse me,

 Speaker 2: (33:27)

Please. Don’t please. Don’t please. Don’t evoke emotion. Yeah. Um, during this interview, no, um, yeah, I mean, I have my own story with, with siblings and, and recently I tell you just this okay. We’re just gonna talk about me now for a minute. Um, but I just, I just connected with a sister, um, through ancestry.com a half sister, and, um, I’m not done or conceived, but, but I have a complicated story and, um, not complicated within the NBE community. just mean that its, I, we don’t need to get into it right now, cause this is about gender conception. But, but I do relate to connecting with someone you didn’t grow up with. And she said, I don’t, we both were talking about our, our biological father. And she said, I didn’t feel like I had much in common with him except um, my eyebrows and I, I burst into tears.

 Speaker 2: (34:22)

I’m probably gonna cry talking about it now because that’s the only thing, that’s the, that’s the one thing that I recognize immediately looking at a picture of him. Um, it was confirmation, it was a hundred percent confirmation of, of, of this story and this DNA and, and I thought, and I I’ve always wanted to have a relationship and um, and I we’re, so we’re trying to connect and we’re working on it, but the thought, the thought that that experience could be so powerful and is happening all around all over the place or is being taken away from people or they’re being prevented from that kind of experience is it’s a big deal. It’s um, I dunno if heartbreaking is the word I want, but it’s heavy. Um, family connection is really important yeah. You know? Um,

 Speaker 1: (35:11)

Yeah. And something people don’t really talk about, you know, you hear these happy stories of, oh, I met my brother and it things amazing and we’re so alike and da da, da, da, but it’s like, there’s always grief that comes with mm-hmm these reunions, um, you know, part of, it’s an awareness of the fact that you weren’t there for all these milestones in their life. And, and then there’s just this, like, I mean, I, I have to sit with the knowledge that I will never know all of my siblings. Right, right. And I, I don’t know how many there are, there are, I don’t know where they are. Most of them have no reason to expect that I exist, which is really strange. Totally mm-hmm but I feel like, you know, I, I just, I, I just feel like the people who created the system that created me didn’t think about what I would need as a human being. Right. And, and I’m trying to change that by, you know, educating the public that we grow up, you know, were that perfect baby for like one second. And then we started becoming our own person. 

Speaker 2: (36:20)

you are a wish fulfillment for, in my case,

 Speaker 1: (36:23)

I started second. I started talking young and I was always, you know, really confident in my opinions. And um, you know, we’re not other people’s children, we’re born whole, we deserve to know who we are. and we deserve know our family.

 Speaker 2: (36:39)

Mm-hmm yeah, yeah, absolutely. Uh, well, thank you. I almost can’t talk right now. Uh, Ugh. Um,

 Speaker 1: (37:02)

I cried so much during the first year that I found out I would just, I would just be sitting on the couch, just crying, just tears, running down my face. Like not even like regular crying. Right. It was just, it was just like a soul cleansing. Oh yeah. Shower of tears. And, and half the time it was like happy tears, Uhhuh . Um, so I’m like, I’m like, yeah, it it’s, it is a really super emotional thing. It’s been enough time for me that I don’t do. I don’t sound, tears ran randomly, but I tell people who are new in the community, like you are entitled to five breakdowns. Like anytime, any place you wanna do it in the grocery store, do it. That’s yours, you earned it. You have, you have that card, you know, like a punch card.

 Speaker 2: (37:49)

I have to say, like, I think I’m three I’m three years in, and this is still, I’m still in my top five. I mean, I still would be in my five breakdown, like breakdowns in, and not this isn’t an inappropriate place, but might as well be the grocery store because I’m trying to get through a podcast. Um, I haven’t, I haven’t done that so much, but, um, yeah, you really that’s something about this really is really moving the, um, I mean the donor, obviously this it’s my it’s the personal part. That’s really moving me, but, but the overall, um, thought and the concepts and, and siblings, um, yeah, it’s, it’s the sibling connection can be really powerful and it’s something I’ve always, uh, wanted

 Speaker 1: (38:31)

Mm-hmm did you grow up as an only child?

 Speaker 2: (38:35)

No, I have siblings. Um, I grew up with siblings, but it’s kind of complicated and so we’re not, we’re not very close. Um, so I, I, I had always wished for, for what it seemed like everybody else had mm-hmm um, 

Speaker 1: (38:51)

Yeah, yeah. That’s, that’s, that’s on the positive side being donor conceived, uh, you know, knowing there are all these people out there, it’s like a, it’s like an opportunity it’s like forever. Right, right. You know, any day , there could be a

 Speaker 2: (39:08)

New person. It is not finite.

 Speaker 1: (39:10)

And there are so many people in our, in my community who waited like a decade before they got anything before they got a crumb. Yeah. Leading them to a sibling or leading them to their biological parent. You just never know. And that’s, , that’s a, mm-hmm, reason to be excited and optimistic, but it’s also, uh, you know, mess with your head. Right. Cause, cause it’s like, I, every time I say that, I’m like, I should probably check my results right now. Cause it’s

 Speaker 2: (39:38)

Like, do you wanna just stop a podcast and go check, check

 Speaker 1: (39:40)

Time of the year people, I dunno, people are getting their Christmas present DNA tests. And, um, I haven’t had a new sibling in, in quite some time. So I don’t know if that’s a COVID thing or right. People just don’t wanna like, think about spitting in a tube, but it’s kind of sanitary. Yeah. Um, any, any day now, I mean there, there have to be more totally actually the eyebrow thing I have to say. I had that too. Um, huh. Yeah, my, my dude, um, well I had his smile. I have his eyebrows if I hadn’t plucked mine to hell in the

 Speaker 2: (40:14)

Nineties, in the nineties. Thank you. Late nineties.

 Speaker 1: (40:17)

And uh, and I found, um, a photo of him on classmates.com is his grad photo from high school. And I, at the time I had sort of a similar haircut cause I had short hair and we, we like, I never not, I never would’ve thought that me a 35 looked so much like a iTune year old man. right. But like the, it was undeniable mm-hmm and, and you know, people use the word surreal a lot. Mm-hmm and that, and that’s what it was. You’re just like, it looks like you’re like looking through a time portal, it’s an alternate, you know, version of yourself in a weird way. You’re like, that’s, that’s where I came from. mm-hmm um, yeah, those, those first photos that you see are, are so powerful. And in my case it was a classmate’s photo where he looked pretty dapper and I was like, that’s cool. Mm-hmm and then another photo from the seventies, right? Yeah. Yeah. Big collar and the way too much hair. And it, it was like really funny that was the second photo I saw like the glasses with the tint in them. And I was like, okay.

 Speaker 2: (41:26)

Mm-hmm yeah. Yeah. It’s so funny to, to, to try and get to know someone through, through photos cuz there’s so much of the evolution you don’t, you don’t get to mm-hmm know, we don’t get to know. So you have nothing but your imagination to fill in the gaps. That’s so cool. All right. Well, thanks again. Um, thank you so much for joining me today, Erin. Um, yeah, I just, uh, everyone get the magazine, everybody go to the website. Um, keep us posted about, about things about, about where we are donor conceived is going. Um, and, and I’ll put everything up on my I’ll put anything and everything up that you want. Like on my Instagram, when I, when I put the episode up, um, so all the resources be available via me as well. Um, yeah, I think that’s it. Great. Thanks

 Speaker 1: (42:19)

For doing this. Yeah. You know, these, these conversations, I know they’re really helpful to people who are brand new in the community and also people who are looking to learn and, you know, donor cane people and everyone who’s, who’s involved in this, this, the adventure of, um, who am I? And mm-hmm where do I go from

 Speaker 2: (42:37)

Here? Yeah, absolutely. Um, yeah. I’m so I know I’m just so glad you were available and I’m, um, I’m, I’m really dedicated to sort of expanding cuz I expanding my connections with people beyond, um, the, the, the quote unquote like general description of an NPE and really trying to dive into the, to the nuance of, um, donor conception and late discovery adoption and um, all the different sub communities, um, within the, within the larger one. So this is just awesome. Um, okay. And I’ll be in touch. Okay, great. Yeah. And, um, I’m, I’m making everything now and hopefully we’ll start, um, episodes will start coming out, um, in February, but I will totally let you know and be in touch. Great. Yeah. All right. Okay. Have a great rest of your day. Have a good holiday season. You too. Thanks. Whatever that was. Yeah, absolutely. All right.

 Speaker 1: (43:33)

Talk soon. Bye. Bye. 

 

Luke Skywalker is an MPE

Speaker 1: (00:00)

There you go, and then it will ask your permission. I believe was a little, so there’s no surprise, kinda a, 

Speaker 2: (00:09)

Like a robotic voice, like recording in progress. Uhhuh okay. Calm down. Uh, I know she said, so  

Speaker 1: (00:18)

Recording in progress. So like many of my guests I’m I’m, uh, coming in, coming in pretty blind. I don’t know much. I don’t much know much about you or your story. You just emailed me and said I’ve been li I I’ve been listening. Uh, I’m navigating the communities. I really feel like I need to tell my story. Um, so, so tell me, tell me it. I’m I’m here. I’m listening.

 Speaker 2: (00:44)

Uh, yeah, I mean, this has all been pretty sudden as far as like finding community out there. I didn’t know that there were a lot of people mm-hmm um, in fact, when I found this out, I sat in a coffee shop before meeting my real family. Uh, like literally a couple of days I’ll get to that in a minute after I found out and I couldn’t find anything. Yeah. And this was just a few years ago and I found some old articles from like the nineties, um, where, you know, late discovery adoptees were finding out about, you know, their life. And I’m like, okay, well, this is gonna be new and I’m navigating on my own. So, uh, let’s do it, you know? Um,

 Speaker 1: (01:30)

Yeah, I think you, part of the prob part of the problem, or, and you tell me if you think, if you agree or disagree, but for, for me, one of the problems is that because these concepts are not talked about or like acknowledged in general culture and, and the paradigm, we don’t have the words for it. And so Googling ha like I just found out I was adopted surprised. Like, like, I wouldn’t know how to yeah. You know, like LD, how would you know that? There’s like, oh, they call thes and like, oh, you know, like there’s a whole like language that we don’t that is not like, uh, familiar to our like on our lexicon.

 Speaker 2: (02:16)

Right. Yeah. And, and, you know, there just wasn’t, you know, I was, I was looking for, for anything, right. Asking like, Hey, how do I handle this? You know, mm-hmm, , it’s like, mm-hmm , there was nothing out there. It was all for children’s how to tell your for children. Yeah. How to tell your children you’re, you know, they’re adopted. Yeah. You know, and it’s like, yeah. A little late for that. , you know,

 Speaker 1: (02:40)

I’m 45. Right, right.

 Speaker 2: (02:43)

Um, so you, yeah. I mean, it just, it’s, it’s been a journey, but I mean, it’s, it’s cool because I, I met a woman who was like, oh yeah, I deal with that. Sometimes I’m, you know, kind of a therapist and you should check this out. So I checked this out and then that led me to another thing to the Celia center. And then I got a, you know, in a big zoom group meeting with them and, and, uh, they recommended books and there were other people who were kind of in my situ I’m like, okay, so there are people out there. And then of course the podcasts and I was like, okay, let’s listen. And I was listening to some of yours. And it was interesting because all of the ones that I was trying kind of picking ’em at random, but it was kind of like, oh, I found out my uncles, my dad, or I found out that, you know, the neighbor down the streets, actually my dad and there was kind and, but nobody was like, oh, by the way, you were, you know, stolen as a baby. And , you know, nobody ever told you, you know, so, right, right. I was like, oh, see if maybe she’s being interested in learning about me.

 Speaker 1: (03:55)

So, I mean, I wanna learn about everybody. Um, so yeah. So when you tell the story, do you usually start with like, what I, what often people wanna talk about how their childhood was before they knew any of these things? Tell me what it was like to grow up. And then they tell me about whatever the surprise is. That’s coming spoiler. Um, you’re adopted, but , but, um, how do you tell, how do you tell it? You tell me how you,

 Speaker 2: (04:23)

You leave. Um, I mean, it, it’s hard to know where to begin it mostly, you know, I, I, I made a, I wrote a, uh, an essay on it and I, one of the things that I said was, you know, and maybe other children do it too. But I remember when I was a little kid and being mad at my parents and going, you know, I, I must be adopted because, you know, my real parents would never do this to me. And, and someday I’m gonna find out and, you know, I’ll, I’ll be adopted, you know. 

Speaker 1: (04:59)

And did you say

 Speaker 2: (05:00)

That out loud to them? I never said that to them. He just thought it was always in my room to the closed door. After, after I sent to my room to, you know, play with my toys instead of going outside and playing with the kids, you know? Right. Um, but you know, I got that feeling like I wish I was adopted or something like that, you know, because my parents wouldn’t be so mean to me. And growing up now that I look back there were, I, I mean, I’ll say I was never abused. I, I was raised, I, I never lacked for anything. I always had food to eat and, you know, clothes. And, um, you know, my father was strict. My, my mom was a Karen before Karens were invented. I, I would say, um, I, I, I mean, she is still a Karen , but he was a little bit overbearing, but she always looked out for me, you know, mm-hmm, no one did me wrong.

 Speaker 2: (06:04)

Um, I had two sisters and a brother, uh, my brother, he, uh, was in a, an accident as a child. They were all much older than me. My youngest sister was 16 years older than oh. Uh, which relevant later on. Yeah. When I work things out, mm-hmm , uh, so, you know, they weren’t around my youngest sister was around a lot. And I remember her taking me to the park with her boyfriend who would want, you know, they’d get married later on and have kids. But, um, my brother, he was in a car accident when he was young, uh, like a teenager. So he had a, a traumatic brain injury and never was right. Mm-hmm , he was always cool to me. And, and, you know, out of everybody, in my family, he’s the one person that I can stand to be around for. , you know, as far as that goes, um, my other sister, uh, is a horrible, horrible person. I haven’t spoken with her in probably 30 years. She was very abusive to me every time that we would go and visit her, uh, she had a family already and just treated me horribly. And I always, she made me think that I was a bad child because I, I was always doing something wrong and getting in trouble for it in her eyes. And my parents never really stopped her or mm-hmm or told her no. Um, and to this day she still hates me. I, you know, for whatever. Well, now I know why.

 Speaker 1: (07:30)

Weird, weird, weird, weird growing up.

 Speaker 2: (07:34)

And my parents

 Speaker 1: (07:34)

Were much older. And you said you moved around, you said, you said you moved around a lot. Um, we did. So, and that was just cause they liked you. What was, what was going on there?

 Speaker 2: (07:43)

Uh, yeah, my, my father was 54 when I was born. My mother was 39. Um, yeah, 39. So or 35. I can’t recall now. Anyway, um, in her, th in her thirties. In her thirties. Yeah. Um, so we, we moved around a lot. I remember moving, we never stayed much past two or three years, which, um, for people out there, especially, you know, children of very personnel, they know, you know, that you, you can’t form friendships. Mm-hmm . Um, and this was, you know, in the seventies, when, you know, you didn’t have cell phones and texting, if you didn’t write, you know, you were outta luck cuz long distance, you know? Right.

 Speaker 1: (08:34)

Facebook FA yeah. Facebook wasn’t yeah. Wasn’t making the world really small.

 Speaker 2: (08:38)

Right. Um, so, you know, I, I didn’t have many friends. I, the longest we stayed anywhere was I think four years we moved from, uh, two or three different places in Oregon to Florida, to Missouri, uh, finally where I went to high school.

 Speaker 1: (08:57)

Wow. So all across the country. Oh yeah. Yeah. Wasn’t like, you guys were just like hanging out, hanging out

 Speaker 2: (09:05)

In neighborhoods, Midwest or something. It was like, right, right. Oregon, Florida. That’s huge.

 Speaker 2: (09:11)

Exactly. Yeah. And I mean, you rip a kid to school, you know, we, we lived in, uh, temporary places and I don’t know why. I, I have no idea why they like to move. My mother would just be like, oh, we’re moving to Florida. They’d take a trip down there for a week and decide this is where we’re going, you know? Hmm. Um, and I, you know, a little kid you shut up and got in the car and that was it, you know?

 Speaker 1: (09:37)

Totally. What were their job? What were their jobs?

 Speaker 2: (09:41)

Uh, my, my father was already retired. My mother never worked. Oh. Um, so great.

 Speaker 1: (09:47)

Okay. Easy. That makes easy. That makes moving around really easy then. Exactly.

 Speaker 2: (09:52)

Yeah. He, I remember as a little kid, he used to, uh, I mean, this is back in the seventies, but he was a, a house flipper. He would buy a house. Uh, he would go in, he would fix it up himself and then he would sell it. And you know that back then, that wasn’t a thing. It wasn’t on TV. It wasn’t, you know, get rich quick. That was just what he did, you know, uh, cuz he had the skills to do it. So we did different things. When we moved to Missouri, we had cattle and other farm animals and things like that. And I am not a farm guy. uh, no of offense, kids who are, you know, raised around it, but getting up at five in the morning to go feed cattle, uh, that sucks. Mm-hmm and you know, that’s I, and I don’t do that. So, uh, yeah, that, that was uh, not a great experience. That’s

 Speaker 1: (10:42)

A big, that’s a pretty big transition to go from not being a, a real farmer to like real, real farm life is that’s really huge. It was a huge shift 

 Speaker 2: (10:52)

And when we moved, we moved to small town, Missouri, uh, where everybody knew everybody and I’m the new kid and I’m, I’m short. I was skinny as a kid. Uh, I’m five and tall. And I think in high school I might have weighed 98 pounds. I was the 98 pounds weekly. Mm-hmm

 Speaker 1: (11:12)

what, how tall, how tall did you say you were a cut out

 Speaker 2: (11:15)

Five, five foot, six, five and a half. Okay.

 Speaker 1: (11:17)

You’re five, six. You said five and a half. That’s where it cut off. I was like five and a what? Yeah. Five and a half 98 pounds. Mm-hmm

 Speaker 2: (11:25)

yeah. So, and that was a lot of issue because my father was, he was like five, almost five 10. Um, but he was a big guy. He was a boxer when he was young, back in the forties, you know? Um, and my mother was little she’s tiny mm-hmm but you know, my brother he’s like six foot tall. Right. Um, so I’m this little kid and that was one of the things that, um, you know, I’ve pieced together and, and some of the, the actual trauma is the, the responses that I got, you know, to some of my questions about why I am like, I am, oh,

 Speaker 1: (12:11)

Uh, I hate that for

 Speaker 2: (12:12)

You. But yeah. And, and, and, you know, that’s something that, uh, that’s one of those things, you know, kids are cruel, you tease each other mm-hmm , but I was, you know, teased and bullied and mm-hmm , I, I, you know, grew up and, and grew out of it. Uh, you know, but is still there and sure. I despise being short. I despise it with a passion and people are like, oh, well, you get used to it now. You really don’t. Um, and life’s tough when you’re short. It really is sure , uh, and, and enjoy your life. You know, mm-hmm, obviously, there’s a lot of, of, uh, there of pre, uh, preconceived notions about short people and you know, that I’ve been through all of ’em, so mm-hmm, uh, sorry, I’m rambling here.

 Speaker 1: (13:04)

No, it’s ramble away. This is all a part of it, right? Like this is, I wouldn’t right. Being short, wouldn’t have been a thing if it made sense or whatever, you know, like if there’s, you know, something about it, um, became a part of your identity and then, and, and which is complicated, further identity complications.

 Speaker 2: (13:24)

And, and that’s something that I learned later. I don’t know that I would’ve been better for it, but I learned that my real family they’re all short mm-hmm for the most part, most of them are short . Um, and yeah, so not to get ahead of myself, but anyway, um, I grew up, I, when I was a little kid, there were two things that I wanted to be. One was, uh, a pilot before I found out that I have a horrible, horrible fear of Heights and flying, so that didn’t really work out, but I also wanted to be a cop mm-hmm from the time that I was five years old, I used to watch chips on TV, original TV show. That’s a pretty, 

Speaker 1: (14:13)

Pretty great, pretty great pretty gig they got. 

Speaker 2: (14:16)

Oh, yeah. Yeah. And I would see the, the California highway patrol when we drive down to California to see my parents’ friends and mm-hmm, , you know, other family down there. Um, and I, you know, I, I remember getting in, into an argument with my dad that I was gonna be the richest cop ever, cuz I, I would arrest more people than everybody else. And he was like, son, it doesn’t work that way. And I was like, yes it does. You don’t know, 

Speaker 1: (14:43)

That’s funny. I have a six, I have a six year old son and I absolutely like can imagine that conversation. Um, and the way that like little kids see the world and like that makes total sense that like the more, the more you do, the more money you make. 

Speaker 2: (14:58)

Right, right. Mm-hmm and unfortunately that’s not even close to how it works. So, um, but yeah, nobody else in my family, uh, my, my dad was in more world war II. Um, he was drafted, um, he was there for, I mean, it was late towards the end of the war. So it was like, he was, he was maybe, uh, uh, in like a year mm-hmm , you know, before the war ended and, you know, tossed him right back out. Um, but uh, I wanted to be military. I wanted to be a cop. Those were, were my things mm-hmm I turned 16, uh, joined the, you know, I, I signed up for the military with my parents’ permission when I was 17. I graduated high school and I was out the door and in the military mm-hmm and, uh, I, uh, eight years in the military and then I became a police officer and spent 19 years doing that before I couldn’t take it anymore and, and retired. Um, nobody in my adopted family was even close to that. And, uh, no college educations, most of them didn’t graduate high school. Um, so, you know, no determination to, to better your life or to go any place or to see anything. Hmm. Um, and I wanted to go everywhere. I wanted to see everything, you know, I wanted to learn and, and you know, I got to do a lot of really cool things over my career. Yeah. What

 Speaker 1: (16:30)

Was your, what branch in the military were you in?

 Speaker 2: (16:32)

I was, was in the air force.

 Speaker 1: (16:34)

Okay. Okay. So you switch is interest. I mean, it’s interesting thinking about being a pilot as a little one and then going and yes. Heights. Yes. Airplanes. I imagine you weren’t a pilot, but , it’s interesting that you still sort of stuck stuck with a theme. 

Speaker 2: (16:50)

Well, kind of, it wasn’t really my choice. So my dad was in the army in world war II and 40 years later never really thought that it had changed any mm-hmm 45 years later. And so he told me that under no circumstances was I’m going to join the army, which is what I actually wanted to go to do. Hmm. Uh, he told me to join the Navy or the air force. Well, I never learned to swim. So I joined the air force. Um, glad I did, but you know, even still, uh, it, it wasn’t, you know, it was kind of a, no, you’re gonna do this. Mm-hmm I, I grew up yeah. What he said. I, I did. So I was just 

Speaker 1: (17:33)

Gonna say you mention earlier that he was strict. So, um, it sounds, it sounds like doing what he said was the best way to get to the, to the end goal in that case. 

Speaker 2: (17:43)

Yeah. And he died in 89 a year before I left, so I very well could have switched up, but mm-hmm, again, uh, 98 pounds and five and a half feet people were telling me, yeah, it’s probably best you go in the air force. You don’t wanna be in the army. Um, which is not true because I, you know, got better, got stronger, you know? Right, right. Um, but, uh, yeah, so I, I left, I had a career, um, in 2013, um, I think it was, no, it was 20 15, 20 15. I took the DNA test from ancestry.com 

Speaker 1: (18:28)

Question before we get to the, we’re gonna, I mean, we’re right there. But after the military, uh, you came back to the same town in Missouri or 

Speaker 2: (18:38)

You, uh, no, you 

Speaker 1: (18:40)

Put yourself somewhere else. 

Speaker 2: (18:42)

I didn’t really have any place to go, but I knew I didn’t want to go back to Missouri. Mm-hmm uh, so a friend of mine, uh, that I was in the air force with, he was from, uh, west Memphis, Arkansas. Um, which if you know anything about that area, horrible area. West Memphis three, okay. Up, uh, uh, the three kids that, that, uh, were convicted of something they didn’t do. Right. Right. Um, and I met some of the cops that were on that case, so oh, wow. Yeah, yeah. That were, but, uh, yeah, he convinced me to come up there, said, yeah, Memphis is a great play. Memphis is horrible. I didn’t enjoy my time there, but I spent 15 years there. So, um, went up there. Uh, I got, uh, got on a police department there in, uh, just north of, of west Memphis, Arkansas, and, uh, spent 15 years there. Okay. So 

Speaker 1: (19:50)

It was a place to be a place to settle and get your career going. And, um, 

Speaker 2: (19:55)

Yeah, I mean, it was, it was one of those things where it was like, well, I’ve never been there, so let’s go there and mm-hmm, , you know, try it out. And then I kind of, you know, got stuck. Uh, it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it. I didn’t get, you know, paid much, but I was young and I was getting to do what I always dreamed of as a kid. Totally. Um, 15 years later I decided, you know, what, it’s time to, to have some me time and take care of myself. And I moved to, uh, Western South Dakota where I was living when kind of this journey began. Okay. Um, met an ex-girlfriend there and she convinced me to move with her to Northern Maine. So I lived up there for a couple of years. Mm-hmm um, but, uh, yeah, that was right around the time that that I got started. 

Speaker 2: (20:46)

Um, and I’ll say this just to preface it, preface it before we, you know, talk about the DNA results, but I was raised, um, my father was half Jewish, half kind of Swiss German mm-hmm . Um, my mother was, or is, um, Italian, um, native American, and I think some Scottish mm-hmm okay. This is how I was raised, uh, you know, uh, proud of all of that. Right. Took the DNA results and I am white than white. I have no native American, uh, no Southern European, it’s all, um, well shy, uh, German and then fully half Jewish, which was kind of like, well, I don’t know a lot about DNA, but I know that if my father was half Jewish, I, I’m not gonna be half Jewish. Right. You know? So, uh, the first thing I did was, was call my mom and I’m like, uh, Hey, I thought she said we were Italian. And she said, well, yeah, like, no, cuz I’m not Italian. And if I’m not Italian, you’re not Italian. Well, that’s what I was always told and still would not come off. Mm-hmm of course, of 

Speaker 1: (22:09)

Course question. Why did you take the test? 

Speaker 2: (22:13)

Um, I have always wanted to know, uh, I love history. Mm-hmm , mm-hmm, , I’ve always wanted to know where my family was from. I wanted to know, um, how far back we went, because my other side, uh, is from New Hampshire and the Boston area, New Hampshire. Um, they have a house that was built in 1790. That is just, you know, I mean, ancient, you know, so 

Speaker 1: (22:45)

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay. Yeah. I mean even just saying like I’m a history guy, like, like I understand. Yeah. You love history 

Speaker 2: (22:50)

That makes yeah. So, I mean I wanted to find out mm-hmm and yeah. So for whatever reason, and I don’t know if it was just denial or what it was. I was just like, okay, well, uh, she’s not what she says, she or she thought she was, can’t ask my dad because of course, you know, he’s you gone now? Uh, so I started tracing family history on his side. Uh, I was gonna do his side first and then swing back around to her side and I managed to find out, um, little bit of disturbing stuff. He had a whole family before us. Uh, he had a wife in and kids. Your dad did. Yeah. Yeah. I had a wife and kids in like the, the, uh, thirties and, and uh, forties. Whoa. And I actually reached out to one of his, uh, what would’ve been his grandkids. Mm-hmm the son of, one of his kids, uh, who was older than me. He was, he was, you know, in his sixties, uh, never got a response from him, but I was like, okay, this is kind of weird. And I was like, oh, I’m not gonna tell my mom about this. Cuz this is, you know, whatever. Maybe she didn’t know, maybe she did. I mean, right. 

Speaker 1: (24:10)

Cause he was, he was much older. Right. 

Speaker 2: (24:11)

Yeah. Right, right, right. I mean kinda a Dick, you know, abandoning one family and going after another, but you know, we’ll, we’ll find out, you know? Right. Um, but I managed to trace, you know, that side of the family back to like the, the 1670s, 17 hundreds, uh, ancestors that were in New Hampshire during that time. And I was like, wow. And they were, you know, farmers and you know, not, not anybody rich, you know, they were all poor, but uh, you know, still, you know, to be, go that back or go back that far. And you know, the us is pretty impressive. Totally. 

Speaker 1: (24:51)

You are AER can 

Speaker 2: (24:53)

For he. Right. Right. So I have a whole family line, you know, listed out I’m, I’m getting all these names and these documents and things like that. And I’m like, wow, this is so cool. And then I put that away for a little while I was concentrating on work, I was kind of getting burned out. So I was like, you know what, I’m, I’m ready to go. I’m I’m ready to leave law enforcement. And at that time, my, my ex, um, who was a surgeon, she was like, well, you know, I’m, you know, she was working remotely. Uh, well not from home, from what South Dakota she was in Maine. Right. 

Speaker 1: (25:29)

I was gonna say, that’s like pre pandemic, pre pandemic remotely. Like what we mean before, before everybody started working from home. Right. 

Speaker 2: (25:36)

She up there. Yeah. And she was like, look, there’s a college up here. You know, you could go up here, you’ve always wanted to, you know, go to college and, and finish your degree. And, um, you could come up here year, you know, and then get a job doing something else, you know? So I was like, okay, let’s, you know, do this. So I left law enforcement, uh, went up there, went to college and I started swinging back around as I was doing, you know, uh, some of the coursework I was swinging back around to, you know, I, I really wanna find out some things. Um, and what really did it is I found out I was diabetic. 

Speaker 1: (26:13)

Oh, um, 

Speaker 2: (26:15)

Now, you know, I’m still, you know, I’m not huge. I’m a small guy. I was 98 pounds, but I haven’t gotten much, much bigger than that. I’m about 145 pounds, which is normal weight mm-hmm . So I was in decent shape, uh, drank a lot of soda, a lot of sweets, things like that. But, uh, you know, nothing that, you know, would cause me to just overtly be diabetic. It wasn’t obvious. It wasn’t like course you’re diabetic. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And they’re like, well, this is all genetic. Um, and I’d been told things like that before I had high cholesterol, high blood pressure, all genetic. Hmm. Cause I, I always stayed in shape and 

Speaker 2: (26:59)

Nothing like that on my side of the family father died of cancer. So I did have a history of cancer. Okay. Mm-hmm so every time that I’d go to the doctor, every time that I’d do something else, every time I’d have a health screening for a job, do you have a history of cancer? Yes mm-hmm and now that’s always gonna be in the back of my mind. That’s a worry, Hey, you know, I could get cancer and die. This sucks. Um, as it turns out, no, no, no cancer in my, you know, but there is a history of other things that I have, you know, mm-hmm, , mm-hmm uh, so I’m pretty about that, honestly. Um, I can tell, but, uh, well, yeah. You know, I mean, you have a family member, father dies of cancer and you, you know, now that’s in the back of your mind that, oh boy, this could happen to me. 

Speaker 2: (27:51)

Mm-hmm I better watch, you know, and I don’t smoke or do anything, you know, uh, dangerous like that, but still, you know, it’s a real anxiety. It, it is cancer’s yeah. Cancer’s a, a very big word. So yeah. So I, I call my mom again, like, oh, Hey, by the way, just, uh, found out I’ve got diabetes. Uh, anybody in our family have diabetes? No, no, I don’t think so. Uh, nobody on my side, I don’t think your dad had anybody on his side and I’m like, at this point, you know, future me is going just, why can’t you just say it? You know? Um, so, you know, I’m just like, man, something’s not right here. This is genetic, you know, this is nothing that, that, you know, I’ve just done. This is, this is something that’s, you know, in my DNA. So I talking to my doctor, girlfriend, and she’s like, you know, something’s going on here? 

Speaker 2: (28:53)

And I sat down and I started thinking, you know, my 16 year old sister used to take care of me a lot when I was a little baby mm-hmm seventies were the time when, you know, a teenager would get pregnant and grandparents maybe raised the kids. And I started in the back of my mind. I started working on this theory that maybe my mom is my grandmother. Yeah, yeah. Uh, maybe my, you know, my sister, you know, and, and it’s all from my father’s side, you know, mm-hmm she got pregnant by it. Um, I’m like, you know, I, I gotta go when I talk to her, you know, she lives in spring hill, Missouri. So I got on a plane, flew down there. Uh, we went out for a drive cuz I wanted her undivided attention. Mm-hmm and as I’m driving, I’m like, look, something’s going on here. I, I need to know what’s what’s up, you know? And I’m thinking, oh yeah, I’m your grandmother. 

Speaker 1: (29:50)

Nope. Or I’m your mom? You thought she was gonna say, I’m your mom? 

Speaker 2: (29:53)

No. Nope. I, well, I, yeah. I mean, I, I thought that, but you know, kind of, I still had it in my mind. I was convinced she’s my grandmother. I, I have to this, 

Speaker 1: (30:06)

Your sister or your mom? My mom. Okay. I thought you flew out to see your sister. You flew out to see your mom. Got it. Okay. Sorry everybody. 

Speaker 2: (30:17)

Yeah, this will come back later. Stop talking to me when I turned to 18. So all of them, uh, my other one. Yeah, my youngest sister. I never, I hadn’t talked to her since I was 18. My oldest sister, the last time I spoke with her was I was trying to do a, um, a background check for a job and needed her information. My mom didn’t know it. So she gave me her phone and she literally said, I don’t have anything to say to you. I’m not giving you anything. Don’t call me again. Hmm. Um, and I was young and mean, but I said, you know, someday, I hope you need a kidney. And I’m the only person that can, can provide it. And I slammed the phone down back when they had, you know, you could slam phones. Yeah. You could slam phones. 

Speaker 1: (31:01)

Yep. Yep. Um, all right. So, okay. So you’re in the car with your mom in the car, not your sister. Sorry. That was my mistake. And you’re like, tell me what’s going on. 

Speaker 2: (31:11)

Yeah. Tell me what’s going on. So I’m thinking, yeah, I’m your grandma, you know, something like that. Mm-hmm uh, she says, I’m not your mother. 

Speaker 1: (31:23)

Mm. 

Speaker 2: (31:23)

So, uh, there, there was only a little bit of a swerve there cuz we weren’t going very fast. Um, and I said, 

Speaker 1: (31:30)

That’s an amazing, that’s an amazing statement. Yeah. It’s an amazing way to present the situation. 

Speaker 2: (31:38)

Yeah. And I’m, I’m like, okay. And I just, you know, let her, and she says, but your dad was your dad. Okay. And then she tells me now, remember my dad was 54 when I was born. Mm-hmm she says, your father cheated on me with an 18 year old girl and got her pregnant. And my first thought was he’s 54. She’s 18. Okay. It happens. Sure. But does it, you know, did it,

 Speaker 2: (32:14)

So she then tells me the story. He got her pregnant. Her family was from California. They cuz we all lived in California. They lived in California, uh, in Los Angeles. And she said that, uh, they were very prominent. Her parents were like politicians and they absolutely did not approve. And she had to give the baby up for adoption. And so we took, you know, we took you in blah, blah, blah. They absolutely don’t want you to ever contact them or find them. And I’m like, well, that’s kind of a weird statement, you know? And, and I know what’s, what’s coming is, you know, don’t go looking for the truth, you know? Um, and I think part of it was, I think she thought that I would, uh, suddenly leave her mm-hmm , you know, you’re not my mom. See ya. I mean,

 Speaker 1: (33:13)

That’s such a, that’s such a common anxiety. I think that experience that, that is what motivates that like don’t go looking 

Speaker 2: (33:23)

is right. Right. Exactly. Happens all the time. Yeah. My first thought was I was a police officer for 19 years. You’re right. I’m gonna go looking, you know, mm-hmm so I got a few other details and you know, uh, she, a bunch of, oh, wo is me, my father was a serial cheater and I’m like, okay. But you know, again, was he, so I drop her off at, at her house. I go back to my hotel room and I just had a freak out. I mean just worst anxiety attack I’ve ever had. I think, um, I was like, my first thought was who, who even am I mm-hmm was I born on the day that I was born? Uh, is my name Matt? You know, is my name Matthew? Uh, no, it’s not Jackson. Is it you, you know, uh, do I have, you know, other family, you know, what, what is going on here? 

Speaker 2: (34:29)

Um, so I, I was like, you know what, I, I, I called my now ex my girlfriend at the time and she’s like, you know, if we have to get a private and investigator to, to, you know, hunt things down, we’ll do it. Just, I was supposed to get on an airplane the next day and go home. She was like, just relax today, try to get some rest, come home tomorrow. We’ll start, you know, trying to figure it out. So I’m like, okay, cool. So that day, um, you know, I stayed the rest of the day. This was early afternoon. I stayed the rest of the day in my hotel room and it, I remembered that probably three weeks before I got a message, you know, you always get on ancestry, Hey, you have a new relative or you have, you know, I got an email that said you have message from so and so on ancestry. And I thought, okay, whatever, you know, I, I looked at it and she was like, my name is, uh, Kathy. Um, we’re supposed to be first cousins. I, all my family is from Wisconsin, uh, or originates in Wisconsin. Now we’re in Omaha. And I’m like, I don’t know anybody from this, from these people.

 Speaker 1: (35:47)

And I’m, this doesn’t make any sense.

 Speaker 2: (35:49)

Yeah. Yeah. And this was before, you know, I went down and found out, you know, so I, I just put it outta my mind. Didn’t even think about, well, now all of a sudden I’m like, wait a minute. Maybe she knows who my mother is. So I write her this email and I’m thinking, I’m just gonna tell her the story that I got, you know, prominent politicians in California. Don’t want me to find em, blah, blah, blah. Uh, um, you know, Hey, do you have any idea what, what I could be talking about here and

 Speaker 1: (36:21)

What an amazing, what an amazing email that must have meant to get from for her? Because she she’s like, yeah, like, Hey, let’s connect. We’re from Wisconsin. And you’re like, cool, here’s this like major drama I’m gonna send you. Yeah.

 Speaker 2: (36:35)

Yeah. Here’s this weird story. Yeah. Yeah. Trying not to judge, you know? Right, right. Um, instead what I got the next morning I woke up, uh, she’s an early riser, as it turns out, I, I tossed and turned and probably about six o’clock, six 30 in the morning. I look at my phone and I’ve got an email. Hey, you’ve got another a message. Mm-hmm so I’m like, okay. Um, and she says, my name is Kathy. Uh, hang on.

 Speaker 1: (37:08)

mm-hmm yeah.

 Speaker 2: (37:09)

Take your time. Uh, sorry. I, I thought I’d told this story enough that I was cool.

 Speaker 1: (37:17)

No, I mean, I think like, I, uh, is it this how, I mean, you know, that this happens, but, uh, the stuff cuts really, really deep. It really, and, and emotions can come up when you just least expect it. Um, no matter how wrote the story, is

 Speaker 2: (37:34)

It? Yeah. Um, so she writes me back and she says, um, my name is Kathy. I’m positive that I am your birth aunt. My. My sister had a child, uh, around the time you were born in California. Uh, my email is this, my phone number is this, please call me, I’ll answer questions that you wanna know. Wow. And I’m like, okay. So 24 hours ago, I didn’t know what was going on. And now I have a link to, you know, my birth. One of my birth parents, like direct

 Speaker 1: (38:19)

That is

 Speaker 2: (38:20)

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, no investigation need 

 Speaker 1: (38:25)

You’re like, I’ll put my fingerprint kit away.

 Speaker 2: (38:28)

Right, right. I couldn’t believe, you know, how, how fortunate I was just like, wow. I only get to be anxious for 24 hours. Awesome. Um, so I write her back and I’m like, uh, yeah. Okay. You know, let’s do this. I’m like, is it okay if I call cause typing right now is, is insane. She was like, yeah. So I called her and uh, she said, um, your mom was an 18 year old hippie. You know, she moved away from Omaha, uh, to, you know, see the world, move to California. Uh, got pregnant. She said that they’d been looking for me for about, uh, 30 years. Oh my God, Matt, that her mom had actually posted, or my mom mm-hmm her mom. Mm-hmm my real mother had actually posted on some, uh, on some old message boards, you know, start of the internet, uh, some old message boards about adoptions.

 Speaker 2: (39:34)

Hey, my name is, as I had a boy, little boy named Matthew, if you’re looking for me, she had no idea. I didn’t know that I was adopted mm-hmm she assumed I just didn’t wanna talk to her. So this was 35 years. Um, she convinced me, cuz I wasn’t gonna ask Kathy convinced me that mm-hmm Kathy convinced me that Liz, my mother, uh, did wanna talk to me and I got to talk to her. So we chatted same day, same day, same day, same day. Jesus Christ. Yeah, I know. Wow. Yeah. Turns out. So here’s here’s Kathy lives in, in California. She was just happened to be home visiting, uh, her mom, my grandmother mm-hmm and her two sisters, my two aunts or my mom and my aunt mm-hmm mm-hmm um, and she just decided, you know what, I’m gonna stay an extra week. And this was like four days before I contacted her. I’m just gonna stay an extra week. I feel like staying an extra week before I go home. And she, so she got the message. She was right there staying with her sister. Oh

 Speaker 1: (40:52)

My God. I can’t. Yeah. Can’t handle.

 Speaker 2: (40:57)

Wow. I mean, I’m just like, okay, so I’m gonna talk to this person. That is my real mother. So I talk to her, she tells me a little bit about what’s going on. She’s like, yeah. I think it was probably about 10 years ago. The last time that I spoke with your father, I’m like, well that’s not was my not. And she goes, no, no, he’s still alive. He’s an, but he’s still alive. Oh my God.

 Speaker 1: (41:27)

Oh my God. Yeah. You’re still not even home. Are you in a hotel? You’re in the hotel room.

 Speaker 2: (41:31)

I’m in a hotel. Yes. Yeah. So like

 Speaker 1: (41:33)

You’re not even with your girlfriend. it’s like solo experiencing as the world continues to just implode and spin in all sorts of different directions.

 Speaker 2: (41:42)

I, I am literally pacing back and forth in about a six foot area in front of the, between the TV and the