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024 – I’m Deeply Hurt, But I Hope You’re Happy

Louise was one of four a dual heritage children raised by white parents in England. She had a fantastic childhood. So much so that she has adopted twice. But along her impulsive journey into reunification, Louise was exposed to uncomfortable situations including her biological grandfather’s impending death, overt racism in her mother’s family, and total rejection by her biological father. Unfortunately, Louise’s mother’s withholding of facts also prevented her from knowing her sister, who once was interested in reunification.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Louise (00:02):If you rush these things, you can really damage any sense of long term relationship with people and I think you need to think more widely of the implications of your actions to other people, I didn’t even consider how my birth mother would feel.

Voices (00:16):Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?

Damon (00:34):This is Who Am I Really, a podcast about adoptees that have located and connected with their biological family members. I’m Damon Davis and on today’s show you’ll hear the journey of Louise. She called me from London, England, so at times you may have to listen closely to hear her voice through the connection, but what you’ll hear is the story of a woman who’s youthful curiosity about her biological mother led her courageously and impulsively straight to her mother’s door. Louise’s poorly thought out approach in her twenties may have cost her the deep relationships that a more cautious and measured approach could have yielded and put her in some very uncomfortable situations. Her journey has repetitive rejections on three fronts. After locating her biological mother, father and uncovering the news that she also had a sister. However, Louise now has some sage wisdom for other adoptees and her own adopted children about their own possible journeys through reunification.

Damon (01:37):Louise’s heritage is a racial mix of white English descent on her birth mother’s side and Jamaican English descent on her birth father’s side. Louise’s parents had already adopted an older brother, then her, followed by two more multiracial children. They were very open about adoption partially because they all looked very different from one another. Each child’s individual adoption situation was their business to discuss with their parents if they chose to. Louise was able to grow up with the comforting information about her biological mother.

Louise (02:10):Well, I was born in 1978 and I was relinquished for adoption by my birth mother. Um, at birth, really, um, she did change her mind and she went back and forth, but I never left the hospital until I went to live with foster carers and I was then adopted by two wonderful people. Um, it’s worth noting that my birth mother’s, uh, of white English descent and my birth father is a Jamaican and English descent. And the people that I was adopted by, um, who I refer to as mom and dad, uh, are actually Black English. And, um, I believe about six months after, um, I was born, I was placed with my parents. They already had adopted an older brother who’s just under 18 months older than me and we have the same heritage. And um, they obviously went on to adopt two more dual heritage, mixed race, to put it in quick terminology.

Louise (03:14):As children, we grew up always knowing we were adopted. They really, I mean it was hard for them to hide it cause people look so different. But they were always incredibly open about, you know, being adopted, about our birth mothers. I don’t know so much about my brother’s birth mothers. I mean quite selfishly and quite rightly, I think my parents didn’t necessarily share that information with us because it was for the individual child. It wasn’t, you know, everybody else’s business. But, uh, for me, my mom always spoke about my birth mom, but she actually met her, which I think really helped me growing up knowing that my mom had an opportunity to meet her so I mean, growing up we were no different from any other family as far as we could tell because for us that was the norm. We went on adoption days out with other children that happened to be adopted, but my mom’s still friends with, you know, that’s your DA’s later.

Louise (04:15):So we were very much, we were, at the time, there weren’t many mixed race or dual heritage children around where we lived, but as time grew on, there was, you know, more and more, you know, were present. So we had a happy childhood. I mean, all the angst of being a young lady was there. I think being adopted did play a little bit of a role in me being a little bit more uncertain of myself or emotions that my mom had always and my dad had always spoken highly of my birth mother and answered any questions I had, you know, very, very honestly.

Damon (04:50):Tell me a little bit about your, your teen angst as it applied to being an adoptee. How do you think that it played in, in terms of your identity and sort of coming of age?

Louise (05:02):Well, I think everyone could agree, who doesn’t know where they come from, wants to know, do they look like somebody. Have they got the same resemblance to somebody else. And I think for me that was quite important because, you know, my friends grew up knowing that they look like, you know, their mom or their dad or their aunt or their uncle. Whereas I had, I really did have nobody, that looked, you know, that much like me, apart from my brothers, but we were all non blood related brothers and sisters. So that was quite tricky. Um, I know it affected one of my brothers, more so than it did myself. But I remember I do, you know, really remember thinking, who do I look like? Because people used to comment and say to my parents, to my mom, you know, she looks like, you know, I used to think, Oh but I’m sure I don’t.

Louise (05:53):I mean it just made me more self conscious I suppose. And you do wonder. But then I remember it’s really strange, but I remember going somewhere with my dad when I was in the front of the car with my dad and he does this thing where he clicks his fore finger and his thumb together and I just know, I think I do that. So that was kind of, I know that sounds really silly, but that was kind of a really big reassurance for me because it was, I was similar to somebody else, but they just happened to not being biologically related, but I was just inquisitive about my birth mother as much as I could. But I wanted to know more.

Damon (06:34):Louise says that her search for her biological mother began with a haphazard impulse. Her adopted mother maintained contact with someone who knew her biological mother, and that was all Louise needed for her impulsivity to take over. But impulsivity without some forethought can lead to trouble. The moment of reunification turned out to be completely different than Louise expected it to be.

Louise (06:56):It was before my 21st birthday and I knew that my mom had taken a copy of my birth certificate and I knew my mom has kept in contact with somebody who knew my birth mother. So she was able to keep tabs on her as I grew up. And she said to me, I don’t know what house number she has, but she lives on this road and if you ever want to find her, I will help you. I don’t know how I can help but I’ll help you. And one day I was with my friends and we were wondering what to do for the day as you do. And I said, well, why don’t we just go down and try and find her?

Damon (07:33):Oh my gosh!

Louise (07:36):I really didn’t think it through. And so off we trotted, uh, down on to another part of London into Fulham and I knocked on her door. I got out of the car and my friends remained in the car. I just got out of the door and knocked on her front door. And yeah, I tend to kind of, I can’t seem to, you know, ever leasurely or step back for most days.

Damon (08:02):Tell me a little bit about that moment right before you sort of went up to her door. So what did it feel like? You’re walking up, you probably didn’t quite grasp the gravity of what you were about to unleash. Like what did you think as you walked up to her door?

Louise (08:16):I think the magnitude of what I was about to do, um, and the implications it have would have on everybody, cause it’s not just on me completely, you know, something I really did not think it through. It’s something that I deeply regret. I mean, if I could do it differently now, obviously I would, you know, my children are both adopted and I would absolutely, you know, encourage them to do it the better way. Nevertheless, what’s done is done. But you know, I thought, you know, it’d be nice to see her. I think really I’d got past that full place that I knew I had questions. I didn’t know what those questions were and I didn’t know what the answers could be, but I knew, I felt that she would be able to give me this one thing, whatever it may be. So I needed answering and I think selfishly, that’s what I continued to think right up until I pressed the doorbell.

Damon (09:07):So you pressed the doorbell. What happened next?

Louise (09:10):Brace yourself. So I ring the door bell and a little girl came to the front door. She must have been about eight years old and you know, and I just said to her, you know, is Pamela there? I used her surname. And she said absolutely nothing. She just stood there staring at me and then a man came to the door and said, you know, I said the same, you know, is Pamela there? And he kind of didn’t say anything. And in the background, I could see this woman walking from one room to another and I just knew, I just knew that was her. I’d seen a picture of her maybe nine years before. She had done a letterbox contact with my mom. I chose not to do it. My mom did it to share some information and I’d seen a picture. She had completely different hair coloring, but I just knew, I just knew it was her and the man kind of just said, yes, hold on a minute darling, I’ll go and get her.

Louise (10:02):And it was kind of at that point I realized I had not thought this through. So she then comes to the door. And I just panicked and I just said, look, I’m really sorry but I think I’ve actually got the wrong person and I’m really very sorry. Um, thanks very much. Have a nice day. Take care. Turn to walk across the way where my car was and she started calling out my name that she named me at birth, which was Tracy and just said, you know, Tracy, Tracy, is that you? Is that you? And I, at that point I thought, well I can’t really lie. I just turned around and she threw her arms around me and said, come in, come in. I said all my friends are in the car, I can’t come in, can’t come in. And I, it’s really weird because I specifically remember going as soon as I hugged her I went, oh is this to cry because I thought that’s what I’ve, you know, I’ve been waiting for this moment for 20 years. I’m definitely going to cry. I’m nothing came out.

Damon (10:58):Wow.

Louise (10:59):I remember holding onto her, thinking this is not right. Something’s not right. Something’s not right. And in the moment, I specifically remember feeling at this point in time, I’ve seen the films, you know, I watched Annie. Which one of these programs, but at that exact moment is when you’re supposed to, you know, be a blubbering wreck. Nothing. I have nada. Uh, I have nothing to give. And she kept saying, you know, let’s get your friend, lets get your friend, you know, your granddad’s in the front room and he’s dying. And I just thought, Oh my goodness, I’m in trouble.

Damon (11:27):Oh boy. You showed up at the door and the first thing she says is bring your friend inside and your grandfather’s in the front room and he’s dying.

Louise (11:39):I kid you not.

Damon (11:39):Wow.

Louise (11:39):It was so, um, movie like.

Damon (11:42):Louise was in a panic. Her friend was patiently waiting for her in the car and Louise was trying to use her presence as an excuse to have to leave. But her birth mother was insistent, that they both come inside. With care, er friend said she had Louise’s back. So they went inside.

Louise (11:59):And we walked in the house and sure enough her father was lying on a bed in the front room and dying. And he just took my hand. And I’d read a file on him and he wasn’t a very nice man and he held my hand and he said, you know, that’s my greatest wish that she’d find you. And I’m really pleased. And a couple of months later he actually died. So on that particular day when I first met her, we went into the kitchen and she, you know, she was very tactile. She couldn’t, I suppose she couldn’t believe this was me and she showed me photographs that my mom had sent her through a letterbox contact of me growing up. So she had still been to an, you know, a degree in my life. I’d been part of her life, which I thought was really nice actually. And um, she then phoned a couple of relatives and then went upstairs and came down with, uh, a ridiculous amount of stones and jewelry and diamonds and cash. And I kept saying, I want you to have it. I want you to have it.

Damon (12:56):Whoa!

Louise (12:58):I said, no, thank you. You know, you don’t need to pay me. I’m, you know, I just wanted to know who you are.

Damon (13:04):Her birth mother wanted to take Louise to meet her sister, Louise’s aunt, just down the road. So she and her friend followed her mother in their car, but Louise had a feeling she was in real trouble. Unfortunately, she was right.

Louise (13:17):I, we went into her sister’s house, went in and I met her sister and a cousin and you know, I hugged and said hello. My biological aunts partner was there and he was making racist comments and it all tied in to what I’d read in the information my parents had about my biological family, there was quite a history of racism. I was kind of pre exposed to this as soon as I arrived at this relatives house and I then just said, I’ve got to go, and we went back to her house and we chatted for a couple of hours.

Damon (13:50):So you wow, this thing spiraled out of control quickly. My gosh. Though, your biological mom basically tries to buy your love, showering you with all kinds of jewelry and cash as her own father, lay in the front room dying and then she whisks you off to a family member’s house where they end up dropping racist comments. You must have thought this is the craziest situation you could have put yourself in.

Louise (14:17):Yeah, I mean if you read all the books or watch all the television programs about reuniting with relatives, this is not in the script. Kind of unfortunately after a couple of years of getting to know her, I realized that I couldn’t shut the door even though I kind of wanted to and there was an issue because she’d never ever talk to me about my biological father. And I’d ask and I’d ask and she’d say, I’m not telling you I’m not, I’m not going to speak to you uh, you know, months now and she wouldn’t. She just wouldn’t speak to me cause I’d upset her. I then one day my uh, her partner who lived and opened the door, he phoned me up and said, look, I think you have a right to know who it is. This is who he is. This is where he works. I can recollect, you know, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, but you can’t ever mention I’ve given this information to you. She now knows obviously, but she wouldn’t talk to me for months because I opened another can of worms asking about my heritage from my father.

Damon (15:13):Armed with her father’s name and other identifying information, young, impulsive Louise set out again. This time to meet her biological father. She did some investigating of her own. Then she reached out to him out of the blue. She was on a quest for a better experience than the one with her biological mother.

Louise (15:32):I found out where he lived, what he did. And um, and I phoned him at work. And I said were you in this area, in the late 1970s? Did you know this lady called Pamela? Were you in a relationship with her? Yes, I was. And I said, well, I believe that, you know, I am your daughter.

Damon (15:50):Wow.

Louise (15:50):And he said, Oh my God, can I think about this and can I come back to you? And I thought, you know what? Yes, you can, you have that time and I’ll contact you in a while and we’ll go from there. But in the meantime, I think I, because I was quite disappointed by what I’d found, I’d thought, I’ve got to find someone else who I can relate to that was on the same way or..

Damon (16:10):Yeah, something more positive has to come out of this, right?

Louise (16:12):Absolutely, absolutely.

Damon (16:15):So in the interim, Louise decides that she wants to review her own adoption record at the social services office. But first she called her mother to see if there was anything she wanted to tell Louise before she reviewed her records. The answer was no. A few weeks later, Louise called her mother again to inform her that she was going to review her record the very next day and to double check that her mother truly didn’t want to share anything more.

Louise (16:40):And if you lied, we’re going to have a bit of an issue. So I really appreciate it. There’s nothing that you can do that will make me dislike you and you know nothing can change the fact that I am your biological daughter. So you know, I’d really appreciate it if you could tell me. And she said, no, there’s actually nothing in there. And I went with my husband to Hammersmith. Before I had my file, she handed it to me, she social worker said, something, something, something your sister. And I said, oh I’m sorry, I think you’ve got the wrong file. She said no I haven’t. She said, your sister. I said, honestly, I don’t have a sister. I’m am her only biological child. And so she said, I’m really sorry, I think I have got the wrong file. And off she went and she came back a few moments later and she said, Oh, I’m really sorry. She said, you have a right to know you are not her only child.

Damon (17:27):Wow.

Louise (17:29):Then I knew she was right. I was very upset. There’s a note in there that I had a biological sister who was born years before I was, I’m placed for adoption at birth.

Damon (17:40):Wow.

Louise (17:42):Oh, I just couldn’t take that in. That was just too much. And I rang her on the way home and I said, I’m letting you know, I’ve seen my file. Is there anything in there you think you should have told me? And she said, Nope. I said, okay, that’s fine. Went home and just burst into tears. I remember my mom coming around and you know, she was like, I can’t believe she wasn’t honest with you. That’s really, you know, it’s really disappointing. Maybe there’s a reason you don’t know why she’s not telling you. You know, we all have our secrets, but you know, get used to the idea and then then maybe perhaps, you know, approaching it with her again.

Damon (18:17):Just tell me what you were thinking about in terms of your sister. You’ve now found out that you’ve got a sibling that you didn’t know you had. Like what did that feel like?

Louise (18:26):It was very upsetting because I felt that I’d missed out on something I’d always wanted. I’m one of four, but I’m the only girl I’ve always fantasized as a child, always wishing to have a sister and have that connection that sisters supposedly have and you know, instead of having to, you know, wrestle with boys and play football kind of thing, you know, it would have been nice to have had that relationship and I was concerned that she was well, uh, that she was still alive. Had she been as fortunate as I had with my family? Was she adopted by family that shouldn’t really have adopted? You know? Does she know anything about me? Probably not. I think I was very confused and very conflicted and I was very angry as well at my birth mom, and feeling she couldn’t tell me. I think at that point my views on adoption changed slightly because I did think is it worth it? Because you don’t really get any choice. I feel that I’ve missed out on having that sister. And so she for quite some time, you know, for probably about eight months I really struggled with knowing what was real and what wasn’t. Because all my life I’ve been, my birth mother’s only child and now kind of shaken me to my core.

Damon (19:39):Louise decided she wanted to meet her biological father. She’s read her adoption file and she felt confident that the man she has already spoken with was really her father.

Louise (19:49):Yeah. And I knew it was him. I knew he was my father because he, these notes were written in 1977 and he’s in it and it’s about how my biological grandfather had chased him with a knife because he was, you know, he wasn’t white and he, you know, got this, you know, his daughter pregnant and it was not acceptable. And I read all of this and I knew it was him and I went and met him and we met for a while. And he was quite honestly out of everybody, I think at that point he was the biggest disappointment. He said, I don’t want you in my life. All you want is my money. And I said, listen, if I want money, I have my own money. If I needed money, I could go to my parents for example, or I could go to the bank, you know, I’m not after your money.

Louise (20:40):I’m just after finding out about my medical history, finding out who you are, you know, we share the same DNA and he just wasn’t interested. He wasn’t a very nice person and it was really disappointing. And he asked me not to contact him again and I assured him that would be the last thing. And I told him about my biological sister, um, because he was the same for all of us cause if you read the notes, that’s what it said. And he basically said I would be happy to find her, but I don’t want anything to do with you. And I felt that was kind of crushing.

Damon (21:14):Wow. Are you serious? He said he would be ashamed to be your father, said he wanted nothing to do with you, but he’d be happy to meet your sister? How could he even say that? Like he doesn’t even know either of you.

Louise (21:27):I don’t want to be laughing, honestly. I was deeply hurt by that. It was kind of like a second rejection. You know, you’ve been rejected already and this really is cementing that your value is nothing. And it wasn’t until I went home and I called my mom as we often do and my mum and dad came round and they sat with me and they said, look, at the end of the day, he’s got his own family now he’s got his own children. He probably doesn’t want to disrupt that unit that he has now. He said he never mentioned his past to them. And you know, if he doesn’t want to know, you know its his loss. If people reject you, that’s their problem, you know.

Damon (22:07):Yeah, that’s right.

Louise (22:07):If they got to know you and not like you, but they get to know you. And he said that would be far more painful, he said, but he doesn’t know you and he doesn’t know the qualities and and why we love you and his loss is, as selfish as it sounds, our gain. So, you know, I see him every so often. We live really, we live within five miles of each other.

Damon (22:28):Oh no.

Louise (22:29):Um, so I see him every so often and yeah, so in the car when we’re in the car and stuff. So and that’s fine and you know, I, I wish him no ill will. I hope he has a long and healthy life because that means I’m probably more likely to, I want him to be happy. You know, you know, to the bare bones of it. I hope that he is a better father to his daughter that he has now than he could ever have been to me. I had the best father and I just hope that he’s even half of the father that my father was to me so I wish him well and you know that’s that’s it really.

Damon (23:08):You’ve come a long way in healing from that journey because those were some devastating blows you were dealt and for you to be able to still say positive things is an indication of your own character, your own upbringing and and, and the fact that you’ve, you know, made, done some healing from this whole thing.

Damon (23:26):To find her sister, Louise also used the local social services authority. A social worker contacted the Louise’s sister for her. Then her sister emailed a reply to the invitation to connect. Rejection was in the air again. It was Louise’s turn to reply to her sister. She sent an email that made her sister slightly less callous to Louise’s original outreach.

Louise (23:49):Basically I found her through the local authority there that she was based with the agency and I had a social worker that then contacted her. She contacted the social worker back and I received an email and the email said something along the lines of, I hope you’re well, I hope you’re happy. I’ve looked into this. I was going to meet my biological mother years ago, you know, I went to see my adoption file. I’m not interested. I don’t want anything to do with you. So at this point I was furious and I wrote back through the, you know, through an intermediary and I said, you know, I thought you’d have more courtesy to answer the questions I’ve asked you, especially if you’re not going to make the effort to meet me, that’s fine, but I want to know that you are okay. I would, I’d like to know you had a happy childhood.

Louise (24:37):I’d like you to know that none of this is my doing. I’m younger than you. I didn’t know that you existed. And you know, the door was always open if you know you wished to, you know, reconnect. I am here. Uh, all I wanted to do was to know you are happy, know what you look like cause that would be really interesting. And I wanted to know what her hairstyle was like, you know, as random as that sounds. And she sent a much more courteous email saying, you know, I did have a happy childhood. You know, I’ve lived in Sweden, I’ve lived in Switzerland, I’m trilingual, I’m this, I’m that. And I just thought you know what, she’s happy and that’s fine and I’m pleased you’re happy. I’m deeply hurt but I’m pleased that you’re happy. And then I think it was my husband who worked it out, but the timing of when she was about, when she was kind of looking at her adoption file is when I was in contact with my birth mother for the first time.

Louise (25:34):I think what happened is she’s gone to look at her adoption records. So she had been in contact with the local authority. At the same time, I believe within two months of me searching for my biological mother and finding her. So if my biological mother has said, look, you’ve got a sister, this is all I know, this is where she was adopted, I would have gone to that agency at the same time she was open to finding out about her biological family. But because my birth mother chose not to tell me, it took me several years later. And by which time, you know she’s moved on, closed the door and AA is living her life happily.

Damon (26:10):Yeah. Oh man. That’s the worst. If she had just said something, ah.

Louise (26:14):Just unlucky, I think, you know, I told my birth mom, I’ve met, I’ve tried to get hold of her. I told her she’s not interested and you know, she, my birth mother didn’t talk to me for several months again, you know, because I’ve upset her.

Damon (26:28):Thankfully nearly every story has a silver lining and decades later, Louise is able to recognize the blessings of the life she and her brothers have led when juxtaposed with a hurtful set of reunification results.

Louise (26:41):Well, I got married and my parents threw an engagement party and my parents insisted on my birth mother attending. So my birth mother came to my engagement party and obviously met my parents twenty years later. Then I got married and my parents insisted that she came to the wedding.

Damon (26:57):How was that for you, for her to included in all your stuff?

Louise (27:00):Yeah, I didn’t mind because I would do anything to make my parents happy because they are my parents and I want them to be happy and part that our wedding day wasn’t just about us. It was about people that we loved and it was important for them to recognize that my birth mother’s loss was their gain and they wanted to recognize that and have her, even though she’s missed so much of my life, they still felt that she should be part of my life. They wanted her to feel included. So you know, when my dad got up and said his speech as father of the bride, you know, he recognized her, you know she had a standing ovation, she got flowers. Whatever happens, I am her daughter. I’ve got two sets of parents. You know, I’ve got my mum and my dad and I’ve got another mum.

Louise (27:48):I feel like I owe her because she relinquished me. And look at the life I’ve had. You know, I’ve adopted two wonderful children, I’m married, you know, I’ve got a nice life. You know, without her, you know, making that decision of being selfless, I would’ve had a very difficult life being a dual heritage or mixed race child, living in a family where there was lots of racism and I think only I got the best end of the deal here really. So I think I can put up with a few bumps in the road in our relationship if that means that I’ve had, you know, I’ve had a good life, really.

Damon (28:23):I, I agree. I can see how if you had grown up in a family or extended family that had racists tendencies, your life would have been a completely different scenario. That would have been highly stressful. And for you to have been removed from that situation, placed into a home where transracial adoption and you know, sort of cross cultural interactions were the norm. That is so much more healthy than it sounds like the environment that you even liked barely dipped a toe into and probably just felt burned immediately. I mean, you must feel so lucky.

Louise (29:00):Oh, you know, I am lucky. I am incredibly, I’m blessed. I’m absolutely blessed. I mean, I have two parents that are, you know, we clashed. I was a naughty teenager. I misbehaved. They were so fantastic. I mean, my mom tried, bless her. We all came from, and we were all White English and from another Caribbean Island. So my mum would have Caribbean days. So one of my brothers from St Lucia and she’d decorate the dining room in the St. Lucia flag. She tried to make those traditional foods from, I mean, it wasn’t good.

Damon (29:39):Haha!

Louise (29:39):St. Lucian and Jamaican, you know, she did her best. She was able to provide a stable, loving, consistent, and safe environment. And you know, I, I am, you’re right. I am blessed.

Damon (29:55):So what has happened in your family that you love so much you guys have experienced as a group, your reunification and the challenges there in. Has it brought you guys closer together? What has it done for your brothers? Just tell me what the aftermath has been for your own family.

Louise (30:14):I think one of my brothers, he’s in contact with his birth mother. I know that. My other brother, no interest. He’s happy with his life and he feels no need to search or seek other people. And my third brother is interested, but then he’s, he’s not made Jasper. So I suppose we do talk about it. Uh, we did more so when we were young and it kind of brought us together in a sense that I felt more grateful for what I had realizing what could have been.

Damon (30:42):Yeah, that’s a great place to be actually when something adverse happens and it makes you more thankful for the things that you already have, that’s actually a highly positive outcome in my opinion.

Damon (30:53):I asked Louise about her advice to other adoptees about their attempt at reunion. She has admitted that she followed some impulsivity into reunion. So I was curious about her guidance to others based on her own experiences. Louise related her guidance back to what she tells her own adopted children.

Louise (31:10):That, you know, they, they know they’re adopted, we’re open with them. We’ve met their birth mothers where we’ve really been allowed to, you know, adoption is spoken freely within our home. It’s not something that’s to be ashamed of. It’s something to be embraced and recognized. And if, you know, they struggle with being adopted and they don’t, you know, have the same themes that I did. I was very positive about my adoption and that’s fine. Let’s get them the help that they need to understand. And it’s okay. I always tell my daughter is okay to miss your birth mother. Do you know what? I bet you she bloody well misses you as well. I think it’s about understanding that is she doesn’t love me any less because she misses her birth mom its she, you know, she’s allowed to feel that pain and that sense of loss and rejection and it’s about me giving her the self esteem.

Louise (31:59):And support to know, you know what, when you’re older, you want to find her, we’ll find her. You know, I’ll do it. I’ll move heaven and earth to find your birth parents if that’s what you want to do. And I would always tell them to take it slowly to be prepared that it’s not, you know, it’s not going to be flowers and rainbows and you know all the exciting things. It might be easy, I say that’s fantastic, but understand that there is an unbreakable bond between a biological mother, maybe a father and that child and understand that you’re still always be that child. But to take it slowly as physically possible because if you rush these things you can really damage any sense of long term relationship with people. And I think you need to think more widely of the implications of your actions to other people.

Louise (32:51):I didn’t even consider how my birth mother would feel or the people she lives with. I didn’t even consider that she may not have told anybody that she had children and I didn’t consider the impact on my parents as much as they were open and loving. I hadn’t considered their feelings of me finding my biological roots. And I think that’s something that people should be aware of is how you do it and the wider impact of your actions because well, she’s done it. There is no, truly there is no way you’re going back and once you’ve opened that door, it is well and truly opened and you have to live with those consequences. So take your time. There is no rush. You’ve wasted this long, a little while longer will do, you know.

Damon (33:32):That’s really sound advice and I totally agree. I mean even from my own experience and with some of the experiences that I’ve heard of others, you just, you have to absolutely mentally prepare for all possibilities and eventualities and no matter which one you predict is going to be yours, you’re probably going to be wrong.

Louise (33:52):Absolutely.

Louise (33:53):Well Louise, thank you so much for taking time to share your story. This has been really surreal. I had, I had no idea that you were going to bring this many different angles of reunification and how it can be such a challenge., honestly. I’m sorry that those folks did not find it within themselves to be truthful, to be accepting. But it sounds like you’ve really reached a point in your life where you’re just like, look, this is me and you gotta take me or leave me cause I’m going to be happy either way and I really am glad for you that you reached that point.

Louise (34:27):Thank you. I really do think it’s about loving yourself and once you can accept and love yourself, it doesn’t really matter if nobody else does or or anyone else’s feelings. So I just kept trying to be happy. Life isn’t a competition. I hope we all make it. We’ve just got all try and find the positive in everything. Thank you much for speaking to me Damon.

Damon (34:48):Of course Louise take care. All the best to you and your family.

Louise (34:50):And you. Take care.

Damon (34:58):Hey, it’s me. Louise has really come a long way in her journey. It began decades ago with an impulsive outreach to her biological mother. That started off poorly when she was introduced to the racism that could have been part of her life, but ended well with her parents inviting her birth mother to her wedding years later. But along the way, her father merrily rejected her existence while oddly embracing Louise’s sister’s existence. I really felt like he correlated the traumatic experience of racial discrimination and everything that happened before Louise’s birth with her and wasn’t able to separate her as a person from the attacks, her biological family levied against him. I was really glad to hear that after a contentious email exchange with her half sister, Louise was able to convince her to share a little bit about her life because all Louise wanted was to know that her sister was okay.

Damon (35:49):Today, Louise stands strong in a loving marriage with adopted children that she has the in depth experience to support through their adoption journeys. I’m Damon Davis and I hope you’ll find something in Louise’s journey that inspires you, validates your feelings about wanting to search or motivates you to have this strength along your journey to learn, who am I really? If you would like to share your story of locating and connecting to your biological family visit, whoamireallypodcast.com/share you can also find the show on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @waireally.

Who Am I Really?

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