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109 – You Can’t Change The Past

Dan has barely told anyone the his whole story until this episode. He shared that he was in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) as an infant. Then his son’s rare medical condition and his wife’s ability to share her heredity while he could not was a catalyst for his search. Dan is thankful for the warm welcome he’s received in his paternal family, and is still hoping that his birthmother will come around to wanting to know him. This is Dan’s Journey.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Dan (00:04): I kind of find it ironic that now that I found my birth father, that my birth parents had passed away. So it’s like, I hear a lot of people when you try to read to your birth parents, it’s like your chapter one in the beginning. You don’t know that. But now that I met them, I’m getting more about my beginning, but I don’t have my parents to give me chapters one and two, you know, when you’re real young and you don’t remember everything,

Damon (00:30): Who am I? Who am I?

Damon (00:35): Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? 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 is Daniel. He called me from Nicholasville, Kentucky. Dan has barely told anyone his whole story until this episode, he shared that his son’s rare medical condition and his wife’s ability to share her heredity while he could not was a catalyst for his search. Dan is thankful for the warm welcome he’s received in his paternal family and is still hoping that his birth mother will come around to wanting to know him. This is Dan’s journey. Daniel was born in January of 1980, adopted four months later after he spent that period of time in the neonatal intensive care unit, the NICU.

Dan (01:34): So I was born six weeks premature, and I had some brain and lung issues. So I was in the NICU for the first four months of life. The doctor didn’t think I would live to two may never walk and could be blind.

Damon (01:48): Dan’s adoptive parents had a variety of personal setbacks that prevented them from getting pregnant. But four years after Dan was born, his little brother who is biological to their parents was conceived. They grew up out in the country, outside of Morgantown, West Virginia, and the brothers got along just fine. Their father’s side of the family lived nearby. So all of the kids just ran up and down from house to house, taking advantage of being outdoors.

Dan (02:15): Two of my uncles live within a mile of me, so we could walk. I could walk house to house and run around and displaying the neighborhood.

Damon (02:22): That’s incredible. That’s some of the best growing up, man, when you can just go between house to house, safe and sound. No worries.

Dan (02:31): Go run around to the woods in the neighborhood and play, stick guns and just run around. And so, yeah,

Damon (02:37): I love that. That’s really amazing. Yeah. Dan said he never felt out of place in his family. He said he always knew he was adopted. And his adopted mother used to talk about his birth mother calling her by name. Dan said, he’d share more about that later. In his fourth grade health class, Dan learned what adoption truly meant. I asked him how felt when he learned the meaning of adoption at that age,

Dan (03:03): I kind of cut kind of quiet about it. And what was interesting in my house, my mother was adopted around the age of eight. She was adopted, but learning later on when I became in my twenties and thirties, learning about her adoption, it’s much different and darker in contrast to my own story. So I never really talked to her about it at all. Despite the commonality that we have. So, um, once I found out, I remember feeling kind of confused about why I was adopted and even though you’re adopted and my family was great. It’s still kind of like you fit in. You know, even though you fit in with your family, you still know there’s something else. It’s kind of different. If that makes sense.

Damon (03:41): Dan kept quiet about adoption growing up, going on to graduate high school, attend the university of Kentucky for college, then earned his PhD in biomedical engineering. It was in grad school where he met his wife and they eventually had a son together the whole time Dan’s own adoption. Never really came up as a topic of discussion.

Dan (04:02): All honesty. No, I kept it to myself. I think I told my wife while we were dating. And then I really didn’t bring it up hardly at all with anybody, I guess I didn’t know how to talk about, so I wasn’t sure how to process it. So I just never talked about it. So for me to come on this podcast to talk to you is kind of a big step.

Damon (04:22): Wow. Well, thanks for doing it, man. You’re going to, yeah, it’s going to be interesting to see how you feel at the other end, after having delved into everything. And then I’m sure you’re going to help somebody else by sharing your own story too.

Dan (04:34): That’s a part of the reason I agreed to do it. Cause I contact you and I’ll talk about it here a little bit later when we get into the search of how I found the podcast while I was searching.

Damon (04:43): Interesting. Well, that’s exactly what I was going to getting ready to turn to then is you sound like you found out what adoption truly meant when you were maybe eight years old. Fourth grade? Yeah. About eight or nine. Yeah. You kept it in the back of your mind. Never really talked about it at all. You revealed it to your wife when you, before you got married when you started dating, but that was it. So what was the catalyst for you to even begin a search? Because it sounds like you pushed it down and didn’t really have any interest in, in looking. What was, what, what sparked your interest? All of a sudden

Dan (05:17): The first one started in 2010 when my father passed away. So I started thinking, what if it’s too late? I don’t want to hear a second hand about my biological parents. I’d like to be able to at least meet them or talk to them hopefully and see if the name that I had initially for my birth mother was correct.

Damon (05:35): Dan started searching in 2010 using the name his adoptive mother had for his birth mother. He said that at the time he was adopted, one of the wristbands on his tiny arm had the woman’s name on it, identifying them as mother and son. So his mom secretly jotted the name down, then wrote it in Danny’s baby book. For later, she also scribbled the non identifying information. She knew in the book. In 2011, he applied for his non-identifying information, receiving a huge packet in the mail from the state of West Virginia.

Dan (06:08): So at basically gave me some information about my medical history and said I was born early and that my birth mother intended to use a private agency to facilitate the adoption. But the agency said I was too sick and that no one would probably want me. So that’s why she went to the state to facilitate the adoption. You said I had some issues with my lung, an affection and a brain bleed. And again, they said they probably probably wouldn’t survive. So I was born about eight weeks early.

Damon (06:38): Let me ask you this, just on that, because you’ve raised your, your challenges at birth more than once. And how was it for you to read those details about yourself? I guess there’s two pieces to that. One if they have manifested themselves in you throughout your life, as an adult, then you would have lived with it and it probably didn’t strike you, but like just tell me, what did it feel like to learn those details about yourself as an infant?

Dan (07:07): Well, I, oddly enough knew pretty much about them growing up. And in fact, I remember in high school having to write like a book about myself from, you know, age zero to 18 and you know, my mom helped write my first chapters in my life and telling how I was in the hospital then. So when I learned about it, when I got my down in identifying information, it just really kind of confirmed what I already knew. So it wasn’t anything really shocking, I guess the most shocking part would be that she attempted to use an agency and that she’s like, no, you’re, he’s too sick. And then she had to go to the state. So I guess that if anything would be the most shocking or eye opening part where it’s like they can pick and choose the agencies kind of. So that was probably the most opening part. And from listening to your podcast and the other ones and joining some Facebook group, that’s probably the most eyeopening part. It’s like, no, we’re going to pass you off to the state.

Damon (08:03): Yeah, I can’t help. But think of that situation almost like product quality control.

Dan (08:13): Yes. That’s, that’s probably what I kind of the biggest opening eyes about adoption in a whole that I kind of, you know, after here, again, hearing your podcast and looking on the internet, just kind of realizing that the most eyeopening part. Yeah,

Damon (08:27): No, you you’re teaching me something here because I can’t say that I really had ever focused in on this piece. I’ve, you know, I’ve often heard adoption referred to as, you know, a moneymaker and you know, some of the, in a, in a commercialized entity and things like that. And, and I understand it in theory, but I’ve never really thought truly about what you just said, that as, you know, you envision a product coming down the assembly line and you know, the mechanical arm sweeps the bad ones away. That’s really, that’s really fascinating. I just never really thought that that was a piece of it. Thank you for that. The non identifying information stated that his birth mother was home for Christmas. Then Dan was born. It described the relationship in which he was conceived as a summer fling.

Dan (09:24): It did note that my birth mother contacted my birth father shortly after the birth and that a social worker also talked about him or talked about me. So it did indicate that my birth father knew I was born. So anyway, so when I get the letter, initially, it says we’ve deleted all names, deleted all non-identifying information. So I looked through my 30 pages information and from that information, I could find my full birth father’s name in the file. So

Damon (09:53): Somehow the man’s name had been left in the case notes. He was even able to piece together his birth mother’s name, even though he already had that information. Dan figured out what state his biological parents were from. And he learned his birth mother’s career goals. With those clues. Dan went online.

Dan (10:11): I took that information in 2011 and was able to find my birth mother on Facebook. And I sent her a meshes in 2011 and never heard back from her. So I kind of just dropped it. And then at the same time, I was looking for my birth father, but he had a very common name. So it was impossible for me to find him in 2011. So I kind of just dropped it. I just went, okay. I didn’t hear any saying, who knows. Maybe I had the wrong person. Maybe the information was wrong. So I really didn’t think about it again until 2017, when my mother, all of a sudden, a passed away. And even then I decided not to look at all. It wasn’t again, till November of 2017. And my son was almost one and a half and he started walking, but he had a little bit of a gait issue.

Dan (10:59): So our pediatrician said, Hey, why don’t you go to a hospital nearby and get him checked out for his gait issue? See if it’s something with his bones. So at his two year checkup, it turned out it wasn’t any single bones, but he was still walking a little bit funny. So we went ahead and started physical therapy and it was in the August of 2018. The physical therapist said, he’s not walking quite right. You really should go see a neurologist. So we went to a children’s hospital locally nearby, and the neurologist checked him out and he ended up, they were thinking he had musclar dystrophy and ended up turning out that he didn’t have muscular dystrophy, but he had a really large belly and he’s had a really large belly since birth. So she poked around on his liver and stomach area and did an ultrasound and come back that he had an enlarged liver and spleen with elevated liver enzymes. So the next week we ended up going back up to that hospital and seeing the GI doctors and after meeting with the GI doctors, the doctor said, I bet he has a rare condition called glycogen storage disease or GSD. And if you type in GSD on the internet, you’ll come up with German shepherd dog,

Damon (12:12): Which is not your son. So what, tell me, tell me what is GSD and is it something, what does it mean for his future?

Dan (12:20): Okay, well, so GSD is actually a genetic disorder. So it’s basically where your liver normally stores sugar for night. So after you eat the insulin, we’ll take the sugar and put it in the liver. So when you’re not eating or sleeping deliverable, then release the sugar back out into the body. So it’ll keep the brain active and muscles active for you. Well, with glycogen storage disease, the liver will take in the sugar, but it will not release it. So you could become hypoglycemic. And there’s two forms of glycogen storage disease. There’s a very severe form where you have to eat every three to four hours to keep your blood sugar up or you become hypoglycemic and potentially pass away. Or there’s a mild form, which is what my son has. He has glycogen storage, disease type six, and this known as hers disease. And in this one delivered, still stores the sugar and doesn’t release it. But there’s other mechanism within the body to break down protein and fat, to produce sugar like such substance.

Damon (13:23): Wow, this is something he’ll be able to manage with medication and diet. Tell me how, how do you manage that?

Dan (13:30): Um, GSD is manageable right now, just with diet and just follow up appointments to measure blood sugar, to do ultrasounds on the liver. But one of the ways that people with GSD stabilizes their blood sugar is they take two’s table spoons of Argo corn starch, or any type of cornstarch and mix it with water milk or no sugar added Koolaid and green fat. And because corn starts is a complex carbohydrate, it breaks down slower, less keeping the blood sugar stable longer

Damon (14:03): After meeting the gastrointestinal doctor, the GI doc in December of 2018, Dan’s wife was able to fill out her medical history. But as an adoptee, Dan, wasn’t able to contribute useful genetic knowledge to the investigation, into his son’s disease. The whole thing got him thinking again about his heredity. So he went back to Facebook to contact his birth mother. Again, she didn’t reply. In January, 2019, Dan returned to ancestry DNA. He paid the extra few dollars that allowed him to dig into the trees of some second cousins, which allowed him to confirm that the names he was already tracking were correct. In February of 2019, a liver biopsy confirmed his son had GSD. So Dan, back to Facebook messenger to try again, to reach his birth mother, he sent her a message and included his email address for her to get in touch if she chose to.

Dan (15:01): And this time due to an error on my part, apparently she replied in late early March of 2019, but I did not get it due to an error on my part. Oh no, I didn’t realize that. So in the end of March of 2019, I went ahead and sent a certified letter to her and actually heard back from her then. And she gave me some medical information and she provided me the conditions of my adoption which most of it already knew. However, in that letter, some of the information seemed to contradict what was on file. So I don’t know if she’s, maybe didn’t tell the truth back then. Isn’t now I don’t know, but she provided medical information and into some, the turn of her emails, I left it at that. She didn’t seem like she wanted any more contact. She’s like, here’s some medical information. Your parents are the ones that raised you. So I kind of, I’ve just kind of dropped it right now and I’ve decided maybe in the future, I’ll try to follow up and see if I can not per say get more information, maybe talk to her in person potentially. So I just figured I’d just leave it live for now.

Damon (16:04): March of 2019 was the last time Dan received any correspondence from his birth mother. He told me that glycogen storage disease is so rare. It could skip generations or be misdiagnosed when it does appear in the little bit of information his birth mother did provide. She told Dan that she didn’t remember who his birth father was. Good thing. He already had the man’s name using Google and Facebook. Dan was able to find an obituary for someone who appeared to be his birth father’s father, his paternal grandfather, Dan continued on Facebook where he quickly found his birth father’s Facebook page.

Dan (16:42): So one of the things that helped me decide to reach out to him was when I submitted my ancestry DNA test kit, I decided to, and I’ve been listening to podcast to see if there’s any podcast about adoption or reunion on there. And I came across your podcast. And one of the things that helped me during waiting for my birth mother and seems like a common theme, not always, but a common theme is that the birth mothers are more, more or less, less receptive than the birth fathers are. What I’ve seen from listening to your podcast. So I decided I was talking to my wife. I’m like, I think I found the person that might be my birth father. So I showed my wife, the profile of the guy that I thought could be my birth father. And she said, maybe

Damon (17:26): In the middle of March, 2019, Dan sent the man a Facebook message, but he stayed vague with the information he provided, just in case the man shared a Facebook account with his wife. He didn’t want to stir the pot. About a week later, the man asked for some details about his possible connection to Dan. Dan replied to his birth. Father’s email with more information, sharing his calculations about their probable paternal relation.

Dan (17:53): And then a few days later it was Friday. I got an email going. I’ll be happy to get as much information together as I can. And I will try to answer any questions that you have. So, and then the next day he started going, okay, you’re my father has diabetes. My mother had this. So he went through and gave all this medical information about him, his parents, his brother, and at the end, he goes, I feel that I need to ask your permission to tell my daughter about you as I think you both have a right to know. So at that last sentence you basically said, yeah, I am your birth father. Wow. Yeah.

Damon (18:29): He asked you permission to tell his daughter about you.

Dan (18:33): Yes, Yeah.

Damon (18:34): That’s really interesting. Why do you think he did that?

Dan (18:39): I’m not sure. I think he’s been kind of remorseful and just kind of cautious. I’m not a hundred percent sure. But, um, so anyway, after that we went ahead and started sending some emails and we talked on the phone at the end of March for the first time. And unlike a lot of your listeners that say, they’ll talk to their birth parents for hours on end. Yeah. Me and him talked only for about 45 minutes since he’s kind of a quiet guy. So because he was so quiet, it made me a little bit more nervous and I started talking faster. So after that, he went ahead and said, he went ahead and actually bought an ancestry DNA kit himself. But he did say based on all the information you provide, I’m pretty sure on your birth father. I just want to confirm it a hundred percent. So in between April and may, we were just waiting for the results. And then thinking early may the results came back and it was confirmed a hundred percent that he is my birth father.

Damon (19:35): How did that feel when you got that confirmation from him? That he was the guy,

Dan (19:40): It felt good. It was just, it’s unique. Uh, plead one of your people you interview. So you know, you meet people every day, but it’s not, you don’t often meet your birth father, your birth parents, you know, that’s age of 40 is just different than meeting a normal person on and off the street. You bump into people all the time. Yeah. Just something different about it.

Damon (20:00): Yeah. You can only meet your birth relatives once. Yeah. You might know them or not know them thereafter, but you only get to meet them one time. And then after that, it’s it, you’re, you’re different. They’re different. That’s really fascinating. I remembered my guests saying that too. It was a very poignant thing to say. And it’s interesting to hear you say that it resonated with you.

Dan (20:23): Oh yeah. There’s a lot I can take from each one of your podcasts and be honest and to say in reference this one and this one,

Damon (20:29): Dude, me too, every guest I’m just like, wow. Huh? I never thought of that. Or wow. I have never heard anybody say that before. So I, every single guest and you’ve already hit me with at least one or two. DNA relations were confirmed. The gentlemen had spoken by phone and Dan had given permission for his birth father to share the news with Dan’s new half sister. While the group set up time to meet with one another for the first time, Dan had a chance to chat with his birth father’s wife

Dan (20:58): And she is really sweet and welcoming. She just said, one of the things she said during that is I want you to know that I think all relationships and love can come in a lot of different ways. in all forms and I really cherish all of them. So she’s been really open and welcoming in reunion and everything.

Damon (21:14): That’s really cool. Good for her that must’ve been comforting. Cause there is, and you’ve heard it from other guests. It’s not always that easy. And some wives will see a child from a prior relationship, regardless of whether it was a marriage or, or, you know, a one night stand or whatever the thing was from the past. It may get really jealous and protective. And it’s very, very hard to overcome that and to, for her to be upfront with her open welcome with you is amazing. That’s great. Yes. Yes. At the end of may, Dan drove nine hours from Kentucky to Baltimore to meet his paternal family. He and his wife got a hotel room in town, the day of their meeting. He was nervous. So he sent his wife ahead to the lobby to scout and see if his birth father was present. Then he made his way to the lobby to meet everyone.

Dan (22:10): As soon as I turned the corner there, they were standing. So we ended up going out to dinner that night and just talking. And then me and him actually after dinner, my wife, my son, his wife, and his daughter, my half sister, they all went to the pool while me and him went out to a bar and just sat there and talked.

Damon (22:26): Wow. That’s cool. How, tell me about that. How was that experience sitting there having a cocktail or having a beer with your biological father for the first time? Like, what’d you guys talk about? How was it?

Dan (22:38): Um, we just discussed like the adoption and you know, just how we were glad to meet each other. And you know, we discussed what we wanted going forward and we both want to continue to know each other and be in part of each other’s lives. So just talked about that really. And you know, you told me about the past and meeting my birth mother and stuff.

Damon (22:58): Can you tell me that story? What did he reveal to you? What’s it?

Dan (23:02): He said, yeah, it was pretty close to what the initial non-identifying information had. They met in the summer and they kind of dated, it sounded like. And, um, they met through playing softball. He was invited to play on one of his cousins team playing softball. And that’s how they met. So he said he does remember me and he knew about me and stuff and wondered, but he was always just kind of afraid to reach out and make contact because he didn’t know. He said he didn’t even know if I was adopted if I knew that I was adopted. So I think he was always hesitant to reach out. So,

Damon (23:38): So he had been thinking about you for years? Yes. Yeah. That’s really cool from what Dan learned his non-identifying information and what his birth parents have told him. They were too young when he was conceived and had no means to raise a baby. Therefore he was placed for adoption. The day after that first meeting, Dan went to his birth father’s house and everyone was there, an uncle, a cousin, the birth father’s in-laws in all kinds of family, everyone hung around the pool and chilled getting to know one another.

Dan (24:11): Me and him kind of went off on our own to talk a little bit about the just meeting and stuff. Just got to learn about the family. And one thing nowadays with Facebook and everything, you know, by that time I had added everybody on Facebook. So I kind of knew about everybody’s background. They knew about my background. So there wasn’t really about a lot of questions about what you do or anything cause it’s on Facebook. Right. And I also put a little bit more on Facebook when I started doing my search because I didn’t want people to think it was a fake or a scam. So I went ahead and put, I had my PhD, got my master’s and all this other stuff that I normally don’t have on my Facebook profile.

Damon (24:47): Yeah. That’s an interesting thing that I’ve heard other adoptees say that they did was that they felt that their public persona needed to be legitimized, right. That, you know, one there’s the specter of identity theft and scams and things like that. And sort of people naturally having their guard up and wanting to protect themselves against strangers whom they don’t know. But on the flip side that, you know, there’s a, there’s the, what do you want? Why are you here? I don’t know you thing. And so to try to combat that, a lot of times we do end up posting a little bit more about ourselves. You know, you might not, I get the impression that you’re not a braggart and you’re not sort of wanting to tout the fact that you have a PhD, but the fact that having a doctoral degree makes you, I don’t know how to say this, but pushes you further away from the criminal element and more towards, you know, trustworthy individual in society. You, you felt sort of obligated to put that out there as credentials that say, I’m a, I’m a good guy and you can trust me. And it’s fascinating that we, that we kind of have to do that sometimes.

Dan (26:04): Yeah. And then in there. So if they go to Google, my name that, Hey, this logistics couldn’t possibly match up.

Damon (26:11): One of the amazing things adoptees sometimes experience in reunion is seeing photos of members of their biological family that resembled themselves. Dan had that experience. And he really seems to cherish it

Dan (26:24): As there was a photograph of my biological grandfather. And I would say it’s when he’s in his twenties and that photo of him looks almost exactly like me now. I was talking, I was talking to my uncle and cousin on his side and they were like, yeah, there’s no need for a DNA test. You look exactly like him in this photo. So

Damon (26:46): That is awesome. What does it feel like for you to see this paternal grandfather that is, you know, you are a spitting image of

Dan (26:53): Unique as a lot of adoptees say, you don’t get to see facial resemblances growing up or anything like that. So to be able to see that is to say it’s, it’s unique. It’s something that most people want it understand. There’s, you know, they can look at their parents and see a resemblance or grandparents and that’s something somebody who was adopted doesn’t get to see

Damon (27:15): Dan said at the end of their reunion, they had a very warm departure and it was really emotional in the aftermath. They were in touch via text or by phone every week on top of everything. Dan switched jobs in June of 2019. And the company told him he’d have Friday, July 5th off from work sharing the good news of the new job. And the day off over FaceTime Dan’s biological father said, well, why don’t you come back up to Baltimore? Dan shrugged off the invitation initially saying he was busy and there were things to do around the house. Then he slept on it. The next morning, when Dan woke up,

Dan (27:54): I went ahead and got up and drove 10 hours back to Baltimore to see him again. Wow. Yeah. So we ended up spending we end up meeting a second time on the long July 4th weekend. And it was wonderful. We hung out at the pool. We talked, we just got to hang out and meet each other more so. And when we arrived the second time my son recognized the house. He’s like we had my biological father’s house. He’s like, I’m like, yep. Yeah.

Damon (28:18): That’s awesome. It’s really cool. When the kids feel a connection to them too, right? Yeah. Yeah. That’s really cool. Let me ask you, how, how do you and your new sister get along?

Dan (28:29): That’s good. Well, that’ll lead to the next talking point that I had notes on. So this past labor day, the first time we met back in may, I’m like, well, he’s like, you’re welcome to come back anytime. And I made the offer and you’re welcome to come down to my house anytime. And he’s like, I’m planning on it. So labor day weekend, him and his wife and my half sister drove down from Baltimore to Kentucky to visit. I’m getting along with her is good. There is an age difference between me and her. So we really can’t connect. It’s not easy to say what type of music you like or movies, just because of the age difference.

Damon (29:03):How big of a difference?

Dan (29:06): Um pretty big, yeah, but with that being said, she likes to joke around. We, uh, I had a plan of doing a water guns for a labor day weekend and go have a water gun fight outside. But the weekend before they got there, I tested the water balloons I bought. And they were basically like rocks. So I’m like, yeah, that’s a bad idea. Oh, but she had an idea of bringing Nerf guns down so we’re outside labor day weekend running around shooting each other with Nerf gun.

Damon (29:32): It’s so fun for you guys, man. Yeah. So that is really cool.

Dan (29:38): And she did say she needed to make up for not getting to bug or annoy me. So she’s, uh, here in the car riding and she’s pulling my hair and I’m pulling her hair. So yeah, she seems really open and accepting of me. So, and on top of that, she’s very in tune with my son diagnosis. So she’ll be like, Hey, can I give him this or that? And he’s very sweet checking the labels. Cause one thing with glycogen storage disease, and I should have said this earlier is we have to limit his sugar to five grams of simple sugar per meal. Okay. In a Coke has about 50 grams of sugar in it. Wow. So yeah. So yeah, so we had to limit his sugar and then his carbs. So it’s just French fries, rice, any kind of carbohydrate is limited to 15 carbs per meal. So, so we have to limit his carbs a lot.

Damon (30:31): Wow. So she’s, she’s paying close attention to what she can offer him and that’s really cute

Dan (30:36):  Yeah. So yes. Yeah. So, and then on top of that, my son, really likes her he’s now at the age where he’s starting to remember people, so he’s like, can we go see her? Can we go this weekend? I’m like, Oh, it’s a little bit more than that, but know.

Damon (30:49): Right. It’s so funny how they don’t have a real good sense of what it takes to plan a trip, travel and make sure that everybody, you know, that they’ve got space they’re not busy and you guys are ever did. They just, they want to see their people. And they’re just like, let’s go, which is kind of cool, but that’s really cool that those two are connected. Dan’s adoptive parents are both deceased for an adoptee, meaning a new biological parent. It can be a little weird to meet this person who is biologically responsible for your existence and is technically a parent, but wasn’t present to rear you. And isn’t really in a position to parent you, per se. I asked Dan what it was like to have this new adult in his parents’ generation, in his life and in sort of a parental role.

Dan (31:32): It’s different. Cause um, well first let me say, I know my parents would have supported me for this search because again, my mom wrote down my birth mother’s name and they both left the records open. So if any, either one wanted to contact me, they could have found my name and got ahold of it. And my birth father also, I guess, got, was a neighbor to try to crack my birth mother while she was still at school and at West Virginia university. But I kind of find it ironic that now that I found my birth father, that my birth parents had passed away. So it’s like, I got a lot of people when you try to reach to your birth parents, it’s like your chapter one or your beginning. You don’t know that. But now that I met them, I’m getting more about my beginning, but I don’t have my parents to give me chapters one and two, you know, when you’re real young and you don’t remember everything.

Damon (32:19): Yeah. Yeah.

Dan (32:22): So getting back to the question about having a parent like figure an older it’s, it’s different. It’s good. It’s just, it’s different. I’m not sure what to say, decide to sit different and, and good. I mean just the welcomingness of it. So yeah,

Damon (32:40): it’s a funny thing. I’ve talked about this before, both in my own story and with other people. And one of the things that I like in it too, is, uh, like meeting a really new, a new and really close friend because this parent is somebody that is not at least not supposed to necessarily be in a position of sort of trying to parent you. Like, they’re not tucking you in at night. They’re not going to be the one to go to the parent teacher conference. They’re not doing any of that stuff. They are not, you know, at the soccer game or to the softball game and they’re, and they’re not, um, you know, doing all of the things that come with your younger life. You’ve met him as an adult and like you’re already a place where you can go to a bar and get a beer. And so you’re, you’re, they don’t have to do any of the disciplining that comes along with parenting while also getting the positive experiences of having a child. Um, and that all that leaves is the friendship that comes with your generation meeting his and yes, it’s, you’re right. It is very different. It’s kind of, it’s, it’s not weird, but it’s surreal. You know, that you’ve just got this new parent type figure and your friends.

Dan (33:53): Oh, so one thing I didn’t realize during the reunion is it’s hell emotional and how much it’s kind of like dating early on because I know I was really worried about contacting them too little or too much contact. And one of the things that helped me from this roller coaster motion is again, off of your podcast. I was listening to one, I believe it was Megan. And she was talking about a facebook group called adoptees only. So after I got done listening to that podcast, I went ahead and hopped on Facebook and found the Facebook group and joined it and then want to hear some of the posts and stories from that group really helped me out. Yeah. So, yeah. And in general, I didn’t really talk about it because I was confused about it. You just don’t understand why, you know, why everything happens. You get, I got stories from my birth mom and it makes sense, but you really don’t know why until you start to go after that research and try to find out your story, your beginning. So I just accepted it until I guess the final Oh, is my son’s genetic disorder.

Damon (34:57): Let me ask you this, going back to your biological mother and the fact that you’re not in touch and you haven’t really, it doesn’t sound like had a real back and forth sort of conversation and get to know each other. If she was listening, what would you say to her?

Dan (35:13): Cool. Basically, I think of like, what a lot of adoptees say, you know, we’re not out for money. We’re not out for revenge. At least in my case, I’m not angry. I might’ve been maybe at 12, but I’m not now, you know, and now, now that I’m adult and get a better picture of everything, I understand it, you know, I’ve been able to make a better connection, which has really helped me heal and move forward and just would like to talk to her and see one thing about meeting my biological father. You can see the nature and nurture side. You can see the, some of the things where my birth father is really quiet and overall, I am really quiet, but I’m more outgoing than him. So how much is that nature? Nurture is still a little bit more of the picture on the other side. What am I getting from nature from her?

Damon (36:03): Right. Nature and nurture paternal maternal. Yeah. That’s right. Yes. So even though you’ve connected with her, there’s still missing pieces. You’re right.

Dan (36:10): Hmm. And again, no anger and you know, no hatred or anything. It’s just, it is what it is. You know, you of only you can’t change the past, but you can start from the present and go forward. Yeah,

Damon (36:23): Yeah. That’s right. That’s absolutely right. Well said. Well, Daniel, thank you so much for taking time and I appreciate you opening up. I know this isn’t something that you’ve opened up and talked to much about, so I hope you were comfortable and I hope that your story and journey will help somebody else the same way that other stories and journeys from the show have helped you. And I appreciate your support for the show. It really means a lot.

Dan (36:47): Uh, yes. Thank you very much. Uh, like I said, when I first started the search, I was able to find your podcasts and it’s helped out a lot when I hear the stories and I look forward to every Friday or Saturday, the new podcast to get to listen to it while I’m going out on my run. Sweet. So thank you very much Damon

Damon (37:05): My pleasure, man. This is what I’m here for. I’m really glad to be able to provide these stories and, and, um, and I’m appreciative of you opening yourself up to share your journey. So thank you so much, Daniel. I’ll talk to you later. Okay. Alright.

Dan (37:17): Thank you.

Damon (37:17): Take care, buddy.

Dan (37:18): Have a good day.

Damon (37:18): You too. Hey, it’s me. It was tough to hear that Dan missed a connection to his birth mother. They eventually connected, but only a little bit, certainly not enough for Dan who is looking for clues about what traits of hers were passed down to him. Many adoptees have a burning medical need to locate biological relatives, but it must have been really tough to need that vital information because it could impact his son’s health. I really liked hearing that Dan decided to open up and talk about his adoption journey after hearing stories from other adoptees here on who am I really

Damon (37:59): On Haley radkey’s, adoptee’s on. And because of the supportive network of adoptees in Facebook groups, he’s joined, we’re all a community together. And I’m so glad to be part of the network supporting one another I’m Damon Davis. And I hope you’ll find something in Daniel’s journey that inspires you, validates your feelings about wanting to search or motivates you to have the strength along your journey to learn who am I really? Unfortunately, this is my last show for the season. It’s time for a break to recharge, focus on other parts of my life that requires some attention. I hope you’ll get a chance to add my story. Who am I really and adoptee memoir to your reading list from amazon.com. Some of you have reached out to share your appreciation for me sharing my own journey. And I can’t thank you enough for the compliments it’s food for my soul to hear that this podcast and my book are both things you’re enjoying.

Damon (38:57): So thank you so much for sending your comments. If you’re up for it, please leave me a comment about the book on amazon.com. I read them all and sometimes I share your feedback from emails and the website on social media. Take care of my friends. I’ll miss you while I’m gone. I hope you’ll take the empathy that you listen to the stories of adoptees with and apply that empathy to others in your life. Listen to others and try to understand their perspectives. We all have a story to tell adopted or otherwise all the best bye.

Who Am I Really?

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