Close this search box.

111 – This Is What I Hoped You’d Be Like

Ginger who lives in Los Angeles, began her reunion journey as a teenager who found her birth mother, saw her picture, emailed her, but never made the leap to meeting the woman. In adulthood Ginger had given birth to twins who emotionally impacted her and reminded her of the story of her own birth shared by her birth mother via email many years before, so she resurrected their relationship. This episode is unique because we captured Ginger’s story in the lead up to her cross country reunion, then we followed up shortly after to see how things were in the aftermath of hours spent face to face with her birth mother. This is Ginger’s journey. 


Ginger (00:05): And I sent it to her and she wrote back and said, you have no idea what you have done for me. You have just uncapped 34 years of guilt and shame and made me feel so much better. And she asked me, would you be willing to, to meet and I said, Oh yeah, I definitely would.

Damon (00:31): Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? 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 Ginger who lives in Los Angeles. Her reunion started as a teenager who found her birth mother emailed her, but never made the leap to meeting the woman in adulthood. Ginger had given birth to twins who emotionally impacted her and reminded her of the story of her own birth shared by her birth mother many years before. So she resurrected their relationship. This episode is unique because we captured Ginger’s story in the lead up to her cross country reunion. Then after to see how things were in the aftermath of an hour, spent face to face with her birth mother. This is Ginger’s journey.

Damon (01:37): Back in the summer of 2019, I was sitting on a plane ready for takeoff. When I checked email one last time before setting my phone on airplane mode, I found an email from Ginger who said she was meeting her birth mother in a few days. And she knew there was only going to be one chance to capture herself in the version of who she was before reunion. So she hoped we could record before and after interviews. I immediately recognized that she was absolutely right. We are different people before reunion, then we are after. So I emailed her back to say, yes, she admitted she had been listening to who am I really a lot in the days leading up to her reunion,

Ginger (02:21): I was listening to it thinking, Oh my gosh, all these things are going through my mind about like, what’s about to happen. And this is like an interesting spot to be in like that I’m in right now. And I won’t have this spot anymore after this weekend. It’s like, my life is going to be like before and after this weekend, it’s going to be like, I’m a, I’m going to be a different person with different views. So I’m like, I shouldn’t, I don’t know. I just want to record and like tell the story like, as it happens so that, uh, the emotions are raw.

Damon (02:55): Since I was traveling, I didn’t have my normal recording setup. So I spoke to Ginger

Damon (03:00): Through my laptop with ear buds and their terrible microphone while sitting in the lobby of a library in Sacramento, California. So I hope you’ll forgive me for the sound quality of part one of this episode, as we traded in for the experience of hearing Ginger’s story, as she packed her bags for her reunion day. So what you’re about to hear is Ginger’s perspective before reunion in August of 2019, then her recount in September, 2019 of her reunion, two weeks before our call Ginger celebrated her 35th birthday. She said she felt like she was living in an alternate universe, given the surreality of what was about to happen in her life. Ginger admitted that her main thought was concerned that she would fly to Kentucky. Then her birth mother would back out of their meeting. So this was an interesting interview because we could only record the first half without any knowledge of how things would turn out. So like I always do. I asked Ginger to describe her life in her home and in her community as an adoptee, Ginger grew up in a small coal mining town called Harlan, Kentucky way down in the Southeast corner, near Virginia and the Northern border of Tennessee. She said, it’s a place that’s unlike the rest of America. Ginger’s parents were trying to have children for 10 years before the call came for her parents to pick her up.

Ginger (04:30): She said she ran right out to Belks. That was her store that she liked to go to. And she bought the prettiest little baby clothes and bottles and all this stuff. And she drove, um, the requisite hours to come and pick me up. And she said, she, she went into the hospital, she and dad, and they looked into this window with little bassinets of all kinds of little babies. And she said, she looked at me and she didn’t know which was her baby, but she said, Glen, I hope it’s that one. And she said, I was the prettiest little baby in the bassinet room. So she, she, um, said that they took her into a little room, um, and said, get ready for your baby. And they brought the baby in and it was indeed me. And so with that story, um, she tells it with such love and she, she just, uh, has always made me feel like adoption was a really special thing rather than like a thing that I should be self conscious about or anything.

Damon (05:37): So since Ginger felt special, she flaunted her adoption for how special she was to have been chosen. But every once in a while, as she expressed her pride for being adopted, the person she was telling would respond apologetically as if she had admitted something with pride that she should have been ashamed of. It hadn’t occurred to her that there might be a sad story to be told about being adopted. Still her mom and dad were wonderful parents as is often the case after a child is adopted Ginger’s birth parents had a biological child three and a half years after her adoption. So they lived a bit of a nature versus nurture experiment. Seeing how her sister developed in contrast with her own development being raised by the same parents. I asked Ginger what she noticed in their family.

Ginger (06:28): According to my own case study, I would have to say that nature and nurture are both very viable factors in how we turn out, like what our morals and our, our goals and, and our like, values are. Um, but like certainly nature is a huge, huge part of it. You, you can not deny it.

Damon (06:56): Ginger says her family are very quiet people, not big talkers, very kind and loving. They’re dark haired, not super tall, not particularly adventurous. And generally by the book kinds of people.

Ginger (07:10): And I, on the other hand am like the Flamingo, uh, just crazy tall, um, blonde, blue eyed, uh, loud artistic person who, um, uh, I, I was, uh, I was just the multicolored sheep of my family, I guess you could say. And luckily my mom and dad, they, they nurtured this side of me. My mom put me in like every, she put me in piano lessons and all the different sports and all the different, um, singing, acting, all that stuff. And it was cool because though my sister and I are worlds apart when it comes to personality, we we’re still just best friends to this day because we, we just get each other. And I wonder sometimes like if we were, uh, a lot closer in personality, if we would be as, as close, because we, we never like experienced competing or anything at all, my mom was so attentive to like, well, if I give one child something, I have to do the same for the other. She, she was almost to a fault just obsessed with making everything even so that I wouldn’t ever feel like I wasn’t a part of the family.

Damon (08:37): To me, Ginger sounded like she was pretty well content in her family. She told me she never gave search and reunion a second thought growing up. But when she was 18, the curiosities popped into her mind. She spoke with her mother about her inner thoughts. So her mom handed over a folder of Ginger’s non identifying information, her birth mother’s last name was identifiable in the file. So using her dial up internet, she got online and searched for babies born on her birthday to any woman with her birth mother’s last name. She found a match and wrote down the woman’s very unique first name expecting that after nearly 20 years, the woman would probably be buried. Ginger searched for the unique first name as a married woman in Kentucky, lo and behold,

Ginger (09:29): There was a name that matched that, but that was the principal of a high school. And so I clicked on this and there was a picture of her on the website of the high school. And as soon as I saw that picture, I just knew that that was her because she, she just looked like me and I had never experienced that before.

Damon (09:52): She could see that the expression on the woman’s face, her eyes, the texture of her birth mother’s hair looked just like herself.

Ginger (10:01): The top half of her face, and her hair looked so much like me and I just, I just knew it was her. And, and when my mom came in to, I showed her and I remember, I don’t know if my mom would even really like, admit to this or remember this, but I saw like a little bit of fear in my mom’s eyes because she, my mom was like, Oh, she’s so pretty. And I think mom sort of worried like, Oh, you’re like, you’re going to leave me for, for your birth mother, because she’s so pretty and so successful and this kind of thing. And, um, I didn’t even think to myself, like when I, when I saw her face, I wasn’t like, she was pretty, um, I was just like, Oh, she looks like me a lot, but her, her jealousy for a second, there was just natural. And, and she never, like, she never has, uh, displayed jealous tendencies at all. She, she has like, talked about concerns, little here and there just, she, she tells me about her feelings like, but she, she really, my mom is really excited for me to meet my birth mother, but she thinks that’ll be really grounding for me. And she, uh, she’s curious herself too.

Damon (11:18): Ginger said that in her late teens, not super emotionally intelligent, she didn’t realize the gravity of the picture. She had just discovered online. She just thought it was kinda cool. Foremost for her was knowing the story of why she was placed for adoption and how the whole thing went down there online was her birth mother’s email address. So Ginger nervously drafted an email.

Ginger (11:43): I don’t know why I was just, I didn’t know what her life was like, and I really didn’t want her to, I didn’t want to infringe on her in any way. Um, but I did want to know what the story was. So I, I emailed her and the last like lines of the email I remember was like, well, it would just be so easy to click send. And so I did, I just click, click send. And two days later I got a reply from her. And that was when I was 19. And remember I’m 35 and I still haven’t met her.

Damon (12:17): Her birth mother wrote back a very detailed email answering the question of Ginger’s backstory. The woman’s story picked up from the time when she was 19 years old, about to start college,

Ginger (12:30): Her brother, she had two brothers and one of them had recently died in a motorcycle accident. And she was in a deep depression and she was still like plugging away at college, just like trying to be the best she could be. But as you can imagine, her parents were not there for her in this time of loss, really, because they had had, they had suffered the worst loss you can suffer. And so her parents and her other brother were not really emotionally there for her at that time. And she didn’t really have anybody like who could, she could like lean on. Um, the only person she really had was this on again, off again, boyfriend that she had had for a couple of years. Um, that’s what she told me that he was, he was this on again, off again, boyfriend. And, um, she said that she ended up getting pregnant that first year of college. So she actually didn’t start to show until like, until about five months along. And so she just went about her business. Then she went to another city for one semester and had me, and then she went back to college. Like nothing had happened, just continued with her college, sucked it up and got her degree and went on to become a principal of high school.

Damon (13:51): Ginger’s birth mother leaned on her boyfriend for emotional support. Then Ginger was conceived. She said that even in the woman’s writing, she could see pieces of herself the same turns of phrase and self expression. As if the email had almost been written in her own voice. I realized her birth mother had emailed the story of her own pregnancy at 19, very close to the same age. Ginger was when she was drafting her inquisitive email to her birth mother.

Ginger (14:23): And that’s the thing that I look back and think, Oh my Lord, I was so blind. Um, as a 19 year old to like, I was in my own world there, I was in college too. I was like about to go study abroad for like the second time. And I was just a little punk rocker. Like bebopping around doing my own thing. I had my own little jerk of a boyfriend. And, um, it was like, it was like, I, all I wanted in that time was like the answers. And when I got them, it was like, Oh, this is so cool. She seems so cool. I thought I wasn’t like going there emotionally. I wasn’t like really like thinking about her and like what she had gone through in that time

Damon (15:11): They wrote back and forth, conveying shallow pieces of themselves. Mostly Ginger talking narcissistically about herself, a self centered teenager. At one point Ginger’s birth mother didn’t reply to an email and things died off Ginger’s curiosity had been satisfied and having a picture of her birth mother online was a place where she could go back to see the woman she came from. But her initial curiosities were satisfied from time to time. Ginger Googled her birth mother and could see she was very involved as a pillar of the community. Ginger said she probably pushed down some self-inflicted shame about possibly tarnishing, the woman’s reputation in the community that she held. So dear

Ginger (15:55): And I sorta thought me like making further moves to like, get to know her at this time. It just might be something she’s not ready for because she, she’s kind of a big deal in this small town. She’s like, she’s like, well known and well loved in that town. And it might be a big scandal to say like, Oh, she has a daughter that she had when she was 18. And

Damon (16:24): Ginger commented that the woman never had any other children. Yet. She surrounds herself with kids as the principal of a high school. It makes her wonder why the woman never had any other children. She added that the very first email said something that haunted her for a while. The Pang to be back in contact with her birth mother wouldn’t fully rise again until Ginger was 30.

Ginger (16:50): She and her husband have a relationship that’s just full of humor and they do their thing and they’re, and they never had kids. And what she said was, she said, we didn’t want to be responsible for what we might create at time. I was like, kind of horrified by that statement, you know, like I was like, I’m what you created. And like, what does that mean?

Damon (17:12): Ginger told me she read that email differently. As an adult. She explained that when she turned 30, she had been in a wonderful relationship for two years. Today, they’re married with twins. But back when Ginger was 30, she said she had a wave of issues come over her that manifested themselves in their relationship.

Ginger (17:32): It was as if I had like this anger inside me and I didn’t know why, like, and, and my husband and I would get into arguments and he would point this out to me and be like, I just don’t know why you’re so angry about like this small thing. It was, it was like, as every time he would talk to me about like something that I could work on, I would just freak out and rage against him, like, like a defense mechanism. And so I started going to therapy. I had gone to therapy many times in my life because it’s just great. And this therapist started sort of being like, well, do you think that this has anything to do with you being adopted? And I’m like, no, of course not. Like, I don’t mind that I’m adopted it’s, I’m fine with it. I had a great relationship with my parents and, you know, it’s, it’s nothing that I even think about. And it’s like that planted the seed for me of like, well, I wonder if this adoption status has something to do with like something dark inside me. And, um, that was something I sort of sought to learn more about. So I read a lot of books about like adoption and all these things and, and still, I still didn’t really buy it though. I was like, you know, honestly, I really don’t mind. Like I really don’t. I have, I’m still close with my family. Um, I’m fine with being adopted.

Damon (19:03): Ginger started reading books about adoption, like the primal wound, trying to understand the trauma of babies being taken from their birth mother, what that lasting impression is on the adult person and whether it was even possible that this explanation of what adoptees endure could even possibly be something that was impacting her. Ginger just wasn’t convinced at 32 years old, she was in the best relationship she’d ever been in before.

Ginger (19:33): Like I said, this was a wonderful relationship. The first person that I had ever been with who actually, um, rather than just being a doormat that I rolled over with my big personality, he was a person who, who stood up to me and like showed me like a mirror for myself, uh, in all good and bad ways. So I, I feel like because of him, my husband now, I still continue to become a better person and like really do a lot of, uh, self reflection. And he does too. We’re both, we’re very different, but very the same.

Damon (20:12): She and her now husband had been dating for four years, but were unmarried at the time at 32, Ginger got pregnant accidentally with their twins, giving birth to twins, took Ginger back to her own birth. And even back to her birth, mother’s email from years before

Ginger (20:31): Once I had my babies, um, I, I had them and I just immediately felt like a different person and all of the feelings that the little baby newborn me must been going through. I like, I felt them through my babies. They were laid on my chest like immediately. And, and this was the first time in my life I had ever seen any person and will look to them in the eyes was of my bloodline. And it felt it was just so powerful. And, um, that, that planted the seed of curiosity. Once again, this was the first time I really was like, I need to know about her, about my birth mother, like more about her. And that’s when I reread that email. And I read into it like, um, not like some flippant response that was just like, like, Oh yeah, this is the story, which is what I had seen when I was 19, but a real, real, raw and rugged email that she had like poured her heart into and, and had told me like, like, man, I, I was really going through it.

Ginger (21:42): And as a 32 year old, who was in a stable relationship and having babies, I can say having being pregnant and having babies was the hardest thing I have done to date. Like it was absolutely ridiculously, I mean, life shatteringly difficult, emotionally, spiritually, physically. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And I thought she was 19 or 18. And she had just gone through the loss of her brother, who she was really close to and had nobody to rely on. And she still just did this. She still carried me knowing that she wasn’t going to be able to take care of me. She went through all of this pregnancy and all of this stuff and gave me life, even though she knew that she wasn’t going to be able to, she was going to have to give me up. And I thought of how, how it would feel if I had to give up one or both of my little ones, like without holding them. And it just like broke my heart for her. And I just thought, wow, like what a strong and amazing person.

Damon (22:54): It was about a year after the twins were born and Ginger had reanalyzed her birth. Mother’s email that she finally decided to write her birth mother to share her appreciation for what she endured to give Ginger life.

Ginger (23:08): So that’s all I wanted to do was tell her like, Hey, I’ve, re-read your email. And I, I just want you to know that, like, this is what you have enabled to happen in this world. You have done this because of you. These two perfect little beings are now in this world, bringing light and love to everyone around them. And it’s because of you and they’re 25%. You and I sent it to her and she wrote back and said, you have no idea what you have done for me. You have just uncapped 34 years of guilt and shame and made me feel so much better. And she asked me, would you be willing to, to meet in that said, Oh yeah, I definitely would. So we set it up and that’s, what’s about to happen.

Damon (23:54): Ginger followed through on her internal desire to express her appreciation to her birth mother, which turned out to be fulfilling for her too. She said her biggest fear was that after all the work she’s done herself to transform and dig deep journaling, meditating, going to therapy and everything that her birth mother wouldn’t even be close to being ready

Ginger (24:18): This has had an effect on me being adopted. Like it really has, and I’m ready to like to go and just see what kind of healing and what kind of connection we can come up with. And I think that what I’m afraid of is that she’s just gonna be like, so like have such walls built up from all this she’s gone through that, that she’s going to hold me at an arm’s length. And I’m like, I’m fine with that if that’s what has to happen, but I will be disappointed for sure.

Damon (24:53): Well, listen, I’m going to quickly wish you the best of luck. We’re about to get cut off. I think this was awesome.

Ginger (24:56): Thank you.

Damon (24:59): I’m so excited for you for, tomorrow or for Saturday or whatever day you’re leaving. Best of luck, Ginger. And I’ll talk to you later

Ginger (25:05): I can’t wait to know how it goes. Alright. I’ll talk to you later. Okay. Bye bye.

Damon (25:15): And that was it. I continued my trip and Ginger, adventured off into the unknown in Kentucky a couple of months later after she had some time to let everything sink in, we reconnected. Hello, Ginger. And what’s happening? How are you?

Ginger (25:34): Hey, how are you?

Damon (25:36): I am doing fine. We finally reconnect. So before we get to the reunion, I want you to just tell me, you know, we talked about a lot in the moments leading up to your departure and, uh, you know, obviously we hung up sort of thinking, let’s see how it goes. And I’m, you know, I wished you were, um, I’d love for you to just tell me a little bit more like, can you remember what you thought about what might happen on your reunion before you made this flight? Like, what was your anticipation like and what did you think about after our conversation?

Ginger (26:09): Oh my gosh. So at that point, when it was getting right up to the wire, I really was like, I mean, it was almost as if the nervousness had just given way to complete disbelief that this was even happening. And I was just like, I couldn’t even think about anything. I was like, I was afraid to make any predictions or anything like that. So I was just in this, like, um, basically what I was thinking was I’m going to go visit my, my best friend in Louisville. So whatever happens I’ll at least have a good trip, cause I’m going to visit her and hanging out with her. And I was trying not to even put any expectations on the meeting cause I had no idea if it would be super disappointing or if it would be like, awesome. I don’t know. It was, I was really hoping I had a hope that it would be, it would answer all of these questions and I’m not even talking about questions that are like that. I can even put into words, just kind of like this, like this surreal question of who I am. And I just wanted to like, feel it firsthand and like just maybe feel a little more grounded by knowing that.

Damon (27:25): I can, I could definitely imagine did soar. That’s interesting that you phrased it the way that you did, like not even questions that you could articulate, but you just know you’re looking for something that’s really fast. Ginger flew out of Los Angeles, California to Louisville, Kentucky alone, leaving her wonderful husband with the twins. She arrived on the red eye, then took a nap. One of her friends took the day off to hang out with Ginger. They went out to the movies and went to a distillery,

Ginger (27:56): Had a little bourbon, had a good time. And I thought, okay, well this is not a lost cause, but I was still just like, I think the night before I, my heart was just like, Oh, just beating a thousand miles a minute. And um, and also I was super nervous because she, my birth mother w we had planned to meet on that weekend. And, and um, she like, wasn’t contacting me. I had never heard her voice on the phone. We had never texted. The only communication we had was via email. And so that’s what, like, it made it feel really distant and weird like that maybe she didn’t even exist. Maybe I was getting nucleus.

Damon (28:42): That’s really interesting though, at no point, did you speak with her by phone?

Ginger (28:46): Yeah. And there, it was, it was very weird because I feel like the two of us both were doing this like dance and, and still kind of are of like, how close are we allowed to get, like how, w what is the line that, that by crossing it, I will be intruding upon you. And so I would have loved to talk to her, um, long before that, but the emailing, she would always like, wait a couple days to email me back, even if I would email. And I was feeling like, Oh man, she she’s like, got her a lot going on or something. And, um, and then when it was like, almost time to go like a few days before I emailed her and I was like, Hey, here’s my phone number. Um, so let’s like, maybe make some plans. Cause I didn’t, we didn’t have a plan on where we were going meet or when.

Ginger (29:42): And that was really like scary to me. Cause I was like, what if I fly all the way here? And she’s just going to chicken out or something. And even the day before I was hanging out with my friend all day and she still had not like responded to that email. Um, and yeah, it was really disconcerting. And so finally, uh, that day I was asking my friend, Julia, I was like, what should I do? Like, I was actually kind of getting mad cause I’m like, okay. I think I flew thousands of miles here. And you’re like, not even writing me back. It’s really odd

Damon (30:21): Emailing her birth mother with an angry tone, like what she was feeling. Wasn’t going to go over very well. Ginger had been writing for a while to ask what their reunion plans should be. But her birth mother always dodged the direct question. Normally Ginger is the kind of girl who doesn’t mind winging it. But for this momentous event, she felt like they should at least know when and where they were going to connect. Ginger emailed one more time to say, Hey, I’m here in town and we need a plan. Her heart was racing with anticipation. When she received a one liner email back that basically said, Hey, let me figure out the plan. I’ll get right back to you. Ginger’s birth mother finally texted her back that night, right before bed to name the restaurant to meet at and said, we’ll be there at 10 30.

Damon (31:12): Ginger’s thinking we, her birth mother mentioned her own parents many emails ago, but maybe the we meant she was bringing her husband no matter Ginger was going alone and whomever she met the next morning would be just fine. When she woke up the next day, she analyzed her outfits to figure out what to wear. She wanted to make a great first impression, but not be too overdressed for the super casual dining establishment her birth mother selected for the hour long car ride. Ginger occupied her mind with a comedy podcast to keep herself from focusing on the gravity of what was about to happen and to keep from crying the whole way.

Ginger (31:55): So when I got there, I felt like I was pretty like, you know, as calm as one to be in this situation. And I walked into the restaurant, I didn’t like text her beforehand or anything. I just walked in thinking, I wonder who’s going to be with her. I wonder if I’ll know who she is. And um, I walked right in the door and from the back, um, she was walking toward me and I knew it was her. And she was like smiling. And I saw her and she saw me and I just, I gave her a big hug and I felt like her hair. And it was like my same hair, texture, really rough, coarse hair texture that we have.

Ginger (32:43): And um, she, she was my same exact height, had my same exact body type and I tear up a little. And so did she, and, and the first thing she said was, she said, I didn’t think I was going to cry. And I said, Oh, I knew I was going to, I was like, I always cry. I cry everything. And she’s like, I never do. I, I thought about that. And I was like, man, uh, I told you the story of how, what a strong bad ass. She must have been too fast to do what she did in 19 after losing her brother and all that stuff. And I thought, man, she, she must like be that type of person who really like puts those emotions in like a box and like keeps them there. That’s how she’s texting me, which I’m the opposite. I am like a fountain of emotions at all times, but okay.

Ginger (33:40): The other person who was there was her husband and he was so amazing. They had been together since three years after I was born. And I just felt so much love from him too. Like that he was so invested in, in this, it seemed like he was just as much invested in me as she was. And he, he just, he gave me such a huge hug and he was like, this really? They were both like these effervescent, like funny people who like we joked, like we just kept talking and talking and they would get all my jokes and laugh and I would, and they would make jokes and they seem to have like such a good relationship where they just were really good yin and yang. And, um, and I’m really glad that he came too because I, uh, I don’t know if, if the whole thing would have gone as smoothly, if he wouldn’t have come.

Damon (34:43): Ginger said her birth mother’s husband was non-intrusive but completely engaged in the reunion. Ginger said she was so nervous. She was yammering about her trip and all kinds of stuff. But then they got into the facts of their respective lives. She described her life story to that point, stopping to ask questions or listen, when her birth mother said,

Ginger (35:04): Oh, that’s just like me. And we would just go back and forth talking. And it seems that we really do have such similar personalities, um, which is really cool.

Damon (35:19): It must have been interesting for you then to hear her looking for pieces of herself in you. I find that adoptees, we are often looking for pieces of ourselves in the parents, but she actually said she was looking for pieces of herself in you. That’s really interesting.

Ginger (35:34): That is, it is interesting. And she was, I, I can really tell because she would just, it was like, as the, um, as the minutes went by, I could just see us all like exhaling and I could see her just kind of like looking at me and nodding in a way that was like, yes, I, I totally understand you. I get you. And this is what I hoped you would be like. And it was really, it was awesome to feel that way.

Damon (36:09): Ginger, her birth mother and her husband sat in the booth at the restaurant for an hour, without even ordering a bite of food. After two hours, she suggested they go for a walk. She said that with each passing hour of their time together, the topic of conversation would close. And it seemed like things could end, but Ginger didn’t want it to there wasn’t really anywhere to go. So they wandered up the road, aimlessly accidentally discovering a flea market. They toward the aisles talking about the trinkets they saw and how they triggered memories from their respective lives. Feeling like things were about to end again. Ginger said,

Ginger (36:49): Do you guys want to go back and get a milkshake or something? And they’re like, yeah, let’s, let’s go get a milkshake. So we went back to the restaurant again and stayed for another hour and got a milkshake. So we ended up just talking forever. And I guess like me hanging on, like that was kind of like, I didn’t know. And I still don’t know. Um, and I’ve heard a lot of other adoptees say that, like, it’s almost harder after the first meeting, because you’re like, you don’t know where this is going to go. And you’re kind of like anxious to know where it’s going to go. And I didn’t want to like leave so soon because I thought, what if this is the only time that I get to meet her? And so I just wanted to like, hold onto it,

Damon (37:34): Right? Not to mention you flew across the country, like, yeah. Put in some time her birth mother and husband had plans for the evening, which made for a natural break point from their meeting. Ginger said there were a lot of elements of her birth mother that reminded her of herself, both positive and negative. Her birth mother was still physically fit, which is a goal Ginger hopes to maintain for herself at her birth mother’s age. They have a similar sense of humor and their relationships with their husbands are reminiscent of each others. The women tend to be the ones with the wild ideas. The men tend to bring a logical approach to the relationship, balancing things out like yin and yang, but amidst the positive attributes she admired in her mother. She learned about something. She had always questioned about herself,

Ginger (38:26): All those good things about her made me feel like excited about like my prospects for the future. But also as we were walking, I remember her husband said at one point, he goes, well, she can be mean. And I said, Oh really? I was like, Oh, I can do. And she’s like, yeah, she’s like a little Chihuahua that just step on and she just goes rararara. But then she said, and then like five minutes later, she ran over it in five minutes. And I was like, Oh, she’s like, yeah. And then after that, she just wants to crawl back up in your lap again. And I was like, Oh, that is exactly like me. And it’s like my whole adult life. I’ve sort of considered that to be like this character flaw that like, I need to work on so hard. I need to, I need to figure out why then I just get so angry and like have these emotional flareups and whatever. But that made me feel like, you know what, no, that’s just, that’s maybe man, leave me alone. Like I want to let off some steam, I can let off some steam and I’m not a bad person for it. And like, I will apologize if I offend anybody and it’s fine. Like, that’s, that’s just where I came from now. You know?

Damon (39:50): Yeah. I asked Ginger how her reunion ended.

Ginger (39:55): We just went outside together and we just kind of gave each other a hug. And, and um, her husband said, uh, he was smiling at me and gave me big hug. And he’s like, we’re just so glad you’re normal.

Damon (40:12): Okay.

Ginger (40:13): I like, well, I’m glad you’re normal. And he’s like, he’s like, Oh, and you, you just keep on being the fun person that you are. And he said, keep, keep on making that your priority. And that was like such a cool thing to know that my birth mother like makes fun and light humor a priority in her life because that’s not how I grew up at all. And yet I was that growing up for my family, but it was like me swimming against the current, for sure.

Damon (40:48): Speaking about Ginger’s biological grandparents, her birth mother said not only are they still alive, but they are really living life. They ride a motorcycle, they sing and perform and are pretty well known in the area. Ginger definitely feels like she’s found her people. She said that while the visit with her birth mother and her husband was awesome. She didn’t feel like she wanted to ask about her birth father in front of the man who was so accepting of her return. She also didn’t plan on bringing it up as a specific question. Ginger, just kind of hoped that her birth mother would lead into a discussion about the man or something else organic would happen to broach the topic.

Ginger (41:29): So that’s kind of like to be continued. Um, I still really want to find out about that side of myself as what I know about him. And I don’t know if I told you this before, was that when she found out she was pregnant, um, she told him and he didn’t really have any, uh, reaction one way or the other. He was like, he seemed kind of just apathetic about the whole thing. So she told him she was getting an abortion, so he doesn’t know that I exist. So it’s kind of a big drama. It would be kind of wild for me to show up and be like, Oh, hi, remember me? I’m exactly like that lady that you, uh, when you were 19.

Damon (42:12): Right, right. Just crazy. Huh?

Ginger (42:15): Yeah. It’s it’s wild. So that’s, that’s going to be something that I’m, I’m sort of going to pursue on the down low by myself a little bit and see what I can find. And hopefully we build more of a relationship. It is kind of hard since I live in California and she lives so far away from me. Right. Um, and, and I don’t know how much she wants, but she really loved looking at videos of my kids and stuff. And you can tell she was really interested and, and she actually like texted me the other day. This made me so happy because out of nowhere, she just texted me a picture of her parents, um, the other day and was like, here’s, my parents were, were eating. Uh, and then she sent me a picture of them at a restaurant. And she was like, I just took this photo.

Ginger (43:03): And so that, that told me that she must’ve been talking about me with them. And that made me really happy to know she was thinking about me and that she could text me because I was always, I was kind of afraid that we’d be going back to like the email, like I’m not allowed to call you or I don’t know. I’d still be kind of nervous to call her. I wish that I could get the courage to call her if I like, just wanted to talk about something. Cause I know that she’s like my type of people who, like, if I needed advice, she would be able to give it to me. But I don’t like, I’m scared to, to do, to take that step. Cause what if she’s like, not ready? So I don’t know. I don’t know where I’m there.

Damon (43:50): Aren’t there some incremental steps though in between though of just like getting through this texting phase where you’re shooting pictures a year, gets to her and she’s sending you a picture of where she is on a Sunday or whatever. And then like, you know, calling out at the blue, like just, Hey, just thought I would check in and say what’s up and keeping it light. There’s a lot to say before you get to the like, you know, you seem like my kind of people, I need advice kind of thing. That is pretty heavy.

Ginger (44:18): Yeah. Good point. Good point. Yeah. I guess I’m, I’m jumping the gun, but it’s, I’m so excited that to finally have like someone who could potentially be a role model for me, a female role model. I mean, it sounds awful to be like my own mom. Wasn’t a female role model to me, but she, she was in, in that she was a wonderful loving mom who like showed us so much love that it was ridiculous. But the thing about it was she showed that love, like at an expense to herself, she didn’t take care of herself and she didn’t like value herself or respect herself as much as like, I wish she would have or because she was so focused on us and, and sacrifice is like what she believes to be like the greatest kind of love. But I don’t like feel that way about, like, I don’t want to show that to my kids. I don’t want to show them like, you know what? You should really not love yourself and just love everyone else and put them first. I don’t want to do that.

Damon (45:25): Yeah, no, you’re right. It’s important to strike balance and show that to your kids. You’re that’s 100% correct. So let me ask you this, you know, you reached out with an email that said basically, like I’ll never be the same person after this reunion, as you reflect, how do you feel about sort of what you knew and how you felt before and where are you now?

Ginger (45:53): Well, I feel like I do feel more grounded and happy or about who I am. I really feel like I, because of like what I know about my maternal grandparents and, and about her and even about the partner that she chose, I just, I really do feel, I feel vindicated in like, just at peace, more, more at peace with myself and with everything. Like, I feel like I, um, I’m more accepting of myself and I also like, feel like I can totally appreciate my, my adopted family even more. I don’t know why. I, I don’t know why, but I, I just, um, I so appreciate them for, for supporting me through this. And, um, and they’re just always there for me. And it’s like, I know that they’re always going to be there for me and maybe that’s why I feel so, uh, so appreciative of them because I do, even though I feel so much more grounded knowing where I came from, I also like don’t know if I will get to have a relationship with my birth mother. Um, and it’s just, uh, not knowing that is a little bit hard, but I do know that I have my family, my husband and my kids and my, and my adopted family. Who’s my real family. And that’s really enough. Like, I really feel like it, if this is all that happens, it’s enough, but I still hold out hope for getting to know them better and meeting the rest of them.

Damon (47:47): Yeah, I can imagine. But it’s a, it’s a nice sense of fulfillment that you get for at least getting to check the box on meeting her.

Ginger (47:56): Exactly, exactly.

Damon (47:59): Spent for quality hours together. And sounds like things went pretty well. And if nothing else happened and you could always reflect on that. And of course you would reflect with the desire to have had more, but it’s, it’s better than some of the alternatives and it probably feels pretty good. So that’s really amazing. I’m happy for you. Wow. Yeah. Well, thanks for reaching out before you got the chance to meet her. Cause that made this really interesting to sort of hear you before and in the aftermath and in hearing you feel like you have got a sense of fulfillment and understanding and grounding is really cool.

Ginger (48:38): Yeah, definitely. I’m so glad we got to record this moment. Momentous moment in my life.

Damon (48:46): Well take care Ginger. Thank you so much for your time. I appreciate the call and all the best to you. Good luck with whatever you choose to do in terms of, in terms of trying to find your birth father and, uh, and with your relationship with your birth mom. Good luck.

Ginger (48:59): Thank you so much. And same to you

Damon (49:02): With Ginger. I’ll talk to you later. Take care.

Ginger (49:04): Okay, bye.

Damon (49:10): Hey, it’s me. I’m so glad Ginger emailed me before her reunion with her birth mother capturing her feelings of anticipation beforehand, then learning how she found pieces of herself and felt grounded afterward were fascinating. I also liked how she even learned that the marital relationship her birth mother has with her husband mirrors Ginger’s own relationship with her wonderful husband. It was nice to hear her speak of vindication and validation about who she is and her personality traits that have bugged her as an adult, but that she now readily accepts as part of where she comes from. I’m Damon Davis. And I hope you’ll find something in Ginger’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, if you would like to share your adoption journey and your attempt to connect with your biological family, please visit who am I really

Damon (50:13): You can follow the show at, or follow on Twitter at Waireally. If the show is meaningful to you, you can support me with contributions to keep it going at or Venmo at Damon L Davis. Please subscribe to who am I really on? Apple podcasts, Google play, or wherever you get your podcasts. It would mean so much to me. If you took a moment to leave a five star rating there, those ratings can help others to find the podcast, too. If you’re interested, you can find who am I really an adoptee memoir on I hope you’ll add my story to your reading list.

Who Am I Really?

Find the show on: