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124 – I Didn’t Do Anything To Him

Gayla called me, with her best friend Lisa, from Georgia. Gayla said she was loved so much by her adopted parents that you never would have known she was an adoptee. When she found her biological mother they got really close until the woman said something unkind about her adopted mother that strained their relationship some. Locating her biological father, Gayla was met with rejection until she drove 5 hours to meet the man face to face. A well intended misstep drove a wedge between them, so she holds out hope that her apology will be meaningful and they can be friends. This is Gayla’s journey. 

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Gayla (00:04): I lived without him for 53 years. And you know, I’ll be fine the next 53, if he chooses not to come around, I’m not sitting here by myself without any 11 alive. So I can’t, I can’t dwell on it. You know, like I say, there are days that that are hard.

New Speaker (00:26): Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?

Damon (00:44): 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 Gayla who called me with her best friend Lisa from Georgia gala said she was loved so much by her adoptive parents that you never would have known that she was an adoptee when she found her biological mother, they got really close until the woman said something unkind about her adopted mother that strained their relationship. So locating her biological father gala was met with rejection until she drove five hours to meet the man face to face a well-intended misstep, drove a wedge between them. So she holds out hope that her apology will be meaningful and they can be friends. This is gayla’s journey. When gayla called me, she wanted to make sure I knew she wasn’t alone. As she shared her story.

Gayla (01:42): I am going to tell you, I have my support system here with me, my dearest friend, who has been through this journey with me, who is needed. I felt like she needed to be here. It’s Lisa across the coldest side from her for a reason, God put me here and she’s just the next best thing to a sister. I couldn’t have a better support.

Damon (02:06): It’s amazing. Well, tell Lisa, I said, hi, hi name and I can hear you. Hey Lisa, I’m glad you’re there for her. This is really cool. Very good. I’m interested. I’m going to be interested to hear too how you’ve been supportive over the years. So

Gayla (02:21): She reigns me in that’s how she is,

Damon (02:23): Oh yeah, Lisa, you’re the one. You’re the one to talk her off.

Gayla (02:28): Definitely.

Damon (02:31): Gayla said she always knew she was adopted, but you would’ve never known. She was adopted. If someone didn’t tell you, she was loved very much by her parents.

Gayla (02:41): I was there. So really it’s really kind of fun to think of my life as an adoption story, because I didn’t feel adopted.. Don’t even contacting you in that list because people may listen to this and say, well, she wasn’t adopted, even though I was, I was never made to feel that way. And I think I have an exceptional adoption journey and I feel very blessed by that.

Damon (03:16): That’s really awesome. Tell me a little bit about what, what that blessing means. Is it, I mean, is it loving comfort? Is it support in your athletics or performance arts? Tell me what life was like. How were your parents to you?

Gayla (03:32): My mother, there was nothing in her eyes that I couldn’t do. I’m adding, always believed that I could do anything that she did. She supported the adventure that I went down, whether she necessarily agreed with it or not. She, she was just, she was a support, like everybody dreams to have on a parent. I mean, she, she wanted a child so badly as she showered me with love. I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but she told me to the breakfast table until my feet on the ground. I mean, that’s, that’s how much she loved me. She greeted me in the morning with a hug and a kiss. And then I love you and pick me up and down the hall way too long.

Damon (04:20): Yeah. But everybody, I mean, it’s good. It’s better that she be a good parent in that way then a not so hot parent in a whole lot of other ways, right?

Gayla (04:29): Yeah. Most definitely. Most definitely. And actually she was a stern woman and there, you know, there were rules and there were consequences and I’m not meant to say that there weren’t times that I really didn’t like her, but I knew at the end of the day, that all of that was wrapped in love. So, you know, after I got over my pal, we were back to normal. So that’s great.

Damon (04:56): Yeah. We all go through it biological or not. There comes a moment. When you think to yourself, if there was a trade in program for parents, I might enroll. Gayla’s parents were a little older for their generation when they adopted her, her mother was 38 years old. Her father was 45. They tried for years to adopt, but health issues prevented the state of Georgia from approving their desires. Gayla was adopted as an infant. She was delivered from the hospital to the insurance office, where her mother was employed by the gentlemen that handled her adoption. Everyone in the office knew she was seeking adoption and they were all supportive buying her a bed and supplies as they participated in the adoption journey. As an office, family Gayla lived in a small rural town in Georgia. Her father was an insulin dependent, diabetic when she was four years old, her father had pneumonia

Gayla (05:52): And went to the hospital. Mom took him to the hospital and the doctor insisted on the chest X Ray. And he really wasn’t strong enough to sit up by himself much less stand. And then when he stood up to go for the x-ray, he had a heart attack, he fell over on top of my mom. They were in the nursing room floor. So that was bad. I mean, it was, it was tough. I was a daddy’s girl wherever he was, I was so that was a hard conversation for my mother when she come home to try to explain that he wasn’t coming back. And that was the first word I asked her is where’s daddy that you know, we, we managed,

Damon (06:36): Yeah, that sounds really tough. At four years old for a daddy’s girl that’s I can’t even imagine. Wow.

Gayla (06:45): I was a little bit spoiled wherever he was. I was, you know, he, he bought me a pony. I couldn’t sit on the thing. I was 18 months old. I couldn’t sit up by myself, but I had it cause he wanted me to have it. So he, he was my joy. I loved my mother don’t get me wrong. I was a daddy’s girl. Most definitely

Damon (07:09): Gayla and her mother managed, they were alone for eight years. Her mother moved them back to her hometown, then got remarried when gayla was 12. That was tough for gala. But her stepdad was someone her mom had already known for years. She said she was really against their marriage in the beginning. And she said some things to him that she later regretted, especially because in the end gayla said she wouldn’t have traded him for anything. He was just a good man. They were married for 20 years before her mom’s passing. Since things were so loving in her life. I wondered what the trigger was that made her want to search. She said it all came from a dream she had

Gayla (07:49): Had a dream when I was 22 and had I not had that dream, I probably never would have looked. And, and being a woman and, and someone who’s, you know, carries life. If you choose to have children, I dreamed I had twins. And it was like, okay, you don’t know anything about yourself and you don’t know the twins or something that might be in your future. You, you really don’t know anything about yourself. So my mother had always told me she would help me look. Like I said, she had health issues, so she was always very open and, and tried to tell me, you know, when you’re ready and I’m like, tell him, look for her, your mama. And that’s not going to change. And you know, so when I had that dream, it was like, yeah, you probably need some answers.

Gayla (08:44): So at that point was when I decided, and that was probably the hardest conversation I ever had with my mother, because even though she had always told me she would help me. And she did that because, you know, she didn’t know if she was gonna live until I was a grown woman. And she wanted me to have a mother. If I, you know, was at that point where I still needed a mother. But that was hard because I felt like even though she had offered the information and to help me, it was almost like of betrayal, but, you know, she helped me and love me and say, we’ll do this. And we did.

Damon (09:23): It was around 1989 when Gayla broached the topic of a search with her mom starting the story of her search gayla told me about her private adoption.

Gayla (09:32): Like I said, they had tried for many years to go through the state and the state just kind of laughed at him and said no way. But my mother was a very determined person and when she wanted something and she was determined, she was going to make it happen. And she read her state representative who ironically lived in the same town that she did at the time. And told him that she wanted a baby and she was going to help her get one, which was kind of bold. But that was my mother until the day she died, she was a bold, bold person. And he happens to know the minister that my biological mother was living with. And he said, well, you know, I don’t know what her plans are, but I’ll reach out. So I had, my mother had the legal document that actually had my mother’s name on it, where she had signed the paperwork.

Gayla (10:27): So I had a lot more than those people do to start a search. It still wasn’t completely easy. I was fortunate that the representative we’re still living when I decided to look and he gave me the minister’s name. So I reached out to the minister. He really didn’t want to help me. And I get that he was protecting my biological mother and her right to privacy, but like my mom, I was kind of determined on him. So I wrote him a long letter and, you know, explain that. I understood that she was probably married and had children and that wasn’t my desire to tear up her family. But here’s some questions she can answer them and send them back. And she never has to, you know, never has to talk to me if she doesn’t want to. But I needed some answers.

Damon (11:22): Gayla dropped her letter in the mail to the minister. She hoped to the minister would reconsider. If she explained that she had no malicious intent in seeking her birth mother, she just wanted to know more about herself. Two weeks after mailing the letter, she was walking out the door for work one early morning when her phone rang, she almost let the call or leave a message on her answering machine. But having an older mother, she figured she’d better answer the phone just in case something was wrong and her mother needed her, Gayla went back inside to answer the call. And when

Gayla (11:54): I did it was of course my biological mother. So, wow.

Damon (11:59): You’re walking out the door and your biological mother calls. Wow.

Gayla (12:03): Yeah. Yeah. So brief conversation. Cause I was on my way to work and I couldn’t stop and talk, but I did call her back a couple days later and we had a very lengthy, probably two or three hour phone conversation.

Damon (12:22): Before we get into that it was two or three days. Like you’ve just gotten a call. You walked out the door, you couldn’t speak to your biological mother, but you’re, you’re Mullin is over for two or three days. What was going through your mind?

Gayla (12:37): I was anxious. I was scared. I didn’t know what all I was about to find out. I mean I didn’t know how much information I was going to get from her or how little, I didn’t know if you know, she and my father were married or anything. So I, you know, it was all kind of rolling through my head. It was, it was really like a roller coaster of emotion that I’m adding that to kind of get my thoughts together as to what I really wanted to know from her. So it was, it was exciting, but it was also calming and that I had the time to sit and gather my thoughts before I actually had the conversation with her.

Damon (13:22): That second conversation was good. Emotional Gayla said she was excited to hear her story as compared with the story she had dreamt up in her own mind about how she was conceived. The whole thing was emotional.

Gayla (13:35): We all, I guess, fantasize maybe about what our beginnings were. Mine was not the happiest. I was a one night stand. I’m still trying, even though it’s been 30 years still trying to piece it all together and make sure I didn’t miss things in that conversation fast forward now that I have met my father. So now I see both sides of things and there’s some things that my mother and I are going to have to revisit. But maybe I took the wrong way. But in that initial conversation, I mean, you know, it was kinda sad to find out that it wasn’t a pleasant thing for her, but you know, it was one of those things that I just had to stand back and say, there was nothing I could do to change that and take what she was telling me and process it and move forward. I found that, you know, that I have had a sister, I grew up an only child. So, you know, it was, it was neat to know that I had a sister. And so it was a lot of, a lot of new and a lot of sad and a lot of exciting all rolled up into one ball.

Damon (15:02): Yeah. Well, you’re the way you’re talking about your conception. It’s hard to know whether you’re saying your sad because you found out it was simply a one night stand or if there’s something deeper and she was assaulted

Gayla (15:20): I don’t believe from those early conversations. And like I said, I, now that I have the other side of things, that’s a conversation that we are going to have to have again, to get some clarity. I don’t necessarily think she was assaulted, but I don’t think it was a woman fuzzy. If that makes sense. The original conversation that we had was that she went on a blind date. So, I mean, she had gone out with this person, there was alcohol involved and I think one thing led to another and I think she probably regretted where it round up, but I don’t think until I had this continuing conversation with her, I don’t think that it was necessarily assault, but I don’t think that it was necessarily a hundred percent wanted either. I think it was a kinda, I want to get out of this, so let’s do it and move on and, and be done. And especially when I had been so blessed to live in such a loving home to find out that she found herself in that position where she probably did but felt like that was the only way to get out of it.

Damon (16:41): Yeah. Wow. Hmm. Yeah. That is. I’m trying to imagine what that must feel like, to feel like the only way out of a situation is your own bodily submission to give this other person what they are. Sounds like demanding, at least from her side of the story.

Gayla (17:04): Wow. Well, and, and that’s, that’s where I am with it right now. Like I say, I don’t have, I don’t have full story from either side and I don’t know that I’m ever going to get the full story from my father’s side, but you know, that will be his because then I’m left to assume and you know, assumptions, don’t always take you down the road that you want them to.

Damon (17:35): After that deep conversation Gayla and her birth mother agreed, they definitely wanted to meet one another and she wanted to meet her sister too. Gayla was an only child growing up. So the introduction of a sibling was a new adventure at the time Gayla was living in Southeast Alabama. Her first family lived in North Carolina Gayla, made the trip to see them. And she stayed in her birth mother’s home.

Gayla (17:59): And my sister, she said, you knew it all makes sense. She said, we would sit. And we would watch, you know, back in that era Murray and all these shows were big and they would do adoption stories. And, and my sister would say, you know, her mood would change. She said, and I never really understood why. And she said, but now I do. You know? So she even realized things that she really didn’t know was going on at the time, because she didn’t know about me. But she was witnessing the change and, and my mother’s mood and behavior, and, you know, just overall sense of what was happening in that time and place when they would be watching these shows, we hit it off pretty well. I mean, I was a novelty to her. She was a novelty to me, Mom an I were still feeling our way. You know, she wanted to know everything she could about me. I wanted to know everything that I could find out about her.

Damon (18:57): Tell me a little bit about what it was like to stay in her home. You’ve never met this woman before and you’re a guest in her house. And she’s your biological mother. What was that like?

Gayla (19:07): It was surreal really. I mean, I’ve always been a loving person. I don’t meet a stranger. So I mean, it was very comfortable because that’s just who I am. I don’t meet a stranger. I can walk up to somebody on the street and in 15 minutes, you’re probably gonna know way more about me than you want to. And I’m probably gonna know more about you, You intended to tell me, and that’s just, that’s who I am. I’m a people person. I love people. I don’t, I don’t meet a stranger. So it really wasn’t that odd. Other than I knew I was sitting in the house with a biological relative for the first time

Damon (19:56): Gayla’s sister could see ways that she was like her birth mother, her sister noticed they carried themselves in a similar fashion sometimes. And they did things in similar ways. Gayla said it was interesting for her sister to see someone else other than herself who had similarities with their mother, even though the sisters don’t necessarily favor one another. When their reunion weekend ended, they gave hugs, said, they’d see each other later. And they ended up having a great relationship for a very long time. Gayla’s birth mother even moved to Georgia. And while she was getting situated and finding a job, she lived with Gayla and her husband for awhile.

Gayla (20:32): It was just kind of like business as usual. We went along and we, it was almost like she had not ever not been in class, but at the same time it was new. Oh, that’s cool. Yeah. We have a, a rough patch. She, she did say something about my mother at one point that rubbed me wrong and it kinda left a, a hard spot, but, you know, I I’ve come to the realization that I have to let that go. I can’t let that be something that hinders my relationship. I mean, my mother is no longer with us and you know, I can let it fester in a ball or I can let go.

Damon (21:25): Yeah. It’s, it’s a funny thing that healing that you have to do, you know, you read the comment flies, it hits you hard, and then you realize you’re the only one still stinging from it. Right?

Gayla (21:37): Yeah. And you know, it was one of those situations where she had been in my children’s life, all of their lives. So I couldn’t just walk away. She was as much their grandmother as my adopted mother was I couldn’t, I couldn’t take something from my children that I had introduced to him, even though she was in my life before they came along. I couldn’t just sever that for them. So while our relationship hasn’t been what it was to begin with, I didn’t just totally, you know, put her out. I mean, that would have been wrong of me for my children’s sake.

Damon (22:22): Gayla’s birth mother shared her birth father’s first name and what she believed was his last name. Remember she had been set up on a blind date and given the circumstances, she had blocked out many details from the past. Her birth mother had even forgotten Gayla’s birth date, which Gayla said stung at first. But then she remembered the circumstances, how her birth mother just wanted to get out of there. And she empathized with her need to move those painful memories to the dark recesses of her mind gala had been looking for her birth parents for nearly 30 years, but without the man’s name, she didn’t know what she was looking for with those possible variations of the man’s last name, her birth mother gave her Gayla was able to search her DNA records and start narrowing the possibilities she had submitted her sample in 2018 after a work friend had been after Gayla to just go ahead and spit in the, to her results, brought back a second cousin match, which opened new doors, one, which had the last name she was looking for associated with her biological grandfather with a quick Facebook search. She found her biological father online.

Gayla (23:32): I actually, I found that picture of my nephew. That could be my son slim. I mean, wow. I matter of fact, I screenshotted it and I sent it to all of my, my dear friends and I said, does this look like my son. And they’re like, it’s not. And I’m like, Nope. You know, it was very heavy gene pool. Wow. I of course Facebook messaged him and my oldest sibling. And they didn’t respond. I had found a sister on that side too, and I really didn’t want to message her only cause I know I’m an emotional B you know, it was like, although as a female, I knew she would probably be the one to answer at the same time. You know, I knew the emotional component that was going to be there. So she was the last resort. Only because I knew what an emotional situation will be.

Gayla (24:37): Neither my father knew my brother responded. So I finally messaged her. I was actually sitting at work and my phone, the only thing that thing’s on my phone is my messenger. Everything else I’ve got silenced. I don’t know why I didn’t say that. I when I messaged her, I just said, I’m looking for this person. He would have been, you know, in Valdosta during this date range. I think he may be related to you, you know, can you help me? I’m trying to build a family tree and my phone deigned. And she said, yes, that’s my father. And butterflies churn because I knew at that point that I was actually having a conversation with a sibling. It kind of went solid after that. And about three hours later, my brother messaged back and said, my sister shared this with me.

Gayla (25:37): What are you looking for? And that really wasn’t a conversation I wanted to have via text, but at the same time I needed to have conversations. So I just laid it all out and told him who I was. And of course he didn’t believe me. And he had no reason to believe me. His mother and father had been married for 50 years, you know, and as far as they knew that had a faithful committed 50 year marriage. And, and I did from about before their marriage it wasn’t that he cheated on his wife. Although it does appear from conversation with my brother that they probably were engaged at the time, but they had not said their vows, they were not married. So, you know, he was trying to swallow all that and come to terms with it. And, you know, he would, you know, by this time I had done my research, I had looked, I had searched. I had found as much information about my father as acted, you know, so he would throw out things and, you know, kind of in disbelief and I would throw stuff right back. That’s like, Oh yes, she does know what she’s talking about kind of stuff. So he finally, he just said, you know, if you’re my sister, I need to know

Damon (26:59): After going back and forth, discussing facts, Gayla had uncovered proving. She had done her research. Her brother agreed to do a DNA test. She bought the kit and had it mailed to his home. Six weeks later, their results were in and they proved exactly what gayla already knew. They would, they were siblings. She had also sent a picture of her son, the one that looked so much like her brother’s son. And she sent pictures of herself that very much resembled their father. Next gayla poured her heart into a letter to her biological father, sharing that she didn’t want anything from him that she had no hard feelings about the past. And she would like to get to know him. He didn’t respond.

Gayla (27:42): I thought, you know, he’s, he, I’m not gonna let him dismiss me. And so I sent the next letter certified so that I knew he got it and he signed for it. So that was a whole new set of emotion, you know, it’s like, well, I know he’s got it in his hands. Did he open it? And I sent him pictures so he could see me and see his grandchildren and, you know, see the similar journeys. But he never responded. And much like my mother, I’m not one that takes no for an answer very easily. So I thought, you know, I don’t know what’s going through his mind, but maybe he needs to see me. So I got in the car and I drove I took my sidekick with me and my friend from work that had, you know, encouraged me to do the DNA test. They, they went along with me. We voted at the car and we drove. Wow. How far was this? About five hour drive.

Damon (28:55): He had your letter, but he had no idea you were coming

Gayla (28:59): Well, you know, it’s funny, my brother, he told me, he said, you know, I’ve told him that he really should expect you to show up at some point. And you know, I guess he got that from our conversation. He, he knew I needed the met. So I’m assuming he knew at some point it was very possible that I might show up on his doorstep. But in the back of, in the back of my mind, I think that maybe he thought she won’t be that bold, but I was really in hindsight, it all unfolded in what I consider to be a God link. I mean, he was in the yard. His neighbor had had a tree that had been struck by lightning or something. It was down across his driveway. So it, to me that was a blessing. Cause I didn’t have him pinned in his house. You know, we were standing in the yard where he could walk away if he needed to you know, I didn’t, I didn’t have him cornered, which would have been uncomfortable probably for all of us.

Damon (30:06): Yeah. Cause similarly you can’t get the door slammed in your face.

Gayla (30:10): Yeah. Yeah. So it, he was really kind of funny. I mean, I walked up and introduced myself and said, I guess he knows who I am. And he’s like, okay, we’re, we’re going to cut down this writing. I said, well, you know, I sent you a letter and he said, well, then get a letter. And it’s like, well, yeah, you signed for it. And then I was like, at that point he realized, yes, he’s not going away. So you know, we just had like conversation. I mean, I tried to keep it as light as I could. And I did know a lot about him. Cause I had done some research, knew really more about my grandfather than him per se. My grandfather was a world war II veteran prisoner of war. So I had found a lot of things about him, you know, and I’m telling him this and he’s like, wow, you know, you know a lot about me.

Gayla (31:10): And it’s like, well, yeah, I’ve had 50 years to a wonder. And once I found you, I have researched. But probably the most unique thing was he and my son both attended the university of Georgia. Both UGA graduates and my son, my son early on told me, he says, you know, I want to be a Zoologist. I’m like, okay, where are you going? But that’s what you want to do. We’ll we’ll go there. That’s actually what my father’s degree is in. That’s crazy. Yeah. I I started looking through the archives of UGA. I found his graduation announcement and right there beside his name bachelor of science in zoology. So those things, you just, you can’t make that up. That’s real. That’s so cool. Yeah. Well here’s a man that they grew up more things that, you know, these were questions right through my mind is how did you end up at university of Georgia? You said there’s some great universities right there where you were born and raised. How did you wind up at university of Georgia? And then your degree is in the one thing that my son had an interest in. And of course my son’s degree is not in zoology. He, he got a wildlife science degree, but still on the same line.

Damon (32:33): Oh, absolutely. That’s close enough for me at the same university. I mean, listen, that’s a bullseye for me for as far as I’m concerned. Unbelievable.

Gayla (32:43): So yeah, that was something neat for me to be able to share with my son, you know, that, you know, this is pretty cool. Your granddad’s a UGA grad too. And zoology is his degree

Damon (32:55): Gala went on to share that she’s always been fascinated with military aircraft and her biological father and his father, her grandfather were both pilots. Anyway, she established her presence with her birth father there in his yard on her surprise visit.

Gayla (33:10): You know, he just said he wasn’t ready to go there. And you know, I had to respect that. I held out my hand thanking for the conversation that he did have with me. And he said maybe after the first of the year, you know, we can revisit and I since have upset him and he’s asked me not to contact him anymore, but that’s his loss. I can’t let that bring me down. It does make me angry that he really isn’t considering my feelings in this, but I have to respect his feelings too. So it is what it is.

Damon (33:54): Yeah, it is. And you’re right. I like what you’ve said that it’s his loss, you know? Cause you didn’t ask to be here and you are. And so, you know, you can only do what you can do and, and yeah, he, they do have to consider your feelings too

Gayla (34:12): True. Yeah. I have written him a letter I’m apologizing for the boundaries that I stepped that brought him to the conclusion that he didn’t want me to contact him anymore. And I pretty much told him that, you know, I have feelings in this too, and I understand that this is difficult for you, but you know, I’m the only true innocent person in this scenario. Didn’t ask to be here, but I’m here and I’m real, just like his other three children. So I left my information at the bottom of the letter and he’ll either come to terms with it at some point write or email or call or he won’t.

Damon (35:01): Yeah. How long ago was that that you sent this letter?

Gayla (35:04): Well, I haven’t actually sent it it’s in my car ready to go to the post office. I keep finding reasons not to put it in the mail, but at least

Damon (35:15): I say you hear that, Lisa, that’s your next task?

lisa (35:20): Let her tell you what it was that she did to upset him so badly. Because I think that that has a lot to do with what she sends to him.

Gayla (35:31): Well, a eccentric person, to some extent, I find things that are a lost art that are going away. Three years ago for my 50th birthday some girlfriends from high school, we had all gone our separate ways and lost contact and we all got back together. We celebrated 50, but in, in the midst of that, I realized, you know, little notes and cards and things are becoming a thing of the past. Nobody takes the time to pen the pen, a letter everybody’s only go, you send a text, you send, you know, you, you don’t sit down and write your thoughts and things down and mail them anymore. So three years ago I decided, you know, I’m going to do better about this.

Gayla (36:23): I’m going to make sure I send those Christmas cards and those birthday cards, in those little hellos and thinking of you kind of things. So at Thanksgiving, which I thought was kind of appropriate, cause I have this thing, I’m pretty thankful. I had found the other route to my family tree. I was sending out my Thanksgiving cards and I, you know, it wasn’t that I just sent 10. I sent about 40 Thanksgiving cards and his brother and sister were two of the cards that I sent and he got his feelings hurt and was mad that I reached out to his siblings. And you know what hindsight, I guess I probably should have asked how he felt about that. And that’s the, the reason for the letter to apologize. I let my feelings take the lead and did not think about how he would feel about that. And I owe an apology for that. So needless to say it upset him and he decided at that point he didn’t want me to contact him anymore. So yeah.

Damon (37:33): Yeah. I can understand both perspectives. You’re excited to be in contact and you’re generous, sounds a kindhearted thoughtful person. And you wanted to include these new roots on your tree in that gratefulness.

Gayla (37:49): Yeah. I didn’t write them anything in the card and I just signed my name. It was just a Thanksgiving thought I was introducing myself to them. This is who I am. And this is where I am. I just sent them a card.

Damon (38:03): Yeah. But by the same token, you can understand from his perspective, which is probably why you’re apologizing that even though you didn’t introduce yourself, you did in fact introduce yourself by being a stranger in there.

Gayla (38:15): Yeah.

Damon (38:16): It’s good that you’ve got an apology written and that it’s out in the car. That sounds like right after this, you can go and mail because there’s no reason.

Gayla (38:23): Probably not today it’s raining in Georgia.

Damon (38:28): I think the rain I think the mail still gets delivered in the rain.

Gayla (38:33): Well, yeah, but I like water. I’ll probably drop it in the mail at work on Monday when I go back to work. So

Damon (38:44): Sounds good. Very good. Yeah. That’s good that you’re reaching out to apologize. I mean, we got to, we also have to acknowledge the boundaries that are present that are not necessarily explicit, but that we do accidentally cross and it’s good that you have, he once said it, unfortunately he said don’t be in contact with me anymore, but that also sounds overly sensitive. And I think there’s probably room for,

Gayla (39:12): I’ve started my letter in that, after this correspondence, I will honor your request and this is the last contact I will make with you, but also need to apologize so he can deal with that, whatever he wants. If he will even open it. I don’t know that he’ll even open it, but I will have made the gesture and that’s all I can do

Damon (39:34): Yeah. You know, I can’t help. But think if you could write a postcard, which is something you don’t have to open the messages right there, when you flip it over on the back, you can’t help but read it. And that’s an easy way to make sure that somebody sees your message without thinking to myself, they’re going to there. They’re never going to open this envelope. That message is right there. And you’ve said, you’re sorry. So how are you doing now?

Gayla (40:04): You know, I had good days and bad days. I decided to reach out to you and do this. Cause I felt like maybe this is a way to get some closure for myself and, and just put it all to rest. There are days I’m angry that he’s kind of dismissed me, but you know, then I have to stop and think that’s his choice. I have a loving family and friends. I lived without him for 53 years and you know, I’ll be fine the next 53, if he chooses not to become around, I’m not sitting here by myself without any love in their life. So I can’t, I can’t dwell on it. You know, like I say, there are days that are hard. I mean, when do you, excuse me. When I stop and think, I didn’t think anything to him, he’s not, he’s not giving me the opportunity to get to know me because I didn’t do anything to him. I’m here because of him not because of anything I’ve done and those days are hard. You know, you just, I have to move on, move on.

Damon (41:42): And as you’ve said, you’ve been here 53 years without him. This was an attempt to insert somebody into a place that it sounds like you almost didn’t really need an insertion, to be honest with you. I mean, you’ve had a great dad up until the time you were four, another guy came along and was another excellent dad who was resilient enough to put up with your crap. Right. And ended up loving you very much. So, you know, the insertion of a third dad, as much as I, I totally get it. The biological relation is just undeniable. Yeah. It’s a need to know. Yeah. And, and there’s, there’s something to the rejection that comes from someone whom you came from that is, it just stings that much more. So I get the anger and understand it, but I hope,

Gayla (42:32): Well, you know, I really didn’t think that if he rejected me, it would affect me until I stood there and looked at him and realized he was the one I looked liked, you know his gene pool was heavy in my genetics. Yeah. And then the whole thing with the similarities with, with his education and my child’s education. And I mean, you know, you had all that there. And I think maybe if it had not been so similar and I did not look so much like him and I may be wrong, but maybe I would have said whatever, but w when you’re standing there and you’re looking at him and you know, it’s like, yeah, he is my father. It kind of turned my world upside down in a way I wasn’t expecting.

Damon (43:29): Yeah, I can, I can totally understand that. That face to face just changes everything for sure. And especially seeing your own face on someone else just it’s a game changer. For sure.

Gayla (43:41): I think that’s something that most people don’t understand when, when you have that conversation, because they know who they look like, they know where they came from. Right. And when you don’t it’s and then all of a sudden, there it is, you see it. It’s big.

Damon (43:58): Yeah. It’s huge. It’s huge. It’s it’s life changing because it’s never been in your life before. Right. Wow. Well, Gayla, I’m glad you took time and you sort of bravely stood up and said, this is my story. I got to own it. No matter how it has unfolded. And I’m really appreciative for you reaching out, Lisa, if you’ll give her a big, huge hug for me.

Gayla (44:24): Well, you know, I don’t know that my story will help anybody else. Like I said, at the beginning, I had a pretty awesome story. So but hopefully, hopefully it will. I mean, if nothing else, maybe hopefully it’ll help somebody realize that we’re who we are. We just have to deal with it and then go home. We can’t, we can’t let it define us.

Damon (44:48): I believe every story helps somebody. So thanks for sharing yours. Take care Gayla all the best

Gayla (44:54): You came in and thanks for what you do because I enjoy hearing other people’s journeys. It gets me through the day sometimes.

Damon (45:01): That’s good to hear you guys take care. Bye Lisa, bye gala. Bye-Bye Hey, it’s me. I wrote to Gayla right before editing her episode to get an update on how things were going for her. She replied with the following email. I did send the apology letter. I told you I had written no reply, but didn’t really expect one. My brother and I had a long positive conversation. He said that my dad always asks about quote, the girl close quote. When they speak, guess it’s something. At least I crossed his mind. I did share the letter I sent to dad with. My brother felt he should know the whole story, close quote from both sides as to where dad and I are. I still would like to have a friendship with my dad, but I can move on knowing that I did all I could within the bounds of what he would allow to make amends.

Damon (46:03): I hope that Gayla’s his biological father can find it within himself to reconcile with her and let her back in like so many biological parents in scenarios of secondary rejection. He’s missing out on the good person that Gayla is I’m Damon Davis. And I hope you’ll find something in gala’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 whoamIreallypodcast.com/share. You can follow the show at facebook.com/waireally, or follow on Twitter at waireally. If the show is meaningful to you, you can support me with a contribution to keep it going on. Patrion.Com/waireally, 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. And if you’re interested, you can check out the story of my adoption journey. Who am I really and adoptee memoir on amazon.com on Kindle or as an audio book on audible. I hope you’ll add my story to your reading list.

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