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129 – Finding Him Brought Closure

Tracey called me from Nashville, TN. She was raised in a family with a genetic trait that deeply impacted her middle sister, driving her appreciation for the power of genetic testing. Tracey knows a lot about her birth mother even though the woman rejected her twice.Process of elimination led her to her birth father, several loving siblings, and healing from the heartache of her first attempt at reunion. This is Tracey’s journey. 


Tracey (00:05): She wanted to be the one to tell him. And I love the way she told him. She said, she said, do you know so-and-so my birth mother’s name? And he said, yeah, yeah. How do you know her? My sister said, I don’t know her, but I know her daughter. He’s really, how do you know her daughter? She said, well, because she’s your daughter too.

New Speaker (00:34): 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 today you’re going to meet Tracy who called me from Nashville, Tennessee. She was raised in a family with a genetic trait that deeply impacted her middle sister, driving her appreciation for the power of genetic testing. Tracy knows a lot about her birth mother, even though the woman rejected her twice process of elimination led her to her birth father, several loving siblings and healing from the heartache of her first attempt at reunion. This is Tracy’s journey. Tracy was relinquished at six weeks old to this day. Her dad tells the story of the day. They brought her home to their family. Her parents picked up Tracy and the bag of clothes. She came with, put her in their car and left the bag of clothes on the roof of the car when they drove off. Tracy’s mother had experienced several miscarriages and they were told she could not bear children a little over a year. After Tracy went home, she became a big sister when her mother delivered a second child against the odds. Her mother’s due date for Tracy’s little sister was the same date as Tracy’s final adoption hearing date. Her mother went on to have a third daughter. So Tracy has two younger sisters.

Tracey (02:11): I don’t ever remember not knowing they is just been a part of me and a part of my world, a part of my language for as long as I can remember, my mother and my youngest sister are carriers for a genetic abnormality. That’s very similar to down syndrome. My middle sister was handicap. And so I think that that dynamic kind of kind of made the fact that I was adopted just non-existent almost, you know, it was just, it was a different dynamic. I never felt like an outsider or, or not a part of things, not a part of my family. It was just always something I always knew. And they were, they were always very open about it. You know, we’ll tell you what we know, but we don’t know much was, was the, was the way it was

Damon (03:17): The genetic issue that they had, how did that help you be more integrated into the family? Say more about what that means?

Tracey (03:31): So, you know, at the time it, well, at the time it was actually a relief for me because, because being in Nashville we were close to Vanderbilt and Vanderbilt. They were doing a lot of studies and that was pretty much how how my family found out about this genetic connection that, that caused my sisters handicap. And so at the time it was like, Oh, thank goodness. They don’t have to draw my blood. Cause you know, that was, that was what it meant to me. But certainly as I was older and as DNA became more prominent that, that interest in DNA and that interest in genetics it was, it was rooted in, in my experience with my adoptive family as much as anything. Does that make sense?

Damon (04:33): Yeah, it does. Yeah. That’s fascinating. And I guess, I think what I’m sensing from you is that because your sisters and forgive the words, weren’t normal kids, right? If you were the adoptee and they were low, for lack of better words, normal kids, you might’ve felt like an outsider, but because you were special in the way that you were adopted and they were special in the way of this genetic defect, every one of you kids were special and therefore your adoption.

Tracey (05:03): Yeah, yeah. That’s exactly right now. No, my middle sister was very obviously handicapped. Just like you could, you could, you can see most folks with down syndrome and recognize them. You could, you could look at my sister and know, yes, she was mentally handicapped. My youngest sister was simply a carrier. So she was normal and, well, I told her that she, I told my youngest sister that I was picked out and they were stuck with her. So you know, siblings, kids can be mean. And so so you know, the focus was always, it seemed to be on, on, you know, including a middle sister in everything we do, we did, she has since passed, passed on it. But it just, that was, that was the dynamic in our family. It wasn’t that one child was adopted. And the other two weren’t, it was, it was something totally different.

Damon (06:10): Tracy’s middle sister. Jennifer was the light of their lives. The sisters played together with her sometimes putting makeup on their middle sister and generally having fun. Tracy’s sister passed away at almost 36 years old. She was born with a heart defect that was unrelated to the genetic condition that impacted her life so deeply citing her own deep faith in God. Tracy said she was meant to be Jennifer’s sister. She also said she has a great relationship with her parents. Tracy’s mother was a stay at home. Mom. Her father worked his way up from the mail room of a local newspaper to the executive level of Ganette news company.

Tracey (06:52): My relationship with them was, and still is very good. They are my parents and no one will ever change that, no discovery through searching or anything like that will ever change the fact that they are my parents first and foremost.

Damon (07:10): Her parents believed in keeping their kids busy and out of trouble. Tracy was in piano lessons, took dance lessons and was a cheerleader in high school. Like she said, Tracy was never made to feel othered in her family, but they were very close with her father’s side of the family. And that’s where she was able to detect subtle differences in herself versus her siblings

Tracey (07:33): That when I was with my extended family, that was the only time that I felt different is a too strong a word, but I could see the physical similarities between my sister, particularly my youngest sister and some of my cousins, my first cousins. And, and not that I ever felt outside. That’s not what I mean, but it’s when I noticed that I didn’t look like anybody else in my family. That makes sense.

Damon (08:06): What are some characteristics differences between, is it body type? Is it hair color or what’s the, what are the things that stand out for you?

Tracey (08:13): It’s hair color, it’s hair color. It’s it’s my, my youngest sister, she hears this or shoot me. Always she always had, she has blonde hair and dark eyebrows and several of my cousins have that have that feature and, and I was always Brown hair, Brown hair, brunette. And so it was just, it was those times that I would think, Oh, you know, she looks, she looks like them and I don’t. And it was just, it was just something that maybe went through my mind periodically. It wasn’t anything that I dwelled on or anything like that. But yeah, it was certainly when I noticed or when I would make that realization that, that I wasn’t, I wasn’t genetically connected with them. And because of the knowledge around genetics with, with my middle sister, you know, that’s, it, it, it had meaning to me probably earlier than it would have otherwise, if that makes sense.

Damon (09:21): Yeah. Genetics came into your vernacular earlier than it would for most kids, because they were basically analyzing your sister to try to understand her better. So you were getting knowledge that other kids wouldn’t be getting anyway, when she was in college, Tracy took a hybrid class that combined sociology, social work and psychology, their semester long project was to create a person with a disability, which was a no brainer for Tracy because she had a case study in her own family, her younger sister, Jennifer, she began researching Jennifer’s rare genetic abnormality, but the only information she could find about the condition was in the British medical journal, the Lancet, it was an article chronicling, the study of a young woman with the illness and the study of her sister, her mother and her aunt, the article was about Tracy’s family. And she recognized her family in the study though. They will be anonymous to another reader finding that one article of her own family was a clear indication of just how rare Jennifer’s condition was.

Tracey (10:26): Jennifer, my middle sister. She was given a life expectancy when she was born at six weeks. So for her to have made it to almost 36 years was, was a tribute to my parents and our pediatrician. It really was.

Damon (10:41): Yeah. And the love around her too. I mean, that kind of thing can fuel people very, very well. It’s a combination of all those things, so, wow.

Tracey (10:50): Yeah, it’s, it’s kinda funny because we I grew up going to the same church and and, and Jennifer of course we, we went to Sunday school in Jennifer was, was perpetually in the kindergarten class. So every child that came up through that, through that church in Sunday school got to experience being around her. So it was not just our family that was blessed by her, it was, it was a community. So when you think of all of all the people that I could have gone home with, I went home with this family. My blessing started very early, very early

Damon (11:29): With such a focus on heredity and a rare disease within her immediate family. I was curious about what made Tracy want to search for her natural family. She said she was always curious, and she always had her non identifying information, but it was when she was 25 years old and pregnant with her first born son who turns 29 this year that she thought to herself.

Tracey (11:51): You know, it was okay for me to not have medical information, you know, family medical information, but to not have it for this child that I was bringing into the world. That’s, that’s what motivated me. I really wanted to understand my genetic medical history. So at that time, which was, I guess, 30 years ago state of Tennessee, the laws around adoption records were that the adoptee could request the records. The state would on the adoptee’s behalf go to the, to the birth parent in this, in my case, it was my birth mother and, and, and ask, you know, give consent for for me to access those records. So that’s what I did. I had the state asked for that and she came back with a very much a no, absolutely not. So I pretty much gave up on it

Damon (12:56): Until 1995, when the Tennessee state legislature was revisiting adoption laws. They’re re-examination of the laws on the books came after a well-publicized adoption battle over baby Jessica. The court case unfolded in Michigan in the early 1990s, where a couple try to adopt baby Jessica after the child’s mother had relinquished her parental rights and the child into adoption. However, the biological father had not signed away his rights. So he fought to get their daughter back. That’s a significantly watered down synopsis of the case, but you get the idea Tracy’s adoption was finalized after she was one year old. Whereas today a natural parent has a 10 day window in which to take corrective action on their decision. She also pointed out that under the old law, nothing could be released to an adoptee without the consent of the birth parents under the updated law, the ownership of adoption records was transferred from the natural parents to the adoptee. Therefore the adoptee could request the records and the state would advise the natural parents. The records were being released. Apparently in Tennessee, the biological parents can add their names to a contact Vito registry, which adds their name to what is effectively a do not contact list with criminal and civil repercussions against contact. Tracy says,

Tracey (14:26): Yeah. So in 1996, I got my records. And again, my birth mother registered on the, on the contact veto registry and said no contact. So I have 96, my math is horrible, but so 25 years ago, 24 years ago I’ve known her identity, but I have never met her.

Damon (14:52): Wow. What did you think when you first got the word that she said no. And then secondarily several years later said, no, again, like, how did that feel?

Tracey (15:04): Oh, I was crushed. I was crushed. Because not only was, was I being what I felt rejected again. I never felt that way before, but I certainly did that first time felt rejected, but, but also it was it just as an adoptee and, and I think, I think a lot of adoptees do this. You have fantasies about who they are, what they’re like. And, and I certainly on my birthday would think or are they thinking about me today, my birth mother thinking about me on my birthday. And so to find out that, that, that she probably didn’t think about me and I was a bad memory for her. That was, that was crushing. It was, it was very hurtful. I will admit. Yeah,

Damon (16:02): That’s really tough. You know, because part of what you want is like, just to either see a picture, look face to face like half a couple of words, but to get absolutely nothing like a summarily rejected, hardcore, no is really harsh.

Tracey (16:19): The state even allows for you, for you to, I wrote a letter to her and, and it’s filling my file with state because she wouldn’t accept it. So she never got to see that I, that I was thankful that she, that she gave me up, that I was very grateful for the life I had and that I didn’t want to impose. And I certainly wasn’t asking for another mother, but that was tough. That was really tough. And of course, and then the record named a birth father. And so until DNA came along, I was searching for someone that was a figment of her imagination.

Damon (17:04): Wow. Before you get to that, I want to hold onto that for a second. Just stay with your mom for a minute and tell me like, you’ve, you know, after a certain time the internet comes along, there’s abundance of information out there about a variety of people. And when you know, somebody’s identity, you can start to find your way down a path of the information at the information highway that will lead you to this person. What did you investigate her sort of in that, from the shadows as it were for her?

Tracey (17:38): I am a pro at digital stalking. I never bothered anybody. Never, never, but, but yes, yes. Was I was able to get a lot of information and I will say this her daughter, so my half sister chose to meet me. And so I, I was able to, to talk to her, we do not have a relationship now. We tried, and I don’t think that either one of us could be what the other one wanted, needed expected. So we just, you know, sometimes you agree to disagree. What we just agreed that we’d go our separate ways. It was nice to have met each other, but so I did meet her and that, and that shed some light, a little bit of light, not a lot on, on my story,

Damon (18:33): The contact veto registry applies to the birth mother, but also applies to anyone else the birth mother chooses. Her birth mother chose a blanket contact veto for everyone in her family. But Tracy made a specific request on the record for the state to seek out grandparents, aunts, and uncles and children of her birth mother, her biological grandparents out of loyalty to their daughter, declined to override the contact veto. Tracy’s half sister elected to override the veto to meet her. It’s been 15 years since they had any contact. But when I asked Tracy, if it was somehow enlightening to meet her birth mothers, other daughter, she said,

Tracey (19:16): Oh, yeah. Oh yeah. Because I got a little more, you know, that along with my records, I got, I got an idea of, of my story. And that was part of what I wanted, you know, how did I come to be? And so the meeting, the sister was was, was helpful. And let’s just say that I was cut from my birth father’s cloth, not my birth mothers.

Damon (19:48): That’s interesting. Do you remember what you read in the record? Like, we didn’t really talk about that. What was it like to get this record? That’s got, you know, information about you and the people you came from. Tell me what it felt like.

Tracey (20:00): It was mind boggling to see that I had another name, a name that, that was me, that in my mind, wasn’t me because I’d never heard that name before. It was, is certainly gave perspective to, to why she relinquished me and the circumstances. It didn’t give me the full story. I didn’t get the full story until a lot later, but it, it was surreal. It was, it was surreal to see another name that I did not connect with and know that, that, that name on paper was me. That it was very surreal. It was very it was just odd, you know? Cause that’s not my identity. That’s not who I am.

Damon (20:52): Probably weird too, because what that then means is you think of yourself as Tracy. There’s another person out in the world who thinks of you by this totally different name. Like they literally, the last time they saw you, that was the name you had. And you’re, you both are talking about the same person, but you know who you are and they haven’t known you for years. That’s really crazy.

Tracey (21:15): And knowing what I know now, I know that my birth mother, mother buried that experience so far down deep that I doubt that even she remembers that night. Now I seriously doubt it.

Damon (21:30): Tracy said the records, the state provided had information about her story, but nothing about the home study regarding her adopted parents fitness to adopt while all of the fields were completed in the forms, the narrative itself wasn’t completed at all. It was false.

Tracey (21:45): It gave the story of, of the circumstances, which, which I later found out it was completely untrue. You know, it just, it gave a name of my birth father. That was not a real name. There were clues in it for I’ll give this example. My records say that my birth father was in med school at Vanderbilt, and that when he learned of the pregnancy or when she learned of the pregnancy, he had transferred to a school back East. So that, that was, that was a red flag right there. You know, Vanderbilt’s hard to get into let alone the med school and you don’t transfer out of it unless you fail out. So I did go to Vanderbilt and I went to their, you know, their alumni office or whatever, of course, the only person who had ever attended school by the name. I had somebody that was there in 1984. Well, that’s the year I graduated from high school. So I knew it wasn’t that person. So that should’ve been a red flag to me that everything about him was incorrect, but I didn’t, I didn’t recognize it. As, as that I knew there was something fishy about the story, but I, I never thought that everything about him was incorrect. Yeah. Everything about my birth father was bogus.

Damon (23:13): It’s a funny thing. I was, excuse me. I was talking with another adoptee about this very thing that when you look back, you can see how the facts were. Wishy-Washy kind of weird and probably didn’t make sense. But the truth is if you have zero else to go on, you’re going to go with those facts as being truthful until they’re proven. Otherwise there’s no way to say, you know, I can’t, man, this doesn’t make sense to me unless it’s like some blaring, obvious thing. If the, if like, if you have a name in your hand, that’s probably the name. And here’s the story of school. This person went to,

Damon (23:46): Et cetera, et cetera. That’s probably the school you can’t, you can’t say, Oh, Vanderbilt, no way. That’s ridiculous. You know what I mean? There’s just no way when you’re searching for clues to ingest into your own story and make part of yourself that you can have any kind of evaluative criteria or any trigger in your mind, that would go, that’s not quite right. You’re, you’re grasping for stuff. And so you’re going to hold onto it when it’s presented to you.

Tracey (24:09): That’s right. Yeah. That’s exactly right.

Damon (24:12): Tracy says she was searching for a fictitious person for 20 years. Every clue she had was false, which sent her down exhausting rabbit holes with dead ends. Tracy said it would have been better to have had no name at all than to have the wrong name and be chasing false information without a shred of truth to advance her search. There was no pathway forward. She finally gave up and decided she was never going to know the man’s identity.

Tracey (24:40): I’m never going to know who he is without talking to her. And obviously I’m never going to talk to her. So I’m just never going to know it was one of those things I thought, well, when I die and go to heaven, Oh, I’ll learn this

Damon (24:56): One day. Tracy’s oldest son suggested she do an ancestry DNA test. His aunt, his father’s sister had completed an ancestry test and offered one to her nephew. When his results came back, he was excited to show Tracy what they revealed when Tracy saw his DNA information, she knew immediately that the wealth of information she could get back from submitting her own DNA sample could reinvigorate her search for the mystery man. Her closest DNA match was a second cousin whom Tracy reached out to and still hasn’t heard back from today. Tracy also found a group of three brothers who were first cousins with Tracey’s second cousin match the one who never responded. And she learned that the men went to high school with her birth mother recognizing the trove of information. Facebook can offer for research. She found out she had a common friend with one of the brothers and asked her to make a connection. Tracy told the man her story.

Tracey (25:57): He said, he said, I know I’m not your brother’s father. And I’m pretty sure my brothers aren’t, but I’ll take a test for you. So he submitted his DNA and I found out that he was my third cousin. And so it helped me in my search. And it gave me my first contact with my paternal biological family and never had. And he and his wife are, they are family to me now they are my family and I loved them dearly. And they helped me so much

Damon (26:32): While researching the family, Tracy uncovered some information that was previously a secret for that third cousins, family secrets that cleared up a few things for them. She said on Facebook, Tracy joined the DNA detectives group. She dove in reading tips, building out family trees based on the recommendations of the group members and piecing together DNA matches and their relations on her tree. Tracy said, knowing who her birth mother was helped her eliminate DNA matches on her maternal side. So she could focus on the paternal matches her research revealed that she had DNA matches from East of Nashville and DNA matches that came from West of Nashville. Tracy decided figuring out where the family from the East connected with her family from the West would be an important linkage. Finally, the relatives came together on one of her paternal grandparents obituary, digging into the information about their three sons. Tracy eliminated one son who was in Vietnam when she was conceived. She eliminated the other brother leaving the third son researching the man. Tracy found articles about his campaign for public office in Nashville. So his photo was all over the newspapers. She said, when she saw his picture, she knew he was the guy because she looked just like him.

Tracey (27:58): It took my breath away. It took my breath away because before that I had to I’d have two signs and they were the closest I’ve ever had because you know, they were my only biological family. But when I looked at that picture of him, I knew it was him. And so I found him he was still alive. And I reached out to him by email and tried. I tried every phone number I could find for him. And I left voicemail messages and I never got anything back. And I let it sit for about six months because I had, but by that point I had found that he had children. I had siblings and I was hesitant to reach out to them because I felt like this was between me and him.

Tracey (28:51): And I finally gave up on hearing back from him. And so I reached out to one of my half sisters. I found three sisters and a brother on my paternal side. And so I reached out to the youngest sister. She asked me, she said, why did you reach out to me? And I said, because, because you and I look the most alike I had, I felt a connection with her when I saw her picture. In fact, I showed, I showed my parents, her picture and my daddy thought it was me. Is that right? That’s how much we looked alike. And she had a hat on with her, with a monogram. And I was like, look at that picture closely, daddy, those are not my initials.

Damon (29:39): After reaching out to her sister, they talked on the phone, her sister admitted when she saw Tracy’s pictures on Facebook, their relation was undeniable. The sister submitted a DNA sample, which confirmed. They were half sisters. They’re sent to Morgan count putting them in the sibling range.

Tracey (29:58): She wanted to be the one to tell him. And I loved the way she told him. She said, she said, do you know so-and-so my birth mother’s name? And he said, yeah, yeah. How do you know her? My sister said, I don’t know her, but I know her daughter. He’s really, how do you know her daughter? She said, well, cause she’s your daughter too. And that was on father’s day, three years ago. Then he told him, wow, He had a bouncing baby girl, 51 year old girl. So we communicated online and through text for about a month, month and a half. And then they were gathering. He lived in Knoxville and they were gathering for my, from my brother’s birthday. And they invited me and my husband and my oldest son went to and met my birth father and his children and their family at the olive garden in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Damon (31:06): Is that right? Wow. What was that like?

Tracey (31:12): It was where everything had been strained with my half sister on my maternal side. Everything was very natural. It felt like I’d known him my whole life type thing when I’m at, when I met them. For the first time I have, I have three sisters and a brother and that’s what they are to me. That’s all they are. They are my siblings now

Damon (31:40): Siblings are somewhat scattered, one, a few hours outside of Nashville, another near Knoxville. And at the time we chatted another sibling was in the process of moving from North Carolina, not too far apart.

Tracey (31:53): Close enough to, to get together and, and be with each other. And I will say for as much as my birth mother rejected me, my birth father embraced me and accepted me. And, and of course, you know, if you look at me, it’s kind of hard to deny me because I look just like him. And it has, and for every disappointment I had before this made up for it.

Damon (32:23): Wow. That’s great. It’s made up for it. That’s incredible.

Tracey (32:26): I was, I was diagnosed with narcolepsy about, well, a little over, probably about 11 years ago. It’s probably something I’ve had my whole life. My parents talk how I used to fall asleep at my own birthday party. So we know Tracy and sleep is the family joke. Okay. And so the first time I talked with the sister that did the DNA test, I said, Oh, by the way, I have narcolepsy.

Tracey (32:56): Well, so does she, and so does one other sister, is that right? Wow. Yeah. So so I found that, that, that medical history that I never knew my birth father passed away in April and of this year I am of this year. Oh, I’m sorry. And, and so I am so grateful and so blessed that I got to meet him and know him. So I think, you know, everything in God’s time, right. It was the right time. It was the right time. And just, I couldn’t be more blessed. I really couldn’t.

Damon (33:40): Did you go to the funeral?

Tracey (33:43): Well, we were in the midst of COVID, so there wasn’t a funeral. So but we did, we did, we did gather a few weeks ago to, to to clean out his house. And so we spent time together, the siblings, his children, his children and he, he, and he would say, before he died, he said, I have five children. He’s very proud of his five children and I’m one of them. And so it’s just, it’s the only, my only regret, my only, only regret is that he didn’t get to meet my parents. That’s my only regret. But otherwise it has been, it has been really, really cool. And I will have to tell you, I found some strange things, and this is when I told you I kept, I keep researching because every time it seems like I’m finding something new. Every time I turn around my birth father and my adoptive father, their fifth cousins, which makes me and my sister six cousins.

Damon (34:49): Wow. That’s fascinating.

Tracey (34:53): Well, and, and, and going back to when I got my records, my, my adoptive sister, I feel like I have to clarify all

Damon (35:00): Yes. It’s true.

Tracey (35:03): But when I got my records my sister’s husband’s mother, so my sister’s mother-in-law, she was also adopted, she got her records and we figured out that biologically, my brother-in-law and I are fifth cousins. Wow. Very distant. But, but there’s a real, there’s a connection is just unbelievable. It’s like, Oh yeah, we’re from Tennessee.

Damon (35:30): We’re all related. That’s so funny.

Tracey (35:33): But but my birth father, he did, he, the DNA test, just I got in the test cause I just thought he would be fascinated by it. And my, my adopted first cousin, he and my adoptive first cousin are DNA matches. So I have DNA proof beyond my research, I do have that DNA. They have that DNA match. So it, so I have just found so many neat things and it’s kind of, you know, I believe that it explains why I always felt I was where I was supposed to be. Cause I was with family. I just didn’t know it.

Damon (36:10): I was with extended family

Tracey (36:11): And I just didn’t know it.

Damon (36:14): That’s really an interesting way to look at that. That in some way you were in fact home. That’s really interesting. Can I ask you, go ahead. No, go ahead. I was going to ask you, how did you share your journey in your search with your adoptive parents and how were they along the way?

Tracey (36:36): Oh, bless their hearts. It seemed like every time they turned around, I was calling. You’re not gonna believe this. They were, they have always been supportive. I can remember them saying when I was a little girl, if you ever want to search, we will help you. We will support you. And when when Tennessee changed the law and and it was the, the law, the new law was being challenged in the court system. There were a group of adoptees and birth parents and adoptive parents who were added as friends of the court as a party to the, to the suit. And I’m very proud to say that my parents were, were two of those adoptive parents who went on record saying we support this law. We support the the ability for an adoptee to know where they came from. Oh,

Damon (37:37): Wow. That’s really cool. Good for them.

Tracey (37:40): So they’ve been, they’ve been very supportive and of course my daddy jokes one day, I’m gonna find out that, you know, I’m his grandmother or something, but but it’s, it’s just, it’s been, it’s been an exciting journey, particularly as I found my birth father, my paternal family, and made those connections back to the family. I’ve always known.

Damon (38:05): That’s a really, really cool, that’s great that they were so supportive too. Wow. Because that makes it hard when they’re not. So for them to be so awesome. It’s just, that’s surreal.

Tracey (38:15): I can’t, I can’t imagine. I can’t imagine what it would be like to not have support. I know, I know that happens and I’ve watched those stories on TV shows and podcasts and I shed tears with them. But but that has always brought me back to recognizing how blessed I’ve been truly blessed

Damon (38:40): Indeed. That’s really cool. Tracy. I’m glad to hear that. I’m so glad you got the opportunity to meet your biological father. And you’ll get to know him over a couple of years before his unfortunate passing, because there’s so many of those stories, as you know, where a person is just short of meeting that person you’re just too late or, or they just met them in the person’s gone too soon. And you got like a little bit of time in there to get to know him and bond with your siblings. That’s really awesome.

Tracey (39:13): I did. And, and, and he got to see that that he, that he was leaving this world with five children who were bonded with each other. And I think that gave him peace. So because he was, he was a weak shot of his 81st birthday when he passed. And so it’s, you know, I’m very fortunate to have found him alive. It’s again, just goes back to God’s time and you, you get things when you’re ready, when God knows you’re ready. And it is, it’s just has been very good for me. My search has been what started out as very disappointing and very heartbreaking with my birth mother, it finding him and, and the siblings that I found has made has made all the heartache just non-existent. I don’t worry about her.

Damon (40:15): ood. I’m glad to hear that. Wow, incredible. Well, congratulations, Tracy. I’m glad everything worked out for you. Of course, of course. Thanks so much for taking time to call me and share your story. This is, this was really fascinating.

Tracey (40:29): Absolutely. I’ve been looking forward to it and I love your, I love your your show, but yeah, I, I really enjoy it. So thank you for, for letting me share my story. It’s fun to tell.

Damon (40:43): I couldn’t do it if it wasn’t for guests like you, right.

Damon (40:47): So good talking to you, Tracey, take care all the best. All right.

Tracey (40:51): You too. Have a good evening. Bye-Bye bye-bye

Damon (40:58): Hey, it’s me. Tracy’s journey was fascinating to me, starting off in a supportive home where she had two sisters, it was interesting to hear how the rare condition Jennifer had drew attention away from Tracy, the adoptee, and made all of the sisters unique because they were so different and very much loved. Tracy made two attempts to get in contact with her birth mother one where the woman rejected the state’s attempt. The second where the woman registered herself, not to be contacted at all, but her DNA detective work led Tracy to paternal links and her birth father who took pride in her as his daughter before he passed away. But the duality of her DNA connections was remarkable because her adoptive family and her biological family are actually DNA connected to one another. Like she said, she’s always been at home in her family where she belonged hers is a story of twos, two sisters, two rejections two families where she feels at home.

Damon (42:05): I’m Damon Davis. And I hope you’ll find something in Tracy’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 whoamireally You can follow the show at, 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 adopt the memoir on on Kindle or as an audio book on audible. I hope you’ll add my story to your reading list.

Tracey (43:26): It just, just take things even further. Shepherd is a family name. So when I found that my paternal siblings, I have an older sibling, didn’t expect fun older, but I have an older sibling. Her first husband is my adopted father’s cousin. Really? So her son, my nephew, my biological nephew is also my second cousin once removed in my adopted family. I mean, it just keeps going.

Damon (44:03): You were, you were really tied in close. That’s crazy,

Tracey (44:07): Which is crazy because I never knew these people. I never knew them, but I’m realizing, but I’m related to them in a multitude of ways related to everybody. It’s kind of scary.

Damon (44:20): It sounds like that’s awesome.

Tracey (44:22): I have a friend who says it’s no wonder it. How did you not get a slipped for it and looking Neanderthal? So he makes a point, but I don’t, I don’t have a slip for it.

Damon (44:40): That’s hysterical. We might be related. Tracy. You never know.

Tracey (44:45): Well, you know, I want to say that, but you’re exactly right. Have you done ancestry? Let me go look, you look and see if you’re in there.

Damon (44:56): Go cyber-stalking and see what you can find.

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