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165 – The Right Time To Be Found

Elisa lives outside of Philadelphia. She shares her story of the DNA test. She completed to learn more about her heritage that surprisingly linked her to her birth mother. The woman was lifelong friends with Elisa’s birth father’s family, but the man never knew that Elisa existed until her birth mother helped connect them at her own home. Elisa’s birth mother has met her adoptive parents which filled an unrecognized void in her parents’ lives this is Elisa’s journey

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

165 – Elisa Hoffman

Cold Cut

[00:00:00] Elisa: I told them probably like a week after I found out, cause again, I didn’t want to upset them, but , I just felt like they had to know. Cause I couldn’t keep that a secret. , so I just told, them, you know, that she found me, which is true.

And then also kind of took me off the hook there a little bit,

Show Intro

[00:00:22] Damon: I’m Damon Davis and you’re about to meet Elisa who lives outside of Philadelphia. She shares her story of the DNA test. She completed to learn more about her heritage that surprisingly linked her to her birth mother. The woman was lifelong friends with Elisa’s birth father’s family, but the man never knew that Elisa existed until her birth mother helped connect them at her own home. Elisa’s birth mother has met her adoptive parents which filled an unrecognized void in her parents’ lives this is elisa’s journey

Opening

[00:00:56] Damon: Elisa was adopted at birth. Her parents picked her up [00:01:00] from the hospital when she was three years old. She said, she’s always known. She was adopted and her parents read her the book, the chosen child to try to normalize adoption for her. But more impactful than the book where the real life adoptees around her she had a childhood friend who was also an adoptee and her aunt adopted a child when elisa was young so adoption was part of their extended family too

[00:01:24] Elisa: So I have, , two younger brothers, , who are biological to my adopted parents. there’s actually a little bit of an interesting story there because, well, I, mom couldn’t get pregnant and so, you know, they adopt, they tried for seven years and then they adopted me.

, and my mothers, so I was born in March and my mother’s mother died in may and then her father died in August. It was very traumatic and yeah, a lot of [00:02:00] upheaval for her, but you know, like the best thing that happened and the worst thing that happened in the same year. Um, so in the middle of all this, she stopped having her period.

And, , she, you know, talked to her doctor and he said, oh, it’s just stress and stress. Don’t worry about it. , and then my mom’s stomach was getting really big and hard. And my dad told her that he was worried about her and they should go to the doctor and she went and found out she was seven months pregnant with my brother.

Oh my God. Yeah.

[00:02:37] Damon: So for seven years they couldn’t get pregnant and right in the midst of tragedies sort of loss, she gets pregnant and they just don’t suspect it because it’s been seven, seven years. That’s unreal.

[00:02:55] Elisa: Right, right. And the, you know, the doctor and kind of explained it away, [00:03:00] which, you know, kind of made sense and, she’s very, like, she was very petite and so she didn’t really show for a long time, so,

[00:03:10] Damon: yeah.

Wow.

[00:03:13] Elisa: Yeah. So we’re 11 months apart, my brother and then my, oh, you had more than one guy. Yeah. And I have another brother. He was, um, another surprise a couple of years later.

[00:03:31] Damon: Multi year span between surprises is kind of crazy. Wow. So , how how’d you get along with your.

[00:03:41] Elisa: , we’re close. We’re very close. We always got along, you know, I mean, as you know, as well as siblings do, , but where, you know, had very good relationships with each other. , yeah, I never, I never was made to feel like different or anything like that from them.

, I mean, in a way I kind of was like, [00:04:00] almost like favored, but especially by my dad, I was like, definitely like daddy’s little girl scout. My one brother always teases me that I never like had to take the trash out or anything. It was always my brother’s.

[00:04:16] Damon: That’s funny. I’m sure my son wishes he was a daughter, so he wouldn’t have to take the out.

[00:04:24] Elisa: Well, I have two daughters, so they’re taking the trash out. I think you’re can get

[00:04:28] Damon: off the couch. We got work to do for you, buddy. How about with your parents? How did you get along with.

[00:04:37] Elisa: , good. I mean, I really, you know, didn’t have anything, , out of the ordinary, I were very close. , they, they were just very good parents to me, always, and I never wanted for anything and they always were there to help me.

And, , we, you know, they were both teachers. We have retired teachers now. , so they [00:05:00] always had the summers off, so we always spent like the summers together going on. Um, my, they liked to do, but road trips. So you can do a lot of road trips and yeah, it was, it was good. It was definitely a good childhood.

[00:05:16] Damon: So you, it sounds like you were pretty well adjusted. Tell me about, you said you were a bit of a daddy’s girl. Tell me about being a daddy’s girl.

[00:05:26] Elisa: Like I said, like there was something that had to get done. He was like, ask my brothers first.

, I think it was a little like harsher on them. Not, not bad in a bad way, but you know, harder on them than on me. , and then, you know, , I couldn’t do, like, I couldn’t do any wrong for him. I went to a different high school than my brothers went to.

, and, , so it was not the neighborhood school and it was near where my dad taught. And so my dad drove me to school every day for high school. And, , those were like some [00:06:00] of the best times like the special times. Cause we would listen to sports radio, we talked about the Phillies. It’s a big, he’s a big baseball fan.

So lots of bonding time and we’re very, we have very similar personalities, like, you know, we’re, , very like friendly and funny.

[00:06:20] Damon: Of course with this well-adjusted life and the feelings of love and her family. I wondered what made Elisa wants to search for her birth family. She said the funny thing about her story is she didn’t search. Elisa admitted, she had the natural curiosity of any adopted person to know more, but she always got the message kind of indirectly that if she tried to search for her birth family it would really hurt her adoptive parents

[00:06:46] Elisa: I always knew that. So I never was like, never that interested in searching that I wanted to take a chance of hurting them, so I never actually did anything to try to, to find [00:07:00] anybody.

but what happened was in, 2018, so I was, , 46, and, , my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, , have a son Sam who is adopted from Guatemala, so yet another like adoption in our family. , so. In 2018, they, as a family, they also have a biological daughter. , did ancestry DNA, , just to, just to find out about, you know, their background and also his just to get information, , and in the process of doing that.

They, , found my nephew’s biological sister living like an hour and a half away from us.

[00:07:51] Damon: Wow. From Guatemala.

[00:07:53] Elisa: From Guatemala.

Yeah.

It’s, it’s a crazy story. , so, , I [00:08:00] saw, I heard that story and I was like, huh. You know, it was just, it was interesting, but yet I still wasn’t thinking of like, searching, but I was like, you know, I’ve always been curious about my heritage because, you know, I was, I was raised Jewish and I was very like involved in my synagogue, , in religious school and going to services like, you know, every Sabbath.

, so, but, but I always heard from people like, Hmm, you don’t look Jewish, you know? Cause I have like blonde hair and green eyes. So I was like, oh, I’m kind of curious. So I wound up in, so like later that year, it’s like for December of 2018, as like a Hanukkah present to myself, I bought it at ancestry DNA kit.

, and I did it, , and it came back and I found results. I’m like mostly, , Western European, like England Ireland. , like from that area. , so I was like, oh, okay. That’s interesting. I [00:09:00] found that in like, I guess not got results in January of 2019. , and then, , in February, like on a Saturday night, we’re sitting there watching a movie and I just like checked my phone with, to my emails and I have this email message from ancestry DNA.

And it said, it was from this woman and it said, what is your birthday? You came up as a match on ancestry. I did give a baby for adoption.

Yes. And I kind of like almost dropped the phone. I didn’t, I don’t know. I never, I expected. That even, you know, even though I knew that my nephew had found his sister and I knew like, um, like maybe somebody will pop up, but it may be, it’ll be like a cousin or something, you know? Right. For some reason, I just, I never thought [00:10:00] about my, either my biological mother or father being on there,

[00:10:04] Damon: not to mention them reaching out to you and saying, Hey,

that’s right.

Wild. Wow.

[00:10:18] Elisa: Yes, I was in shock.

[00:10:24] Damon: So you’re reading this message. You almost dropped the phone. Where do you even go from that? What do you say to a message like that in Ancestry.

[00:10:36] Elisa: Well, I, I sat on it for a day because I really didn’t know. Like, that’s a good question. How do you respond to that? and I just didn’t know, like, I was like, what do I do?

Because that kind of, I knew if I responded that, that to kind of open everything up, you know? . And I wasn’t really ready for that [00:11:00] or, you know, prepared for that. , so waited for like for a day. And then I was like, well, I guess I have to respond in some way. So I just wrote back what my birthday is, because that’s what she asked for.

and then she replied and, you know, was just like very excited. And that’s the day I had the baby I gave up and you know, where do we go from here? And where do you live? What do you look like? And I was just like, Ooh, whoa, That was just a lot for me.

[00:11:34] Damon: Was it a lot in that you, something was started that you didn’t initiate?

Or was it a lot in that like, oh, a large volume of unexpected emotions is as happening? Like tell me, what do you mean when you say it was

[00:11:51] Elisa: all about, um, it’s, it’s kind of both, , that there’s just a lot of emotions [00:12:00] involved, , and that I wasn’t kind of ready for. , and then also that it, yeah, like that it kind of started and it wasn’t like, it wasn’t, it was out of my control in a way, you know, like, and I was trying to figure out like how to, how can I grab onto some control here because I just.

, it just threw me for such a loop. It was just,

[00:12:29] Damon: I almost liken it to, as I’m sort of imagining in my mind, if you were standing outside and all of a sudden you hear like the starting pistol of a race and you realize, holy crap, I’m in this race. Like, I mean,

[00:12:45] Elisa: like just even

[00:12:46] Damon: expecting something to happen, you were not planning to run this race today and now suddenly the starting gun has gone and, and this thing is happening.

It just sounds like it just like it took off out of nowhere.

[00:12:57] Elisa: Wow. It [00:13:00] really did.

[00:13:03] Damon: So she confirmed for you that the date you gave was the date she gave birth. And it sounds like, you’re going pretty slow in terms of sharing information. And she says, where do we go from here? Where did you go from there?

[00:13:22] Elisa: So, I mean, I, I wrote back and I just kind of, you know, confirmed that, that, , I was born where she gave the baby, , like, and, , just kind of told her how, how I was in shock and I just wasn’t sure like how to move forward.

, I gave her my email address, , and just asked like, just for some information about like how it happened and, and let her know, like, , I just wouldn’t take it. So, but I do want you to know that, you know, I’ve never been upset or angry about being adopted. And, and I did grow up in a very loving family, , and I’ve had a really good life, so wanted to let her know [00:14:00] that.

And I said, , if you want to email me, can. So kind of, I was thinking like, if I keep it at like at email, then it’s just, you know, keeping a distance in that way. It’s not as personal as talking on the phone, you know,

[00:14:16] Damon: that makes sense. Yeah. There’s a little bit of electronic courage that comes from that.

Like a phone conversation, the person’s voice in your ear is fairly intimate. No.

[00:14:26] Elisa: Yes.

And it was just, it was a lot too, cause I was just trying to think, like, I dunno, like I just, I just, there, I didn’t know what I wanted to know. And then, you know, was I going to tell my parents about it? , and it was just, you know, I had a lot going on with my parents anyway, and like the year before.

we had. So this is like February, March, the previous summer, we had like moved my parents into assisted living. [00:15:00] Um, and then that wasn’t really working out. They really were unhappy. So we had just decided that they were gonna, move in with us.

, so I mean, it was just in the middle of all of that happening too. And I was like, I have enough, I have so much going on with my pant, with one set of parents. And it was just like, I don’t know what I’m going to do, how to handle having another set.

[00:15:27] Damon: It can be a lot when your parents who cared for you start to need more care themselves. You the child or trying to manage your own family and life and the responsibility of taking on your parents can be a heavy burden. But adding an unexpected discovery reunion with birth parents on top of it all was a lot for Elisa.

She said part of her is a people pleaser, something she admits could be part of her life as an adoptee. Elisa was taken aback, but she didn’t want to reject her birth mother Cindy’s outreach. So they went [00:16:00] back and forth on email. The women shared some facts from their lives. And Alyssa talked about her husband and her daughters. Sometimes when adoptees find our families, we have so many questions. We spray a barrage of inquiries and overshare our own information with the family members we’ve found. I wondered if the reverse was true for elisa’s birth mother who had found her

[00:16:22] Elisa: I thought like, after that first, this first couple of messages, you know, we’re seeing makes you as coming on really strong. , so you have to say she was really pretty good, you know, and she just, like, I asked questions and she answered them, you know? And then she might ask one or two questions, but most of it was her like kind of answering my questions.

, she sent me some pictures. I sent her some pictures, we like, um, friends at each other on Facebook so that we could see more pictures. Um, so [00:17:00] yeah, so we did, we did take without

even agreeing to it between each other too, right,

right. Yeah. Neither one of us ever said, like, let’s just take, let’s slow this down.

Take note. We didn’t do that. It just kind of happened that way.

[00:17:16] Damon: That’s amazing. That’s really us because without actually saying it, it could have one of, you could have jumped off the cliff, right. And just overshare and, you know, just run the other person over and scared them off, frankly. So that’s pretty lucky that that was unspoken, but somehow made clear,

[00:17:33] Elisa: right.

I think, I mean, I know she, she had been looking for me for a long time.

 

[00:17:37] Damon: Elisa sheered, her new connection with her birth mother, Cindy, with her husband thinking about how she wanted to meet the woman face to face. Elisa works as a school psychologist. so just like the teachers she’s off in the summertime. She told Cindy that after she moved into her new house and moved her parents in and got them settled, she wanted to go to Ohio to [00:18:00] meet her.

They planned a weekend meeting for the summer of 2019.

[00:18:04] Elisa: So we were supposed to go in, in July and then the morning that we were going to leave, my daughter woke up with the worst stomach. She never had, , it was like three o’clock in the morning. And then actually my husband, I both got sick.

So I had to like, had to text her and say like, we’re not coming. , because we were sick and I just felt so bad. And then I was like, I wonder if she really believes me, because it was just so weird, um, you know, the timing of it

[00:18:37] Damon: and, um, you have all excuses, right,

[00:18:40] Elisa: right.

[00:18:42] Damon: Oh really? Yeah, really?

[00:18:44] Elisa: Yeah. Like, oh yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah. , she was, she was fine with it. She was like, you know, I, I understand just feel better. , so we wound up rescheduling it for September. [00:19:00] So, , we wound up, wound up driving out like a Friday morning and my husband and my daughters came with me. ‘ cause. I was like, I’m not going by myself.

You’re all coming with me. Yes. So we had a plan that, , they, she and I would meet up at a restaurant, , by ourselves, you know, just the two of us on Friday night. We had a plan to like go to the restaurant, like right next to where is the hotel that I was staying at. , and she wound up like being a little bit late.

So when we went to the restaurant, like I went in, but she was already walking around the restaurant, like looking for me. So then we, like, we saw each other and, you know, knew that we were looking for him telling me it was , you know, so we hugged it. It wasn’t like this, like this. Emotional moving moment, [00:20:00] you know, but we did hug.

Yeah. It

[00:20:04] Damon: was more like, oh, I found you. I’ve been looking for, you got to think, oh my God. Long lost.

[00:20:10] Elisa: Yeah. And it’s changed because I’m a very emotional person. I cry easily. Like just, you know, watching movies. I just that’s just me. But like, I didn’t cry practically the whole weekend. It was so weird. I think I was in shock.

[00:20:27] Damon: That’s what it sounds like.

[00:20:29] Elisa: . So we had a nice dinner. How was your dinner? It was good. We, you know, , she did like, you know, a lot of talking and telling me about herself and her family. , And,, so she has two other children. , she, yeah, so, , she has a son, , who is actually two years older than me.

[00:20:52] Damon: Oh, wow. Really interesting. So you’re saying that she had a son [00:21:00] and then you were placed for adoption,

[00:21:02] Elisa: right? Yeah. Which was, that was like, I was like, not ready to hear it. You know what I mean? That surprised me for sure. I wasn’t expecting to hear that. , but she told me, you know, when she was pregnant with me, she was 19 and she had moved out of her parents’ house.

She was living with a friend. In the city, , she never car, she was working, but not a great job. And she just knew that she wouldn’t be able to give to children what they need.

[00:21:39] Damon: So what did you think when you heard that?

[00:21:42] Elisa: , I mean, you know, a little bit like the, a little, , hurt, I guess.

But you know, ultimately I know learning more about her life and, you know, and his life, , you know, I’m definitely so grateful that she did that. [00:22:00] You know, I definitely had a much easier life than I would have had, you know, if she had kept me. Wow.

[00:22:10] Damon: That’s fascinating. Tell me a little bit about what you learned about her life.

How do you mean.

[00:22:16] Elisa: She, , was a single mom. , and she just, she worked a lot, he, , had some, , emotional problems. , and it was just like, , a lot of struggling, you know, just to make ends meet kind of thing. , in the family, there’s a lot of, uh, it’s like dysfunctional.

I couldn’t think of the word. It was very dysfunctional. , You know, and even like, now I know between, you know, my biological brother, like him and his kids and you know, my bio. And then I also, I also have a biological sister too. And like, and her family there’s a lot. [00:23:00] So there’s always these periods of like this, person’s not talking to this person and this person, you know, and it just like, even since I’ve been known them, which has only been, you know, a year and a half it’s you can, or two years it’s been, you know, there’s always a period of time where somebody is like, not talking to each other.

It’s just strange. Almost sounds like

a lot of drama.

, so , you know, we finished dinner and then she. I said, well, I’ll give you a ride back to the hotel. Um, which was really like, I could’ve just walked, but she was like, oh yeah, she didn’t. I could tell, like, she didn’t want this to end, which is fine. It was still early. Um, so she drove me over to the, , to the hotel and like stopped in the, you know, like drop off area.

, but then we wound up staying in the car for like, I don’t know, two, two more hours. Yeah. So she was just telling me stories about, , [00:24:00] my brother and my sister, and you know, their kids and tell me about her job. So she just was like doing like a lot of talking, which is okay, because I like to listen.

So I didn’t know what to do. I was like, do I, you know, do I try to like to end this or do I let her keep going? And, you know, we were sitting in my car and I always think now I’m like, why didn’t I just say, let’s go sit in the lobby. Like, I don’t know,

So it was, it was nice. she’s very nice. She’s , , kind of quiet, laid back. , but you know, very sweet person. That’s all

[00:24:42] Damon: really cool. So how did you end it? You’ve sat in the car now for two hours

and a, you know, adoption reunion from the front seat of the vehicle.

[00:24:56] Elisa: I know. So awkward. Um, I think [00:25:00] like, I mean, it, it was, , probably like almost 12 o’clock, so I w I was like, okay, well, I’m really tired go to sleep, you know? So we just kinda talked about what we were going to do the next day.

And we hugged each other and, uh, that was it for that night.

[00:25:18] Damon: The next day. Elisa her birth mom and her half sister and her sons met at the science center in Columbus. . Elisa said it was good to have an activity to engage in, instead of just sitting around and talking. Elisa sister shared a lot about herself in that first meeting, more open, then Elisa felt like she might’ve been.

Elisa’s daughters were just a little older than their cousins and they were kind of nervous about meeting the new family members. Her daughters were unsure what to say or how to act. Elisa told her girls just be nice and polite and try to have fun.

Being at the science center, gave everyone something else to focus on some distractions. I wondered if Elisa looked [00:26:00] like her maternal family, she said no. And Elisa admitted. She was disappointed that they didn’t look more alike when she saw pictures of Cindy. In their first conversation. Elisa asked if Cindy knew who her birth father was so much was going on for elisa that she wasn’t really interested in connecting with the man she just wanted to know who he was

[00:26:20] Elisa: She wrote back to me and she was like, kind of embarrassed. , I’m not exactly sure who it is in it’s between two different men. , so I was like, okay, you know, so she gave me their names and they, um, she told me , they weren’t on Facebook. Well, actually one of them is deceased. So they were on Facebook with their wives.

And she’s friends with their wives on Facebook. So I was like, oh, very close community. I don’t know. It just seems a little strange to me, but I was like, [00:27:00] okay. But I think they kind of,, it was like they kind of grew up together. So that’s how they all kind of know each other and stayed in touch just on Facebook, you know?

So she gave me the names of their wives. , so I looked on Facebook and I couldn’t really tell totally by looking, you know, so I did a little like detective. , so I was like, I on ancestry DNA, I have so many cousins, like, there’s, there’s just so many cousin matches on my account. I would never be able to go through all of them.

It’s it’s it’s crazy. , so I was looking for like the closest ones I got first cousin. That wasn’t related to my mother. And there was one, it was not related to her. So I took that name. I went onto Facebook and I saw that that cousin, , was friends with [00:28:00] the one guy’s wife so I was able to , figure out who it was just through that way.

Interesting.

[00:28:09] Damon: Yeah. So you triangulated him by the relationships that he had?

[00:28:14] Elisa: yeah, so I, I told her, I said, you know, I say, I think I figured out who it is. , and then looking at more pictures of him and you know, now, like I can definitely see, you know, that I do look like him. Um, so I said, I figured out who it is.

And I said, Do you think that you would like ever tell him about this? Cause then it felt weird to me that I would know this and she would know this and that he wouldn’t, I don’t know, , it’s not that I wanted to like stir up anything, but it just seemed like something that he should know.

So, , between the two guys, she had never told either one of them that she was pregnant, she wasn’t really with them. , so, , she said, [00:29:00] well, I, see his niece a lot. So she wound up actually telling his niece At a birthday party for her grants, it was just so very random that she happened to see the niece there.

So she told his niece and, , his niece said that she was going to try to figure out. to tell him. and he was very like shocked. I mean, you can imagine,

[00:29:26] Damon: I say, she’s trying to figure out how to tell him, I’m thinking, how did you go home from a kid’s birthday party and in views that I’m like, someone knows your biological daughter.

You didn’t know, like, that’s crazy.

[00:29:40] Elisa: It is crazy. That’s why I was like, oh, I thought maybe she would tell her,

[00:29:48] Damon: uh, would you mind putting me in touch with him? I have some interesting news that he went, Nope, you go do it. And let me know how that goes. Right.

Elisa’s biological [00:30:00] mother shared her contact information with the man’s niece. His niece reached out to Alyssa to let her know the man was going to try to process the news that he had a daughter. The niece had shown the man Elisa’s picture and he admitted he could see their resemblance, but he needed time to process the unexpected development in his life. All of that happened in the spring, but the man never reached out. Keep in mind, Elissa’s birth mother grew up with the man’s family, so many of them were friends. When Elisa was in town that September. Cindy had a pizza social at her house

[00:30:34] Elisa: , so she, , invited his sister and his niece because again, they all grew up together. So they all know each other like her and their families or they all just know each other. So, , I knew that his, that his sister and his niece are going to come to this, get together. And then I guess the day before we were coming, his niece reached out to [00:31:00] him.

I was like, I don’t know if anybody told you, but. Elisa coming, this weekend. So, , he did wind up coming. She told me like on Friday that he said he was going to come to the get together on Saturday night. Wow.

[00:31:16] Damon: Okay. Yeah. So he didn’t reach out to you when he first got the news and he was processing it.

All right. But knowing that you would be there, he was planning to show. Yes.

[00:31:29] Elisa: Wow. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, kinda by himself because his wife had already had plans, she was not in town. So he came by himself, you know, to this party at the house of the woman that had a child with him that he didn’t know.

So I give him so much credit for, for showing up because that must’ve been incredibly, [00:32:00] I don’t even know awkward, uncomfortable. I, I don’t know. Yeah,

[00:32:05] Damon: you’re right. This is a woman that you didn’t know, you fathered a child with and that child is there and she’s an adult with her own family standing. There was your family there too.

[00:32:18] Elisa: Yes. Geez.

[00:32:20] Damon: Yeah. Props to him, man. That’s that’s gutsy. Good

[00:32:24] Elisa: for him. Yeah.

[00:32:27] Damon: He walks in like, or how it set me up for how it went when he

[00:32:31] Elisa: came in. So we had been there for, , you know, awhile. Cause we, we came over to her house. This is at my biological mother’s house. We had been there probably like for an hour or two before that.

Cause we got there a little bit earlier before everybody else came. , and first, , his sister and his niece came. And that is the point. That is actually the part that, where I cried a little bit because, , his sister, , [00:33:00] was sick with, she had been sick for years with cancer, so she wasn’t in good health.

Um, so that the fact that she, you know, it was very important to her to come to meet me. And so just like seeing her, it was very touching, but like, she came up to me and she like put her hands on my face and she just looked at me and just nodded like, oh my gosh, I get chills now just thinking about it.

Yeah, it was really, it was really special. She actually just passed away so yeah, she was a very special person to a lot of people like everybody there, you know, she was aunt now to all those people, everybody , in our community, you know, in my, you know, the two parts of my family that are there, she was a very special person.

So I’m very glad that I got to meet her. Um, so [00:34:00] then. Yeah, he, and he said have a little bit, a little while later. , and he just, you know, we just hugged each other, you know, he just smiled and he hugged me. , and you know, you said I’m so happy to meet you. , and then we sat down. There was like, like a bench swing seat kind of thing.

So we sat down on that, , together. , and he was, he’s just, he’s so sweet. He’s just this really sweet, nice guy. Like, you know, he was asking me questions, , and he was telling me how he was a retired long distance truck driver and he, and he said, he’s like, I used to drive up and down 95, like all those years.

Like, and that’s, you know, Philadelphia is right on 95. Like you drive right through the city. And so , I just , felt bad because it kind of, you know, he’s kind of saying like if I had only known, you know,

[00:34:59] Damon: [00:35:00] great. Yeah. Unfortunately I was driving right past you and didn’t know it

[00:35:04] Elisa: right.

Wow.

[00:35:07] Damon: Yeah, it is really, really nice. It’s funny how people think back to what could have been in there’s that sort of there’s that it’s not, it doesn’t sound like he’s necessarily saying regret, but just like, I just, I wish I had known and I wouldn’t have done this part differently. You know what I

[00:35:26] Elisa: mean?

Yeah, exactly. And not like angry, , you know, just kinda wished, you know, he had a missed out on it, I guess. Cause he never had any children of his own, other than me

[00:35:42] Damon: oh, wow. That must’ve felt really special when you learned that, huh?

[00:35:47] Elisa: Yes. Yeah. it was a really nice, it was a really nice night

Because I met him, I met us, I met my biological brother and his wife, and then he has [00:36:00] three kids and they all have kids. So I met a lot of people.

, thinking back on your biological father, I’m thinking about the fact that he walked into this party, to this woman who he hasn’t, you know, he hasn’t been with in years, didn’t know he had a child and you’re the only child he ever knew. It’s not like he walked in with the confidence of like, if this doesn’t work out, I’m just going back to my own kids. There were no other kids. It was you and nobody else. That’s really fascinating.

Yeah.

[00:36:35] Damon: Elisa said things are good these days.

She only texts with Cindy. They don’t actually talk on the phone. Alyssa called cindy’s home on that first christmas eve to wish everyone a merry christmas and they spoke by phone that day but since then it’s only been texting between them cindy

doesn’t call

[00:36:54] Elisa: And I tried calling her again and she didn’t like return the call. So I just think, I don’t [00:37:00] know that she’s comfortable on the phone. Yeah, because she definitely will, you know, she’ll text me, she’ll respond that way. So I think she’s just not comfortable on the phone and that’s okay. I’m okay with that.

And, uh, my biological father, I texted him, , cause I got his number and so I texted him after we met and then I didn’t hear back from him for , probably a couple months. , I think it was again another like overwhelming thing for him because he’s very like sensitive. So I think that he needed to kind of, you know, process actually meeting me, but he, he likes to talk on the phone.

He doesn’t to text, so we’ll talk on the phone, you know, maybe once a month or once every two months, something like that, , But he’s really sweet. He’ll call me, , my girl he’s like “bye my girl” and, you know, [00:38:00] he’s he’s just, he’s just very sweet.

[00:38:02] Damon: Remember when Elisa talked about her adoptive parents, she said it was never spoken, but she got the signal , that if she ever searched for her birth parents, it might be hurtful to them. I asked her to describe more of what she meant by that

[00:38:16] Elisa: Just that, you know, for them, , I’m theirs , and so, to them, it would be like, I was rejecting them if I tried to find my biological parents, because they just felt like, you know, , once they had me and you know, that I was there’s and so, you know, and it just didn’t like, you know, what, why would I need to know, need to find anybody else?

Right. And so I just, and you know, , if I brought up, if I ever talked about, adoption or stuff like that, they could just tell, like they would just get , you know, just very sensitive about [00:39:00] it. You know? I don’t know if that makes sense, but there’s

yeah, very common. Right.

A lot of people. Stiffen up when you ask questions and you express curiosity, because this is now their fear coming to life. Right, right. Oh, this is the moment she’s going to tell me she’s searching or she’s going to tell me she found somebody. You know what I mean? So how did you share the one? How did you share being found.

And two, how did you share the fact that you have met these folks?

, well I told them probably like a week after , I found out, cause again, I didn’t want to upset them, but , I just felt like they had to know. Cause it just, I couldn’t keep that a secret. , so I just told, them, you know, that she found me, which is true.

And then also [00:40:00] kind of took me off the hook there a little bit, that wasn’t me looking for that, you know, for her. , so they were okay with it. Like, you know, especially when it was just, emailing and stuff. , I think it, definitely helped that, you know, when it happened, you know, I was 47. So, you know, it’s different than if I had been like 22 or something.

They know that we are close and I think it just made it easier. They know I’m not going anywhere. So I think the timing of that made it a lot easier for them. , but when we were leaving to go out there, , I say goodbye to my dad. He was like, he’s like, just, he’s like, just promise me this don’t change anything between us, you

know? So they still had that fear, like still there, you know?

[00:40:56] Damon: Yeah. Oh man. Yeah. Wow.

[00:40:58] Elisa: And then [00:41:00] actually this as well, I have another quick story is that this summer? Well, last summer, um, my biological mother had asked if she could come out here. , cause she wanted to meet my parents and thank them and stuff.

And I was like, Ooh, I don’t know how that’s. I think that’s such a nice idea. And it’s so nice that she wanted to do that. But then I was like, I don’t know we’re going to go over. But that was 2020. So it was like not going to happen. Last year, well, this summer she, you know, asked about it again.

so,, I did like ask my parents, , and they were very reluctant but said that it would be okay, but my mom and unfortunately my mom has, some kind of dementia, you know, situation going on. So she’s very emotional and, you know, gets very stressed out very easily. So that week before. Uh, my biological mother [00:42:00] came, she was very like agitated and upset.

And she was like, I don’t understand I don’t need this. I don’t need to meet her. , she, she was just so resistant to it. and so I was like, oh gosh, I don’t know how this is going to happen. but my biological mother came, she came with her sister and they each brought like one other grandsons.

and they met and it was fine. And I knew which I was trying to say, like, she’s a very nice person. Like you don’t have, she doesn’t want anything from you. She just wants to thank you. She wants to meet you and thank you. And it went okay. And then at one point. asked, uh, my, sorry, my adopted mom asked my biological mom to go and to come into her bedroom for a minute to talk.

And I was like, oh, I don’t know what’s happening in there. And they were in there for like 20 minutes. Um, and then they came out and my [00:43:00] mom was smiling happy and I said, I’m like, can I take a picture of you guys together? And she was like, yes, let’s do that. Let’s take a picture. And so I have this picture of all three of them together, like smiling.

And it was really nice. I just got the sense that my parents, , got something from it that theydidn’t know that they needed.

I mean, I think they were just so scared that it never like occurred to them that maybe, it would be nice to meet her and to, know that she appreciates what they did.

It was just like this, sense of peace that , I could see in them. And so it was just really nice. It’s

[00:43:43] Damon: it sounds like, um, you know, the classic thing that we say to people, your fear is much worse than the actual situation you’re fearing. Right? And this, this was that for them, they were so fearful of the one that they would lose you too.

You know, that, you know, probably that this other [00:44:00] person who gave birth to you would somehow be better than they were in your. And, and it sounds like she did an amazing job of putting them at ease and, and just thanking them. That’s really awesome.

[00:44:14] Elisa: It really was. It was really nice. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:44:16] Damon: That’s great.

I’m so glad this story unfolded as nicely as it did, especially for as abruptly as it came at you. I mean, I can’t imagine sitting there looking at my phone and getting that curve ball if I wasn’t actually looking. Right,

[00:44:33] Elisa: right, right.

[00:44:36] Damon: No, that’s really cool. Well, at least I’m so glad that you took time to share your story, and I’m really glad that that your parents got the chance to connect and it wasn’t as bad as they thought it was going to be.

And it sounds like it also reassured you for the life that you did leave live, which I think is also really cool.

[00:44:55] Elisa: Yes, it definitely did.

[00:44:59] Damon: Well, thanks so [00:45:00] much for taking time to share your story. I appreciate it.

[00:45:03] Elisa: Oh, thank you so much, Damon,

[00:45:05] Damon: care. Have a great evening. I’ll talk to you later. All the best.

[00:45:08] Elisa: Thanks. Buh-bye bye.

Outro

[00:45:11] Damon: Hey, it’s me. Elisa lived the rare experience of a birth parent, finding the child that they placed for adoption. She said it was good that it happened when she was in her forties so that her adoptive parents could feel more secure in their relationship than they might have , if she had been found as a younger woman,

It was fascinating to hear that her birth mother Cindy. I knew her birth father’s family well enough to invite them over to her place and that her birth father was open and brave enough to meet Elisa for the first time there. It’s crazy to think he was a long haul, trucker driving up and down the east coast during his career passing through Philadelphia regularly.

It’s a small world that gets even smaller. [00:46:00] When you get to learn the facts behind your adoption story. I’m sure it was a bit nerve wracking for Elisa to connect Cindy with her adoptive parents, but it sounded like Cindy put everyone at ease with some kind words during their visit.

That photo Elisa took of Cindy with her parents must be a cherished memory from that day. I’m Damon Davis, and I hope you found something in Elisa’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

 

 

Who Am I Really?

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