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204 – I Don’t Mean That Much To Them

Today you’re going to meet Joe, from New Jersey. Joe is a pseudonym for the true identity of my guest who wanted to remain anonymous. Joe didn’t want for anything in adoption, but he’s never been very open speaking about his adoptee status either. He said his reunions are complex because his paternal side has embraced him connecting with them. But his maternal side has placed roadblocks In front of Joe’s progress to try to meet his birth mother.

Joe told me he just wants to thank her for the life she gave him.

This is Joe’s journey.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Cold Cut Intro

[00:00:00]

[00:00:00] Joe: at this point I’ll keep it 100 with you, man. Ultimately, I’m looking to find my birth parent to say what I need to say and you know, if she’s not accepting me, she can kick rocks.

It’s cool. I mean, I, I would love to a relationship, but I’m not going to go anywhere that I ain’t wanted. And for whatever reason, . I don’t know why, what my existence means to her. Like, that obviously doesn’t mean much at all because she’s felt the way that she felt about me.

Show Intro

[00:00:28] Damon: I’m Damon Davis. And today you’re going to meet Joe. He called me from New Jersey. Joe didn’t want for anything in adoption, but he’s never been very open speaking about his adoptee status [00:01:00] either. He said his reunions are complex because his paternal side has embraced him connecting with them. But his maternal side has placed roadblocks In front of Joe’s progress to try to meet his birth mother.

Joe said he just wants to thank her for the life she gave him. This is Joe’s journey.

At the time we spoke Joe’s beloved wife was in the hospital. He said it was a rough time because they’ve been together for three decades and genuinely enjoy spending time together. So it was hard to see his life partner that way. Joe does not want to be identified. Joe is a pseudonym.

To protect his true identity. Joe said his childhood was good in adoption.

In his life, his adoptive mom is his real mom. She’s the woman who’s always been there for him. Joe Grew up in a rough city in new jersey

[00:01:51] Joe: There’s stuff happening like blocks away from me. You know, we have stuff going on like any, any black city usa. ,

[00:01:59] Damon: when I [00:02:00] hear you say we have the same issues as any black city in America, my mind automatically goes to.

Some of the negative portrayals that are in the media, you know some violent crime, some drugs, and inequitable opportunity. You know, lack of a good education, poor housing, , unavailability of, , good food choices. Are these the kinds of things you’re referring

to?

[00:02:30] Joe: Yes, sir.

[00:02:31] Damon:

Let me ask you about your family specifically. Tell me a little bit about your family growing up. Were you an only child? Did you have brothers and sisters? And, and how were your, your interactions with your mom and dad?

[00:02:44] Joe: Well, I was the only child hoping that I had a brother wishing that I had a brother or sister or someone just to be here with me.

But I mean, I can’t recall exactly when I found out that That I was adopted. It, it was somewhere in my [00:03:00] recollection, in between seven and probably 10 years old that I found it out. And I, I don’t quite recall exactly how the conversation arose. I think it, it started maybe with me asking why I don’t look like my cousins, you know, or my cousins look like each other.

But I don’t look like nobody, pretty much, well, my father who raised me, he’s from Jamaica and you know, he is dark-skinned like me. I’m, I’m rather dark.

[00:03:32] Damon: And you could just see that you didn’t have family

resemblance.

[00:03:36] Joe: Yeah, I, I knew that. I can’t, I really don’t recall exactly what Brooke struck up the conversation. Mm-hmm. But one, one, once she explained to me that you know, exactly who I was and the dynamic, it didn’t matter to me.

I mean, you’re mommy like, you’re my mother. I’m, I’m happy to have you. So I’m, I’m happy I wasn’t lacking anything, through my childhood. [00:04:00] Actually. I was grateful, you know?

[00:04:02] Damon: What did, how, how did that gratitude feel? What do you, what do you mean by that?

You were grateful.

[00:04:07] Joe: I mean, mommy was, mommy was mommy. Like she was the mommy that everybody, like, in the neighborhood. Like, she was just she was just, I don’t know. Mom was great. That, that’s all I can tell you. She provided, so all my needs were, were met, you know, I went to Catholic school and, and grammar school for a couple of years.

Then she put me in a she put me in I went to a regular public school, but seeing as she was a teacher, she knew the school in the part of town that had the best school in my city, that, that had the highest like grades So my, my mom I caught the bus from the south to the west.

And I went to that school in the West ward that had the the highest test scores in the city, like year after year. And you

know,

[00:04:55] Damon: setting you up for the best opportunities possible is what I’m hearing.

[00:04:59] Joe: Yeah. And [00:05:00] in high school I went to you you heard of Seton Hall University?

I went to Seton Hall Prep. I went there for two years and then I went to St. Benedict’s Prep for, and graduated from there.

[00:05:12] Damon: That’s really

cool. That’s, that’s great to hear that amidst all of the challenge, your parents were really striving to push you forward.

Now I say parents, and you’ve spoken about your mom quite a bit. Tell me a little bit about your interactions with your dad.

[00:05:29] Joe: Well, that, that was a little tricky. we, we didn’t, I guess you could say bond early on cuz like, I excelled in sports and You know, he wasn’t like a sports guy. I mean, I don’t know, coming from Jamaica, well, he’s not domestic sports.

I think what he knew was soccer. I mean, as a little kid, you don’t care what you do. You just, I mean, I, I live near park down here. I live park is a block away. grass playground, you know, everything that a park, you know, has, space and [00:06:00] opportunity. But pop never really took me to the park.

I could, I could probably count on one hand the amount of times he took me to a park. I mean, I don’t care if he would’ve taught me soccer or what. He knew it didn’t matter. That’s daddy. So whatever they teach you, they teach you, you know? Right. So, you know, I guess I, I kind of immersed myself in the sports, you know, when I was young.

[00:06:21] Damon: But you didn’t necessarily bond, you don’t feel like, like sports was one thing, but did you take up other interests

together?

[00:06:30] Joe: Not, not really. , one thing he did do is we went to, ballgames together here and there, you know, to see like the Mets and the Yankees.

Mm. You know? Mm-hmm. So you know, he did expose me to some of that. Like, we, we did that as a family, mom, dad, and me. So, you know, when I got older, like maybe in my teens, the Yankees used to play the Red Sox around my birthday, so he used to take me to those games and whatnot. and[00:07:00] I but a lot of my godparents, I call them auntie, you know, auntie and uncle.

Yep. You know, everyone knew the dynamic of you know, My, my, my mom’s close friends knew, knew that, knew my situation. I don’t really talk about it. and anyone who doesn’t know me, I don’t just come out and share like right away. Like, I really actually don’t share with anybody.

It’s not anybody’s business really. And I, I’ve always kept that close to the vest.

Yeah,

[00:07:30] Damon: I understand. why do you think that is that you kept it close to the vest? Just curious. I’m not pressuring you, I’m just curious to know what your

stance is.

I, I don’t like, people, their, their mind goes somewhere different, you know, different places when they hear that, you know, I’ve, I’ve gotten everything.

Oh, I’m so sorry. You know, I’ve gotten a little bit of everything What I have described that to certain people, they’re automatically, oh, I’m, I’m so sorry and this, this, and this. I just don’t want [00:08:00] to be judged. So meet me on even terms like as a human being, not a set of circumstances.

That’s a really

good point. You’re absolutely right. People will take something intimate that they’ve learned about you and begin to see you through that lens with everything, and it can be an unfair prejudgment that you don’t deserve. Right. Just because they’ve got some intimate detail that, that, could matter very much or might not matter at all.

Yeah. Agreed.

Joe commuted across town to a part of town where the school systems were better than near his home. That part of town had a lot of Indian, Brazilian, black and white people. It was a melting pot of the global population. Joe stayed out of trouble and tried to make the best of an adoption situation that he fairly well hid. He said some of his cousins grew up knowing he was adopted. And Joe said he didn’t really look like them. So if anyone paid close enough attention, they [00:09:00] might have suspected something.

But Joe never said a word to anyone outside of his family. It sounded to me like Joe, wasn’t really struggling with his adoption. So I asked him what motivated him to search for his biological family connections. Later in his life. When Joe was a senior in high school, his mother was diagnosed with cancer. On Memorial day of that year, she went into the hospital And then she passed away in the middle of July. After her death, Joe continued a lifelong habit of reading through old documents in his house, a habit he had since he was a child.

He found an adoption record with the name of the adoption agency. He assumed he was quote, brokered through to use his terminology. Joe was born in New York.

Uh, state with closed adoption records at the time of his decision to start searching. However, he was able to get access to his non identifying information. I asked joe what he learned from gaining access to his non-identifying information

Well, actually I have two [00:10:00] versions of it. ultimately whoever I guess works for the agency at the time, compiles the information. And they give me their version , of all of the information they have, they gave me their version of it.

So they were kind of vague with it a little bit back when I did that in 94. you know, you try to find things that you have in common. you know, like what did the person look like? I found out that my birth mother was a dark-skinned, complexion like me.

I found out she had hay fever, which I developed in high school. And it, the severe hay fever was, was the one thing that I, I guess we could say I held onto that I could say like, there’s somebody else out there that I share this with. Yeah. because of re a relationship, you know? Yeah.

You, you try to find who do I look like? Who am I, like, like what type of things do I have that’s like, possibly a brother or sister or parents or whatever. Mm-hmm. You know, that, that was the one thing that I held onto [00:11:00] for years. Like, wow. My birth mother had hay fever like me, you know, and I, I just you know, I grabbed that as the thing,

Joe learned that at the time of his placement, his birth mother was 18 and his birth father was 17. After the agency shared all they could about Joe. They told him about the New York state adoption reunion registry, where he could register to be reunited with his birth family. If Joe’s birth family had also registered to find Joe, then he would be reunited with them.

Joe never applied to the state reunion registry. The letter with non identifying information had been like gold to him representing his family. Even though the details were scarce about who they were

Now, over the last like few years, I decided to apply to the registry and I actually had the paperwork filled out and I had to get it notarized, I had that done years ago, but I never [00:12:00] actually mailed it in. and then it had expired. So I, I just recently got it notarized like last week. I was trying to get it notarized before I talked to you, but they made it harder to get a notary public.

Like I, I, I found out that banks are supposed to do it for free, you know, if you have an account there, most of ’em have notary publics. Yeah. And that’s where I had it notarized a couple of years ago, but I never, I never just got the envelope and, and sent it off. I just never did.

Yeah. Right. Yeah. I never followed through.

Yeah. You know, so you got it done, got it notarized, and then it just sat there and you never really completed the process. So it expired and you had to do it again recently.

Yep. Yep. that’s exactly what happened. Why do you think you could mail it in previously?

Well, I mean like I said, I didn’t want for anything, in my lifetime. And I just, that was in 94. I, I’ve been with my wife since [00:13:00] 93 know, I don’t know, like life was good.

Life was great. I, I wound up meeting the person that I was going to be with, and, you know, I was pretty happy that that was that was something that wasn’t, that was kind of important to me. But I guess the difficulty in Make it some type of connection. Just you know, I didn’t know that it would, it would wind up like that.

I thought maybe I could go through a back door or something and find out some type of information or that co would help me. I thought I could find a rather easily, like when I found that envelope. And I didn’t understand the dynamic of everything the closed adoptions, the open adoptions and things like that.

So I just you know, I was living my best life at the time. I was. Okay.

Yeah,

that’s what I’m hearing. It sounds like you, you know, despite the loss of your mom, you had a great life as a family growing up and you didn’t want for anything. You’ve said that more than once, and then you found your wife.

You’re still not wanting for anything. [00:14:00] Right. You found a companion that you want to hang out with. You’ve told me, you know, that you actually like hanging out with her and that this is, you know, it sounds like life was good and you didn’t have a need to go find this information. And sometimes that’s why it is, is cause it’s not satisfying anything for you to continue down this path, right?

[00:14:23] Joe: Yeah. Pretty much, I mean, in the back of my mind, I still wanted to know, but it wasn’t like, I guess you could say in the forefront it wasn’t eating at me. You know, , there were certain things that I guess, you know, you naturally want to know, but it, you know, I just never followed through with it.

I just I procrastinated on it. I and then, like I said, I renewed my interest in it maybe like a few years ago.

[00:14:47] Damon: Growing up, Joe had a friend we’ll call him T. T had a rough life growing up. His mother was hustling in the streets and T admitted to Joe That he didn’t think the person everyone said was his dad [00:15:00] was really his father. Later in life, Joe and ti reconnected after going separate ways. T had a family and his wife and daughter had done DNA tests. Their tests revealed some family relationships T’s daughter wasn’t familiar with. So ti was forced to think about doing a DNA test himself.

[00:15:18] Joe: Him and I are actually the type people that. giving our DNA up, you know, conspiracy theorists, you know, we, we grew up in the seventies, man.

You know, , I ain’t just giving my DNA N up. Like that’s something that’s intimately, like they could put you at the scene of a crime. They, you know, someone got your dna n you know, it’s all kind of things involved with it. That, that just doesn’t seem like what makes you, you, you don’t just want to give it up , like as easy as, they say.

[00:15:44] Damon: But eventually T did submit a DNA sample and lo and behold, Joe’s old friend found his birth father. Joe said T and his birth father had a great connection and a happy reunion for the four years. They knew each other before T’s birth father passed [00:16:00] away. Joe said that T’s bravery to submit his DNA, gave him the strength to submit a DNA test to.

T’s reunion story had ended with positivity and T wished the same for Joe. Joe bought a DNA test when it went on sale, but he waited to submit the sample for months as he gathered the strength to send his DNA away for analysis. When his results came back, Joe was able to find his birth mothers and his birth father’s family online.

[00:16:27] Joe: Well, I have found that Birth mother, but it is a crazy dynamic there.

I didn’t find her on Ancestry, but I found her family on Ancestry. I found parts of , my birth mother and birth father on Ancestry. So the dynamic between my, birth father, his family, like, we’re, we’re great. Like I, I, I’ve met cousins that I have that grew up Bushwick and Bedford Stuyvesant in New York and Brooklyn.

And that, that’s where my family is from, they’re, they’re like, I guess you could say[00:17:00] two generations removed of a place called Nevis Island in the Caribbean. Like Nevis Island, is one of, one of two islands that are in the smallest country in the world is the re it’s the Republic of St.

Kitts and Nevis, , and they, they were part of the British West Indies, sugar cane and all, all those things down, in those Caribbean islands. But they lived in, you know, a Caribbean neighborhood in In Brooklyn.

[00:17:27] Damon: Funny story, I got married in Nevis. Really? Yeah, sure did. Oh, isn’t that

[00:17:32] Joe: crazy? Wow. Yeah. And I, well, I also found out that my grandfather’s father had like something like 32 kids. . I guess he, he was about it.

I don’t know what to say. That, that side of my family just you know, they, they procreate bro.

so Nevis only has something like 12,000 people or something like that on it. And I think to myself, how many of those folks [00:18:00] are related to me?

I mean, I, I gotta, I gotta have a high percentage of folks in that country that have d n a that I share.

 

[00:18:08] Damon: Joe’s birth father died in the 1990s. So he never met the man. However, he was able to meet his paternal connections three years ago. Joe has some wonderful female cousins that he talks to weekly and their reunion has been positive. But the dynamic on his maternal side of the family is a little more challenging.

Joe’s maternal family and paternal, family’s kind to know one another. His paternal aunt was friends with one of his maternal aunts, and they hung out in some of the same circles. Their families went to the same church in the bushwick section of new york city

[00:18:41] Joe: When I first got on Ancestry, the hit I got was my birth father’s oldest brother, You know, I also met a first cousin who was over here you know, next town over.

Mm-hmm. You know, those are the two like people from each side that I share the most d n a with [00:19:00] that I got in touch with immediately. once I got the hit, and when I spoke to my uncle, he was almost like a a parent type, big brother.

He wasn’t like a big brother that you would think of. One thing I, I found about my birth father, is that he was in the streets and he was big in martial arts. He was nice with his hands. he was one of ’em cats you didn’t wanna screw with, and everybody in this Brooklyn neighborhood knew it.

You just stayed out his way pretty much. he went to Vietnam and he had to locate, the uh, vie and smoke ’em out and like kill him. Like he, he was doing some crazy stuff over in Vietnam from my understanding. You know, that that’s probably what led to his drug use and stuff.

Yeah. Wow.

[00:19:44] Damon: Digging in on the trickiness of Joe’s maternal side, he said one of his maternal uncles was younger than him by 17 years. His birth mother’s baby brother. When they connected, they figured out that Joe’s birth mother had to be one of his aunts and they were correct. [00:20:00] Joe got close to one of his cousins, but that cousin didn’t feel it was his place to share the family information. So he kept Joe in the dark, out of respect for the family, sharing their information when they were ready. Joe said he understands why his cousin was being protective.

[00:20:16] Joe: I, I didn’t want him to do anything that would have him in trouble, I guess with his family. Cuz when you are the buried secret. Mm-hmm. You know, that no one knows about, you don’t want to infiltrate somebody else’s life. The one thing I wanted to do and I still want to do is to thank this lady for life.

You know, I mean, it was God’s plan for me to be where I was. I know that, I mean, that’s the way it was supposed to go on. But, you know, they had a back alley abortions and all kind of things going on, you know, when you are young and, and you know, in the sixties, you know, it’s got, it was a, it was something totally different than the way it is now.

We have plenty of single parent households, like [00:21:00] too many if you ask me but that’s just the way that life played, you know, just in life in general, in the us you know, any, any big city usa right. It just, it just became that way. My generation actually dropped the ball, you know? Cause it was you know, not being married and getting pregnant and stuff like that was not looked at too good years ago.

Right. You know, and so I, I really just want to thank her for life and getting me here, , on earth. And, and then giving me that chance by giving me up possibly, you know, at the age that you potentially were not ready for. . So that, , that’s ultimately what I, what I still want to do.

I don’t harbor any ill feelings towards her at all. Like nothing. I mean, I want to know what it was like growing up in Brooklyn at a, at that particular time. History has been one of my best subjects just in my life. And not knowing my own history, , has gotten to me a little bit, like [00:22:00] history tells you exactly why things are the way they are now.

Like this is what happened before, what you know, to be true now like, history is what tells you why it is what it is and you it’s just so relevant on the here and now. . I’ve always been curious about history and that, you know, not knowing my history.

, it, I guess it does get to you at times, but that’s not the end all, be all. Just in my life, it hadn’t been because I was raised so good with great parents.

. So I, I ultimately, I wanna meet this lady.

[00:22:35] Damon: Joe said his birth father was made aware of his birth mother’s pregnancy with him. It’s his understanding that his birth father heard the news and basically ran the other direction. The other challenge is Joe’s birth mother’s husband did not know she had a child before their marriage.

[00:22:51] Joe: the challenging part is I don’t want to infiltrate somebody else’s family. You know, the few things that I do know is [00:23:00] that my, my birth aunt.

Actually went to school with the person that my birth mother wind up marrying. And she knows that , he doesn’t know that she had a child. She actually disappeared and I was born in Staten Island.

Ah, you know, so she was sent away?

Yeah, she was sent away. I found out, like I got some more non-identifying information later on. Because I got another more detailed version of that later on, when I, I sought out the adoption agency again.

There’s another adoption agency taking care of my records now because the one that I was adopted through is no longer in existence. . So, I got another version , the people were way more in depth than the first person that compiler information.

Mm-hmm. You know, so I found out a little bit more. Gotcha.

[00:23:55] Damon: So let me ask you, where are you now with things, Joe? [00:24:00] You’ve got two sets of information that are, are non-identifying, but you’ve identified the family members you have Yeah. Not met your biological father, he’s passed away. But you are, sound like you’re cool with.

[00:24:15] Joe: Yeah. Family, family members.

[00:24:18] Damon: And you’ve got challenges trying to meet this, your biological mother and as you’ve said, thank her for life. How are you doing right now? What, what’s your,

[00:24:28] Joe: how you feeling?

Well, to this day, , to me, the holy grail is meeting this lady, like who I resided within for nine months.

. You know, and got me here safely so exactly where I’m at now. my aunt gave me enough information I tracked down I tracked down her last known address and I, I tracked down you know, phone numbers, names of other people, I found out that I have I have two half [00:25:00] siblings, that came after me.

And you know, I, like I said, I found out that she married probably about four years after I was born To this guy. And unfortunately, he just recently passed away. So, and I, do know, like I said through my aunt that, that this guy didn’t know. That she had a child beforehand.

You know, I don’t know, you know, how that would’ve been received in the late sixties, you know? Right. That might have been looked at. You know, sixties, I know they were real conservative, so where, where I’m at now, my cousin that I met that lives over here in Jersey, her nephew, keeps the information that he does know, close to the vest.

But he did try to share it with my birth sister, you know, and originally , he mentioned it to her and , she’s been like, dodging him. But she, she hasn’t been receptive to the fact that I [00:26:00] potentially exist. You know, I, I was really excited when I first found out that I had, siblings, you know, , I don’t know.

I, I immediately felt like, I guess you could say a connection. Per se, like I said to myself, I should have been the older brother to be able to help them get through life. Like the, I was supposed to be that dude, , the big brother, like the, the person that has information for you guys, like on this world, this ball we call Earth, you know, and just navigating life, you know?

that, that connection I felt like immediately in my head. But you know, eventually he wouldn’t, , if he’s found out information about something that she should be interested in or might wanna know, he can’t keep that to himself. So he, he’s tried to explain. To her.

That she has an older brother and [00:27:00] apparently she didn’t know, or, he, he’s tried to like tell her this information. She’s avoided him. And you know, just not, not receptive , at,

at this point I’ll keep it 100 with you, man. Ultimately, I’m looking to find my birth parent to say what I need to say and you know, if she’s not accepting me, she can kick rocks.

It’s cool. I mean, I, I would love to a relationship, but I’m not going to go anywhere that I ain’t wanted. And for whatever reason, . I don’t know why, what my existence means to her. Like, that obviously doesn’t mean much at all because she’s felt the way that she felt about me.

So, well, lemme

pause

[00:27:41] Damon: you right there, because I think it’s probably really easy to assume how she feels about you, but you’ve never actually talked to her, right? No.

[00:27:52] Joe: Like what I, I, what I did was I did write like, I had to write this cuz it came straight from my heart onto [00:28:00] the paper. Like, I, I didn’t, I didn’t want to type it like I wrote this out. Mm-hmm. The five pages were for letters of my experience in you know, my trying to , find my real parents, you know. So I I wrote like a five page letter that I wanted him to forward to her.

Mm-hmm. But his last correspondence with her, He was trying to talk to her and prepare her, for the letter but, the conversation , didn’t end that well. And , she sort of, you know, I skeptical about this whole thing.

The pushback that I got was mainly from this sister and this uncle that I have that’s six years older than me, which is his father. Mm-hmm. Like, so, you know, his, his reasoning to him, he said, my sister wasn’t pregnant when I was little.

I, I know that, . This current version of information ultimately explains that her family was aware that she was [00:29:00] pregnant, all but her younger brother. Mm-hmm. It’s, it literally says those words in this non-identified information, like this current version that I got, and it said, it said that he wasn’t made aware that she was having a baby.

Yeah. And it also states that she went away to have the baby, for like a certain amount of time. Mm-hmm. You don’t have the baby and then, you know, you pop up and you the same, virtually the same size that you were. And no one’s none the wiser.

[00:29:30] Damon: Joe indicated that he understood his maternal uncle’s skepticism in this situation. Joe said, if someone showed up out of the blue with a bunch of information about his family after doing ancestry DNA and they randomly found one another, he would probably be cautious to. Unfortunately joe’s maternal uncle remains in denial

[00:29:51] Joe: he denies me too. He doesn’t even wanna speak to me, you know, reaching that roadblock, Keeping him 100, he can kick rocks too. Yeah. You know, [00:30:00] I’m willing to talk if he’s ever willing to talk, or if he wants to see the information. I make sure, like my cousin treats me like a cousin. Mm-hmm. Like, really, he, he knows that we’re cousins and he’s accepted me with open arms, you know, then that DNA doesn’t lie, so. Right. He’s made me feel super comfortable, but I, I understand the situation that, that he’s in too. . And he, he says that he doesn’t feel comfortable giving me like, information about her, but I never really had to ask him.

Mm-hmm. I got this information from my birth father’s older sister. . You know, she gave me all of the tools that I needed to find, what I needed to find.

You know, like I got roadblocks from the from my birth uncle, he, he’s never wanted to even communicate with me.

I know how I would feel if someone came to me like, who is this cat that knows all this information about my family? I need to meet this guy. , I have an interest in that. I know I wouldn’t walk away from [00:31:00] that. I would just You know, I, I wanna see, I wanna know who this cat is that got all this info on my family.

Intimate details, right? Like, what, what’s going on here? Like, I’m, I wouldn’t just write him off , like, he was , nothing. So I guess you could say I feel some kind of way about him and about my birth sister, . To me, that’s strange. That, that you would just write me off.

Without hearing more of the story or wanting to know more of the story. Right. The fact that my, my birth sister doesn’t want to hear anything else about it. , that, that bothers me because I, I wrote that five page letter that may help her to understand my journey.

I mean I don’t know. Like, I mean, people can’t walk in my shoes. You can’t know how another person feels. But you might have an idea to me. I don’t know. I guess I, I kind of feel like I don’t, I don’t mean that much to them, to, to be concerned with my journey.

Mm-hmm. You know, at all. Or to see if there’s a [00:32:00] possibility that there’s any truth to the , to what’s going on. Yeah.

[00:32:04] Damon: You know? That’s right. And they, they haven’t known you, you know, and they may not really care. You know what I’m saying? This is kind of the challenge that we have as adoptees, is that people haven’t known us.

We’ve come sort of quote unquote out of the woodwork. I. And it can be really challenging to think, Hey, like, I’m a person and you should , take just five more minutes to get to know me just a little bit more before you just say, I’m out. I don’t need this relationship. You know what I mean? And that’s a really tough thing that we have to deal with.

So I’m sensitive to that. ,

[00:32:36] Joe: yeah. Another thing that that had me you know, DMC from Run dmc, he, he has an adoption story that’s out there.

Yeah. Would love to chat with him.

Oh man, I, I, I heard that. And actually he was born in Staten Island also.

Mm-hmm. But, you know, and when I heard his story, I was close to the age that he was when I, when I first heard his story. Mm-hmm. That, that might have been something else that [00:33:00] contributed to me wanting to know more at some point. Mm-hmm. You know, when I heard that story, that connection there, that makes sense.

You hear, you hear the, you hear the soft, fluffy, good version of reunion stories, but then there, you know, I’m living the darker side of that, that’s all. Yeah, that’s right. You know?

[00:33:18] Damon: I hear you. Well, Joe, listen man, this has been wonderful to talk to you. I appreciate you opening up, because you’ve said you’re not a person who speaks about your adoption very openly.

So to come forward and, and share some of your own pain and struggle, Is valuable, not just, you know, to the adoption community, but to other guys specifically, because there’s not a lot of men who come forward and share their stories either. So I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you so much for being here with me, man.

I appreciate it. I,

[00:33:51] Joe: I think I heard you like, I, I didn’t know this. So this whole format existed. Mm-hmm. Like the podcast and everything. Cause I don’t have an [00:34:00] iPhone out, so I don’t get the Apple podcast. I, and my, my wife and I we’re not on social media, Facebook or Instagram, so we didn’t know about this right here.

I ultimately found out about your podcast and you being a black male adoptee, you know, my understanding was that. Like, it’s not a lot of us actually, I, I listen to a lot, couple of podcasts that’s out there and it is, it is majority women, you know? And black male, like, we just, I don’t know.

I haven’t heard us represented too much out there, I want, you know, I felt like I wanted to share my story, with the world, you know? Mm-hmm. And

[00:34:40] Damon: with somebody who can relate, is that is what it sounds like you’re saying too. Yeah. Well, I appreciate you doing it, man. I really do.

[00:34:46] Joe: Oh, no problem. No problem. I mean, it, there’s healing involved for all parties,

[00:34:51] Damon: excellent. Well, listen man, I wish you all the best. I know you’re going through a big something with your wife. I wish you and your family the best for her recovery, [00:35:00] and I appreciate you being here, Joe.

Take care,

[00:35:01] Joe: man. Okay. Yes. Thank you very much Mr. Davis. I appreciate that. My pleasure,

[00:35:06] Damon: man. Take care. Bye-Bye.

[00:35:08] Joe: Thank you. You too. bye-Bye.

[00:35:14] Damon: Hey, it’s me. Joe said he didn’t want for anything in adoption. And I love to hear that for adoptees. He shared that he didn’t look like his family, but he felt love for his mom and dad Who propelled his academic success by making sure he attended great schools. But Joe struggles with the complexity of his maternal reunion.

His birth mother and fathers, families sorta know one another, but Joe has roadblocks in front of him placed by his maternal relatives who don’t want to talk with him and won’t give him access to his birth mother. Joe said he’s going to pursue the connection Through the New York state adoption reunion registry To see if his birth mother ever tried to connect with him through that channel. He reminded me that her husband is deceased. So if she was avoiding [00:36:00] contact with Joe, because of what her husband might have thought that barrier has been removed.

I was really glad that Joe reached out to me to chat man, to man about his journey. And it meant a lot that he chose this platform to help share his story with the world. For anyone else out there listening who would like to be anonymized or de identified, but you would like to share your story, please visit who am I? Really? podcast.com/share. I’m happy to change your name. Changed locations and details about your story And even alter how your voice sounds. If it will help you to share your adoptive voice with the world.

Who Am I Really?

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