205 – Where The F_ck Is My Mother?
Later, Rachel found her birth father behind bars, but so glad to finally see his little girl again. Rachel calls herself a "Phoenix" for all that she's endured and the strength she brings to the life she lives today.
This is Rachel's journey.
[00:00:00] Annie: she’d just sit there crying. So she wanted to kill herself and how can you do this to me? And I’m like, oh my God. So then when I met my father, I thought, I can’t ever tell her about him because if this is how she feels about mom. So I lied about my father and when she died I could finally get to know them.
And you know, it was just years later we’d lost so much. You know, because you have to be good and you have to be this grateful person.
I’m Damon Davis and you’re about to meet Annie. She contacted me from Auckland New Zealand. Annie is a late discovery adoptee. And when she learned the news that she was an adoptee, it made her blood run cold. She said her life split into two people. The people pleasing adopt the
who wants to remain in her family and be accepted and the rebellious adoptee who refused to be what others expected.
In reunion. Annie found her birth mother had waited years for her to return and a birth father. She unexpectedly appreciated, especially juxtaposed [00:01:00] against the adoptive father. She grew up with. . Annie is an adamant unwavering advocate for adoptee rights. this is annie’s journey
When we started chatting Annie’s first question was, do you allow cursing on your podcast? I told her. Sure. No problem. So this is your warning that Annie uses some colorful language, do not let her self-expression subtract from the message she carries. I encourage you to stay at. So the end to hear something important about how we view quote, angry, adoptees. As always i started by asking Annie what adoption was like in her young life she responded by saying
[00:01:38] Annie: Adoption was something that I didn’t know even existed until I found out in the back of the car at age seven. And I think by that stage it was way too old. Now. I had three older sisters and, but there was a four year gap between Oliver, so all of them were like [00:02:00] together a year apart. And then there was a four year gap.
And then I came along and I think because mum had told the other girls about adoption, she, in her head somewhere, she thought that was quite comforting for her. I think that it was gonna be okay and everything was fine. So I don’t think she felt the need to tell me. And we were going up to the shops in the back of the car and.
one of my sisters said, oh, you know, adopted. And I said, what does that mean? And then I remember my mother saying, oh, well I’m not your mother and you know, I’m, I’m just looking after you cuz your mother couldn’t have you. And I just remember staring at the back of her head and thinking, you’ve got to be fucking kidding me.
What planet am I on? And I remember just going cold as a seven year old and thinking, I don’t know how to deal with this. Like, and instantly in my head I went where my mother, like, where is she? What if you are here? And I thought you were my mother. I’m just beside myself now with panic. But you weren’t [00:03:00] allowed to display any emotion about it in our family.
And it was very, very plain to see that you just had to carry on and suck it up.
[00:03:09] Damon: Wow. When you say, oh my God, there was so much. Just in that first few minutes, when you, let me backtrack for a moment, you said, You weren’t allowed to show emotion in that family. What does that mean?
[00:03:23] Annie: were, my mother was incredibly religious, and when I say incredibly religious, I mean beyond the point of mental health.
It was in another level of, she was so broken, and I think what happened to her is she had so many miscarriages, she had such an infertility issue. She’d had anorexia when she was 16, and she had to be taken down to Christchurch. Now, in regards to where you guys are that would be probably like you flying to.
Slip in LA it was, it’s like a four hour flight. Had to spend a year in a house [00:04:00] camp with her sister who got sent to look after her. Her teeth fell out. She was B Bones and they bought her back from the brink. And I think that’s why she could never hold any children of her own. Her mother was a tyrant and didn’t want her, and her father adored her and loved her and wanted children, but my grandma never did.
And when my mother was eight, her father went out sailing one day and he never came back. Mm. her mother was so, Upset and angry because she was left with these two children and there was no widow pension that then there was no financial aid from the government. So she basically had to bring these two girls up and mum never had any rights cause she wanted to be a nurse and her mother wouldn’t let her.
And she used to beat her with a shoe in the bath and make her head bleed and whip her with the electric jug cord. And so her life was incredibly horrific. And then her mother died at 52. But during that [00:05:00] life that she had, she, she found out she couldn’t have children. She got married to a man from church that her mother made her marry.
She didn’t wanna marry him. She started adopting these children and filled a place of joy in her life. But as far as she was concerned, In her head, we belonged to her. We were her children. There was no if way, but around it, we were hers. And that was made very clear. And you never mention adoption again because that’s just something that happened and I need to tell you about, but it doesn’t belong to you at all.
And we’re just gonna carry on and bullshit land and pretend that everything’s fucking hunky door and
[00:05:39] Damon: it’s not. Yeah. What I heard and what you described was what I’ve started to talk about more and more. The idea that the adoptive parent themself has trauma that is probably not dealt with, and when they become a parent, it can come [00:06:00] roaring forward.
And that unde with trauma can manifest itself in a lot of crazy ways. and, and it doesn’t necessarily make for good parenting. I gotta say. I want to go back to another thing that you talked about too, which was the idea that you found out at seven years old that you were adopted and everybody else already knew.
Can you tell me a little bit about this feeling you described of going cold? What, what does that mean for you as a seven year
[00:06:34] Annie: old? Well, it felt like my blood, went completely cold. And every time I go back to that image, it goes cold again. And I’ve never gotten over the shock of it, and I don’t think I ever will.
I’ve written a book called, where the Fuck Is My Mother? And it’s the growing up adoptees to try and get the trauma and the triggers that most of us have that are very synonymous and very similar, especially in the baby era when I was, cause [00:07:00] I’m 52 now. And just that feeling of, I don’t trust anyone anymore.
I dunno who you are. I remember looking around the car at the back of my mother’s head going, okay, you’re not my mother. And then I looked at my sister and went, oh, you’re not my fucking sister and you are not my sister. Oh, and you are not my sister. And then I went home and my head and went, oh my God, that’s not my dad.
That’s not my auntie. They’re not my cousins. Where am I? What is happening? And I just remember going home and sitting in my room and mom came in with the bullshit letter that we all got from, you know, the department, social welfare. And she gave me this piece of paper that had bullshit information on it.
Your mother was pretty and lovely and she had green eyes and red hair and she loved gardening and you know, and then dad was a drummer and he did science at school and you know, he was lovely. And they both chose to give you up cause they couldn’t. give you the life that they wanted and very loving couple that, you know, weren’t together, but really just wanted you to have the best in [00:08:00] life.
And mum, mum bought into that that bullshit and that rhetoric that was actually banding a route by the church and the crown. And I’ve got a lot to say about that because, you know, it was really all coerced by the church and morals and how dare you. And at that time, you know, after the second World War, there was a lot of people that couldn’t have children and they just kind of went, oh, well we can just get them from the.
Women and call them hoards and basically put them down and steal their baby. Mm-hmm. And off they went. I mean, at, at one stage there were 87 babies a week in New Zealand being taken away, medicated, and given as stranger adoption. Mm-hmm. Which makes my blood boil. And we are still caught in a 1955 adoption act where we’re not really allowed, our files we’re not allowed to get medical or health history.
And I’m pitching to the government at the moment to end that and I’m actually getting my adoption redacted and I’m actually getting my original birth certificate back so that my liturgy is restored to [00:09:00] my parents because they’re the ones that actually had me. And it’s not about good or bad adoption.
It’s not about, you know, that I’m angry with my adoptees. It’s about my right to my DNA and my footprint on the first I, why should I be a second class citizen?
[00:09:15] Damon: Yeah, you’re right. There’s a lot of an attempt to. Erase who the child is and could have been and sort of fill in the gaps with some new information that we hope they’ll never discover.
And it’s a, it’s an odd thing that people ever thought that this was something you could just do, that you could just take a child from one family and just pick ’em up and put ’em over here and de-identify ’em and then everybody would be just fine. it’s really wild. Yeah. and it has come back to, to bite the system.
[00:09:51] Annie: yeah. But the problem is they’re still not really addressing it, are they? They’re still making it go away because the, the government and also the churches are [00:10:00] all running for cover. And I dunno if you have this in your. State, but I’m pretty sure I’ve listened to millions of podcasts.
I’m pretty sure it’s unanimous. Globally. Suddenly there was a fire and there was a flood, and all your records are gone. And you know, they actually, legally by law, you are not allowed to take a child off, another person without a lawyer. And they have a 10 day clause in that contract where you, they’re allowed to take you back.
But what they did is they trapped them in, in these places, in these hostels and boarding homes, and they were sent away from their parents. They were taken from their infrastructure, their friends, their family, everything that they knew. They were terrified to death because they’d never had a baby. They were disgusting and ashamed and dirty and put down and told that there were whores.
And then they weren’t even allowed to have an option about relinquishing their baby. They weren’t relinquished. We were stolen. Mm-hmm. I mean, I know they. Most of [00:11:00] those occasions happen, but there’s some people who actually, you know, want to give their child away for adoption, but most of them, when you find out the truth, 20 years later, you know, my mother was sitting in a puddle of blood and I was taken from her and she hemorrhaged and no one gave her any medical care or attention, and she didn’t want to give me up and she didn’t have legal advice and she didn’t find anything.
She had to pay a dollar when she left the hospital for the paperwork to give me away. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. And no counseling and no help. And no support. Yeah. And to me, that is actually human trafficking and it’s criminal.
Because I was in a legal binding contract that I was not privy to. I was in a legal binding contract that was done to me. And now as an adult, I still have no rights until the day I die. Mm-hmm. That is disgusting.
And you know, I have a liturgy, I have a past, I have, I have a footprint in this world and I would like to carry that on to my children and my grandchildren, but I’m not allowed to. I belong to these stitious people that brought me up. My [00:12:00] actual birth certificate is a lie because it says underneath any of our birth certificate that if you change or tampered with this, then that is against the law.
That’s a criminal offense. Well, they tampered with mine, but they’re not up on charges.
[00:12:12] Damon: Mm-hmm. Right. There’s a double standard there, isn’t there? Right.
[00:12:17] Annie: Correct. Yeah. And tomorrow I can change my sexual identity and become a man on paper and they will just grant that to me. But I’m actually not allowed to get my birth certificate with my parents’ names on them.
Legally, I’m not allowed to. And I’ve written to everyone here. So I’m actually taking what we call a private members bill, which I don’t think you have there. I know you’ve got senators, we’ve got mps, which are called members of Parliament, and they act for you. They’re writing, they’ve written up this massive contract for me and they’re taking it to Parliament for me.
And if I get that law change, then that’s something for every single adopted New Zealand person to actually hang their hat on and then start storming the streets. Because I’m not gonna [00:13:00] let this go until there’s no breath left in me. And it’s not a matter that I wanna crucify my adoption, but I’m not gonna be grateful for it.
I’m not. I refuse to see that rhetoric. How can you take somebody from their family? And give them to strangers and accept them to be grateful?
[00:13:17] Damon: We went deep quickly. So I wanted Annie to go back to her teenage years. Most teens have an increased sense of self-awareness from when they were children that can be heightened as an adoptee in their teen years. I imagined that for Annie, who was seven, when she learned she was adopted
and the news blew her mind. That her teen years of living with her adopted family would be pretty challenging. I mean, if she felt her blood run cold, when she was seven, what must it have been like in her family as she grew and matured. And he said, she felt like she had split into two different people.
[00:13:50] Annie: I remember splitting into two people. I remember never being, Present again. I remember being an [00:14:00] observer in my own life. I remember sitting at the dining table observing everyone around me and disassociating. So I disassociation at seven. I learned how to be two people. I had a hidden life where I’d cry at night and write suicide letters from the age of seven in my little ended blyk books.
And I remember thinking, I have to be good. I have to be a good girl because I don’t know where else to go. I can’t leave. But if I could have, I would’ve left. I would’ve walked out and never come back cuz I was so angry with them and violated that they would lie and trick me in such a hideous fashion.
And then to give me no information about where my mother lives or what happened or anything, it’s just like, be quiet, be good. I go to the doctor and. She, lies in front of the doctor and tells the doctor, well, no, we don’t have any of that in our family. And I’m like, you could kill me. This is bullshit.
You’re a liar. And, but yet I get sent to my bedroom for lying and I get beaten for lying because she’s a Christian. But she lies all day about my life. Mm-hmm. [00:15:00] And it was just horrific. And I remember coming into teenage years and I just ba cause she dragged me to church by my hair. And I just basically made up a bullshit life.
to her, I was a golden child. I was perfect and good. She’d send me to church camps and I just fuck all the boys. But she never knew. So I, I had this double life that I lived behind her. I played the game and the day she died was probably the happiest day of my life. Mm-hmm. My father was bipolar, so he had massive mental health issues and my mother came to me like shit to a blanket.
So I was her husband really. And I just had to keep up this pretense when I got, I got pregnant at 18, so I followed in my, my natural mother’s footstep. I basically got kicked out of the house. She’s signed me up for an abortion. And you know, I’m like, what a constriction that you, you can’t have a baby.
I’m having a baby and you want to kill my [00:16:00] child because I’ve brought shame on your family. So anyway, I drove off and I lived by myself in a caravan at 18 and I had the baby, and he’s 33 now, and he’s just beautiful.
Wow. And in the end, mum came around and she just loved him so much and he became the perfect golden boy.
And you know, that again was so insulting. Yeah. But double standards and. Yeah, so I learned to disassociate, no, I, I study and teach at the moment and I help, I do trauma counseling for people because that is the crux of it. When you go into trauma as a child, you often have disassociation disorders and for me I still have it, but I’m dealing with it.
But it’s incredibly difficult as a child to navigate your way through that. I’m surprised I’m still here actually. Yeah,
[00:16:49] Damon: Wow. So, so going back for a while, you said that your mother was trying to push religion [00:17:00] on you, but in the very opposite and behind her back, you were pushing in all of the other directions.
It sounds like you were sexually active in sort of going against everything that she was trying to turn you into. Was that sort of, because Yeah. Of the adoption anger, like. You adopted me and you thought you wanted me to be this, so I’m going to absolutely 100% go the other direction and be that.
[00:17:25] Annie: Absolutely. It, it was, and sometimes when I actually got a little bit older, I left school at 14. I got a job straight away. I was more mature than anyone that’s ever met because of the shock that I’d been through. I was promiscuous, I was bold. I was brave. I was everything she didn’t want me to be and she couldn’t stand it.
But yet I was still her favorite cause I’ve got this really big personality and this magic, but she never knew. What I was doing behind her back. Mm-hmm. And I basically was [00:18:00] rebelling because I was so fucking angry at being trapped in this paradigm that I don’t belong in. And I remember sitting and looking at her face while she’s talking to me.
And in my head I’d be going, don’t give a fuck. You’re not my mother. I hate you. I just want you to die. But I’d never let her know. And I’d smile sweetly and give her a cuddle. And she’d read me praise every night in bed up till I was 18. I mean, the woman was mad.
[00:18:25] Damon: tell me more about that for a moment, please. Because you said that. You were the golden child that you had. At some point you said something along the lines of, I decided that I have to behave, or something like that. And so it’s interesting to hear this dichotomy of your choice to be promiscuous and go 180 from sort of church and her guidance.
But, but you have said like, I decided that I needed to be good. Tell me a little bit about that juxtaposition of there was a point where you said, I need to be good [00:19:00] and, and you’ve said, you know, I would go along and I would coddle her, basically. But I was thinking in my mind, you know, I wish you were dead.
How does that work in terms of sort of putting on this facade of, you know, an angel, but like the person inside you is like, their hair is on fire with red devil eyes, and they’re like, ready for this person in front of them to die. Tell how, how did that work for you? Exactly. That’s
[00:19:26] Annie: exactly. I just had to become that person.
I became that person and it’s learnt behavior through trauma and I became really, really good at it. I was so good at it. And I still find that in my life now. Like I carry that on and sometimes I dunno where my actual thoughts begin or end because I always have to be good. I have to be a good girl. I, everyone has to like me.
I was abandoned and rejected when I was born, which goes into your failure memory as we know from you know, very writing a fabulous spot, the primal wound. [00:20:00] And you, you learn behavior where you need to adapt in your circumstance because the consequences of the actions, if you don’t, are so grave, you will be given away again.
You’ll be abandoned again. You want, no one will love you or like you, this is the only thing you’ve got. So you may as well just learn how to play it. And it’s almost like a beaten wife syndrome. You just, you know, people go, won’t you leave when you can’t because you’re trapped in the. Paradigm and everyone’s watching you from the outside.
How is she gonna perform? How’s she gonna fit into this God? Mm-hmm. She’s good. She good? Mm-hmm. But behind her back I was just frantically lying. So that was that split personality where, we don’t have boundaries we have to do, I kicked back a few times, quite brutally, and I got put back in my place and she would take things from you and she would torture you and she’d take money and food off you and shake the car off you.
Or the consequences were so high that you just learnt to lie basically, it [00:21:00] sounds like, to candy coat it. I just became a liar.
[00:21:03] Damon: It sounds like it would’ve been super exhausting. Like it’s hard enough for people who are not dealing with the trauma at the level that you’re talking about, to just feel confident in themselves and be honest and, you know, operate with integrity.
Maybe not hard enough, but you know. It like it, it takes a while to sort of figure out who you are, who you want to be and operate in that. But what you’ve said is you are living two lives. There’s this one that I have to maintain the perception with my mom, you know, the, the person who adopted you, and then there’s this other, you know, raging individual who’s trying to break free.
Was that exhausting for you to, to have this constantly beyond your mind?
[00:21:46] Annie: Yep. Beyond, and it’s, still something that I struggle with because it’s so ingrained in everything that you do that you’ve got to constantly keep. So I, I have to have like mental health days. I haven’t been on [00:22:00] antidepressants or anything because I don’t really believe in them.
I think your mind can control, you know, a lot. Mm-hmm. There’s no real such thing that antidepressants creates serotonin that’s not even been proven. It’s just a bullshit lie. It’s, it’s your mental attitude about being kept in a cage. How you’re gonna cope with being kept in a cage. Are you gonna go mental and eat yourself or are you gonna just learn to live in the cage and understand how your mind can set you free?
So I basically had to put up with my dad being absolutely mentally insane. He went to a mental institution about four times and they gave him electric therapy, you know, in his brain she was loopy as well. Religion was incredibly heavy. She’d read the Bible every night at the table. I figured out that, In my eyes that God isn’t real.
Because if he was, how the fuck could he let me sit here? This is mental health of your God is so amazing and he’s all seeing an magnificent, how can he, how can he sit here and watch me being tortured? [00:23:00] And how old can you believe that rubbish that’s coming outta your mouth. But I went to church and I joined youth group and I did all the things that she wanted me to do, and it was exhausting.
And so now I have to watch myself because I, I’m a rescuer and a giver cuz she was, she needed rescuing, so I rescued her. So that’s Luke behavior. Dad was sick, so I rescued him. I was the caretaker in the, since the day I was born. I was the appearance really. But no one came. What my anger is too, is no one came to check on us.
You know, how can you just sign up for babies, get them, and then no one comes to check on you to see if everything’s all right. The paperwork’s done. And that’s the end of that. No one came to see if we were okay. Mm-hmm. How can you do that? Yeah. It’s insane.
Under the closed adoption act of 1955 in New Zealand. And he didn’t have access to her records until she was 20 years old. By the time she was 20 and he had an 18 month old baby whom she carried along with her for the [00:24:00] journey to reconnect with her biology.
It took Annie a year to find her family through the social welfare department. Annie requested her file, which contains her original birth certificate, showing her birth mother’s name. Her birth father’s name was unlisted, Which was a common practice for birth fathers unfortunately
[00:24:18] Annie: They did the deed, but they didn’t pay the crime the mothers did. And then it’s funny too, cuz my dad scored Scott and I always say he got off Scott free .
With her original birth certificate, any and her baby got on the bus for the long ride into town to access the electoral roll at the library. And he sat and wrote by hand at least 100 people’s names who had her birth. Mother’s last name as well. After the long bus ride home with her baby. And he started making phone calls . To ask the people on her list. If they were her birth family. Since Annie lived way up north, her calls were toll calls, so they were costly. And as a young mother, she had [00:25:00] very little money.
And he said she could only afford to make about three calls at a time. She would save her money during the week, then make a few calls working her way down the list. She would call and ask if the person on the other line knew her birth mother, some people were polite and kindly responded with a no.
Others were course and abrupt and asked who Annie was and what she wanted and still others just hung up.
[00:25:25] Annie: And then one day, I think it took me about six months, one day the phone answered and it was my grandmother, grandma, and I’d been told by a company in New Zealand at the time called Jigsaw, which I know operates still in Australia, but not here anymore, which is disgusting.
We’ve got nothing in New Zealand for adoption health support at all. They said to me, this is what you do. You say, oh, I’m a friend from school, a foreign out of charge. Do you have her contact? Well, anyway, this lady, what do you mean Susan’s Mary Sue? Like that she was really angry and mean. [00:26:00] And I went, oh yeah, Sue.
And she went, well, who are you? And I said, oh, I’m just a friend from school falling out, you know, dunno where she’s, well, she just lives down the road. I’ll give you her number. And she went away to get her number. Came back, I wrote it down, and then I’ve got my mum’s number. Wow. Now what, what, what the fuck do you do with that?
Am I gonna ring her up and ruin her life and she can reject me again? What am I gonna find out at the end of this? What, what’s gonna happen to her? You know, does she wanna speak to me? I don’t know. Terrifying. So I waited for a few weeks, but one night I think I had a few wines and went okay, Dutch courage and rang her
[00:26:41] Damon: I
[00:26:41] Annie: got her husband. I didn’t know who he was, and he’s like, and I think I again said Susan, and he goes, what do you mean? Susan? And I went, oh yeah, Sue And I went, okay. And he goes, yeah, hang on. And, and then, you know, she came to the phone and I’m like, [00:27:00] that’s me.
You know? Cause I was so emotional like I am now. And I said, it’s your daughter. And she went, oh darling, waiting for this call my whole life. And the first thing she said, look, are you okay? And I went, yeah, kinda. But, oh God. And then, Proceeded to tell me that she had three children and she was married.
And then she asked, are you any children? And she just found out she had a grandson. You know, I mean, it’s insane, eh, what they did to us. Mm-hmm.
[00:27:38] Damon: horrific. What was it like then for you to hear her say, I’ve been waiting for this call?
[00:27:45] Annie: Oh, it was just so good because, you know, she could have hung up on me.
My other three sisters, they haven’t had very good experiences. My elder sister hasn’t done anything. My second sister rung her mother, she claims to go like shit to a rug. Her dad died, so she never [00:28:00] gets to meet him. And my next sister down. Her mother just didn’t want to know her and wouldn’t tell her who her father was and just said, look, I’m not very interested in talking to you and you know, I wish you well, but please don’t ring me again.
And I mean, I don’t know if I could have cope with that. But I also have done a lot of research on trauma and cellular memory and everything. And I think the problem that I have is because my mother did not want to give me away. And I was taken and I think my father’s family tried to keep me as well.
So it was my grandmother who I rang who, who made mum give me away. She called me it and she still called me it and wanted put me on family tree. No way. And I think it’s cause Mum wanted me and we’ve got that bond that was severed and I think ethereally in our heart somewhere that we were connected because we never wanted to be apart.
And so I think. The homecoming has been, it’s been really hard, but it’s been better than [00:29:00] a lot of people I know because we were stolen from each other.
[00:29:03] Damon: After arranging to meet one another. And he took a bus two and a half hours with her son in tow to meet her birth mother. They agreed to meet at a coffee shop to see one another for the first time.
[00:29:15] Annie: I met my mother and it’s, for the first time in my whole life, I felt like I come home because we don’t have a home. Cuz I had no mirroring of myself, which is incredibly prolific for humans to see a reflection of themselves in someone else’s ancestry or eyes.
Your auntie, that’s where you got your aunties here, your brothers noses, whatever. None of them Yeah. Mirroring for me until I was 20. Yeah.
I just looked in her eyes and they were my eyes and her hands and my hands and it was just so comforting. Cause I’d never seen anyone that looked like me. And that was just so nice.
And she was so sweet and kind and we just had so much in common and. [00:30:00] Like we’re just good mates. It’s, look, it hasn’t been a walk in the park because it’s so hard to get to know somebody when they’re an adult and she had a family and they’ve all accepted me, which is beautiful, but I don’t wanna quit on toes and she doesn’t want tore on mine.
And so we tried to form this amazing bond and I wanted to see her and drink her up and I wanted to hear all her stories, but I couldn’t because my mother was still alive. And I remember one day getting her to my house and snuck her around, you know? Cause my other mother was always fucking there. She never rang or anything.
She’d just turned up. She was so invested in my life. And my natural mother was in the kitchen and we were busted. And it was just the most horrific feeling and. You know, my adopted mother was just, you could see on her face, she was so angry at me and so traumatized. And then I’d get the hell in fury from that for weeks and weeks.
Cause she’d just sit there crying. So she wanted to kill herself and how can you do this to me? And I’m like, [00:31:00] oh my God. So then when I met my father, I thought, I can’t ever tell her about him because if this is how she feels about mom. So I lied about my father and when she died I could finally get to know them.
And you know, it was just years later we’d lost so much. You know, because you have to be good and you have to be this grateful person.
[00:31:21] Damon: So you said that you found your biological mother, you tried to hide the relationship from your adoptive mother, but because she always came around Yes. Your house so much.
Eventually one day she just popped in one day and your biological mother was sitting there in your house and this was this, oh shit moment. Then you could never live it down, right?
[00:31:44] Annie: And then I never did it again. I just had to not do that. I just had to push mom away. Mm-hmm. I met dad, I had to push him away and I just, you can’t speak of it because, and then my other sister who, you know, when she met her mother, she turned up at one [00:32:00] of the kids’ birthdays and my adopted mother just had a meltdown for weeks.
You know, it just wasn’t worth it. Mm-hmm.
[00:32:06] Damon: Did you explain it wasn’t worth the pain of it? Yeah. Did you explain to your parents, listen, I want to know you, but this is so tough with how Yeah. For lack of better words. Crazy. She is like just really beside herself. Did you, and did you explain that and how did it go?
[00:32:26] Annie: Yep, I did. And then, but the other thing for them was I didn’t want to let them know how bad my life had been because, and I’ve only just told mum in the last book, she’s been hearing my podcast and it’s so confronting for her because she rings me and she lives in Australia now. She brings me in crying and she’s like, I’m so sorry.
And I’m like, it’s ok. I tried to protect her as well, because I wanted to let you know that I was going through so much shit to my whole life. I didn’t wanna say I’ve had the shittiest life. I, so I lied to her as well [00:33:00] and said, It’s been lovely, but mum’s just really territorial, you know? And she’s like, I understand, you know, I don’t have a right to walk back into life and I’d be like, I’d love to see you more, but I can’t. And you know, I had to do that to my dad as well. I had to lie. And, and then I had to make my children lie because they were seeing my na, my natural father. And I hate saying natural father cause he’s my father. But it’s confusing for people to hear When they’re trying to hear my story. So, I mean, I’d have to tell Jordan to my son to, to lie and that. Don’t tell him that’s your granddad. You have to lie and say that he’s the friend of my, your husband, you know, my husband at the time, Dean, who I, I’m not with anymore, but, you know, and it’s dad’s friend.
And when N says, wherever you’ve been all weekend, you’ve gotta lie. And I’m, I’m doing that to my five year old, you know, and I’m doing the same thing she did to me. And it’s like, That’s when I’m just so, I get so angry at this whole bullshit mm-hmm. That we have to do.
[00:33:57] Damon: So, so in the, [00:34:00] her inability to accept that you had connected, forced you to lie about your connection with your biological family, and it therefore perpetuated the cycle of lies that had been put on you with your own child, you felt like you had to protect
Your adoptive mother and therefore you sort of coerced your own son into lying about the relationships that you had developed and it was just the cycle all over again. Yeah. That’s really fascinating. Yeah,
[00:34:30] Annie: that’s exactly right. And then, you know, mum, my adopted mother would say, it’s okay to know and, and, and get and see your mother, but that’s it.
That was it. You can meet her, get, ask what happened, and that’s it. You’re not gonna have a relationship with her. You’re not. And I’m like, oh, okay. Why not? We’ll, well I’m your mother. And I’m like, yep, okay. Fuck. It’s not a competition. But I knew it was just so bad. There was no way in the fire pits of hell [00:35:00] that I could have a relationship with her because the price on my head, the bounty on my head was too great.
Mm-hmm. And then money plays a part because, you know, my mum helped me get into my first house when I had my baby at 18. I got married to Dean, their father, who you know, was a lovely man, but he was a bit broken like my dad and all this shit. And then I feel guilty because she broke me up and wipe my ass and given me money.
And how dare I just go often and hang out with this other lady who’s my mother, you know? Mm-hmm. You had that guilt going holistic once. exactly. And my life’s been filled with guilt. I can’t please anyone. I can never make anyone happy, you know? And that’s what pushes you down that suicide route because you just don’t wanna be here anymore.
Cuz it’s tiring. Mm-hmm. Like you said at the beginning, how tired are you? And it’s exhausting pretending. So, yeah, it’s a dichotomy, isn’t it? Yeah. You’re still living this lie.
[00:35:53] Damon: Yeah. Can I go back for a moment? Moment? You talked about, well I first, let me say, [00:36:00] I’m sorry. This is incredibly difficult, especially because you were acutely aware of what adoption meant at the age of seven.
I mean, many people will hear it and sort of be curious, but kind of run off and play. But as soon as the words were said, ice ran through your veins as if. You were on the wrong planet, it sounds like. And you’ve lived with this for Yeah. Many, many years. So I just wanted to say I’m, I’m super sorry that this has been the torture of your life and, and along those lines then I wanted to go back for a moment to something that you said earlier.
If I heard you correctly, you basically said the day your adoptive mother died was like the best day of your life. What does that mean?
[00:36:53] Annie: I’ve never felt such a sense of freedom. I can finally be me. I can finally go home. I can finally have people in my life [00:37:00] without lying. I can just be me again. I don’t know who that person is, but this woman was so toxic and so fucked in the head, and so religious and weird.
There wasn’t anything I could do to change her beliefs. I was not allowed to be me. I had to be this thing that she wanted me to be. Mm-hmm. And. I, just sort of touched on it before I said I went to this trauma counselor and he did reiki and I remember lying there and he, he put his hand over me and he goes, who owns you?
And I, I just said to him, oh my, my mother. And he went, wow, I’m gonna cut all that. I’m gonna break all those tires because someone owns you. And my mother would always say to me, you are mine. You are mine. I you are mine. I own you. You are mine baby. You are my baby. And I’d be like, oh my God, that’s
[00:37:51] Damon: mental.
That is crazy. He said that just, wow. That’s unbelievable. He was able to detect that. [00:38:00] That’s wild.
[00:38:01] Annie: yeah. And, and it was just insanity and. I just remember thinking let’s find it all back into the first instance. If we’re logical human beings, no one owns you and you should never own your children.
Even if you give birth to them and they’re genetically yours, you don’t own anybody. We, slavery is a abolished. Mm-hmm. I don’t, I’m not a piece of property. I’m a human being, but for her to, to name me is that you are mine and you are my baby. And it’s like, mm, I’m kind of not, anyway. So I just had to hold myself and just, I learned a lot though, which is great because now I can teach and I’ve got so much empathy and I can help other people and you know, it’s really made me the person who I am.
I’m the empaths and I understand so much, but, well, I didn’t have a childhood. But look, I’m. I’m, I’m here, I’m helping the adoptive community. [00:39:00] I’m fighting for our rights. I hope this never happens again. I believe in kinship adoption and I think your, your DNA ande should be on your birth certificate regardless of whether they were serial killers, murderers on P or heroin addicts.
You should know where you came from. Mm-hmm. The people who then take you and look after you should be guardians of you because they’re looking after you and feeding you. Right. That’s lovely. Yeah. But, but don’t get me away and change my name and take my DNA footprint off the
[00:39:30] Damon: Earth.
And he told me that at 35 years old, she was quite broken when she tried to collect herself to form a relationship with her natural mother. Again. And his birth mother’s family accepted her really nicely when she flew to Brisbane to meet them and form new bonds. Her birth mother still had contact information for Andy’s birth father.
Even though she hadn’t spoken to the man since the day Annie was born. And his birth mother offered to introduce Annie to her birth father
I don’t, I don’t wanna fucking meet him. I wanna you are my mother. Like, we never want your father in the middle of the night. Do you even be crying as a kid? You want your mother.
[00:40:09] Damon: Any dismissed meeting her birth father entirely Her adoptive father had been plagued by mental illness, scarring Andy’s childhood. So she didn’t want to risk, encountering anything close to what she had already been through with a father figure. But Annie’s birth mother suggested they should contact him as she also wanted to see the man again. After three decades of separation and a life altering series of events and he’s conception birth and relinquishment into adoption.
[00:40:38] Annie: and I remember. The three of us just meeting. And mum was crying and dad was crying and I was crying and the dad was like, you’re so beautiful. And I’m like, oh my God, you’re so handsome. Mum was so pretty and they still in love.
They came to my wedding nine years ago. I invited them separately. They both got different partners. They came to my wedding and [00:41:00] they sat in the corner of the room and talked for like four hours at my wedding. Wow. And wow. Much of the horror of everyone else, but they still love each other and they still had this thing.
Yeah. So I met dad and he’s, actually both of my you know, parents broke up when they met me. They had these 20 year marriages. They met me and they both broke up their marriages and I thought, that’s my fault. Right. I’ve come along and I’ve tipped up the apple cart. I’m the new kid in the block.
Dad had three kids as well. Mum had three kids. They were all quite shocked. They. Found out about me, they met me and I think I opened cans of worms in their marriages. And I feel like I’m to blame, but I don’t know how, what you do with that. But anyway, they all split up. Mm-hmm. Dad was so upset. He used to ring me every night because we had such a great connection and he used to cry on my shoulder and, you know, from my other parents.
I was so used to that. So that was fine. And then I met my brother on [00:42:00] my father’s side, Sparrow, who’s the illustrator of my book. And that was a really great journey too. And he, said, you know, we share the same father. And I got to know him and his story was worse than mine. And my father had me.
And then he went, he went and had sex with someone else and then did the same thing to my brother and his sparrow. And his name is Sparrow. It’s not a made up name, it’s actually his name. So Dad gave me away and adopted me. And then Dad didn’t do anything with Spur. He just basically abandoned him, said that he wasn’t the father, and, and ran away up North and, and left him.
So Sparrow has the same trauma that I do with abandonment. Mm-hmm. But I was legally adopted and given to the psycho family and he was basically left alone and lied to as well. So we’ve got this really great kinship and when we worked on the book together, it was great because he brought to life my dark, horrible, [00:43:00] nasty thoughts in my head.
And my book is quite short. It’s only like 12 pages and it’s written as if it’s written for children, but it’s actually for adults. But it’s really short and basic. And he’d put, he’d ring me and go, I’m struggling with this page. And I’d go make it darker, make it more horrible. The family tree tackles and leaves off it.
Put thunder behind it. Take the church, make it as dark as you can. People are dead. I’m like, I’m so sad. And he’d go, fuck, you’re so deep and sad. And I’m like, yeah. Mm-hmm. So you and we, we held each other together through that, but it was so lovely to interpret it with my actual brother, you know?
That’s, that’s crazy. Wow.
[00:43:43] Damon: Such a cool thing. Yeah. That’s really, really amazing, huh? That’s incredible. Good for you guys. Yeah, it
[00:43:50] Annie: was cool. I had to drag him kicking and screaming, but he did it.
You said you work in trauma and your sort of, Fighting against the system. Can you just summarize again what it is that your life’s mission is now in the adoption space? So,
[00:44:14] Annie: if I had a magic wand in my hand, I would just like to be an adoption counselor.
There isn’t, there’s probably two in New Zealand and the whole New Zealand, like 6 million people. I would like to train in that. I feel like I’m kind of a bit too old to do that. And also it’s really hard to get training in it because it’s such a specifiec dynamic, isn’t it? Mm-hmm. But however, I think I know enough to just be able to go out on my own and, and help and share because I’ve researched so much.
At the moment currently, I. Am fighting in all our private Facebook groups, and I’m trying to get the law changed from the 1955 Adoption Act overturned. I’m, I’m wanting an apology like Australia had with Julie Gillard, who came up and apologized. And [00:45:00] she’s also allowed the victim, the trauma victims to have some help, free help through the government and the mothers acknowledged of their children being stolen from them.
And the fathers never been put down on birth certificates because they had no rights either. They were stolen, their children were stolen too. Mm-hmm. You know, they didn’t, didn’t disappear. They thought about their children every day and they miss their children. I wanna fight the state and the crown.
I wanna make people accountable. But you know, you have to hustle and you’ve gotta work and, and pay the bills. So at the moment, I’m a botanical stylist and I do weddings and functions and with the Covid . Thing that’s been hard. So I’m grateful for that cuz it’s given me a lot of opportunity and time to sit down and actually you know, write my book and publish my book and, and research and talk and join groups and spend way more time than I would be allowed to if I was doing weddings every weekend and flowers up a ladder.
Yeah. So my, [00:46:00] my dream is to be full-time just encapsulated into this and start fighting the government and go up against them and make, we need a voice globally. We’re all the same. I listen to all the podcasts in the states. I listen to them in England, Ireland, everything. It’s horrific. Mm-hmm. We’re all treated and second class citizens and it’s not ok.
[00:46:23] Damon: You are right. You’re right. There’s a, a global fight for. Adoptee rights, you’re 100% correct. Correct. And it’s, there’s millions and millions of kids out there who have grown into adults, some of whom are, you know, in many ways thankful for the opportunity that they’ve gotten. And many of them are just like, this was the worst thing that any anybody could have ever done.
but the, the fight for identity is real. And I’m glad you’re fighting it, a lot of times people wallow in their pain and they don’t take that energy and turn it into anything.
They just [00:47:00] let it consume themselves. But what it sounds like is you’ve got a burning desire to take a. That pain and turn it into something positive, at least for one other person. And I think that’s incredibly admirable and super important. So well done.
[00:47:17] Annie: Oh, thanks. And that’s the aim, because lo, you know, lots of people that I talk to who are adopted, they go, why are you so angry?
Mm-hmm. And I’m like, I’m not angry. I’m angry at what’s being done to us. I refuse to be grateful. And then they don’t understand that because they’ve been told a lie and then they break up and they go, oh, oh, yeah. Shit, that, that’s a good point. Actually, you know what? That’s a good point. But I want to change my birth certificates of when I die.
My legacy is there. My children have their far now and their belief and their, their energy and their infrastructure. I, yeah, I at the moment, if I die tonight, still legally on the Marshall, I’m not a Marshall, these [00:48:00] people. Took me, that kind of belonged to my DNA footprint. I can be grateful for them and say, thank you for having me and feeding me.
It was lovely of you to take me in cause you didn’t have another child and you just got one free down the road. Thank you. But I’m not buying into that shit. Mm-hmm. I want my fucking liturgy back where it should be. And back in the Coliseum days, if there was a child that wasn’t wanted or was pushed outta the home, they’d take it to the coliseum.
They’d put it on one of the pillars. It would have to hold onto the pillar, and anyone else in the town could come along and take it. They’d take the child home and go, we’ll look after you. But their name was still kept their name. Mm-hmm. They were kept, they had the same line energy. We, you can’t just, you can’t just a baby and give it to another group of people.
Yeah. I mean, let alone trans adoption, that just blows my mind. I couldn’t imagine. And, and this is what they do. They create war [00:49:00] and salmon to go and steal more babies and the churches are still behind it today. And it makes me sick. And I just saw that post the other day about that Dropbox to put your baby in and Oh, the first baby was in.
Everyone’s like, amazing. It’s so amazing how you fuck. That’s not amazing. That baby now has no connection to nothing or no one. Mm-hmm. No one’s looking after the mother or helping her. If the church is so great, look to your coffers and help that woman out cuz she ain’t got no money. That’s why she can’t have the baby.
Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. For goodness sake, it’s disgusting. Yeah.
[00:49:35] Damon: it’s the wildest thing that the institution of adoption is something where one person has no say in any of the transaction that goes on around their life. And then regardless of how it comes out, the expectation by the rest of society is that no matter who you are, you should be grateful that you were adopted.
[00:50:01] Damon: I know. I can hear it. I can hear it. Well, Annie, I really appreciate you coming here all the way from Auckland New Zealand.
This is incredible to hear your energy in fervor for making change. It’s super important, and I’m gonna say again, I’m really sorry for what you endured because not every adoptee experiences what you did, and it sounds awful. And but I’m glad that you were able to make some connections back to your biology, that sound, sound meaningful for you to have them at your wedding and have them sort of be connected back to each other.
Sounds like at least some level of positivity and something, you know. To, to be happy about and yeah. And I hope that it is. That’s really cool. It, I’m,
[00:50:47] Annie: I’m very lucky. Good, good. I’m one of the few, but also I’ve got a great sense of humor, so don’t, don’t think I’m, you know, hanging from a rope. I’m, I’m good.
It’s just, I’m gonna use, like you said, I’m gonna use the anger Yeah. To [00:51:00] change shit. And I think that’s what happens though with people like me who’s who are so motivated. That’s how change is created. Yeah. Because we can’t just sit there and whinge about it and do nothing.
[00:51:10] Damon: I think, and I wanna, before we close, I wanna say one quick thing, because you struck something that I think is really important.
A lot of times, quote unquote, angry adoptees get a lot of flack and. People see them as an angry adoptee and it kind of bleeds into the rest of their life as if they were an angry person in general. And I think it’s important to just outline and underscore that that person might not necessarily be angry about every component of their life, but this particular piece where they were transplanted from one family to another and they don’t know who their lineage is and all of the things we’ve already discussed.
Yeah, that part pisses ’em off and they’re allowed to have that. So I just wanted to, because you said it, I wanted to make sure we hit on it. So thank [00:52:00] you again, Annie, for being here. You, you’re amazing. We’re all amazing. Together. We’re all amazing together. Yay. All right, Annie. Take care. All the best to you already.
Take care of the world.
[00:52:12] Annie: Thank you
[00:52:13] Damon: so much. My pleasure. Take care. All the best. All right. e You too. Bye-bye
[00:52:18] Annie: bye. Catch you soon. Come to New Zealand.
[00:52:20] Damon: Come see. Oh my God. I would love to. I would love to. I’d love to. Take care. Bye-bye. Do it.
[00:52:25] Annie: Okay, bye.
[00:52:26] Damon: Hey, it’s me. Annie is a late discovery adoptee who learned about her adoption at the age of seven. I know that doesn’t sound old enough to be a late discovery adoptee, but you heard how the news hit her hard and made her question everything.
That’s what late discovery does to an adopt the, at any age.
I was really glad to hear that Andy’s birth mother was waiting for the day and he would call and it was heartwarming to hear how she connected with her birth father to. After such a challenging [00:53:00] adoption experience, it must’ve been so fulfilling to have positive reunions with her birth parents.
I’m glad to hear Annie is turning her adoption experience into advocacy.
And remember adopt these like Annie have a right to be unhappy about their adoption. Just because they’re angry about the adoption experience. Doesn’t mean they’re unhappy people in general. You heard her say she’s a botanical stylist for weddings who could be angry doing that awesome job.
We’re all allowed to have separate emotions that coincide with different segments of our lives. Adoption is a huge part of many people’s lives and the person who lived it. The adoptee is allowed to feel however they want. I’m Damon Davis, and I hope you found something in Annie’s journey that inspired you.
Validates your feelings about wanting to search. Or motivates you to have the strength along your journey to learn who am I really.