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030 – Don’t Fall For “I Can’t Talk To You On The Phone”

Jen had a very nice childhood with her parents and never really wanted to search for her birth parents until her friends started having kids. But the ultimate spark that ignited her desire to search came from a family tragedy.

In the aftermath Jen located her birth mother and they connected over social media, but Jen could never get her mother on the phone and that gave her a bad feeling. While she’s thankful for the few answers she did get about her past, Jen wishes she had not been deceived and has a warning for other adoptees seeking reunion. On her reunion trip her birth mother bitterly showed her true colors.

Thankfully,contacting her birth mother did allow her to connect with other really cool relatives, and find her paternal half-brother who is ecstatic to know her.

The post 030 – Don’t Fall For “I Can’t Talk To You On The Phone” appeared first on Who Am I…Really? Podcast.

Jen (00:03):

I never got a please. Thank you. A nicety. Nothing. I got nothing decent or nice or kind from this woman, so that’s the reason why when I look back at whatever communications we had prior to, I deleted everything because I don’t think any of it’s true.

Voices (00:23):

Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?

Damon (00:35):

This is Who Am I Really, a podcast about adoptees that have located and connected with their biological family members. I’m Damon Davis and on today’s show is Jen who lives in the often sweltering heat of Phoenix, Arizona. She told me she had a very nice childhood with her parents and never really wanted to search for her birth parents until her friends started having kids. But the ultimate spark that ignited her desire to search came from a family tragedy. In the aftermath, Jen located her birth mother and they connected over social media, but Jen could never get her mother on the phone and that gave her a bad feeling. When they finally met face to face, their reunion was short lived. While she’s thankful for the few answers she did get about her past, Jen wishes she had not been deceived and has a warning for other adoptees seeking reunion.

Damon (01:28):

For Jen, everything was normal. Growing up. Her parents read her a special book every night, the chosen baby, about a couple who elected to adopt an infant and raise the child as their own. Jen still has that book to this day. She never thought about her adoption growing up, even as a young adult. Then her peers started having kids. Of course, the children look like their parents, and Jen began to wonder whom she looked like. It wasn’t quite enough of a spark to launch a search, but then something tragic happened.

Jen (02:00):

What changed for me and what made me search for biological family was my mom was killed in a car accident, um, October, 2012. So that was number one, a shock. And number two, a lot of things changed after that. Like I said, it never seemed to be an issue of me being adopted. It never was part of my day. It was never part of my thought. But after my mom was killed, my dad and the remaining family, cause we don’t have a big family, I guess you could say, they sort of turned on me. I got written out of the will. Things were totally changed. I mean it was, it was so incredibly hurtful and incredibly blindsided that, I mean I just, then I start wondering my, cause my whole life been a lie.

Damon (02:53):


Jen (02:55):

It was pretty big wow moment. Yeah.

Damon (02:57):

Did you experience any animosity, any contentiousness? Was there any, so for a minute, let’s just go backwards for a second. Do you have siblings?

Jen (03:10):

No, they only adopted me.

Damon (03:11):

Did you feel any of that from your father growing up?

Jen (03:15):

No. No. Absolutely. No. That’s why it was so blindsided. So my mom was killed October 2012. Things already were in play and changing like kind of almost within the first six months. It was pretty immediate.

Damon (03:33):

What kinds of things did you detect were that were already in play that were starting to get worse?

Jen (03:38):

I have two cousins that live in Chicago and they, my mom had a brother who was also deceased and I was really close to my uncle. Those two boys belonged to my uncle who’s deceased. My mom is deceased. Those two boys live in Chicago and I mean, I hate to stereotype, but they are very wealthy, so I guess apparently if you’re a multimillionaire, I guess you feel you could control the world. Well, they stepped in and it’s like they sort of took over my dad, but at the end of the day, my dad is responsible for letting go of the wheel and letting those boys take control.

Damon (04:15):

Around that time, her father had hip replacement surgery and he was in the hospital. Jen went to his bedside daily and it was at that time she found out he had agreed to change his wife’s will eliminating Jen. They’re only heir and creating a trust that diverted her inheritance, but more importantly, the process drove a wedge between her and her father that was deeply hurtful. Unfortunately, Jen’s not the only adoptee to be treated that way.

Jen (04:43):

You know, that’s a pretty big pill to swallow. So number one, my mother was killed in a car accident, you know, and now my father has turned on me and I still talk to him. I still am me. I’m still responsible for my side of the fence and how I behave towards others. So I still treat him normally even though he’s been now completely horrible to me.

Damon (05:03):

Exclusively related to the will or has he done other things?

Jen (05:08):

Well, you know, I don’t know because now I just, I don’t even really talk too much about anything. So when he is in town, which is here in Arizona, cause now he spends most of the time in Chicago where the boys live. So when he is in town I just still treat him normally. We don’t talk about anything major. But at the end of the day, the reality of his, you know, he changed a lot of things and I’m an only child. And then, I mean that’s such a hard blow to take that I did share a snippet of how hurt I was on one of the adoption sites, I don’t knw if it was I Am Adopted, but I sort of shared like how blindsided and how hurt I was and come to find out my story is not unique. So I just posted just because I was so, I can’t believe this happened. And then it turns out quite a few people posted. I had like over 90 something replies to that and I had a bunch of people private message me. So my story was not unique.

Damon (06:04):

God, that’s incredibly sad, I mean..

Jen (06:07):

It is incredibly sad, incredibly hurtful. So that really, that was my final moment that I’m like, you know what, I’ve got nothing to lose at this point. My mom’s not here anymore so I’m not going to hurt her feelings that I’m going to search for biological family. My father apparently has moved on, so I have nobody’s feelings to hurt. I have nothing to lose. My father has basically turned his back on me even though I still talk to him and when he’s in town, we still try to see each other once a week. Cause like I said, I only could be responsible for my behavior. So, even though he’s done a horrible thing, I’m not going to be a participant in that.

Damon (06:43):

That’s fascinating. I’m sure people have asked you before, how do you, how do you go high when someone goes low like that to use, you know, sort of recent vernacular for this type of situation? I mean I’ve always told, I’ve always thought of things like if, if you show me how you feel about me, then I understand and I’m, you know, I’m not gonna continue to like walk around and be mad, but I’m also not going to give you much attention either. And I could see how you could find yourself cutting them off and been like, not, you know, in a hateful way, but just like you’ve basically shown your true colors and um,

Jen (07:19):

I cut off those cousins. I cut off those cousins a long time ago, so those cousins had been cut off. I have not cut off my father cause just because he’s behaving badly. I mean he’s still my dad.

Speaker 4 (07:30):

Jen said, part of her sadness is knowing that her mother’s final wishes weren’t honored and that she would be crushed to know her own husband had treated their daughter this way, but all of that mistreatment was Jen’s turning point in deciding to search. She realized she had nothing to lose and no one’s feelings left to hurt if she located her birth parents. So she joined a few Facebook groups like I Am Adopted, another one with some search angels as active contributors and a few others. Initial advice was Jen should get a copy of her original birth certificate. Luckily she was born in Illinois, a state where access to her own documents is allowed. That gave Jen her birth mother’s full name, but her birth father’s name was omitted,a common occurrence years ago. Her search angels investigated her mother’s full name, a very common Jewish last name, but she didn’t get any leads. She tried Ancestry DNA, but there were no close connections there either. Everyone was coming up empty. Then one of the search angels suggested a new tactic.

Jen (08:31):

And then she said, you were adopted out of Illinois, right? And I said, yeah. She’s like, well you petition the court and you get a CI appointed to you, which is a court investigator. It’s like, I think it’s like a third party company that once the court grants a CI to you and the petition you have to show like how you searched. So you just can’t naturally go to that step first. So I did that. I got a CI appointed to me and then that CI has the ability to access your sealed file. The court appointed CI had access to get to that file. I don’t think these laws apply to all States though.

Damon (09:04):

No, no. Yeah, that’s interesting.

Jen (09:06):

So, so she says, okay, so she’s like, I got the file, I have her name, I have her social security number and apparently they have like some sort of system or whatever that they’re able to run that social security numbers. She goes, what happens next is that we send out like, it’s like a standardized letter saying that you are searching for her. And if she wants to make contact, she can make contact. So it’s like a general letter and sent out to the last known address.

Damon (09:33):

The CI tells Jen, they make a total of three attempts at contacting her birth mother at her last known address. If she doesn’t respond after three attempts, the CIA will close the file. There’s nothing more she can do. But if her mother never contacted the CI, Jen’s file was still closed to her. Jen couldn’t access the information herself because it was still all confidential.

Jen (09:54):

So we get no response, that’s just, it’s the end and I’m like okay, I’m totally fine with that. I mean if it’s the end, it’s the end. I tried, you know, I jumped through every hoop I could do and I tried and she goes or she can contact me and she’s like, and then she’s like, I will talk to her and then I’ll let you know that she’s made contact. And then if you both agreed to talk to each other, we each had to sign a release to get it back to her. And then at that point she was able to exchange information. So that’s how they work the process in Illinois.

Damon (10:21):

Got it. And so she sends out the first letter, did she get a hit?

Jen (10:25):

Yes, she did.

Damon (10:27):


Jen (10:27):

She immediately got a hit. But now in retrospect, because of everything that went down, I honestly now don’t even believe anything that that woman had told me. The biological mother, her name is Jackie. So I got a hit. Um, I get a call from the CI. She said, yep, I, you know, I just got off the phone with um, cause then she was able to tell me the first name and you know, she goes, I just got off the phone with Jackie and Jackie is like in tears. She can’t believe that you found her, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Damon (10:58):

Then Jen and Jackie followed the process of signing releases to allow the CI to give each of them the other’s contact information. Of course, what does anyone do these days when they get someone’s info?

Jen (11:09):

Now they had the information. Then I was kind of super sleuthing her a little bit. I found her profile on Facebook so I already would like was checking her out and then I started looking through her friends cause she didn’t have her Facebook lockdown cause then naturally super, that’s just who I am. Then I started like saying like, Oh she had a daughter and then that daughter had some kids so I already like got the like low down on her.

Damon (11:32):

So Jen sent her introductory letter. She explained that she had a great life in adoption, that she wasn’t intending to intrude on Jackie’s family and expressed her curiosity about wanting to connect with her in the hopes that she had not been a secret. Jen tried to make sure the letter conveyed that she wasn’t trying to fill any holes in her life. She was satisfying her curiosities.

Jen (11:53):

And see if I look like anybody.

Damon (11:55):

So did she write back to your email?

Jen (11:57):

She did and actually she got my email on her 70th birthday.

Damon (12:02):

Whoa, that’s amazing.

Jen (12:04):

Let me tell you the story sounds wonderful and good all the way through it up until we meet.

Damon (12:10):

What happens next?

Jen (12:10):

So we’re emailing, we’re texting or Facebooking. She did give me the name of the biological father because that was omitted on my birth certificate and for some reason his co, his information in my sealed file did not exist. So because I still had a court appointed investigator, I was able to give that name to her and she could search for that person. So she was able to search for the biological father and that was actually, I mean now looking back, that’s the only good thing that Jackie did provide me. So my CI did investigate that. It turns out he was deceased. She was able to find out that he had two children, a son and a daughter, and for some reason she was able to find contact information on the son, but not the daughter. So she goes, do you want me to reach out to the son? Which would be my half brother. And I said, yeah, sure, I’ve got nothing to lose.

Damon (13:00):

The CI made contact with Jen’s brother who didn’t know that Jen existed. He took the letter he just received to his mother and basically asked what’s up with this? David’s mother admitted there probably was a sister out there for David, the CI’s outreach, ultimately connecting Jennifer with her half brother. But the connection with her half sister isn’t quite there yet.

Jen (13:22):

Oh yeah, you probably do. That’s probably is your sister. You know dad, he was with someone before me and she did get pregnant and he wasn’t really sure what happened to the baby. He goes, yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s real. That’s probably your sister. And he goes, why didn’t you tell me? And she and his mom didn’t have an answer why she never told him that he might have a sibling out there in the world. So he told me that it took him about a week for him to like process. Like, Oh my God, I’ve got a sister out there in the world.

Damon (13:52):

And that’s a hard thing too. I would imagine like people often say, why didn’t you tell me this? And I try to think about the other person’s perspective and try to try to understand like at what point would have been a good time to say, Hey listen, I got something I need to tell you. Like a random sibling out in the world doesn’t just come up.

Jen (14:10):


Damon (14:11):

I can appreciate that he wanted to know, but I can also appreciate why perhaps it never seemed like the right time to say something like that.

Jen (14:21):

Yeah like sitting around having dinner. It’s like, Oh yeah. By the way, dad knocked up some girl before we got married. I mean it just never comes up. Yeah. Yeah. So for him it was completely blindsiding. His father is not there to be like dad, you know, I got a sister, you know, cause he’s gone. So he did get over that initial shock. Uh, we exchange information and you know, he, we were talking on the phone, he was like texting me. We’re all friends on Facebook. Now, his sister wants nothing to do with me and I’m totally fine with that. So, but looks at me on Facebook because he’ll, she’ll say stuff to her brother and be like, boy, she really does look like dad. She really does look like dad and then David will say, he’s like, well you know that’s dad’s daughter. Like he was a participant in making that.

Damon (15:05):

So Jen has been emailing and texting with her birth mother Jackie. But Jackie wouldn’t take Jen’s phone calls.

Jen (15:11):

And I did find it to be completely suspicious.

Damon (15:14):

But her mother said she couldn’t talk to Jen by phone because she would be an emotional wreck and cry and cry.

Jen (15:20):

That’s my biggest warning to anybody. Shame on me for falling for that. Cause it was a lie. And if I would’ve talked to her on the phone prior, it would’ve never escalated for me even meeting her.

Damon (15:32):

Interesting. What do you think?

Jen (15:33):

Can’t, you can’t, you can’t hide who you are when you’re on the phone. I mean maybe really, really good liars can. But I think the more you talk to somebody on the phone, I think the more you kind of get it just to who they are, unless they’re so deceptive that they can really fool you even on the phone. But I think she knew that she couldn’t fool me on the phone and that’s why she continued what I like to say, she catfished me.

Damon (15:56):

Wow. So tell me a little bit about what it was like on email with you first. How were things?

Jen (16:02):

It seemed fine, but anytime, like she would ask about me and I would answer and I would ask questions back and sometimes I wouldn’t get an answer and I, Oh, I thought that was kind of like a red flag. And I’m like, I don’t know. Because it was very, it was hard to really get a read on her cause she’d be like, Oh, I’m so open. You can ask me anything. But when I would ask her certain things, she wouldn’t answer them. So there kind of was a little bit of a red flag.

Damon (16:26):


Jen (16:27):

But you know, everybody communicates differently.

Damon (16:29):

Yeah. Where are the hard questions?

Jen (16:32):

No, they were just like, you know, general kind of questions, getting to know you kind of stuff. I wasn’t even digging about anything with my past. Like with her past.

Damon (16:43):

You’re sort of vetting a person, right? You want to make sure they’re not crazy, they’re a decent person and that you actually might get along. Yeah, I understand.

Jen (16:50):


Damon (16:51):

Social media connected Jen to her birth family members and she could see who she looked like, what kinds of activities they were into and a slice of how life was going for them. Still her birth mother absolutely would not take a phone call. But then Jackie began pushing for Jen to make a trip out to see her in California. Jen told me she doesn’t really have people in her life that bring a lot of crazy drama, so it didn’t even cross her mind that someone could be out to deceive her. Jen gives a warning about first steps before going to meet a family member based on her own experience.

Jen (17:23):

And I waited about like two months before I even posted what happened to me because I felt it was like kind of my duty to warn people that if anyone’s at the next step to actually meet a family member, especially if you’re the one that’s spending all the money to go meet that family member, you know, my best advice is you better talk to them on the phone for a good amount of time because I think it’s really hard for someone to really mask who they are unless they’re just a crazy person.

Damon (17:52):

So six months of messaging passed with no phone calls between them. I asked Jen what made her finally decide to capitulate and go visit her mother. Once again, she felt like taking a chance because she basically gets along with everyone. So she booked a flight to Sacramento, California and rented a car for the long drive to her birth mother’s home in Modesto. But before Jen left Phoenix, she got a weird text that sent up another red flag.

Jen (18:19):

I guess my inner dead head, uh, you know, when I was at ASU, I did have some time that I started following the grateful dead and Jerry Garcia band. So it’s like, I always had that, you know, most people are kind, you know, let’s just all have a good time. So it’s like, I always kinda have that personality about me. Like even as a kid growing up, my mom and dad and my family members, my friends are like, God, I can’t take you anywhere. You’ve talked to everybody. Even to this day. Like, I could be out anywhere and if you leave me unattended, I’ll start talking to everybody else around me. I don’t know what it is about me.

Damon (18:52):

So you are feeling like, you know, yeah, everybody’s, you know, kind of nice. This person’s probably nice too.

Jen (19:00):

Right, right. So I just kind of figured like, well, you know, I’ve got really nothing to lose. You know, how bad, how bad, famous last words, how bad could it actually be? The day before I flew out, I get a text from her, Jackie saying, what kind of rental car are you getting? And that should’ve been my warning that I was going to walk into a shit show because that’s a weird question to ask. So I wrote, I text her back. That’s a weird question. Why do you care what kind of car I got? And she goes, just curious. And she’s like, well, I was hoping maybe you’d rent a van that seats seven. And I wrote back and I go, I’ve never driven a van and I’m not going to start now.

Damon (19:36):

Jen hope to escape the blistering heat of Phoenix on the trip. But there was a heat wave in Northern California. It was 109 degrees and she was meeting her birth mother at the bowling alley, not at her home. Jackie said she wanted her friends to be there when she met Jen because she would be so emotional.

Jen (19:53):

So I pull up, I start walking toward the bowling alley and her friends or her bowling partners, they come running up to me giving me hugs. And the woman who claimed the whole time, I’m just going to cry and cry. I’m too emotional. I can’t talk to you on the phone. She was like doing nothing. So these people were more excited to see me like hugging on me, kissing on me and you know, can’t stop looking at me that it’s like I kinda had to push the by the two of them to hug her.

Damon (20:24):

And she hugged you back?

Jen (20:24):

Yeah I got a half a hug. I mean I got better hugs from strangers, but yeah. So we’re there for like over two hours cause she wants to stay and bowl and everyone else was like super friendly. So I will say out of like this crazy show trip, those people at the bullying were nothing but lovely. Happy to see me, engaged in conversation. All this stuff. Super, super happy I’m there.

Damon (20:48):

That’s amazing. But wow. She wanted to stay and finish her bowling round.

Jen (20:53):


Damon (20:53):


Jen (20:54):

And everyone’s like, well, you know, you really should take her out. You should do this, you should do that. She traveled all this way and then every now and then Jackie would be like, Oh, you all right? And I’m like, yeah, you know, whatever. Because her friends were so lovely that it’s like, I don’t mind hanging out with them. They were like, lovely,

Damon (21:09):

But you’re literally not making a connection with her at this moment.

Jen (21:12):

Not at all. She wants like kind of nothing to do with me.

Damon (21:16):

So Jen makes the acquaintance of Jackie’s bowling partners for two hours. She’s been up traveling since the crack of dawn. She’s driven a long way. She’s hungry and she’d like to get her laptop out of the hot car. Jen generally wanted to settle in at her mother’s home, but Jackie had other plans. They went home anyway, but the scene Jen walked into was totally unexpected.

Jen (21:38):

And she’s like, Oh, so you need to go by the house first and drop things off before we go meet Tracy. Tracy is the sister, the half sister and I was going to meet, I call her daughter, my niece, and her name is Juniper. I call her Juni. And so we’re supposed to meet Tracy and Juni in Turlock, which is a half hour away. So we go to her house. It’s like a single wide trailer. I’ve never been a trailer and I’m not saying that in a snotty way. It was just kind of like, Oh, so we go inside and it’s kind of packed. So we go inside, I drag my bag in and there’s like a bed in the middle of what I guess would be like a living room and there’s like a ton of stuff everywhere. It’s like kind of like a hoarding kind of thing going on. So I say to her, I’m like, Oh, how nice, you made a bed up for me out here. And she goes, what do you mean? And she goes, well that’s our bed. That’s where we’re sleeping. I said, ah, I’m not sleeping in that bed with you.

Damon (22:28):

Oh, we meant you and she?

Jen (22:30):

Yeah, yeah. It’s a full size bed, like in the middle of this living room. And this living room was like, packed with stuff. Like it’s like a hoarding situation. So it’s like, who expects to walk into that?

Damon (22:39):


Jen (22:41):

And I said, I’m not sleeping in that bed with you. And she goes, well, one of us could sleep on the floor. And I go, I’m not sleeping on the floor. So that’s what I walked into.

Damon (22:47):

They dropped Jen stuff and drove to Turlock to meet Tracy and Juni. Juni was 16 at the time and she and Jen had gotten to know one another pretty well through lots of social media messaging. Jen was looking forward to hanging out with her niece over a meal, but Jackie was unable to bite her tongue to be nice to her newly found daughter. Not wanting to be pushed around, Jen fired back in a situation, deteriorated into a horrible dinner from there.

Jen (23:14):

So they walk into the restaurant. I stand up with arms open, I go, you’ve been warned. I’m a hugger. I hug Tracy, I’m hugging Juni and it’s like we’re, Juni and I are super happy to see each other cause me, you know, we’ve been talking for a long time.

Damon (23:28):

And you connected better with her over messages that you did with your mom.

Jen (23:31):

Oh yeah. So we sit down, we order lunch. Tracy’s sister started telling me about this play that she took the boys to and it was about Holocaust survivors. So we’re like sort of talking about that. And I go, wow, that sounds really, I go, that sounds like an amazing play. I would have liked to have seen that. And out of nowhere, Jackie, the mother says to me, I’m sitting across from her at the table. She goes, it’s not like you’re really Jewish anyway. She says that to me. Right?

Damon (23:58):

What the heck was that?

Jen (24:00):

That’s what I’m saying. So it’s like already she’s showing her colors that she’s a horrible human being. I am pretty quick on my feet. So when she said that to me, I didn’t hesitate. I looked her and I go, apparently I thought you were Jewish enough when you gave me up for adoption. You went through a Jewish adoption agency. You did specify that the people who adopt me are Jewish, and I go and my last name on my birth certificate and on my adoption papers is *bleep* , I go, so I don’t care what you say. I am Jewish. I’m more Jewish than you’ll ever be Jackie.

Damon (24:32):

Hmm. Yikes.

Jen (24:34):

Tracy said, mom, I can’t believe you just said that. And then she says, well, you’re more Jewish than her. And I go, well, if you want to get technical, if I’m not Jewish, neither is she. She went out of her way to be mean and I just got there. So like I said, the wheels came off the wagon pretty much right away.

Damon (24:50):

I can’t even imagine why she wanted to spit that venom menu at you at that moment. That’s wow. So how was the rest of dinner? Because you’ve now reached this point where she’s spitting venom and you’ve, you’re sitting there having a dinner and there’s other people there who are like, Oh, super uncomfortable. Like I can’t imagine this goes any better.

Jen (25:10):

It doesn’t. So the bill comes, I look at Tracy and I didn’t even look at the price of the bill. I just look at Tracy. I go, Hey, you want to split that? She goes, yeah. So I throw it on my credit card. Tracy throws her credit card down and before you knew it, I swear to God it was like a magic act. Jackie picks up the check, looks at the bill, takes Tracy’s credit card, hands it back to Tracy. Tracy puts her credit card away. And before I could even stop what’s going on to say, Hey, hold on a second. What the hell is happening? The waitress comes by, she hands off Jackie, hands off my credit card and the belts of the waitress and it, off it goes.

Damon (25:45):

She made you pay the bill. Oh my gosh.

Jen (25:50):

Yeah. So I picked up the whole tab. I paid for it. We’re getting ready to leave. I look at Juni, that’s the niece. And I said, baby girl, you coming with me? Let’s, let’s go do something fun. And she goes, yeah, I want to go. And then Tracy is like, yeah, I don’t mind. You know, just have her back here like by like 10 I’m like, yeah, no problem. So we’re stand up, we’re getting ready to leave. Jackie picks up the check that I just paid for, took a picture of it and I go, what did you just do? Why did you take a picture of the check I just paid for? She goes, well, I just want to keep track of how much money you are spending. And I go, I’m an adult. I don’t think anyone needs to keep track of how much money I’m spending. I go, that’s super weird. I go, I don’t like that. Erase. Go delete that picture. She goes, what? I go, I want, I want you to delete that picture and I want you to show me delete it. I go out and, Oh, I just took a picture of that check. I don’t like it, delete it. Just delete it.

Damon (26:37):

Back at the trailer park, Jen and Juni are having a great time. They decided to go for a swim. Apparently Jackie regaled the neighbors in her community with a tail of her long lost daughter finding her. So they introduced themselves to Jen. But just like the scene at the bowling alley, Jackie wasn’t nearly as interested in Jen as the neighbors were.

Jen (26:57):

And then nutshell. So I’m loving spending time with Juniper. We’re back at the trailer park. There’s like a swimming pool at the trailer park and Juni’s like, Hey, let’s all go swimming. I’m like, okay, great. So apparently Jackie has been telling everyone that her long lost daughter, found her. So people in this neighborhood, in this trailer park community were coming out. They were coming out to like say hi to me to give me a hug. You know, some of them like came to the pool with us so everyone’s more excited to see me than her.

Damon (27:25):


Jen (27:25):

Like this is like apparent. It is clear. It’s obvious. I’m already on the phone trying to find a flight back to Phoenix cause I know like this is not going to work out. I sucked it up the rest of the evening had a great time with Juni. Juni wanted to spend the night in the trailer with us and it turns out there were two other rooms in there, but turns out Jackie is a full blown hoarder. So those were like filled with stuff from floor to ceiling. So literally the only room that’s functional is this one room that I guess would have been a living room. So it turns out Juniper’s mom, my sister is crazy. So the whole time we were gone, she was, her mom was blowing up per phone with messages like I can’t believe you left me. I can’t believe you went off with Jen. I know I want you back to here now.

Damon (28:09):

But just pause for a second. Am I wrong? Did I hear you correctly that she said, sure. Go with her or just have her back by 10 and was totally supportive of her departure with you.

Jen (28:18):

Right. But while we were gone, apparently this is another thing I found out after the fact. None of them have phone service except for Jackie. So the sister and her kids, they have phones, but they only work if you’re in a wifi. So she couldn’t, so Juni couldn’t take her phone to the pool because she couldn’t get any messages because it’s not a wifi. The whole time we’re away from the trailer, she had no idea her mom was blowing up her phone. Well, Juni felt horrible. She’s like, all I want to do is spend time with you. I know I can’t believe my mom is doing this to me. And I said, honey, I go, I don’t know what’s going on with your mom. I go, I’ll be honest. This is like crazy to me. I go, I just feel like I’m in bizarro land. I go, I’d love you. And it’s like, I will always still talk to you if you want us to. Like talk to me and stay in touch with me. I go, I don’t know what the hell is going on. I’d go, I’m doing everything I can to try and go back home.

Damon (29:08):

Jen had booked a flight for a long weekend from Thursday to Tuesday, but by Thursday afternoon, the day of her arrival, Jen was ready to leave. Unfortunately, it was cost prohibitive to leave early. Jen’s husband and friends back home knew that if she, of all people was trying to leave, the situation must have been untenable. However, staying a little longer gave her a chance to meet some of her other relatives that were really great.

Jen (29:34):

Because I’m like this free spirit and I thought everything was cool. You know what I mean? I booked a flight Thursday to Tuesday, like even as the wheels fell off the wagon and I was talking to my husband and sending him tax and sending him videos. He was out with a bunch of our friends and they’re like, Oh my God. They’re like, Mike, it’s gotta be so bad if she’s ready to come home, for her not to make it work. Like, I’m the ridiculous person that talks with everybody. I can’t make it work. It’s gotta be bad. In a nutshell, I ended up having to stay until Saturday cause to fly home on Friday it was $800. So I knew I had to suck it up one more day.

Damon (30:10):

In hindsight, do you almost wish he had paid the 300 and gone home earlier?

Speaker 2 (30:14):

No, because I was able to see my nephews on Friday and then that was great. So the niece was great, the nephews were great. Great. And I even told them, I said Hey, I’m so glad I finally got to meet you guys in person. I’d go, I’m telling you right now cause like Jackie actually went to the bathroom cause I’m out taking everybody to lunch cause Jackie hasn’t paid for anything. So I told the boys, I said um, had a great time. I’m telling you right now, I’m like, I ain’t ever talking to your grandma again. I go but if you and I, if we all still want to talk I go, I’m 100% okay with that. You guys don’t have an aunt. I don’t have nephews. I’m like, I’m totally good with like the getting to know each other and they’re like, yeah no, that’s great.

Jen (30:52):

And honestly, um, the oldest one was laughing and he’s like, boy, he goes, you are exactly how you are on Facebook. And I said, yeah, I don’t sugarcoat it like I am as truthful as it comes. I’m like, your grandmother is nuts. And I go and I don’t think she’s very nice. I want nothing to do with her. They got it. They got it. But that’s their grandmother, you know, they were raised with her but they totally got that I wanted nothing to do with her and they were still totally okay with us still talking and I do still talk to those boys.

Damon (31:22):

Well that’s good. I’m sure you can feel what happened next here.

Jen (31:26):

Jackie and I had it out that Friday night before I left on Saturday.

Damon (31:31):

It was late on Friday night and in just two days, Jen had been through a lot. She decided it was time to speak her mind, adult to adult.

Jen (31:40):

I said, you know what? I go, I don’t know what is wrong with you. I go, you are a horrible person. You did nothing but deceive me. And you were dishonest with me. I go, I don’t know what you were trying to get from me. I go, I’m just thinking that you were, you thought I was going to come out here and bankroll you. I go, I don’t even know what you, what your agenda was. I go, you are the most unfriendly, unkind person. I go, this is not the person you portray yourself to be. I go, now I get why you didn’t get get on the phone with me cause you couldn’t hide that. And she’s like, no. She goes, I’m just overwhelmed that you’re here. And I said, you know what Jackie, I’m calling on that right now. And I said, you know, and then like the thing that happened with the restaurant and you hand Tracy her card back, I go, Tracy just as bad too, because she took the card. So she’s just as bad as you, and then she goes, well I thought you knew that none of us had money. I go, why on God’s green earth would I think that nobody has money. I go, everybody’s adults here. And I said, you know what Jackie, I go, when you gave me up for adoption, I go, let me tell you what the people that adopted me, my parents never told me I had to go work. But guess what? When I was nine years old, I started working as a babysitter. I did that up until I was 16 until I get a job working at a drug store, I’d go, I’ve always worked. My parents never told me I had work and I was raised with money. I go, so don’t look at me and tell me with a straight face that you think it’s normal that nobody works.

Jen (32:55):

And then those lovely people, I told you that I met the bowling alley. She then tells me that they gave her $300. Four of the women, gave her money that totaled over $300 so she can show me a good time when I was in town and I said, wow. And you said that with a straight face, like it’s completely normal that you’ve hustled money off these women. I go, funny, I never saw you’ve been breakout, not one single dollar that these women gave you, which are grown woman, which is disgusting that they had to give you money and you took it and I go, so where was that money when, when the bills came for lunch, she goes, well I had used that money for other things and I go wow. And I go and you say that so normally and so naturally, I don’t know what kind of person you are but I want nothing to do with you.

Jen (33:40):

So then all her truth came out. Unreal, unreal. And I have never in my life ran across a person like her in my life. In conclusion, that’s how it ended. And then that morning I packed up my stuff, took a shower, came out, I’ve turned out, I had left my iPad laying on the bed cause everything is just, you know, you live on the bed cause that’s the only thing really in the room. And then she says to me as I’m packing up, she goes, Oh, it must be nice to fly first class. And I looked at her and I said, you know what? I go, funny thing is when you work really hard and you save your money, you can travel first class. I go, it’s not for you to even be nosy what I do and don’t do. And I’m like, Ugh. I was like, so done.

Jen (34:19):

So I packed up the car and uh, I go, well, this is it. I’m leaving, you know, I’m like, have a good life, Jackie. So I’m walking out the door, she’s like, can you drive me to the bus stop? I’m like, sure. You had me driving all over the place and running all your errands like Benson. I’m like, sure, I will drive you one more place. So she wanted me to drop her off at the bus stop and I dropped off the bus stop and that was that.

Damon (34:37):

Wow. How did you leave it?

Jen (34:38):

She just got out, went to the bus stop.

Damon (34:40):

Not even a thanks for coming or nice to meet you.

Jen (34:42):

No, I never got one nicety from this woman. Not like, I can’t believe you traveled this far. Thank you for coming. I never got a please thank you. A nicety, nothing. I got nothing decent or nice or kind from this woman. So that’s the reason why when I look back at whatever communications we had prior to, I deleted everything because I don’t think any of it’s true.

Damon (35:03):

Has your interaction with her in any way jaded your previously very open, gregarious, engaging personality towards other people?

Jen (35:14):

No but, but after that incident happened, I waited about two months before I shared that like heads up warning, if you are about ready to meet a family member, please read this because I, I don’t want this to happen to anyone else and I’m not saying it’s not going to happen to anyone else. But my biggest mistake was is that I let the lie of her not talking to me on the phone stand and if I didn’t let that stand, this would’ve never happened. It would come through that anything she was writing wasn’t true. And when I did call her on it and I said, now I understand why you didn’t talk to me on the phone. She didn’t disagree.

Damon (35:55):

Yeah, she knew.

Jen (35:55):

She’s been manipulating people for a long, long time. She didn’t disagree. She knew what she was doing.

Damon (36:01):

You were just the next one to come along and you happen to be biologically related to her that’s all.

Damon (36:06):

Listening to the drama and manipulation of Jen’s story, I wondered if she shared the feelings of many other adoptees, whether she was still glad that she had been on her journey. She said she learned a lot throughout her experience, but she’s unhappy that she was lied to and she wasted her money. Still, she made some good connections with her nieces and nephews and her half brother on her paternal side remains a source of positivity.

Jen (36:30):

I’m glad I did it cause you know what? At the end of the day, now I know like I know she exists. I know I have a half sister. Um, I know I have a niece and nephews. I know I have. I found out my biological father’s name. That’s something I never knew, you know, found out I have a brother and sister from that side. So all of it I now know I have no mystery about any of that at all. So that’s good. I’m annoyed that I wasted hard earned money because that was money I could have used for me and my husband to get out of this whole horrible heat of Phoenix and we could had a lovely four day weekend somewhere cold. So I’m mad that I was deceived. I could use that money for me and my husband to escape the heat.

Damon (37:13):

All right. And your time and your time and your energy, right? You expended some emotional energy navigating that situation there on the ground and that’s time that you could have spent doing something else.

Jen (37:27):

So as of now, I do still talk to those kids and if that continues, wonderful. And if it’s somehow stops, I’m no worse for the wear because I’m really, really fortunate. Like I have a good life. I am very lucky. I’ve got some really amazing friends that, you know, I have a good life. I’m no worse for the wear.

Damon (37:49):

Yeah, that’s right. You are who you were before this whole situation unfolded and you will continue to be that person there. Right,

Jen (37:56):

Right, right. But my biggest, biggest warning to anybody is no matter how much you talk to them, no matter how much you guys see each other on Facebook or text with each other or email or Facebook message, it’s not enough. It’s just not enough. Like really my best advice to anybody is to talk on the phone if they’re not talking on the phone to see that as a red flag.

Damon (38:21):

Well I hope you’ll be pleasantly surprised and you know, positively focused on your, you know, paternal half-brothers visit to Arizona one day. It sounds like that has a potential upside to it and I hope that part of your story will unfold in a much more positive manner than the, than the one that did on your maternal side.

Jen (38:42):

Yeah. And you know what? We’re just like really casual. It’s like going, Hey man, next time you see your friend out in Patchy Junction, it’s like we’ll meet like in Tempe. And actually when I left, when I was in California, cause I was like sitting in the airport on Saturday like for like four hours before I get on my plane, it was pretty funny. So my brother was working, I’m sitting there at the airport, I go, well this visit was a real show. And he goes, really? He goes, it was that bad? And I said yeah. And then he sends me a selfie cause he’s working and he goes, that’s okay Sis, so you and I look more like than anybody else. I thought that was very sweet.

Damon (39:17):

He shellacked it over with some positivity. I like that.

Jen (39:20):

He did. He did.

Damon (39:22):

Well. It’s something to hang on to. I know. It really is exhausting. Oh my gosh. Well thank you very much.

Jen (39:29):

Like you can’t even make that up. So thank you very much for listening and hopefully people will learn from my mistake and please don’t ever fall for, I can’t talk to you on the phone.

Damon (39:42):

I’m with you 100%. Thank you so much for your time, Jenny. I appreciate it very much.

Jen (39:47):

Thank you. Have a great day.

Damon (39:48):

You too. Bye bye.

Damon (39:53):

Hey, it’s me. Jen story had a really heart wrenching turn in the beginning when she tragically lost her mother, then discovered her father agreed to have her cutout from the will. That kind of deception is hard to fathom and I was surprised to hear that so many adoptees responded affirmatively to Jen that they had been treated the same way. Then for Jen to basically be catfished by her own birth mother who refused to talk to her by phone. Then wanted Jen to show up with a vehicle and funds? That’s an astonishing set of behavior that nobody could have predicted, but Jen definitely feels like if she had had the opportunity to speak to Jackie by phone before they met, she would have certainly picked up on the clues that would have led her to be more cautious in going into their first meeting. I’m Damon Davis and I hope you’ll find something in Jen’s journey that inspires you, validates your feelings about wanting to search or motivates you to have the strength along your journey to learn who am I really? If you would like to share your story of locating and connecting to your biological family, please visit You can also find the show at, or follow me on Twitter @waireally, and please, if you like the show, take a moment to rate who am I really on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you get your podcasts or leave a comment at, those ratings and comments can help others find the show too.

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