Lynn, from Danville, Virginia knew she was adopted, but she never knew the secret that hers was a kinship adoption… and she had always known her birth mother.
So, Lynn didn’t have a reunion as much as a re-introduction to her birth mother through the lens of her true relationship to Lynn.
Meeting her birth father, things started off great but the honeymoon faded leaving Lynn confused, but open to exploring how to repair things.
Lynn spends her extra time advocating for young pregnant women at a clinic where she lives and she hopes adoptive parents will educate themselves about how to navigate adoption.
This is Lynn’s journey.
Who Am I Really?
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Damon’s own story in print and audio:
- Damon’s story “Who Am I Really? An Adoptee Memoir” – https://amzn.to/2Y9RNf8
[00:00:00] Damon: Hey, it's Damon. Last week. I reminded you that October 30th is adoptee remembrance day, where we remember adoptees who were victims of crimes committed by their adoptive families adopt these we've lost a suicide. And those who are at risk of losing their citizenship or who have been deported due to failures in the adoption system.
Today. I want to remind you that November is national adoption awareness month. It's a month that opens the lens of adoption to focus on more than adoptees it's focused on adoptive parents birth mothers, adopted people and support and advocacy for a better all around adoption experience.
Public adoption awareness activities, date back to the 1970s, but they were primarily focused on raising awareness about adoption as a way to form a family. And the observance was limited to a week. Today national adoption awareness month is observed around the country and has different meanings for people across the adoption constellation. [00:01:00]
From the adoptee point of view, our community usually focuses on raising adoptee voices to be heard amidst the crowd of adoptive parents and adoption agencies who have commonly dominated the space. We elevate the voices of LGBTQ plus trans racial international, and other adoptees to highlight the ups and downs of their adoption experiences.
We explore DNA discoveries and various reunion experiences. We support one another through the traumas of our lives and adoption, or we celebrate the opportunities. Some of us believe we've gotten because of adoption.
There are also advocacy opportunities in your local community that can help you get involved in reshaping the adoption experience for others. The institution of adoption means something different to everyone involved. And November is the month to join the conversation. You can get involved online using the hashtag N AA M or N a M [00:02:00] 2022.
To express your thoughts and feelings about what adoption means to you.
Cold Cut Intro
[00:02:06] Lynn: just lacking that love that I longed for. I just wanted to be loved unconditionally. That's what I've longed for my entire life and I couldn't get it from either woman. I wanted it. And I, I tried in all the wrong ways.
And I just couldn't get it from either one of 'em.
[00:02:28] Lynn: I'm Damon Davis. And today you're going to hear Lynn's adoption story. She called me from Danville, Virginia on the border of North Carolina. Lynn knew she was adopted, but she never knew the secret that it was a kinship adoption. And she had always known her birth mother.
So she didn't have a reunion as much as a re-introduction to her birth mother, through the lens of her true relationship to Lynn. Meeting her birth father things started off great, But the honeymoon faded, leaving Lynn confused, but open to exploring how to repair things. [00:03:00] Lyn spends her extra time advocating for young pregnant women at a clinic where she lives and she hopes adoptive parents will educate themselves about how to navigate adoption. This is lynn's journey.
[00:03:14] Damon: Lynn was born in Durham, North Carolina.
She told me she grew up with the knowledge that she was adopted, but the circumstances for her adoption were kept a secret. Lynn's adoptive mother is her birth. Mom's aunt, her biological great aunt.
So my birth it was always confusing. My birth mother's mother. . Was my mom's sister. Yes. So my actual biological grandmother, I grew up thinking she was my aunt.
[00:03:43] Lynn: It's very
confusing. that is confusing. So the story that I was told by my mom before all the secrets came out. She just didn't feel that she could keep me for, you know, financial and other reasons at that time, my [00:04:00] mom claimed she didn't know anything about a birth father.
Nobody seemed to know who he was and my biological grandfather, so my birth mother's father, you know, was not gonna have her have an illegitimate child. You know, of course this is in 1970. So you know, that, that was, she was a lot of pressure for her mm-hmm . So she gave birth, left me at the hospital and drove from Durham to Danville where my mom lived and she's obviously upset, she's crying.
And the reason she came to Danville, she came to Danville with her mother was because a family member had passed away and they were going to a funeral.
[00:04:40] Damon: So immediately after giving birth to you,
[00:04:44] Lynn: getting outta the hospital. They went
[00:04:46] Damon: directly to a funeral,
[00:04:47] Lynn: Virginia. Wow. Yes. Well, they didn't go to a funeral, but they came to Danville to go to the funeral.
Yes. And the funeral was actually of my, my adoptive mothers mother have passed away the day before I was born. [00:05:00] Mm. So anyway, my birth mother's crying, she's upset and she wants to go back and get me. So she had left me at the hospital for social services. And so her aunt, my adoptive mother said, let's go back and get her.
So , they drive back to Durham. And my mom's story to me was she saw me in the nursery in the bassinet and she just said, let us take her. And at first it was supposed to be temporarily till things got figured out. So they , they brought me from the hospital back to Virginia my birth mother from what I understand stayed for a few days.
And then she went back home to North Carolina and they ended up adopting me. So as I'm growing up, , I'm a normal kid. I don't think as a kid that I was sad about being adopted necessarily. It didn't click with me until I was 10, 11 years old, where I really started asking questions.
Mm-hmm but like I said, it was never a secret that I was [00:06:00] adopted. My mom made, like I was special. I was chosen all the things I grew up in a very religious home where I live is called the city of churches. wow. Finally called the city of churches is church on every corner. Mm, wow. So, you know, she said, I was God given I was a gift and all those things, and I took it as such, you know, I, I didn't think that much about it, but I was a very I'm a questiony person even today.
So I always asked, well, why did she do that? Well, where is she? And I wanted to know everything. Mm-hmm and I was never given any answers. She claimed she didn't know anything.
[00:06:37] Damon: Your adopted mother, who is your, you are a kinship adoptee, but to your knowledge,
[00:06:43] Lynn: yes, yes.
[00:06:44] Damon: As an adoptee, you were not aware that you are a kinship adoptee, is that correct?
[00:06:50] Lynn: No, I had no clue. Okay. And my birth mother was around, you know what I'm saying? So mm-hmm, no clue that she was, as I got into my, you know, preteen and [00:07:00] teenage years, I continued to ask questions. I snooped in drawers trying to find anything and everything I wanted. To know, and I, I was the adoptee that fantasized, you know, had all the fantasies and I was not cl I knew something was lacking.
I just wasn't close with my mother. We never connected. We never bonded. I tried, you know, because I, I truly wanted a mother-daughter relationship. I can remember clinging to my friend's moms, you know, and families, because I just didn't have that. I just didn't feel that unconditional love. I have a brother that was their biological child and he's eight years older than me and I felt the difference.
[00:07:43] Damon: So he's biological to them. And you could feel the difference between how you were treated and how they treated him.
[00:07:51] Lynn: Yes, absolutely. Can you describe that? Especially from our mom?
[00:07:54] Damon: Yeah. What, what does that mean?
My mom was very critical of me. My mom was raised in a very strict home. I'm assuming, you know, I didn't know her parents, they had passed away, but she was, she was very critical of me. She was very hard on me and I felt like I was suffocating because I couldn't be what she expected me to be.
And I tried, you know, I was always trying to please her and it just, I never could, my, my father was around, but he wasn't present. If that makes any sense. He, yeah, he was just the dad that went to work and did his thing. And, you know, he was, he was just around I didn't have any kind of relationship with him.
Good or bad, to be honest. And my brother and I were not close. . We fought like typical brother and sister, but you know, nothing bonded with he and I either. And I was never jealous of him by any means. I just, I just felt the difference mm-hmm into adulthood felt the difference. Wow. And so could
[00:09:12] Lynn: Yes. And it could have been doing things with him versus me, or, you know, certain items you know, that he might have gotten that I didn't but not so much items as it was just, just how she treated him. Mm-hmm it was just different. And he was always in trouble. Always in trouble. He didn't make good grades in school.
He was always in trouble. And I was trying, you know, I was making decent grades and doing all the right things and still, you know, he was just babied and favored. And there was no affection from my mom. I don't remember ever, you know, having, you know, the cuddle time or in her lap type of things. I don't have any memories of that.
We didn't do a lot of family vacations looking back. I feel like my parents, [00:10:00] they were a mother and father, but not a mom and dad. And there's a difference, you know, I just and I don't think they spent as much time with my brother as he would've liked either, you know, in some conversations I've had with him.
But he was definitely her baby
[00:10:13] Damon: On Lynn's 16th birthday, her mom unexpectedly said she wanted to tell Lynn Who her birth mother is. Remember Lynn is a kinship adoptee, and she said her birth mother had always kind of been around. When her mom shared the name of her birth mother Lynn was stunned in disbelief of the close relation she had had with her birth mother already. Lynn said she couldn't fathom how the news could really be her truth
[00:10:41] Lynn: And I didn't believe her because for one, I didn't think I looked anything like her. You know, you have, you always have that fantasy of the mirroring and I'm dark complected, dark hair, dark eyes, and she's blonde and blue eye. And I was like, there's no way. She's my birth mother. And she said, yes, she is.[00:11:00]
So that was not not a good time. I mean, I was 16 and I had essentially been lied to my entire. And this woman was in my life. I mean, she was a close family member that we saw on a regular. Wow. And I call them, you know, my birth family, which they are, but I always called 'em the Durham family, cuz they, they lived in Durham, North Carolina.
And so she had sisters and she, you know, her mom and she had a daughter that is 14 years younger than me. And so I had a grandparent that I didn't know about. I mean, it was just, it just was hard for me to accept.
[00:11:37] Damon: And so pause just for a quick second there, you said she had a daughter that was 14 years younger than you at 16.
Yes. Your younger sister would be two. Is that right? Yes. Correct. So not only are you trying to fathom that this person is your biological mother, but this person that you've just been introduced to as that woman has a daughter?
[00:11:59] Lynn: Yes.
[00:12:03] Lynn: Yes. Wow. And she had, she had remarried, well had married.
She you know, but she was already divorced from my sister's father, biological father and my birth mother in her defense had no idea my mom was gonna do this. So it was a surprise to her and she wasn't happy about it from, you know, my memory. She wasn't happy that she wasn't informed and I, I wouldn't blame her.
But she still wanted it to be kept a secret. Now immediate family members did know, but she didn't want her daughter to know which at two, I mean, you know I just can remember shortly after I had a family member that was getting married and my birth mother called me and she said, listen, I don't, I don't want people to know.
And I I'll never forget it because I, I was just like, okay, so I'm still gonna be a secret. And at 16 years old, that, that just wasn't easy. You know, I was like, I didn't know what [00:13:00] to think or what to do or how to be. And I remember going to that wedding, but I wouldn't, I didn't go to the reception. I was just uncomfortable.
Mm-hmm so as time progressed you know, it was, it was just weird. Anytime we had family get togethers, because I felt, it just felt odd. You know, when my mom and my birth mom were in the same room at this point but they adored each other and, you know they got along fine. It was just uncomfortable for my birth mother and I
[00:13:28] Damon: can I ask along those lines? you've said that they were kind of fine when they were in the room together. Could you sense as you reflect back a weight being lifted from them that like now they could be a little more open or something?
[00:13:44] Lynn: No, I can't say that. I did. Mm-hmm I don't know that I was intuitive enough to notice it.
I was too, within myself. not knowing how to act. Do I talk to her? Is it gonna bother my, my mom, if I talk to her, you know, I felt like I all [00:14:00] eyes were on me and whether they were or not. I don't know. That's just how I felt.
[00:14:03] Damon: Do you recall any particular tension at the time that your mom decided that she was going to reveal this secret to you, do you remember, like, had there been a fight between you were you particularly like misbehaving and she like, just kind of had had enough? I'm trying to understand what
[00:14:22] Lynn: I, there was lots, there was lots of arguments.
I don't remember one in particular. I think she was just at a point she was tired of me asking and we did not get along. And I'm, you know, I had my moments of, you know, you're not even my real mom. I did do that. And I think she just got tired of it and she said, listen, I'm just gonna tell you the truth.
So at 17 I found myself pregnant with an unplanned pregnancy I, I, I never wavered and what I was gonna do. My parents had a very hard time with it. Obviously being Uber religious and they were embarrassed by it. So it was a [00:15:00] difficult time. I remember my mom setting up a time for me to sit down with her and my birth mother and both of them trying to convince me that I should place my baby.
And I said, not gonna do it. Absolutely not. And at 17 I'm angry. You know, at the whole thing, like I'm not understanding anything. My birth mother had gone through I'm I'm not gonna lie about that. Mm-hmm and here I am pregnant at 17. She was 19. If you know, I'm, I'm not gonna do that. Mm-hmm and I was still with the father of my baby, but we didn't rush to get married.
There's there's other stories in there about that too. Mm-hmm , that's not pertaining to my being adopted, so mm-hmm You know, it was, it was hard for, us, obviously he was 21, so he was a little bit older and but we waited and we got married when my son was six months old. Oh. But I can remember when he was born and we're still married today.
so 33 years later, we're still married. Wow. But I can remember when he was [00:16:00] born, you know, that whole biological thing. And for me at that time in my life, I still didn't have the empathy for her. I, I just had frustration and anger. How could she do this? And I always had issues with self-esteem and feeling worthy and what was wrong with me and the abandonment, all the normal things.
And I don't know if people that knew me, would've ever thought that I think I, I played a role pretty well. And just tried to hide and compartmentalize because. anytime I tried to talk to my mom, I adopted mom about feelings that weren't positive she would shut me down. So I never felt like I could express the hard parts of being adopted mm-hmm and then the hard part of finding out who my birth mother was and the secret.
And so all of that was really difficult for me. And then I have my own child and it just changed everything in me, you know, it was just [00:17:00] like, wow, how could she do this?
[00:17:01] Damon: What was it like for you to carry your own child as a young woman around the same age as your birth mother was when you found out that she had carried you, like what kinds of thoughts just went through your mind as a woman who was about to be a parent versus placing.
[00:17:22] Lynn: I was very confused. I was a senior in high school trying to graduate. My dad wasn't even speaking to me. He was so angry with me. And my mom supported me in the best way she could, but it was just cold, you know, it was, it was just cold in my home. mm-hmm and I, I, I anger.
I was just angry, angry and bitter. Because I didn't, I, I didn't understand, you know, I was determined to do whatever it took to keep my baby and I knew it would be hard and it was hard. Do you remember those were my emotions, you know, just how could she do this? Yeah. And how could they lie to me?
[00:17:59] Damon: [00:18:00] Lynn said over the years, the relationship with her adoptive mother was never good, but she never understood why. Eventually she started to get closer to her birth The woman hadn't told Lynn's younger sister about their kinship, but when the young lady reached her teenage years, boys were entering the picture and Lynn's birth mother didn't want her daughter to follow in her footsteps and be a young mother.
Lynn's birth mother finally told her youngest daughter about her older sister that she had placed for adoption in another part of the family. The young lady was excited to
have a sister
[00:18:35] Lynn: So I think that helped my birth mother, you know, she comes from an era of not wanting those secrets to come out or, you know, the shame involved in it.
And now at my age, I'm 52. I, I understand that, you know, when I was young, I just didn't understand the pressure she might have had from her family. And mm-hmm, you know, the difficult decision that she did make and, and [00:19:00] picking my mom or allowing my mom to adopt me, that was a way for her to watch me grow up.
I'm sure those were, you know, all of her thoughts. And so as we started to get closer, of course, I'm, I'm asking all the questions . And so throughout the years, in my twenties and thirties, it was never the same answer. You know, I, she. Gave me scenarios, like at point blank, she, she seemed to not know who my birth father was, but she mentioned an, an Italian on a cruise ship that she met and had a shipboard romance.
So I start searching and she gave a name, said he was from bologna Italy, and I'm searching, you know, I'm doing all the things. This is in, you know, when the internet is popping and, you know, I'm starting to try to figure out ways that I can find this person. And then she said she had a one night stand with a guy that went to college at duke university.
So she never [00:20:00] knew or saw him again either. You know, it was stuff like that. And I just felt like it was never gonna, I was never gonna find him. And over the years things with my mom just still were progressively difficult. And I felt, I felt suffocated even in my thirties. And there was a moment with my mom.
We were at a wake, a family member's wake and some family members This was on my dad's side of the family. Had not seen me in a long time since I was a little girl and my husband and my son were with us. And the, it was three women standing behind the podium. And I remember them just saying, oh, you know, she's grown up so beautiful.
Isn't she just pretty, you know, complimenting me and my mom put her arm around me. And this is one of those pivotal moments I'll never forget. And she said pretty is, is pretty does. And they're looking at me and I'm looking at them like we can't believe she just said that. And I, my husband and son were standing behind me and I, I just looked at him and my husband is shaking [00:21:00] his head.
No, because he knows I wanna. Say something mm-hmm right. That's my personality. I'm defensive and especially with my mother. And he's like, don't not here. And I remember walking out of that building and going to my car in tears and I called my birth mother and told her about it. And I was like, you know, why would she do that?
In hindsight? My birth mother was the last person. I should have vented that too, because I think it just made her feel bad. You know, she knew the relationship. Wasn't great. Yeah. And I think a part of me wandered her to, you know, why did you do this to me? mm-hmm, I, I think that's, you know what I was trying to convey to her.
You created this situation that I never have to live through, right?
Yeah. Yeah. And so it's, it was at that point that I, I backed away from my mom, not completely. but I just stopped trying so hard. Like it's nothing I can do to make. I don't, I don't know what else I could possibly do. [00:22:00] I tried to communicate with her over and over again, and it just to no avail, I, I just couldn't do it.
And I would say, am I doing this wrong? Like, I don't understand why we cannot have a relationship. And I, I just, one of those things I'll never know and understand she has passed away. My mom passed away. She had C O P D and
and that was an odd time for me as well. You know, because we weren't close. So it's, there's things about her that I miss, of course, but being that we didn't have that relationship it's not the typical mother-daughter relationship. Yeah. So it's been strange for me. I was there, she was in a hospital where she passed away and I was with her.
And you know, I was able to say some things in her ear that I have no idea if she heard,
[00:22:51] Damon: , I can appreciate the loss of your mother and it being a weird thing, right? Mm-hmm so I'm in [00:23:00] reunion. My biological mother passed several years ago. My adoptive mother just passed like a week ago.
And I did see
[00:23:10] Lynn: that. I'm so sorry.
[00:23:11] Damon: Oh, thank you. And, and it's a, it's a weird thing. I loved my mother dearly. Like I wouldn't be the man I am today where it not for her and her single parentage and everything. But it is this weird sense of feeling that the maternal figure is gone, but the biology lies somewhere else.
You know what I
[00:23:36] Lynn: mean? Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.
[00:23:38] Damon: It's a little bit, it's a little wild. So wow. I'm
[00:23:43] Lynn: for me, it's just lacking that love that I longed for. I just wanted to be loved unconditionally. That's what I've longed for my entire life and I couldn't get it from either woman. I wanted it. And I, I tried in all the wrong ways.
[00:24:00] And I just couldn't get it from either one of 'em. So, you know, there's a loss for sure. There's things about my mom that I, that I loved. And one is, I'm glad she introduced me to to Christ. I mean, I'm, I'm thankful for that. I don't think she always did it the best way but you know, I don't think I would know God otherwise, and I am, you know, a, a believer, but you know, there's, there's lots of good qualities she, that she had.
It's not that she was a horrible person to be perfectly honest. I think she just didn't know how to maneuver it. And in my heart of hearts, that is. I want for adoptive parents to understand and listen to what adult adoptees are saying. Mm-hmm because I think you, or I think she felt like she was bringing this baby home and she can, you know, it's a, it's a blank slate.
Right. And it's, it's so not. And she tried so hard to put me in this box of what she thought I should [00:25:00] be. And I think she did have some insecurities about my relationship with my birth mother. She never verbalized that she always encouraged a relationship with my birth mother, but I, it was just her actions that showed me otherwise.
And it was just a difficult scenario. I don't recommend kinship adoption, unless you're gonna be completely honest. Mm-hmm I think the lies and the secrets are just, you know, in adoption period, I don't agree with the lies and secrets, but especially in a kinship adoption
[00:25:33] Damon: yeah, because it, there, I think there is probably a difference between saying you know, listen, kiddo, I have something to tell you you're adopted.
And you know, if you want help finding your birth mother, then I'll help you versus like, listen, kiddo, you're adopted. And guess what? She's right there. You know what I mean? right. That is crazy. That's really [00:26:00] crazy. I mean, neither situation is awesome, but that has gotta be really nuts.
[00:26:05] Lynn: Yeah, it was.
[00:26:09] Damon: I want to ask you a little bit about if you don't mind and you don't have to go into it if you don't want to, but you're an adoptive mother now. Yes. And I'm wondering, given your own experience, how do you sort of self-examine. as an adoptive mother and try to sort of, what, how do you go about trying to be the best mother you can be given your own experience?
[00:26:34] Lynn: I drive myself crazy. to be honest, I drive myself crazy. I'm that person anyway a, a perfectionist, I call myself anal. But I love being a mom. I absolutely have loved being a mom to my son. There's a huge age difference in my children. My daughter will be 11 in December. My son is 33. it's just how it worked out.
And I fully believe that, it's a long story to it [00:27:00] and obviously. Like, you know, not enough time to share all that, but I fully believe that she was meant to be with us. It is an open adoption and I am , you know, I'm hell bent on it, being everything honest. Right. So we have a wonderful relationship with her birth mother and maternal, some maternal family members.
She has met her birth father. It's not, we're not as involved with him. But you know, there's no secrets. And now that she is almost 11 and I remember my timeframe of questions. Right. So I'm always wondering, you know what she's thinking? She doesn't talk about it. She doesn't ask questions like I did, so she may not be inquisitive.
Like I was but I can't help, but wonder. I'm always wondering, I'm always watching her and wondering what is she thinking? Or you know, for me, it's a double edged sword because I understand as an adoptee, but [00:28:00] now that I'm adoptive mother, I can understand that perspective as well. And, nobody can hurt you like your child, nobody mm-hmm
So it's almost like I'm holding my breath for what's to come , you know? Yeah. Is it gonna be, is it gonna be good? Is it gonna be bad? How is she gonna handle her adoption story? So, and I have no idea. I'm trying to make it as healthy and as good as it can be. And you know, I don't know, she's not me, you know, so I have no idea how she will feel and she can't articulate it at this age.
[00:28:37] Damon: Right. And your stories drastically different too.
[00:28:40] Lynn: Yeah. Very different. Now she knows, you know, obviously that I'm adopted she was with me when I found out who my birth father was. And so like, there's things that we've shared. . So it's kind of interesting yeah. And how she will communicate with me and be, as she grows older and I don't [00:29:00] know, you know, as adoptees, it's ever changing and it's complex and there's, it's, it's both.
And that's what it is. Yeah. And I want her to understand that. I understand that, you know, I want her to feel like she can have a voice about it and she can be sad and she can be mad and. she can be okay. And to me, adoption is beautiful. How could I not think it's beautiful by looking at my daughter, but I also understand that it's not always beautiful and it sucks.
And you know, I, I fully get it. .
[00:29:35] Damon: Lynn's birth. Mother is still alive, but her adoptive mother has passed on. She said her adoptive mother was about 40 years old when she adopted Lynne. Ironically the same age Lynn was when she adopted her daughter. Moving ahead. In Lynn's timeline, she was gifted a 23andme DNA test by a friend. More for genetic information seeking, not for the sole purpose of [00:30:00] locating her birth father.
Lynn concentrated more on the DNA, health report, less on the genetic matches that pop out for us Then one day Lynn noticed two second cousins had appeared as biological connections. Just testing the waters. Lynn decided to message the cousins individually to see if either had an idea who her birth father might be.
About a week later, one responded.
He said he would speak with his mother and his aunt. Another week went by and the cousin came back and said he felt like they'd figured things out
[00:30:33] Lynn: and I'm like, you're kidding me. Wow. I'm like, why do you think you figured it out?
And he said, he's a family member that we don't see, unless it's like a funeral or, you know, they, they didn't see him on a regular. I remember these words . He said, I don't know if I just really want this for you or if I'm seeing things. I had a picture on 23 and me of myself. But when I look at his Facebook at his, he has two daughters and he [00:31:00] said, you look a lot like them. And I said, really? And he said, yeah. So he gave me his name. I Facebook stalked and I saw the resemblance too. And his two daughter. Not so much in him because mind you, he's older, you know, and gray hair.
And I couldn't really, I saw that he had brown eyes but as far as looking at him and seeing myself in him, I didn't so much see that in the pictures, but I could see myself in his two daughters and I was like, okay, now what do I do? So right. I, you know, Googled and literally the man lives 45 minutes down the road.
Oh, in North Carolina and I sat on it for about three months and hadn't talked to my birth mother about it. Hadn't talked to my FA my father is still living my adoptive father and he is remarried. He's had a few strokes. His health is not great, but he is still living. I hadn't talked to them about it.
I did talk to my half sister, my [00:32:00] birth mother's daughter about it, showed her the pictures and she's like, oh my gosh. Yes, And. I didn't know what to do. I just didn't have the nerve to call. I'm like, how do you just call somebody up? Like I, and I didn't wanna write a letter. Like, I didn't know what to do.
I had a friend that was willing to make the phone call for me. I wrote down my information of my birth mother when I was born, you know, things that would be pertinent. And she said, I'm go, I'm gonna think on this and pray on this for a few days. I'll let you know when I reach out cause we found a number just by Googling him.
And it was one night I, I was laying on the couch because I had a headache and I get a text from her and she said, what did you say your birth mother's maiden name was? And I texted the maiden name. And as soon as I texted it, I was like, oh my gosh, She's talking to him. Mm-hmm she has to be talking to him.
Right. So a little [00:33:00] bit later she calls me and she said, you need to sit down. And I was like, okay. So she had called and left a message. And she had not told me that she did. So when she left the message It was, I don't know, maybe an hour later she got a call back and it happened to be his wife's cell phone that she left a message on.
Oh boy. And so but he called her back and he left her message. She didn't answer. And, and he left her message and he said, I hear you're looking for me. And she still has the voicemail saved on her voicemail. She doesn't know how to get it where I could have it. Cuz it's really cute. But he said, I hear you looking for me.
Well, here I am. oh, that's awesome. Yeah, that's funny. So anyway, they, they talk and she said, Lynn, I barely got three words out of my mouth and he interrupted me and he said, I think I know where this is going. Wow. And she said, you do. And he said, yep. And I have a story for you. wow. So, [00:34:00] wow. She's like Lynn that's this is where I need you to sit down.
So. He said that he was at a friend's apartment complex, which was where my birth mother apparently lived. And , the way he described it, he said this beautiful blonde hair, blue eyed woman was getting groceries out of her car. And he said, my 21 year old self decided to roll down the window, flirt with her and asked her if I could help her with those groceries.
she said, well, sure, you can, we're having a party. You wanna come? he said, yeah. So he goes up to her apartment. There's a, you know, apartment full of strangers. He did not know. And what kind of party in there're doing? I don't know. I didn't ask. And he says, he's, this is his story. So he says he is there for a little bit, and he notices that she goes into a bedroom with who he called muscle.
He said, you know, big guy muscles, he noticed they go into a bedroom and [00:35:00] he's like, in his mind, I don't know what I'm doing here. I don't have no idea what I'm doing here. And so he said a little bit later, she comes out and she invites him into the bedroom. The other guy comes out and I know where your mind's going.
Cuz that's where my mind went. Like, wait, what is going on? So
[00:35:20] Damon: I'm just, I'm just letting you tell your story
[00:35:23] Lynn: So it's just the two of them in the bedroom and they're about to, you know, have their one night stand and. My friend that is telling me this. She said, Lynn, this is where I was like, I gotta get a glass of water
[00:35:39] Damon: or a glass
[00:35:40] Lynn: of wine.
She's really funny. She's really funny anyway. But she said that he was just like, there's no way to say it, but to say it, he, he said he got excited a little too excited. And so according to him, they never had sex, but he got excited if you know what I [00:36:00] mean?
[00:36:00] Damon: I do.
[00:36:02] Lynn: So he said he was embarrassed. He left and you know, just didn't see her again until she decided to show up at his.
She started calling him. She showed up at his work. He worked at a car lot and she's like, I'm pregnant. And this is your baby. And his response was, hold on. we never, you know, how could that be? My baby and she said, it is your baby. And he's like, I don't, I don't know you. How do I know? You know, this is the what's going on with him.
Like, I, I can't have a baby right now and I don't even know who you are. Right. and she goes through her pregnancy. And he says after I would, this is where it gets weird. He says after I was born, that she brought me as an infant to the car lot and said, this is your baby. Look at her. She looks just like you.
And he said, that looks like a baby [00:37:00] to me. I mean, it could be anybody. I don't know you, I don't know how many men you've been with and you know, back then DNA was not so easy. Right. And he just, he avoided it and he's like, I'm not gonna take this on. I, I'm not gonna do that. And even her father contacted him, social services, contacted him all.
He said he had several phone conversations, you know? Wow. In retrospect to, the claim of the, my being his, so I guess that's where she finally gave up. But he says that she tried really hard. And. He went on with life, met his, wife that he's married to now. And he said he did tell her about it.
Like, I'm just gonna let you know. And the way he worded this, when I finally talked to him was that, you know, I'm just letting you know that this happened in case it shows up, you know, something comes up and, And so he [00:38:00] forewarned his wife before they got married that this could pop back up
Anyway, backing up to my friend, when she's telling me everything, he said, I was like, oh my gosh. And she said, yeah, he knew exactly who it was. And she said, Lynn I think his memory is very vivid. , he didn't miss a beat in telling me any of this. And I said, was he willing to take a DNA test? She said, here's the kicker.
He's already on 23 and me. Right. And I said, what? And she said, yeah. And I said, well, if he was on 23 and me, and he's my birth father, we would've connected. And she said, yeah, he doesn't know, he doesn't know anything about it. His daughter talked him into doing it. So he's gonna get his daughter to help him with it long and short.
His page was private. And by the click of a button, it was there and he was my birth father. Wow. And she only one of the sisters had done the 23 and me, and it was immediately that she was my half sister. So I didn't sleep a wink that night. I was in [00:39:00] tears. Yeah. And it was just overwhelming to me. And It took him a while.
He did message me on 23 and me, and he said, I hear we're related. mm-hmm still have that message. And he said, he asked me to give him a little bit of time to process it. And he did tell my friend, , he talked with her after they got the result and he's it bothered him that, you know, he said, now that I've raised two girls, I know what I've missed.
And he, he felt bad. And my friend said, I feel so bad for him because he legit feels really bad about it. And I said, well, I don't want him to feel bad about it. I mean, it is what it is. And I completely understand his thoughts on it. He, he didn't know her, you know, he had no idea what kinda life she , what she was doing. I didn't hold anything against him for that at all.
[00:39:48] Damon: Lynn's birth father took a bit of time, but they eventually spoke to one another. In 2019, the man's family welcomed her and they all met face to face at a coffee shop in a [00:40:00] group, including his wife and two daughters. Her birth father brought flowers and they sat and talked for two hours. Just kind of getting to know one another
The man's family was welcoming to Lynn's husband, her son, and her grandson accepting them as part of the family to. They wanted to introduce Lynn to other parts of the family so her birth father started making phone calls to introduce her to others and a family reunion was being
[00:40:27] Lynn: And then pandemic hit. And I had started to get really close to one of the sisters.
I mean, talked on a daily with her and spent time with her during the pandemic situation. And she had a young daughter that was close in age to my daughter, and they both shared a love of horseback riding and they just clicked and they were excited to have, you know, they were cousins and they were excited.
And so it was all going really well. And in the meantime, my birth mother, she didn't handle it very well.[00:41:00] So I talked to my sister, that's my birth mother's daughter. And I said, I want you to be with me when I tell her that I found him. And she said, okay. So I met her one day and sat down in my sister's apartment and I said I have something I need to ask you.
And she said, okay. And I said, do you remember a man by the name of, and I said, his name, well, the look on her face it was, she didn't have to say anything. It was just her look. And my sister immediately went mom and my birth mother said, it's not him. She got this defensiveness about her. And she said, it's not him.
And I was like, well, yeah, it is. And she said, no, it's not. And I said, well, first of all, I was 49 years old. I said, why in all these years that I've asked you, would you not have told me about him when you suspected it was him? and literally wore [00:42:00] him out over it, but you never ever mentioned this man's name.
You've mentioned all kinds of different scenarios and different men, but you never mentioned him. I why? And she said, because he made me believe it wasn't him and that's her response to it. I don't know if she, the trauma of all of it for her, she said she just never thought about him again.
I have a hard time believing that.
[00:42:24] Damon: Yeah, it sounds like she was fairly persistent in her pursuit of him. So
[00:42:28] Lynn: according to him right now, she, according to her, it was not that way. And she said she never took me as an infant to his, his work. So, you know, there's discrepancies in their stories. I, I don't know.
I'll never know that truth and that's okay. I don't need to it just made things weird with her even, even more so than it ever was. And throughout our relationship up to this point, we had, for the most part gotten along, there was a period of time. She did live with us[00:43:00] and that didn't go so well.
And . I think I wanted more from her than what she could give me. Mm-hmm and in retrospect, I may have tried too hard or pushed too hard. I, I don't know. I don't know what her side of that story would be. But we were still family. We still got together.
You know, we even took some beach trips together, you know what I'm saying? Like we, we saw each other on a regular it was always me trying to make the effort and she has admitted to that more recently. But when this happened, when he came about. She started acting different. She didn't verbally say anything.
She said she was happy for me that I found him. Mm-hmm she gave my sister a hard time because I wanted my sister to meet them. And she did not want that. She didn't tell me that, but she did tell my sister that she said, you're my daughter. I don't, I don't want you sharing that part of her. And so my sister started feeling like she was in the middle and I didn't wanna put her there either.
But my birth mother just started treating me differently. [00:44:00] Very different standoffish. Almost. Almost rude and my husband noticed it. So I wasn't crazy. I wasn't being the victim adoptee right, right. Cause I would ask, Hey, am I crazy? You know? Right. Cause I feel like she's treating me different he's he's like, no, it is different.
And even my sister recognized it, she said, yes, it's different. Wow. And so I just kind of got really tired of that. I got tired of trying so hard with her. So we are not, we, we haven't spoken in almost two years. Mm. And the last conversation I had with her, you know, I, I like to communicate, I like getting it out there.
I'm, I'm a truth teller, even if it's hard to hear the truth. And I, I want that in return and not everybody wants that. And I just point blank asked her, you know, like what is going on? Like, what is your, like, we couldn't even bring his name up. She didn't wanna hear about it. Didn't wanna know about it. And I said, I can respect that.
That's fine. But I don't understand why you're treating me so differently. And she denies that she was. And she [00:45:00] in the conversation, she said, Lynn, I just don't wanna talk about adoption anymore. I don't wanna hear about it. I don't wanna talk about it. I don't wanna see anything you post on social media, which I don't post a lot, but I do post a little bit, especially during adoption awareness month.
And when she said that and I said, well, that's really hard for me and sad for me because that's who I am. Mm-hmm and it's because of you that I am, I mean, I'm adopted my daughter's adopted, I don't want this to be uneasy for you, but it can't always be the good parts. Right. And that's just the way that it is.
I didn't make it that way. You know, we have to deal with the hard deal with the hard parts and my mom wouldn't deal with it. And now you won't. And I, I have empathy for her now at this stage in life, what she's been through and I don't think she's ever healed from it. Obviously, you know, and I think finding him brought all of that back up for her, [00:46:00] and this is all me just guessing.
Yeah, sure. You know, I, she's not opening up to me, but I just, I did say to her, I said, I really hate for you to go to your grave, not healing from this and still being angry at him. Cuz I would've loved for her to meet him and say, Hey, you know what? This is funny all these years later yeah, right. I mean he could have done it, but she wasn't willing.
And so we, we just stopped talking and she's not made any effort on my birthday. She sent flowers, but didn't sign the card, but I know it was her and. She doesn't acknowledge my daughter though. That bothers me more than anything. Like, I don't care what would happen between me and my son.
I'm not gonna stop trying to contact my grandson. And so my daughter for her is she's nonexistent. You know, she doesn't even ask about her anymore because she never hears from her. Like, you could FaceTime her, you could send her something in the mail. You could make that effort. I'm not gonna keep her away from her.[00:47:00]
I never would. Right. And I wouldn't the two
[00:47:02] Damon: of you turn her away between the two of you, not right. Her and your daughter. Right.
[00:47:07] Lynn: Right. And I wouldn't turn her away either if she wanted to have a conversation, but I'm just not gonna compartmentalize it anymore. And I that's just what she wants to do.
Because she said, I, when I made the comment, I hate for you to go to your grave without healing from this and having the bitterness you do. And she said, I don't have a choice. That's what she said. Oh, wow. So, so I feel bad for her in that way, but I can't help her, you know? I feel like I'm a thorn in her side, to be honest, I'm a reminder.
That's just how I felt. .Before we stop talking. So I don't, I haven't seen my sister in a year either. Now we've talked, you know, you have the whole pandemic thing. My sister's a nurse, so we were very careful about being around family members. But even since all that and things opened back up, I, I saw her twice, I believe.
And as of this past weekend, labor day, I haven't seen her since [00:48:00] last labor day, but we've, we've talked a few times. It's just different. And I think for her it's because of her mother. Yeah. And I get that too. Mm-hmm and then you fast forward to the situation with my birth father, this one sister that I had gotten close to.
This is what she told me. She started backing off and she said it was because we chose not to get vaccinated. And she said, that's why she wouldn't be around us because we weren't vaccinated. Mm-hmm I think there's more to it. But she refuses to be around us. And he has tried to say, can we have a cookout and be outside?
I'm willing to wear a mask. I was willing to do whatever, you know, once things open, back up. And I know she goes out in public and lives life mm-hmm right, right. Gotta be more to it than that. And he says the same thing. He said it has to be more to it. We unexpectedly ran into them at a horse show that we went to in North Carolina and they were there.
And my [00:49:00] birth father saw me. I didn't see him. He saw me and he texted me and asked me to meet him at the concession stand. And he came up to me and hugged me and the whole, his whole, his wife, his daughters, they were all there. And he told me, he said, I told her to come over here and just break the ice and talk to you.
But she refused. And I said, I don't understand why. And we were outside. I said, I don't understand why. Hmm. So, and I reached out to her two times and I said, Hey, you know, if it's anything I've done anything I've said, talk to me, you know, because I'm not aware of it. And she's just not. So I gave up on that.
[00:49:38] Damon: Lynn said that her interactions with her birth father are through emails these She used to keep touch with her birth father's wife, but that has faded out over time, too. The early days of the reunion honeymoon have dissipated and the family has drifted apart again.
Lynn said her daughter is an equestrian and they have invited her birth father and his wife to [00:50:00] go watch her daughter ride her horse. Her birth father has repeatedly said they would visit, but they never come. Lynn said things have continued to fade out as time passes
[00:50:11] Lynn: So I don't really know where we stand, but. That's where we are now.
So right now I don't speak to either one of them pretty much. I mean, I think he would speak to me. It's not that we're on non-speaking terms, but , it's just, you know, and I even told him, I said, listen, that's your daughter. And she comes first. That's your family. I'm not trying to come in between you.
I wish I knew what it was. I, I would be willing to talk to her about it, where I could defend myself or apologize or whatever it is that whatever issue she has. I don't know what it is.
[00:50:43] Damon: Mm-hmm yeah. It's impossible to know if someone's not gonna just come out and say so. There's nothing you can do.
[00:50:50] Lynn: Wow. So it just seems to have dissipated and you know, sometimes there are no answers. There's just goodbye and that's where I'm at with it. [00:51:00] And I try to just concentrate on my little family. But it hurts. It's hard to, you know, people around you that aren't. in this adoption world. , you know, they're like, well, just move on.
What does it matter? well, it matters as much as I wish it didn't. It matters. Yeah.
[00:51:18] Damon: People aren't in, in the adoption sphere, don't get it because they lived in these aren't the right words, but like a regular life, you know, they grew up and they know who their mother was and they know who their siblings are and they're, you know, right.
They have challenges with those people and their sibling rivalries and stuff. But it's not with the undercurrent of, oh, you're biological to mom and dad and I'm not. And I can feel how different we are and how they treat us differently. All of that stuff. It's just so they, it's impossible to fathom, something as crazy as adoption can be, if you haven't been through it, it's like, I [00:52:00] can't, I'm gonna make this up.
And this may not be right. I can't fathom what it would be like to be an amputee. You know what I mean? I've never, ever lost a limb, so I can't speak to that experience at all. And I might just say, why don't you just move on? Like, just get a crutch or whatever, you know? And it would be totally insensitive to place my callous non examination of what the situation is actually like on someone else and just be like, move on.
And, and I think that people, because true, you know, 90 plus percent of the population grows up in what we consider to be a mostly traditional family. It's really hard for people to, to grasp that you didn't grow up knowing all the facts that I know. And so it's just, it's hard for people to be sensitive to that.
[00:52:46] Lynn: As I've, you know, come out of the fog and, you know, tried to understand myself. I've really tried to look in the mirror and understand, all the parts of me that I feel comes from [00:53:00] my bitterness and anger, you know, and I I've had it and I've had to deal with it.
I'm more empathetic to people because like what you just gave the example of an amputee or you're black and I'm white Damon. I can't understand what it's like to be a black person. Mm-hmm I can't, my daughter is biracial. I that's a whole nother, you know, the transracial adoptee thing. That's an example that a friend of mine, this black gave me, he said, I, I can't understand what it's like to be an adoptee anymore.
Then you can understand what it's like to be a black man. so I do try to have empathy for people that go through things
I'm trying to write a book and my birth mother, then the last conversation we had, she said, I'd really like to read what you've written so far and I'm not, I'm not ready for you to read it. Mm-hmm she can't stand that.
I'm writing a book. . And I'm really mindful of how I'm writing, but at the same time, it's like, okay, it's my voice. And I'm, I'm just so tired of being told to be quiet about it. That's [00:54:00] my struggle. And my heart of heart's Damon obviously is for adoptees, but it's for the younger adoptees, like my daughter.
Yeah. You know, I want these adopted parents. They need to be educated. They need to understand what they're getting into. mm-hmm and it's not, these babies grow up. We grow up and my daughter is gonna grow up. And I don't, I'm fully aware that I have no idea how she's gonna feel about being adopted or, you know, she's, in my mind, she's in a great home, a loving home.
We couldn't love her more. And I promise you, I don't love her any different, more or less than my son. Who's biological mm-hmm . And my husband feels the same way. But I have to respect her part of the story and what she, how she'll feel. I want other adoptive parents to be aware and I want 'em to get it.
I want 'em to be educated before they do this, because the secrets and the [00:55:00] lies and the making these adoptees feel guilty, we have enough to deal with. Yeah. that's where my heart is. And for adult adoptees that are, you know, when I listen to your podcast and other podcasts and I hear all the stories and the pain is just, it's so sad to me cuz I think it, I don't think it'll ever be good or perfect.
There's no way. Right. You know, in a perfect world, we wouldn't need adoption. .
[00:55:24] Damon: But let me, let me tell. I want to encourage you to write your book. You know, we all have a story to tell, and it's your own personal lived experience. And you feel the way you feel. There's no denying that and nobody can take that away from you.
And, it's not anybody's place either to say you shouldn't feel that way. So I suspect that your birth mother is probably nervous about what you're gonna say about her and the situation mm-hmm . But listen, you guys have lived this situation it's over, [00:56:00] you know what I mean?
Like right. You, you can't go back and change it. It is what it is. And you felt how you felt about it since you found out. And so, she kind of has to be a grown woman and accept what's happening. Yeah. And hopefully this will be an avenue for you guys to discuss again. What has transpired between you, what your feelings are, things like that.
But if it's not you're not talking anyways and now your story's out there and you've owned it. So right. I would prefer obviously, and I'm sure you would, that it would be an opening for you guys to start a conversation. But if it's not like there's not really anything you can do.
And I think, no, it's not, you'll feel better once you've expressed your story and helped other adoptees and other adoptive parents along.
[00:56:45] Lynn: that's what I want. I, I know that adoptees like to, you know, it's our own little, our own little world, right? Mm-hmm, amongst adoptees and our stories.
And but if it can at all help, you know, future adoptees and [00:57:00] adoptive families, that's my goal.
And I think I just want, I just want better for the triad in general. Mm-hmm , you know, I think birth mothers need counseling. My birth mother never had counseling. Right. And I, she needed it. She needed something to help her work through her trauma and her hurt and I don't negate that.
So I would never want her to negate my feelings.
[00:57:25] Damon: And I think, if you go into this, writing this book for yourself and no one else, like I went into my book realizing if only my son reads this, and he, if nothing else just gets a family history of how this all went down in my own words, then you, , you will be satisfied.
The only customer for that book is you and perhaps your son and your daughter. That's it. Yeah. And, and everybody, literally, nobody else's opinion matters quite literally no one's and if you get people who say, oh my gosh, I'm so glad you [00:58:00] wrote this book. Great. That's icing on top of your already completed cake.
so just try to go into it. I agree with the satisfaction of knowing that this is for you cuz listen, you and I, we're not writing the next great American novel like this. Isn't gonna it's unlikely to be a movie, but it is important for you to express yourself what you've been through and other adoptees will pick up your book and pull nuggets from it and go, yeah, she put into words what I've been feeling and that will be meaningful for them.
And you may never know it. The people who are deeply impacted by your writing they might not ever reach out. They may never DM you and say, listen, I just wanted to let you know I'm so thankful you wrote your book. It's the people who wanna reach out and complain that take the time to sit down and write something cranky.
Right. Right. But the people that you deeply impact, they may never, ever, ever, ever reach out. And you just have to know in your heart of hearts that you probably touched at least one person and be good with that.
I wish I knew her better. But I think if I could leave that piece with my children, I think it would mean something.
[00:59:11] Damon: Well, Lynn, this was wonderful talking to you. I really appreciate you taking time to sort of sit and open up.
Your entire story, you know, this is, thank you. These kinship adoptions are always interesting to me. And to hear that you learned at a, at a vulnerable age who your biological mother was, is really fascinating because you then ended up living with that your entire life. And, I, wish that you had had more of the connections, the deep ones that you wanted throughout your life, but I'm sure that you probably get that fulfillment in being a parent to your son and to your daughter and, and your grandson.
So that's really awesome. Yes. I'm you get that
[00:59:55] Lynn: really cool. I do. You know, it's interesting cuz you know, people always think biology, [01:00:00] biology and you'll feel whatever. But I, I was raised in my biological, they were family mm-hmm , you know, they were related to me, but I still felt. Like I didn't fit or I wasn't accepted.
So I guess blood's not always thicker than water.
[01:00:17] Damon: Yeah. Lynn really good talking to you tonight. Thank you so much for calling you too Damon. Thank you so much. Of course. Take care all the best to you. All right. All right. You too.
[01:00:25] Lynn: Bye. Bye. Bye.
[01:00:31] Damon: Hey, it's me. Lynn is a kinship adoptee who did not grow up knowing who her birth mother is, even though the woman was in her life. It was a rude awakening to feel like she had been lied to. And Lynn expressed the various ways that her reunion with her birth mother strained her relationships.
She said it was tough to figure out how to be with her birth mother and adoptive mother in the same room. And that the revealed secret shown a light on the possible reasons why Lynn and her mom [01:01:00] never connected very deeply. I really hope Lynn's birth. Father can come around to finding a path for Lynn to connect more with his family.
His remorse for what he missed raising Lynn sounds genuine. And it sounds like they could have a good relationship, but as is so often the case when the honeymoon fades away, the reality of people's true selves comes out and it can change how adoptees are received in their biological families.
Lynn volunteers at a pregnancy center where she strives to make young pregnant girls, like she was at 17 be aware of their choices to parent. Abort or place their child for adoption.
She feels they should have a full understanding of what each choice means . For them and for their child, good or bad. Lynn said she was shamed when she was pregnant at that young age, she knows her birth mother was shamed too.
And she'd like to help make things better for everyone in the adoption triad.
I'm Damon Davis and I hope you've found something in Lynn's journey [01:02:00] 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