Emma described her adoption with words and concepts like “purchased”, “captor”, and “Stockholm syndrome”. Those aren’t the ideas behind a healthy parent child relationship
When she decided to find her birth mother, Emma would not be deterred by the redacted information her case worker gave her, so she took action… illegally, to steal her birth mother’s name.
In reunion Emma lacked the tools to maintain a relationship with her birth mother, and stood face to face with her birth father who portrayed himself as an innocent bystander, not a biological relative.
This is Emma’s journey.
Who Am I Really?
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190 The Gathering Place
[00:00:00] Emma: it's very, , satisfying and gratifying that I finally figured out that I do have choice and maybe I didn't have choice. I did not for sure have choice when I was in my childhood home, but that was then, and this is now, and I have my own key to set myself free, but until I gave myself permission to think in those terms, I was lost.
[00:00:24] Damon: I'm Damon Davis. And today you're about to meet Emma from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Emma described her adoption with words and concepts like purchased captor and Stockholm syndrome. Those aren't the ideas behind a healthy parent child relationship. When she decided to find her birth mother, Emma would not be deterred by the redacted information her caseworker gave her. So she took action illegally to steal her birth. mother's name
In reunion, Emma lacked the tools to maintain a relationship with her birth mother and stood face to face with her birth father who portrayed himself as an innocent bystander, not a [00:01:00] biological relative. This is emma's His journey
[00:01:02] Emma: Emma grew up in the central region of the United States in a community with no diversity, a very white community to use her words. Emma's older brother was also adopted and when she was three years old her parents sat her down to let her know she Is adopted
[00:01:19] Damon: my first memories were being very sad, sad for not only myself, it felt lonely.
[00:01:28] Emma: And I was also sad for my birth mother because I felt. I don't know, just in a child way that she must be so sad that she lost me, you know, like she lost, she forgot me somewhere and I really worried about her. But I also got the very distinct shame message that even though I was told I was adopted, I was never to bring it up again.
And if I ever did, I was ungrateful and selfish. And all I needed to know was that they owned me now. [00:02:00] And I should forget, and not even ever think about ever coming from somewhere else that was painted as being cut from inferior cloth. So, you know, the message to me was if I came from inferior cloth, then I must be too.
So how was I to separate that message and I couldn't, so it was, you know, very much a totalitarian authoritative. Also, I mean, it was really a cult-like family situation where there was no breathing room to have a thought, have a feeling, have a, any kind of idea of anything other than what they told me was allowed.
[00:02:39] Damon: Can I ask a quick question on some language? Yeah, go ahead. You used, you said owned. By them. Was that a word that they used with you?
[00:02:50] Emma: No, but it was the implicit message.
[00:02:52] Damon: Mm-hmm yeah. Can you, that,
[00:03:01] Damon: Wow. That's really heavy to be brought into a family from that perspective of purchased for a purpose.
Right. and I'm, I'm interested to know a little bit more about the suppression of thought, you know, the, it sounds like you were pushed away from pursuing individuality almost. Is that right?
[00:03:21] Emma: yeah, absolutely no, right.
To my own identity or have a thought of my own. Because I was really, they thought just like other people at that time, you get a baby and it's a blank slate instead of it having texture and fabric of ITSs own. And if there is anything, like, that's just pretend like it's not there and we'll force the situation until that baby complies. And there was a lot of oppression in order to get at my brother and I to meet the approval. And it was really a lifelong thing of, I mean, even today, it's still playing itself out where [00:04:00] I have. They have, my father has certain expectations what I should be doing in order to revolve around him.
That's it's been a lifelong thing.
[00:04:10] Damon: Yeah. That's, that's really fascinating. This. Lifelong expectation of still being under the thumb or under the influence or, limited by the family you were adopted into mm-hmm that's and that has to play out on, on your identity. And I'm sure you're gonna get to that at, at a later date.
Can you tell me, what was your family structure like? Were you multiple adoptees? Did you have biological siblings to your parents? Tell me a little bit more about your, your family structure.
[00:04:40] Emma: Sure. My brother was two and a half years older and he was adopted from the same agency where I was, but we have separate families lineage that we came from.
And there were no biologicals. We were always told that my parents were infertile and couldn't have their, their own [00:05:00] children so we were, you know, plan B. So father , very much. The dictator. And I'd say he just was basically co dictator with my mom. It was their, they were a United unit for sure.
But it was to the point of where the detriment of their children, where they wouldn't listen to their children or even foster a good relationship might between my brother and I, we never were feeling like we were brother and sister.
[00:05:30] Damon: Really?
[00:05:30] Emma: In fact, we couldn't trust each other. And I think my parents unconsciously wanted it that way because it's harder to divide and conquer.
If you have a United unit with, you know, if my brother and I were a solid unit, so it was an easier way for them to control us.
[00:05:47] Damon: can you say a little bit more about how they went about that separation and controlling?
[00:05:52] Emma: Well trigger warning. There was a lot of mental. And [00:06:00] psychological abuse of many hours of being stripped away of your identity to the point where you didn't really know who you were.
There was a lot of dissociation on my part to be able to survive that kind of day to day. You know, telling of that. You're whoever you think you are. You're not so. In order to survive, you're gonna need to go along with our plan. And my brother, unfortunately, he developed a lot more addictions and adaptations than I did.
And at 60, his heart exploded and he died.
[00:06:38] Damon: ugh,
[00:06:38] Emma: and I truly feel like it was death by adoption
[00:06:42] Damon: death by
[00:06:43] Emma: adoption, meaning that it wow. colored his entire life. You can't separate it out.
[00:06:47] Damon: Oh, my gosh. That's really sad to hear. Yeah. Unreal. Yeah.
[00:06:51] Emma: You know, it's, it's always on a spectrum though, right?
Damon. It's not that they were always bad because charismatic people know how to, you [00:07:00] know, entertain you and, and be charming some of the time. Right. And, and kids, we need love. We need shelter and. We looked to them for our very survival. So there was a lot, it was kind of like the Stockholm syndrome.
Mm-hmm of you love your captor,
[00:07:15] Damon: right? And I've said this before with others that when you grow up in adoption and you grow up mentally abused, influenced coerced and physically or whatever the things. you've never grown up in another family before, so you don't have any point of reference to say, Hey, this wasn't like this in my other family.
Like most of the time, you know, you grow up with what you know, and it's not until you sort of bear witness to it at. An age where you can understand it, you know, you might go to the neighbor's house and see, Hey, their family doesn't kind app, right. Like this. Yeah. You know, so there's no point of reference.
So you do kind of accept what your situation is. [00:08:00] Almost unconditionally until it's proven that it can be otherwise. And then you, then you really start to question, Hey, wait, wait a minute. This ain't right. You know? So it, yeah, you can't fault the adoptee for not really understanding that their situation is not what.
It's supposed to be.
[00:08:16] Emma: that is so true. I mean, it's a huge, a different kind of coming out of the fog where I did slowly start to see. Hey, this isn't normal. mm-hmm and that was through a lot of counseling and really it's taken a lifetime to identify and see these things clearly because the coercion of challenging, do I see reality correctly?
Or am I the crazy one? Like they've always told me. So there was a lot of deconstructing deprogramming to understand that the rest of the world and true, nurturing, healthy love. That was not it.
[00:08:52] Damon: As a teenager, a time of real growth in a child, Emma was living with no space to become an individual in a healthy manner. [00:09:00] Everything in the children's lives, revolved around their parents. There was a lot of isolation, which Emma says is a characteristic of a captor who is trying to keep their control over someone else.
The family lived out in the country, away from other families. The children weren't allowed to do extracurricular activities, which kept them from socializing. All of the suppression of individuality and self-expression led to stunted growth. Emma said.
She, and especially her brother turned to substances as a form of self-sabotage because the brainwashing they were under made the children feel shameful about their natural desire to grow and thrive. I asked if the mere act of going to school was some kind of escape for Emma.
[00:09:45] Emma: I would say that on some level, I knew that you know, what we call somatic experiencing now that I understand what that is. I was a singer in school and got very involved in the choir.
And as we know, if you know [00:10:00] anything about the polyvagal theory is that stimulates your vagus. And up and down your spinal cord, whenever you sing or get outside yourself. And it was really a tool that helped me feel like I belonged in the choir and I was able to make sense of emotion through the words of lyrics of songs.
So that was interesting. And I started journaling because that was the only way I could. Have a with my parents was to slip a note under their door and either try acquiesce or, you know, apologize for whatever. So I could get back on good standings, but it taught me how to write. It taught me how to form a sentence mm.
And express emotion. Mm-hmm so all of those kind of things, I didn't even realize, but it was feeding into kind of being a, a life saver for me. to individuate in different areas, even though I was being stifled at home.
And so they're stuck inside their head without an outlet for some of those thoughts. And so it's probably really healthy that you were able to sit down and it definitely was express them and, and actually read 'em back and go, wow. I actually feel this way. You.
[00:11:16] Emma: Yes. And I, I tried to find advocates, you know, they say sometimes it only takes one person to make , a difference in a child's life.
And I kept trying to find that person, but there was no one out there, not a principal, not a teacher, not a family member. There just was no one. And I had to use those oth other vehicles in order to, to try to keep somewhat healthy, but really what happened. And, you know, my whole life was not always a bad decision, but there were enough that really, when I look back now, I see everything was colored by first, the relinquishment and the adoption being raised by dysfunctional parents, every decision I ever made in my life.
[00:12:00] But now I'm at a point where I can reconcile and look back at all that and make better choices now because I have a different way of thinking.
[00:12:08] Damon: That makes a lot of sense. Can I ask, what was the response when you would try to raise things with your parents and you slipped notes under the door?
, how did they respond? If at all?
[00:12:19] Emma: Well, often they would say you're a pretty good writer. and other times they would say that is ridiculous. What you expressed is wrong. And then there would be, you know, some physical punishment and it, it was a mixed bag of what their response was. It depended on their their mood at the time. And I forgot to kind of say there was a lot of alcohol poured on this whole thing too, which really changed their behavior.
[00:12:45] Damon: Do you mean quite literally drinking?
[00:12:48] Emma: oh, yes.
[00:12:49] Damon: Mm-hmm I see. Wow. Yeah, this sounds incredibly, let's just say
[00:12:53] Emma: alcoholic behavior.
[00:12:55] Damon: Emma's college years led to more deeper reflections on her own [00:13:00] personality and her upbringing, which she realized was not in a normal house. She read the book, "the road less traveled by Scott Peck and it had a huge impact on her. The book combined spiritual exploration with psychological insights,
helping the reader with personal growth topics like distinguishing dependence from love and how to find one's true self. The book started Emma on a road to being a more critical thinker, But it was after college in the late 1980s. When Emma decided she wanted to search for her birth family. As you know, that was an era before online information systems put the world at our fingertips. Emma was trying to find out anything she could by writing letters and making phone calls, which didn't yield any results for years.
She said it wasn't until she went to visit the adoption agency, she was placed through. And spoke with a caseworker with a unique relationship to emma's adoption that things changed dramatically for her search
[00:14:12] Damon: Really. So she was the case worker for your birth mother when your birth mother placed you for adoption. That is fascinating. Yes.
[00:14:19] Emma: Yes. Well, even more fascinating. She said your birth mother wrote a letter after she relinquished you and
she signed a letter with her her true name. She had used a fake name all through the pregnancy. So that was the first time the agency knew her as a different identity.
[00:14:38] Damon: Oh, wow. That must have been fascinating to finally get that information, huh?
[00:14:43] Emma: Yeah, it was, it was pretty chilling because then I realized, even if I did ever find my real birth certificate, my unended birth certificate, it would more than likely have a fictitious name for the mother So the only way it'd ever find out her true [00:15:00] identity is if I had that letter. Wow. And she the caseworker, she did give me the body of the letter, but obviously she marked out birth mother's real name.
[00:15:11] Damon: Most people would have been discouraged by the inability to get their mother's true identity and figured the system was against them. Emma knew the file was in that office. And that file had the key to unlocking her mystery birth mother's identity. And she was determined. She was going to get that information.
Emma and her boyfriend at the time, put their heads together and decided They were going to break into that adoption agency to obtain her file
[00:15:37] Emma: It was a caper , it was a, a thriller. And we did walk right to the file cabinet found the adoption file, and that was the way I was able to get her true name. I found the letter and then was able to finally trace her by having her true name.
[00:15:56] Damon: That's amazing.
that is really unbelievable. I've heard some people [00:16:00] go to some great lengths to try to get their adoption records but to hear of an actual break in is really fascinating. Yeah. And you got away unscathed you didn't get caught.
[00:16:11] Emma: did not get caught, but I had such a guilty conscience that for 10 years I looked over my shoulder thinking, surely I'm gonna get a phone call or someone's gonna knock on the door.
Yeah. And say, we know what you did. . Yeah. But it, well, like we said, it was a time before cameras, security guards security systems. And there was DNA didn't happen. So we used gloves and there were no fingerprints. And then we put everything back just the way we found it or took it, we put it right back.
So there was never anything missing as far as Mm-hmm The adoption agency knew
[00:16:49] Damon: But just because Emma had a name didn't mean her birth mother will be easy to find. She went through multiple efforts to try to locate the woman. Finally pinpointing one of the [00:17:00] woman's sisters in a small town in the Midwest. That sister Emma's maternal aunt. Gave her the woman's phone number at her home in California. I asked emma how things went with her connection to her birth mother
[00:17:13] Emma: Well they always say, be careful. what you wish for. It was good talking with her and we did meet in almost immediately after that. I flew to California, but it was difficult because she had lived a very hard life. and I think was looking for me to be more of a mother to her. And I was only 24 at the time.
And . I didn't know how to do that. I didn't know how to mother myself at that point. So it, it lasted a couple of years. But she was always very evasive with any information. As far as birth father and so on and so forth. So I kind of gave up, she didn't know what to do with me.
You know, she was happy that I found her. She was happy. I was okay. [00:18:00] And, but after that, she really didn't, we didn't know what to do with each other.
[00:18:04] Damon: What, what do you mean by that? Were, were you struggling to cultivate a relationship because you'd been apart so long because you were sort of socioeconomically different or your different life struggles, what was, what does not knowing what to do with each other mean?
[00:18:21] Emma: Well, okay. You know, the lead up to meeting your birth mother lasts your, whole life up to that point. There's all that adrenaline, all that motivation and momentum. And then you meet. And I don't know that I had a forward expectation after that. I wasn't looking for a new mother. I was just looking to find her to let her know I was okay.
But I think she looked at me as sort of that guilty reminder. Something she'd done in her past, and now she's supposed to try to have a relationship with me. She should try to be something to me and she didn't know how to do that. [00:19:00] And I didn't know how to help her. And so I think that we just both walked away from it and she's passed now.
So there's no opportunity to do anything else with it. Mm-hmm but I'm still reconciling. And that was. I don't know, 36 years ago. Oh,
[00:19:17] Damon: wow. Interesting. So you connected with her struggled to sort of make a meaningful connection and it sounds like what you're saying is , you both kind of let the relationship die and unfortunately now she has passed on and there's no real way to rebuild it.
Is that correct?
[00:19:36] Emma: yeah, that's correct. Hmm.
[00:19:38] Damon: What do you think about when you think back on. when you did connect with her and your desire or attempt to rebuild, do you, what do you have things that you think you could have done differently?
[00:19:51] Emma: Well, I think that everything, the way it happened for me was the way it was supposed to, but. If I were to try to [00:20:00] counsel anyone else, I would say, try to get some therapy and know yourself before you go looking and , really analyze your motivation of why you're looking for someone and try to know yourself more.
Mm-hmm before. Attempting. That's huge. It's just so huge to unravel. You need, you need some tools first. yeah, and I had enthusiasm. I had tenacity, but I didn't have tools.
[00:20:29] Damon: So let me turn that back to you then. If yours. Suggesting to other adopted people that they need to sort of dig deeper, know themselves and understand their reason why they were searching.
What was your reason why you were searching and, and, and did you know enough about yourself? What was your reason?
[00:20:49] Emma: Well, okay, so take it back when I was three years old, I felt sad and lonely, and I had this overwhelming compassion about her, my birth mother. [00:21:00] Being thinking that she must feel so bad that she lost me.
And so I think that stayed with me until I did find her. And one of my biggest motivations was to tell her I'm okay, I'm not lost in the woods. I'm, you know, I'm here in front of you right now. And also I think I searched in every person I ever met throughout my life of could they be my birth family?
Is this my birth mother? It's like that book. Have you ever heard of that? Children's book? Are you my mama? Yeah. Or the little bird? Yeah, that, that was so me. and I have to analyze my actions present day of when I get attracted to a certain personality, I have to say now, what is this? what am I looking for?
Am I hoping for this person to mother and nurture me? And it's not a bad. But I am so aware of it now where I wasn't throughout my life, when I would go looking for things and have no idea [00:22:00] what was driving my bus.
[00:22:01] Damon: Emma said when she broke into the adoption agency, she got access to her unamended birth certificate in her adoption file. Remember her birth mother had used a fictitious name throughout her placement process until she signed to the letter to Emma with her real name. With that in mind, Emma assumed that the name on her original birth certificate.
Would be a fake name for her birth father to. Emma took the man's name on that birth certificate traced him through the department of motor vehicles in the local area where she was conceived and tracked him Down
[00:22:33] Emma: And I found a correlating phone number and actually met him, but he denied me and said, I only did it to help out a friend, meaning he only put his name on my birth certificate to help out a friend. My birth mother mm-hmm . I was very confused and I didn't understand why you would do that.
And I said, well, what was her name? And he would fein it and say, he couldn't remember. I actually found [00:23:00] him before I found birth mother
and I, and I asked him, can you please help me? Because I have her name that was after I already had her name. Can you let me know. Is this true? Is this the person?
Can I, how can I find her? And he was saying he couldn't help me. He was very nice, but he couldn't help me. And he was not my birth father.
[00:23:23] Damon: Oh. He said that he was not,
[00:23:24] Emma: he said he was not my birth father. He only signed the document to help out a friend, meaning my birth mother.
[00:23:31] Damon: Hmm. So what did you then learn about the true identity of your birth father?
[00:23:39] Emma: well, fast forward, about 35 years later when I finally did my DNA the surname of the person that was on my birth certificate across as a close relative on DNA relative matches mm-hmm . So I started digging more and. Found a first cousin [00:24:00] that I did call and she immediately had said that, yes, we have that name in our family.
He's passed now. So anyway, that, that's how I found definitely for sure that he was my birth father. And he had hugged me that, that time I met him. So he hugged me knowing that I was his, his daughter.
[00:24:20] Damon: Wow. Unreal. So you stood face to face with this guy. Yeah. And he made it seem like he placed his name in the box and he was not the person that he was just doing someone a favor to de-identify another guy.
When in fact he was the guy.
[00:24:40] Emma: Yes. That's what he felt comfortable telling me.
[00:24:44] Damon: when you stood face to face with him, did you see yourself with him in him? Did you see a connection? Like, could you feel a connection? You know, sometimes people get that there's an energy. There's a, I look like this person.
Did you, did you sense any
[00:24:57] Emma: of that? Yes. And I forgot to [00:25:00] say I had nothing similar with my birth mother. . But when I looked at him and I looked at some telltale features on his face, like his eyebrows and I looked at baby pictures, he had around his apartment. I thought, look like me as a baby.
There were certain things I did have a feeling of. I really kind of think you are, but you're telling me you're not. So I just went with it even though. For 35 years more. I thought, yeah, I think it is him, but I had no proof until the DNA came through.
And I have to believe he just, he just felt that was the story he had to live with.
He was uncomfortable with anything else. and birth mother was uncomfortable telling me anything more than she could tell me. And I've tried to really reconcile, not having. Harsh feelings towards either one of them. But it's been process.
[00:25:56] Damon: Yeah. I can imagine. Tell me about that process.
Like how did you manage it? [00:26:00] Because I'm sure you can go through anger and confusion and just tell me a little bit about some of the things that you've felt along that way and how have you gotten past those, those issues?
[00:26:11] Emma: boy. it's a big question. And so I have to hesitate and pause on that because it didn't happen all once for sure.
And it wasn't a linear journey and I'm still on that journey, but it really came down to not feeling as though I needed to be of my adoptive parents. And I'm not really of my birth parents either. I'm me. And I feel like I'm connected with my universe and I'm connected with my true purpose of why I feel like I'm here.
And so I stopped defining myself from other people and just trying to find my, my inward truth and how I wanna show up in the world. Mm-hmm I don't wanna show up like either the, all four of those [00:27:00] parents right. I don't identify with any of them. . And that's okay. That's okay. I get to choose who I'm gonna be.
Yeah. And that took me a long, long time to understand.
[00:27:14] Damon: I love that. You said that, cuz I think a lot of people struggle with attaching their identity to elements of other people. Mm-hmm and it takes a strong person. Who's done some introspection. To really sit with the person that they are it's.
It is as a result of the experiences you've had. And it is as a result of the biology from which you're born. But it's also what you do with it, right? If you, yeah. You know, definitely place moldable clay in front of someone, they're gonna have different ideas of how to make it into something that is their own.
And that's kind of how our lives are in my opinion, is that you have experiences thrust on you and you create experiences of your [00:28:00] own, and you have your biology and your, your interests, and you have things that are introduced to you. And, and it's what you take from all of that and mold into something that is your own, that creates your own sort of being, and it sounds like that's a lot of what you've done is sort of accepted what has transpired in the past.
Accepted mm-hmm, what people have given you in terms of the information that they will or were not willing to share and, and pieces of themself that they were willing to, or not willing to offer to you. And you've said, okay, that's what they have decided to do, but here's me in the middle and I'm going to do, as I choose with building up myself.
And it sounds like it took quite a bit of work, but you've, you've done the work to get there, which is really.
[00:28:47] Emma: it's very, , satisfying and gratifying that I finally figured out that I do have choice and maybe I didn't have choice. I did not for sure have choice when I was in my childhood [00:29:00] home, but that was then, and this is now, and I have my own key to set myself free, but until I gave myself permission to think in those terms, I was lost.
[00:29:11] Damon: I love that I have my own key to set myself free. That is amazing. Wow. That is really incredible. Oh.
[00:29:23] Emma: But I definitely had to go through some hardships you know, the school of hard knocks to, to figure that out. Mm-hmm and I'm just so grateful that I did have something big enough in my life that brought me to my knees.
And if it hadn't happened, I wonder if I might just keep that low vibration for the rest of my life, where I just do things and don't understand why I'm doing 'em
[00:29:47] Damon: yeah, that's a really good point. That deep introspection is incredibly valuable for helping somebody to analyze accept, and build on what they've been given to [00:30:00] get to the place where you are now.
Emma said she never shared her reunion journey with her adoptive parents. She told her adoptive mother's sister who shared the story with Emma's mother. Her parents didn't speak to her for three anguishing years. Their withdrawal and silence was their way of punishing Emma for what they perceived as her insolence.
She said the only reason they started talking to her again was Emma had a baby and we agreed infants have a beautiful way of bringing people together. Emma and her parents haven't mentioned her reunion since they found out about it. And her daughter is 27 years old now. I'm always curious about adoptees as parents, especially people like Emma who described her home as cult-like with an upbringing that gave her feelings of Stockholm syndrome. I was curious how she shares her experiences with her daughter and how her daughter talks about them with Emma
I would say that my daughter and I have a really beautiful relationship and it [00:31:00] got even better when I noticed within my own self that I was trying to control her to stay close to me or be any kind of, you know, therapeutic remedy for what ed me. And as soon as I let her go and be herself and flourish, because that's what I, I love her and I want her to flourish and she did.
[00:31:22] Emma: And luckily I didn't hold on so tight that I caused a lot of damage, but anyway, things are really great. Now She sees clearly what's happening or has happened with her grandparents. And my mother recently passed my adoptive mom. And so now it is my dad, but I'm still very much walking through the emotional immaturity and the sense of entitlement that both my parents have always had plays out to this day.
Where there's still that attitude of that my life should cease and I should be propping up [00:32:00] them in their old age. and I'm really having to struggle with boundaries with that, of what is mine to own and how to get that through to someone that doesn't wanna hear it. Meaning my father now he just wants to hear how I'm gonna, you know, prop him up and give him the life that he's always wanted.
My daughter has been there with me, even though she's getting her PhD right now. Every spare second, she helps with, trying to do everything you need to do for an elderly person. There's quite a bit, even though he's got 24 7 caregivers, it's still, there's a lot of caring and a lot of.
Needs, and she's always right there to be as helpful as possible.
[00:32:43] Damon: that's really awesome. Good for her. Yeah. And good for you for recognizing that you were manifesting something that you had experienced and needed to make a change mm-hmm that is really powerful. And I'm glad you were able to catch yourself before, as you suggested there, some real damage was done.
Right. [00:33:00] That's incredible. Mm-hmm good for. Wow, Emma, this is amazing. Mm-hmm I love to hear a person's growth throughout their life. And to hear that you came from this adversity of being suppressed and mm-hmm sequestered and, you know, even isolated from your own siblings, let alone sounds like from the rest of life to focus on these adoptive parents who brought you in to.
Place where you've identified that you've got the keys to your own freedom, I think is just really, really powerful.
[00:33:35] Emma: It's so cool. Well, thank you. It brings me a lot of joy that's for sure.
[00:33:40] Damon: Emma has written a book about her journey called "the gathering place and adoptee story". We chatted a bit about what she wants readers to take from her book and the catharsis that comes from capturing your own story.
[00:33:54] Emma: I highly recommend writing your own story.
Whether you get it published or you put it in a [00:34:00] drawer, just get it outside your body. And take a look at it and see what reflections you see, what, what connections you see rising up from your own story. And it helps you to know where you're going in the
[00:34:13] Damon: future. I agree. 100%. I wish you could see me nodding my head profusely.
like, I'm very, very adamant about people getting their own stories out because as you've said, when it lives inside your body, no one else can really sort of truly appreciate it for one and two. There's something extremely cathartic about releasing it, right when it just lives in your head, it bounces around in your brain.
But when you let it out, You can sort of look at it and see like your true feelings and your, all of your experiences as a whole. And you begin to appreciate what you've been through more and mm-hmm , and there's just value in offering the opportunity for someone outside of yourself to read your words or hear your words or [00:35:00] how, whatever way you've chosen to express yourself and try to understand.
Your perspective, because this is your own self-expression and nobody can take that away from you. And, and as I told another adopted person recently, one of the big things that's so great about these platforms is we don't necessarily. Usually get the opportunity to express our entire journey, right?
Mm-hmm , it's usually this elevator speech, you know, I was adopted, I was you know, I had an awesome adoption or an awful adoption. you gave a couple of facts about your life and you know, now I know my birth mother or she rejected me, whatever the things are. And. sharing the elevator version.
Doesn't do justice to everything that you've been through. , the emotions, the trials, the challenges mm-hmm, be, they, you know, technological or legal, it doesn't give the whole story color. And to be able to put that out there for other people to see, I think is incredibly valuable because then people truly can understand.[00:36:00]
How you've gotten to where you are now. That's, that's my opinion. Mm-hmm so I totally second write your story down. Even if you put it in a drawer and someone finds it later, just know that it's out there and it's your words and your own emotions behind it. That's really cool.
[00:36:16] Emma: Definitely and icing on the cake is just being able to know and hear from people that say that while they didn't have the same exact experience that I had, they saw their own life through the lens of what I was trying to describe. Mm-hmm and how it has taken them to a different place. Yeah. That's just icing on the cake for me.
Yeah, that's right. To hear those kind of words.
[00:36:39] Damon: What do you hope people will take from your book?.
[00:36:42] Emma: That we need to be welcoming of ourselves. And what I mean by that is we have a lot of parts and they all make up who we are. And I try trying to welcome even those parts of myself that I'm not [00:37:00] thrilled about. But knowing that I. Can have conversations with my inner self. Maybe, you know, there's so many selves in there that we can have dialogue and we can integrate to where there's just a lot more harmony in my life now.
And within my bodily system than there ever has been before. And I'm hoping that others can get that too.
[00:37:24] Damon: Emma, your book is called "the gathering place an adoptee story". It sounds like an incredible journey. Thank you so much for being here with me.
[00:37:32] Emma: Thank you, Damon. I appreciate your platform and everything that you're doing as an adoptee and as an advocate.
[00:37:39] Damon: Thank you so much. Like I said, I can't do it without people like you coming forward to tell your story. So thanks for being here Emma appreciate it.
Thank you all the best. Take care. Bye-bye
[00:37:49] Damon: Hey, it's me. Emma lived an adoption in isolation from her brother who [00:38:00] succumbed to the authoritarian self-centered parenting in their home. I know it was illegal, but I loved hearing Emma's passion to get access to her adoption file that led her to a burglary. Emma said that when she and her birth mother met, they didn't know what to do with each other.
And she admitted she had the tenacity to find the woman, but not the tools to navigate a sustainable reunion When Emma found her birth father, he led her to believe he was not the man she was seeking, but she said she could see herself in his baby photos and she could feel that he was the guy.
It took over 30 years for DNA to confirm the man's identity. But by then her birth father had passed away. It was cool to hear that Emma's self-reflection continues and that the process had revealed she was doing some unhealthy things raising her daughter. It's really great that she was able to catch them and course correct to build the beautiful relationship she has with her daughter today.
I'm Damon Davis, and I hope you found something in Emma's [00:39:00] journey that inspired you. Validates your feelings about wanting to search or motivates you to have the strength along your journey to learn. Who am i really