Andrie, who lives in Duluth, Georgia, learned she was adopted as a kid, then started coping with the rejection she felt by making up stories about her birth parents, a habit that carried into adulthood.
Searching for her truth, Andrie found her birth father, but has chosen to distance herself from him
When she met her birth mother Andrie found a woman she has a lot in common with and whom she says she absolutely loves.
This is Andrie’s journey.
Who Am I Really?
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193 – Telling My Truth
Cold Cut Intro
[00:00:00] Andrie: I had goosebumps when I heard her voice for the first time. Wow. Well, to me for the second time, mm-hmm because I obviously heard it for nine months and I recognized her voice.
It was like, it was like, I heard this voice before. That is the feeling that I got.
I'm Damon Davis. And today you're going to meet Andrie who called me from Duluth, Georgia. When Andrie learned she was adopted, she started coping with the rejections. She felt by making up stories about her birth parents, a habit that carried into adulthood. Searching for her truth. Andrie found her birth father,
but has chosen to distance herself from him. When she met her birth mother, Andrie found a woman. She has a lot in common with and whom she says she absolutely loves this is Andrie's journey.
[00:00:57] Damon: When Andrie and [00:01:00] I first started chatting, she took a moment to share her condolences for the loss of my adoptive mother, Veronica. She had seen my Instagram posts about her passing and gently comforted me at that emotional time. It was a really kindhearted moment that led to an interesting conversation about reunion and loss I wanna start off by saying, I'm very sorry to hear about your mom. Oh, you're
sweet. Thank you.
[00:01:23] Andrie: Yeah, I, I saw your Instagram post about that and I cannot imagine going through that and, and even having, you know, your birth mother pass away, and then now your, your mother who adopted you that's that has to be a lot to deal with.
Yeah, I can. . Thank you. I can't,
[00:01:45] Damon: I can't, that's really thoughtful of you and I appreciate it. Yeah. And you know, one of the things that I think is challenging in adoption and loss is that I've lost [00:02:00] my birth mother, you know, whom I only knew for six years and then. You know, I lost my adoptive father and then I lost my adoptive mother.
That's three parents whom I've had great relationships with. Right. So, you know, I know my birth father as well, and eventually his day will also come. So with reunion comes the eventuality of more loss. And it's just an interesting thing to sort of contemplate losing four parents instead of two. But thank you for your words.
I appreciate that so much.
[00:02:37] Andrie: Yeah. I, I have all four right now. Mm-hmm I know , my parents who adopted me, my biological mother and my biological father and I cannot imagine losing any of them. Yeah. Right now. Not so much my biological father, but , mm-hmm, , that's a whole nother story.
So obviously Andrie has some feelings about her relationship with her birth father, which we'll definitely get to later. But for now, I'm going to take us back to Andrie's beginning.
Andrie was adopted as an infant and she had a normal life in Rockford, Illinois. She said when she went to school the children said she had to be adopted
[00:03:25] Andrie: I didn't even realize I was adopted until I w went to school. And I really didn't even know that the kids in the neighborhood was telling me that I was adopted. I had to be adopted because I looked nothing like my parents. I am of mixed race. I had all this long. Curly hair. And my parents was black and, I looked almost like I was white because that's how fair my skin was at the time.
[00:04:00] And kids just said, said, you, you have to be adopted. That's not your mom and dad. And I remember when I was seven years old is when my mother told me I was adopted. I was outside playing in the front yard and my mom was sitting on the porch watching me play. And she told me that she had to tell me something and, and I was like, oh, what, what do you have to tell me?
And that's when she told me that I was adopted. And I remember at a young age feeling. For the first time feeling rejected and feeling the abandonment or feeling like in my seven year old head thinking somebody did not want me. and I remember feeling that empty feeling at at seven years old.
To give you a little bit more background. I was adopted at, at two days old. [00:05:00] Two years later, my mom adopted another child, my brother, and then four years after that they had a child. My sister my mother went through a lot of miscarriages before she adopted me. She also was actually five months pregnant With a child and while she was in the process adopting me, but then that child was still born. So my Mo my mother went through a lot of loss before adopting me and while adopting me. And so, but before she told me that I was adopted, I, I, like I said, I felt I didn't feel any different because my parents didn't treat us any different when my sister was born.
I remember my sister was born early. She was in the hospital for, in NICU [00:06:00] for, for some years. And I remember every time we would go visit my sister, my mother would dress us up and like our Sundays best where I had all. The Sunday dresses and my brother was always in his best and we would go see my sister and my mother kept, kept us very involved in that process.
And then when my sister came home, I mean, we were really involved and we had normal dysfunctions, like many families have. I mean, there was arguments in the house with my mom and dad and my dad was an alcoholic. Still is an alcoholic so we, you know, we had, you know, normal dysfunctions, like, like any normal family would.
Yeah. , but I could tell you one thing, there was always, and still is love in the family. My mother is the one that taught me how to love [00:07:00] unconditionally because she displayed that every single day. My dad, my dad never really even talked about the adoption. He, even to this day, he barely talks about it and it is not that he doesn't wanna talk about it.
He just , sees me and my brother as his children, like, and that's how we always felt like we were like we are their natural born children, you know? And and my mother, when she told me she didn't want to talk about it anymore, after that , her feeling was. You're my kids, you're my babies.
And that's how she treated us. Like we were her, her children. But unfortunately when you're adopted and you find out you're adopted, you have all these questions. And over the years I had a lot of questions and I, every once in a while I will [00:08:00] ask her questions and, and she would give me the best answer that she could give me.
But it was not much after that because she just didn't wanna talk about it.
[00:08:09] Damon: On the day Ansari's mom told her she was adopted. She started to feel that first twinge of rejection. Andrie asked her mother what she was supposed to tell the children at school who could clearly see, she was not biologically related to her family about the confirmation that she is adopted.
Her mom joked that she should tell the other kids. She was the milkman's baby. So she did. But Andrie said, telling that story started her off creating other fabrications of her origin story. Andrie had very long hair and other kids thought she was native American. So she went with it and told the children she was native American.
One time. She created a story that she was born in the south of France and her birth father owned a vineyard. Creating alternate storylines for herself was Andrie's way of masking her feelings
[00:09:00] Andrie: I literally made these stories up. Later, I realized that it was my way of coping.
cuz I pushed these feelings down when I, when I was growing up, I didn't wanna deal with it. There were times when I thought about it. And then my father, my dad was very strict growing up. I couldn't barely date. I couldn't go to parties. I couldn't do the things that other kids were doing.
And I would think to myself, why was I adopted in this family? I have to, like, This is the worst he, you know, but then I would , imagine something else and it would just block the feelings that I was having. . The feelings of abandonment and the rejection, just, you know, it was my way of coping with, with all
[00:09:55] Damon: of that.
Yeah. The storytelling was a coping mechanism. That makes a lot of sense. Wow. [00:10:00]
[00:10:00] Andrie: Yeah. Yeah. It was. And I took that actually took that into. My marriage which was not healthy. And 10 years into my marriage, I realized what I was, I, I told these stories so much that I believed them. Mm-hmm, like, I really believed them.
And I realized 10 years into my marriage that I, this is not healthy. This is not healthy at all. And the funny thing is, is my husband knew that I was lying and he was just waiting for me to, to tell him the truth. And, and then I finally had to tell him the truth, like, and I would start telling little truth.
Like, you know, no, that didn't happen. No, this didn't happen. And that's when I had to, when I started realizing I really didn't know who I was. I had made these stories up and created this life of. that was [00:11:00] not even the truth. And I had to start figuring out who I was, and that was when I started that journey of learning my identity.
Mm-hmm of who I am as a person.
[00:11:12] Damon: I want to just jump in a coup for a few things, one mm-hmm I think it's amazing that you got that kind of unconditional love that you did from mm-hmm your parents that is so powerful and not every adopted person gets that hell not every child gets that to be quite honest with you, right?
Yeah. So that is a special foundational space that you were lucky to be in. And I'm glad that you said it with the reverence that you did, you know, it pays hommage to your parents loving you. And I think that that's really awesome. I'm interested in the storytelling in your marriage. Was it specific to your childhood and your adoption, or did it bleed into other identity things in terms of your [00:12:00] storytelling?
[00:12:02] Andrie: mm-hmm both. It was specific to my adoption. It was, yeah, it was,
like I said earlier, when I was telling these stories, these are the stories that I believed. I mean, I believe that this was my story. and so when I was met my husband I was on that last story of, I was born in the south of France and , this whole elaborate story. it was, it became.
A part of me, like it was a part of who I, who I was at the time. And as I got older, I became more aware that I really didn't even know who I was. Like, I had no idea and that was not healthy to be in a marriage. Now, I, there [00:13:00] were some key things about me. Like I was, I'm a very loving person. I'm very dotting.
We were, we were raising my brother's children, my two nephews at the time, my husband and I had took them in and re raised them. And I was definitely trying my best to be the best mother that I could be. And I remember. Teaching them boys not to lie and to tell the truth. And then that's when it hit me.
How can I teach them this? And I'm not exercising that same value so I had to, this is when I really realized I can't be a hypocrite. And then I realized, I didn't know who I was. Mm. Like I had no idea who I, who I was as, as an individual. That is really fascinating. Yeah. And so I went under on a journey [00:14:00] and, and started to celebrate the things that I did know about myself, but also.
Start to learn some new things about myself that I actually really enjoyed and really liked about myself. And that's when I started started like telling the truth, like telling my truth. It matter so funny, my therapist and I, we talk about this is my theme, speaking my truth and telling my truth.
And now sometimes I'm a little too truthful. ,
[00:14:37] Damon: that's funny how the pendulum swings the other way. you're like, so brutally honest and it's people are like, whoa.
[00:14:47] Andrie: Right, exactly. And even during the reunion with my biological parents I, there were times I either, I had to either not say anything or.
or [00:15:00] I just had to tell the truth of how I was, how I was feeling. Yeah. And, I'm pretty honest about my feelings. So mm-hmm and how I, how I feel about all of this it's it's this is by doing that is helping me cope better with the fact that I was adopted and if helping me to cope with the abandonment and the rejection because this is one of the things I tell my therapist, I feel like that feeling never goes away.
Mm. Because it, it comes up in other relationships where I, especially, if I get to know a person and I really like that person, I have some type of insecurity that I don't wanna lose. That friendship or lose some type of connection with that person. But I, one thing I do not do anymore is I don't lie about anything.[00:16:00]
I'm just very honest, but I do certain little things that shows the insecurity that I don't wanna lose that friend or don't wanna lose that.
[00:16:10] Damon: Yeah. I can't help thinking as you're describing this, , that one, it is probably pretty prevalent. As a matter of fact, I know it's prevalent because I've heard more than one adoptee speak of their abandonment issues, but I can't help thinking about, as we've already said, the pendulum swinging the other way, the idea that there are probably some people out there who , have attachment issues that don't want be close to anybody.
Right. And, and. Maybe tell themselves that they don't need anybody and they push everybody away and they're not interested in relationships and, and say, I didn't, I didn't need that relationship anyway. So I would imagine there are two very. Strong opposing ends at the same spectrum of wanting relationships, wanting to be connected versus pushing everybody away.
[00:17:00] Right. Because you don't want to experience any, any of that.
[00:17:02] Andrie: That's right. That's really fascinating. Yeah. And, and I think it also plays into my personality cuz I'm a people person and I love people. Mm-hmm people give me energy. I'm a, I'm extroverted. Mm-hmm so. I can be the the social butterfly in the room.
And, and I'm interested in everybody that's in the room. Mm-hmm so that plays a part that's part of my personality. So that's where some of the attachment things come into play mm-hmm is because once I get to know somebody and I really like that person, I don't wanna lose that person. Yeah. And, and I find myself saying in, in, in silly situations, I just got to know you.
I don't wanna lose you. I find myself saying that . Yep. And it's yeah. And. And it's like, what I, [00:18:00] what I don't do any longer is I don't do the things that I did in the past to try to keep the friendship. Mm. The insecurity, the insecurity shows up in different ways by me saying certain things or, you know, but not by action.
Because I've learned that, you know, everybody's not meant to be your friend. Everybody's not meant to be in your life. Some people will come for a season and some people will be there for the rest of your life. And I've gotten better dealing with that.
[00:18:36] Damon: Andrie said she's gotten much better about dealing with her feelings since her reunion, when Pandora's box was opened and she was forced To confront the truth of her story and her feelings about what she had learned. Andrie admitted that her journey began with introspection overcoming her propensity to tell herself and others false stories. She started with self discovery before trying to locate her family of [00:19:00] origin.
Andrie was busy being a mother to her. Nephew's a wife to her husband and she had re-enrolled in school later in life to get her college degree.. She said another coping mechanism of hers was
[00:19:12] Andrie: when people ask me, aren't you curious? I would be like, well, if my biological parents haven't found me by now, they don't wanna know I am.
And that was my way of coping my way of still coping with the fact that I was adopted.
[00:19:26] Damon: But when Andrie graduated from school and started her career, she was alone after a divorce and life started to slow down.
As Andrie made new friends in her life, they would ask her what her nationality was, but she had no idea. At least she had begun to tell the truth that she didn't know instead of making something up. One friend would make suggestions about her heritage, but nothing resonated with Andrie.
Three years ago, Andrie relearned that ancestry DNA was a good way to learn what's your nationality is. And that some adoptees had [00:20:00] found their birth parents on the platform. So Andrie submitted her sample. I got her results and decided she wanted to share her findings with her friends
[00:20:08] Andrie: I did this in a really beautiful way. . I actually had an ethnic reveal party with my closest friends. Wow. And I cooked some of the foods from , the higher percentage of where I came from. , , and then I revealed it to my friends of what my nationalities were and I was, it
[00:20:31] Damon: was so creative.
That's really cool.
[00:20:35] Andrie: wow. Yeah. I wanted to celebrate, because it, it, at the time I knew that I was going to see all these family connections, but I also wanted to celebrate the fact that this is a part of my identity. That I did not know. And now I'm discovering this identity of myself and [00:21:00] and I was excited about it.
I was really, really, and it still is excited about it. Yeah. And so
[00:21:06] Damon: Cause you know, it's a piece of yourself that you've never known that people have been guessing about and now you, and only you have the answers. Right, right. That's really awesome.
[00:21:16] Andrie: Right. Cool. Exactly. So , what I cooked was I cooked some foods from the UK mm-hmm and some foods from Africa mm-hmm so I'm 45% west African and, you know, the story behind that mm-hmm and and then I'm 55%.
Northwestern European with a big influence of Norwegian Norway so
So that's where, when my life slowed down and me wanting to find out what my nationality was and what my ethnic background was, that's [00:22:00] when the search began.
[00:22:01] Damon: But before Andrie did the ancestry DNA test, she did a little research of her own. Andrie examined her birth certificate, which revealed the name of the hospital, where she was born in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. When she pulled up the facility's address on Google maps, she didn't see a hospital facility.
Andrie saw condominiums. Further research revealed the address was previously associated with a booth Memorial home for unwed mothers. . Learning that fact corroborated something. Her adoptive mother had told her about her birth mother, that the woman was very young when Andrie was born.
The pieces of her story were starting to materialize slowly. Andrie told me, she learned that Wisconsin had passed the law, that anyone who had a closed adoption could receive their birth certificate, but only if their birth mother had also signed for permission for that access to be granted. Andrie assumed that her birth mother would not have signed for her permission. [00:23:00] So in Andrie's ancestry DNA, she found a link to some second cousins and sent messages about the fact that she was searching for her biological family .
[00:23:09] Andrie: long story short. This is how I found my biological father. I found him first. Wow. I found, an aunt who lived in my hometown where I grew up at In Illinois
And come to find out that one of the aunts made my green beans at my wedding. really? Yes. This is like .
Is she in a catering business or something?
No, I was working. I was a hair stylist at the time and she would come and get her hair done by the other girl that worked in the same salon that I worked at.
And I re we all became very, you know, very friendly and we would talk and. And I remember this aunt particular aunt. [00:24:00] Well, I didn't know that she was my aunt. I just thought it was somebody I knew she was very nice to me. Just would talk to me and, and we had like different potlucks and different things.
And then she made these green beans that were amazing. And then when I was getting married, I asked her, will you make the green beans for my wedding? And she said, my God sure. Absolutely. you serious? That is crazy. Yes .
[00:24:24] Damon: Wow. Of all the weird things, one that you asked her to cook at your wedding, but two that it was just green beans, like is so mad.
Random. That's crazy.
[00:24:36] Andrie: Yes. Yes. And then I found out people, I went to high school with. They were one of my cousins. I haven't really made any connections with them. , like, I know them and we know each other, but I haven't called them up and said, you're my cousin. There was only the aunt who had a daughter.
I, she was the only one that [00:25:00] I actually talked to. And and she, because of my aunt, the biological aunt telling her, you know, can you believe Andrie is your cousin, your first cousin? Yeah, that is unbelievable. Yeah. Unreal people. I know people, I went to church with mm-hmm were.
Cousins of mine.
Connecting with her birth father was a whole different story. Andrie had found her paternal aunts and they had brothers. One of whom they thought for sure was her birth father.
The man had passed away in 2019, so Andrie would never meet him,
but it turned out he wasn't the right person. There was another brother who lived in Seattle, Washington. So the attention turned to him.
The day Andriy met her paternal aunts there, Seattle brother was on the phone as part of their connection. When he heard the story, he suggested he could be her birth father, but nothing was proven.
Andrie's husband at the time [00:26:00] suggested she do a DNA test with the second man to see if maybe he was the guy. So she called him up to ask if he would agree to submit a dna sample
[00:26:09] Andrie: And he said, absolutely. And then we started talking on the phone a lot. And before the results even came back, he just came out and said to me, he says, you know what, who cares? What those results says? I'm just gonna to claim that you're my daughter. Wow.
[00:26:26] Damon: And how was that to hear
[00:26:29] Andrie: it? It was a little unnerving at the time, because I was like, I really wanna know now I really wanna know who my birth father is.
Mm. You know? Yeah. And the results came back and sure enough, he was my birth
[00:26:47] Damon: Wow. That is crazy. Yes. How, how is that? Did you, did you call him who got the results first and how did you sort of.
And so because I created the account, the results came to me. So I got the results first and I called him and told him, I said, well, I have some good news. you're my, you're my biological father. wow. Yeah. That was in August of 2019. And that is crazy. Yeah. Found out that at that time I found out I had two brothers.
I had a brother that was two years younger than me and then a brother that's the, same age as my youngest nephew slash son that I raised. Mm-hmm . So I set this visit up to go out to Seattle to visit him. And oh man, I will never forget this two weeks before [00:28:00] flying out to Seattle, I started to have a nervous breakdown.
Really, and yeah, I was like, okay, I, I need to find a therapist. I, I need to talk about this. Because for 47 years, I had been suppressing all of this, like how I was coping with it, like coping it with it, with the lies, coping with it, with just not dealing with it, not even thinking about it, you know, but when now this Pandora's box has opened.
everything started coming out and I was going to meet this person who actually was from my hometown that I really did not know , but I knew was family. And it was, I felt like I was about to lose my mind. I felt very overwhelmed with feelings that I didn't know what to do with them.
Like, I didn't know how, where to place them.[00:29:00] And I went out, I got a therapist like two weeks before and, and it was just enough for me to get to Seattle, to deal with what's going on in Seattle and then come back and start dealing with all of this Which was a saving grace and I still see the same therapist to this day.
[00:29:22] Damon: that, that person, well, a lot gained a lot of trusts with you just being there from that very challenging moment, right? Oh
[00:29:29] Andrie: yes. Wow. Absolutely. Yeah.
[00:29:31] Damon: so what was the trip out there? Tell me about your visit.
[00:29:35] Andrie: Well, it was very emotional, very, very emotional. I found out that I had two other brothers And one of the two other brothers had just told the two brothers that I knew about that they existed. So they came out wow. They weren't adopted, but they were[00:30:00] my biological father. Had had these two boys in between my brother, that's two years younger than me and my brother that is the same age as my youngest, and they have the same mother and this one brother pretty much came to my brothers and let them know that they, have two other brothers. So all of this was happening at the same time. Wow. I found my biological father and these two brothers of mine came out and told my brothers.
That they existed. And then this brother found out that you have a sister who was adopted. Yes. .
[00:30:48] Damon: That is a lot all at once for everybody.
[00:30:52] Andrie: Yes. Yes, exactly. Wow. So that trip to Seattle was [00:31:00] really, really, really emotional. Like very, there was a lot of feelings, lot of feelings from my brothers and just, just a lot.
It was, it was very heavy. Yeah. Very heavy.
[00:31:14] Damon: How did you get along with your biological father when you were there in person? We, we got along great. I found out some things about him that wasn't favorable. I'm probably not gonna talk much about that. Mm-hmm we could talk about that later.
[00:31:29] Andrie: I understand. Yeah. Found out some things about him that kind of goes against who I am. That doesn't sit well with me. I understand. So yeah, it was very interesting, very interesting. He showed me a lot of attention. But then at the same time he has this son that pretty much told the brothers that he existed and found out that my biological [00:32:00] father knew that these brother brothers existed as well.
He knew he paid child support for them for years. And but never had a relationship with them. Oh, wow. And yeah, so that didn't sit well with me. I couldn't understand it because I come from family that fathers took care of the kids. You know, that's what I saw. I never saw fathers not taking care of their children my dad took care of us, you know, I, I don't know what life is without a dad, and I can't imagine that these two boys grew up not having a relationship with him and he knew that they existed and he didn't even share that with. My other two brothers that he potentially raised.
So there, there was a lot of things that was very unsettling. [00:33:00] Yeah. And it's, it's
[00:33:02] Damon: Yeah. I could imagine it is unsettling and it's funny, there's several things that can go right. Or wrong with a reunion and it can be your personality alignment. It can be mm-hmm your political alignment or misalignment, right. It can be religious and in this case moral. Right, right. And right. It's just fascinating to sort of dissect the different ways that this can go right or wrong.
And the moral one. Is not one that comes up very often, but I can see how impactful it is in trying to make sure that you are in fact aligned with these people that you found
Andrie said that in the midst of the heaviness, there were some beautiful outcomes from the reunion in Seattle. She gained four brothers . Some of whom she has some unique things in common with
like their shared love for shoes. She said it must be in their blood because she and some of her brothers are just obsessed with shoes. [00:34:00] Andrie said that what comes next is her favorite part of her story. The same year as her paternal reunion, she was doing some more super sleuthing trying to locate her birth mother.
In ancestry DNA. Once you identify one of your biological parents, the door is unlocked for you to peek into the rest of the family tree for that person and see all of your relatives on their side of the family. Ancestry DNA had done so for Andrie's paternal connections. So she needed to focus on her biological mother's side of the family. One of her second cousins shared that
a family historian had a whole family tree that might be helpful when Andrie spoke with this distant cousin, he said he might know who her biological mother was, but he wasn't sure. However, he gave her enough information that she was able to focus her search. On facebook Andrie found some of her family members
And I remember looking at that picture and, and I instantly knew that this lady was my biological mother. Wow. It gave me goosebumps. I said this, this has to be her. I was like, I was looking in the mirror. Mm. And looking back at myself. But , this particular cousin didn't get back with me. He hadn't let me know who he thought was my biological mother.
Then I get an email in ancestry DNA from this person. And he said that my biological mother's mother, which is my grandmother had a child and she gave that child up for adoption and this person was reaching out to me. I understand. But at the time when he was [00:36:00] reaching out to me, I only had suspicions.
I wasn't a hundred percent sure who the biological mother was. So I had an idea from looking at a Facebook picture, but it wasn't a hundred percent sure. So when he reached out to me, I was like, okay, who is this person like? So I reached out to that cousin the family historian and I said, okay, I just got a message from.
This person. And he is saying that he's my family. He's saying that this person is his mother and I'm a little confused. So he said, hold on, I'm gonna make a phone call. And then I will get back with you. 45 minutes later, he calls me back and he tells me the person that I looked at on that Facebook page is my biological mother.
Mm. He [00:37:00] told me, he said the name and everything. And that the person that reached out to me is my biological uncle.
[00:37:07] Damon: Wow.
That must have been mind blowing to think one, as you've said, like you've seen her picture and you're looking at yourself in the mirror basically. Right. But two, like to contemplate that there was multi-generational adoption in your biological family as well, must have been really wild to consider.
[00:37:28] Andrie: oh yeah. Oh yeah. That was a whole nother emotional roller coaster. Mm-hmm part of the Pandora's box opening up more and more and more mm-hmm yes. Mm-hmm like everything coming out of that Pandora's box. Yeah. Yeah. It was very interesting.
So found out who my biological mother was confirmed, that the lady that I looked at on that picture on Facebook is my biological mother. And she wasn't quite [00:38:00] ready to talk to me because she wasn't a hundred percent sure. And the reason was, because she did not know the person who I was saying was my biological
[00:38:10] Damon: father.
She wasn't positive. It was him.
[00:38:14] Andrie: She didn't know him. She doesn't know him. That's what she said.
Yeah. And to this day she still doesn't know him. She has no recollection of him at
all. So she didn't, she, she had to wrap her mind around it. So this is like the second, time that I. A little bit of abandonment, like, okay. She knows that I exist but she doesn't wanna talk to me, you know? So I was a little hurt behind that. I was like, okay.
But she told that cousin who was in historian, that , every year on my birthday, she would say something about me, she would say, I wonder what my [00:39:00] daughter's doing. My birthday matched, the day she gave birth. But the father didn't match in her head. So she wasn't a hundred percent sure.
So then her husband saw my picture on Facebook and said, that is your daughter. Wow. That is your daughter. Mm-hmm yeah. Wow. Because we look just alike. mm-hmm yes, we look just alike.
[00:39:31] Damon: What was it like to see that? Because you've said that you didn't look like you're adoptive parents, even though you are biracial and they are black, you are people of color.
You still said you were fair and it sounds like they were at least brown or darker skinned. Yeah. How was it to actually see somebody? And how was it to see somebody who you actually looked like, even if you weren't necessarily, for lack of better words, the same race,
Like we have some similarities mm-hmm so I had that experience, but the experience to see my biological mother for the first time. Was mind blowing. it was very cathartic in a way. And it's hard to put in words it's really hard to put in words, , it was questions being answered that I had when I was growing up. Like, like thinking about who do I look like, where did I get this height from? Where did I get this? You know, these freckles that I have on my face from you know, just certain things.
But then to see it actually see it mm-hmm because I look. Just like her . I mean,[00:41:00]
the only difference between us is I'm taller and she is shorter. That's the only difference. And she has blonde hair and I have dark, dark hair. Mm-hmm yes, mm-hmm but I look just like her. And I remember when I, I actually got to see her for the first time face to face. She had showed me a picture of her when she was 18 years old and I had a picture that was very similar to that when I was like 20 something years old and we look exactly alike.
[00:41:33] Damon: Andrie and her birth mother has similar personalities and she said there's a lot of nature between them. They share feminist values. They're both diehard Chicago Cubs fans. They like the same kinds of historical stories. They love the same TV shows
and Andrie said, sometimes conversations with her birth mother are like talking to herself. She said her birth mother is very sweet and the woman and her husband [00:42:00] andrise bonus father are just amazing people. But we've blown right past how Andrie and her birth mother ever met. The woman's sister Andrie's maternal aunt and the woman's husband Andrie's bonus father
we're both pushing her birth mother to call Andre. She finally did. The women were on the phone together for a long time
[00:42:22] Andrie: I remember hearing her voice for the first time and it felt like I heard that voice before.
[00:42:30] Damon: Wow.
[00:42:31] Andrie: Yeah. Yes. Yeah. That's I remember
[00:42:35] Damon: that. That's unbelievable. Yeah. That's so interesting.
[00:42:41] Andrie: Yeah.
[00:42:41] Damon: Was it comforting? It's
[00:42:43] Andrie: very comforting. Mm-hmm yes. And I was in tears, obviously. I was at work when she called . I had to go in the conference room and close the door. And [00:43:00] I remember, I, I, I had goosebumps when I heard her voice for the first time. Wow. Well, to me for the second time, mm-hmm because I obviously heard it for nine months and I recognized her voice.
It was like, it was like, I heard this voice before. That is the feeling that I got. Yeah. It's like, I know this voice I was blown away.
[00:43:25] Damon: Right after their reunion occurred, the pandemic kept Andrie and her birth mother separated. Talking about their connection Andrie also shared this
[00:43:38] Andrie: I didn't tell you this part. She is from my hometown. She lives in my hometown
Where I grew up. Yes. Is that right? Yes. As a matter of fact, she lived in pretty much the same neighborhood that I lived in.
[00:43:53] Damon: Oh my gosh. That is
[00:44:00] Damon: grocery hopped. Are you serious?
[00:44:03] Andrie: Yeah. Very
[00:44:04] Damon: serious. Wow. Yeah. Like at a timeframe that she was young enough that she would've been one of the young employees that your own mother was passing by with the grocery cart kind of thing.
Your family. Right.
[00:44:14] Andrie: Wow, absolutely. That yes is nuts. Yeah, and I'm such a friendly person, I never meet a stranger. I talk to anybody. I don't care who you are. I just talk mm-hmm and . And I probably talked to her and didn't even know, or as a young kid, you know, or maybe talk to my biological grandmother or my biological aunt and I just don't remember, you know?
[00:44:40] Damon: Yeah. Well, cause you didn't know, or
[00:44:42] Andrie: probably, you know yeah. Probably past each other. Yeah. Very close. Very close. Like, you know, I was thinking I was born in Wawa, Wisconsin. Well, I found out she was born. She had me at an UN we mother's place and mm-hmm she [00:45:00] was forced to give me up for adoption.
It was a choiceless situation. Mm-hmm And it was so funny. Before I met her, I had read this book called choiceless by a mother who gave her baby up for adoption at the same place that my mother was at. Oh, really? The year before my biological mother was at.
[00:45:24] Damon: so crazy.
[00:45:24] Andrie: Wow. Of all the places you could have read about, it was the same place,
same place. Wow. And I remember when I was reading the story, you heard me say that I'm a superloop I'm like digging for research and research, trying to find information. When I was doing more information on booth Memorial, the unwed mother's place.
I found this person who wrote this book, who had a child at the same place is called "choiceless". And I actually ended up talking to her before I went out to be meet my [00:46:00] biological father. And I actually called her my soul mother now. We're really good friends now. So that's real. That's really good. I read that book. Mm-hmm yeah, I read that book. So I got a glimpse into what my biological mother's story was like for her, very similar story, very, very similar. She had a, a biracial child. She was forced to give that child up for adoption. And She had a reunion with her daughter and my biological mother a year later after she was there had, had me there at the same place.
So I had a, I had some empathy and compassion because of that. I read that book mm-hmm because going into this reunion, knowing what her, what she went through, what, what she probably was feeling at the time.. And then once I [00:47:00] talked to her, it confirmed that the same feelings that Ruby was having, this is the person who wrote the book mm-hmm that my biological mother had those same feelings.
And she remembers. Telling them that she was not gonna give her baby up for adoption. Mm-hmm then being told that she had no other choice.
[00:47:20] Damon: Yeah. Wow. Yeah. That's unreal. Yeah. Mm-hmm how is your, how is your relationship now, then?
[00:47:27] Andrie: Oh, it's great. that's good. I love her so much. Oh my gosh.
I love her so much I really do. I just I can't imagine my life without her right now, so that's amazing.
[00:47:39] Damon: Talking about her biological father Oz reset. She barely speaks with the man. He wants the relationship with her, but she chooses to maintain boundaries with him because of how she feels. Andrie readmits she would have to get to a place where she's reconciled those feelings in order for them to have a relationship at all.
When I asked [00:48:00] Andrie how she shared her reunion story with her biological family. She reminded me that she was nearly 50 years old when she submitted her sample on ancestry DNA. Andrie called her adoptive mother to share what she was doing, which ironically.
Opened her adoptive mother up talking about her own experience, adopting Andrie.
[00:48:19] Andrie: this was the first time that she ever did that. Hmm.
Because before she wouldn't talk about any of it, and she kind of told me about when she got me. it was told to her that my biological mother had three months to change her mind. And she said for those three months, it was like the worst time in her life, because she was afraid that somebody was gonna come knocking at the door to take me back.
then the adoption process happened and I was permanently hers. And then she talked to me about some of the things that her friends [00:49:00] was saying, like, when my sister was born, like, how can you love these other two children And you have your own baby now. And my mother said, because these are my babies.
Mm-hmm and she told me all about that. And that's part of the unconditional love that. Got from her, the nurturing that I got from her, she taught me what unconditional love looks like. And, and what it feels like, because that's what she has. So, but it was, I told her about me going out to meet my biological father, told my dad and my dad was okay with it.
My dad was like, I know who I am. mm-hmm and that's how my dad acts. Mm-hmm mm-hmm he knows who he, he knows he's my dad and he, and he was okay with it. My mother wasn't so much because she just, you know, didn't really wanna deal with this part of the, the story So. in the beginning, I kept a lot of [00:50:00] information from her. Like when I found my biological mother, I didn't tell her a lot about that. And when I actually had the reunion with my biological mother, I didn't tell my mom. And I told her later mm-hmm because I was like, I told you, I was dealing with walking in my truth with my therapist.
And that was part of me walking in my truth that I had to let her know this is what I've done. And she still has a little bit of a hard time with it and she became very territorial Like I noticed that she was doing things a lot more than what she normally was doing. Like, it kind of treated me like a child almost.
Mm. I had to remind her I'm not going anywhere. yeah. And you're not going anywhere either. Mm-hmm . And I had to remind her how much I love her, [00:51:00] you know? So I think that she, those, those feelings is almost like PTSD. Those feelings came back up. Like I could possibly lose my daughter. Oh yeah.
and she's not, I'm not going anywhere. Mm-hmm , I mean, she's one of the best things that ever happened to me. Mm-hmm , you know? Right. So
[00:51:20] Damon: that's good though, that you're right to reassure her that you're not going anywhere, but I could see how, if there was a time in her life, when she thought a knock at the door mm-hmm could be.
The right, you know, unfortunate end of your relationship, it would certainly stands a reason that she would have PTSD from that. And to learn that you were searching for the person who she was fearful for from in the first, place, you know, 30, 40 years ago, I could see how that would be really tough.
Yeah. Right. But you, you sound like you did a wonderful job of sort of, you know, hugging her, right. Yes. Letting her know that you're there [00:52:00] and comforting her to know that you're not going anywhere and that's right. An important thing. Right. And it's, it's a funny thing I'm thinking of, you know, as parents, that's what we do for our children.
Right. Mm-hmm you comfort them. You let them know they're gonna be okay. You're not going anywhere. Right. And it's interesting as we get to be adults, how that changes and you end up in many ways comforting and caring for your own parents in a variety of different ways. Right. And, and some of them are emotional.
So that's really interesting. Right.
[00:52:29] Andrie: . Yeah. I mean, you know like I said earlier, we had normal family dysfunctions, you know? I hate to put, try to put some normalcy on family dysfunctions, but to me, every family has a, yeah. It's some type of dysfunction.
[00:52:44] Damon: That's right. You know, that's right.
Yes. I mean, there's no, no, there's no two people are who are alike. And so there's always some relationship challenge. And it's, it's it's mother, daughter, it's mother, son, it's father, daughter, father, son, and [00:53:00] it's sibling sibling. It doesn't matter who it is. Right. There's gonna be some strife and we all have like the things that we're great at and the things that we need to work on personally.
And it can be everything exactly from how we learned to love and therefore how we give love to our kids to right. Things like alcoholism and substance abuse, right? Like there's any variety of things that will make. A family life challenging. So I think you're right. There's some dysfunction in every family, be they biological or adopted I'm with you 100%.
[00:53:32] Andrie: Right? Exactly. But one thing that I'm most grateful for, and I I'm, and it's not that I'm grateful because you know, you know, they, a lot of people tell adoptees that you should be grateful that you had somebody that I wanted you and blah, blah, blah. You know, that same story that people who don't understand say, it's not about that for me.
Mm-hmm, , it's, it's not about me [00:54:00] being appreciative of the people who adopted me. No, I'm appreciative of the parents who loved me. Mm. That's what I'm appreciative of. I love that. Who cares? Yeah, who cares about the adoption? I, you know, these people and still to this day loves me. They have, they've been behind me 100% of the way.
You know, my mom would say, I when I told her that I found my biological mother, she says, well, I'm the one that saw you walk your first walk. I'm the one that when you were crying about something, I was there and she's right. She is the one, she was the one and, and that will never be replaced. and I love her.
She's my mom, you know, but I also have this biological mother that I [00:55:00] absolutely adore too. Yeah. So, I feel like I got the greatest blessing that I'm able to have two mothers and now two fathers. And I'm, I'm speaking about my bonus father. Mm-hmm my biological mother's husband.
Yeah. I have two fathers. Mm-hmm and my bonus father, he bothers me in a way that he doesn't even know that he's fathering me sometimes. It's, it's amazing. Cause like sometimes we'll have conversations and I'm like, he just fathered me. Did I just get funny? Funny, right.
[00:55:42] Damon: that's great. I love to hear it.
That's really, really awesome. Andrie. Yeah. And, and I'm glad to hear the laughter in your voice, cuz it sounds like there was some challenging times in there in terms of oh yeah. What you had, you know, sort of sit and faced with sat with and faced. With your biological [00:56:00] father, but it sounds like there's so much great stuff around that.
Oh yes. And that you have chosen to put up the boundary that says I'm not, that's not what I'm dealing with here. Right. It sounds like you're in a really healthy place and I love to hear that. And I'm glad to hear that you got the love that you did. That's really cool. Yes. Cool. Well, thank you so much for being here, Andre.
This was really cool. And thanks for sharing your story.
[00:56:22] Andrie: Thank you. Thank
[00:56:23] Damon: you. Take care all the best to you, right?
[00:56:27] Andrie: Okay.
[00:56:27] Andrie: Hey, it's me. Andrie coped with the rejection. She felt as a child, by making up stories about where her birth family really was. She carried those fabricated stories into her marriage, but finally decided to own her story.
Unfortunately, Andrie has problems with the choices her birth father has made in life. So until she is able to get past his moral choices, she chooses to keep her distance from the [00:57:00] man. In reunion, huge moral differences are a hard thing to overcome . Even when someone is trying to be a different person and make amends for past transgressions.
Sometimes the voice in your head just keeps repeating your internal struggle with the other person. So letting them get close to you just isn't possible.
Fortunately her love for her birth mother is strong and the women have a lot in common. I loved hearing Andrie say she couldn't imagine her life without her birth mother.
That's the kind of feeling so many adoptees wish they could feel.
I'm Damon Davis, and I hope you found something in Andrie's journey that inspired you. Validates your feelings about wanting to search or motivates you to have the strength along your journey to learn who am I really,
if you would like to share your story of adoption and your attempt to connect with your biological family, please visit who am I really? [00:58:00] podcast.com/share.
You can follow me on Instagram at Damon L Davis and follow the podcast. At w a I really. If you like the show, please take a moment to leave a five star review in your podcast app or wherever you get your podcasts. It's easy to do and the ratings really do help others to find the podcast too