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208 – The Heisman Dives In

You’re about to meet Louise, from central California. Louise was loved by her adoptive family and while she thought about searching for her birth family, she was never brave enough or in the right place in her life to execute a search. After having her son, reunion found Louise. But the timing wasn’t right for her to dive in, even though time was of the essence to meet someone very special in her maternal family.

Louise continues to wait for her birth father to open the door for her to meet him. As she waits Louise podcasts about adoption With her best friend, Sarah.

This is Louise’s journey.

Podcast – Adoption: The Making Of Me

Who Am I Really?

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Transcript

Pre-Roll

[00:00:00]

[00:00:00] Damon: Hey, it's Damon. I wanted to share something I've been working on with you. You may have heard me say before that I'm doing more writing and this project is a great way to get more adoption focused information out into the world for people outside of the adoption constellation to learn from I was invited to contribute to an app called uptime. The uptime app offers thousands of life lessons extracted from the world's best books, courses, documentaries, and podcasts, like who am I? Really? The knowledge is packed into five minute knowledge hacks. I've started a library of adoptee focused uptime hacks that I'm collecting from themes of adoption that I've learned here, sharing adoptee journeys with you. There are some amazing people delivering content Through uptime, like investing guru, Robert Kiyosaki innovators, like Tim Ferriss and Gary Vaynerchuk and powerful women Like Gloria Steinem and Oprah Winfrey. And now I'm a contributor to I'm enjoying putting these adoption focused uptime hacks [00:01:00] together. And I hope you'll find value in these hacks to Take a minute to look for uptime in your phone's app store. And hopefully you'll find some cool hacks that are meaningful to you. All right. Ready for the show. Here we go

Cold Cut Intro

[00:01:14] Louise: she said, you're allowed to feel these things and if your family's upset, they also can see a therapist for this.

this isn't your job to make them. Okay. They knew they adopted you, they knew this could happen and they probably thought it never would. But now that it is, it's not like a surprise that they didn't know you were adopted. So you're allowed to figure out who you are and just someone else telling me that.

There was something about how she told me, you're allowed to feel this way. You're allowed to wonder, you're allowed to get to know people It really freed me a little bit.

Show Intro

[00:01:55] Damon: I'm Damon Davis and you're about to meet Louise. She called me from central California. [00:02:00] Louise was loved by her adoptive family. And while she thought about searching, she was never brave enough or in the right place in her life to execute a search. After having her son reunion found Louise, But the timing wasn't right for her to dive in, even though time was of the essence to meet someone very special in her maternal family. Louise continues to wait for her birth father to open the door for her to meet him. As she waits Louise podcasts about adoption With her best friend, Sarah. This is Louise's journey.

Louise said she always knew she was adopted And there wasn't a defining moment when she was sat down and the news was shared. Louise said that her adoption was promoted almost as a badge of special honor, which may or may not have adversely impacted her older brother will, who was not adopted. Excitement over Louise's adoption was celebrated, which made her kind of special, but will own Louise's adoption too. He got to help their parents to choose her.

The narrative in the weeds [00:03:00] is home, was that everyone was lucky to have each other. Louise was lucky to have their family. They were lucky to have her in their lives. And adoption was always portrayed as a good thing in their home. Louise looks like her adoptive family enough that they could pass for being related but she can see ways that they don't necessarily look very much alike she admits that being a podcast or like me interviewing other adoptees she's peeled back the layers of what adoption really means and has learned a lot in recent years

[00:03:30] Louise: For me, it was all about like little things.

I didn't think anything about it being a bad thing until, you know, I was made fun of at school. There was a couple neighborhood kids who, you know, bullied me a little bit you know, saying You're not even your mom's real daughter and all these things, which I'm like, what? You know? Mm-hmm. And I would ha and I would have these ridiculous comebacks, which I, I've heard a lot of adoptees do have these comebacks, you know, like adoption means love.

That's what I used to tell people. Adoption means love. Which, what is that? [00:04:00] I don't know. But that's, what I used to say. And then I'd also say, well, at least dad was wanted and all that, but it would bring up a lot of insecurities and I would go home and question my mom and my dad, and, Hmm. Am I your real daughter?

You know, all these things.

[00:04:14] Damon: Yeah. Yeah. It's funny. Mm-hmm. I'm hearing you talk about being a kid and sorting out someone confronting you about your own adoption, and you of course replay the narrative that was given to you. You're a child, you don't have any experience in adoption, so That's right. Of course, you are going to say what your parents either say to you or what they told you to say when someone says something to you that you don't feel comfortable with.

So naturally you're gonna repeat the refrain of what was sung to you as mm-hmm. Detail of adoption. And, and I think a lot of times adoptees feel guilty about what their retort was, but like from what experience would you have drawn any other, you know, response? You know

[00:04:59] Louise: what I mean? [00:05:00] Oh, yeah.

Like, I, I really, I didn't have any grounding for it. There was I had a very dear friend who was also adopted. Mm-hmm. In fact, my parents and her parents knew each other because of our par Our fathers were friends and found out they had both adopted babies at the same time. And, and so they kind of would get together because they had older sons and daughters who were adopted.

And so there was a lot of like, okay. Positive, there was a lot of positive around it. Mm-hmm. And, and love around it, but it wasn't there was positive around it as long as I didn't ask too many questions, I guess. Mm-hmm. so my family, they were really open about it. My to this day am very close to my relatives, to my brother.

Both my parents have deceased mm-hmm. In the last five years, which has been really hard on me. Mm-hmm. But a lot comes up when that happens as well. Right. So, yeah. It's been a very interesting journey to figure out all of this later in life. And I wish they weren't deceased because I do think they'd be very open as they were getting [00:06:00] older.

They were becoming much more open. I was maybe schooling them a little bit On it. And now I really would be knowing what I know now. And I do think they were, they were open to it. My brother's been very open the last few years and, and that's been healing. But, you know, there's a lot, there's a lot of layers there.

[00:06:17] Damon: You, you said something earlier, I'm not positive how you framed it, but you said something along the lines of, under the surface, like there was, I'm not sure how you framed it, but you said your adoption never really bothered you, but, but there was always something lurking under the surface.

Can you describe a little more of what you mean there?

[00:06:39] Louise: So I think what I meant by under the surface was that I've always had all these, little anxieties and things that really have kind of impacted me my whole life, how I operate, how I see the world insecurities, fears, all these things.

And because I'm somewhat of a, I guess I don't know how to phrase this well, but [00:07:00] a confident facing forward person, like if you met me, you'd think, oh, she's so confident and I did well in sports and pretty well in school, this kind of thing. You just seem, you know, you're doing great in life, right. But underneath, I wasn't, I was like a bundle of nerves and all that it would come out with friendships or a with a boyfriend.

Mm-hmm. Anytime. You know, even coming on your podcast today, I get extremely nervous. That's not normal. Hmm. Like, like an insecurity, like, it's hard to explain and a lot of people have fears and insecurities, but it's something different that when I've met other adoptees, for instance, my podcast partner and I, when I met her, I instantly was like, oh, I get that.

I get that about you and you get that about me, right? Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. So it's like under the surface it was always there. But if I, I couldn't really emotionally talk about it cuz I didn't understand what it was. And I would say that in my family, you know, they're kind of big teaser, they're funny, they have a [00:08:00] lot of humor and things like that.

Not my mom as much, she's, she's more straightforward. But my brother and my dad were big teaser. So I was always the sensitive one or don't, Louise is sensitive or Why are you so upset? You know, these kinds of things. Mm-hmm. But I really was, I mean I really was upset and her inside and I felt so not In my norm, like I wasn't normalized. I guess that's it. Like, is that a way to phrase it? I guess I'm, I'm not explaining it well, but No,

[00:08:28] Damon: you are. it sounds like things were never level. They were either really high or really low, but it never felt like it was just calm and in the middle.

Is that kind of what you're trying to say? Yeah,

[00:08:37] Louise: it was, it was calm in the middle, in, in my house, but inside my emotions were not calm and level. Yes, that's exactly right. Mm-hmm. and I was always looking, you know, I for sure thought everybody was gonna leave me and I'd hide a lot and watch a lot.

And I didn't understand some of the language within my family. So, you know, say you're going back east to see your relatives and everybody's wonderful. You [00:09:00] see everybody, they all love you. I mean, no one ever acted like I wasn't one of them. It was just an, I never even thought about it actually. But I'd watched them and didn't feel like, I was one of them, but I was one of them.

Mm-hmm. So I, I never knew how to voice that or I'd be like, oh, I don't really get the joking around here. Or, you know, that kind of those patterns that you, that people just take for granted, I guess when you're growing up. Yeah. You're just, you just are your family. Right, right. Most people.

[00:09:26] Damon: Yeah. I'm, I'm often use the example of, you know, being an extrovert in a family of introverts, being a math whiz in a family of jocks being Exactly.

You know, a musician in a family of, name something that is not that. Right. and it sounds like that's kind of what you're saying, like it was part of the family fabric to sort of be this witty, sort of less sensitive group of people. But you, it sounds like we're feeling a little bit more of that and j and maybe some other disconnections that [00:10:00] are broader than what we've described here.

And you could just sort of see like, Oh, they're like that and I don't feel that. And you never could have articulated it, it sounds, is that what kind?

[00:10:10] Louise: Exactly. Yeah, that's exactly it.

[00:10:12] Damon: Since adoption was under the surface for Louise. I was really interested to know what other triggers brought her adoption to the top. Since starting her podcast two years ago, Louise said she spoken to a lot of adoptees and done a lot of reading about adoption. Louise's increased exposure to adoption experiences, other adoptees feelings and the impact of adoption on various members of the adoption constellation has started to produce some moments of realization for herself about her own life.

[00:10:42] Louise: it's almost like I sit up at night and go, oh my God, that makes sense now.

Like all these little things. I had a boyfriend I was very serious with in high school and. At any moment, I would just, you know, if there was any kind of rift between us, I would just push him away, right? Like, you're obviously [00:11:00] gonna leave me and I'd act horribly to make him leave me, but then act like really bizarre when I'd want him to, you know, not leave me.

I'm sure he was very confused. Mm-hmm. Poor guy. I apologize if you're listening. And, and I had other instances, you know, just many things that I look back and think Okay. a lot of acting out. So I know adoptees, you know, in general go, a lot of adoptees go through acting out in drug use and promiscuous behavior and all that.

And I didn't go to extremes on that, but I definitely rebelled. Mm-hmm. And got really angry at my parents for a couple years. Just really angry. Just not really. Angry for how I should be in the family I was in. Mm-hmm. They were so like loving and pretty great parents and wonderful to all the kids and everybody's welcome and just very supportive of anything I wanted to do.

And yet I was really angry. and I tried to suppress that a lot. I really deal with it much better now as an [00:12:00] adult, but I, I suppressed it and then it would come out in other ways. Right. And then I get myself into trouble or, you know, I kind of credit sports for keeping me on track because I do think I was kind of headed down a different road for a while.

And so, you know, I really credit sports for that because, you know, I look back and go, gosh, you know, there was some rough years there. I really gave my mom a hard time and my father at different

[00:12:22] Damon: years. Yeah. Yeah, I can imagine. Yeah. It's funny too, I often think about adoptees in their adolescence.

Mm-hmm. And the fact that you are charged with hormones and you know, identity crises and peer pressures and all of this stuff. And then you add on something as complex as adoption and Yeah. Throw that in the mixing bowl with all of these other ingredients that are gonna create a, a kid who is like, seems like they're off their rocker.

I mean, I look, sometimes I talk to my [00:13:00] son, I'm like, what is wrong with this guy? Right. Yeah. And you throw in these other components of adoption, which as you and I have already said, you don't necessarily. Know how to articulate you. You haven't identified that that is part of the source and Yeah. Teenage adoptees.

[00:13:17] Louise: And if And if I did and if I did, yeah, they sure can. They go off the rails. And if I had any kind of, there were times, like, I remember, this is kind of interesting, but I remember being at a football game in high school and I only remembered it recently, but I remember scanning the crowd, kind of looking for like, Hey, I wonder if like my mother would be here, you know, my biological mother or father, are they in this community?

And then I instantly felt kind of bad about that. What am I looking for? Would I want that? never bringing it up to anybody, never talking about it with my own parents. Out of guilt, you know, the adoptee [00:14:00] guilt. But at that was kind of the end of the conversation. There was never really any, you know, when I was acting out, there wasn't any, oh, I wonder what's wrong with her.

Yeah. You know? Yeah. That kind of thing. So, and, and I think nowadays, I would hope nowadays that's shifting a little bit, that the narrative is that someone would say, maybe we should have her see a therapist, or we can have family therapy, you know, all that kind of thing. Mm-hmm. Back then. Mm-hmm. That was just, I can't even imagine that that would've happened in my community or in my family.

It just wasn't the norm. It was more like, what's wrong with you? You know? And then I'd think, what's wrong with me? I'd go to bed at night thinking what is wrong with me? I have this, you know, awesome thing and I'm so horrible. And I'd write notes to my mom about how horrible I was after I'd be horrible.

I'm so sorry. cuz I'm a, that's how I communicate is I write something, you know, a card or a note or a poem and and it was just, I didn't understand. I had no bandwidth for that.

[00:14:55] Damon: Louise thought about searching for her family of origin several times, especially around [00:15:00] 18 years old. And while she was in college at Pepperdine university, Louise would get a commitment in her mind that she wanted to pursue reunion. Then she would get scared of the whole thing. what would her adoptive family think if she searched? Louise also feared the intensity of having to form new relationships. It wasn't something that interested her and she shied away from searching. But in her sophomore year at Pepperdine, Louise was a lifeguard and a young lady from high school went to the university for basketball camp. While the camper was at her school. It seemed like everyone mistook Louise for the young woman. People called her by the young campers name, then apologized when they realized Louise wasn't the young lady.

Louise would see her in the cafeteria and kind of stare at her wondering if the camper could be her sister. The whole thing was bizarre, but after the crazy experience, Louise got busy with school.

She consulted people about searching, who expressed their feeling, that it would be disloyal of Louise to search So [00:16:00] she never followed through. Louise had no clue how she would pursue reunion anyway. Colorado was a closed state for adoption records. There was no internet at the time and the search just seemed daunting. At 29 years old Louise gave birth to her son. It was an incredible time of curiosity and self discovery as louise contemplated who she was and who her son was in their genetic lineage

[00:16:26] Louise:

When he was born, that's when everything huge kind of came out for me.

I was like, oh my gosh, this is the first person I'm related to. I couldn't, you know, I just was in awe of him and I, everything came into my head like, this person had me and had to give me away. How did she do that? who is she? You know?

Everything came forward for me, more so about her than probably my biological father. I thought a lot about my biological mom, what she had to go through to give me up. It wasn't just, oh, your biological mom loved you and couldn't take care of you and had to give you [00:17:00] away. I thought, no, there's more to it than that.

Mm-hmm. Because I now have a baby, and I wouldn't let 'em outta my sight. So there's there's something bigger there. And I wanted to search, but you know, you have a newborn, and it was just a very chaotic time in life.

That's when I really thought, you know what? I would like to know not just my health history, but I would like to know who I am because who is my son, you know? Yeah. And, and so I thought it, you know, this is the time,

And two years later when I started to really think about it, I actually got a phone call that my biological family had found me.

So on my mom's side. Mm-hmm.

[00:17:41] Damon: So how did that phone call go? Tell me about it.

[00:17:45] Louise: So it was a really surreal thing. I was, I had just gone back to work where I had to leave my son like three days a week and go back into the office.

And I worked at home two days a week and, you know, I'm leaving him with a nanny. He wasn't used to [00:18:00] it, he was crying, that kind of thing. So I get home and the nanny is leaving, I'm cooking. He's sort of like, mom, mom, mom, the dog's running around, the nanny's getting paid, this kind of thing. Mm-hmm. And the phone rings, right.

The landline back then. Mm-hmm. So I pick up the landline and they, they ask me, you know, are you they, they used all my names. Are you Marie Louise Gonzalez? And I said, oh, yes, I am. You know, and I'm thinking, what is this? It sounded different than like some sales call. It just felt like instantly I was like, okay, this is something.

Mm-hmm. And they said, formally Marie Louise Brown of Colorado. And I'm thinking, okay. And I'm like, yes. Who is this? And then the, the craziest thing, this woman, she couldn't have been nicer, but she's like, honey, you've been found.

[00:18:50] Damon: Oh my gosh. Really? That's exactly how she said it. Like, congratulations, you won.

Yeah.

[00:18:56] Louise: And I was thinking, wow. So of course I do have a lot of [00:19:00] humor. I I did get that from my family, so right away, you know, had the comeback. Like, I didn't know I was lost, you know, because what else do you say to that? And then, then she she quickly went into, you know, I'm so sorry, that's, I should have prefaced this with something else, but we've been looking for you for so long and I'm calling on behalf of your, biological mom's family.

I think that's kind of how she said it. And I, and I'm basically like, literally there's chaos going on in my kitchen. I'll never forget how I felt. I, I remember holding my son and I just said, you know, I'm gonna have to call you back. Like, I, I need a moment here. And.

[00:19:37] Damon: I've been found, but this isn't the

[00:19:39] Louise: right time.

This isn't the right time, and I'm in no shape to deal with this at this moment. Mm-hmm. Like this. And so I did call her back that night at nine o'clock at night, you know, a couple glasses of wine and just liquid courage. And and that was it. And then I found out all the information that they had been looking for me for several years.

And the reason, so my [00:20:00] biological mom, her name's Linda, the reason that they were looking for me is she had died actually when I was in the second grade in 1975. And so I was her only child. She had never had more children. She had been married but didn't have children with the man she had been married to.

And my biological grandmother was sick and not doing very well with Parkinson's disease. And they had been looking for me for several years. My aunt had been looking for me, my mom's older sister, and because my grandmother Was sick and it was getting near the end of her life, they really went back in and sped up the process and poured some more resources into it.

You know, private investigator and that kind of thing. And so it, it was her dying wish, you know, to meet me or kind of have closure Wow. With that. Yeah. Because her daughter had died, you know, very young. My, my biological mother was only 25 when she died. Oh man. Maybe, maybe 20, 26, 27, turning 27. So, [00:21:00] you know, she was I was kinda like this lost person in their family and they have a very tight-knit family and everybody had always wondered where I was and everyone knew about me.

Not everyone in the family knew about me, but the main people around her knew about me. Mm-hmm. So, wow. So they were, had been looking for me. Yeah. And it was a little bit overwhelming, you know, it was like, I don't know when they told, , when the woman on the phone told me that. You know, I am going to tell you, your, your mother has died.

She's not with us. It, that's the first thing I was like, Ugh. So you're take, because you wonder your whole life, like, who's your mother? Right. Even though I love my mother, she is my mom. I, she, I had, you know, no, I was very close to my mom and when she died, we had a really close relationship. But you still wonder who is your mother.

I mean, you do. Right? And, and so all of a sudden to know that sh that I'd never know her was kind of like this big thing, but then to stay on the phone and have all the like, information coming at you, it's kinda like you're processing [00:22:00] double things at once. Yeah, right. Like grief and, oh, wait, tell me about myself and my relatives, but wait, let me deal with that too.

It was very, it was overwhelming.

[00:22:10] Damon: Yeah. That's, as you're describing it, I'm sitting here trying to imagine how would I even deal with. The grief. Mm-hmm. The surprise of learning that I had been sought out the mm-hmm. Disbelief that this was, this is actually happening right now. Mm-hmm. And then the grief of learning that someone that you had wondered about whether you thought it was right or not throughout the years off and on, wanted to search was gone and Yeah.

That there's more facts, like, let me tell you the rest of the story is Yeah. You know, I mean, it's basically like someone is saying I'm gonna put this movie on, but we're gonna play it at like 10 times speed, so I hope you get it right.

[00:22:55] Louise: Yeah, that's exactly, you're, you're so right, Damon, because I didn't [00:23:00] process it well for a long time.

Like, I, it was exciting that it was scary and, you know, I got to know my biological mom's side slowly, but not all of them. I mean, I didn't really embrace them. Like I wish I, I'm close to them now. Mm-hmm. But it's, but. I feel terrible for them because I was not really prepared for reunion as many adoptees aren't and I didn't have the proper, you know, support system or therapist or anything to really go through that.

So instead what I did was like jump into it. Very excited first of first, I didn't jump into it at all. I ignored them for quite a while and then I dealt with it and then I jumped in and it was very exciting and then I was like, whoa, let me just pull back on this, you know.

[00:23:45] Damon: One of the things that you said was that you ignored them at first. Yes. And then you dove in. Can you tell me a little bit about that ignoring phase and then what flipped the switch got you to engage?

[00:23:59] Louise: So [00:24:00] what happened at first is it was a the woman who called me, it was like a mediator type person.

Oh. She was a legal type of person that dealt with this kind of thing mm-hmm. In the state of Colorado. And she mailed me a packet. She said, may I mail you a packet about your, some letters from your family and about you? And I said, yes, of course. You know, I was very excited about that. And I got the packet and I had, I spread everything out on the dining room table when it came.

And I was just kind of like, whoa. You know, and I had, the thing I didn't expect was in the packet, my aunt had put all sorts of letters that my. That my mother, Linda had written while she was pregnant with me and right before my delivery. And so I had her mindset and like, you know, she was, she was 19 when she had me.

And so, you know, I had the whole, what she was thinking so, and how she wrote. So I'm reading these letters and they're like, it's like I wrote them. [00:25:00] I write the same, I have the same handwriting. And so my, my husband at the time, he's not my husband now, but he was, and he, he came home and they're all over the table and he's like, and I wasn't there when he walked in the door and he comes in to the bedroom.

When did you, what, what are those letters? When did you write all these letters? Like, what is all that? I'm like, no, those aren't, those aren't mine. Those are Linda's my biological mom. And he's just like, what? This is you? I mean, how is that not you writing these letters? Wow. And so we were, you know, kind of just floored.

There was a lot of that kind of like, whoa. And then I had her mindset, and then I had the letters from the family, which were all so sweet. You know, like their whole life story. And they wanna meet me and they hope I'm well, and they're just sending me love. They're a very lovely group. I'm really blessed in that way because I know it's not this way for everybody.

Yeah. And so they're, they're open and, and they've been thinking about me all these years and the [00:26:00] ones. You know, that weren't thinking about me all these years that they got to write a letter too. Were more like, wow, this is so big and we're so excited to know about you, you know, this kind of thing. And and I was just absorbing those letters for quite some time.

So I'm sure they're on pins and needles, you know, waiting for me to do something. But I just kind of sat with that for quite a while. I wanna say several months. You know, I'd look at them, get them out, read about them, start my own letters, then not do my own letter. And then finally I put together like a whole long letter, a bunch of pictures of my life and then mailed it off to them.

So that was the first step. I know that most people, I mean now that I've interviewed so many adoptees myself, it's funny that I'm nervous cuz I do this on the other end, like you. But now that I interview other adoptees, they, you know, most people would be like, give me the phone number I wanna talk to, you know, but I really.

I really wasn't like that. I don't, I think it's more just my inner [00:27:00] issues of dealing with things slowly sometimes that are emotional. so, you know, it took some time. Well then it came to light that one of my cousins, named Brad.

He lived not, you know, 10 minutes from me in Santa Monica. Oh. I was living in Westwood in California, so he was gonna be the Guinea pig to, you know, have the first meeting with me and all of that. And so Brad and I to this day are very close because we did have kind of that original bond when we met. And anyway, so then I did dive in, I got to know them and that kind of thing.

But then after that is when I sort of pulled back more.

[00:27:35] Damon: why did you decide that you wanted to pull back?

[00:27:38] Louise: I don't think I ever decided it was like, when I was growing up, you know, I had a nickname in my family sometimes, you know, call, they'd call me the Heisman or Heisman from the Heisman Trophy.

Huh. Because I would do that whole, this is probably one of these adoptee things that people should have known what was going on, but they didn't, you know, I, I would not wanna be hugged very long [00:28:00] mm-hmm. Or held tightly. So like, my grandmother would be excited to see me and she'd come running towards me, and I'd put my arm up and say nuff, you know, they used to call me Nuff or Heisman, that kind of thing.

Really?

[00:28:11] Damon: So the Heisman Trophy is this college football trophy where the, the pose of the football player is like avoiding a tackle. And this guy's protecting the ball in his one hand, but he's also stiff arming whoever's coming at him in the other hand. And what you're saying is, yeah. They were basically calling you a stiff arm to affection in contact.

Right? Yeah.

[00:28:30] Louise: Wow. Yeah, because that was me and I kind of liked it because then I could kind of use that as my, I mean, it's actually really who I am. Even now with my husband, he'll be like, all right, the Heisman is out. You know, because I literally, I get that thing where I'm like, no too much. Right. And I used to verbalize that.

I mean, looking back, it's, it's very typical of an adoptee to go through. It's just that I don't think anyone really knew why I did it. But maybe inherently they did, but they didn't wanna talk about it with me or something. Mm-hmm. But as a little girl, I [00:29:00] really, everybody wanted to hug and kiss me, and I looked like I'd be really cute and huggable and lovable.

And they, I'd let them for a second and I'd be like, enough, and I'd push back that. Was it enough? No. No one's getting, no, no one gets to do that. And so, you know, I sort of also in relationships have always done that. Okay. So not, not necessarily in my friendships with my. Women friends, but sometimes never really in my friendships with men because men are easier for me for some reason.

I think because I can kind, you know, sports and I get along well with men. Mm-hmm. And it's just an easier banter for me. So my women friends, there's been a few I've done that with for sure. And I think with the family, with my biological family, when I started to feel a little bit like, okay, I've met them now cuz I did eventually fly and meet them and, and all these things, then everybody wanted to be closer.

I was like, oh, oh, oh, I can't do that. Like, I can be close to a certain point, [00:30:00] but now I'm gonna, now I'm gonna put up my arm. Right? Mm-hmm. And. And that's just, that is who I am. But I've worked tremendously on it, Damon. Yeah.

[00:30:11] Damon: Yeah. It takes, it takes work. It takes,

[00:30:13] Louise: it takes work. Louise admits she pushed her biological family away when they first found her. She said she had a lot going on personally at the time. And as she said it, I realized this is what adoptees feel when we contemplate whether we want to pursue reunion. And we wonder if we're going to disrupt Our biological families life. Louise also said her adoptive family, wasn't thrilled about her being found either.

It was really hard for them. . They didn't take it well, I guess is, you know, the way to put it. And so I had that guilt underneath, even though I tried to tell myself I didn't. Of course I did. Yeah. And so I had, I had that going on. I did see a therapist and she was wonderful. And she said to me, Which I'll never forget cuz it was a very freeing, [00:31:00] it, started to change the trajectory of my life a little bit is she said to me, listen, you are allowed to feel these things.

and she was not an adoption expert by any means. She had, I don't even know if she had seen another adoptee or even thought about it, but she really kind of stayed in there with me and

she said, you're allowed to feel these things and if your family's upset, they also can see a therapist for this.

this isn't your job to make them. Okay. They knew they adopted you, they knew this could happen and they probably thought it never would. But now that it is, it's not like a surprise that they didn't know you were adopted. So you're allowed to figure out who you are and just someone else telling me that.

There was something about how she told me, you're allowed to feel this way. You're allowed to wonder, you're allowed to get to know people It really freed me a little bit.

It still took a lot of time, but I, it, you know, I remember thinking, okay, you know, I remember telling my parents actually, well, maybe you should see a therapist about it.

I don't know if that went over well either, but, you know, I'm sure it didn't. But I, [00:32:00] but I did, I did verbalize it, you know, I did try to keep talking about it. Mm-hmm. And, and I, kept on doing that for years. And so eventually they did come around and I, and I think they wish they did sooner, honestly.

[00:32:16] Damon: Yeah, right this is a classic thing that we do, is when you look in the rear view mirror, you wish that mm-hmm. You had invested in something earlier than you did, right? Yes. And yes, it can be emotional investments, it can be investments in your health, monetary investments, whatever it is.

The time to invest was back there in the rear view mirror and now that you're standing here, you're like, damnit, I wish I had done this earlier. Right.

[00:32:41] Louise: I wish I had done it earlier and I wish I had gotten to know, you know, my biological family a little bit better earlier. Mm-hmm. To have more experiences with them.

Yeah. Cuz they're lovely. Yeah. And, and been more open with my bigger family, you know, cuz there was a lot of, I felt like I was almost cheating on them. You know, like a weird mm-hmm. If I talk to them, do I tell [00:33:00] them, you know, that's not a place to

[00:33:01] Damon: be.

I was fascinated by the parallel between Louise and Linda, who were both writers. Louise writes similar kinds of poems to what Linda used to write. And Louise said she used to hand write letters to people Before this age of computerized communications. Louise writes children's books. And she said that she writes when she's processing something in her life. I asked Louise to go back and share what she learned about Linda after reading her thoughts. Written in her own hand

[00:33:31] Louise: You know what, it's interesting. I know a lot about her now a lot. And, and still I, now I'm on this quest, so now that I know more, I wanna know more. You know how that is. Mm-hmm. Yep. The thing, there's a couple, things I'll say about this. She, she and I are like, Doppel, gangers, .

I mean, like, incredibly, we look a lot alike. Our voices are alike. We, we have similar movements and actions. I've seen video of her now and things like that. And even for me, it's weird. So, going back [00:34:00] to my biological family, part of my resistance in getting to know them, I think, and this sounds really strange, is she, Dr.

She died very young and tragically so she's like, you know, missing from the family in a very sad way, okay? Mm-hmm. She had three older sisters. They all loved her dearly. She was the baby sister and. I am so similar to her and sound like her and look like her, but I'm not her. But I think my effect on people is, I can see it on their faces that they're taken back.

Okay. Yeah. And not, not my younger cousins as much, things like that because they knew her, but they see me a little bit more just as me, and I think everybody does now. But I think when they first got to know me, it's almost like Linda walked back in the room. Hmm. And you know, I was only 32 not that much older than when she died.

I'm sure. It was shocking. And so I, I think some of that for me was like, I couldn't process their grief. What's happening? [00:35:00] I'm not that person. Like, I wanna know all about her, but I don't know her at all. And so I almost didn't wanna know more about her. It was like a weird thing. I shut that off for a little bit within myself.

And one thing I did know is the way she wrote. And wrote about her pregnancy with me and everything is, she's funny. She was super funny and, and kind of like, you know, I was born on Friday the 13th. Okay. Mm-hmm. And her big thing was, I hope this baby's not coming on Friday 13th. Yeah. And I like being born on Friday 13th, but she had this great humor.

She threw in these zingers and she was really thoughtful and deep and very touchy feely in her writing. Like sappy a little bit. I'm like that too. And, and just, I was learning a lot about her young mind. Like she wanted to be an independent woman. It was very important to her. She actually relinquished me herself.

I say that kind of loosely because she made that choice to give me up. But it's also because there wasn't, I mean, what's the support system for a 19 year old on their own? [00:36:00] Mm-hmm. Not, not making that choice. I'm sure there were some social workers in her ear. I, I know a lot was going on with that. Not just for sure her.

Yeah. Because some of her writing is sort of like, It seems not coached, but almost like, a little bit like she was told something would be better for me. And so she assumed it would be better for me. She, she also wrote in her letters that she wanted me to have a full, intact family, a father and a mother, and a very strong father because her father had died.

and she had been missing that in her life. So she wanted me to have both parents. And so I think that was important to her As part of her choice. But I also think at 19, you know, working and she had to leave school and all that kind of thing to work and, and have this baby as it was all, all on her own, what is she gonna do?

Right. I mean, the choices were very limited, you know? Yeah. Yeah. And so I learned a lot about just her emotional state, and it made me feel closer to her for sure. It, I never had any anger [00:37:00] towards her growing up or anything like that. But you do wonder, like, what, I wasn't good enough. Why wouldn't you wanna keep me?

Mm-hmm. Didn't she love me? You know, that's probably where all the insecurity comes from growing up. Wasn't I lovable? I must not have been lovable, all that. And I, when I read her letters, I felt like, no, I was loved and a young person had me. It was really like, wow. You know, she was just a kid.

Yeah. Mm-hmm.

[00:37:25] Damon: I want to ask about something that you wrote into me. You said, I feel like she was always watching over me. What does that mean? Hmm.

[00:37:34] Louise: So when I found out that she had died I wasn't that shocked. I mean, I was upset at first, like, what? Like, okay, well, that, that door is shut.

That I never could open. But I didn't, I wasn't that surprised because my whole life, since I, you know, maybe like 10 years old to college age or maybe even past that, I really felt like I had this other voice telling me when I was [00:38:00] crossing lines or getting in too much trouble, this kind of thing. And not like your, your voice of your parents or, you know, your conscience.

Yeah. It wasn't, yeah, it wasn't my conscience. Mm-hmm. Like, it's kind of like that movie Stranger than Fiction, how he's hearing outside voices and it's in the third person, right? Mm-hmm. It's like, it's like, I almost felt like someone would be like, this isn't smart. And I just felt like I was being watched over.

I really did. And when I found out she had died, I never had that again. Wow. It literally was like, maybe she was doing that, that was her job. You know, I am a little bit spiritual and I, I kind of do believe in that stuff, so I do feel like she was always watching over for me. I am aware, yeah, just in the adoptee community that I feel like I had a really good experience compared to most or many adoptees.

And it's the luck of the draw really, isn't it? Yeah. Like what family takes you home, where you're born. So yeah, to me, to learn all about what other adoptees have gone through [00:39:00] and we all have the same underlying currents of things we deal with, but some people have so much more added on to that, that I feel, you know, I was at least very much loved and, and I feel like she loved me.

And I did find out later, just recently, actually in the last year, that she had me for four days before she gave me up. Oh, wow. Mm-hmm. Or I was with her for four days. Three days and a little bit of extra time. So I did have those initial. Times with her. I don't really know how that worked. No one's really ever told me.

I don't know that anybody knows what happened there, but I was with her because I have pictures with her and such. That's, I've seen those pictures now.

[00:39:41] Damon: Recall that part of the reason Louise's birth family poured more resources into trying to find her was because her maternal grandmother was in failing health. Louise said a major reason why she engaged with her birth family perhaps a little before she was ready was because she wanted to meet her grandmother before it was too late.

Uh, [00:40:00] Louise recognized. She was a missing link to a piece of the family's past and it would be selfish not to engage them. Even if she didn't feel completely prepared. Her grandmother lived in Colorado. So Louise flew there to meet her.

[00:40:15] Louise: She couldn't have been more adorable. I mean, she's just this tough cookie. She had Parkinson's advance, so, you know, she couldn't really speak and all that, but you can still communicate, right?

Mm-hmm. So the minute I walked in the room, I was with my aunt and my cousins and my uncle, she, she was just overwhelmed, right? Like, I could see it on her face. Well, and also cuz like I was telling you, I looked just like her daughter Oh yeah. Right before the end. So my aunt kept saying to her, you know who this is, right?

And I, I think she was also making sure she wasn't confused that I would be Linda, right? Mm-hmm. Or something like that. And she knew, she knew exactly who I was and just kept staring at me and holding my hand. And And I felt really honored, you [00:41:00] know, to meet her. Yeah. And, and to know her because the family loves her so much.

And now I know so much more about her that I can kind of be like, I, you know, have that. At least I had that moment. I'm really happy with myself that I did go. Yeah. I think I'd tremendously regretted if I hadn't done

[00:41:16] Damon: that. Yeah. Yeah. I'm telling you that, that takes courage. Right? Thank you. To die. It was scary, you know?

And yeah. You know, it's, it's enough to meet your biological parent, but you know, your, your grandparents and extended family, like, there's a lot of relationships and expectation and she's, you know, in failing health. Yeah. And you know, you don't know if you're ever gonna see her again, so you have to dive in.

Yes. There's a lot of pressure on that moment, you know, and there's

[00:41:43] Louise: a lot of pressure. I was terrified. Yeah.

[00:41:46] Damon: And you look like her. I cannot imagine what was going on in her mind when you walk through that door and the image of her own daughter. Came through the door in your form. That must have blown [00:42:00] her mind.

[00:42:01] Louise: I can still, now that we're talking about, makes me cry, but now that we're talking about, I can still see her face, you know, like I know exactly. Just reading her face at that moment. and it didn't bother me for some reason. It's harder on me, you know, when other people not, I, I'm, I'm really flattered that they see me as Linda, cuz Linda is my, biological mom was just kick ass by the way.

I just wanna say. Mm-hmm. And my mom that raised me was also kick ass. I feel like I had strong women. On all sides of me, sort of. Wow. but walking into like that room, it didn't bother me that she saw that it was so clear like that I, it's like I felt, I don't know, seen in a different way. It was weird.

Hmm. It's hard to, it's hard to put into words, but, and I've never really put it into words. You're really the first person that's talked to me about that experience. Yeah. So, I'm glad I went. I feel like there was closure, you know, there was a circle of, and she had suffered so much.

Losing your child, I can't even imagine. Oh. So just ha knowing that, okay, [00:43:00] the daughter, she gave ups here and it's kind of like closure before you die, you know, for her too.

[00:43:05] Damon: Louise said the adults around her and courage her to venture into that high pressure moment to meet her maternal grandmother. They saw the moment as something Louise really should do. And Louise said her adoptive mother was also supportive of that important piece of her reunion journey. Since Louise's maternal family found her. I was curious what she learned from them about who her biological father was.

All her life. Louise has known that her birth parents were not married when she was conceived And one random fact about her birth father, that he was Hungarian. Louise said that her birth mom, Linda conveyed in her letters that she and Louise's birth father were high school sweethearts. And he was a little bit older than she was. He had gone off to college, returned home for the holidays And they reconnected at a holiday party or something like that. Linda got pregnant, but the young man was already engaged to be married to [00:44:00] another woman.

[00:44:01] Louise: I'm not gonna say his name because we have been in touch, but he's not currently wanting to be in touch. Which has been more painful than I care to admit. And yeah. I'm not sure if he will or won't or that kind of thing, but, he was already engaged and having a baby with somebody else, like somebody newly pregnant. So I do have a biological sister, just maybe two or three months older than me, half sister.

Wow. And he stayed with that woman. And they have another daughter as well. So I have two half sisters. Through that marriage mm-hmm. Of he and he and the woman he had married. But at the time he was just engaged to her. And so the letters from my mom were all about protecting him, which was kind of funny because this would be so me, but it was all like, I'm making the decision to keep this baby and, and bring he or she into the world type of thing.

And don't blame him. He has a lot on [00:45:00] his plate, you know, kind of like letting him off this giant hook. And I'm gonna handle this. And I've always loved him. So she had love for him. I mean, she very much loved him and that kind of thing. So I did my, my entire childhood, I thought that both of them were very aware of my birth.

You know, and signed off on things, that kind of thing. And I think as it turns out, now that I've actually, I did talk to him, you know, we had letters back and forth and spoke on the phone one time. He didn't really know that I was born. I mean, he could have figured it out. Mm-hmm. He could have, he could have followed up.

Yeah. Right. This would be, but he was also 20 years old, you know? So I think she did tell him that she was pregnant and then he never heard from her again. That's, and I thought he was, I thought he was lying actually when he told me that. Because I thought, what, that's not true. But I think it, it actually is true.

I think she kind of did handle it all on her own and did not tell him anymore. [00:46:00] And I don't think he tried to find out because he was already does young and having a baby.

[00:46:06] Damon: Yeah. Does her taking it on herself to handle this on her own sound like something you would do.

[00:46:14] Louise: A hundred percent. Yeah.

And mm-hmm. Let me just handle that and like, forget you type of thing. I think she, I'm sure she was hoping he would, I don't know what she was hoping. She just, the letters about him were all very protected. The letters were to her sister. So I don't think that the sisters were very happy with the situation with him.

Right. And they had offered to to raise me actually, like, we'll raise her. And she's like, I don't want that. And don't blame him. I almost said his name. Don't blame him. Mm-hmm. And so I did, you know, I've known his name and who he was since they reached out to me way back. Way back when. Okay. I, and I know, as you know, I've, I, [00:47:00] we all have social media, so, and he's not on social media, but his family is, and I, and I've also done my ancestry, d n a, so I know exactly who my cousins are and my aunts and uncles.

He ha he's the oldest of seven brothers. Wow. Mm-hmm. So I have a huge family on that side, but none of them know I exist. And so when I wrote to him, I did write to him last June, that's when I finally wrote, wrote to him, after I'm been doing this podcast and adoption, I thought, you know what? I'm just, it's mostly not just for me, but also for my son.

I like him to know whose background and family is and what if they do wanna get to know him, you know, this kind of thing. Sure. Yeah. So I wrote him and at first he was very excited and like, couldn't believe it. And I, it's like I sent him pictures and I think it freaked him out cuz I look also just like Linda and he knew she had died, all this stuff, right.

And at first we had a wonderful back and forth. Then he kind of went through the denial, are you sure I'm your father? So [00:48:00] then I had to go through the Yep. Ancestry says 99%. Yeah. And, and I look just like your daughters and you know, I am your kid, by the way. And then he, his whole thing was, well, I have to figure out how to tell my daughters.

And so of course I'm giving him that grace, you know, to do that. And then I haven't heard anything and I've written a few times. So we're in sort of that, I'm just kind of in limbo with it.

[00:48:26] Damon: Louise doesn't know how her birth father feels about her emergence. she said he mentioned his health to her, but he was evasive about how he was truly doing. So it could be that his health concerns might press him to share with his other daughters, that they have a sister. But so far, she hasn't heard a thing.

Louie said it was really interesting to scrounge together a few pictures of the man. Some from her maternal aunt who had pictures of her sister, Linda and the man from their prom. Louise can see resemblances between him and her own son. [00:49:00] She said in the man's writing, she detected signals of similar humor to that of her son.

And Louise also pointed out that her son's father is about five 10, but her son is super tall. Like his biological grandfather's side of the family.

[00:49:15] Louise: So I don't know that much about him. I know a lot about him, but I don't know what his feelings are about things. I'm sure if he did a quick Google search, he'd be like, oh my gosh, he has a podcast about adoption.

This is crazy. You know, maybe there's some, I, I kind of wonder if there's some fear about

[00:49:30] Damon: that there. Yeah. That's a, that's a good call. Mm-hmm. Actually. Mm-hmm. That's a really interesting insight.

[00:49:37] Louise: And I would never come out and like do talk about him and, you know, or put that out on the, it's just not my business to do that to him or his family, certainly.

But he doesn't know that. Right. Right. So, so I wonder if that's part of it, you know, if he got a little investigative himself and was like, uhoh, I can't deal with that. So I don't know. I don't know if I'll hear, I hope I get to meet him before, time is not [00:50:00] on our side always. Yeah,

[00:50:01] Damon: yeah.

You don't want it to always be forced, right?

[00:50:04] Louise: No, it's so hard. And I, it, you know what's weird is I was telling a friend about this is that, when my biological family found me, I wasn't in a really great place to be found, if that makes sense. Like I was having a lot of turmoil in my life at the time.

Mm-hmm. And so to be the one to do that, like I feel like I already stressed him out tremendously when I found him. Like, he was excited and he told me, this is the best thing ever to know that you're alive and what happened and. And I love hearing about you, but then also it created a lot of stress form and I think, you know, it's hard to be the one going in and causing that to another group of people.

Yeah. you know, there's like a hundred of them at these family reunions and stuff. Like, hi, I'm here. You know? I don't know if I'm brave enough to be honest with you, but I wanna be brave enough. But it's hard, you know?

[00:50:51] Damon: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I can imagine it's, there's a lot packed in there, and as you've said, yeah.

And you've spoken to many adoptee, many adoptees [00:51:00] who've said yes, you know, in Reunion, I don't want to be the cause of anyone's strife. I don't wanna rock the boat. Right. Yeah. And I don't wanna open Pandora's box. I don't wanna rock the boat. I'm not trying to stress anybody out. I just want my answers. And I think, right.

A lot of adoptees probably, you know, feel like at least at first, if they could be sort of like, The thief on the roof looking down through the skylight, and they could just see what everybody's doing down inside without really announcing themselves first. Yes, I think a lot of people would like to, or you know, sort of be the, be the proverbial fly on the wall, just kind of be in the room listening, but not really noticed.

Yeah. I think a lot of adoptees would feel comfortable taking that step first, but often we're thrust into, you know, an opportunity or, you know, a challenging situation or whatever, and there's nothing you can do to control it. Yeah. You just have to go with it. And so we don't have our choice of how to [00:52:00] proceed with how we're going to engage with this new family that has found us, or whom we found.

[00:52:06] Louise: And that's exactly right. And also I, and I'd take it another step further, I think most adoptees, including myself, think we wanna be on the the fly on the wall. Right. Right. But really you do wanna be invited in. Right. Right. Like you really. You do because your whole life, you're feeling you don't belong.

Mm-hmm. Like my whole life, no matter where I've been, I don't really feel like I belong, you know? Except in your close, close relationships. That's why we're so close to the people we're close to, right? Mm-hmm. Like, because you belong, like that's family that's belonging, right?

Mm-hmm. So even though you know that people love you, it's like you don't belong, you're adrift or something. And, and so you really do wanna be invited. And so it's almost worse in some ways, like you know, there's a woman I communicate with on adoptee Twitter, and she's going through a similar thing, and it's.

It's like, oh, it's almost worse. You know? When he first was excited to [00:53:00] talk to me, I thought, oh, well this is kind of nice. And then all of a sudden now it's not nice. You're like, oh, this is horrible. And it affects you. Because, cuz I had a really strong father as my role model, my adopted father was one of my favorite people on the earth.

He was just an amazing human being, and, and a great father, and also just a great person. So I think, oh, well I had this father. He's, you know, but you still want your real father, your biological father, to want you To care. You know, you do, you can't help it. and so it's, it's like, well, what do you mean I'm a neat person?

Don't you wanna know me?

[00:53:32] Damon: Yeah. Yes. But had that same thing. You know, my, you know my story, my, my birth mother told me who my biological father was. She unfortunately had it wrong. And the guy that she said, you know, this is your birth father. He sent me a note one day and he was like, I'm not the guy.

And I was like, Well, first of all, how do you know that? But second of all, like, you don't even want to know me. I'm a pretty good, I'm like, I'm a good guy. Yeah. You know. Wait a second. Wait, wait, wait. Where [00:54:00] are you going? Wait, I got more to tell you. I'm, I'm kind of nice. I'm awesome. You know, and you just, it's like, yeah, what?

[00:54:06] Louise: So yeah, when he first wrote me, like, like the third letter we had back and forth on email, he said something like, are you sure I'm your, you know, like he questioned it. Mm-hmm. He kind of put a little bit of eluding that like, you know, it could have been anybody type of, that's kind of rude. Mm-hmm. And I was thinking, mm-hmm.

First of all, I got really protective of my biological mom. I'm like, wait a second, don't, don't do that. Yep. And then also I was like, what are you trying to do? Like, I'm, you don't want me, you know, it's kind of that. And then, you know, I'm a, I'm 54 years old but you still need that. There's something about it where you're like, it's better almost not to know than to be rejected, I guess rejection's a big trigger.

[00:54:45] Damon: Louise is best friends with another adoptee, Sarah, and they have a podcast called adoption. The making of me. They invite guests to share their stories and they review and discuss adoption focused books. Both women have [00:55:00] told me their eyes have been opened quite a bit To what adoption can really mean to an adopted person. And they have come out of the fog to use the common expression for what they both feel. I asked Louise how she's doing today after being found and not completing a paternal reunion yet.

[00:55:18] Louise: You know, we were friends and talked a lot about adoption, but we never really talked. Like we're talking now and I'm discovering like all these things about myself, but the one thing I think that I feel really good about is I feel like I'm finding my truth and I'm, I'm okay to talk about it.

Like, you know, if people are pissed off, that's okay. You know, I, I've been, I've been bending over backwards to make everybody happy my entire life. And so I'm sort of in that place where I'm bringing up, you know, I'd really like to see change and reform happen in the adoption process. It's a big business, and it doesn't mean that, you know, there aren't great adoptions or good or [00:56:00] bad things going on, or people love people.

It's not really about that. It's more about adoptees, getting to know their history. You know, we're cut off from that and I feel very strongly that

but but I feel like I'm doing well because I'm able to talk about it.

I, I, I will talk to anybody who wants to talk about it in my family on both sides, adoption, adoptee, family or biological family. And so I feel strong, but then every so often, you know, I have a setback where I'll be like, Something happens in your own personal life and I'm back to being 10 years old and insecure and crying on the floor, you know, so.

Mm-hmm. So ask me today. I'm doing well. Yeah. Ask me tomorrow.

[00:56:40] Damon: Maybe not. Yeah, I understand completely. Then you're right about this, this thing where we, as adoption podcasters, we get to talk to so many different people from so many different Yes. Corners of the world and varied experiences, that it really [00:57:00] is eye-opening.

And for the audience too. It is. They're learning along with us as we explore our curiosities Yes. About someone else's story. They are learning too, and it's extremely eye-opening. And you know, I've had some people say, You know, you'd said that you would like to see the adoption industry reformed, and I'm with you.

Mm-hmm. And I've had some people who are very angry adoptees say, you know, adoption should never happen. And I'm always trying to be a voice of reason in that space because yeah, listen, balance people, there's always going to be adoption, whether you like it or not, it's gonna happen whether you're in the conversation or not.

And it's gonna happen because circumstances arise. There will always be a young lady somewhere who is told or who doesn't feel like she can handle the child she's had or finds herself in a situation, not of her own creation, potentially from a violent act, or, yeah, there's gonna be some parents out there who.[00:58:00]

Either abandon a child or are, you know, taken from this life and the child is on their own and they have to have somewhere to go. And there's, so, there's always, always, always gonna be adoption. What we need to do as adopt these is speak up about the ways that we would like to see it changed in mm-hmm.

In order to put the adoptee at the center, not what could be termed to the marketplace around it. And so,

[00:58:25] Louise: I agree. I think that's the main the main narrative is listening to the adoptee, because I think we're the last, well, I think the adoptee and the birth mother mm-hmm. Are very rarely heard from, seconded.

Yes. Right. And so it depends on what the topic is, but we're usually the last to be asked. Mm-hmm. And so when everyone talks about adoption and they're, they're not adopted, You know, that's always what's fascinating to me. I read all these articles or things and I'm like, okay, who was adopted that talked in this article?

Nobody. Yeah. Right, right. And, [00:59:00] and so it's really nice when, when you do see, I just think it's education like anything else, I think we actually get letters to our podcast, and I'm sure you do too, from adopted parents who adopt, who say, thank you, because I'm learning how to communicate with my child better.

Which I think, how cool is that? Right. That they're open. Yeah. If people would just be open, there's enough love for everybody to go around. Right. And so the one thing I I was gonna ask you about, I'm turning it on you, is that don't, I feel that just, I feel so blessed and honored to hear these stories from adoptees that are so raw and powerful, and I almost don't feel worthy of it.

You know what I mean? Mm-hmm. Do you feel the same way? Like people really tell you. These heartfelt things. And I think, God, I'm just so lucky I've gotten to know all these people in this community. Mm-hmm. Yeah. And that they trust us and that we're trying to, [01:00:00] to put the right voice out for them and not screw it up.

And Yes. And you know, we're learning as we go, right. We're kind of, you know, we're learning as we go. So I feel that this community has been, maybe one of the greatest things that's happened to me in my adult life is learning about this community that I never knew I was part of that

[01:00:19] Damon: existed. Yeah.

[01:00:21] Louise: Yeah.

And I feel really honored, you know, because I don't have it, I didn't have it as rough as some people for sure. I really didn't. And I'm quite aware of that. And. But at the same time, I, I understand the feelings and, and I want their feelings to be heard and, and other people to know, listen, it's not all roses, you know?

Right. Adoptees in general suffer tremendously and have not, you know, have a lot of we make up a lot of the, the negative statistics Yeah. Out there. Yeah. And there needs to be a conversation about as to why it's, it's because, you know, you're living, you're literally living a life that [01:01:00] wasn't your life.

And people from our era, they're told to forget about it and. And it doesn't work that way. Mm-hmm. You know, it's kind of the, the brain doesn't work that way. The heart, you know? Yeah. I would if that makes sense. Yeah. You're more eloquent. You're more eloquent than I, but no,

[01:01:16] Damon: I, I think you absolutely nailed it.

You said everything that I try to express that one. Mm-hmm. I've learned a ton from the courage of adoptees who have stepped forward to share their stories. Cuz I often say, you know, one of the reasons that the podcast likes yours and mine and others are successful is because what usually happens is an adoptee gets like the 30 second elevator pitch to tell what happened in their story and their in their daily life.

And so when you get to sit down with another adopted person who understands your perspective mm-hmm. And you're able to share for an hour your entire story, including all the emotions, all the ups and downs, and the weird twists and turns. It's [01:02:00] incredibly eye-opening for both , the adoptee who's the teller and the interviewer to Yes.

You know, to be part of this process. Right? Yes. And and I think, you know, as you also said, it's incredibly important work,, labor of love that we're, you and I are engaged in with all of our podcast partners, every single podcast out there mm-hmm. In this space. And I feel extremely fortunate that people feel comfortable talking to me and step forward to say, Hey, I've got a story to tell and I, I trust you to help me do it.

That's really what our guests are saying when they come on our show is, I feel like you are a good person to help me get this journey, this story out there and mm-hmm. And that's really powerful. And I don't. Underappreciate what that means and Okay. I think it's also, you know, incredibly important for folks [01:03:00] to sort of hear the real story.

There's before this moment in time where podcasts and the internet and other things sort of made it universally accessible for people to hear what adoption really is. Mm-hmm. There was obviously the, what I've loosely termed the Hollywood ation of adoption. Right. Oh my gosh. Right. And, and, and these sort of real stories of what are happening, I think are eye-opening for people because we don't realize what other folks are going through as they walk through their life and mm-hmm.

You know, you can see somebody who's very clearly adopted on the street, you know, they're. With two same sex parents or they're not of the same race or ethnicity as the two parents that they appear to be with or whatever. There are some very obvious adoptions out there and it's, it's tough probably to live through that public adoption.

And I just think that there's a, a lot of opportunity for us to help people [01:04:00] through their story, their narrative, and, and I'm, I'm really glad that we're in this space,

[01:04:04] Louise: so, me too. I'm glad you're in this space cuz you're, you're one of my favorite people. Oh, you're the best. Sarah and I both, Sarah and I both love you.

We had you on our podcast right at the beginning and we were like in awe of you we're like, demo. I love you

[01:04:18] Damon: guys too. I had a wonderful pleasure of meeting Sarah in Kansas City. She told you probably we had coffee and everything. So I'm coming to California, I'm go, I'm gonna be in the outside of la. I would love if you're in the LA area to, for us to meet as well.

I think that would be wonderful. Of

[01:04:35] Louise: course. So of course I would love

[01:04:37] Damon: to meet you. You have said more than once that you podcast with your partner Sarah. So please tell everybody what is your podcast, tell us where, where they can find it and everything. It's

[01:04:48] Louise: called Adoption, the Making of Me. And it's everywhere.

You can find it in all the places you listen to your podcast basically. Very good.

[01:04:56] Damon: Very good. Yep. Yep. Louise, you have been [01:05:00] wonderful. I'm so excited to get your show out there. I'm really glad that you were able to be here with me tonight and, and I appreciate your moment. Thank you

[01:05:06] Louise: for letting me come on here.

Of course. And I thank you for being so comfortable, cuz I really was nervous. I mean like strangely, you know, like I was performing

[01:05:15] Damon: on Broadway. Turns into the guest. Great to talk with you, Louise. Take care. All the best to you. All right, too. Thank you. All right. Okay. Bye-bye. Bye-bye. Bye-bye.

Closing

[01:05:25] Damon: Hey, it's me. Louise had a wonderful family that she cherished, but when her maternal family found her, the challenges of a disrupted life arose Louise was not in the right place in her life to accept their outreach and her adoptive family. Wasn't prepared for her reunion. I'd like to think things might've been different if Louise had actively been searching for her birth family, because she would have been mentally preparing herself For the journey. Similarly, She may have at least mentioned to her [01:06:00] adoptive family that she was launching a search and they would have been a little more prepared than they were instead. Everyone was surprised.

It's not something that can be helped Because the same surprise unfolds in our biological families. When we adopt these appear out of the blue, when we find them to. There is no perfect scenario for search and reunion. Whatever happens happens, and we just have to take our time to navigate it. As Louise tried to do, taking time before responding to her maternal families outreach. I hope Louise's birth father is able to tell his daughters and his family that Louise has found him. She doesn't want much from them just to know them, hear the stories and see if there's any connection between them.

But not even trying. Closes all doors and all possibilities. And that's not fair to anyone involved. I'm Damon Davis and I hope you've found something in Louise's journey that inspired you, validates your feelings about wanting to search or motivates you.

To have the [01:07:00] strength along your journey to learn. Who am I. Really. If you would like to share the story of your adoption in your attempt to connect with your biological family. Please visit who am I? Really? podcast.com/share. You can follow me on Instagram at Damon. Manel Davis and follow the podcast at w AI, really? And don't forget to check out the uptime app on your mobile device to see some of my short uptime hacks or knowledge bytes. About adoption. I've been collecting hacks in the app based on things I've learned here from the long list of adoptee guests. I hope the uptime app will offer you some meaningful insights about adoption and whatever other subjects you're interested in.

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