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235 – Adoption: The Unknown Blessing

Regina spoke to me from her home in North Carolina. When Regina was a child, she learned she was adopted and how other kids cruelly viewed adoptees. She never told anyone about being an adopted person until the big reveal in adulthood. 

After seeking counseling to overcome the monster of adoption, Regina finally sought reunion. She found her birth mother and father in the same day, and eventually heard from her siblings that she was fortunate for the opportunities that adoption provided her.

This is Regina is journey.

Book- Adoption: The Unknown Blessing

Who Am I Really?

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Transcript

235 - Adoption: The Unknown Blessing

[00:00:00]

Promo

[00:00:02] Damon: Hey, it's Damon. I hope that you feel as I do that, the hundreds of interviews on the, who am I really podcast are a wealth of knowledge about the experiences of adopted people. And I suspect you for me occasionally say that I've been doing some writing. well, it's time for me to let you know that I'm working on book two. Based on what my guests have shared here on the show. I never thought I'd be writing another book, but it feels like the right thing to do.

[00:00:29] Damon: And I'm happy to say book two has been going really well. In the early mornings on the weekends. And even while I'm traveling, I make time to write as much as I can about what I've learned From this incredible collection of adoptees stories. To give you some context on what book two will be about at a super high level. My writing explores what it's like growing up in adoption, our relationships with our adoptive families. The myriad catalysts that make us want to search for our birth families. Various [00:01:00] methods of searching and how adoption reunions unfold. And of course how we are impacted by the journey. Now that was truly an oversimplification of book to The elevator pitch as it were. Anyway, I have to say I'm really enjoying, pouring myself into synthesizing our various adoption experiences and sharing our collective lessons learned. If this sounds like a book that you'll want to dig into, then go to who am I?

[00:01:26] Damon: Really? podcast.com/book 2. And add your email address to my list, to stay up to date. I will share occasional updates on how writing is going and reach out to you with publishing plans, publicity events, discount codes, and other cool stuff. Again. I go to who am I?

[00:01:43] Damon: Really? podcast.com/book to. Okay, I'm ready. Let's go.

Cold Cut Intro

[00:01:51] ReGina: My brother and sister said to me, I miss the fact that you didn't grow up with us.

[00:01:57] ReGina: I wish we had those memories with you. But to [00:02:00] see where you are at in life and seeing all the opportunities that you were bestowed upon. I wouldn't change a thing because I lived it. don't get me wrong. Ma was an amazing woman. She did the best she could for what she had, but I guarantee you, you would not receive the same.

[00:02:15] ReGina: If you came here, your opportunities would not been the same.

Show Open

[00:02:19] Damon: I'm Damon Davis and you're about to meet Regina. She spoke to me from her home in North Carolina. When Regina was a child, she learned she was adopted and how other kids cruelly viewed adoptees. So she never told anyone about herself [00:03:00] until the big reveal in adulthood. After seeking counseling to overcome the monster of adoption.

[00:03:06] Damon: Regina finally sought reunion. She found her birth mother and father in the same day, and eventually heard from her siblings that she was fortunate for the opportunities that adoption provided her. This is Regina is journey.

Opening

[00:03:20] Damon: Regina grew up in Mount Vernon, New York. She said she will always remember the Saturday when she was seven years old. When she learned she was adopted. It was mid day. She was watching her favorite soul train on television. When her parents asked her to take a break from the show because they had something to tell her. Unbeknownst to her, the news would affect her for years to come.

[00:03:43] ReGina: So my parents actually just pulled me aside and they just told me that I was adopted, and it was like, I was loved and, and they really didn't go into too much detail about my birth parents too much.

[00:03:53] ReGina: They were saying that they love me and, they love me too. And they, and it was, it was very simple. [00:04:00] And I was just ready to get back to watching. My soul train. I wasn't, I was seven.

[00:04:04] Damon: Right.

[00:04:04] ReGina: Right. As time went on, I noticed people talking about like kids talking about adoption in certain ways of saying that, Oh, they mother didn't love them.

[00:04:15] ReGina: They threw them away. , they, they took them to the fire station. You like a step, redhead stepchild, those kinds of jokes. Kind of talking about back and forth. And so over the years, I heard those jokes and stuff. And I said, well, it's not going to happen. I'm not letting nobody know I'm adopted because I see what happens when they find you adopted, they use it against you.

[00:04:34] ReGina: And these are kids, kids are cruel, right? So they're going to use some weakness you have. And I consider that a weakness at the time because I didn't want them to tease me or talk about my parents. So I just never told nobody I was adopted because of those things. Little side conversations I heard when I was growing up and, , and those jokes that people use, when they say there's a, a child in their family, either they consider them the black sheep or that like they must be adopted [00:05:00] because they different than the rest of us.

[00:05:02] ReGina: And I never used to think that was funny because I was, I'm an adopted kids. So my childhood really wasn't normal childhood. Cause I didn't tell nobody I was adopted. So nobody didn't know until I turned 50 years old.

[00:05:13] Damon: Is that right? Wow. You lived your whole life. Not telling. That's incredible.

[00:05:19] ReGina: Only my immediate family knew and no one talked about it.

[00:05:22] ReGina: I was the first one in my family. My family, my parents were the first one to actually do a legal lawyer adoption.

[00:05:30] Damon: Like

[00:05:30] ReGina: they were the first ones, a lot of times in the black family, we adopt each other through circumstances and stuff, but they actually adopted me through a lawyer. They were the first ones.

[00:05:40] ReGina: My family has nine adopted children in it now. And we don't talk about it.

[00:05:46] Damon: Wow, really? I'm the

[00:05:47] ReGina: first one, but we don't talk about it. We never talk, like the months the ones that have been adopted. We, I'm the first one to really talk about my adoption. My other cousins, they don't really talk about it.

[00:05:58] ReGina: So. It just been [00:06:00] like, it is what it is. Our family loved us. They never really brought it up, so we didn't bring it up and we just kept it pushing.

[00:06:06] Damon: That's really interesting. Nine adoptees in the family, but it's not a topic of discussion. That is absolutely fascinating.

[00:06:13] ReGina: I'm the first one.

[00:06:14] Damon: Really? Where, tell me, where did you grow up, Regina?

[00:06:17] ReGina: I grew up in Mount Vernon, New York.

[00:06:19] Damon: Gotcha. Very good. And so this whole time you were in Mount Vernon, New York, no discussion. You heard how people were talking about adoption, adoption and adoptees. And you said, forget that. I'm not going to say a word.

[00:06:32] Damon: Yeah. You

[00:06:32] ReGina: ain't gonna get me.

[00:06:34] Damon: Yeah. You ain't gonna get me out there. Forget it.

[00:06:36] Damon: So tell me what your life was like in your family. Tell me what your family structure was. First of all, did you have siblings?

[00:06:43] ReGina: No, only child. I was raised as the only child. My both of my parents came from big families. My mother was one of 17 and my dad was one of 12.

[00:06:54] Damon: Man, you got big numbers in your family, man.

[00:06:56] Damon: You got 9's and 12's and 17's. This is [00:07:00] crazy. Wow.

[00:07:01] ReGina: Yeah. So they had, they was like, okay, we want one child. We're not trying to have a bunch of kids because my mother was one of the oldest ones. So she was taking care of all these younger kids that were coming through there. My father was one of the younger ones, but they were just wanting one child.

[00:07:14] ReGina: They were happy with me and they were good. So I had the best, the luxury of having. When I went home, I went home. I, I love being with my cousins. I love being in my family, but when I went home, I had the luxury of being by myself, but then I want to be with people. I go with them. I loved it. I had a great childhood.

[00:07:33] ReGina: My parents were amazing parents. I lost my dad in 2012. I just lost my mother last. April 1st. It's been one year

[00:07:41] Damon: ago.

[00:07:41] ReGina: Yeah. Thank you. I just lost my adopted mom. So, they gave me the best life. They set me up for success. I was able to go to college. I have degrees. I didn't work for anything.

[00:07:53] ReGina: and they, they raised me. I was only child, but I wasn't spoiled. I mean, I had, only child little [00:08:00] tendencies, but I worked for my stuff. I had jobs, I took care of stuff. They taught me, yeah, you can have things, what no mean to, they gave me a good mixture of both.

[00:08:10] ReGina: So I was raised balanced, and I appreciate them so much. Yeah.

[00:08:15] Damon: Yeah. It's a weird thing. I've lost I had four parents cause I had my adoptive parents and then I was in reunion with both parents. And there was a time in my life when all four parents were alive and then slowly one by one they passed and I've only got one left.

[00:08:33] Damon: And the odd irony of that is it's my biological father who didn't even know I existed. So everybody else who knew I existed is gone. This guy who didn't even know I existed. is the only one left. He's real cool too.

[00:08:46] ReGina: But guess what? Same here. For real? My, my birth dad is the only one that's alive now. I never met my birth mom.

[00:08:55] ReGina: She passed away before I found him.

[00:08:57] Damon: Wow.

[00:08:58] ReGina: My mother was here. So my [00:09:00] dad, my, my adopted dad was gone already. 2012. My birth mother was gone in 2007. My mother was still here and my adopted dad was still here. I mean, my biological dad was here. So I just lost her. So he's the only one left.

[00:09:13] Damon: Wow, that is crazy.

[00:09:15] Damon: Wow. Talk to me about learning that you were adopted from your adoptive parents. They've taken this moment.

[00:09:23] Damon: You have been pulled away from television watching one of your favorite programs and they've dropped this news on you. Do you recall thinking about it thereafter? Besides the play or the cruelty of the Children on the playground, do you recall Thinking like, what does this actually mean? , who is out there that I don't know?

[00:09:41] Damon: What do you recall about the news hitting you?

[00:09:45] ReGina: Honestly, I didn't think about it a lot when I was a child per se. Only time it really came up when I was a child. Now, when I became a teenager and a little older in my twenties and stuff, yes, it did kind of. Start creeping up because I wanted to [00:10:00] know things about myself.

[00:10:01] ReGina: But as a child, my cousin, my favorite cousin, we do everything together. She looks just like my mother. I mean, just like my mother. She looked more like my mother than her own mother. So every time we go somewhere and we were kids or we'll, go places, they, Oh, your daughter, people who didn't know us.

[00:10:19] ReGina: They just looked at her. They used to always say she was her daughter. It's like, no, this is my daughter. This is my niece. Because she looks just like her. You could not, I mean, even now she's getting older. She's like looking like her getting older. Like, it's amazing that my cousin looks so much like my mother.

[00:10:36] ReGina: So,

[00:10:37] Damon: so

[00:10:39] ReGina: that kind of kept that reminder going in my head because even if I didn't want to remember, or I wasn't thinking about it, that would bring it up. Cause people always thought that she was my mother's daughter, but when I became a teenager in my twenties, I started kind of saying like, especially around my birthday, I think my birthday was the key.

[00:10:55] ReGina: Like every time around my birthday, I'd be like, I wonder what my mom thinking about me. I wonder, [00:11:00] is she, I always thought she was alive because when I was able to find some information about her and that was in my 30s. I found out her age and she's younger than my parents. So I always thought that she was going to be alive.

[00:11:12] ReGina: But when I became like in my twenties, I started getting kind of like curious. And then by the time my thirties came, I went to , the hospital was born and this is God's wink right here.

[00:11:24] ReGina: I went to hospital. They're not supposed to tell you nothing, right? You're supposed to go to the state. So the nurse, I gave her my birth certificate. She took the number, she matched it up. She said, listen, I can tell you this. There were three people born on the day. She said, I know it's not this lady here.

[00:11:39] ReGina: Cause she's Caucasian. It's only two left. It was one of the African lady and was one of this lady. And she took my birth certificate number and she didn't say nothing. She just pointed at the lady and just walked away.

[00:11:49] Damon: For real. That's incredible.

[00:11:52] ReGina: I was so grateful because she was not supposed to do that.

[00:11:55] ReGina: She was supposed to send me to the state to go through the, protocol again, cause [00:12:00] it was a closed adoption.

[00:12:01] Damon: Right, right.

[00:12:03] ReGina: And they just matched my birth certificate number to the original number because it's the same number. And she was like, there you go. That's her.

[00:12:12] Damon: Tell me about the time in your life.

[00:12:15] Damon: You said in your 20s, you got curious. What was it that was happening in your 20s that made you think more about this and more deeply?

[00:12:23] ReGina: I think I kind of was ready to You know how you feel when you're younger, you kind of feel like you're betraying your, your parents because you feel like they gave you this great life, whatever, and you didn't want to tell them you want to find your family because you felt that was going to be a slap in their face, but when I got to that age, I was like, you know what? We have the God given right to know where we came from. Everyone else get it automatically defaulted like they birthed through the canal and they with their parents and they know it and they don't realize that that's a blessing. That's a gift. [00:13:00] We adopted people don't get that privilege to know where we are from and they don't understand that is a biological connection that they take for granted that we are just cut off at the, we cut off at the head.

[00:13:12] ReGina: Soon as we born, we give them to someone else and don't get me wrong. But It's two different entities. They make you feel like you pull to feel like guilty or you pull to figure out why you want to know who they are. They didn't want you, like what?

[00:13:25] Damon: Mm hmm.

[00:13:26] ReGina: Every one scenario is different. And I believe that the parents, they gave us a gift of unconditional love.

[00:13:34] ReGina: That's a, you know how hard it is, especially if you're a parent yourself to sit there and place a child in someone's arms and they walk down the hallway and they just disappear with the child you just gave birth to. Do you understand how hard that is? That is someone who truly loves you because they know that you're going to become a better person or you're going to have a better chance in life.

[00:13:52] ReGina: They know what they're going to do. When you came home with them, they knew what your life was going to be. They already automatically knew that. And they were like, I don't want [00:14:00] that for her because she don't deserve this or he don't deserve this.

[00:14:04] Damon: Yeah. It's, there's a lot of adoptees who struggle with the idea that their birth mother loved them so much that they did whatever they did to relinquish or place the child.

[00:14:16] Damon: And I, I believe that there are a great many mothers out there who did exactly what you just said. I know what will happen when this child comes home with me. They will be hated for being the wrong race. I am not in a socio economic position to be able to give this child the multiple degrees that the next family was able to support you with.

[00:14:38] Damon: Like whatever the challenges are, she recognizes that it's going to be super difficult. And this was, this was you know, whether it was an accident or, or a violent act or whatever, this is not the right time for her to be a mother as much as she may want to. And there's a lot of them that'll say, I wanted to keep you, but I made the choice based on the [00:15:00] pressures that I felt that I was under.

[00:15:02] Damon: And so I just wanted to acknowledge what you're saying there that it, it really does take a lot of love for. a birth mother to look in the mirror and say, I'm not the person for this at this time. I hope that someone else will. That's a massive, massive decision to make.

[00:15:20] ReGina: If people overlook the birth mothers, they look over them like they You know, oh, they must've been on drugs or they must've been on this.

[00:15:28] ReGina: Or they just, like they just doing willy nilly stuff. Like they, they just throwing kids left and right. I'm like, it's not that easy. They're human just like we are. And I'll, I'll tell you this real quick. My brother and sister said to me, I miss the fact that you didn't grow up with us.

[00:15:44] ReGina: I wish we had those memories with you. But to see where you are at in life and seeing all the opportunities that you were bestowed upon. I wouldn't change a thing because I lived it. don't get me wrong. Ma was an amazing woman. She did the best she could for what she had, [00:16:00] but I guarantee you, you would not receive the same.

[00:16:02] ReGina: If you came here, your opportunities would not been the same. So for me to have you now and be able to, for you to get what you get, I think it's just a double blessing, and that was big for them to say that.

[00:16:14] Damon: And it really is because that's an acknowledgement. Of the challenges that they did go through with your mom.

[00:16:22] Damon: It's a challenging balance to have, and you're lucky to in that your adoptive parents were amazing because had they not been amazing, you still could have built yourself up to this incredible woman before me, but you also may have had the struggle of living in adoption under those challenging circumstances.

[00:16:42] Damon: So you, you've gotten all that was intended for you, which is incredible.

[00:16:48] Damon: Regina was born in Harlem New York, which is where she went to the hospital to get the generously provided information about her birth mother's identity. What's fascinating is while Regina [00:17:00] was born in Harlem, her family moved to Teaneck, New Jersey, just a few miles away. However, when Regina was old enough to hang out in the streets, she did.

[00:17:08] Damon: So back in Harlem,

[00:17:10] Damon: And guess who lived just down the street from the hospital where Regina was born.

[00:17:16] ReGina: That was my stopping ground. I went there every weekend. I passed her house a hundred times. a hundred times, I'm not even over exaggerating this. I walked past that building many times at that sort of address. I said, is this a kick in the head?

[00:17:33] ReGina: I said, I passed my mother, my sister, my brother, and just walked right by him. I had to, there's no way I've been there too long. And so many times that I can't say I have because Harlem, especially in the summertime, people hang outside all day, all night. Like, the city don't sleep, and we was out there countless hours.

[00:17:56] ReGina: I always thought about it. I was like, wow, I probably passed my mother on the [00:18:00] street. so when I saw that name and I saw that address, I was just like, ain't this something? I said, I saw her before. I guarantee you that. I saw her before.

[00:18:10] ReGina: I probably wouldn't even recognize it because it's so busy.

[00:18:13] ReGina: I just, someone just blurs right past

[00:18:14] ReGina: you,

[00:18:16] ReGina: You don't really think about it, but I was happy to get the name. But the funny part was soon as I got her information, I sent it over to the state to get the actual statements that she wrote, because she wrote some statements and she has some documents and stuff.

[00:18:31] ReGina: So I was waiting on that. Probably by the time I got that paperwork back, I ended up getting pregnant with my twin. Okay. So I was going to get a, back then it wasn't the same. You had to go hire a investigator to actually go out there and find. And the lady that had a show on, it was on TLC.

[00:18:50] ReGina: Who used to find adopted parents and connect them with their kids.

[00:18:53] ReGina: It was very popular at the beginning of the 2000. So I called her and she was charging like 2000 to 2, [00:19:00] 400 at that time to do the work. And I just became pregnant with twins. So I didn't have the opportunity to use the funds at that moment. So I had kind of put it to the side and it worked out because by the time I decided to do it and it was like, felt like it was my time.

[00:19:15] ReGina: And I will tell you this too. I had to do work on me. I had a breakdown in 2019 and, and during this breakdown, I did go get help. I went to go get a coach and I had to work through some things. And what I found out was the stem of my issues. I had validation issues, low self esteem abandonment issues.

[00:19:36] ReGina: I had a lot of things that was this decisions I was making in life is because of these issues. When I kind of peeled back. I figured it out. It was because of my adoption because I suppressed it down so much. It's like a soda can. We shake a soda up. It's going to explode. It has to come out. So the way mine came out was validation issues.

[00:19:57] ReGina: I always needed people to validate me. Always. I had low self [00:20:00] esteem. I had the abandonment issues. I didn't like people leaving me. I liked it to be around people. I always had a bunch of people, friends, I didn't realize that it stemmed from my adoption. So when I figured that out, I said, you know what, I got to conquer this monster.

[00:20:12] ReGina: I got to tame this, this monster. And the only way I'd be able to do it is to go ahead and find my family and go ahead and put this under the bridge and put it out in the open because I gave it too much power by not revealing that because being adopted is part of who we are. We are adopted. It's part of our lives.

[00:20:30] ReGina: Me hiding it made my life worse because I suppressed it. And so I'm not loving myself because I'm hiding from being adopted. So if I'm doing that, I'm not loving myself. So when I'm not loving myself, I'm allowing things to happen to me. I'm bringing people in my life that don't need to be there. I'm dating people.

[00:20:48] ReGina: I don't need to be dating. It affected my whole life. And so after I decided to do my work and then on my 50th birthday, I had a Zoom party because that was the middle of the pandemic, 2020. [00:21:00] I had a Zoom party and I had them up there and my friends and family was looking like, Who are these people up here?

[00:21:06] ReGina: And that one looked like Regina. Like they was looking, they couldn't figure it out. And so I had this, I had wrote this nice little thing. And at the end I said, by the way, I am adopted. It was people screaming, people running in circles, people crying. People kept on saying, Oh my gosh, I can't believe it. I can't believe my family knew course, but my friends and like close people in my family, close friends of mine, I didn't even tell them.

[00:21:33] ReGina: They never knew.

[00:21:35] Damon: That is incredible. Wow. I had

[00:21:37] ReGina: my father up there. I had my sisters and my brothers up there and I introduced everybody to them.

[00:21:42] Damon: These are your birth family after reunion? Oh, wow. Cause

[00:21:45] ReGina: I met them that March. The week before. Before you

[00:21:48] Damon: get there, let's, let's, I want to go back a bit because we're going to get ahead of ourselves.

[00:21:51] ReGina: Okay.

[00:21:52] Damon: I want to go back to the work that you did because this is something that a lot of people need to focus on. Doing the work.

[00:21:59] Damon: [00:22:00] And I was just writing something recently about the fact that. When we seek reunion, we have to go into the adventure having solidified who we are first. If you're going to go into reunion with the intention of finding yourself, because you haven't done it yet, you could very much end up disappointed.

[00:22:23] Damon: You could be let down. You're, you're putting so much, I liked what you said about giving it too much power, you giving too much power to this potential thing out there that you haven't actually done yet. And what you, I heard you say is that by focusing in on acknowledging that you are adopted, it allowed you to overcome this hurdle in your life.

[00:22:47] Damon: That was, that was bringing you down, causing bad decisions had you anchored in, poorly conceived notions about who you are, and then you were able to go forward in a healthy way. The other thing that came to mind for [00:23:00] me is that even though you were seven relatively young, by many accounts, you were still considered to be a late discovery adoptee, right?

[00:23:12] Damon: That a lot of kids are told when they are a toddler. When even before that, that they are adopted. And so , the language is always in their head such that as was the case for me, I just grew up with the knowledge at seven years old, you have formulated some ideas about your life, your family, who you are, be they immature ones.

[00:23:37] Damon: And to have a stark change in your family structure, be it introduced to you, I could see how, even though you had a wonderful life, that breaking news story in your life would have changed how you think about everything. Even if it wasn't at the forefront, it was there. And it sounds like it got [00:24:00] deeper and deeper and deeper as your life went on and you, and you matured.

[00:24:05] Damon: So I think there's something significant to be taken from the fact that even though we as adults consider seven to be young, right, that Along the adoption timeline, that is late to be discovering that you are adopted because you were then able to quickly turn to the playground and see how everybody else was talking about adoption.

[00:24:26] Damon: And you were like, well, I'm not talking about this then. So I just, I think it's really interesting to, even though you spoke very early on about being really well adjusted and having a great life. That what you just did was basically anchor the breakdown as an adult back to basically that moment at seven years old at 12 o'clock on a Saturday.

[00:24:48] ReGina: That's right. Yeah, exactly right. Cause I suppressed it, and my parents were the first ones to do this. They didn't have a playbook. They didn't know. I don't know [00:25:00] if, even if these people are so advanced back then, and it was 1970, to even tell them how to do it. Did they just tell them, hey, congratulations, here's your baby girl, and have a good life?

[00:25:14] ReGina: I don't know they even told him like how should you tell your child or that's a good question. I would never know because they both gone now, but know is the paperwork. I have the lawyer paperwork and stuff, but that's it.

[00:25:26] Damon: Yeah. I mean, I think it's safe to say you and I, We're around the same age. By all accounts, the era was not super informative nor supportive for anybody. The adoptee, the adoptive parents, the birth mothers and birth parents. I've spoken to everybody in the, in the triad and a lot of them will tell you that baby scoop era was rough in terms of information sharing and, supportive services, there was just not much, babies were considered to be a blank slate, parents were expected to be great parents.

[00:25:57] Damon: And birth mothers are expected to [00:26:00] go up, get over it. You'll be fine. We'll put that behind you. You're you're done. This is done. The baby's gone. Let's move on. And it's like none of those things. are true and they're major momentous moments that deserve to be acknowledged and that people in these moments need the support.

[00:26:18] ReGina: they definitely do. They definitely do.

[00:26:21] Damon: Regina had her birth mother's name and the information returned from New York state, which revealed that both of her parents were black. her birth father was tall and her birth mother already had two children in her home. The woman was supported by public assistance.

[00:26:36] Damon: She was trying to get back to school, to complete her education, to get out of her job as a live inmate. Regina received that information when she was 33 years old. Recall that Regina said she had twins and she had to do some work on herself. Because of all that was going on in her life, she did not touch the information she had gathered again for 16 years until she was [00:27:00] 49 years old. Regina had thought deeply about how close she had been to her birth family, Having hung out in Harlem as a youth. But as an adult, she wondered how life would change after adoption reunion. When Regina is personal work was done. She decided to confront the challenges that she had given too much power to previously. Regina went online. And ordered an ancestry DNA kit.

[00:27:25] ReGina: After I had my breakdown, and then I realized that that was the reason why I was having these issues. I said, I have to face this. I got to do this. If I don't, I'm never going to get past this stage. So I went to got the kit from Amazon. I did the little, accessory kit.

[00:27:40] Damon: Ancestry. Yeah.

[00:27:42] ReGina: And I got it back in one day.

[00:27:44] ReGina: I found both of my father and my mother in one day.

[00:27:47] Damon: Dang, that's incredible. Wow.

[00:27:50] ReGina: One day, literally.

[00:27:53] Damon: Let me ask you really fast. I realize I'm about to let an opportunity go by. Can you, with, you don't have [00:28:00] to go into the breakdown itself, but for those who are skeptical of therapy and who are, those who are interested in it, can you just tell a little bit about, What your therapy process was like, how did you even arrive at the notion that the adoption was the anchor for your challenges?

[00:28:22] Damon: Did you have an adoption competent counselor? Did you just kind of arrive at it on your own after going through the therapy? Tell me a little bit about the therapy process for you.

[00:28:31] ReGina: She didn't know. I didn't tell her. The way that she kind of asked questions, open ended questions and the work I had to do like physical, like I had to do reading and writing and everything else.

[00:28:43] ReGina: And it kind of like, it had me scratch up stuff. I had to scratch the dirt up. And when I did that, everything stemmed right back to the adoption. Because when I started thinking about all the things that I did, the decisions I made, [00:29:00] How I felt I wasn't good enough, how I felt like, and men was my, my weakness.

[00:29:05] ReGina: I wanted to be with someone. I want someone to tell me they love me. I wanted to, I thought that was in all be all, I was putting so much faith in people. Like I wasn't happy unless somebody made me happy. And that's not how it goes. You gotta be happy internally.

[00:29:20] Damon: And

[00:29:20] ReGina: I realized that, that abandonment piece was a problem because I felt like I had to be with someone or I couldn't be alone.

[00:29:28] ReGina: And I, and that stemmed from me feeling that, that can, that disconnect from being with someone and not knowing where I'm from, not knowing who I look like, not knowing my mannerisms, not knowing it's a big piece of life that you don't know about. And when you don't know about stuff, it kind of plays with your head.

[00:29:47] ReGina: And you feel like you're being gypped. Like something is like why I'm not understanding where I'm from. Why? And I, I suppress, suppress, suppress. And though, so I just kind of created all these other issues in, in the interim of that. [00:30:00] I just started and I, I just was like, okay, all the work keep going down the same street.

[00:30:06] ReGina: Like every time I do a totally different assignment, it takes me right back to the same street. I couldn't escape it.

[00:30:12] Damon: Yeah. I

[00:30:13] ReGina: couldn't escape it. So I knew that's what it was.

[00:30:16] Damon: So ultimately the counselor did not give you the answer, but she gave you the tools for you to discover the answer on your own.

[00:30:23] Damon: That's correct. Wow. That's fascinating. Well, thank you for that. So you've now done Ancestry. You've gotten the results back. You see them both online.

[00:30:41] ReGina: I seen two first cousins on, no, excuse me, two second cousins online.

[00:30:46] Damon: Huh.

[00:30:47] ReGina: And I didn't know who they were. I didn't know who they related to, but they were very active on the website.

[00:30:52] ReGina: They were very active. They had pictures up. They had profiles. They've been up there recently. So I said, look, if anybody, they probably know what's going on because they are [00:31:00] really active on here. And one of them, we looked so similar. We had the same eyes, the dimples, the mouth. I said, Oh my gosh, yeah. That is my cousin.

[00:31:09] ReGina: We look just alike. We look so alike. So when I reached out to them and I told them what was what and who I was, and my cousin Terry was saying, okay, I'm, I'm related to you on your father's side. Cause this is this side of the, of the tree. I could tell you, but she knew how to work this thing. I didn't know how to work it.

[00:31:25] ReGina: She was like, Oh, she's your mother's cousin. So you worked, you lucked out. So she said, well, how old is your dad? And she asked me a couple of questions and she's like, wait a minute. My great uncle, his son is exactly that age and he's tall. And she's like, I think that's your dad. I think that's your dad. So she called.

[00:31:46] ReGina: And found out, and , he was at work. He worked there a shift and he said, wait a minute. She, she's saying I'm her father. She's like daughter. That was, yeah. How did she, he was like, yeah. He's like, I think that's her. So he called [00:32:00] me the next morning. And he was like, who's your mother?

[00:32:02] ReGina: And I told him, he said, I'm your dad. I mean,

[00:32:05] Damon: he called you.

[00:32:07] ReGina: He called me the next morning. Cause he was on third shift that night when I called. So one of the cousins gave him my number. So the next morning we got off of work, he called me and he, if only he asked me is who's your mother. And I told him, he said, I'm your father.

[00:32:20] Damon: Oh my, I looked at him. I

[00:32:21] ReGina: said, yeah, he is my father. I'm, I'm shaped just like him. I have from here up. I'm him all day and I got the same fingers, the same little broken fingers. Kind of like, kind of, he got the same finger and my grandfather and my grandfather, I was driving with him one day and I looked down his finger and I started screaming.

[00:32:41] ReGina: He said, what are you screaming about? What's wrong with you? I said, look at your pinky. I got the same pinky.

[00:32:46] Damon: Oh, and then my

[00:32:47] ReGina: grandfather, I was blessed with a grandfather. His father was still alive. He was 94. I had two years with him before he passed.

So let's go back for a moment. So you have [00:33:00] been online, found a cousin. Your cousin has found that their great uncle is your birth father, reached out to the guy on third shift, called him, said, your daughter just called me and he then calls you the next day.

[00:33:18] Damon: Can you tell me about that phone conversation? Like this is happening at lightning speed. What was it like to have that first phone conversation with this dude?

[00:33:27] ReGina: Oh, it was surreal. Like I couldn't believe I took, I said, I'm talking to my dad. Cause I lost my dad.

[00:33:35] ReGina: So it was kind of like weird and I'm like, it's a man I never met before, but I supposed to have all the love. I supposed to feel like I'm connected to him because he's my dad, so you feel like you're automatically supposed to feel a certain way and be a certain way because he's your dad. So when I had that conversation, we did it on a video, of course.

[00:33:57] ReGina: And he was just looking at me. I was just looking at him the whole time [00:34:00] and we were just looking at each other. And I saw how, we look, I had some looks, he had, my body structure, my arms or legs. I could tell we, we, yeah, I got it all from him. And we were just talking and he would just tell me about my, he was like, you have sisters, you have brothers, cause there's four other, it's five of us all together.

[00:34:17] ReGina: Me and my sister actually at the same age, but three months apart. Right. And then it goes younger from there. And my younger sister is 20 years younger than me. So he would just tell me all that. He said, you got a grandfather. Your grandfather's alive in Baltimore. And he called me. He's like, baby.

[00:34:33] ReGina: Hi, baby. He used to call me all the time. He called me almost every day. He was just like, just checking on you, baby.

[00:34:42] Damon: Oh, that is wild.

[00:34:44] ReGina: It was just amazing to come in this. You know what's amazing? You can tell me if you felt the same way. They only have to know you. One person. You have to learn hundreds of people.

[00:34:58] ReGina: It's very overwhelming. [00:35:00] I don't even know all my nieces and nephews names. I know my mother's side. I know them very well. Like, the first day after they got to know who I was, they all called me. They was like, that, I would tell you that first night, never, I made my first call at four o'clock. I ended up calling my sister.

[00:35:16] ReGina: She got off of work. I said, listen, I said, it's gonna sound really weird, but I'm your sister. She just started laughing. .

[00:35:24] Damon: Oh my gosh, what a call to make.

[00:35:28] ReGina: She, she started laughing 'cause she was like, I knew it. I knew it. I knew you was out there. I knew it. People thought I was crazy. I used to tell people all the time.

[00:35:39] ReGina: I got a sister, a brother out there. I got a, another sibling because my mother had a picture of herself pregnant with me I was born in June. So this picture was, was is April. It was Easter. Uhhuh.

[00:35:51] Damon: She was

[00:35:52] ReGina: pregnant. My sister was four, my brother was three. And she kept asking my mother Why? She's like, are you pregnant?

[00:35:58] ReGina: She's like, no girl. I was just [00:36:00] fat.

[00:36:00] Damon: Mm-Hmm. . Mm-Hmm. . So that

[00:36:02] ReGina: picture, she always, and she said when she was older, she a, she was actually had a baby. 'cause she had a child of 18. She know the pregnancy was, then she was like, wait a minute, mom, you were pregnant. She said that the picture resurface. And then she was like, never saw it again after that day.

[00:36:17] Damon: Oh, I bet not. I bet not. So take me to, so take me to well, I, I'm going to let you guide where we go next because you've already told me that you found both birth parents the same day. The next morning, it sounds like you have a video call with your birth father. Do you want to talk about meeting him?

[00:36:39] Damon: Or do you want to take us to the same day? Let's stay with the same day.

[00:36:44] ReGina: Yeah.

[00:36:47] Damon: So tell me, take, stay with the same day for a moment. Tell me what happens after you've, it sounds like you've made this discovery of your birth father first. How do you then get to finding your birth mother on this very same [00:37:00] day?

[00:37:00] ReGina: Well, it was kind of working together. It wasn't like it was working at the same time. Like I said, I got on a phone call at about three in the afternoon. I didn't get off the phone till like two that morning. It was crazy because when everybody started finding out, they kept calling other people and giving my number and these people were calling me.

[00:37:20] ReGina: So I had nephews and nieces and cousins and aunts and everyone would call me on the same day. I, I had to go, okay, there's somebody else called me, I'm going to call you back. Somebody else called me, I'm going to call you back. It was so beautiful, overwhelming. It was everything. It was all balled up in this one little ball.

[00:37:36] ReGina: But anyway, for my cousin, the one that looked like me, I contact her and she was just saying, Who are you? And I said I told her my mother's name. I said, I'm her youngest daughter. She was like, what? Okay. And she said, let me see. And she saw my picture. She said, Oh my goodness. She let me call my mother.

[00:37:55] ReGina: She, that's all she said. She let me call my mother. She called her mother, her mother and my mother, first [00:38:00] cousins. And she said, mom, I got, past daughter on the phone. She said, Oh, she said, Teresa. She's like, her name is Regina. She said, she don't have two kids. No, mommy, she had another child and she placed her for adoption.

[00:38:18] ReGina: She's like, no, that's no way my cousin. I know her like the back of my hand. There's no way she had a child and didn't tell me there's no way. She's like, mom, I'm going to send you her picture. But she said to her picture, she just screamed. She said, that's her daughter.

[00:38:31] Damon: Yeah.

[00:38:33] ReGina: Because my mother was in New York.

[00:38:36] ReGina: Her family's are in Virginia. So she lived in New York. So when all that was going on, she was in New York. So when she came back home, she already placed me already. Okay. So she left with two kids, she came home with two kids, they didn't know.

[00:38:48] ReGina: So, they was all shocked.

[00:38:50] ReGina: They was totally shocked. They couldn't believe that she didn't tell nobody. My siblings were like, I can't believe my mother didn't tell us this. Like, I'm crazy. Like, mom, she tells [00:39:00] everything. We had one of them open relationships. Like, we were like brother and sister kind of relationship. And we talked about everything.

[00:39:06] ReGina: I'm so, I said, it was something with, that's when you were talking about the birth mothers. Yeah. There's something that happens to them. They don't get the help they need when they do something like this. Cause this is, they have two children who knows, she probably, they thought, how can I do this to her?

[00:39:21] ReGina: But I keep these two. And then I, you don't know what's going on in her head and she didn't get nobody, no help. She didn't know therapist, no life coach. She just kind of pushed and pushed and pushed, and. She didn't tell nobody. She didn't tell nobody either. I wonder where I got it from, right?

[00:39:39] Damon: So, who between the two of them did you meet first?

[00:39:45] ReGina: Well, my mom was passed. She already passed. That broke my heart. That broke my heart. Because when she, when the cousin called me, And I told her who I was and everything. And she was like, I'm sorry to tell you, but she passed away in 2007. My heart [00:40:00] just dropped because I swore and I said, she's younger.

[00:40:03] ReGina: She's got to be alive. I was just praying that she was alive. And when she, they said she wasn't, you know what I said, you know what, is this part of what comes with it? You got to be ready for everything. You got to be ready for death. You got to be ready for rejection. You got to be ready. For, if they not ready or they feel that, looking at you reminds them or whatever, and they can't do it or whatever, whatever the case is, you got to be ready for everything.

[00:40:27] ReGina: And like you said, you got to do your work before you go out there and try to search because it doesn't always happen like this. Sometimes parents are not ready. And sometimes they get to a part of their life. They didn't tell nobody either. And they're like, I don't want to even open this can of worms.

[00:40:43] ReGina: I already got married. I got a whole nother family. I don't want to even start this, but with mine, it was good at just that she passed away. I wish I always said, I wanted to meet her to tell her, thank you so much for what she'd done. Cause she gave me a beautiful life, even though I know she hears me in heaven, but I [00:41:00] wanted to tell her personally, let her know that it's okay.

[00:41:03] ReGina: You did nothing wrong. You did nothing wrong.

[00:41:06] Damon: That's a, that's a beautiful message to even want to deliver to her. And especially in light of what you said, your siblings later told you about growing up there. So what did they describe in terms of the challenges in their home? I'm curious.

[00:41:21] ReGina: They didn't really say too much.

[00:41:22] ReGina: It wasn't a situation that was like a horrific situation. It was just opportunities weren't in there. You just make it ends meet. You were just, you just making it,

[00:41:31] ReGina: wasn't even in the conversation to go to college. It wasn't even in the conversation to do, it was just like, just go to work or whatever.

[00:41:38] ReGina: They had sold me some great stories about mom and how much fun they had and how she was. they said I would just like her, like my nieces and nephews, like you just like grandma. She's always been very social. She always liked to have get togethers. That's how I do. I love having to get together at the house.

[00:41:53] ReGina: I love having little small little gatherings. I like, having fun. I love dancing. Like I, they said they, I brought their [00:42:00] grandmother back because my demeanor and my personality is just like hers. And she's like, you dress like her. You got the same style like she has. She always, always had nice clothes, everything about you.

[00:42:11] ReGina: You walk like her. You slide your feet just like her. Cause I would walk into the house. My nephew said, if you don't pick your feet up, I say, well, you told me she's like, you walk just like grandma. Grandma used to do that all the time, sliding her feet. It's just a blessing that for someone who I never met, I'm just like her.

[00:42:25] ReGina: It's so weird. It's so weird that I'm more, and my sister told me that my mom, my sister said, you're just like mom. She said me and her are so opposite. You just like her.

[00:42:36] Damon: Dang. That's incredible. But you know what I also heard in what you've said so far is that you are, you look like both of them

[00:42:45] Damon: you said that your cousin saw you and said, Oh my God, you look just like her.

[00:42:51] Damon: But I also think I heard you say that about your birth father. Somebody said, I look, yep. Yeah, so that's a funny thing too is, [00:43:00] you can look like both at the same time and that can be very, it's oddly grounding, right?

[00:43:06] ReGina: It's weird when you're with one, you look like one. When you're with the other, you look like the other.

[00:43:11] ReGina: It's so weird. I have a perfect combination of both of them.

[00:43:15] Damon: Right. And you didn't, you've never known these people for 50 years of your life. And here you are walking this earth looking like both of them at the same time, and you didn't even know it. Isn't that crazy?

[00:43:24] ReGina: We got the same, all of us three at the same. Yeah. But I love them. They are so amazing.

[00:43:30] Damon: Regina had already spoken to her birth father on video. Unfortunately they're online reunion happened the week before Friday, March 13th, 2020. The week that began the pandemic shutdown for millions of people. They're face-to-face connection was delayed indefinitely. In the interim since no one was working. Regina her birth father and all of her newly found family members did a lot of video calls to get acquainted with each other. [00:44:00] In may of 2020 Regina, his birth father decided. He was going to her house to meet his daughter.

[00:44:06] ReGina: And when my father got that car, he looked just like my son. Oh my gosh. One of my twins and him will just like, just like he, came, he brought me some flowers.

[00:44:18] ReGina: We just hugged. And and we, I mean, we just had, it was a beautiful day, this is another way. I know God works. He got here not even two hours later. We were sitting talking. It was with my mother. He got a phone call. His sister, my aunt passed away I met him. And sometimes I try to explain to him, God works that way because he put something beautiful in front of you.

[00:44:40] ReGina: So it will not be that hard. You know what I'm saying? Like, You had some joy on that side of that scale too. Did you just be at home getting that phone call? You were with me, you were with your wife, you were with your daughters. you wouldn't have had everybody there if you didn't come and see me because you brought everybody with you.[00:45:00]

[00:45:00] ReGina: So it made it easier that we were with you when you got that phone call. I hated that I didn't meet my aunt, like literally the day I met my dad. She passed away literally. But with that I was able to go down there cause he said, I got to go check the family out. He said, it's perfect time.

[00:45:15] ReGina: You want to come with me? I said, yeah, let's go. So I drove with them down to Virginia and I met all my family.

[00:45:24] Damon: Oh my gosh. Straight from meeting him at your house.

[00:45:29] ReGina: Yes.

[00:45:30] Damon: To learning that your aunt had passed away. And next thing is road trip. We're going to go meet everybody. And this is an intense, emotional time too for them.

[00:45:39] Damon: It

[00:45:39] ReGina: was two days later, two days later, I packed my bags. I got in the back seat. I just met him in person and we, we drove down to Virginia and my grandfather was there, my aunts and cousins, everyone was there. Cause everybody came, to the house when she passed away. So I met everybody.

[00:45:57] Damon: So

[00:45:57] ReGina: it was weird, like we was there for that, but then [00:46:00] everybody was glad to meet me, but it was overwhelming because there was so many people.

[00:46:04] Damon: Yeah.

[00:46:05] ReGina: Then it was COVID time, you know what I'm saying? So you're like, oh, like I want to hug everybody.

[00:46:10] Damon: Yeah, yeah, that's true. Wow, that must have been really tough. you are an adoptee who has found a family. You are. With the family at an intense time of grief and it's COVID time when you want to hug everybody, but you don't want to get close to anybody.

[00:46:28] ReGina: That is nuts. That's nuts. Wasn't that something?

[00:46:33] Damon: Dang. And that's really crazy. Your grandfather's

[00:46:35] ReGina: 97 years old. So you like. I sat next to him, but we had some space between us and I was like, put your mask on, because everyone was coming up to him cause they haven't seen him in a while. Cause he lives in Baltimore, but that was his daughter.

[00:46:48] ReGina: So he came home and I'm just like looking at him like, Oh my God, I look just like this man. But I didn't say nothing. But when he had saw me, I went to go visit him in Baltimore a couple of times and he kept looking, [00:47:00] I was doing a selfie picture. And he kept looking at me. I said, I said, where did they look at the camera?

[00:47:05] ReGina: Cause I'm trying to take a picture. He said, baby, favor. I said, yeah, granddad, we do look alike.

[00:47:13] Damon: Wow. That's amazing. So I'd love to ask about, I'm going to revisit the therapy and where you are now. Right. Therapy got you out of these poor decisions and, sort of self doubt and things along those lines.

[00:47:31] Damon: And now you've. Found reunion. Unfortunately, you weren't able to meet your birth mother, but you sound like you got a lot from meeting your paternal side.

[00:47:40] ReGina: Oh, yeah.

[00:47:41] Damon: How are you doing now, given that you've gone through all of this, the therapy, the reunion, the grief losing , your birth mother and stuff like that.

[00:47:48] Damon: What, where do you sit now?

[00:47:51] ReGina: It was like a, gift wrapped in sandpaper. It took a lot to get through it, but after I was able to get through that [00:48:00] sandpaper open up, it's a beautiful, beautiful journey. Going through life coaching, I realized that that was one of my callings, and I actually went to school to be a life coach, so now I'm a life coach as well.

[00:48:13] ReGina: I'm a motivational speaker. I'm an author. I am a podcast talk show host. I have a vending company business. I have a nonprofit that I named after my birth mother, Patricia M. Morton Foundation, and we give back to less unfortunate and give a number of training and life coaching skills and stuff that people who felt like me that didn't really love themselves.

[00:48:35] ReGina: And we kind of help you get through that. All this happened and all this stemmed from. Going through the breakdown, learning who I was, accepting that I'm adopted, tamed that big monster and wrote the book. And after I wrote the book, that was it. I was free. I was free. I didn't realize what I had, the potential I had until I had to free myself and tame that [00:49:00] monster.

[00:49:00] ReGina: And after I did that, it's been on and popping for the last. Going on four years now. I retired from my job I was working at for 20 years and I just went full force and did all this in about two and a half, three years. I did all that.

[00:49:15] Damon: That's amazing. That's really, really incredible. I want to focus in for a quick moment on the book.

[00:49:21] Damon: What's the name? What's the title of your book?

[00:49:24] ReGina: Adoption. The Unknown Blessing.

[00:49:26] Damon: Love it. One of the things that I often tell people is to get your story out of your body, right? When it's, when it's just you inside your head talking to yourself about what the opportunities and challenges are, what you, what you think or what you believed that didn't come true.

[00:49:48] Damon: Like when you're just talking to yourself, There's nobody to tell you you're crazy for thinking that or you're absolutely right or anything. There's no validation. There's no contradiction. There's [00:50:00] no anything. And so I'm often trying to tell people to get your story out of your body. Tell it on a podcast with me or somebody else.

[00:50:09] Damon: Write your book, express it in poetry, write the song, paint whatever you feel, but don't just sit in it because it's not good. It's not doing you any good and and you need to bounce it off of some people and and express it in order for people to point out where you're absolutely right and where you're completely off the mark and and I love what you said about being free after authoring your book because you basically said I own this story.

[00:50:40] Damon: I'm putting it out here for myself and anybody who's interested and I think that that's that's really powerful Regina and I and I appreciate you being here to tell the story. This is amazing.

[00:50:50] ReGina: Oh, thank you so much. Thank you so much. Yeah. I helped well, actually one of my sorority sisters found out she was adopted.

[00:50:57] ReGina: The day I released my book. [00:51:00] Wow. And she reached out to me, but she found out at 47 years old after her parents passed away, finding paperwork. She was trying to find paperwork just to get the car renewed. And she called me. She said, I need your help. I just thought I was adopted. I don't know what to do right now.

[00:51:23] ReGina: I don't know who I am no more. I don't know. Like she, I, I thought I was, Oh my gosh. I was like, Oh, my heart sunk because I'm like 40 something years thinking you were one person and they, and now you can't even talk to them. You're not even here to even talk to them about it.

[00:51:37] Damon: Yeah, that's.

[00:51:39] ReGina: So it was a blessing that that book, she said, she saw my post.

[00:51:43] ReGina: She saw the book. She called me. She said, can we talk? I know you got a lot going on, but I need you girl. Let's talk. What's going on? And when she told me, I was like, Oh my gosh, I'm here for you. What you need? She's like, I need to find out who I am. I need, I said, okay, I'm gonna give you the same thing. I had the same steps I took [00:52:00] and I'll walk you through this.

[00:52:02] ReGina: And I walked her through it all the way through her meeting date. And she met her mom.

[00:52:05] Damon: That's amazing. Good for you. That's incredible that you were able to be there for her like that. Cause not everybody has somebody that they can just turn to, you know what I'm saying? Like if she didn't know the thing, I have another friend D who is a late discovery adoptee as well.

[00:52:20] Damon: And one of the big challenges is that you're suddenly thrust into being in the adoptee community and it's not familiar. The terms aren't familiar. The feelings are totally unfamiliar. The, the lists of resources are you're blinded to them. Cause you don't know that there are. And I mean, it's just, it, it probably feels a lot like being transported onto another planet, right?

[00:52:47] Damon: It looks the same, but your identity is totally different. And in the places you want to go to get information and support and stuff are totally, unfamiliar to you. So you're you're walking down [00:53:00] unfamiliar streets trying to navigate this new world that is yourself as an adoptee. I can't even imagine what that must feel like for them.

[00:53:10] Damon: For that. I'm glad that

[00:53:11] ReGina: you have this platform and I'm so honored to be on this platform because people take adoption as Just shut up and be happy. Someone took y'all, you could be in foster system or you could be an orphan. What are you complaining about? Why you need to meet them? They want you to keep it pushing These are people who are not adopted is telling you this stuff. And it's not right that people you don't understand it, but you don't have the right to talk to how people feel about it. We need to know things to medically. I couldn't even go to the doctor.

[00:53:46] ReGina: They asked me a question all the time, but I'm adopted. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know what elements that my family have that I could maybe avoid. If I know ahead, I don't know, it's even medical just alone. Just the [00:54:00] medical piece is enough that you need to find out, where you from,

[00:54:02] Damon: yeah.

[00:54:03] ReGina: I don't like the way they treat us and how they treat birth mothers. I just think that it needs to be, I think now is better because there's a lot of open adoptions now. They do a lot of open adoptions. That's, that's the in thing now, but we came from the world of boys.

[00:54:16] ReGina: Yes, however,

[00:54:17] Damon: they are labeled open, but as you talk to birth mothers who are in an open adoption, many of them, I'm not saying all, but a lot of them will tell you it started out open. Yeah. Yeah. But as my child got older, as their family sort of gelled and formed, I got pushed out further and further. And so, I've heard more than one birth mother, I don't know if you've listened to D.

[00:54:43] Damon: Yvonne Rivers on Birth Moms Real Talk, but she has a podcast where she interviews. birth mothers like herself,

[00:54:49] Damon: and I've heard more than one of them say that they had a quote unquote open adoption. It's open on paper, but the openness fades.

[00:54:57] ReGina: And there's no kind of stipulations or [00:55:00] rules or regulations? They have no recourse?

[00:55:02] Damon: I don't really know, because, I'm not in the situation, so I'm speaking completely uneducated as to how this process works. But just from an emotional standpoint, I would imagine that it's very challenging if you are the birth parent and you would like to insert yourself in some way into this child's life.

[00:55:27] Damon: But the adoptive parents has said, we're, we're trying to do this over here. You got to give us space. You basically Are going to create tension by trying to make space for yourself in their life. You see what I mean?

[00:55:42] ReGina: Yeah, once again, you gotta do the unconditional love thing and do what you did before And just hope and pray they'll work out later on and they just step back.

[00:55:53] Damon: Yeah, it's really

[00:55:54] ReGina: tough

[00:55:55] Damon: Yeah, and I want to go back to something that you said also the notion that , adoptees [00:56:00] are expected to just be grateful and there's a wonderful book. I don't know if you've seen Angela Tucker's book. You should be grateful. It's literally the name. It's yeah. And she was on my show recently.

[00:56:11] Damon: You should go back and listen to her show because it was, it was a great chat we had, but this notion that you should be grateful. Is something that we all live with in terms of someone else not being able to walk in our shoes. You said you don't know who you are. You said you don't know your history.

[00:56:33] Damon: Like when you're born into a family, you come out of the womb and boom, everybody you're related to standing right there. If they're not right there, they're coming over to the house and your history is their history. But as an adoptee, you and I were transplanted into another family, family we loved, but not our actual genetic history.

[00:56:50] Damon: And there's a, there is a difference. I think that there's also, you could play this out in so many ways. You and I sounds like we're very lucky. We got opportunities to go to [00:57:00] colleges and graduate schools and get degrees and all these things. I feel grateful for everything that I went through, but I can't, I've never walked the shoes of somebody who is in a lower socioeconomic strata than I.

[00:57:12] Damon: So I shouldn't be judging. Their life because I've never done that. Similarly, they may not understand what it may be to walk through life as a black man or a black woman or a woman, right? If they are a male, you see what I'm saying? Like we've all got our challenges in trying to understand everybody else's perspective,

[00:57:34] ReGina: right?

[00:57:34] ReGina: You

[00:57:34] Damon: can't, you can't put yourself in a position of judging that stuff because you've never done it before. So

[00:57:39] ReGina: you know what I mean? Very well. They do it very well. Yeah. Very well. And, and that's why people like myself suppressed stuff, but that's part of me not knowing who I was because I didn't allow myself to know who I was.

[00:57:56] ReGina: I was too busy hiding from myself. [00:58:00]

[00:58:00] Damon: That's a great party.

[00:58:01] ReGina: You can't do both. You got to pick which one. And I decided to hide from myself when I did that. I wasn't developing to figure out who I was. And in the interim of all that, I started having all these issues.

[00:58:13] Damon: wow. I'm glad that you're in a much better space now, Regina.

[00:58:16] Damon: It has been absolutely wonderful to be with you here. Thank you so much for taking time. Really great to meet you and I wish you all the best. Okay.

[00:58:24] ReGina: Yes, you do the same. Thank you so much for letting me grace your platform.

[00:58:28] Damon: Thank you. Take care.

Closing

[00:58:35] Damon: Hey, it's me. Regina is a late discovery adoptee who managed to withhold her status as an adopted person from the world for decades. I was really struck by the ways Regina showed gratitude for her adoption. But was also able to call out adoption as the reason for her breakdown that showed up for her as attention, seeking for men And fearing abandonment. I was also glad to hear Regina [00:59:00] had done the work to heal herself instead of seeking healing from her adoption reunion. Like I said, when an adoptee puts the entirety of their healing on what they hope adoption reunion will provide. There is a lot of room for failure and it's a long way down from those high hopes of adoption reunion expectations. As you get your hopes up high.

[00:59:21] Damon: I hope you're also prepared with a huge parachute of self-love and confidence in who you are firmly strapped to your back. I'm Damon Davis, and I hope you found something in Regina journey that inspired you. Validate 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 in your attempt to connect with your biological family members. Please visit who am I?

[00:59:49] Damon: Really? podcast.com/share. You can also follow me on Instagram at Damon. L Davis and follow the podcast at w AI. Really? And [01:00:00] don't forget if you're interested in staying up to date on my next book, go to who am I? Really? podcast.com/book two.

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