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192 - Fearfully And Wonderfully Made
Episode 1923rd December 2022 • Who Am I Really? • Damon L. Davis
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Daughter Dee lives in Maryland with me. Dee had a wonderful upbringing in Philadelphia, PA where she was cherished and celebrated on her birthdays. When she was fresh out of college Dee's adoptive mother passed away. Dee learned she was adopted and her world turned into a question mark while morning.

As a late discovery adoptee (LDA), she faced secondary rejection, unanswered questions. And misattributed parentage.

This is daughter D's journey

Who Am I Really?

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192 Fearfully And Wonderfully Made

Cold Cut

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and I just felt like, you know, I was being tolerated, not celebrated. Oh. And that, that quality time wasn't there, , that I was expecting, you know, and then I started feeling like the whole abandonment again,

Show Open

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As a late discovery adoptee, she faced secondary rejection, unanswered questions. And misattributed parentage. This is daughter D's journey

Opening

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When Dee was 23 years old, she was a year out of college on Memorial day weekend when her mom had gotten sick and she was rushed to the hospital. Dee's sister, who lived in Germany at the time, flew home to be with their mother who was in critical condition.

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And she comes home cuz we're all, you know, trying to prepare for mom's. Passing and just the illness and everything that happened. And she tells me she was adopted. And I said, well, what about me? You know, she says, I don't know about you, but here's the name of the agency where they adopted me from. And I said, well, when she gets, well, we'll all sit down and talk about it. She never gets well, she dies. And I find out that the truth was that I was adopted as well. They went through the same agency for both of us. And my mother [00:02:00] takes a secret to the grave with her.

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[00:02:02] Daugther Dee: And then my adoptive father was still living. And I remember making him a nice dinner and sitting down with him and seeing dad, you know, when were you gonna tell us? And he said, they kept putting it off and putting it off and putting it off. And after a while it was, he said it was like, why bother to say anything?

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[00:02:54] Daugther Dee: Yeah, I thought I was different, but I, I asked questions, but I accepted [00:03:00] them and I didn't investigate further. So I was the youngest, but I was always the tallest, , out of my siblings and, well, I had an older brother too, but he was my mother's biological son, but our father legally adopted all of us. We were raised in a Christian home. We went to the African Methodist Episcopal church every Sunday, and it was a traditional family life. My father, he was the provider he worked and my mother stayed at home when we were small. We were young and. We had good family values.

Good traditions always celebrated birthdays holidays. And. It was the American dream. My father later, I remember interviewing him before he died. I said, well, no, what were your dreams? What did you always want? He said, you know, everything I ever wanted was a family, a family, a house, and a pension. That's what he got, you know, like old.

And he was a, [:

[00:04:05] Damon: Yeah, simple life. And he was,

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[00:04:21] Damon: D shared that her sister told her that they were both adopted and then she just kept on telling her story. I figured that had to have been a surreal moment for her to learn something so life altering about herself so i asked Dee to go back it tell me more about the moment she heard the news

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Mm-hmm and we were sitting in my room. And she starts telling me, you know, she found these papers before she left for Germany. And, , she wanted, , to, you know, look into it more and found out, you [00:05:00] know, she was really adopted. And, and then I, I was like shocked, you know? And I said, well, what about me? And she says, well, I don't know about you, but here's the name of the agency.

And. You know, I was really focused on mom getting well, like I was thinking about it, but then I wasn't thinking about it. Cuz I wanted to, the, the priority was to make sure she got well, and then we could all sit down and talk about it. Yeah. And she never, you know, she never got well

[:

If there's this question of her parentage to you, like what, how did you end up getting to a point of actually thinking about your status as an adoptee versus their biological.

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And I decided that I wanted to do a search. and still not processing, you know, all this is really happening. Know mom's gone. I found I'm adopted, I'm trying to find a new career, start my life and trying to get counseling in prayer and all of that. And I decided, um, to do research and I found my birth mother, like by labor day, my mother died June 14th and by labor day, She was found in

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Wow.

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[00:06:54] Damon: It does sound quick. Yeah.

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And, um, you know, told her, um, that, you know, your daughter's been found, you know, would you like to meet her? . And I remember her prepping me before all that unfolded, after she read that it was like the two typewritten pages non-identifying information. And she says, um, now I need to warn you. They , may not wanna meet you.

Mm. And then she said, or they may be

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[00:07:45] Daugther Dee: I thought. Okay. I need to be prepared for this, but at the same time, I wanted to meet them because I wanted medical information that didn't have for 23 years. I'm going to the doctors, all my life, giving them my adoptive parents [00:08:00] information.

I wanted to see some pictures to see who I looked like. Cuz I struggled with some body images growing up mm-hmm and the whole genetic mirroring was important to me. Mm-hmm and. at the time where I had this loss, you know, I wanted to receive some gains, you know, as far, I mean, not anything financial, but just more love and support

[:

So wins in the win column versus right. For lack of better words, you know, the losses that you're feeling in their life do to exactly your mother is passing your, now clearer understanding of your relation or non relation to her, et cetera. That is a lot going.

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Mm-hmm as well thinking about what, if something happens to me? Mm. Or if I wait several years to do the search, you know, they may be deceased the birth parents mm-hmm or other people may die. Yes. And I should take this off, [00:09:00] you know, even though I was still grieving, I was a young. I had this sense of urgency, not to wait any longer

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Did you have this feeling of disbelief? Like, I can't believe this has actually happened. Like I have to actually

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Yeah. Like, huh. Huh. Like how could I have been naive all these years and not news this, you know, it was, it was just mind boggling, but it's just

[:

Right. Versus what you had grown up to believe.

Hearing her non identifying information. D learned some of the details of her beginning that were gaps in her story that she hadn't thought about asking her parents. She didn't ask about her birth weight for example. But that fact was in the records.

Dee had been born in a leap year. So she wondered if her birth date March 1st had really been February 29th, all kinds of questions she never had before we're bubbling up. Deegan information about her birth mother's life, the woman's siblings and information about their careers.

But there was nothing about her birth father.

Back in the:

The intercessor contacted D to say she had found the woman and she wanted to meet D. This was unfolding in 1991. So the women began writing letters to one another. Di didn't meet the woman who lived in Georgia until the following year after she had already met her uncles and cousins in Philadelphia. Each uncle met Dee individually with their wives and children then on labor day weekend everyone got together for the holiday except these birth mother

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Right. [00:12:00] So right. They was checking me out and everything and , you know, I felt like I was on display. And kind of like the Antoine Fisher movie where he met all the relatives and they were, this is your cousin. So, and so this is your aunt, so, and so, you know, he, a lot of attention was on him. Mm-hmm yeah.

And it's the same type of thing. Like you're the star, like you're, you're the one everyone wants to meet, you know, they they've got a million questions. Yes.

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Who is this person walking in the door, walking into this event and you know, how do they look like the us? Are we gonna like them? Are they gonna like us, all of these other things, like there's a lot on those. So you made it through [00:13:00] this meeting. I presume you found some folks that you like and connected with and mm-hmm but you still haven't met your birth mother yet.

How did that come about?

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March of 92. And I decided that I wanted to meet her around my birthday, , that my birthday month during my birthday month. And cause I thought I wanna meet my birth mother during my birthday month. Everything will be grand . And I remember my father, my adopted father. We flew down there together.

and her husband and the son, [:

I had a lot of questions and, um, my, the plan was that I would stay with her and I did for a week. but she didn't take off any

time from work. She worked every day and just spent time in the evenings. Yeah. And that, wasn't what I was expecting. I, I didn't know how to manage expectations. Back then. , because the mother that raised me, you know, when it came time for my birthday, you know, I was celebrated

I'm not being put first. I'm [:

it's all semantics as far as the wording and the decisions that were made. But, you know, I really want some quality time, some bonding and I just, I didn't get that because she didn't take off the whole week. Like,

[:

Like you don't right. Have the energy to put into an entire. reunion. You know, you come home and you just kind of want to like do one or two errands and then put your feet up. So I could see how that would leave you very empty, that there was not much given to you in the aftermath of going to work, let alone, as you've said, getting up and going to work every day, like that was clearly an avoidance tactic.

rt of say, you can come sort [:

all of the emotions she felt to all of the pressures she had to, you know, everything that she felt in the aftermath and for it to even a year of being in contact with her and prepping for leading up to that meeting. Mm-hmm, still seeing you walk through the door is a jarring experience and it probably was.

Tough for her. And, and I assume she needed that avoidance, but I understand exactly where you're coming from too. Like we agreed to this. So let's meet in the middle a little bit. I'd like for you to take a couple hours off work here and there. So you and I can wrap a bit. I hear

[:

She's coming to town. I'd like to take a few days off. I would hope that any supervisor would be understanding sure. You know, would be willing to do that. But I, I think also when I look back, cuz it's been 31 years ago, that she didn't do her work, you know, like she didn't have the counseling, the preparation to prepare.

and I had been talking to, I still was talking to the social worker who read me the non ID information. And I still keep in contact with her. That really built a good relationship with her. And I'm, I'm always big on prayer and counseling and getting support and I felt like I was, you know, ready to do the work, cuz I didn't, I didn't even have a job yet.

t before I really started my [:

[00:18:02] Damon: But can you tell me a little bit about what it was like, what was the first meeting like?

This is a big event. You have traveled to meet this woman with your own father. Tell what was it like when you guys met for the very first time.

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I didn't know all my life, you know, she had didn't even tell her husband. About me or her son. Yeah. She eventually divorced him later after she finally met me. But you know, none of them knew like only her siblings knew when her parents and maybe their siblings, wives knew but nobody knew. So it was like still these secrets, and [00:19:00] she like my adoptive parents hadn't planned on telling me she probably hadn't planned on telling her husbands.

Right. Right. You know, like here, here we go again with the secrets, you know, that's. . Yeah. And, and I feel like, you know, you can't keep keeping these secrets because , you don't get healed. Like, you know, like it's just, you gotta do it with your past.

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The past is in the past and mm-hmm, , it's, you know, there comes a time when you do have to deal with it. So I'm with you on that, but that must have been really tough to sort of be there, present with her, but not have her be fully present with you. And to know that the same secret that you had discovered you grew up in was pervasive through her life, too.

You were a secret over there on her side of your story as well.

D admitted. She got some [:

He Andy's biological father had gotten along pretty well.

D was living at home at the time of her reunion and her mother had just passed.

So D and her dad bonded even more as she moved into a caregiving role with him and their secret was out. Dee said she got the sense her dad was following his wife's wishes, not to reveal their children's adoption. As the saying goes, happy wife, happy life. I asked how Dee's relationship with her birth mother was after that first meeting

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[00:20:51] Damon: How do you mean

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[00:21:06] Damon: Ever in any subsequent year,

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Oh, that's interesting. And, you know, my thing is, you know, none of us asked to be here. None of us asked to be born, but we're here. And to go from a life from kindergarten through college of being loved unconditionally provided for celebrated. And then all of a sudden someone gonna wanna celebrate you or just sees a blessing, you know, that you are in their life.

That's just, there's just a lot of irony there.

[:

to give you that same kind of love connection, attention nurturing, right? Mm-hmm the adoption. Yeah. And the love that you got was so valuable probably in creating sort of who you are as a person. and that going back to seek answers, didn't actually add much to that. It seems, it seems like you got everything you needed from your parents, which is pretty

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I definitely did.

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[00:22:33] Daugther Dee: I mean that, you know, I would've got, won't like to have gotten the more emotional support because I, I was a very sensitive kid and I cried and, you know, I was just told to be, I was embraced, but then at the same time told to be strong little that now I was gonna need that strength later in life.

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[00:23:16] Daugther Dee: Then all of the priests, they took me out to lunch and the alumni director and everything. And, you know, and I did a lot of research.

We're trying to find, pick up articles and everything. And I met his mother. And she was just kind of in denial. Like she didn't think I looked like him and, she was wondering, why did I wait 23 years to find her? And I said, well, I was just finding out, you know, I wasn't told, and she, She just didn't think I looked like when I wanted to do a DNA test, but she didn't wanna do it. Cause she was old school. She just, well, you know, you had a good life and, rock the boot, you know, type of thing. But she said she was bitter. She said, she felt like my birth mother should have come to her and said, look, your son got her daughter pregnant.

ents should have come to her.[:

So it was hard for me to bond with her.

You

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But the meetings were never allowed and D kind of gave up. In 2017 dealer and the woman had died. Concerned for medical information. She applied for her paternal grandmother's death certificate from which she learned the woman had dementia.

more about herself. She was [:

D submitted her 23 in may sample and received her results.

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[00:25:36] Damon: So you got a direct connect to your biological father on an ancestry DNA.

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[00:25:43] Damon: Wow.

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And he was the oldest and the youngest sibling is a, is a girl and she's five years for my senior. So she's young, she's in the fifties decade with me, his youngest sister. So she was in the database and she was emailing me. She said, no, I think you're my niece.

It's either my oldest brother or the Oldest brother. Cause it said that she and I shared a percentage of DNA and then I have a, a brother too, and he was in there and he, our DNA matched up and he was like, no, you, I, you were my sister. I was like, huh. Right. My God. So I'm like, well, let me talk to the father, you know, this new father number three, you know, it's not at this point, I've had three fathers.

it's my gosh. You're right. I didn't think of that. Remember David to show, to tell the truth. Well, the real father, please stand up, you

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[00:27:00] Daugther Dee: like to tell the truth,

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[00:27:05] Daugther Dee: So, but then I was like, you know, DNA does not lie from what I've been told.

years ago, in:

But didn't think I had any family here and all of them are living here in the DC here. DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Wow. They grew up born. Most of 'em were born, um, in south Jersey, but they were raised in Arlington, Virginia.

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[00:27:53] Daugther Dee: Yeah. And they came at a time where I desperately wanted family, you know, during this pandemic, like wanting to [00:28:00] connect. Unreal. So, but my birth father's in Oregon, Portland, Oregon. He's the only one out west everybody's here in the east coast. Mm-hmm and I got to talk to him on the phone and, you know, we, we bonded and I ended up meeting him.

Uh, last may. He's a golfer. He came out for a golf tournament. And my two brothers came. I met them. It was again, once again, surreal, like this is can't be happening.

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I

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[00:28:43] Damon: He had no idea that he, you were conceived. No. Uhm, so what was your outreach to him like.

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Right. You know, and based on when I was conceived, so but he remembered the facts and the incident and, and everything. And he's accepted me. Like he hasn't denied me. Oh, that's great. And. he's happy. He has a daughter. He has two sons already. that are younger than me. One's four years younger.

And one's, I wanna say eight years younger than me.

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[00:29:24] Daugther Dee: Yeah. I met them. I met 'em all last year. And

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[00:29:28] Daugther Dee: a couple? It was good. Yeah, it was a good reunion. That's good. It was a shock, you know, it's a lot, it's still a lot to process, but for sure.

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Like, what do you think about as a late discovery, adoptee getting plunged into this universe of discovery and questioning and things like that? Like what goes through your mind as, as you reflect on your journey

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And I, you know, I just think about those things, that this was all part of a plan, like a divine manifestation. And how everything unfolded was divine timing and spiritual alignment. And, you know, it's a higher power at work. Like I can't explain any of it. it's beyond comprehension. Yeah. [00:31:00]

[:

Out of our control. Isn't it? It's crazy.

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You know, it's a process and not trying to control the pacing of things, just let things flow and don't control the outcomes. Try to control the outcomes.

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[00:31:55] Daugther Dee: I do. Mm-hmm I think it's all relative. I really do [00:32:00] mm-hmm because I was a very trusting child , , but I look back, you know, I was some naiveness, you know, I just believe, you know, your parents are gonna believe what they say, you know?

but they tell you what they want you to know too. Right.

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[00:32:28] Daugther Dee: Yeah, you're right. You're

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So I'm really

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[00:33:00] Damon: Oh, that's really cool

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Like I'm talking to them and, and, you know, I see where they're really going backwards and it's like, no, we have to move forward. We can reflect on the past, but we don't wanna stay there.

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So that's great that you're helping to push people forward and help them discover their healthy new self. Right. Right. Really.

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[00:33:46] Damon: Yes. I agree with that. You're responsible for your healing? Well said really cool.

Well, daughter D tell me a little bit just real quick. Do you wanna share why you refer to yourself as daughter D?

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[00:34:08] Damon: yeah. It's funny how we get endearing things from the people in our lives.

And you say, you know what? I really like that. And you hope that it sticks and you, and you facilitate sticking. So I can appreciate where you're coming from. Really cool. D thank you so much for being here with me. I really appreciate it.

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[00:34:28] Damon: appreciate you.

No, of course my pleasure. And I know that this late discovery journey is a hard one to go through, but it sounds like you really are sort of pushing forward, as you said, recognizing what has happened, but being responsible for your own healing.

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[00:34:42] Damon: That's exactly where you need to be. And I'm so grateful to you for supporting other people and getting to that space too.

That is super important. So well,

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[00:34:55] Damon: Marylanders right around the corner from each

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[00:35:02] Damon: doubt. No doubt. Really cool. De thank you so much for being here.

You take care. All right. Thank you. You too. The best byebye.

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ClosingClosing

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but the woman wasn't equipped to be in reunion with D and their relationship faded.

Seeking paternal answers D learned through DNA that the man she thought was her birth father. Wasn't the right person. Finally, the real guy brought acceptance into her life, helping her to feel whole.

or the family. That's what? [:

Helping to navigate every unexpected situation with the hope for a breakthrough. I'm Damon Davis into hope. You've found something in daughter D's journey that inspired you. That validates your feelings about wanting to search or motivates you to have the strength along your journey to learn who am I really.

If you're interested in some who am I really merch with that cool logo with the heart, with the missing puzzle piece. You can find links at who am I really? podcast.com. You can follow me on Instagram at Damon L Davis and follow the podcast at w AI. Really? If you like the show, please take a moment to leave a five star review in your podcast app or wherever you're listening.

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