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164 - Adoptees Thriving
Episode 16427th November 2021 • Who Am I Really? • Damon L. Davis
00:00:00 00:44:18

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Simon from the United Kingdom, knew he was adopted from as early as he can remember. When he finally decided to search for his birth mother, he had a flash of anger about the toy. The woman left him.

But when he learned of her situation and heard another birth mother's perspective, that his anger was likely misguided, he quickly changed course to empathizing with his birth mother. Listen to Simon's efforts to support other adoptees and his desire to change prevailing narratives in adoption. This is simon's journey

Transcripts

165 - Simon Benn

Cold Cut

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[00:00:00] simon: in that moment, I remember it like got shivers down the spines in a good way. As I'll tell you this story the tears just streamed down me and I felt her love for me and also her desperation in her predicament from the wording of the letter she was clearly in a very low place.

Show Intro

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But when he learned of her situation and heard another birth mother's perspective, that his anger was likely misguided, he quickly changed course to empathizing with his birth mother. Listen to Simon's efforts to support other adoptees and his desire to change prevailing narratives in adoption. This is simon's journey[00:01:00]

Opening

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but Simon didn't get one and he was upset. Simon said people have asked him over the years, whether he wanted to find his real mom and dad. But he always says his adoptive parents are his real parents. They're the ones who raised him and he's attached to them. I asked simon about similarities and differences between himself and his parents

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You know, we had some, we had the ups and downs, I guess I thought perhaps, you know, my dad was very focused on that, on the business side as guys tend to tend to be. And I, I became that as well. I still am not. Yeah. , I'm a white guy adopted by white folks, you know? So, uh, do I look like them?

Not really, but not very dissimilar. , I do remember it at a time when I was about maybe 14, 15, we were away. We were on holiday, on, we were in, like a bar cafe during the day playing pool on the back of the beach, this was in Multa. One of the, we used to go to use it's an island in the Mediterranean.

aiting for our turn to pool, [:

Isn't it to me. , and I kind of looked at, I looked at my dad and my dad kind of winked, I think. And I went back at. Yeah. So, you know, we were about the same size. Well, my dad died about four years ago. We we're about the same size, like five, 10 similar kind of build. Do we look like each other? Not really.

Do we look dissimilar? Not really.

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issue close enough. I'm with you 100%. And we had the same sort of family makeup in my, my family. , I'm sort of middle brown. My mom is light brown. My dad was dark brown, so we kind of looked like we were family. And if somebody asks, we would do the same thing, you kind of look at each other and smile and wink and say, yeah, that's my dad.

u and your sister get along? [:

[00:04:00] simon: Uh,

good and bad, really? You know,

I doubt some fallings out with her and we didn't, we didn't fight much. We didn't fight go a tissue, the hammer and tong or anything like that. , she's quite different to me now, you know, she got a different outlook on life. She's got a different take on like me and my wife. I'm Johnny kids.

She's got, she's got three kids. So she's, . She lives a different lifestyle and, um, yeah, we're very, kind of very different P uh, very different people. So I've really rushed headlong into self-awareness, you know, that sort of stuff. , and she's not, she's not like that.

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[00:04:49] simon: Yeah. Great, you know? Um, I don't know. I mean, yeah, I can go on with my mum. She's very empathetic kind of person. , so [00:05:00] I, I sometimes tell the tale about, I got knocked over. I ran in front of a very slow moving car.

Right. It was just coming out to the, a junction, when I was about 10. and I, I got knocked, I got knocked over and just a little bruise, nothing, nothing bad. But when I got home, I told him what had happened. And she, she said, oh, you silly idea or something like that. And I thought, I didn't do it on purpose, you know?

just check in, um, she's not [:

Right. So you're, you're America, Americans, mass generalization here, generalized,

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[00:06:26] simon: yeah. Yeah. And so, you know, we, we are a little bit more reserved if we don't talk about our feelings as much. Um, we didn't talk about adoption that, that much, you know, , very little, but it wasn't an issue.

It didn't really need talking about

Simon was adopted in Liverpool, but within the last five years or so, he got his original birth certificate, which showed he was born 30 miles away over the border in Wales. He said it wasn't a big deal when he learned that fact, just kind of interesting to put the pieces together.

getting ahead of ourselves. [:

[00:07:15] simon: So the catalyst for the search. was sitting in a therapist's office. , having the bejesus scared outs with me by the idea of my birth mother rejecting me again. ,

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Take me back to before you went to therapy, how did you get to that point?

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, I was going through. Tough time business wise. So I was at a low eb and that when I was at that low eb, I can see this now I can see it at the time. So, so what I said was my birth, I, those sorts of profanity, which I won't share because, you know, it's a family show. Um, my birth mother didn't and there was a lot of venom behind my words.

hat Simon and with that, the [:

So I had a very intense. Anger and, , anger towards my birth mother. I'd never really thought about that, but, well, not never really. I've never thought about my birth mother. I'd never thought about in a bad way. I've never felt like this to her, but that's how I felt in that moment.

, and so I thought maybe I had an issue to look up and also, but the bigger issue really was for me was, was business. So I I'd been working towards business, you know, been trying to make my business a success for quite awhile. And when I finally got that and it was short lived. But it, but it wasn't that it was a hollow victory.

n has made me sad, insecure, [:

But, um, so that kind of set me off on a, on a journey., so it's either, uh, a, um, a midlife crisis or a spiritual journey, you know, doing the work, you know, depending on, you know, whichever self-discovery whichever you want to say. , so I learned a lot of stuff and, , I felt, I felt a lot better in my self and a few years later, Yeah.

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you get to the primal wound. I want you to just take me back for a moment, cause you kind of glossed over what the therapist said to you, you're you?

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[00:10:47] Damon: Oh, okay. Gotcha. So you, you, so too, let's recap for a quick moment, then you have been trying for a while to reach , business success

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[00:10:59] Damon: And [00:11:00] it sounds like as a result of that attempt, your emotions were heightened as you were in this lower point of not having reached that success. And so you, it sounds like you were really in a place of self-examination in general. What am I as a businessman? What am I as a man? What am I as a, you know, a person, a human here and that self-examination, it sounds like involved also thoughts about your own self-worth and as a result, your, your thoughts about your biological mother, like this was not a thought process you'd have before.

It sounds like this all bubbled up at the same time. Is that roughly correct?

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putting that.

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Like this was just a, a farewell gift and it doesn't really mean anything to you to me in

that moment. [:

Not quite, all my, uh, animosity was turned in that splits, like five seconds was turned towards my birth mother, not the best, so, gotcha.

So this is all preceding this, sit down with this therapist.

So in between,

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[00:12:22] Damon: Yeah. So the you've you've had this, this moment of self-reflection that turned into a dark. And then it sounds like you said you read the primal wound. What happened then you, so tell me about reading the primal wound and what that I

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So I was, I was 40 when I found out that the Teddy bear was from a birth mum. I hit the businesses. That's when I was 41 and it didn't, and it was a hollow victory. I started searching. I started looking for myself probably, you know, around that, around that time, [00:13:00] I did a lot of work and learn a lot of stuff and, and was a lot better in myself.

So my life went from a seven out of 10 to a nine out of 10, 8, 8 years later, I read the primal wound and that took me back a step that took me down again. So my life had gone from a seven to a nine. It probably went to like an eight. and, so I was looking to heal the primal wound until I realized that I wasn't actually wounded.

And then that took my life to a nine and a half.

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[00:13:39] simon: Well, it's because of it's it's because of who we truly are. Right? So there's a French guy. I use this quote all the time. I should learn how to pronounce his name. Did I did French at school for like eight years Damon.

So I should know this, but you

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[00:13:56] simon: it. It's called Pierre do jar down or [00:14:00] something. Taher do our genetics. Let's just call him Pierre right. He says that we're spiritual beings having a human experience, spiritual beings, having a human experience. So. The the feelings of insecurity all people have.

obviously as adoptees tend to have a little bit more, perhaps all the, the thought that I'm good enough, which I know that at pretty much everybody has as well, whether we're adopted or not, that's all in the human experience. We're fixated by that human experience and, life is a contact sport.

So that's where all the, the tricky stuff is. That's where all the trauma is. and that's where we're focused. Cause it's really loud. we're really bought in. We're really invested in our thoughts and our feelings. And we don't really pay a lot attention to the spiritual essence of who we are.

ritual being spiritual being [:

, so does that, does that make sense? Yeah.

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[00:15:43] simon: Yeah.

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I hear you. That's really fascinating. That's an interesting way to look at it.

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I've got an embodied understanding of this. So this, this thing that we are, we every single person on the planet, every single adoptee, we are fundamentally unwoundable

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I like that. I wonder though,

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[00:16:47] Damon: That was exactly what I was going to get to. So what is it then that adoptees feel when they, you know, suffer? We suffer, you know, mentally, among other suffering that may be inflicted upon us physically, but what, what do you [00:17:00] think it is then that so many adoptees are feeling,

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[00:17:07] Damon: how do you help folks reconnect then? What do you suggest to people

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She's not adopted, but I said to her, there's no such thing as a second hand, epiphany

we've got to have them for ourselves. So for me, there's no such thing as a secondhand insight. There's no such thing as a second time aha moment. There's no such thing as a second, a new idea. You've got to see it for yourself.

He says that, were all born [:

And then we go through life and poop happens to us, , such as for us, you know, we relinquished. Other people, you know, and people go through extreme poop. So the most, the most important mentor in my life, she was raped by her dad. She was sexually abused by her dad. Right? So poop happens. We feel like poop. We have poopy thoughts. And over time we get that the diamond is obscured in layers and layers and layers of poop. And we lose sight of the perfection. And as adoptees, we've got a really good reason to believe that we are poop because we weren't good enough.

This is [:

So I'm trying to connect the dots on, on the different things I'm talking about. So,

[:

fascinating. And I, and

I can

rstanding of what this means [:

This is, it's fascinating to hear how you've arrived at this stuff.

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[00:20:10] Damon: So let's go back sort of into your story for a moment. I do want to hear about the therapy session, where you're having the bejesus scared out of you by this therapist and, and this person basically talks you down from your thoughts about what this. Teddy bear means to you. So can you explain how that session went and what this therapist said to you that changed your mind?

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So I'm starting this therapist, chair. I had, or about six [00:21:00] months before that session, I got my original birth certificate with my birth mother's name on it. And I had not gone any further. I'm not decided to search her out. So I'm talking to the therapist presumably about birth search.

Cause this is six years ago now. Right. she's asking me about why I've not searched. And then the idea of her part being outside therapist room pops into my head and I imagine myself opening the door and her rejecting me again. And

n that moment to resume this.[:

[00:22:00] Damon: In the UK. Simon had to engage an intermediary who initiated a search for his adoption file. When he received it, Simon found letters from his birth mother to the agency about planning to place him. There were notes from his social worker, documenting the process and what his birth mother conveyed about her situation.

At the time of her pregnancy, she was going out with a guy for five months. Told him she was pregnant. And he told her he didn't want anything to do with the child. His birth mother made the decision to place Simon via adoption in the documents was a unique letter

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She'd wanted to stop [00:23:00] on the way to the agency and buy a Teddy bear to give me, but the traffic was bad and she didn't want to be late Would, the woman that runs the council, the agency, the social worker. Would she contact my parents and ask them if they would accept a bear Teddy bear from her if she was to buy one.

And in that moment, I remember it like got shivers down the spines in a good way. As I'll tell you this story the tears just streamed down me and I felt her love for me and also her desperation in her predicament from the wording of the letter she was clearly in a very low place.

gging, it was almost back in.[:

this Teddy bear when she wouldn't look, something like that. She didn't love me enough to keep me eight years later reading this letter that she never thought I would see. You know, you were so far off there Si, you know, that, that was pure fiction. You made up that horror story you made of that horror story for five seconds. And Sarah, the lady that said, I don't think it was quite like that was a thousand percent true.

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this is one of the challenges that we have inside of our own heads. The narrative that we create as to what has transpired, why it transpired, [00:25:00] how the person felt about us when it happened and you can't help it.

Cause you don't ha your brain doesn't have anything to go on. So you create something to attach to. And some people create fantasies that are, you know, fairytales and rainbows, and we're positive and others create narratives that are more negative and it can depend on where you are in your life.

As you've indicated, you were in a place that already had, , some self-worth questioning happening already. And so to be in contemplation of yourself as an adoptee at the same time, you could see how you couldn't necessarily create the rainbows scenario at a time when you were all. Feeling not so hot about business success or the hollowness of it, or what have you.

elt and, and interpreting it [:

It's really interesting.

Simon enlisted. A freelance researcher, not an adoption search angel to help look for his birth mother. As they searched for clues, they found a notice of a woman's death on a church website. Her name was Patricia Simon's birth. Mother's name from his original birth certificate. The note of remembrance about Patricia was written by a second woman named Beverly. Simon wrote a letter to Beverly to introduce himself and to try to learn more. He didn't get any reply

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And he [00:27:00] S he said that. He said that, um, I was, I was right. Patricia was my birth mother and she, unfortunately she died 2005, I think . I can't remember exactly, but a long time before I ever went searching,

what, what year was your search? Roughly?

My search was probably:

[00:27:25] Damon: Yes. Roughly 10 years prior.

And what was this gentleman's relation to your biological mother? That he would, she was his,

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[00:27:34] Damon: I see. So if I'm hearing clean

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Beverly her sister. And they said the guy who's name. I'm not gonna say I see.

[:

Correct. Who was your birth? Mother's sister. Correct. And you didn't hear anything back from that woman

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[00:28:26] Damon: Oh, the sister of

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[00:28:32] Damon: see. So this third individual was the two deceased sister's brother. He had never gone to her house to clear the clearing out her the second sister.

my gosh. That's fascinating. [:

[00:29:13] simon: uncle?

Roughly? I think it was about nine months. It could have been six months. It could have been 15.

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[00:29:32] simon: I didn't, I, I wasn't, uh, I know I wasn't going to do anything else for me.

easy thing to, for people to [:

I, I was pretty much, I was at peace by then writing the, so, so The letter and the connection and the love, the love that I had felt, my birth mother's love for me in a letter that she'd written 48 years before it was visceral. It was a visceral experience. So search for her was not, ,

right person, or, you know, [:

And I'm a really persistent guy, so. If I'm not being persistent, then I know I'm not really bothered. She tells me when something matters, I'm a dog with a bone. Right. So I'm a dog with a bone and this search was not a bone.

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[00:31:27] simon: no, I can't because I wasn't sure it was her really. So, and then when I found out that I was like that sad, but I wasn't, I didn't have the, kind of the emotional, uh, reaction that I had when I, when I read the letter, the letter was was the massive was massive.

e that's happened in my head.[:

[00:32:00] Damon: I wondered about Simon's search for his birth father. At the time we spoke Simon had written to a guy that he thought could be the man, but Simon made sure I knew that the search was never about finding this guy. ,

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So, , not like

I'm not going to, not like that, but just like what and also, I, the other thing was a diamond at,

it was like, well, I wonder what.

wonder what I would've done,[:

She didn't have, so she didn't have that option. but I wondered, you know, like, cause you know, what would I have done if I'd go? I can, I can think of girls. If I'd got, , a girl pregnant, I can think of, you know, like relationships I've had and what would I have done?

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It really is. Cause you never know until the, or you can't predict what situation you are in at the moment that you hear that, you know, a woman you're with is pregnant. You can't predict sort of what kind of person you were in that moment. Not so life [00:34:00] situation, as well as your own sort of maturity and advancement.

There's so many factors that determine how a person makes a decision in a situation for better or for worse. We all would like to think we would make the best possible, most positive, you know, mature decision ever. And it's just not so uncertain situations. And we can all look back in our lives and acknowledge that we, you know, we made some poor choices and, and that was a result of immaturity among other things.

The lack of experience. What have you. So it's impossible to try to predict that.

Simon works to support other adoptees in the UK. He runs a podcast called thriving adoptees, where he brings together members of the adoption constellation. We chatted a bit about his work and our perspectives on the prevailing adoption narratives

[:

you know, I'm doing some speaking on this as well.

the thing for me is that there's this,

does this trauma obsession and there's this,

primal wound obsession. And as I've already said, I believe that we're fundamentally on wounded bull. I'm not trying to change that because I think the two dominant narratives, I was completely wrong, both the rainbow and unicorn one, and the all adoptees are primarily wounded.

One I think that both of those are completely wrong.

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It could be other. And it makes it incredibly difficult to carry on when you continue carrying the burden of experiences that have happened to you in the past. I think there's an important growth process in turning, facing what has happened to you in the past, acknowledging it, dealing with it, and then carrying on with yourself as a person continuing to grow.

And, and I, I'm always fearful for those who carry

trauma.

When I feel like it should be something that you can acknowledge, but not like carry right in, in front with you. Do you know what I'm saying? It's part of your history, but I want people to be able to sort of acknowledge.

ork that needs to be done by [:

[00:37:04] simon: Yeah. Perfect sense. Like

he's so, so the truth is Damon. I had an easy ride man I find that I've had an easy ride and I kind of know that,

that are dealt, far tougher [:

Yup. Uh, and you know, she wanted to be adopted. because she's being abused in every way possible by her dad and her her dadwas also abusing, you know, her mum. And just like

if she can get through that and, and, and she had a stuff, but then she had, she had the, you know, like that aha moment, the epiphany moment that, um, and, and, and now in inspires of the people, including me.

So I put, I put a note on a, put a post on her adoptive Facebook group. You know, adoption is something that happened to us. It doesn't define us. And I got 120 likes, 30 loves and 10 vitriolic, how bad. so

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Hmm.

[:

So I'm with you 100%. Wow. Well, Simon, thank you so much for taking time, man. This has been really fascinating to hear your story and your journey of self growth, self growth. I think that is the powerful piece that I [00:40:00] take from what you've said today is that you've really done some introspection to figure out sort of who you are physically, spiritually, mentally, and, and I'm glad that you're helping other adoptees through their own journeys.

That's really awesome.

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Stuff. I consume audio, audio and podcasts, couple hours a day when I'm walking the dog and, um, I don't want to drive in the car. You know, I, um, I know that, I know that, that I still listen to that voice in my head and think it's CNN [00:41:00] sometimes like a lot of the time. . So I'm not the finisher.

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[00:41:12] simon: Thank you. My friend,

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[00:41:15] simon: Bye. Bye.

Show Close

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I loved hearing the story of the Teddy bear that he had as a kid, but didn't realize its significance tried to hate the toy for the consulation prize. He perceived it to be,

ther's letter expressing her [:

I'm Damon Davis, and I hope you found something in Simon's journey that inspired you. Validates your feelings about wanting to search or motivates you to have the strength along your journey to learn who am i

really