Jamie grew up an only child with her wonderful adoptive parents in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA. She was happy to hear in reunion that her birth parents had already talked about her existence with their families. Living in Tennessee, she found her birth mother right back in Atlanta, in the same county where she lived as a girl. Jamie shares some truly special moments she was blessed to share with her birth father including a special dance, and an epic celestial event.
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I choose to know both of them today. You know from the time that I found them and not you know, anything in the past that's just, we all have paths and I choose to know them today and for who they are today, no matter what the situation was, you know, 38 years ago.
Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?
This is Who Am I Really, a podcast about adoptees that have located and connected with their biological family members. I'm Damon Davis and on today's show is Jamie. She lives in Tennessee, but she grew up as an only child with her wonderful adoptive parents in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. She started her search when she was 18 years old, finding her birth mother first in 2010 and her birth father recently in 2017 she was happy to hear in reunion that her birth parents had already talked about her existence with their families. Jamie tells the story of her blessings in reunification and some truly special moments she was able to share with her birth father when they first met. Here's Jamie's journey.
Jamie was adopted as an infant and her parents were super loving when she was a child and their lives revolved around her and her activities. They got her involved in everything from dance and music lessons to church and choir. Jamie shared how her parents were doting parents and she was proud of being an adoptee, but her parents weren't comfortable with her openly discussing her adoption.
Well, I had basically always known that I was adopted, but according to my mom, I was told by the son of a family friend when I was very young, maybe four or five-ish. I don't remember being told though. So for me it was just always my reality. It didn't change my world or make me question why or anything of that nature. They always told me I was special and um, made me feel very special. But yet they discouraged me from talking about adoption or sharing that I was adopted. They very much wanted me to just be theirs, you know? So it was not encouraged that we talked about it much. It was talked about very, very little between us. Now, I was very proud of it because I thought it was special and so I would tell anybody and everybody, as long as I didn't think they would tell my parents that I was talking about it.
Oh, that's so interesting. So you feel comfortable with it, but they kind of wanted to push it down and allow you to just be you in their family, not an adoptee in their family.
I never felt adopted. I mean I knew it was adopted, you know? Like I said, I thought it was special, but I never felt different than any other kids that I knew of. I mean, honestly I don't think, if I hadn't been told, I don't think I would have ever questioned or wondered if I was adopted or anything of that nature.
No, I, I would have totally thought I was part of my family.
That's kind of nice. Do you look like them? Do you, are you similar to them in different aspects of your life, your characteristics, personality traits and things?
Um, I definitely do not look like my mom's side of the family. My dad's side of the family, I probably would have just thought that I look like them because they're have more blonde hair. So I would've just thought I got looks from my dad, you know, even though I didn't particularly facial wise look, look like any of them I could have fit in fine I suppose.
Um, as far as personality goes, I am very outgoing, never meet a stranger. And my parents both were fairly shy and pretty opposite of that, but I really wouldn't have thought anything about it. I would've just thought it was from them encouraging me to be different than them, you know, they wanted me to be that way. So they encouraged me by, like I said, putting me in dance lessons and having me at church and you know, being out in the public arena and things like that.
I wondered why if Jamie was so comfortable at home, she decided to launch a search for her birth parents. She said she had many of the classic questions adoptees have about their circumstances of their adoption, wondering who she looked like and wondering if they thought about her on her birthday. Having learned and studied music, you'll hear Jamie talk about the song lyrics that resonate with her. Of course, what lyrics would resonate more than the words sung by a young orphan girl who wondered about her own parents too. Jamie also has a physical marker on her body that always reminds her about her own birthday.
And I always connected with the song "Maybe" from the musical Annie, where she proposes what her parents might look like. You know, she's saying maybe they're this or maybe they're that, or maybe they're doing this or maybe they're doing that. Uh, I always loved that song and I even had a replica of the Annie necklace in the movie and, and I would hope, you know, that there was something like that that would connect me with my birth parents. It's kind of that little kid imagination dream type thing going on.
Oh yeah, definitely. Did you buy that necklace yourself?
No, my parents apparently got it for me. I don't really remember when, but probably when the movie was out and popular, you know?
And in a way I did have my own little connection to my birth. That was really the only thing as a child that I had that connected me, and that was the fact that I had the scar on my side where I was accidentally cut by the doctor while I was being born during a C-section.
Really? So that was always kind of my special little mark. Like, okay, this is real. I was, you know, cut like my surely my birth mom will, you know, know that when I find her that it will connect us, you know?
Wow. That's unreal. I've never heard anybody say that before. That's really fascinating. That's a connection that with you and your mom for the moment you came into this world, you're absolutely right.
In college in 1997 Jamie found some of the early websites and chat rooms where adoption conversations were starting to happen online. She was looking for anyone who was looking for her. Jamie didn't have much hope or luck finding anything because she had nothing to go on. Her birth certificate was amended to include her adopted parents names, not her birth parents names. Then Jamie got a break. Her adoptive parents had some information to share, but they didn't give it to her. They gave it to someone else in what seems like kind of an open secret.
Well, it wasn't too long after that when I was actually given the little bit of information about my birth parents that my adoptive parents and accidentally received during the adoption process. They were not supposed to have had it, but accidentally received a letter that had my birth mom's name, my birth date, her birth date, and her father's name. So now that I had her name and her birth date and her father's name, that was like, okay, this is a real person I can look for now.
I want to know your parents got this letter by accident, but how did you get the information from them?
Again, they didn't really ever talk to me about being adopted much. Um, like I said, they like to keep it on the down low. So my dad had been ill after having a heart attack while I was in high school. And I don't know if he just thought maybe because he wasn't doing well that the information needed to be shared or what. But I had a, a long term boyfriend who um, they sometimes would travel together. Him and my parents to come visit me at college. And during one of those trips they actually told him this information so they wouldn't tell it to me, but they told it to him and told him not to tell me, but they wanted him to know it. I'm not sure if maybe they were like, well, yeah, I mean, I know he'll tell anyway. I don't, I'm not really sure. But he did tell me obviously. And so I was very, very happy to know and to have a name and to have this information.
That's fascinating that they would entrust him with that. It's almost like they wanted him to tell you and they didn't want to be the ones to it, you know?
Yeah. That's, that's kinda how I felt. I thought surely they would know that he's going to tell me. I mean, otherwise why would they even tell him?
So how did you get the document though? He, he, they told your boyfriend, but did they actually physically hand you the document? Did you ask them about it?
Um, no. When my mom accidentally received the letter. She opened it and she wrote down the information on a little, probably three by five piece of notebook paper. Today, I do have that piece of paper. But um, at the time, no, I did not have that. It was just told to him. I don't think he ever saw the paper as far as I know, it was all just told to him. And then he passed along to me.