Artwork for podcast Who Am I Really?
188 - Junkyard Girl
Episode 1885th November 2022 • Who Am I Really? • Damon L. Davis
00:00:00 00:58:43

Share Episode


Carlyn (Kar-leen), from Santa Fe, New Mexico, grew up in a junkyard house in a tough relationship with her adoptive mother. Caryln felt over protected, trapped, and wondering why that was her life.

After submitting a DNA test for fun, Carlyn was connected with a biological relative she had never heard of forcing her adoptive sister to finally reveal Carlyn's adoption. The news sent a wrecking ball, sailing through her life. Carlyn's newly found DNA matched biological sister was seeking connection because the woman never really had a family. Soon the pair were told they had no time to waste meeting Carlyn's birth mother.

This is Carlyn's journey.

Purchase Junkyard Girl

Who Am I Really?

Listen On

Social Media

Damon's own story in print and audio:


188 – Junkyard Girl

Cold Cut Intro


[00:00:00] CARLYN: she just burst out crying. And she said, I'm sorry, I can't even tell you. I wrote this down, cuz I knew this would happen.

And she pulled out two pages and she started reading to me. And the bottom line was, she said,

carlyn you're adopted. And when I heard those four words. I felt like I was completely unmade. I felt like right there, the wrecking ball hit my foundation and it's like all the pieces scattered everywhere.

Show Intro


Carlyn was connected with a biological relative. She had never heard of. Forcing her adoptive sister to finally reveal Carlyn's adoption, sending a wrecking ball, sailing through her life.[00:01:00] Her newly found DNA matched biological sister was seeking connection because the woman never really had a family. And soon they were told they had no time to waste meeting Carlyn's birth

This is Carlyn's journey.



Her parents were immigrants from mexico whom she said were tough parents Carlyn was a lot younger than her three older siblings who she adored and Carlyn is a late discovery adoptee


And I remember I, I had two amazing dogs that I was always with, cuz my parents were also overprotective. So I didn't have a lot of friends. So I hung out [00:02:00] with my dogs and they had a very large dog kennel and I would go and sit in the dog, kennel and lay on top of the doghouse and look up at the sky and say, when are my real parents coming for me.

When are my real parents coming to get me? I know this can't be my real parents. I know , this can't be my life. So from a young age, I was always thinking, gosh, there's gotta be somewhere else that I really belong. And so that really informed the rest of my childhood, you know, as time grew on my parents and I, and especially my mother who was really tough and I think was trying to teach me about being tough in the world because she had it really tough.

s a mixture of a lot of love [:

[00:03:02] DAMON: Interesting. May I ask, you've said that your parents are , Mexican immigrants. Are you also of Mexican descent? Carlyn?


So it relates to north America, south America. And then, um, you know, there was a percentage of Spanish, Portuguese, and the reason I actually took a DNA. For fun was, and also was to find out how much Jewish there was in my bloodline, because my mother always talked about that. Hmm. And whereas all my cousins were coming in at 40%.

en a really big flag, but it [:

[00:04:07] DAMON: fascinating. You said you grew up, you are a late discovery adoptee.

You didn't know at this time that you're out at the dog, Ken laying up, looking at the sky, thinking to yourself, where are my real parents, but you're asking a question that any adoptee might ask. Did you feel other ways that you just didn't identify with your parents that made you question your, your true parentage.


But I [00:05:00] didn't question really. It it's a, it's an odd paradox. I didn't think really these are not my parents, but I was different in so many ways. First of all, I grew up in a land of giants. Everybody. My brothers came in at six foot, three and six foot four, and my sister was five foot six and I was five foot, two

Wow. And so I was a lot shorter and I didn't look like anybody, but, and when I would question that. I remember, I have an very, very large extended family. I have 63 first cousins. And the thing is, this is the kicker. They all knew I was adopted, but nobody ever told me. And I would question it out loud to some of my cousins who are, I was close to.

I just thought my essential [:

I was always more of a person who loved adventure and loved fantasy. In my mind. I was always escaping to places and I thought very differently than they did. All of my siblings have sort of stayed close to home. And I've always been the one who wanted to move away to get away to experience life. You know, I was more of a risk taker, so I could tell I was different from this clan, but I also just put it, you know, put it up to, well, there's always gonna be somebody different in a family there there's, you know, there's and everybody else got along better with my mother and father, but I was always clashing, especially with my mother.


Wasn't so much that you sort of questioned your parents. It was the sense I got from you was this can't be my life. Is that exactly? Yeah. Mm-hmm , that's what it felt like as you were describing it.


[00:07:24] DAMON: Carlyn had two older brothers, 13 and 14 years older than herself. And her sister was nine years older than her. They were grouped together and Carlyn was the baby. Growing up. Carlyn said her mother's boundaries could be suffocating as she instructed the older children to protect their younger sister. And even her vast network of cousins We're part of the wall of protection. Suffocating protection aside. Carlyn loved her siblings. She said her parents were older. And if they had given birth to her, they would have been in their mid forties when she was born Much older than her [00:08:00] friends, parents.

And as Carlyn Her parents We're hoarders


[00:08:14] DAMON: And at first, you know, when you're a kid, you're thinking, wow, what an adventure look at all these cool things. But then as you're growing older and you start becoming very self-aware and self-aware of how other people are looking at you and your other and other friends, then you, then that's when the shame started settling in.


That's exactly the word I was thinking you were feeling was the shame of how life appears in such disarray at your home, right? that's really tough. Can you tell me about your teenage years? Did you have any sort of, you know, are there stories from your teen years where you were just kind of like, huh, that's kind of weird and you.

our family or anything along [:

[00:09:02] CARLYN: I wish I could say that I was smarter to this day, I think back. And I think, gosh, I should have figured it out. I, I listened to so many people, including on your podcast who kind of figured things out.

And I think I thought to myself, I'm a, I'm a pretty smart person, but I never figured it out. I, I did have people say all the time, gosh, you don't look like anybody. That's your sister. Wow. You don't look at all alike. Here were, you know, my, my two, two of my siblings looked exactly like my father, my father had green eyes, you know, they all had these Aqualine noses and I didn't, I don't look anything like that. I'm short and I'm darker skinned. I. You know, a smaller rounder nose, a round her face. So I didn't look like anybody. And I always wished I did, because I always thought they looked so just amazing.

viously knew I would say it. [:

I sort of thought I was trapped in that house and forever for some odd reason. So, , when I was growing up I wished I had been, you know, part of something else, but I didn't think it through enough to feel like I was part of another family or part of something else.


Her mother forbade her from going away to school. Carlyn's father asked where she wanted When she said Loyola, Marymount. Two hours away in Los Angeles. Her father agreed Agreed


I was trying everything and doing everything. So I escaped into, , movie making. And as I grew up, I got to work at places like Lucas film and I was a film editor, But one of the things that was interesting. that I could not understand about myself is even though I had all this freedom, one of the things that kept plaguing me, and I couldn't understand why my parents had been married forever.

s with them growing up, they [:

And they kind of go on with their life where they cry for a little while and it's over. Why do I feel such an intense feeling of abandonment? Like it's excruciating. And so I went to see a therapist and I said to her, you know, I wanna deal with this issue. I don't understand why I'm feeling this. And because we didn't know that I was adopted, she concluded that because my mother was the way she was, she was very tough.

bly why you feel the way you [:

So I did kind of feel that. And now that's a little bit more explained to me because I think a lot. Late discovery, adoptees feel that, but as I was going through life, you know, I had a divorce, which was again, excruciating, but it was good that I moved on.

And then I met the love of my life after that. And, , he was somebody who I had known for 20 years, and life was going pretty swimmingly. You know, I I'm an author and I loved writing.

And then. The big revelation came about after I took that ancestry test.


Carlyn thought it would be fascinating to know more about her heritage. Like if she was part of some historic global population, She didn't anticipate being connected to or something fun Like that


And the other one was on his way too, and so I was kind of feeling really sad when suddenly I got this little message on my computer. One of those notifications that say it's from ancestry DNA or sorry, it was from Facebook. And I went, okay. So I looked at it and it was some [00:15:00] guy who had friended me about a week before and he messaged me and the message said, you look an awful lot like my wife

and I went, what? And, and so I thought this guy's flirting with me, so I ignored it. But then he came, kept coming back and it said, Hey, um, don't you think don't you think, look, and he sent me a picture of her. And I was looking at this lady thinking, I don't look and I look asked my husband, do you think I look like this lady?

And he says, no. And so I ignored it, but he kept writing me and saying, well, come on, don't you think you could be cousins or this or that? And I, because I'm kind of sarcastic. So I wrote back to him and I said, I think the only resemblance your wife and I have is that we shop for glasses at the same store mm-hmm

my throat just, or my breath [:

And I went, and I remembered that I had taken this ancestry test, which I had sort of ignored. And I had seen her name on it as a possible close. Relative. And if I had known how to read one of those tests, I would've seen that. It said possible sibling. Oh my God. And yeah. And at the time I, I had just sort of ignored it cuz I was so busy and I thought, okay, well, all right.

I said, well, if she thinks, you know, whatever, I maybe there's some, some relation somewhere. Yeah. We have a huge family. And I said, well, why don't you have her email me?


Carlyn didn't recognize a single name from their extensive family tree. Carlyn told Martha, she would ask her siblings who were much older than she is and see if they knew anything. Usually when Carlyn called her siblings, there was always lots of jokes and laughter between them. When she called to ask about the unfamiliar connections she had found on ancestry DNA. Carlyn's siblings were very serious. She had spoken to two of her siblings And they both said the exact same thing.


[00:17:33] DAMON: Carlyn thought that was an odd response, but she ignored it. It was a busy time in Carlyn's life. So she didn't get a chance to call Martha back. Out of the blue Carlyn's older sister called saying she wanted to visit Carlyn in Santa Fe and it seemed urgent. There was a heavy snow storm outside of Carlyn's window. So she asked her sister if she really wanted to show up right then.

he just really wanted to see [:

[00:18:08] CARLYN: Maybe she was here five minutes with her husband before she said something huge has happened in our family.

And I have to talk to you about it. wow. And I was like, oh my God. Oh my God, is somebody sick? Is somebody getting divorced? What's the deal? And I thought, well, if it was why didn't she could just call me, but she said, no, no, let's, let's just get some tea. Then we'll sit down. And so it took us, you know, I always think of that thing of dead man, walking, how somebody feels like they're going to their execution.

And it feels like the longest bath to that place. Mm-hmm , that's how I felt going to sit down in my living room. And I was just like, oh my God, okay. What is it? What is it? And she sat down, she looked at me and she just burst out crying. And she said, I'm sorry, I can't even tell you. I wrote this down, cuz I knew this would happen.

And the bottom line was, she [:

And she was about to knock on the door when she heard a woman crying in the background, in the backyard area. And when her friend came to the door, she said, Hey, who's this woman, do you know her? She's crying back here. And her friend said to my adoptive mother, Oh, that's my cousin. She's here from Chicago and she has two children already.

rtion was illegal everywhere.[:

We'll take her and we'll raise her. And then my adoptive mother and my father took this family home to live with them for the next six months. And . My sister later told me it was only, my sister was only nine at the time, so she didn't remember a lot, but she said, yeah, well, I remember we, my mother would take really good care of her , and she would tell her to eat.

t together. And she said, we [:

And then my parents gave my adoptive mother money to go back to Chicago with her two children.


[00:21:21] CARLYN: Well it, especially, and I, I look at that moment. I play that moment and I imagine it in my mind thinking who does that, who does that, especially in this day and age and people are so unkind.

I was adopted, but I am so, [:

So my birth mother had had an abortion. Okay. You know, I probably wouldn't have known any difference, but I actually have had lived a very full life at this point. And I think of all the connections I've made and the people I've loved and who've loved me. And so looking back on it, it was all like, oh, I almost didn't have a life.

And that's pretty sobering.

And my parents were not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination. I mean, I've described how we grew up living yet. She did this and I was in that moment. So blown away that my mother had done that because I had grown up just fighting with her and arguing with her and thinking, God, I wish I had any other mother except this.

t moment was, how grateful I [:

[00:23:06] DAMON: my gosh, I have got so many questions that could grief holy makrel first.

I'm so sorry to hear that. That was the feeling you had. I wonder, can you just take me, I'm gonna start with that moment. Just take me to the moment where you're sitting, I guess, with your sister and she has just told you that you're adopted. Can you just, can you remember what it felt like right then?


Or at least at the moment we felt we were okay. But then feeling like something was going on with my hearing, like, I couldn't, he, I could hear people talking, but they felt very muffled. And that was exactly what happened when she said that as soon as she said adopted. And then when she said your mother wanted to have an abortion.

And I think I realized I was almost not going to, you know, be alive. I suddenly stopped. Like my ears felt like they were full of cotton and she kept reading and I could see her lips moving and I could hear her words, but they sounded like they were across some canyon somewhere. And then I thought to myself, because , I always have thought that I'm somebody who does well when they're in shock or when something happens.

ed. And I'm probably sitting [:

And I thought to myself, is that what I look like? Because that's kind of how I feel. So it was all this was going on. You know, people were having their reactions. My sister was reading yet. I was having this out of body kind of experience where I felt like in some way I was floating over them, just watching all of this happen.

or something in his eyes and [:

This is huge. And this is happening to me. So I think that's what was going on at that moment as she was reading those pages. And then I'll just say that when she was done, she looked up at me. I looked up at her and. The one of, and then what she did was she pulled out this little snapshot. That's one of those old ones you remember from the sixties.

And she just slid it across the table towards me. And I saw this snapshot that I had seen a million times, and it was , my two brothers and my sister holding me as a baby. My one of my brothers was holding me as a baby. And there were these two other little kids in the shot. And I had asked a million times who are those little kids in the shot?

t? And then she said, that's [:

And that was my half brother Robert standing next to her. wow. So all this time I had grown up seeing that photograph in my family, and that was my half brother and my half sister


And I wanted to make sure that we really focused on what it feels like. I mean, you described something that movie makers try to portray like that car accident, and then the person's hearing goes dim. And, you know, you know, their vision is blurry. Like it's something that people. Portray in movie making that we've seen before, but you actually lived that, like, that's a [00:28:00] real thing that happened.

Your brain sounded like it was detaching from the moment and almost shutting down functionally because of the shock of what you had learned about your own life. That is wild.

tell me a little bit about. The aftermath. You said you realized you kind of went into shock. tell me about the rest of your sister's visit. You know, she's calm and it's snowing. She probably just didn't dip in and then leave an hour later.

Like how was the rest of your visit with her and what went through your mind?


And then she said, I'm gonna leave you alone or with your husband. And , let's get together tomorrow morning. So they didn't even stay with us. They went and stayed at a hotel and I think probably the therapist told [00:29:00] her to let me process. And, uh, the next day, I mean, it, it was, I like, I was on caffeine all night.

I mean, I, we, Ken and I, my husband could not stop talking about this story. It was this like a, a, you know, a turntable just over and over and over and over, because I think I was in such shock. So while she was here, I did have to ask her, like, you just had to re-ask me the same question I had to ask her again, what happened?

Can you say that again? Because I don't. I said, I think I was in shock and I don't think I heard it all. And the primary feelings that were going through me and I don't know that I explain it well, because it doesn't make any sense to me. I never, in my mind thought that my adoptive family would abandon me, but maybe it's because I've always had this feeling of abandonment lingering, and now I get it because so many.

her adoptees feel a sense of [:

Can you just all hold me here? Can you just like, tell me I'm not being abandoned again? Cuz that's what it felt like. So my sister and I were walking through Santa Fe after we had breakfast and all I could think about in my head was, oh God, please. You know, this is, this feels terrible. This feels awful.

And I, but I finally looked at my sister and I said, Lily, why didn't you tell me? I tell you everything. Why wouldn't you tell me. She sort of started crying again. She said, because, you know, I didn't wanna lose you. I didn't wanna lose you. And I, I think it initially all started because , my mother especially took my siblings aside while I was in this crib in a room.


And my siblings always did what my parents said. And so I think it started off that way. And even after my parents died, my siblings kind of just had in their mind, we made a promise. We're supposed to protect. That's what we do. And they didn't think it through of how it could affect me in my life. But. My sister looked at me and she said in that moment, when we were walking through Santa Fe, she said, I just didn't wanna lose you.

please don't let go. And so [:

But, so that's what it was like then. And then when she left and I was on my own with my husband, it that's when everything fell apart, that's when that wrecking ball hit. And I felt like all the pieces scattered because I'm not, I, I feel like I'm a pretty tough person and I know that's part of my upbringing and I don't cry a lot unless something really, really big happens.

but I was crying all the time. I was washing the dishes and I'd suddenly start crying. I would tie my shoe and I'd suddenly burst into tears and I was like, what's wrong with me? Why am I crying all the time? And. I was feeling such a turbulence of emotions, of, of sadness and grief and loss. And, you know, periodically some anger would kind of pop up.

husband, oh my God, this is [:

So for me, it was like, okay, today, right now I'm feeling grief right now. I'm feeling sadness right now. I don't know what I'm feeling, but at least to give it a name, to let it pass through and to try to get to the other side and, and let it move through so I could get to the other


You said give it a name cuz mm-hmm . I think there's a lot of power in identifying what you're feeling so that you can actually know how to deal with it. If you've not identified it, if you don't realize it's grief, you don't know how to deal with it. If you don't realize it's anger, you don't know how to deal with it, but if you can identify, give it that name and [00:34:00] sort of put you, it allows you to put it in its place.

Right. Mm-hmm and it does, it helps you to identify, like, if I'm feeling grief, I may need to sit quietly for a while, but if I'm feeling anger, I might need to go to the gym and work this out. You know what I mean? Right. Right. I think identifying is really important.


I started kind of wondering, gosh, what's it play in the universe here? Because as soon as I found this out, everything started to steamroll. Now I didn't even have time to process all those emotions because about, you know, the next thing I had to do was a week later, I had to call this woman who was my half sister who had asked me, do you know anybody I might be related to, I had to call her and tell her, yeah, me, cuz I felt like she was saying, you know, I don't know anybody that I'm related to and it wouldn't it be nice if I was related to someone so, I called her, I remember it was Valentine's day and I called [00:35:00] her and told her what I had learned.

And oh my God, it was, she suddenly, it was like her mind suddenly started remembering everything cuz she was seven years old when sh my mother had brought them to live with them and she started remembering everything. She remembered my mother's name. She remembered living in California. She remembered my sister.

She remembered the Chihuahua was my sister had. And so she was beyond thrilled. And the thing was, this is an interesting thing. She had been looking for family her whole life. I had not. So we were coming from completely different places. Like I could feel her and I understood, you know, she's happy, she's happy.

She has a sister. And I'm like, oh my God. Oh my God. It's too much. It's too much. I, it just felt so overwhelming. So we were coming from kind of two different places. And then, and then here's the kicker. I said, do you. Think our birth mother's still alive. And she said, no, how could she be she's she would be in her mid nineties.

mentally ill. She, the last [:

[00:36:24] DAMON: A wrecking ball had just swung through Carlyn's life and knocked the pieces to the ground. The news, her sister delivered that she had been adopted at birth. Catapulted Carlyn into a sea of emotions and the task of managing the new relationship with her half sister Martha. Then the lawyer called to say their mother,

sked Carlyn if she wanted to [:

Carlyn admitted that some people might have slowed down a moment to try to process what was happening in her life. But she also admitted she's the kind of person who enjoys adventure and she was craving the truth about her life.

It was upsetting to her that her life had been a secret for so long And Carlyn was not going to let anything stop her from getting every answer she could from then on. Her adoptive parents had been deceased for over 10 years, but still Carlyn felt guilty that going to meet her birth mother would be trade them somehow. Three days after speaking with martha Carlyn was on a plane to chicago to meet her birth mother and sister

There was this feeling of, even though they're gone, I'm betray them somehow. And I remember my sister saying, no, you're not betraying them. You're not betraying them. And then it was like, my parents started talking from the beyond saying you're not the betray us odd because all these really weird synchronistic things started to happen.

Like for example, I [:

And that's why the attorney was looking for his closest relatives. And when I saw my brother's death certificate, it was stamped on my birthday. So all these little weird things were happening. And then I got to the air airport, and I was looking at the flight chart up there that tells you when things are departing and, and arriving.

is? She goes, I don't know. [:

This is all just too much. 4, 6, 1 9 were the numbers that I grew up with on my phone number for the last, you know, since I was a baby, it was the number we still have and for me in that moment, I felt like my parents are saying, go, go find who you are. This is the time. So there were a lot of strange little things like that happening.

So that's what I felt hopping on that flight

carlyn said that whole flight. She was reliving moments of her life. Re-examining her past with a magnifying glass, Trying to see moments. She had lived through the lens of being an adoptee. When her plane landed, Carlyn needed an hour in her hotel, just to decompress from the depth of historical review she had focused on in the air. Before her hour of solitude was over Carlyn, made her way to the restaurant .

lm her mind get some tea and [:

[00:40:03] CARLYN: And again, it sort of started feeling a bit like when I was told I was an LDA, that whole sort of surreal feeling, but I remember she walked in and I looked at her clothes and thought, oh, that's like my outfit for tomorrow. that was the first thing I thought. And then she came and she, she had long, straight hair and I have straight hair, but my sh but mine was shorter and she sat down and I could tell we were both just looking at each other, like just really staring at each other.

And then, , We sat down and just started talking immediately, just started, you know, with, with superficial conversation to begin with, how is your flight? How's your room? You know, how are you doing? And then we started getting into things and I could tell I was much more, a little more reserved than I usually am.

like, oh, she was saying, I [:

So that initial thing was, it was fine. It was fine, but I knew I wasn't my whole self in that moment. Cuz part of it too is I had such an allegiance to my adoptive family. I really did. I mean, those were my siblings, those were the ones and it was hard to imagine anybody else coming into that fold. Right.

e wanted to see her aunt who [:

And so we drove to her house and the aunt looked at me and, and she said, we never knew about you. We never knew about you. So then we picked up the ant and then went to the state hospital, and this is the thing that was, I was in denial still. You know, there are all those five stages of grief.

I was still way in denial of this. Can't be my new, this cannot, I just can't believe this is happening to me. But then I would go through a checklist in my head, like, Nope, your sister told you, here's the proof, here's your half sister, the ancestry test didn't lie. And I'd be like, okay, okay. It is true. But then I'd be like, no, this can't be true.

in, I went, this can't be my [:

And I thought her ears were a little pointy it didn't look like that. And I thought, okay. And so the thing was, she had dementia, really bad dementia mm-hmm . And so she didn't even really know who Martha was. And so I remember I just was looking at her, you know, the entire time I kept my distance cuz she didn't want anybody to touch her and anybody, you know, when Martha would come and hug her, she'd push her away.

And so I just was observing, I was observing, I was observing and there came a time when I was sitting next to her at a big table. and I thought, okay, I don't feel anything for this person. And that's odd because I tend to feel like I'm a very compassionate person and I connect with people really well, but I, I thought I don't feel anything for her.

Isn't that odd. [:

And I remember reaching over when she wasn't looking and just slightly, just gently, ever so gently touching the back of her hand and thought, okay, now I'm gonna feel this recognition. Now I'm gonna feel a connection to my birth mother. And I felt nothing. And in that moment, she realized I was touching her and she just kind of flicked me away.

So I just always thought that was so strange that I felt no connection to her whatsoever.


So it would be, I would actually be surprised if you immediately sat down and found a connection, given that you just found out that you were. An adopted person. I can see what you're looking for, but it's not irrational in my mind to think, oh yeah. She just found out how could she feel connections to other people?

She's still exploring what she feels for like her own family. You know what I mean? Mm-hmm


You know, she'd worked very hard, her whole life. She was just this really tough kind of woman. And I remember as we were leaving, all of a sudden, I heard her say, can you ever forgive her? And I looked over at her and [00:46:00] she was standing next to me and . She had tears in her eyes and she said, can you ever forgive what she did to you?

and I guess what she was saying was that she gave me up or she abandoned me. And in that moment, I really thought about this woman. And I thought about the parents I was raised with, and I thought, boy, my, my birth mother and I had some, there was a lot of love between us, but there were a lot of, there was a lot of anger and resentment and, you know, there was a really a tough growing up there that I thought your adoptive mother, myself, my adoptive mother mm-hmm , but I thought I loved her and I'm glad for the family I had, you know, I adored my siblings and my father was amazing, you know?

And I, I thought of that. And I, I, I looked at her and I said, there's nothing to forgive. And she looked at me again and I said, really, there's nothing to forgive. because I felt that the right choice was made, I also I later learned from Martha that their upbringing was not a good one.

It was a really bad one [:

So I thought, wow, I just escaped that. And you know, that phrase their, for their, but for the grace of God, go, I mm-hmm , that's how I felt.


you learned she was mentally ill mm-hmm I wonder how much that played into her, inability to parent appropriately. [00:48:00]


And, uh, I do see that my half sister and my half-brother really suffered for it. And I, I guess I, I, in my mind, I'm like, yeah, she was mentally ill, but in my heart, I'm like, I felt for the kids. I felt like God, they didn't deserve that. They did not deserve that. And I'm, I'm pretty impressed and amazed how Martha came through with her life and was able to forgive and let go and have her own family, which is all she ever wanted.

Growing up. She told me all I wanted was a family because she didn't have that.


She had just met two relatives after discovering she's an LDA. And that was enough for the time. Only three months after they Carlyn's birth mother passed away. However Carlyn still felt like she needed to know more of the truth of her own story. She started interviewing her relatives to learn what they knew and it quickly became clear. No one knew who her birth father was. Eventually it hit Carlyn that it didn't matter who the man was anyway


So I realized, gosh, I don't really care who he was. I, I stopped caring about [00:50:00] that. And on ancestry now that I'm on there, I get the notifications. I'm like, I'm not pursuing it. I'm just, I'm, I've decided who my family is.

And, and yeah, if there was somebody who showed up as a sibling, somehow I, I might do that. But at this point , I've had enough with like, okay, I was able to say, what is family, who is my real family? And I've decided it doesn't have to be blood. My family who I grow up with is part of my family, you know, this new woman, this woman, Martha who's come in, you know, slowly, we we're getting to know each other.

can choose who you make that [:

And to me, that is family.

That, that makes a lot of sense. And I've often heard that kind of feeling and I've encouraged other adopted people to think about things that way, because. You can be placed in a family and get along famously or not get along at all. And you can have friends throughout your life.

Some of them come and go seasonally and others are there through every element, thick and thin high water, low tide, right. And then, you know, there's people that you in adoption end up finding in reunion and you are so deeply connected to them and others that you're not. And it's a, it's a combination of all of those people and the groups that I've described that can end up actually being your family throughout your life.

at you said that you sort of [:

Yeah, and I, and I'm extremely grateful.

I mean, I, I, I, I always say that a lot of people understand what it feels like to lose a loved one, or lose a friend to disease, you know, disease or whatever that is, but few people know what it feels like to lose your sense of self, who you are and what this has given me the opportunity to do, which I never would've thought twice about this one.

owed me to kind of come back [:

You know, it, it's not like it ever goes away. I think it's been three and a half years now that I discovered I was a late discovery adoptee, and I do get triggered. You know, I heard an episode that you did recently and I felt myself getting very emotional, listening to the late discovery, adoptee telling her story.

So I know a lot of that emotional upheaval may still be there and needs to be processed. And that's all that tells me. It's like, okay, you've got some processing to do and you know, just recognize what's happening. But I also feel a lot stronger from this



So I'm glad to hear that you feel stronger. Yeah. That's, that's amazing.


And suddenly I felt that, oh, these people feel, feel like I do. I suddenly felt like, oh, there was a tribe that you could listen to. And that's partially why I decided to write a book about my experience, cuz I hope that I saw how much pain other LDLs are in. I mean, it, it reminds me of when I see somebody on one of those Facebook groups who says, oh my God, I just discovered I was adopted.

It feels like they're one of these newborn little deer that are born, that are on spiny legs and they're trying to find their footing, but they can't quite, and I, I, I love that the community kind of goes around them and goes it's okay. It's okay. Just breathe. It'll be okay. But I also hoped, you know, that I could help in a greater way.

And that's why I ended up writing a book about my experience, cuz I hope that people could take something away from that and realize it's it's it feels like the end, but it's not the end.


When does it come out?


[00:55:18] DAMON: All right. Very good. I'm hopeful that other adoptees birth parents, late discovery adoptees specifically will get the book and, you know, take something from your strength in finding your way through this process.

Cuz it sounds like it happened. Super fast with very little sort of time to prep or think or focus. And it sounds though, like you've done some work in terms of therapy to get to this other side where you're feeling like you're stronger for the journey. And I think that's incredibly powerful. So Carlyn.

Thank you so much for being here. It's been really awesome talking to you.


[00:55:55] DAMON: Awesome. Take care all the best to you. All right.




The whole jarring experience of learning, she was adopted was so fresh in her head and she was meeting a woman. She had never thought of before that moment in her life.

I respect where Carlyn landed on trying to find her birth father, the space of a father figure is already occupied in her heart and mind. And there's no reason for her to explore another father figure.

onnections to other adoptees [:

That understanding and empathy can go a long way toward your healing. I'm Damon Davis, and I hope you found something in Carlyn'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 Really

So, , can I just ask on a personal note, my wife has a huge star wars nerd and loves Lucas Flo. Oh, can you gimme some like something to take to her that you edited? I'd love to say my guest today edited blah, blah,


right. Uh, Let me think I, what did I work on back then? Cuz I worked on a lot of movies. There was a lot of movie production going on up there. I think she'd be much [00:58:00] more interested in my husband because he worked on all those movies. He was, he was a hardcore, you know, he worked up there for about 30 years.

, but the other part that's hysterical is he is also the voice of Jabba the hut dying in the number in number three, Star Wars. Are you