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092 – Paternally Unrelated
Episode 9212th August 2023 • Who Am I Really? • Damon L. Davis
00:00:00 00:29:01

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Cindy knew she was adopted, but she believed the men in her life where of biological relation – she thought she was adopted within the family. She lived decades with what she calls a lie. DNA testing revealed that her biological father was someone else entirely, and her search for her birthmother hasn’t returned any details about where the woman might be. She has developed two amazing relationships with a sister and cousin, but her 11 half siblings want nothing to do with her.

Read Full TranscriptCindy:                          00:02               I think that, even though I, I’m one that needs to know the truth, I can deal with things in time if I know the truth. Lying to me is like the worst thing you can do. So it took me a while to process that I had been lied to my entire life. Um, and that was a big low for me.

Voices:                        00:27               Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?

Damon:                       00:38               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 today you’re going to meet Cindy. She called from upstate New York, but she grew up in central New Jersey. Cindy knew she was adopted, but she believed the men in her life were of biological relation. She thought she was adopted within the family. She lived the decades with what she calls a lie. DNA revealed that her biological father was someone else entirely and her search for her birth mother hasn’t returned any details about where the woman might be. She has developed two amazing relationships, but her 10 half siblings want nothing to do with her. This is Cindy’s journey. Cindy was born in West Virginia where she was adopted at the age of three. Her parents were deemed unfit and she was removed from their home for child neglect. Cindy was adopted by her father’s brother.

Cindy:                          01:36               All my life I believed I stayed within my birth, at least my birth father’s family. And so I was adopted at three. I was raised in New Jersey and stayed there until I went to college.

Damon:                       01:50               Gotcha. So you, you called him Dad. So at three years old, transitioned out of poor care in West Virginia to your quote unquote Father’s care in New Jersey.

Cindy:                          02:04               Right. So I was adopted by my aunt and uncle.

Damon:                       02:06               Gotcha. But you didn’t know that

Cindy:                          02:08               I, well, I did at five. Um, New Jersey laws require that a child be told they’re adopted before they enter kindergarten.

Damon:                       02:17               Oh, that’s really interesting. I’ve never heard of a law that requires that knowledge be given to a child before. That’s fascinating. Have you heard of other states say that?

Cindy:                          02:26               I have not. Um, and I don’t know if it’s still the case, but back then they were required to let me know that I was adopted and they gave me the full story so I knew I was being raised by my aunt and uncle and I knew that my birth father was now my uncle. As crazy as that sounds,

Damon:                       02:44               Cindy said she doesn’t really remember a big dramatic transplantation when she was three. She had a good relationship with her uncle. Now, her dad,

Cindy:                          02:52               my adopted mother, I think resented me, thinks she felt forced that she had to take me, but my adopted father welcomed me with open arms and I never felt anything but like he was my father

Damon:                       03:09               despite one parent being resentful while the other was supportive, Cindy feels like her childhood was pretty typical. She was rebellious toward her stepmother and she used to hear a lot of that classic threat,

Cindy:                          03:20               wait till your father gets home and how much trouble you’re going to be in. I think she got pleasure out of that actually, which is kind of weird.

Damon:                       03:28               Cindy feels like the woman loved her the best that she could given the circumstances and in the face of some undiagnosed mental health issues. But her dad was great when Cindy was 13. Her parents adopted two siblings, brother and sister. They were 11 and seven years old.

Cindy:                          03:45               And that was very difficult. I resented them bringing people into this family at that point.

Damon:                       03:52               Yeah, I’ll bet. So you were the only up until you were 13?

Cindy:                          03:56               Yes.

Damon:                       03:57               Gotcha. And then they brought in an 11 and a seven year old.

Cindy:                          04:00               Correct.

Damon:                       04:01               And how did things change for you?

Cindy:                          04:03               I obviously went from being the only and very spoiled to having to share. Um, and I think the hard thing for myself, and I’m not making excuses, was they were already like people. Um, it wasn’t like a baby coming into the house and you learn to grow with that. So they were already, you know, little people and had their own issues and their own things. And I recall, I kind of resented that, I guess.

Damon:                       04:32               Yeah, it can be a very different dynamic. It’s not like having a baby that you can sort of watch grow, you know, sort of mold with the nurture part of the equation. Yeah. And at 13 that would be challenging.

Cindy:                          04:45               Yeah, I didn’t like it much.

Damon:                       04:48               Did you get along with them at all? What was your interaction? Cause they’re siblings so they know they’re related to each other and as you said, they’re young people so they know they’re not related to you. How did you all get along?

Cindy:                          05:00               Okay. I, I definitely never developed a brother, sister relationship with them. I was, you know, I was a young teenager and interested in myself and really didn’t develop a relationship with them other than what I had to, but certainly not a brother, sister, sister, sister, relationship at all.

Damon:                       05:22               Something else happened when Cindy was a teenager. That was significant, but it just didn’t register for her at the time.

Cindy:                          05:28               I can remember asking my adopted father, we were sitting in the living room and the reason this will be important is because of where it takes me now. But I remember saying, Oh, when I get married, who’s going to walk me down the aisle, you or my actual birth father. And I remember him getting very angry and saying he is not your birth father, Ben is your birth father and that will be significant as we move forward. As I have, you know, as I am older and I’m having children, I want to know, you know, and I remembered him saying this about the Ben but I kind of put it out of my mind. It was, you know, he was angry. I thought he was upset cause I asked

Damon:                       06:14               and was ben a familiar name to you at all or was it...



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