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6: Yvonne – I Felt Like I Could Breathe Again
Episode 614th August 2021 • Birth Moms Real Talk • D. Yvonne Rivers
00:00:00 01:03:50

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In a way, this is my own Birth Moms Real Talk episode from an interview with Damon L. Davis, host of the "Who Am I Really?" podcast. We discussed my reunion with my son after more than 40 years apart. I shared the loneliness of my pregnancy, my desire to keep her son versus against my inability to do so, the moment I came face to face with my son’s adoptive mother and the search to find the man he grew up to be.

This episode first appeared in June 2021 as episode 154 of the "Who Am I Really?" podcast with Damon L. Davis (, @WAIReally).


154 - I Felt Like I Could Breath Again



And the first question she asked, she said, do you want him back? And , my response was, I wish that I could. I just can't take care of him.


Damon: [::

Patreon thanks

Hey, real quick. I just wanted to share my appreciation for a new Patreon donor, and you'll never guess who it is. It's last week's guest Sari. She told me in a message that she had been meaning to contribute for a while. So I thanked her for taking action to be supportive of the, who am I really podcast?

If you've been meaning to contribute, take a moment to do it right now. Go to ai really to show your support for more adopt these stories coming to light


rough me with Ann Marie, a [::

I said, I think it's really important That someone initiate a podcast where natural mothers like Anne Marie can tell their stories too, like adoptees can share their journeys here. After that episode, I got an email from Yvonne that red.

Damon your last podcast was my confirmation that I need to do a podcast for natural mothers. I found my son two and a half years ago, after 45 years.

Since November of::

She was a country girl who grew up on a farm, raising pigs, chickens, and growing vegetables and wheat for bread. . She said she laughs at what passes for organic today based on how she grew up. Her family was self-sustaining everything they grew and raised they lived on

Yvonne: [::

She described herself as always being an inquisitive person, asking questions and wondering why things were the way they were the youngest of three children. Yvonne considers herself a tomboy.

Yvonne: [::

So I played the marbles. I rode the bike. In fact, quite frankly, my brothers with a bet against their friends have educated, beat my sister and riding the bike, but I couldn't

Damon: [::

So I always felt as if I , could do, I could do a boys did or whatever

Damon: [::

And that's true. That is a true thing that I have seen, , before my eyes.

Damon: [::

And there's a diverse, a big difference, right? It can be sort of accepted in society. Like, yeah, he's over there and he's not bothering me and I'm not going to hurt him. And then there's actually opportunity

After high school, [::

Going from rural Virginia's farm life to that university, two states away was a huge culture shock. At 18 years old, Yvonne had never even spent a night away from home and there she was launching her collegiate studies. . She was scared to death to use her words, but she desperately wanted the opportunity to achieve more.

Yvonne attended Lincoln on scholarship and took jobs on campus in the lab, worked as a trainer and started a business, Kind of a precursor to Uber while she was there. There were a few dollars of scholarship money leftover. So Yvonne bought a car and shuttled people to Philadelphia, to the airport or bus station.

a physician in Africa. So [::

And so after getting my degree, the next year that I was an analytical chemist for three years then became a stockbroker and then went into my own business, which Ive been in for the last 32 years.

Damon: [::

That was my first job after college.

Damon: [::

He was in and out of different living situations and was trying to sort himself out. And it was around that time that they reconnected.

Yvonne: [::

And so I did know until that time. So at th at the time when it's a, what did I think is like, okay, uh, what am I going to do? , I reached out to, to the father and quite frankly, he was not in a situation over leaving. I think even knowing what I was saying to him. And so it was thinking in terms of what, what will I do?

I'll note that my [::

And so when I went home and talked to them first, my mom, and as I said before, a mom, you really wouldn't know she's in the room. So when I said to her, I said, mom, I'm pregnant. And it was silence. And I don't say that was different because at my family has been very non-communicative family of not talking or responding.

I shared, my dad worked in [::

And so I didn't know what I would do, but I knew I would need help. And at that particular point I wasn't getting any help. And so it was trying to figure out what's the next step.

Damon: [::

I expected a response, but I never got a response at all.

Damon: [::

Okay. So then maybe about three or four hours later. Well, meanwhile, he left. Um, my mother did not drive.

Damon: [::

I drove myself

Damon: [::

There were no private rooms in hospitals, but somehow he got me a private, rural, and meaning that it was another bed, but no one ever came in there. And because he had set that up that way, , I did not see, , my son, when he was born, I heard him had good lungs. , and so after I had delivered, I was taken back to my hospital room and I was there for three days.

me up and take me home and [::

I have a son. I remember doing that. I have a son

Damon: [::

That's how I did it. Nothing ever was ever said to me again, or questions or anything, anything

Damon: [::

That means somebody came and got the car, but did not actually come in to see you.

Yvonne: [::

I mean, I'd seen it during elementary school, high schools just to not talking like not acknowledging. And it wasn't just that time that I was pregnant, but I said it was a very good student and it was not even acknowledging that accomplishment and you know honor society. You know, I played in band concert band and recognitions and not really getting that.

anding whatever generation [::

And so I just looked in the phone book for that last name and wrote a letter. I wanted the family to know , the reason why wasn't, because I didn't love my son and didn't want to take care of him I just couldn't. And I wrote a letter and, , I was still at my parents' home and I had left the phone number and the mother called.

ked, she said, do you want [::

that you've got this secondary opportunity and you just, you can't make it happen.

Yvonne: [::

That is fact it's not because he was not wanted. It was because I simply could not take care of him. And his father was not available either to help in any way.

Damon: [::

, actually one of my probably after three or four years, , I had moved jobs from, and being analytical chemist to a stock broker. And I was riding with a coworker and it, turned out she had been adopted and she had, I guess, but it was like a family adoption or something. And she was, was about to meet or heard of, or knew it was learning some things about her birth mom.

nted him have a good life. [::

That's incredible.

Yvonne: [::

So when opportunity presented itself, I would, , but it was pretty much mostly on a one-to-one shared arrangement, shared, , where we, the conversation.

Damon: [::

She believed in their right to privacy. Yvonne did take advantage of the state of Virginia's adoption registry and periodically when she had life changes, she would update her address and medical information with the state. She knew that when he turned 18, her son could contact the department of social services and ask for her letters and

Yvonne: [::

Because my only time, because I said I left about at three days later, he couldn't, he left a few days after that in the way we had first set up the placement with the attorney in the, in the signing of the documents, is that the law firm who was handling adoption of paralegal is someone from the firm would pick my son up at the hospital.

my son for the first time [::

She told me God has taken her on some twists and turns during her journey. And her time as a stockbroker was one of them. She was working out of Richmond, Virginia

, only 30 miles from Petersburg. So she would visit home from time to time. Yvonne also had a client assigned to her there in petersburg a physician so she called to make an appointment to introduce

Yvonne: [::

Where the office, the building was located and the vicinity, uh, what I knew the adoptive parents lived, I put it all together 10 seconds and then it was like, I mean, it was, I was, I think I was hyperventilating. Okay. What am I going to do? Cause I, when I came in and announced myself, but it was like, you know, I didn't make appointment with her.

It was with the doctor. And so I said, get yourself together Yvonne, stand up. Because behind her was a credenza that had a picture that seemed like a family picture. And the first thought in my mind was my son is in that picture. I've got to see that picture. I got myself together enough to be able to stand up.

ctor came out and I had to [::

Cause I knew he had to be in that picture.

Damon: [::

I was just, I just couldn't just couldn't. It was too far, but I just couldn't, but I could tell it was a picture seeing me of a family. So he's gotta be

unbelievable. Unbelievable.

At that time, Yvonne would have been about 28 years old. Her son was about six years old in that picture that she never saw. Sometime later after that harrowing incident. Yvonne was

Yvonne: [::

That was one of my first thoughts.

Damon: [::

That was really a lot.

Damon: [::

She searched online using Facebook and LinkedIn, but never really found anything. At first yvonne found her son's younger brother one of two boys born into her son's family after his

Yvonne: [::

I was a internet slooth . Cause I'm looking for myself and uh, I saw a profile come up and looked at the face and it's like, I remember saying, that's my son. I remember calling my best girlfriend was my college roommate. We've known each other for over 50 years. And I said, I found my son on LinkedIn.

requested a connection and [::

And he was texting when he was on the way. And I said is, you wouldn't do it this Damon. When I said, text me before you, come into the hotel lobby because I may pass out. But because I got to get prepared to see you. So I was serious, you know, how you gonna respond to your child you havent' seen it forty-five years.

And so I texted him, I say, well, I'm sitting in the lobby on a, sofa facing the fireplace. And so it was getting close to 12 noon and it's like, I was looking at my clock. I think it was like 10 minutes to, and so of course I was facing away from the lobby doors where people come in and you don't have a good sort of sense that somebody is there.

nd, and I say it this way. [::

And I know people in the lobby were wonder what's up with us, but I just didn't even care.

That is on believable. That embrace. Must've just felt absolutely

Yvonne: [::

Did you just sit and talk?

Yvonne: [::

And that was the beginning. That was the beginning.

Damon: [::

How did he receive it?

Yvonne: [::

So just a lot of just family history stories that, um, he now knows his roots.

Damon: [::

There's so much to try to convey and. My birth mother, and did the same thing. She was a genealogist and she was a librarian and just a skilled, , researcher. And she found all of this family history and she gifted me a, an album of pictures of herself and, , , a whole lineage of our family.

And it was just this amazing connection back to history, both personal and global, you know, from, you know, the days of, you know, the Jim Crow south through the slave trade. And it was just such an interesting way to get connected back. I can imagine what he felt like to receive that from you that's,

Yvonne: [::

So that was the kind of thing that was able to show him, you know, what, you know, because I, we believe, you know, no way you come from to know where you're going and realizing he wouldn't have had all of that. Wow.

Damon: [::

Right. And so I think it's really powerful for adoptees to hear some of the stories of birth mothers, which brings us to. Your project.

Yvonne: [::

Everybody's different, of course. But when I heard that I reached out to you. I remember sending an email, you immediately responded and that's it. I want to do a birth mom podcast, just like that, because I think a comment you said on the show is that, that, uh, you would hope that a birth mothers would step up and do that because that's something that's needed.

And I have had realized that before, because, and I use a terminology I've been in the rooms, meaning birth mom, support groups or whatever, even before I found my side. Even before, you know, and recognizing that there's a community there, there's, I call it a village there of being related to each other.

al with this, this journey [::

How do you deal with that? And so conversations around it and, and being in roles in different people and different perspectives and so forth. So this podcast, birth moms real talk. Is going to be exactly that real talk with birth moms, as well as a discussion about different topics. It's sometimes a tough, I'm calling them hot topics.

all of that memory is real [::

One being, , our say and for me, and I believe from my son also that that time we saw each other for the first time, that was the beginning of both of our healings. I truly believe that. And nobody's from me. And because as he, as a, you put it that way, I have a missing piece of myself where that time it was 45 years.

So he'll be 48 in October. So all four 48 in October, from that time of looking him in his face, that first time I still see, and that was something I said to him, the day we met, I said, you still got my eyes. He still got my nose. She still got my mouth. I could see it. I could just see it, that it was etched in my mind, 45 years before I saw it.

When I saw it on that first day.

Damon: [::

But I mean is relatively seriously that I believe there are a lot of birth mothers. Like you listening to the podcast because it's like. If you've ever had children and you've driven in the car with them, you know, they'll sit in the back seat and they'll talk to each other as if you're not even sitting there.

d for one another, to hear [::

And, and so I'm excited for your show because this is another piece of the story. That precedes our own piece of the story. We know if reunion happens and we hear your version of the story, we, we hear certain parts of it and we're able to, to fathom certain parts of it. But to have you all talk to each and bring out the history of how you got to this point where you found yourself pregnant, what it was like to traverse that pregnancy, be it as a community or very much alone.

poses sort of has you in a [::

So I'm just really happy that you. Have taken the initiative and are inviting women to open up with their courage to share their stories. I think it's going to be amazing.

Yvonne: [::

The whole, I see adoption, what people go through and the reunion. And specifically like when I was in new unit with my son and I shared that, and sometimes the response was all, I guess, now everything is fine, you know, like as bad, as easy as that. So is that like, you just, you know, you're away from your job for 45 years and now you meet them at all.

Okay. Everything just immediately go. Yeah, exactly. I actually, somebody said that, oh, think good now. Oh man. Well, it is, I'm grateful and I'm blessed of that, but it's working through that and the healing. That's a big part of it and understanding that whole, when you, or you heard me say that I wrote a letter to just let the adoptive family know.

do reasoning. Why? That I [::

I placed my son in adoption. So that's fighting words for me. You got to fight on your hand from Yvonne you say that to me?

Damon: [::

Mom's real talks podcast to the air so that people can hear some stories from some birth moms. So congratulations on getting the surrogate show going. Yeah. Thank you

Yvonne: [::

I'm so grateful for your time and your openness and your candor. Thank you so much. And you take care. All right.

Yvonne: [::

Episode Close

Damon: [::

It was that meeting with her son. That allowed Yvonne to breathe again after more than 45 years.

You've now heard two birth mother's stories on the, who am I really podcast. And Yvonne would like to bring more stories forward. She's launching a new podcast called "Birth Moms Real Talk"coming out in another week and it'll be available wherever you get your podcasts.

I've heard one of the episodes of birth moms real talk, and it was enlightening to hear the experience of another birth mom besides Ann Marie and Yvonne, my guests. And there are so many more stories to come.




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