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An Uncle's Promise
Episode 8323rd January 2024 • Family Twist • Corey and Kendall Stulce
00:00:00 00:30:34

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In this episode of Family Twist, host Corey delves into the intricacies of family bonds and the impact of distance on relationships. Joined by his niece Samantha in St. Louis, they explore the journey of their family's cross-country moves and the deep connections maintained despite geographical separations. Samantha's candid insights and Corey's reflections on family dynamics offer a touching perspective on how familial love and shared experiences shape our lives, regardless of the miles between us.

An Uncle's Promise


  • Corey's decision to delay his move to the West Coast until after Samantha's birth, highlighting the importance of family in major life decisions.
  • The evolution of Samantha's and Corey's relationship over the years, including their special traditions and shared memories.
  • Samantha's love for roller coasters, spurred by early childhood experiences with Corey and Kendall.
  • The significance of maintaining family connections across long distances, illustrated through regular visits and constant communication.
  • Samantha's growing interests in social justice and her perspective on donor rights and donor-conceived individuals.
  • A discussion on the importance of knowing one's medical history, especially in the context of donor conception.
  • Samantha's thoughts on her future, including her aspirations for a career and a family, and her preference for adoption over biological parenthood.
  • Insights into Samantha's academic drive, organizational skills, and her views on nature versus nurture.
  • The role of family history and experiences in shaping Samantha's outlook on life, relationships, and her future aspirations.

This episode of Family Twist offers a profound look into the dynamics of family relationships, emphasizing the enduring bond between uncle and niece. Samantha's perspectives, from her academic ambitions to her thoughts on adoption and family, coupled with Corey's anecdotes, paint a vivid picture of a family navigating life's twists together. Their discussion not only highlights the importance of maintaining familial connections across distances but also delves into deeper themes of identity, heritage, and the shaping of future generations.

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Hey, welcome back to Family Twist. It's Cory here. I am in St. Louis visiting family, so Kendall is not with me, he's, back on the East Coast with the Critters. But I am sitting with our niece, Samantha. Sam, you've been asking about being on the podcast for a little while, right?

Well, when your uncles, have a podcast, I obviously want to be on it. Well, I mean, we know you don't have any family twists like The ones that we typically talk about on the show. So, like, no DNA surprises yet. No, not yet. We'll see. And, no adoption stories or anything like that yet.

But you are part of the story. The bigger story of, you know, Kendall and Corey moving across the country. So. 9 years before we decided to move to New England to, reunite with Kendall's,birth family and his dad's side , we had made the decision to move to the West Coast to the San Francisco Bay Area.

was pregnant with Sam and so [:

I've heard about it my whole life. Well, you can't even see it anymore. Yeah, unless I go bald. Maybe I'll join you, Sam. Maybe, yeah. So, my big thing, my big worry about moving halfway across the country is that, that you wouldn't really, well, not that you wouldn't know who I am, but we wouldn't have the kind of close relationship that I wanted us to have.

ut it's always been great to [:

Was definitely like very fun because I could get to say that I have family outside of Missouri, right? Yes, and visiting you guys is always fun And I was always happy that we still had that close connection even in different states. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, so you and Your mom started visiting us In the Bay Area.

I think the first time you were two. Yeah. And that was a crazy, whirlwind experience because you guys, you know, flew in to the Bay Area. And then we immediately drove to, Southern California to go to Disney World. Yeah. And you probably don't remember any of that, but you've seen photos and stuff.

the experience of taking you [:

Oh, no, I love roller coasters now. Maybe you, maybe you gotta be started on it. Oh, that could be. Because I love roller coasters and I was scared of them for a little while, but now I'm all about them. I'll go on any roller coaster. Awesome, any. What about the ones that, shoot you straight up and go, like, go back down in the same direction?

I've never seen them. I know about that one rollercoaster where, like, you go on it, like, people who are, like, old in age or have diseases go on it. So, like, cause, like, it's so fast that it kills you. Have you not heard about that? No, I'll have to look into that. Yeah, yeah, you might not want to ride it, but Yeah.

No, I'm guessing I'm not going to ride that one. Yeah, but I, I like them. I did the Tilt in Chicago, Is that where you're like hanging over the side of a building? Yeah. Oh, I can't do that. I've also done the Dragonfly at Six Flags. Which is where they like drop you and you're like swinging.

No, I definitely like roller [:

So, what are your earliest memories of, like, the wax museum? Us getting together either here in St. Louis or in California my earliest earliest memories were like whenever we went to california and We did go in the wax museums and like there was like spider man and all that we took all the photos But my earliest memories that like I like that is just like bits and pieces But I remember when you guys came in and I was at The Maryland Heights house.

pieces, but. Definitely not [:

Oh, I remember the first time I watched Teen Beach movie was at your guys old place in California. Oh, well, congratulations. Thank you. It was a great movie. I tease Sam's mom a lot, my sister, Rachel, but she was really good about, Taking videos and talking to Sam about us and asking her questions about us when she was 234 years old.

And, you know, that was just another way to, like, make sure that we were in the picture, even though we were, you know. Thousands of miles away. kudos to Rachel for doing that. Cause that's, it's fun. And she would post the videos on Facebook or text them to me. now you have, now there's all these embarrassing videos of you.

ndall pooped in the bed. Oh, [:

Hopefully not, um, because I slept in the bed after that, hopefully not. So yeah, I definitely made it a point. even in those early days, that either Sam would come out with my sister or Sam would come up with my sister and my mom, at least once a year. And then I came home at least once a year and usually stayed at least 1 or 2 nights at with your family, you know, um, there was, a Christmas Eve that I stayed over.

, the white robe? Yes. Yeah. [:

Oh, one of my earliest memories is I remember always getting Muppets. Yes, even if you weren't in town and we called you for Christmas, I'd always get them I'd always get huge boxes of all the Muppets characters. That was one thing that was very like our thing. Yeah Yes, do you still like the Muppets? Yeah, I still have all the stuffed animals.

Oh, awesome. They were in storage I don't know where I guess they're in the basement now. Yeah, I still have all of them. All right. So like when you think about Our relationship. What would you how would you describe our relationship and your relationship with Kendall? Um, I think I'm definitely closer with you than I am with Kendall But I say I say I'm pretty close with you guys.

I mean obviously like You can't be super close because of, like, just being so far away from each other has obviously, like, been a lot, but I think, if you guys move back, I think it would be great, and whenever you're in town, it's like nothing's changed, like, it's not, like, awkward or anything like that.

t. I think we do have a good [:

And she's so close with you guys, so I've always been very close. Yeah, we keep a family text going. well there's one that's just me and Rachel and Joe. And then there's one that Mom is on too, but I mean they're both, None with me in them. Not yet, well, they're pretty uncensored. Yeah. Put it that way, they get pretty raw.

Maybe not appropriate, so you kind of brought something up that reminds me of like some friendships I have with People like my college roommate, Matt, or some friends that I went to high school with that have moved away or like, you know, my good friend, Rachel Beck, who's we're going to see tomorrow.

with somebody, you know them [:

Yeah, because I know, um, a lot of people have talked about this, like where, like, you can like not see somebody for like months on end or for us even a year sometimes, um, or more. Yeah. If like the circumstances aren't met, like during COVID, it probably didn't seem for like two years or three or something, maybe a long time.

h out is Enough to know that [:

Yeah, absolutely And you'll experience that with friends someday, especially if you're like if you do end up going to college On one of the coasts, you know, you're just gonna have friends that stay in Missouri. It's like, you know, we have friends that have, you know, stayed in Missouri, so you just, you know, you figure out how to navigate those relationships and if they're meant to be, you know, then you'll still have the closeness whenever you see each other, you know, which is pretty cool.

So one of the things I noticed last year, so last year, you and me and Rachel went to New York right around Christmastime. And that was cool to have like a vacation together and I was just impressed that like One, we're reading like an actual physical book. And it was Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar.

ch I thought that was really [:

hopefully maybe me and Kendall have rubbed off you a little, you know, a little that way, because I know, you know, your mom's not super interested in politics. Yeah, not me. And your dad's politics don't necessarily align with Kendall and my politics. Yeah, like opposite ends of the spectrum. Yes. So I thought that was really cool.

I'm just kind of curious to get your opinion about something. We talked a little bit earlier when we weren't recording about some of the episodes of the podcast have been themed about donor conception. people who, find out that they were donor conceived, either early on their parents told them or sometimes it's really traumatic because they don't find out.

Until they're adults and then it rocks their world like, Oh my goodness, my dad is not really my birth father. And I've got all these half siblings out there. some of the people that we've been talking to are getting into advocacy. And what they're really fighting for is, donor anonymity, because there's a lot of gray area and not a lot of regulation with that.

now, they'll donate and they [:

What do you think about? Donor rights. there needs to be, like, some, regulation? if you're born from, uh. donor, and say, say your parents they don't want to tell you, like, they don't want this to come in between their relationship. if your parents told you, if you could get your own history I think that that's something you really should know, so that, people are safe and know where they come from, because that's how a lot of these things are coming into the light now are these home DNA tests and people are finding out they're getting online and finding out like I've got half [00:13:00] siblings.

I don't know this person's name and I don't have any half siblings and what's going on.

I would want to know everything like even health risks, I would want to know about that,

it just really sets you on a rocker, I could never imagine being, well into my life and, started my career and all of this stuff and then finding a whole nother part of my life that's been unlocked.

Like, it's just, whoa, it's really scary. Yeah, Kendall's fortunate in that, he always knew he was adopted, and so his, his adoptive parents were always very open with him as to, his situation.

And, in Arkansas, it was closed adoption. So he really had no outlet for trying to find his birth family, until these, Consumer home DNA tests, came along, which is why he had to wait, 47 years to find this whole big family, right? but you're right.

instinct is right in that it [:

Absolutely. it's just so like life changing,

So I'm going to put you on the spot a little bit, because I've never asked you about this before, and I know you're 15, so of course you've got years to make decisions and change your mind have you thought about, like, do you, have you thought about wanting to have a family of your own someday?

With children? Yeah, I have thought a lot about it, as I'm getting older, I'm thinking differently. obviously ask me this in ten years, and it's gonna change. Yeah. But, everybody says that this isn't like, this isn't how I'm gonna think when I'm older, but I've never wanted to have my own children.

I think pregnancy is a really beautiful thing, and for a woman to be able to do that, it's like, Amazing to create life as much as it is an amazing thing I think I'd want to adopt.

huge advocate for adoption, [:

Like, adoption is like, an amazing way to, like, one, help the world. Like, there are, like, kids who want just a home. And I think that adopting is a beautiful thing,

I definitely want to adopt, and I've been like that, like, my whole life.

Like, I know I'm a child, Fortunately, we're not living in the time when, you know, young women your age were like, you know, living on the farm and starting to have kids.

Yeah. Thank goodness. I can't cook. And I'm not fond of cleaning, so. whoever I marry, hopefully will be a good cook. But, yeah, I'm definitely very passionate about working And I want to make my own money and be successful,

I think it's awesome that you're already thinking about the next, stages and what you kind of want to do.

lk about you know like I got [:

Yeah a couple years ago, I would do anything to get out of homework like this weird thing about me is, Mom, my mom thinks this weird, but I like every single night. I'll write down I have one of my notes app right now like yesterday I have to write down everything that I do and then I have a certain time for how long that'll take so for showering I give myself an hour

and then picking out my outfits, 30 minutes, skin care is 30 minutes. So I calculate, how long that'll all be and then I set that from whatever I want to go to sleep at. So if I want to go to sleep at, like, 9 or 10, um, and say everything's gonna take me three hours, I'll, start everything at 7.

itely want to be An academic [:

And I want to do good, so When did that switch change for you? what was the aha moment that Well, for me, I've always, been smarter, so I've always wanted to succeed in school. Yeah, you've always gotten good grades, and we've always known that you're very, very smart, but like, you weren't always as studious.

Yeah, it's this year. I thought okay. I'm starting my high school career I know colleges are going to look into these records, and I want to get into a good college so I really need to lock in this year last year I didn't as much I know 8th grade does matter, but at the same time, I was like, I'm in 8th grade, who's gonna be looking all the way back and if you do that was me a while ago.

I definitely have just switched from last year, like, never doing my homework and All of that, and like, taking whatever classes, they gave to me this year, like, picking all accelerated classes and, getting ahead in all my classes. four of my classes right now, I'm days ahead.

ever have. Because I want to [:

Yeah, that's really impressive you're talking about organizational skills at fifteen and planning do you think about the concept of nature versus nurture at all? Is that something that you've learned about in school? the things that you naturally get from your genetics, traits and things like that versus the things that you are exposed to and taught, like, on the nature side, I I think it's fair to say that your parents were not the best students. Yeah, I know.

Dad dropped out of high school. Mom dropped out of college. So, like, where do you think that drive comes from? I really, really don't know. I know both my mom and my dad are hard workers. True. They're both very hard workers, even if they don't have book smarts. there's different things about each parent.

my dad has always, been very, very good at math, where my mom is very good at, like,technical skills

And I think a lot of it does come from nurture. seeing my siblings, like, my sister, She excelled in school. She was very smart. and then seeing my brother kind of challenged more.

nna sound bad, but I kind of [:

I don't get a lot of validation from boys that much, so. There's plenty of time for that. I And you don't need validation from the boys. Or the girls, or wherever you end up. Yeah, but definitely Self validation for life.

There you go. Yes. I just wanted academic validation. It was just one of the things that kind of boosted my ego the most. It's a confidence builder for you. there's like a generation gap, between you and your siblings 2 generation gaps.

I wonder if that generation gap kind of inspired this, quest for academics. Oh, that's actually a really good point. I've never thought about that.

Yeah, my twin siblings are, seven years older than me and then my oldest brother is 20 plus older than me.

be close and I, and, no hate [:

So I think seeing that taught me a lot and just me and my mom like having such a close relationship because of being on our own we had a lot of sources around us that were love and a lot of people cared for us But like just separating from my siblings and my father For like even a little bit of time was definitely like something that bonded us together a lot more So I think just seeing the connection I have with my mom has taught me healthy relationships with your children.

o them, you know? Right. But [:

She voiced how she felt, and I think that's really important, going to therapy before they separated I think that's important, and honestly, it's just taught me, how I want to see my family.

I see family as a very positive thing, I know that family is important and it doesn't make me not want to find love. Like love is like one of my biggest, like it's love and success for me.

that's where, the nature and [:

your grandma didn't have that with her parents. Yeah, so it's almost like it started with grandma Continued on through Rachel now, it's gonna continue through Sam and then Sam's kids Yeah, grandma's told me about her parents and I think that she went through a really hard thing and for her to be such an amazing like she's my like I mean, obviously my parents come first, but she is one of my favorite people on this entire planet, like, I would do anything for her, and she's sacrificed so much for me, and done so much for me that I want to be like her in every way when I'm older.

But The way she is with her [:

Yeah, it definitely passed down from her to her kids. And I think her parents shaped that in a way that my parents will too. Right. Like it's the same thing. Right. You look at the challenges or the mistakes that people before you made and you don't want to make those same mistakes again.

Exactly. yeah, you want to be better. Yeah, exactly. Like, if you don't grow up with the best home life, you want to be perfect for your kids. Yeah. And that's how I think she was. That's really cool because I hadn't really talked to you about your, your perspective on family as a whole and future and stuff like that.

So I really I appreciate you, being open to talking about it. there are young adults your age that probably wouldn't be so open to talking about it, you know? in a podcast that goes out to the, to the entire planet. Yeah. Yeah, I know. But just hoping my dad knows.

Yeah. I don't think he [:

No, I wouldn't. I was so excited to come on. I've been asking since you first got it. I know. I know. But I feel, you know, feel like that this is the perfect opportunity to do it. Another bonding moment for us, another moment for us to be closer. another thing for you to remember down the years, when, I retire and you take care of me and Kendall when we're old Yeah. I'll buy you that mansion. I'll buy you that mansion. Awesome. That's what I love to hear. I'll always entertain you, you know, with jokes and whatever.

And I love to cook, you know, so then there you go. Works out perfect.

you're giving me food and wisdom, I'll give you a house. Yeah, perfect! Wisdom and food for a house. I'll take it.