David from Columbus, Ohio said he was practically at the front door of reunion, but drove away. Years later he finally found some siblings who looked almost exactly like him, and others who’s genetic connection was undeniable. David admitted he’s not an emotional guy, but the rollercoaster of his adopted mother sparking his curiosity, his fear of what he might face on a search, inaction when he had the chance, and the combinations of acceptance and rejection were a lot to bear over the years. This is David’s journey.
And like I said, by nature, I'm not a very emotional person. I don't wear my emotions, on my sleeve but man, this was probably the most emotional thing. And I've buried three parents. And by far, this is the most emotional thing I've ever done in my life.
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 David. He called me from Columbus, Ohio in David's story. You'll hear a man who was practically at the door of reunion, but drove away years later, he finally found some siblings who looked almost exactly like him and others whose genetic connection was undeniable. It's a story made for a book or a movie. Thankfully David has filmed it all. This is David's journey. When I spoke to David, he was in the process of filming a documentary about his adoption journey. He said that from what he's heard, he had a pretty charmed adoption. It was an arranged adoption. And he went straight from the hospital to his new home where he describes a fantastic life. His mother was a stay at home. Mom, his father ran a local used car lot.
I had a, you know, just total attention and they showered me with love attention that stayed active in everything. Church, small groups played sports and did everything. So any and everything that I could ever want need think about was provided before I could really even think need or want it. So I was very fortunate in my situation to know nothing but love. And, and, uh, so I was very blessed as a child. And that continues to this day.
David said he was an only child. His adopted mother was able to get pregnant one time, sadly, she had a bicycle accident and she was never able to get pregnant again. He said he had people in his life who filled the roles of siblings though. One dear cousin was like a big sister to David. He had a close buddy in the neighborhood, Kevin, who was also adopted, who was also adopted and was like a kindred spirit. And they grew up almost like brothers. They were that close. When I asked about adoption as an experience in his home, he said they only spoke of it twice in their house. The first time was when David was a boy, maybe five years old.
You know, when I was old enough to understand my parents sat me down and told me that I was adopted. And then it was never really an issue after that. I mean, I look so much like my mother that, you know, there was never any, any thing, you know, where wow, you look totally different or, you know, if you didn't know better, you would have thought. My mother gave birth. It was how much we looked alike. And as far as the love or the thing, it was never an issue, you know, within the family cousins, you know, I mean, it was known, it wasn't a hidden thing, but it's just not something you sat around and talked about. It never, never really was an issue for me growing up. And they never made me feel any different. Uh, I would assume this is how, you know, most families are
In adulthood. David's mother fell ill. She was taking care of her personal business and tidying her affairs with her loved ones. That was the second time they talked about adoption.
And then the second time was when my mother was taking care of her business at the end, when she was sick and knew she wasn't going to be here much longer. She sat me down and I was 39, man. So we, uh, and we talked about it again and that conversation was, Hey, if you ever want to look, it's okay. There's a picture of your birth mother here. And you will recognize it when you see it because you look just like her. So, um, we talked about it once when I was five. And then once when she was getting her affairs in order before she departed. So those were the only two times that it really ever came up.
What do you think when she said that to you at 39, there's a picture of your birth mother here and you look just like her?
Well, naturally I really, you know, my thing was, why are we even talking about this mom? You know, what, why, why is this coming back up? And you know, it was one of those boys just be quiet and listen, let me say what I got to say type thing, because I had such love and I never felt like I missed out on anything or never really. I mean, it was always in the back of my mind and the not knowing, but I never felt as if I was missing out on anything. So, you know, it was kind of one of those things, why are we even having this discussion? And, uh, but she had the foresight to see that later on, you know, as I got older that I may want to, and she just wanted to let me know it was okay with her, that from me not to feel guilty or not to feel any type of way, if I ever did decide to look and that there was a picture there, if I wanted to find it. And all of that, she was is basically telling me there's access to it. If you decide to do it, it's okay with me.
That's really amazing that she took that time to do so as she was preparing for her own transition, because there's so many adoptees who start their search, some of them don't even tell their adoptive parents that it has begun and then the person passes away and they don't actually have a concrete feeling as to how their parents would have felt about the search. But she, as you said, had the foresight to say, this might be something that comes up for you. I just want to make sure you know, I'm okay. I think that's amazing.
Oh, it was, it was, it's just one of many acts of love. And, and we'll get into this a little later, I'm sure. But just one of the many acts of love that she's shown through my life and for her to do that because, you know, I would have never, never thought about looking while she was alive. Like I said, I didn't miss out. And I had a fierce sense of loyalty to her, but she knew that through circumstances, whether it be through health issues, curiosity, whatever the case may be, there may come a point in time that I wanted to look. And so she just kind of gave me a clue or two that if I did, Hey, it's okay. And here's something that may help you. So that was very big on her, but that's the type of person she was. The type of person my mother was. She always thought of others. So that's one of the things that I love most about her
David's adoptive. Dad was from a large depression era family out of North Carolina. He was the kind of guy who showed his love by getting up every day and going to work to provide for the family. They did father, son bonding, things like fishing, but they had divergent interests. His adopted father was all about his business in cars. David was totally into sports.
My mother used to say, if there was a ball in the air, I was somewhere chasing it. So as I got a little older, you know, my interests were towards sports and his interests were toward business. And then he died when I was 17.
David said he felt love from his father, even though he wasn't the lovey dovey touchy feely kind of dude David's adoptive mother passed away in 1999 in the aftermath of handling her affairs and managing his own emotions. He especially paid attention to the pictures. There were two photographs of women that could have been possibilities to be his biological mother. He put those pictures aside, not ready to go down that road in the midst of his own grief. Two years later in 2001, David's curiosity started to creep in his mother had planted a seed and it started to grow. When he pulled the pictures out, he found some writing on the back of one of them. It was dated 1976. So David quickly eliminated that photo as a possibility for the identity of his biological mother. He says his wife at the time suggested he look into accessing his original birth certificate or OBC. David went to vital statistics, got his OBC, and finally learned his birth mother's name and birthdate. A buddy of his was a police officer. So David conveyed the woman's information and the officer returned with a woman's proper address. David and his wife at the time went to that address. Only two miles from where David grew up. As a boy,
We were sitting in front of the building that she lived in. And when it came that moment of truth, I looked at my wife and said, I can't do it. Can't do it. And drove off
Your plan was to just show up, knock on the door
Via, despite of all, all the things that you hear, all of the things that they say, well, you know, you don't want to shock anybody. I'm a straightforward person, always have been and probably will be till the day I die. Whether that's a good trait or bad trait, but when that moment of truth, because like most adoptees, you kind of wonder, well, what's it going to be like, what are they like? Whether you have fantasies in your own mind, any of that, then you also deal with that thought of rejection. What if they have not told if they've gone on had another life, started another family, and haven't told anybody about you and here you are showing up at the door and knocking on the door, talking about, I think I'm your son. And they look at you and go, man, you gotta go. I haven't told anybody about you. You gotta go. You gotta go. So that I think when that moment of truth came, um, that realization hit me right then
David, wasn't only thinking about his birth mother. He was thinking about the stability of his own world. He had a rich, full life behind him. What might be? He had a rich, full life behind him. He questioned what might be facing him in reunion. He had children of his own, a wife, and he wondered why he should disrupt someone else's life. When he felt plenty of love and wasn't missing or needing anything for himself. Why possibly up end and disrupt someone else's life unnecessarily. Anyway, David went years passing by this woman's building on errands, going to work or even going through his old neighborhood where he grew up. He drove by and looked and wondered, but the same thoughts that prevented him from getting out of the car the day he pulled up that day, he pulled up out in front, held him for 17 years. In 2018, David was 58. He had been facing the classic challenges of confronting physicians who asked about his medical history only to be left with the answer that leaves many adoptees feeling incomplete. I don't know I'm adopted. He was starting to have some of the issues that a man has to pay attention to. As he aged, he wanted to give more information about his own health history to his daughter. And he was looking right at the milestone age of 60 on the horizon.
That curiosity of not knowing exactly who I was. I mean, I knew David Bynum and how I grown up in the family and all that. But I did not know what my true roots were. And then you see the commercials for ancestry and you see all of these things. So I think all of that played a part to where, okay, David, it's that moment of truth either. You're going to do it now or are you going to let it go? Because I said, well, if I'm going to look, what am I going to look when I'm 60, when I'm 62 65. So I made the decision. I'm either going to look now or put this out of my mind and never think about it again. So I prayed about it, asked God to order my steps sat down in front of the computer and just started typing. You know, how do you find, or what's the best way to find your biological family?
The computer returned a link to the adoption network. Cleveland. He sent an email to the point of contact for adult adoption cases. Tracy. She made some recommendations, including getting another copy of his OBC. He lost the one he had obtained years earlier. David went on vacation while Tracy did her work. When he returned, Tracy had left a message for David.
So I gave her a call and she told me, she thinks she's pretty sure there was no way to be a hundred percent sure, but she was fairly certain. She had located my birth mother and family that I had two siblings. So the funny thing, and when I tell this story, I have to stop and laugh. When she told me I had two siblings, it was like, you see on television, the commercial where everything froze. And I don't think I heard another word. She said after she told me I had two siblings, I had a brother and a sister.
He said he suspected he might have siblings because his birth mother was young enough when she was born, that it was likely she had other children. He said it was unbelievable to go from being an only child to receiving the news that he was actually the oldest of five. Tracy emailed David, a report of her findings and suggestions on how to make contact. He sat and read everything from Tracy's thorough search of public records, addresses spouses, birth dates, and more naturally, he did what we often do in this modern era.
You know, once I got it, what I laugh and call cyber stock, cyber stock. My sister pulled up her Facebook page. And as the moment that I laid eyes on her, I looked at my wife and said, that's my sister. That's how much we look alike.
David looked into his brother, but he hadn't posted any pictures of himself. Only a hyperlink to his LinkedIn profile
His LinkedIn. I pulled it up and looked at him and we looked at like, like if, if I were shorter, he was taller. We'd almost be twins. Oh, it blew my mind, man. It blew my mind. The first thing I did when I looked at my sister's Facebook page was to look at friends. We had in common. And the very first friend that I saw of hers was a...