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065 – Two Years Too Late, Then I Was Shocked
Episode 6524th July 2021 • Who Am I Really? • Damon L. Davis
00:00:00 00:28:20

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Dana received her original birth certificate and when her husband looked up her birth mother’s name they found her obituary. It took her two years to find an address for her surviving aunt and a year to find the courage to write to her. Her Aunt gave Dana a name for the man who could be her birth father, but he was also deceased. Luckily DNA testing told a different story.

Read Full TranscriptDana:                          00:03               She never knew about me. She thought that she was an only child for her her entire life. So finding out that she has an older sister that came as kind of like shocks or she. So she just told me she knows she needs, she needs time sheets, she needs space and I get that. You know, it’s like, I can’t imagine going thinking that you’re an only child for like most… for your entire life. Minifying boom. You have an older sister.

Damon:                       00:35               Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?

Damon:                       00:47               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 Dana. She called me from Ohio A state we know has opened adoption records. Dana shares her story of growing up with two younger siblings, biological to her parents, but feeling equally loved by her parents. She tells the heartbreaking story of learning that she would never meet her biological mother and the near miss of a second heartbreak with her suspected biological father. Luckily, Dana was able to recover from some misinformation to learn her father’s identity. This is Dana’s journey. Dana grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio. Originally, her mother didn’t think she could have children, but after Dana’s adoption, their family did expand naturally.

Dana:                          01:43               My adoptive, I’m like, um, a series of miscarriages and she was told that she, she would never have a child see a child of her own to full term. So she put it in an application through the Catholic charities and they called her like on her birthday and they told her that we have this little girl here, she’s French and Serbian, we know that your husband is, would you like to come look at her? Or my parents were like, really excited. They go, of course. Yeah, we weren’t gonna come take a look at her. So they went in to the orphanage. Um, I think it was a saint John’s Children’s home in Cleveland, Ohio. And they, they took a look at me and my mom said there was kind of like love at first sight and they took me home, my mom’s birthday. So, um, every year on her birthday we celebrated like um a cake for her and then cake for me because it was, there was our, our Gotcha Day and I love it. It was never kept a secret from me. It was never hidden. My mom actually did go on to have like, um, another, uh, a baby to full term that’s my sister and also like a son of full term of adoptive brother and sister. And it was, it was pretty cool because when, um, when my mom was pregnant with my sister, they actually came up for like, um, adoption for like a second time because she wanted a sibling for me. And the social worker called her and my mom goes, I’m willing, you know, I can’t do this now I’m pregnant. And she goes, well, you know, since, I know you had such a hard time. Like I’m keeping baby to full term. We’re gonna do is. I’m going to put your, file your case down at the bottom of the file. I want you to call me when that baby’s born. And my mom did and my social worker actually came out to see me and my sister and my sister was born, so it was really, really sweet that she, that she did that and everything, you know,

Damon:                       03:43               That is really sweet, wow that is so incredibly thoughtful. Boy. She’s the right person for that kind of job.

Dana:                          03:48               Exactly.

Damon:                       03:50               Dana’s sister is three years younger than her and her brother is 11 years younger. She acknowledges that there was a significant age gap between herself and her brother, but they were all treated equally. You may have heard Dana say that her family was told she was French and Serbian. When people ask her about her heritage, she refers to her adopted mother’s Polish heritage and tells people that she’s legally Polish. I was curious about what differences Dana may have noticed between herself and her family members. Her sister was an athlete, but Dana lacks the hand eye coordination her sister has and while it’s not typically thought of as a family tree, she thinks she probably picked up her interest in Saifai from her adopted father because they used to watch star trek together.

Dana:                          04:36               That my parents have always been like amazing and supportive. So even when it came, when even when I first talked about going after and looking for like my, um, my biological parents, they have, they’ve just been wonderful and amazing. That’s really great. As far as physical appearance, everybody told me growing up like they couldn’t believe that I was adopted because they look so much like, like my, like my adoptive mom, my and my sister. So it’s like, you know, it’s like I never saw any difference.

Damon:                       05:06               It sounded to me like Dana was pretty comfortable in her home where everyone was loved and treated equally. So I wondered why she ever bothered to look for her biological family. She told me that three years ago when the state of Ohio opened adoption records for those born in the 1970s. She couldn’t fight the inner curiosity she’s always had.

Dana:                          05:26               Even though I was always accepted, was always treated equally and loving everything. I always had the questions like, I wondered like if I looked like my birth mom, I wondered what she was like, I wonder why exactly she gave me up for adoption. So it’s like even though he always have those questions in the back of your head when you’re adoptee, even growing up like you know, in a wonderful environment, you always wonder. So when I heard that they were releasing the original birth certificates, the first person they contacted was my adopted mom and I and I go, this is something I really wanted to do because it’s like I’ve always wondered, I’ve always been curious and she’s told me that they know this is something that you want to, you want to do. Go for it. She goes, if I was in your shoes, I would always like, I would have gone for it too, because it’s like, oh, I’ve always been curious too and She also told me that she felt like if they did a good enough job of raising me that it’s like I would never want to leave them or abandon them. I just laughed. I go, mom, it’s never, you know, you’re my peer and you’ve loved me. You raised me. It’s like, why would they even think that?

Damon:                       06:36               So for $20, Dana sent in her notarized adoption records paperwork. Seven months later, her original birth certificate arrived in the mail. It only had her birth mother’s name on it. The birth father’s name wasn’t there. So Dana’s husband supporting his wife’s desire for information joined the search.

Dana:                          06:55               My husband has been amazing and supportive too. He actually went on online like the day that we got a hit seek my son so it could come scout meeting, but he went on the day that we got and he found her. We found out some information on her. Unfortunately, the first thing that we found when we googled her name was, um, we found her obituary, so she had passed away, um, about like, like two years prior to making my original birth certificate. We found out later that she passed away from als and I often find that that’s something that runs in the family.

Damon:                       07:35               Wow. That must been so sad to. You just missed her by two years.

Dana:                          07:41               Two Years. I know there was there was just devastating, so there’s a part of me that’s like, like mad that the State of Ohio you know, it’s like, why couldn’t she like cut the red tape and get it done quicker so that way maybe I could have met her.

Damon:                       07:54               You probably remember the acronym als from the viral sensation ice bucket challenge, promoting awareness of the affliction, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, but more importantly, als is a rare but deadly nervous system disease that weakens the muscles and impacts Physical function, it’s full name is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Dana learned that her mother lived in Colorado, was married, and had another daughter. Dana’s sister. The obituary revealed that her family had an aunt and uncle who passed away. Her maternal grandparents were deceased, but there was one living aunt about 13 years younger than her mother, who was still alive, but making contact with that aunt meant she was reaching out to someone who may or may not know that she exists.

Dana:                          08:43               And then it took me about like a year before I finally had the courage to write a letter to her I didn’t know how to begin. It’s like, how do I reach out or what do I say? So, um, what I did was I sent her, we also found that a high school picture from my, from my mom from her senior year of high school, and I sent her a picture of that. I sent her a picture of myself and there’s no denying that I’m her daughter. I mean we looked that much like in the pictures. It was almost like a looking, like in a mirror when I saw that. So it’s like I sent that along to her and she called me about a week after I got the, after she got the letter and she goes, yet Dana. And I’m your aunt, your mind, your mind. Niece.

Damon:                       09:25               In the letter, Dana told her aunt whose middle name is Marie, that her birth mother named her Marie when she was born. A unique fact that legitimize her identity against any skepticism. I asked Dana if her aunt knew of her existence. Her aunt admitted that even with more than a decade of an age gap between them, she had her suspicions

Dana:                          09:47               when she saw her and everything. She knows like certain things like, you know, like the, like the growing, the growing belly. And she said that there were just like little, like little things that she knows when, when they would get together and then all of a sudden you know, she wasn’t pregnant anymore and the baby was gone. So, you know, she never asked, but she, she, she suspected

Damon:                       10:13               connecting with a relative can be really fulfilling, but you’re forced to formulate a picture of the person you didn’t get to meet through the words of others. I asked Dana what she learned about her mother, her aunt,

Dana:                          10:25               she told me that my birth mother was very, very smart. Um, she was actually a college student and very, very smart. But like, um, she also told me that my birth mom didn’t exactly make the best decisions when it came to men when it came to guys, she said that she was like kind of quiet, a little bit shy, but like, very, very, very sweet, very loving. She said that the way that she was raised her, her, her sister would have never ever thought about like um“ having an abortion with me and everything. She wasn’t only the family was, was brought up tonight. I told her it’s like the one thing that they wish I could have told her. Thank you, Like you gave me so many opportunities you brought into this world. Thank you....