067 – Part Of The Gift Has Been The Work I’ve Done On Myself

Christie was a shy child who wanted to participate in activities but held herself back from engaging. It wasn’t until she was an adult when her adopted brother unexpectedly suggested that Christie might want to search that their mother shared her adoption information. When she found her birth father, he openly acknowledged their relation and explained he and her birth mother would have been very young parents with no parents of their own. He introduced Christie to her birth mother, and the women took it slow getting to know and trust one another. The biggest reunion surprise for Christie was realizing she wasn’t as well-adjusted about adoption as she thought. Her reunions uncovered buried emotions that have plagued her since childhood, but she’s putting in the work to heal herself.

The blog post Christie references is: https://adultadopteesupport.blogspot.com/2014/01/am-i-blood-or-am-i-water.html

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Christine:                      00:04                That was the essence of what I grew up with, this feeling, this and not anything that my parents put on me. It was me putting on myself and from such a young age, I don’t even recall it happening, that I have felt ashamed of being adopted, that I knew that I wasn’t worthy of being kept, you know, so I’ve done a lot of work and it’s really profoundly changed me as a person.

Voices:                         00:35                Who am I? Who am I? 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 Christie. She called me from Rocklin, California, a suburb of Sacramento. christie tells the story of being a shy child who wanted to participate in activities, but she held herself back from engaging. It wasn’t until she was an adult were her adopted Brother unexpectedly suggested that Kristi might want to search that her mother shared her adoption information with her. When she found her birth father. He openly acknowledged their relation and explained to the complexities of their situation as young parents Long ago. He introduced Christie to her birth mother and the women took it slow getting to know and trust one another. This is Christie’s journey….

Damon:                        01:40                christie was born in the early 1960s in San Diego, California. Her adoptive parents took her home from the hospital when she was three days old. She always knew she was adopted, but her adoption was closed so her parents either didn’t know or never shared the details of for her adoption with her. Christie has a younger brother, also an adoptee, but they’re unrelated. They had a loving family where adoption was an accepted part of how things were. She talks about her demeanor as a child.

Christine:                      02:09                I was a really shy child. I would say. That’s what I thought it was. I thought I was shy. I never wanted to draw any attention to myself. Um, I, I mean I had friends but I wouldn’t say I was terribly outgoing and, and I could never really put a label on it, but I would always compare myself to other people and find myself lacking in certain ways. Like, you know, they were always prettier than I was or smarter than I was or more interesting or whatever. So I always felt like I was not, um, that I was, I don’t want to say is good. That’s not really the right word. And I couldn’t really put a label on it for years until I dealt with it later on. But definitely a lot of things I didn’t choose to do, like sports and, and even though I had an interest in them, but I didn’t choose to do them because I didn’t want. I guess I didn’t want other people to judge me or find me lacking in areas. So I didn’t want to draw any attention to myself. I didn’t go to school dances or things like that. And I mean, like I said, I had friends that I would go hang out with. So it wasn’t like I didn’t have some sort of a social life, but if I was the person I am today, I would have probably done things much differently as a child, I think

Damon:                        03:32                that’s a really fascinating. Adoptees often talk about fear of rejection and things like that, but it sounds like you almost were preempting other people’s rejection by pushing yourself down.

Christine:                      03:47                I think so. I mean, looking back and having the perspective on it now. At the time I never really related it to being adopted. I didn’t associate the two. I didn’t really. I mean we didn’t even really discuss adoption in my house. Not that it was a secret because they had told us about it, but I don’t think it was necessarily encouraged to talk about and, and I don’t, I don’t recall any instances of me bringing it up and they and my parents squashing the conversation, but I just always had the sense that if I expressed any interest or questions or anything like that, that it might hurt their feelings and make them feel like they weren’t good parents or they weren’t enough.

Damon:                        04:34                Christie wishes their family had talked about adoption more, but she acknowledges that in the 1960s the prevailing wisdom was you could just transplant a baby to a new family with no repercussions. There was no need for open discussion therapy or transitional supports. christie said she didn’t want to hurt her parents with inquiries about adoption, so I wondered if she ever discussed it with her brother. They never did when they were young, but Christie did broach the topic with another child in her neighborhood who would openly discuss her own adoption in front of her mother. It was very different from Christie’s home, but even those open conversations away from her house didn’t make Christie feel like she could talk about it at home. She thinks she was in the fog as we adopt these, refer to it. She said she occasionally fantasized about what we’re union might look like for herself, but it wasn’t until she was an adult that her brother randomly, but possibly very intentionally open to the opportunity for christie to explore reunion.

Christine:                      05:36                Maybe 25 years ago, I was with my parents and my brother and we were. I remember we were having dinner somewhere. We’re out to dinner and my brother brought up the conversation right in front of my parents and he asked me if I’d ever considered searching and I remember like just shocked that he would talk about it in front of our parents and kind of looking at them for their reactions and then expressing to him that, you know, that I kind of would be interested in finding out something when it seemed like they weren’t gonna be upset or whatever. So. So we had had this little conversation at dinner and then a couple of weeks later I received from my mother had sent me copies of the adoption paperwork that she had. And so I sort of took that as her blessing to do some searching.

Damon:                        06:32                Her mother just sent the documents out of the blue. After that dinner conversation with no followup discussion. The package was filled with legal documents but not much useful information except for one document.

Christine:                      06:44                And it was a consent for medical care and it was signed by my biological mother and it had her name typed and she had signed it. And it identified her as my mother, so that’s the first time I actually saw her name and I saw in her signature, I mean to look at her signature. It just felt like such a personal thing of her is to see for the first time and and then there was a a witness name on it too, and it said witness and then it was a man’s name and signature and I kind of surmised that that could be my biological father, but it didn’t identify him that way.

Damon:                        07:23                Kristi didn’t take any action with her package of information for years. The Internet information age hadn’t exploded yet, so she would just pull the documents out and review them from time to time. She got an application form for a search group she had heard about, but she never had the courage to fill it out. christie said the classic internal monologue about not wanting to disrupt her biological parents lives in fear of rejection. We’re part of her process. She finally took a concrete step forward in 2006. Her son who was in junior high school had one of those family tree projects we adopt these struggle with, but his teacher asked the students to do their project using an ancestry.com two week free trial.

Christine:                      08:06                As I was helping him with his project, I thought, well, you know, why not use this to type in their names and take a look? So I did, I typed in, I pulled out the paperwork again and looked at the paper with their names on it and typed it in to ancestry and found a record that they got married, um, a couple of years after I was born. So I was probably around two or three, I want to say, um, when the two name, when my mother and that witness named got married. So that made me feel even stronger, stronger that, that could have been my biological father. He really made me feel like, okay, you know, they, they had a relationship, you know, there probably was some love there, you know, and it kind of made me feel more, you know, more comfortable with the idea of my conception.

Damon:                        09:02                Christie trace the people as far as she could without definitive information about their identities. All she could see was that they were very young when they were married and unfortunately another record revealed they divorced few years later. She turned to the open Internet where she found an address matching her mother’s name. christie paused and sat with the address. She questioned whether that address could be correct, whether she should send a letter out of the blue and if she might be outing her birth mother, if her birth was a secret. Fear of rejection prevented Christie from taking any other steps. Years later in 2010, she was at home alone one Friday afternoon watching a TV program where a man takes on the task of reuniting people. Christie found herself wishing that man was calling her to say someone was looking for her to complete a reunion. She pulled out her paperwork again and researched San Diego where she was born and found the man’s name.

Christine:                      09:59                She’s a professor at, at a university in San Diego and it’s brought up his page and it had a picture of him and I looked at the picture and I thought, well they don’t see an obvious resemblance, but he looks to be about the right age and he doesn’t not look like me. And so I kinda sat there with it for about 45 minutes and looked at it and there was an email address there, but it was a professional email address. So I thought well, should I send an email? Could create problems for, I don’t know. And finally I just thought, you know, if I don’t do it, you know, I was, I was about 47 at the time and you know, so that meant he would have probably been in his sixties. I thought, you know, we’re both getting older. If I don’t do it, they’re, they’re just more likely by the time I do it for something to have happened for them to have passed away or whatever. So I finally just went ahead and scratched out a quick email

Damon:                        11:05                she described who She was explained that she was looking for biological parents and that the man’s name came up as a potential match. She said if he was interested he could email her back. She went about the rest of her afternoon, not really expecting an answer to come back Very soon.

Christine:                      11:21                later that night I happened to open up my computer and there was an email back from him and in the subject line he had written, yes, I am your father. And I know it was stunned. I was and I, you know, my husband was sitting over in another chair and all of a sudden I was like, oh my God, Oh my God. And I hadn’t even told him what I had done because I just didn’t expect the response soon, so I hadn’t even really thought to tell him what they’d done and it was so crazy that all of a sudden I decided to it and then there he is waiting for it.

Damon:                        11:56                Crazy. You reunion behind your husband’s back yet? Right under his nose. Unreal.

Christine:                      12:02                Yeah. And it was a, it was a lovely email. I mean, he just expressed that he was so happy that I had found him that he had wanted to find me for so long and he’d even considered trying to unseal the adoption records, but he didn’t have my, my adoptive parents names and whatnot and, and that he’d give me contact information for my mother and you know, he wanted to travel to meet me, you know, if it was okay with me to explain how difficult their decision had been.

Damon:                        12:37                The man explained that he and her birth mother were both 16 year old high school students when Christie was conceived. Effectively, neither of them had parents in their lives at the time. Christie’s birth mother was in foster care. Her birth father’s own father died when he was very young and his mother passed away when he was about 14 years old. He was living alone from a very early age. christie said that after watching all of those reunion shows where she cringed at the moment when folks learn, whether whom they’re searching for actually wants to meet them, she was really glad her birth father was excited to meet her. She drafted a reply email, giving him an overview of her own life, including her college career and highlighting her marriage and their children.

Christine:                      13:23                He told me after he had been away for the weekend with some friends and he was somewhere further back east and even though it was much later at night or he was, you know, he stayed up because he just knew I would email him back because I was his daughter and so he stayed up late.

Damon:                        13:43                They emailed a lot and chatted on the phone a few times, nearly a month after their initial contact, one Friday afternoon, he flew from San Diego to northern California to meet Christie. He arranged to stay in a hotel to allow them both to have their respective space.

Christine:                      13:59                I had taken off that Friday from work and I wanted our initial meeting to be just him and I kind of needed to just the space to not worry about what else was happening around me and you know, and just that I don’t know. I guess I felt like it needed to be a private moment between him and I. So I took the day off from work and just kind of hovered around that morning, you know, preparing meals and cleaning and obsessing about everything and just keeping busy I guess to, to not be nervous. And then, you know, and then he, he came to the door, I think he got there like mid afternoon or something like that and it was, I don’t know, I guess everybody says it was surreal, but it was kind of surreal, just, you know, know to be able to actually see him in person. And, and I mean what struck me at first was just his blue eyes and how, you know, just how blue his eyes were. I just remember looking at that and, and you know what I mean, of course it was a little awkward but it was also very joyful and we just, you know, we just kinda talked and it gave us a couple of hours to, to chat and kind of become a little bit more comfortable with each other. Before my family got home

Damon:                        15:20                that night, Christie was supposed to attend a church event, but she wasn’t going for obvious reasons. She had some items in her house for the event, so her friends stopped by to pick them up

Christine:                      15:30                in reality, she just wanted to meet my dad and so she came in and and I, you know, I introduced the two of them and I said, you know, this is my dad Russ and, and you know, he stopped me and he said, can you say that again? And it was just, it was kind of sweet that he wanted to hear me say that again.

Damon:                        15:49                We agreed as we talked, that meetings can be so interesting and awkward and initial meeting with a different kind of stranger isn’t nearly as loaded with significance as it is when you meet a biological parent, you try to say all the right things and not to say any of the wrong things to make sure the relationship has a chance to grow. christie said she was always open with her own family about being adopted. So when she found her biological father, her son took a real interest in learning more about him. He asked questions about this and that, trying to learn things like how tall he might get. But finding him was also significant because Christie’s father in law and her own adopted father had passed away so her son didn’t have any grandpas left to bond with until she found her biological father.

Christine:                      16:38                I think it, it made it different to her, my relationship going forward with my dad, with my biological dad, because my adopted dad had already passed away. I think it didn’t feel like I had to balance the too much, you know, I felt like it. It kind of freed me up. Plus I feel like my adoptive dad would have been supportive had he been around for that. I think he would have been interested and wanted to be a part of it.

Damon:                        17:07                The feeling that Christie has, that her adopted father would have been supportive, makes their reunions that much better. Sometimes we have this posthumous guilt about going behind her adopted parents backs in reunion, so feeling like your adoptive parents would have been supportive is really comforting. Turning to the search for her biological mother, her biological father was the one who helped them connect over facebook. Her parents had seen one another once or twice over the years because they both still lived in San Diego. Actually very close to the home. Christie grew up in

Christine:                      17:39                seeing her picture for the first time was incredible because she and I do look quite a bit alike and so it was, I mean it was kind of a to see how much we resembled each other and so yeah. And so I kind of sat with that for awhile because I felt like I, I didn’t want to reach out yet. Well I was still, well he and I were still kind of getting to know each other in that early stage and while we were dealing with him because he, he actually showed, you know, connected me to her facebook account before he came up to visit. So we were still preparing for and anticipating his visit and, and emailing and texting and chatting back and forth with each other. And I felt like it was a little too much for me to also take that on. So I waited

Damon:                        18:30                Sunday night after her biological father left to return to San Diego, Christie reached out to her biological mother. She wanted to make sure her facebook direct message was going to be absolutely private. So she tested it with a friend first, she didn’t want an introductory note from a long lost biological daughter appearing publicly on the woman’s wall. Christie sent a similar note to what she sent to her biological father. And within a few hours the woman responded asking if they could speak by phone.

Christine:                      19:00                So I gave her the phone number and she called me right away and similar kind of thing. I think she was a little bit more reserved but we talked for several hours. And the first thing she wanted to talk about was, you know, where they had been and that they really put me up for adoption out of, you know, love and, and hope for a better life for me kind of thing. And you know, so we talked and she let me know that, you know, that I have a half sister and, you know, was I interested in meeting her and I’m like, absolutely, I’d love to. And you know, so we talked and then we go ahead.

Damon:                        19:40                I was going to ask, how did her words sit with you? She put you up for adoption out of love. What, how did that resonate with you?

Christine:                      19:49                Um, again, I think it, it, it went with what I always, I had always seen it growing up as an a selfless act. I, I guess I always had a sense of how difficult it would be to give up a baby. And I felt like I had seen people who had, who had kept the child and who weren’t prepared for emotionally or, or financially or whatever. And so I think that to me, if you, you know, sometimes putting the best interest of that child ahead of your own interest can be a loving act. At least that’s how I felt back then. And I, I have a little bit more mixed feelings about it, but I still think that ultimately there’s some people who are unable to care for a child and I, and if they don’t have, you know, family or somebody that can, can help or do it, that I think it is sometimes still in their best interest to do it.

Damon:                        20:50                That’s fascinating. It’s a, it’s a real challenging thing to wrap your mind around because some of us are very lucky and thankful for the life that we lead in adoption. But you know, you get a glimpse of the life that perhaps could have been had you remained with the parents, you know, especially if they tried to marry and, and tried to make it work, you know, you question like, well why couldn’t I have been a part of that? And it really does. You do sort of wish wash back and forth between any level of gratitude that you have for the life that you lived and wondering what could have been. And uh, and that’s really tough.

Christine:                      21:36                Yeah. And that’s, you know, once I’m in reunion, then that’s what I’ve been dealing with since then is balancing that because it’s like I, I am grateful and I, and I wouldn’t know. I wouldn’t go back and trade the life that I lived and the parents that I had and the brother that I had. But um, by the same token, I, you know, you, you missed out on all that time getting to know, you know, my biological family. And so I, I can’t give that back. I can’t, I can’t get that back, I should say I’m especially with my sister. That’s, that’s the hardest part is, you know, there’s this whole part of both of our lives that we both missed from each other.

Damon:                        22:22                Christie pointed out that her sister, 12 years, her junior didn’t get to be an aunt to her children who were nearly grown when they first met and she missed out on being a big sister.

Christine:                      22:33                And I do see the advantages of us being reunited as adults because being 12 years apart, realistically, you know, would, would he have been close as kids? I don’t. I don’t know. You know, I mean, that’s, that’s a big age span, so part of me knows that the reality of it could be quite different than my, what I would think, you know, but you know, but I do still kind of grief for the loss of, of those years together and, and you know, if I’m honest, I have jealousy, like she has some really long time, very close friends that she grew up with as kids and she was an only child all of her life and so she’s maintained these very close friendships and they’re wonderful, wonderful women and I kind of become friends with them as well and I’m so glad that they were all there for each other growing up and they were such good friends, but I’m jealous of the memories they made that I wasn’t there for.

Damon:                        23:36                Yeah, it’s really easy to speculate on what you missed, what you could have been part of and similarly you would have missed out on some of the great that you did do. It is so tough to balance everything. It’s really, really hard. Any other thing you know, that I can’t help but think about is, you know, I saw the movie the butterfly effect where one little teeny tiny change in your life has cascading effects for other moments and you know, Uri having been raised in our biological families, you know, probably never would have met our spouses, right. And we never would have had the children that we actually have now, you know, life would, would’ve been completely different on a different trajectory. So it’s hard not to sort of look at these possibilities for other situations and without reflecting on the current moment that you’re in. And I think that’s a real struggle that adoptees often have. So, um, tell me more.

Christine:                      24:34                That’s where you’ve been recently where I’ve been over the last probably five to six years, is trying to reconcile those two and how do I, how do I live with them both and kind of make peace with the whole thing, you know, because. Yeah, because it is, I am grateful and I am happy for what I’ve had and for what, you know, for how I been. But by the same token, you know, how do I reconcile with what I’ve missed

Damon:                        25:03                In the following weeks christie and her birth mother talked for hours. She asked if her birth mother had a chance to speak with her daughter, Christie sister growing up. Her sister used to ask for a sister for Christmas and their mother was torn between sharing that there actually was a sister out there somewhere. We’re keeping that fact to herself. christie sister didn’t know she existed after their first few conversations, their mother had to gather herself to share this huge news with her second daughter face to face. christie knew she was no longer a secret when she received a facebook friend request from her younger sister.

Christine:                      25:41                Then we started chatting back and forth and then and then she was at a baby shower or wedding shower or something for a friend and it was all this group of friends that she’d grown up with. And so she was sharing this secret with them that she had just found out right before she went to this or mother just told her right before that. Wow. And so then they all promptly together, got on facebook trying to find me and, and, uh, you know, sent me, sent me the request. And so, so then she and I were talking later and then in the middle of that, our mom called me and, and, uh, so I switched over and said, can I call you right back? I’m on the phone with my sister. And she goes, I mean, our work. Yeah, exactly.

Damon:                        26:30                Christie sister traveled up north to meet her for a girl’s trip to Lake Tahoe. Christie took her own daughter and nieces on the trip, but the sisters had a chance to bond to their existing relationship was important when christie went down to San Diego to visit her birth mother for the first time when her flight landed, her birth father picked her up at the airport and took her to a restaurant to meet her birth mother, her husband and her sister.

Christine:                      26:56                We just had dinner together and it was, you know, it was with the big group like that. I’m more of a one on one person, so it was a little bit more awkward for me. So I think I kind of more keyed in on my sister during the dinner. I was there for a week, so my mother and I did get to spend some time alone and together and to get to know each other and I think our relationship probably moved them most slowly out of the three because I think we’re both very, very careful around each other in the beginning. Um, she had a lot that she grew up with, you know, she had had some abuse, you know, she’d been in multiple foster care situations so she had some baggage from growing up. And um, I think in general she can be a little bit more guarded just with everybody. And so I think our relationship was just a little bit more slow growing, you know, more a little bit on the surface in the beginning.

Damon:                        27:59                Christie says her birth father had been through therapy and dealt with some of these issues from that time in his life. So he was more of an open book capable of sharing things with her from the outset. She says she didn’t have the foresight to plan a slow, methodical reunion with her birth mother, but that’s how things unfolded and it’s been a productive approach in the end. christie and her birth mother eventually did a DNA test just to confirm what they already knew, that technical validation and they’re slow process of getting to know and trust one another, have made them very close.

Christine:                      28:33                I think there was a big part of her that was worried that I would hold something, you know, that I would be mad at her or um, or hold something against her because she gave it up. And so maybe once she realized that, that I understand the decision that she made and I’m, I’m accepting of it. Maybe once she came to that realization, you know, she doesn’t feel like I’m blaming her. I don’t know, something changed.

Damon:                        29:00                That’s good. I’m glad that she was able to reach that point of feeling more comfortable with your relationship. I was really curious to know how christie’s adoptive mom felt about everything she had been through. She says that while her mother wasn’t fully present, she’s really glad they were able to make the connection with her birth family together.

Christine:                      29:20                My adopted mom actually, when I first reunited with my dad over the, um, you know, the email I, I felt like she needed to be the first person that I told. So I think I had her over for dinner the next night and I told her and she said, oh, well, I, you know, that’s great. I’d really like to meet him. And so he came up to visit. She came over for dinner and met him and at the time she was in kind of the beginning, probably a little bit past the beginning stages of dementia. And so I don’t think she was fully aware at the time as she would have been like maybe five years earlier and fully participatory, you know, I mean, she had an awareness and understanding, but she was starting to kind of lose, you know, the, the memory short term memory at that time. So she really didn’t retain it for very long. And then one of the Times I went down to San Diego, she went with me and so she met my mother at that time and my sister and all that. And um, and, and then she went and visited, you know, friends that we had grown up with and my brother and, and that sort of thing. While, I visited with the rest of them.

Damon:                        30:37                Well that’s amazing that you were able to include her even…I’m sensitive to that piece right there because I have a similar challenge with my own adoptive mother and struggles with mental illness and. But it’s great that she, your adoptive mother was able to be involved. Right. Even if she does, you know, 75 percent there, you know, your gut was that she was supportive and as she wanted to be participatory and that’s, that’s really great to be able to include her.

Christine:                      31:08                Yeah. Because it really, you know, I mean, clearly whatever reaction I would have gotten from her at the time would’ve carried forward with me going for… Going, moving on with them. And I think if I had gotten a different reaction, if she had felt threatened or been, you know, in any way upset about it, I think that would have not freed me up to, you know, to pursue the relationship. So, you know, so it’s been, you know, I mean it’s like I said, you kind of, I kind of wished that I’d done it earlier so that she could have actually participated in my dad. But you know, I think everything sort of happens in its timing.

Damon:                        31:48                When we closed, Christie said reunion has helped her understand herself as an adoptee and allowed her to acknowledge the effects of adoption on herself. She’s focused on her own growth as an adoptee, reading blogs and books. And of course listening to podcasts, she closes telling us about her growth journey.

Christine:                      32:08                Kind of the, the biggest thing for me that’s happened as a result of being reunited is that I’ve dealt with issues that I didn’t even know I had about being adopted. You know, I, I wasn’t aware that what I originally labeled his shyness growing up or self esteem or whatever. I, I now come to believe that that was because I was adopted that and I probably, it was a defense, but I think you can’t grow up with knowing that you were given away that, you know, doesn’t affect you in some way. And I feel like it really was a big part of making me shelter down and hunker down against the world and not letting, you know, like you said, you know, kind of preempting this rejected rejection. And so being able to be reunited with them and feeling that acceptance and I mean it’s not been without bumps in the road with emotions that came up that I had no idea that we’re going to happen, you know, just out of the blue and all of a sudden, you know, I’m dealing with these heavy emotions.

Christine:                      33:28                But it’s really pushed me to kind of do some self therapy I guess. And, and you know, I’ve read a lot of books and listened to how to podcasts. A lot of red, a lot of blogs and all sorts of things. And there was one blog that I had read one time and, and I can’t remember the author’s name, but the title is, “Am I Blood or Am I Water?” And it talks about the shame of being adopted and how there’s a big part of you that know, feels ashamed that you know, that you weren’t worthy of keeping. And, and it just really struck a chord with me and made me realize that that was the essence of, of what I grew up with, a feeling. This is not anything that my parents put on me. It was me putting on myself and from such a young age, I don’t even recall it happening, that I have felt ashamed of being adopted.

Christine:                      34:29                That I knew that I wasn’t worthy of being tapped, you know? So I’ve done a lot of work and it’s really profoundly changed me as a person. I mean, I, I’m just such a different person and I’m so at ease with myself now in a different way than I used to be. And I’m so much more willing to, to go to places I wouldn’t have gone before. And to experience emotions. I think a part of me has shut off emotions over the years too and I’m realizing that and even even brief and things like that when my adoptive dad died, I don’t feel like I truly grieve, you know, I feel like I just shut it off and, and compartmentalize that and I think, I don’t know if that’s a common thing for adoptees, but I think in shutting off the bad, you also shut off the good and, and I don’t wanna I don’t wanna live my life with these buffered emotions, you know, I don’t want to live the rest of my life that way and you know, and I. and so that’s what a lot of my myself has been on since I’ve realized all of this.

Damon:                        35:40                That’s amazing that you’re able to reach a point of introspection and therefore sort of capability to recognize what any one of these emotions is by itself, let alone that you know, it’s both the good and the bad that you’ve turned off positive emotions and negative ones in order to sort of dulled down everything and not feel what an ultimately sounds like. Some internal pain. I mean, reaching this point as an adult is, it’s tough for anybody, but I think it’s can be incredibly challenging for adoptees who have lived in entire life with this question in the back of their mind, “why was I given up?” And if you don’t have those answers, um, you’ll struggle with that mightily.

Christine:                      36:29                Yeah. And, um, and I mean, I feel very fortunate. I mean, I’m lucky that I, that I have forged these relationships with my biological family. I mean, I know so many people get that secondary rejection and that just is so heartbreaking that you know, that they have to go through it again and that all these hopes they had of, of having this are so dashed. So I got shit. I mean that just, that just breaks my heart when I hear those stories. So I do feel fortunate that I, that I have had the reception that I’ve had from them, but you know, but it has allowed me to do the personal work that I needed to do. And so that’s, that’s even almost a bigger gift. But you know, it’s been worthwhile because it’s led, me to this, what I think is a much more healthy place for me to be in.

Damon:                        37:17                I totally agree. I totally agree and I’m glad that you’ve reached it too. I mean this has been quite a journey that you’ve been on for years and years, sitting on the information, but finally reaching points in your life where you felt like you were ready to start the search, locate the folks and learn what they had to say and, and try to accept it, but I’m glad that they were able to give you some of the closure that you’ve wanted, that they were receptive and open to reuniting with you and that things seemed to be going. Okay. So I’m glad for you for that.

Christine:                      37:48                Definitely.

Damon:                        37:49                Very good. Thank you Christie for taking time to talk to me. I appreciate it.

Christine:                      37:53                Oh, thank you. And thank you for being part of the voice out there for adoptees because you know, all of those various voices through print and through podcasts and whatever have been, you know, like I said, my my self therapy as well because every time, even though my story may be dramatically different from another adoptees, as they’re sharing their story, I always connect with certain parts of it and, and it helps put voice… It helps me dig down deep and realize, pull out feelings that I’ve had that I’m not even aware of and it puts, it puts a voice to those feelings. Those experiences have been very helpful for.

Damon:                        38:35                That’s exactly why I think most of us do this is because we, rick recognize that there are so many people out there who are impacted, you know, positively, negatively in, in other ways by adoption. And uh, it tends to be one of those things that people don’t talk openly about. And I’m glad to be part of a community that’s now doing so. So thank you for that. Appreciate it. Take care. All the best, Christie.

Christie:                        38:59                alright Same to you.

Damon:                        39:00                Bye. Bye. Hey, it’s me. Christie said the road to understanding herself as an adoptee hasn’t been easy and there have been times when she’s had to deal with some intense emotional breakdowns. Thankfully her husband has been right there to support her. I really liked that her birth father was so open and receptive to her reemergence and admitted the complexities of the teen romance where she was conceived and that was really interested to hear about her birth, mother’s trepidation over there, reconnection because they needed to build trust between them, but I was especially sensitive to Christie’s adopted mother’s issues at the time of her maternal reunion.

Damon:                        39:41                I had the same problem in my maternal reunion except my adoptive mother was much further in her mental deterioration. I was glad that Christie’s mother could be even partially cognizant of her daughter’s reunion. It seemed to really mean a lot to Christie. I’m Damon Davis and I hope you’ll find something in Christie’s journey that inspires you, validates your feelings about wanting to search or motivates you to have the strength along your journey to learn who am I really? If you would like to share your adoption journey and your attempt to connect with your biological family, please visit who am I really podcast.com/share. You can choose to share your whole story, maintain some privacy about parts of your journey or share completely anonymously. You can find the show at facebook.com/waireally, or follow me on twitter @waiReally, and please, if you like the show, you can support me at patrion.com/waireally you can subscribe to who am I really on apple podcasts, Google play or wherever you get your podcasts and while you’re there it would mean so much to me. If you would take a moment to share a rating or leave a comment, those ratings can help others to find the podcast too.

 

3 Comments

  1. Jenny on 09/23/2018 at 9:06 PM

    The beginning and and of this episode are exactly how I feel about being an adoptee. Thank you for sharing!!

  2. Kendra on 09/29/2018 at 6:27 PM

    Love this interview… absolutely resonates with my growth also.. thank you for sharing!

  3. Dawn Pisto on 10/04/2018 at 3:34 PM

    Christine’s (and now Jenny’s) description of her childhood and not participating is exactly what happened to me. I’ve not hear it described so well or at all really. Thanks! it is nice to know I’m not alone in this peculiar way I had.
    Here is DavisP’s Am I Blood or am I Water? essay that Christine mentioned at adultadopteesupport.org https://adultadopteesupport.blogspot.com/2014/01/am-i-blood-or-am-i-water.html

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