Daniela was born in a small mining town in Chile. Adopted by a German family who moved from South America to Miami, she never felt like she belonged. While struggling as a teenager and burning to know more about her own heritage she was psychoanalyzed and medicated by doctors, and she wanted to end it all. When she found her maternal sisters online their reunion in Chile was lovely. Later when Daniela’s paternal sisters found her online, the maternal family said they never wanted to hear from her again. Daniela’s reunion with her paternal family has helped her get in touch with her roots and feel whole for the first time in her life.
Daniela: 00:02 I was so, so happy. I was so excited, so happy. My sisters were like, Oh, well, we never did get the results. Let us know. First, let her go first. So first thing I did is I let my sister know and I shouldn’t have done that. Why is that? What happened? Anything turned from them. Everything true and it went from. It went from everything was great and framing. We were really good with each other to to them shutting the door on me and never speaking to me again.
Damon: 00:35 Who am I? 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 today you’ll meet Daniela. She was born in Chile. Daniela was adopted by a German family who later moved to Miami. She was out of place in her family and out of place in a new country during her teen years. She was seen as a problem given psychotherapy and medicated when in reality she was just passionate in her own self expression. In her twenties, she was able to locate her biological mother and sisters back in Chile and they began a wonderful reunion, but when Daniela discovered her birth father’s true identity, her maternal side turned their backs for good. In the end, Daniela is very thankful for what she now knows about herself as a native Chilean. This is Daniela’s journey. Daniela was born in Coronel. Her mother was low income and it was common for babies to be adopted by foreigners.
Daniela: 01:53 She had a social worker come to her regularly to check up on her, on her pregnancy, uh in those times I guess adoption was big to give babies to foreigners, German families. It was common, so I was, yes, I was adopted, so at three days old I was given away to a German family, lived with them in South America for a couple years till I was seven. I was always told I was adopted. I just always thought I was… I was told I was special and everything was fine. I believe that whole special story until I started going to school and sharing the fact that I was special
Damon: 02:34 and how did that go?
Daniela: 02:36 Oh yeah, no, that wasn’t good. I was like, Oh, I’m special because I’m adopted. Their reaction and started getting from people. Wasn’t you’re special Sorry. Oh, are you okay? Are you sad? Do you know your mom? And that’s when I started thinking, hmm, when I was seven years old, I was like, I don’t know my mom. I’m… This is a sad reaction. Maybe I should be sad. I don’t know. I maybe I am sad. That’s when I started kind of exploring my own feelings into how I really felt about adoption.
Damon: 03:06 Daniela said she never felt like she belonged. Keep in mind she’s a Latina woman in a German family. All of the conversations about how her adopted brother looked like her adopted mother would never apply to her. Interestingly, she did have a Chilean aunt who was adopted by Daniela’s grandmother. She was abused and she lays so she chose to flee the country. When Daniella grandmother left, I went back to Daniela’s mother circumstances for a moment because it struck me that the social worker visited her more than once and it sounded like there was a system for getting foreign families, Chilean babies. It sounded predatory to me. So I asked Daniela about it.
Damon: 03:46 I got the sense from what you described with your birth mother that she was solicited by the social worker and like they were watching her and
Daniela: 03:58 Yes, Yes, yeah.
Damon: 03:58 Really? So it was very predatory social worker there?
Daniela: 04:03 Yes, that’s where she met my birth mother told me in the beginning when, when we, um, when we spoke, when she would speak with me, yeah, she told me that the social worker would come around, basically started making rounds through the trich and visit her quite often telling her, you know, that she could give me a better life than she would give me up and all these things because she doesn’t have their resources. And, and that’s how it was in those days.
Damon: 04:29 Coercion. Around what year was this? 1986 Okay, Wow.
Damon: 04:35 Daniela lived in Chile with her new family for seven years until they relocated to Miami, Florida. That’s where things went from bad to worse for Daniela. She was in a family that she didn’t look like in a country that was unfamiliar and her teenage years were around the corner. She was struggling mentally and her family knew it. The differences between Daniela and her family were becoming more apparent.
Daniela: 04:59 I just went from not wanting to completely lost and my adopted family started taking me to see therapists and psychologists growing up. Um, because see, it’s different when it’s culturally different. I express myself in a different manner. Of course, I come from a different culture. My German family, they express themselves differently, so I was very extreme to them so they resorted to medication and psychologists. I was always kind of considered unstable.
Damon: 05:33 When I hear you say that I have my own preconceived notions about someone of South American descent versus someone of white European descent. But I want to hear how you would describe the differences in how you express yourself versus how they express themselves.
Daniela: 05:53 Where it always went wrong was when we disagreed on things and me, I express myself. I’m, I’m very passionate. Um, I wear all my emotions on my sleeve and that’s just not growing up. I always thought there was something wrong with me because I was like that because I was very expressive and I’m passionate. You know, when I get a when there was a disagreement. I show it with my body, with my facial expressions. My voice can get louder, but it’s not necessarily in a hateful way. It’s more just I’m passionate about what I’m seeing, you know, I, you know, I, I it differently. My whole body expresses itself differently and yeah, exactly. And my adopted family, they are more reserved, very German, straight to the point. There is no expression in the way they move. It’s just a different way. So I was always different. I was always, it was something wrong with me because of the way I was.
Damon: 06:50 She says therapy was a tough experience for her because she was forced to acknowledge her feelings that she felt her life was purchased.
Daniela: 06:57 Looking back now, I see how I can see how, how I like, how, how, how sad it really was because I remember one time my therapist asked me to draw how I felt and I drew. I remember drawing nothing, just better black circle because I didn’t want to be there and I was angry. I would tell her how I felt that I was bought. I was chosen because my parents wanted a girl, so they went to the hospital and looked for a girl. They wanted a baby girl, not a grown girl, so they got a baby girl, you know, had they wanted a boy, they would have gotten a boy and it’s like going to the pet store and choosing the puppy that you want female or male or. I always felt bought.
Damon: 07:36 She was prescribed medications for happiness, antidepressants, concentration and all kinds of conditions until she was 13. Around that time, Daniela was getting wise to the language of therapists, but she learned the hard way. What kinds of things to say and what language to avoid?
Daniela: 07:54 Well, I remember one time backlashing and being completely open because he told you to tell them everything and, and I did and I told him how I would get really sad and I felt like I don’t belong and I don’t want to be a part of the world and, and everything went crazy. Then my parents started to watch me all the time making sure the door was open, my privacy was completely gone. It’s like I got penalized for being honest.
Damon: 08:16 You were on a suicide watch.
Daniela: 08:17 Correct. So that’s when I learned. Okay. I can’t be completely honest.
Damon: 08:22 Yeah. Yeah. You, you learned very quickly. I’ll never say that again.
Daniela: 08:26 Exactly. Yeah. Knowing I was, I was very. I mean I was very depressed. The older I got, the worst it got. I was in the hospital, you know, I did. I did try, did, didn’t care about myself.
Damon: 08:38 You attempted suicide?
Daniela: 08:40 Yes. Yes I did.
Damon: 08:43 I’m sorry to hear that. I’m glad you’re here.
Daniela: 08:47 Thank you. Yes. I mean, I, I didn’t care. I felt like nobody wanted me. My own parents didn’t want in the world. Why am I here? I wasn’t a mistake, I wasn’t even supposed to be born.
Damon: 09:00 That must have been so, so difficult. When you got out of the hospital, what changed for you then? How were things different? You’ve survived this attempt on your own life. What? What? What was different on the other side or was it still the same?
Daniela: 09:16 It wasn’t different, its just I got Smarter. I learned how to… Smarter in how to learning, how to hide things from the rest of the world. Knowing who I can trust, who I can’t trust, and I figured out quickly. I really can’t trust anybody.
Damon: 09:28 She was doing poorly in school, in Miami, so Daniela was attending alternative schools when she was 16. She was enrolled in summer school, but she showed up late to school twice and those two tardies were grounds for dismissal at that time. Her adopted mother was down in La visiting her own mother, Daniella. Mom and dad didn’t feel they could trust her at home for the summer, so from Chile. Her mother invited Daniela to join her down there in Concepcion, just south of the capital to spend the summer with her. She packed her bags for the trick invite back to her homeland.
Daniela: 10:08 So I packed my suitcase and I went down there, and once I was down there she says, Oh, would you like to stay here? and I just said you know what you guys don’t want me back over there. I’ll just stay here. and I stayed.
Damon: 10:18 You feel like you. It was a… It was a covert operation.
Daniela: 10:24 I felt like it was a trap!
Damon: 10:25 Daniela said that wasn’t the only time. She was tricked by her family. One day her mother and brother picked her up from school for a doctor’s appointment.
Daniela: 10:33 They took me to the hospital and it was weird because I’d never gone to a doctor appointment inside the hospital, but I was like, okay, maybe I’m seeing a new psychologist and then when we went in, the Dr said in front of me and said that I will be staying there and I won’t be leaving the facilities and turned that it was a psych ward, put me in a psych ward.
Damon: 10:52 Anyway, Daniela’s mother has invited her to stay and she lay and not return home to Miami. She started looking for her birth mother. Her adopted. Family knew the whole adoption system down there. They knew the social worker for Daniela’s case personally. She was a family friend, so the social worker had given her family a ton of identifiable documentation with her birth, mother’s full name, social security number and date of birth, and her sister’s comprehensive information to everything she needed to actually find her people
Daniela: 11:26 And she said that whatever I wanted she can give it to me, so I think she really thought that I would find my birth mother because when I did it was a big betrayal, like she did not react how I thought she would
Damon: 11:41 before we got to the betrayal. I wanted to hear about the actual search for her birth mother. Before attempting a trip to Coronel, two hours south of Concepcion. She needed an address to know where she was going. Daniela 16 at the time, cleverly and confidently went to the office where people pay their water bill and said she needed the last known address for the woman and they gave it to her. She showed the address to her adoptive mother who confirmed that’s where Daniella’s biological grandmother lived. You would think that being in her home country and acquiring the woman’s address would have motivated her to head down to Coronel to meet her birth mother. But she didn’t.
Daniela: 12:22 I sat on it. I really, I didn’t. I didn’t go. I didn’t. Um, I didn’t have the guts or the courage. I was scared to go over there because all my life I thought she didn’t want me, so I was scared. I put it in the back burner. I didn’t, I didn’t pursue, I didn’t have the, I was just scared.
Damon: 12:43 How long did you sit on it?
Daniela: 12:45 I it until I was 20.
Damon: 12:49 So you lived in concepcion for four years before you went down there. What did you do in the meantime between. So I assume your mother, your adoptive mother was only there for a visit, so she wasn’t there the entire time. Your whole four years. How did your life change in her absence? How did you start over in Chile?
Daniela: 13:10 I was with, I had a boyfriend and because I was in such a state of mind, I got into a bad relationship. So I live with my boyfriend and his family for that amount of time. In the end, it wasn’t a healthy relationship that was abusive, emotionally abusive and physically abusive. Um, eventually I ended up getting pregnant and that’s when everything changed.
Damon: 13:41 How so?
Daniela: 13:42 Because as soon as I was pregnant, I left. I left… I had a reason before that I, I didn’t have a reason to be alive or to care about myself or anything really, so I just didn’t really care. But as soon as I was pregnant and had my own child, all of a sudden it’s like I had a reason to fight to, to live
Damon: 14:02 Daniela’s daughter, her life purpose. She left her boyfriend, moved out of their house and ended the relationship. She contacted her, adopted mother with a plea for help, then returned to the United States to have her daughter, but she moved back to Chile with her daughter. She tried to make it work down there, attending college, but it was all too much. Daniela returned to the United States when she was 20 years old when I remarked that she had traveled back and forth quite a bit. She agreed.
Daniela: 14:33 I did. You know, I don’t know where I belong feeling.
Damon: 14:38 I’m sure you can imagine her relationship with her adopted family was very rocky and she couldn’t stand being in their home. Social media was just taking off, making it easy for Daniela to find a relationship online and she did in California. So she moved. She told me about that transition.
Daniela: 14:57 It was fine. I mean I met a man, a good man. He’s a very, very good, very good man. Very good father. He took good care of. My daughter was, it was great. He, he proposed within one month and everything happened really fast. I got married within the next year and, and then that’s when I had my dream.
Damon: 15:18 And what was that?
Daniela: 15:19 I had a really scary dream. I woke up one morning. I mean, the last thing I remember I woke up, I remember seeing, I saw my mother, I found my birth mother and my dream and she was beat up her face, black and blue and everything was black. It was just her standing there just beat up looking at me.
Damon: 15:40 Oh Man.
Daniela: 15:41 I woke up my heart racing, hands sweating, just terrified.
Damon: 15:48 Daniela went to social media, armed with her identifying information and started searching for her family. She didn’t find anything online for her birth mother. So she searched for her sister’s name.
Daniela: 15:58 So I picked… I picked three of them that I kind of looked like me, that I didn’t know. I didn’t know these people, so I just picked three women that kind of looked like me and I reached out and one of them wrote back saying, how do you know my mother? Who are you? Is this a sick joke and what did you say? I have a picture of when I was a baby in the hospital with my birth mother and I sent that. Is this your mother? I’m looking for her because that’s my mother looking for my mother. And she just, uh, that’s where everything took off. She couldn’t, she didn’t believe me in the beginning until I sent her that picture and then she was shocked because she had no idea that I existed.
Damon: 16:40 Wow. So she believes you. Now what happens next?
Daniela: 16:44 She told her mom, which is my birth mother. And my birth mother, she tried to deny it, she tried to deny it, and when my sister showed her the picture, there was no denying it. She couldn’t deny it anymore, but she was upset that the secret was out because it turned out that my birth mother had an affair with her husband’s brother in law. So while her husband was in jail, because her husband turns out that he was abusive, she messed around with the butter in line. That’s how I came along.
Damon: 17:17 Oh Man. So no wonder she was open to the coercion then.
Daniela: 17:21 Yeah. She didn’t want anybody to find out.
Damon: 17:24 Daniella’s returned, revealed her birth. Mother’s secret. She was still in California and her birth mother was in Coronel, so all they could do was speak by phone, but her birth mother wouldn’t talk much. She was uneasy about Daniela’s return. Then yellow’s older sister continued to speak with her though. I asked her how her sister acted toward her.
Daniela: 17:46 She felt sorry for my mom. And that’s the that I don’t understand to this day is that people always think about themselves first. They don’t think about the other person or how it was for me. Um, she was just putting all the dots together of her growing up and seeing her mom sad and she always told me that her mom was, which is my mom, is very secretive, have always been to herself and my sisters were basically raised with their aunts because my mom was off, out in about, that’s how she’s been. It’s always been a life like that.
Damon: 18:24 Daniela sister wasn’t empathizing with her at all, but the family was okay with meeting her. So in 2009 she planned a solo trip back to Chile, leaving her daughter behind with her husband.
Daniela: 18:36 I went down to Chile and I saw my mother and everything was good, you know, it was a good relationship. She was skittish when we saw each other. She’s, she just wanted time with me by herself and she wanted me just to keep things between us. I mean we only told her mom, which is my grandmother about me and her sister, but she didn’t want anybody else to know anything. I asked her who my father was and she, she, she just told me, oh, we fine the way we are, you know, we don’t need anybody else. And your father, he has his own family and he doesn’t know you exist, so it’s better this way.
Damon: 19:15 Oh Wow. How did that make you feel to be held A secret, Still?
Daniela: 19:21 Terrible. I hated it because I want to know who my father was. Even though growing up I was angry at both of them. I always blamed my father because I always thought, oh, it’s because she didn’t have support from a man that you know, she, she had to give up her child and… But I was wrong.
Damon: 19:42 Her birth mother asked Daniela to maintain the secret of her existence from her birth father’s family. Once again, she was not empathizing with Daniela who hasn’t known who her first family was for all of her life. She didn’t acknowledge that her daughter’s life came from two people. Daniela wanted approval and acceptance from her birth mother. As we adopt these so often do so. She honored her request. She was in town for three weeks on that trip, spending most of her time with her sisters.
Daniela: 20:10 I spend more time with my sisters and I did with her. I saw her. I spent the night over at her house one night and she observed me just ask questions about my life. She says that she, she wanted to make sure that I, uh, I went to a good family, but I don’t know how she wanted to make sure. I mean, I don’t even know how much of this is true because she has issues, you know,
Damon: 20:42 So, she’s quiet. She’s observing you. How was your time with your sisters?
Daniela: 20:47 Oh, it was nice. He was, we were so much alike. We all laugh the same, you know, they said I was the most that looked and acted like my mother and they were just tripped out about that. There was just, you are the one that is the most like her and you didn’t even grow up with her. I thought that was pretty crazy.
Damon: 21:04 Yeah, that’s gotta be nuts.
Daniela: 21:06 Yeah. I mean, we, I walked with my mom and her brother down the street, her brother didn’t know who I was, but we were walking down the street and the brother looked at me and say, you know, you look a lot like, like she did when she was little and he didn’t know that we were related and he didn’t know that I was, you know, his, his niece
Damon: 21:22 really.
Daniela: 21:23 But I looked a lot. I look a lot like I took after my birth mother. Yeah.
Damon: 21:28 How did that make you feel?
Daniela: 21:31 I said proud, proud and sad because it’s sad. They lived their whole life and I wasn’t part of it.
Damon: 21:39 I asked Daniela what it was like to leave her family after three weeks in reunion together.
Daniela: 21:45 It was very sad. It was sad because they wanted me to stay. We all felt that, like, you know, that the sister bond, I never had that before. I mean, I grew up with two adopted brothers. I never knew what it was like to have a sister and it was, it was really nice because we were all open with each other and it was really sad. It was hard to leave, you know, it was hard to leave and just thinking about the fact… I’d always crossed my mind like I could come back here, I could come back and live here, but I had a daughter already and in a husband. It seemed very daunting. It seemed very difficult.
Damon: 22:20 Yeah man. I presume you had established a life. I mean when you, once you’ve gotten married, you know you’ve got a family, even your routines, your job, you’ve got stuff that you have back in California that can be your hard to uproot for something as new as this relationship too. Right?
Daniela: 22:37 Exactly. Yup. I was naive, you know, I thought it would have been good, but it, you know, like time always these shows and in time they tell me things changed after some time.
Damon: 22:50 Coronel is a small mining town, needless to say, word got out about Daniela’s existence specifically to her paternal half sister who reached out to Daniela through social media.
Daniela: 23:01 She sent me a message, you are my sister, you know, your father wants to get to know you. He’s very sick and he wants to see you before he gets any sicker and a very drastic email, and I just didn’t know what to think of it. I was completely taken aback. I didn’t know what to trust or who to believe or anything. So I reached out to my sister from my mom’s side and I said, you know, this girl is reaching out and completely blew it off. They’re like, oh, don’t trust her. Those people are crazy. You know, there are a bunch of Indians and all the racism started to come out. Don’t trust them because they’re native. They’re just, you know, some, they’re ignorant Indians. They wish, they’re crazy, blah, blah, blah. But of course I was so curious, like, wait a minute, why would she take such interest?
Damon: 23:47 Daniela was confused, so she decided she would settle the mystery. She bought a paternity test from cvs pharmacy, sent it to her friend in Chile who drove it to her alleged birth father’s house. Her friend sent test sample back to the states. The results were.
Daniela: 24:04 He was my father
Damon: 24:04 Wow. What did you think when you saw that?
Daniela: 24:09 Yeah, I screamed and when I got the results, because they email you the results. I was so happy. I was so excited. So happy. My sisters were like, oh, well Whenever. You get the results. Let us know first, let us go first. So first thing I did is I let my sister know and I shouldn’t have done that. From then everything turned from then and it went from. It went from everything was great and finding we were really good with each other to, to them shutting the door on me and never speaking to me again.
Damon: 24:37 What happened to you? You say you notified them and then. And what did they say?
Daniela: 24:41 Told my sister and then she told her. I told her, we don’t tell my mom yet because I want to tell her first that I found my father was well, she went ahead and she told my mom and my sister got back to me. She said, you know, that man was that to my mom, he raped her and, and, and how could you do this to my mom without even telling her basically just how dare you find out who your dad is, you don’t know the truth kind of thing. My mom says that she, she had gotten raped and just making herself a victim when none of this was brought up before, you know, before she just told me different names of a man. She told me a completely different name but not to tell him anything because he has his own family and it was a completely different person
Damon: 25:28 So this was not the person whom you thought it was. It was a totally different guy, really?
New Speaker: 25:36 Completely different man.
New Speaker: 25:37 That’s really fascinating. How then did his family find out that you existed as it related to your birth mother?
Daniela: 25:49 This is where it gets a little complicated. For my birth mother had a partner, which is my sister’s father. That was the level of her life and the love of her life had a sister. The sister was married to my father, so my my brothers and sisters on both sides of the. Oh my mom and my dad, their cousin, and that’s how the word got out.
Damon: 26:11 Gotcha. But your mother tried to steer you off track and named someone else? Completely correct.
Damon: 26:20 What a complex situation. So Daniella’s sister believed everything their mother said about being raped when none of that trauma was raised before. Remember the sister’s simply said that Daniella is paternal side. We’re part of the family and they just didn’t like them for discriminatory reasons, not criminal ones. If it had been a violent act, Daniela feels like her mother would have expressed what a painful time that was in her life, but she never did that. The whole thing was fishy. Daniela called her birth mother to check in,
Daniela: 26:53 so I called my mom just to see what was going on and she just answered the phone and said, I don’t ever want to hear about you. Don’t call me, I want nothing to do with you ever again, and she hung up on me and that was the end of that. That was very painful. That was the second rejection and that was so tough. So, so hard to deal with.
Damon: 27:14 What did you do? How did you. How did you get through that?
Daniela: 27:18 I don’t know how I got through it. Just thinking about it now. It’s pretty hard.
Damon: 27:24 Daniela was in touch with her maternal side for five years before the fiery end to their relationship. She was left to know, only her paternal side of the family. She wanted to meet them, so she planned yet another trip back. Back to Chile in 2016 a year after receiving her affirmative test results. This time she was headed even further south to another town. I’ll let Daniela tell you its name so I don’t mess it up.
Daniela: 27:49 Called Araoco
Damon: 27:51 she visited her family on native ancestral land.
Daniela: 27:55 It was amazing. It was beautiful because it’s in the middle of of the nature. He showed me the whole territory of, of my grandfather, my grandfather’s territory, which was. There was beach, there is, there is river, there’s no lake water falling. There’s forest. It was just everything nature. Beauty possible. That’s amazing. It was amazing. He told me the history in all of my grandfather and how he was. He was murdered by the government and and because the government took over the land for forestry industry and that’s when I started to really get to know the issues between the indigenous communities and the government in Chile and it was very interesting, very informational, which is very rich and everything. It was crazy.
Damon: 28:50 That sounds crazy. Wow. But how interesting for you to be able to hear some of your family’s history and understand more about your own heritage?
Daniela: 29:01 Yes. Everything started to make sense. Like growing up I was always told, oh, you look like Pocahontas and all this stuff, and I hated it. I hated being told that I look Indian because I didn’t really know what I was, but I just thought like, you’re like, oh, they’re making fun of me. They’re making fun of me, but it turns out, you know what? I am Indian. I am indigenous.
Damon: 29:24 That is so cool. Yeah. That connection back to your own heritage and sort of a clear identification with whom you’re connected to is so important and really fascinating. It’s unbelievable.
Daniela: 29:38 Oh yeah. No, I just, you know, I totally embraced it. I embraced it 100 percent because everything started to make sense. You know, everything in my own struggle within myself to start to make sense. You know, this is why I always got along better with animals than people. This is why I was always so empathetic towards, you know, the environment. I’ve always been, you know, just more in touch with the earth. I think it was, you know, I always felt like betrayed by people, so I just always cling to the other side. You know, the nature of the animal being outdoors, being more of a loner kind of person and it makes sense now, hey, you know, I’m indigenous. That’s why
Damon: 30:14 the trip sounded really great, but I wanted to know about the paternal relationship. Daniela sounded thankful that she finally learned her birth father’s side of the story.
Daniela: 30:24 My mother, when she was pregnant, she stayed even before she was finding she was staying with, with that family and with my father’s family before she was pregnant and during the pregnancy and they stayed in the same house.
Damon: 30:37 Wow. Okay.
Daniela: 30:39 Yeah, and he kind of had an inkling that I was his daughter, but she, she denied it. She did. She denied it all the way. The actually, they actually wanted her because they knew that she wanted to give me a production. The after my husband, my father’s wife told me that she asked my mother to give me to her. Don’t give her away, give us the baby wanted me.
Damon: 31:03 What did you feel when you heard that from them?
Daniela: 31:06 Heartbroken. It’s like my whole life I always felt like nobody wanted me and my father and in his family they knew of my existence. They didn’t know I was his daughter, but they wanted me. You know what? I didn’t want it to take care of me and my father told me that something, you know, that he always knew that, you know, he, he, he kind of knew that he wasn’t sure because she denied it, but something in him, you know, he says that every, every Christmas. It was always sad. He, he before he, where he used to be an alcoholic and in my, my birth brothers would tell me how he would get drunk and just cry and cry and cry and cry and he wouldn’t say, why wouldn’t say why? Just be so sad about everything and told me one day they told me that one day he, um, he took out a picture and it was a picture. Oh my gosh, this is really crazy. I had a picture of me and my adopted family when we were living in the United States when we first moved to the United States when I was seven years old. He had a picture of me
Damon: 32:08 really? How did they get that?
Daniela: 32:11 They got that picture. Because when my father lives, my, my, my adopted father, when they were, they in Chile. See, my father was a a pastor, so he was doing ministry in that town of Coronel where I was born and he of course became friends with the people of the Church of the town and when he adopted me, people in the town of course started talking while she looks a lot like she looks like a lot. Like my brother. I looked a lot like my birth brother. So when they send the picture to to their friends and one of the friends took a picture to my father and said, she looks just like your son has told me that one day during Christmas or new years or one of the holidays, he just got so drunk and you said in that picture and this picture is the blood of your blood.
Damon: 33:02 Oh, he confirmed.
Daniela: 33:03 He was just taken aback. Everyone was taken aback. Like, what is he talking about? He says, drunk Blah Blah Blah. And my father has been sober for for 10 years now. But that was back then.
Damon: 33:14 Yeah. But that means that in some way everybody kind of knew. You know, when someone, when someone behaves a certain way and they say something that seems crazy, but it is a repeated refrain, you have to believe that there is something in their past that they are tuned into that they’re expressing that you just don’t know. That’s really unbelievable.
Daniela: 33:39 Yeah. I mean, when I speak to my father now, he’s. He just, he feels guilty. He says he feels guilty for not fighting more or for not insisting more for, for not doing more, but you set the meeting. He was very poor. I mean they don’t have the resources you know, to, to look or to search or, or any of that stuff. And he just feels guilty for not fighting more.
Damon: 34:06 Yeah. I can imagine. But you know, what could he have done if she
Daniela: 34:12 yeah he really couldn’t have done anything?
Damon: 34:14 … was doing the things that she did. There’s not much that he could have done.
Damon: 34:18 Recall, the Daniela was invited to stay and she lay by her adoptive mother and Daniela moved across the country to California to start a new life after she couldn’t get along with her adoptive family. When she returned to Miami, I wondered if she informed her adopted parents of her reunions and how those conversations and the relationships were doing.
Daniela: 34:37 When, when I told my mom, my adopted mom about finding my birth mom, she just, she just got scared. She’s like, I promised her that we weren’t going to look for her. I made her a promise and now I’m breaking a promise. She was a little bit upset, which made me upset. But um, since then it’s just been, you know, my adopted mom wants to get involved. She wants to go meet the families. I just kind of want to keep her away from it, separated from it because my mom has my adopted mom. She, she means well. I know she doesn’t do things that have to be malicious. She’s doesn’t have a bad heart. She’s a good person, but she, she has turned away people from my life without knowing it. Like my, my abusive boyfriend and Chile before he turned the abusive, my mom would tell me, oh, well she’s depressive and she’s, you know, she takes medication and when she wears black and music, she’s like business. She’d like that and I don’t know if you guys can handle her. Will they use all the stuff that she told them against me? They use at will. That’s why your parents didn’t want you and that’s why you’re down here and that’s we’re taking care of you because you’re crazy because you’re depressive and all this stuff. And they started using everything. You know that she warned them about me against me.
Damon: 35:44 She, she, she did this sabotaged you by accident? Sounds like.
Daniela: 35:51 So I kind of keep her away from. I want this part, this part, this my family. My. I want it to be just mine. I don’t want to share it with anybody, with my adopted family.
Damon: 36:04 I understand that completely. But how are you doing now?
Daniela: 36:09 No, I’ve gone from being the lone wolf to now just not feeling lost anymore. I know. Why am I know where I come from? I’ve embraced my heritage. I’m, I’m learning, you know, little by little, more about my people’s culture and trying to instill that in my family. Um, now I just feel like I don’t feel lost. I, I, I think like the feeling of not knowing where you belong. I never really fully leaves because I’m here in the United States and I know like here I feel like an outsider. Like this is not my, this is not my land, but when I go back to Tina, it’s just an empowering feeling. No, I can imagine. I’m not lost anymore though. I don’t feel lost. I know why I know where I come from.
Damon: 37:03 Yeah. Wow. I’m really glad you were able to find that. That’s, that’s really important because to walk this earth your entire life and never feel that sense of belonging is that will be very low and very challenging. Yeah. That’s good that you found that. Daniela told me she doesn’t talk to her maternal side at all, but she’s happy for the five years they had a reunion. Now she finds peace from the maternal relationships she’s developed.
Daniela: 37:31 I am happy that at least I have a little piece of, of, of where I come from, that’s my father and as long as I have that, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll be fine.
Damon: 37:39 Yeah, I hear you. You’re absolutely right. And I’m glad that you have a positive relationship on that side and you know, as I’ve come to learn from talking to people, there are always two sides at least to every story and for you to have been able to find him and get his side of the story and here, you know, his emotion over the desire to keep you for himself. Um, that’s, that’s really important and I’m glad you got that opportunity to hear that.
Daniela: 38:09 Oh yeah, me too. I, uh, it was very healing. I needed it.
Damon: 38:14 I’ll bet. That’s amazing. Well, Daniella, thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m really appreciate the fact that you had, not only this does identity crisis as an adoptee, but also as a person of another country who was adopted into a family of another country. Um, it must have been incredibly isolating for you. And I’m sorry for all that you went through through, you know, the therapy and medications and things like that, but it sounds like you’re in a really good strong place now and I’m, I’m really happy about that.
Daniela: 38:51 I mean, you know, I think adoptees just, we all have this sadness to us, the step, the steps that other people were not adopted don’t know or wouldn’t understand. And I think that beps in sadness or whatever emotion it is, it makes us very actually more advanced. I feel like, who don’t know what it’s like to feel this way. I’m only 32 years old and I feel like I’m 50. I feel like I’ve lived through so much emotionally that I’m already 50 years old.
Damon: 39:29 Yeah. You’ve lived a lifetime both in what you’ve endured in your family and what you’ve been through in trying to reunite with your biological families. I mean it’s, it’s a lot. These are life adventures and you’ve experienced them at an early age.
Daniela: 39:43 Yeah, it’s exhausting. Yeah. Grateful.
Damon: 39:47 I hear you. I’m glad you’re in a good place now. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Daniela. I appreciate it.
Daniela: 39:53 No, thank you for listening. I don’t talk about it a lot
Damon: 39:54 Of course. All the best. Take care. Okay. Bye. Sure. Your take care. Bye Bye.
Daniela: 40:01 Bye Bye.
New Speaker: 40:06 Hey, it’s me. Daniella’s story shines a light on the coercion that influences many adoptions. While I know that heavy influences are inflicted on some pregnant mothers, it was hard to hear. Daniela described the predatory trolling that the social worker did to finally get her away from her birth mother. However, it also sounded like her birth mother had a lot of shame for how Daniela was conceived and was prepared for deception when it came to Daniela’s birth.
Damon: 40:33 A perfect storm. I was sorry to hear the struggles Daniela faced as an outsider and her family. How adoption and the lack of attachment to her true identity made her feel like she wanted to end it all. A lot of adoptees have suicidal thoughts, but there’s help for you. You can call the national suicide prevention hotline 24 hours a day at one, 800, two, seven, three, eight, two, five, five. If you feel like you need to talk to someone, they’re there to listen. That’s 800, two, seven, three “talk”. In the end, Daniela learned that contrary to what she felt her whole life she was always wanted by her birth father and knowing that has filled a huge hole in her life. I’m Damon Davis and I hope you will find something in Daniela’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?
Damon: 41:33 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.