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031 – Finding Hope

Jamie grew up an only child with her wonderful adoptive parents in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA. She was happy to hear in reunion that her birth parents had already talked about her existence with their families. Living in Tennessee, she found her birth mother right back in Atlanta, in the same county where she lived as a girl. Jamie shares some truly special moments she was blessed to share with her birth father including a special dance, and an epic celestial event.

The post 031 – Finding Hope appeared first on Who Am I…Really? Podcast.

Jamie (00:03):

I choose to know both of them today. You know from the time that I found them and not you know, anything in the past that’s just, we all have paths and I choose to know them today and for who they are today, no matter what the situation was, you know, 38 years ago.

Voices (00:24):

Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?

Damon (00:35):

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 Jamie. She lives in Tennessee, but she grew up as an only child with her wonderful adoptive parents in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. She started her search when she was 18 years old, finding her birth mother first in 2010 and her birth father recently in 2017 she was happy to hear in reunion that her birth parents had already talked about her existence with their families. Jamie tells the story of her blessings in reunification and some truly special moments she was able to share with her birth father when they first met. Here’s Jamie’s journey.

Damon (01:24):

Jamie was adopted as an infant and her parents were super loving when she was a child and their lives revolved around her and her activities. They got her involved in everything from dance and music lessons to church and choir. Jamie shared how her parents were doting parents and she was proud of being an adoptee, but her parents weren’t comfortable with her openly discussing her adoption.

Jamie (01:46):

Well, I had basically always known that I was adopted, but according to my mom, I was told by the son of a family friend when I was very young, maybe four or five-ish. I don’t remember being told though. So for me it was just always my reality. It didn’t change my world or make me question why or anything of that nature. They always told me I was special and um, made me feel very special. But yet they discouraged me from talking about adoption or sharing that I was adopted. They very much wanted me to just be theirs, you know? So it was not encouraged that we talked about it much. It was talked about very, very little between us. Now, I was very proud of it because I thought it was special and so I would tell anybody and everybody, as long as I didn’t think they would tell my parents that I was talking about it.

Damon (02:40):

Oh, that’s so interesting. So you feel comfortable with it, but they kind of wanted to push it down and allow you to just be you in their family, not an adoptee in their family.

Jamie (02:53):

I never felt adopted. I mean I knew it was adopted, you know? Like I said, I thought it was special, but I never felt different than any other kids that I knew of. I mean, honestly I don’t think, if I hadn’t been told, I don’t think I would have ever questioned or wondered if I was adopted or anything of that nature.

Damon (03:16):

Really?

Jamie (03:16):

No, I, I would have totally thought I was part of my family.

Damon (03:19):

That’s kind of nice. Do you look like them? Do you, are you similar to them in different aspects of your life, your characteristics, personality traits and things?

Jamie (03:29):

Um, I definitely do not look like my mom’s side of the family. My dad’s side of the family, I probably would have just thought that I look like them because they’re have more blonde hair. So I would’ve just thought I got looks from my dad, you know, even though I didn’t particularly facial wise look, look like any of them I could have fit in fine I suppose.

Damon (03:52):

Yeah.

Jamie (03:53):

Um, as far as personality goes, I am very outgoing, never meet a stranger. And my parents both were fairly shy and pretty opposite of that, but I really wouldn’t have thought anything about it. I would’ve just thought it was from them encouraging me to be different than them, you know, they wanted me to be that way. So they encouraged me by, like I said, putting me in dance lessons and having me at church and you know, being out in the public arena and things like that.

Damon (04:22):

I wondered why if Jamie was so comfortable at home, she decided to launch a search for her birth parents. She said she had many of the classic questions adoptees have about their circumstances of their adoption, wondering who she looked like and wondering if they thought about her on her birthday. Having learned and studied music, you’ll hear Jamie talk about the song lyrics that resonate with her. Of course, what lyrics would resonate more than the words sung by a young orphan girl who wondered about her own parents too. Jamie also has a physical marker on her body that always reminds her about her own birthday.

Jamie (04:57):

And I always connected with the song “Maybe” from the musical Annie, where she proposes what her parents might look like. You know, she’s saying maybe they’re this or maybe they’re that, or maybe they’re doing this or maybe they’re doing that. Uh, I always loved that song and I even had a replica of the Annie necklace in the movie and, and I would hope, you know, that there was something like that that would connect me with my birth parents. It’s kind of that little kid imagination dream type thing going on.

Damon (05:25):

Oh yeah, definitely. Did you buy that necklace yourself?

Jamie (05:29):

No, my parents apparently got it for me. I don’t really remember when, but probably when the movie was out and popular, you know?

Damon (05:36):

Interesting.

Jamie (05:38):

And in a way I did have my own little connection to my birth. That was really the only thing as a child that I had that connected me, and that was the fact that I had the scar on my side where I was accidentally cut by the doctor while I was being born during a C-section.

Damon (05:57):

Really? Wow.

Jamie (05:59):

Really? So that was always kind of my special little mark. Like, okay, this is real. I was, you know, cut like my surely my birth mom will, you know, know that when I find her that it will connect us, you know?

Damon (06:18):

Wow. That’s unreal. I’ve never heard anybody say that before. That’s really fascinating. That’s a connection that with you and your mom for the moment you came into this world, you’re absolutely right.

Damon (06:28):

In college in 1997 Jamie found some of the early websites and chat rooms where adoption conversations were starting to happen online. She was looking for anyone who was looking for her. Jamie didn’t have much hope or luck finding anything because she had nothing to go on. Her birth certificate was amended to include her adopted parents names, not her birth parents names. Then Jamie got a break. Her adoptive parents had some information to share, but they didn’t give it to her. They gave it to someone else in what seems like kind of an open secret.

Jamie (07:03):

Well, it wasn’t too long after that when I was actually given the little bit of information about my birth parents that my adoptive parents and accidentally received during the adoption process. They were not supposed to have had it, but accidentally received a letter that had my birth mom’s name, my birth date, her birth date, and her father’s name. So now that I had her name and her birth date and her father’s name, that was like, okay, this is a real person I can look for now.

Damon (07:39):

I want to know your parents got this letter by accident, but how did you get the information from them?

Jamie (07:46):

Again, they didn’t really ever talk to me about being adopted much. Um, like I said, they like to keep it on the down low. So my dad had been ill after having a heart attack while I was in high school. And I don’t know if he just thought maybe because he wasn’t doing well that the information needed to be shared or what. But I had a, a long term boyfriend who um, they sometimes would travel together. Him and my parents to come visit me at college. And during one of those trips they actually told him this information so they wouldn’t tell it to me, but they told it to him and told him not to tell me, but they wanted him to know it. I’m not sure if maybe they were like, well, yeah, I mean, I know he’ll tell anyway. I don’t, I’m not really sure. But he did tell me obviously. And so I was very, very happy to know and to have a name and to have this information.

Damon (08:48):

That’s fascinating that they would entrust him with that. It’s almost like they wanted him to tell you and they didn’t want to be the ones to it, you know?

Jamie (08:57):

Yeah. That’s, that’s kinda how I felt. I thought surely they would know that he’s going to tell me. I mean, otherwise why would they even tell him?

Damon (09:06):

So how did you get the document though? He, he, they told your boyfriend, but did they actually physically hand you the document? Did you ask them about it?

Jamie (09:14):

Um, no. When my mom accidentally received the letter. She opened it and she wrote down the information on a little, probably three by five piece of notebook paper. Today, I do have that piece of paper. But um, at the time, no, I did not have that. It was just told to him. I don’t think he ever saw the paper as far as I know, it was all just told to him. And then he passed along to me.

Damon (09:40):

Did you confront your parents about it or did you just take the information and run?

Jamie (09:45):

I just pretended like I knew nothing. I just used it to, you know, try and start searching on the internet and looking.

Damon (09:55):

But the internet was young. Jamie would search some times, live her life other times. She explored her curiosity off and on for 12 years, second guessing whether her information was even correct. When Jamie’s own child was born, a hereditary health condition was revealed. That was a legitimate reason to reengage in her search for her birth family and to more openly engage with her mother about her own adoption.

Jamie (10:21):

Well, you know, during that time I had gotten married and I had a child who ended up having a lot of medical issues and, um, actually it was what she has, the disease she has is inherited and it is only inherited through your mother. So, um, so obviously that ended with me as far as we knew anything back on a medical history. Um, that added to my curiosity of course, uh, in finding my biological family and seeing if there was any health information. My, uh, adoptive father. He had also passed away while I was in college, so he’s not around anymore. My adopted mom is. Um, I kind of used the excuse of needing health information and wanting to find more health information to talk to my mom a little bit about adoption. And I knew, you know, I knew obviously that she had that information because I had been given it, but she had still never told it to me. We had never talked about it. Eventually, one day she brought out this envelope with some different documents and things and that little piece of paper that I was telling you about, that old three by five like piece of paper that had the, my birth mom’s name, birthday and such written on it and she gave them to me and she said, here, here’s the information that I have and maybe you can contact the lawyer’s office who had done the adoption to see if they can get in contact with them to get more health information for you. So she’s still, she’s giving me this information, but she’s still basically discouraging me from trying to contact my birth parents or birth mom, that’s just the only information we had there. Really just wanting me to see if I could get health information from someone else and not really be in contact with them just to get the birth or the health information.

Damon (12:19):

Mhmm. So she wasn’t entirely receptive to the idea of you reaching out, but because you had a specific health need that really allowed you to open a door that probably couldn’t have been opened previously.

Jamie (12:32):

Right.

Damon (12:34):

The lawyer’s office that had helped with Jamie’s adoption 38 years prior was no longer in practice. She and her husband went online to classmates.com, whitepages.com, ancestry.com or any website that would provide more information about a specific person, but identifying her maternal grandfather posthumously was the key piece of information Jamie needed.

Jamie (12:56):

So I started finding some names and bits and pieces of information. One of the biggest things that allowed me to move forward with the search online was the fact that my biological grandfather, whose name was on that piece of paper, um, finding his name and finding, and he was deceased at the time when I was searching. So you can find a lot more information about someone online once they’re deceased. And that really him being deceased really allowed me to find more information on him, which allowed me to find the information to connect me to my birth mother. And it all came together and like just about like a day or two, it happens really fast. Once that first piece kind of connected, it all just fell in place.

Damon (13:51):

So his death has opened new opportunities for you to identify other people, especially your biological mother. So what did you, what did you find and what did you do next?

Jamie (14:06):

Um, well, the, the first person that I was able to find the contact information for was…I was finding names. The first person I could contact with my birth mom’s stepbrother. But I was really nervous to make that first contact because the last thing I ever wanted to do was to surprise anyone or cause any family issues. Really, really concerned about making that first contact with someone. But I knew I had to, you know, I mean, you just, at some point I have to take that leap of faith and try to contact someone because I was not finding any information to be able to contact her directly.

Damon (14:51):

But Jamie knew she had to do something. She recruited her husband to call her step uncle. The uncle didn’t know Jamie existed, but he was able to connect her to his stepmom, Jamie’s biological grandmother. She was the very first person that I actually talked to that I was, that I was biologically related to.

Jamie (15:12):

Really. How did that go?

Jamie (15:14):

It was good. Um, her and my birth mom don’t have a good relationship, so they were not in contact with each other, but she, you know, obviously knew about me and knew that my birth mom would, you know, want to talk to me. Um, she said I definitely was not a secret and I was not, I would not be, you know, interrupting her life or anything of that nature. Cause I kind of asked her all those questions to make sure I was not going to again, cause any family issues for anyone.

Damon (15:44):

Right.

Jamie (15:45):

She wasn’t in, they weren’t in contact with each other. So she at that time told me that I have two half brothers and told me their names and one of their names was spelled differently than, than what you would normally think. So she said maybe that will help you to find them because she didn’t know how to get in touch with them.

Damon (16:04):

Interesting. Another clue, definitive identifying information. That’s really interesting.

Jamie (16:11):

So here we go. Searching again, you know, and um, pretty quickly it was, you know, Facebook to the rescue.

Damon (16:17):

Jamie sent her younger half-brother a message saying that she was an old friend of his mother’s. She had no idea her brother knew she existed. So she didn’t want her first message to be an awkward and surprising, Hey, I’m your sister. He of course was asking clarifying questions to understand how this stranger, Jamie, knew his mother, but then Jamie figured out she wasn’t messaging directly with her brother.

Jamie (16:40):

Turns out it actually wasn’t him on his Facebook page, but his, his wife. So, um, she was actually the one that was messaging me, but I thought it was him.

Damon (16:49):

Oh. I see.

Jamie (16:51):

And she asked something like, well, how do you know her or, or something of that nature, you know, I guess thinking it was weird that I would find him to look for her. And so finally I, I looked at my husband and I said, what do I do? You know, what do I do? Do I just go for it? I’ll just say I’m his sister, or what do I just go for it? I don’t know what to do. I was scared to death, very nervous. He’s like, you know, at this point you just got to go for it. I mean, you know, it’s your only connection at this point. So, so I said, well, I think I’m his sister. And there was like radio silence on the Facebook messenger. And I’m thinking, Oh no, Oh no. They don’t know, what is this. They’re freaking out, you know? But it didn’t take too long before his wife messaged back and said, sorry, I had to go, I had to go wake him up, he was asleep, and tell him and then he started messaging me and, and and such. And it was, it was all good. It was, he knew about me and had always known about me and he was able to get me in contact with our mom.

Damon (18:00):

Wow. He always knew about you. What did he say?

Jamie (18:03):

He told me that his mom had just always told them about me, that they had a sister. I think sometimes he had even used me against her a little bit and questions like why he was, you know, why she gave me up and why he was kept and you know, things of that nature. But he was, he was excited.

Damon (18:22):

Her brother connected Jamie to their mother. Her mother called the very next day and they chatted for hours.

Jamie (18:29):

One of the first things that she told me was that she had named me Hope Marie, which was changed when I was adopted. So I had no idea that I had been named when I was born. I just had always the name that my parents named me and that was it. But so from then on I kind of referred to my search as finding Hope.

Damon (18:52):

Yeah.

Jamie (18:52):

Since it has so many meanings and you know, I was always looking to find out more about my past and myself and just finding, everyone gave me hope and you know, my birth name being Hope.

Damon (19:03):

That’s awesome.

Jamie (19:04):

That’s the name of my search.

Damon (19:05):

Yeah, that’s really cool. What other kinds of things did she say she reveals to you what your birth name was? Did she tell you a little bit about why you were put up for adoption?

Jamie (19:17):

So she told me all about that. Of course, I was conceived on prom night, so she was only 17 my birth father as well was in high school and it just really was not feasible for them to care for me. They weren’t really a couple. She didn’t know that there were resources out there to help her care for me. She said she did not even realize there were, you know, ways she could get help if she had even wanted to try and take care of me. She just knew she’s 17 and how would she do this by herself? So she had chosen to make a, uh, adoption plan for me.

Damon (19:56):

Jamie told me there’s an interesting story from the time of her birth, the hospital where she was delivered was not aware that her birth mother had made an adoption plan for her. So they allowed her to stay with her mother who took care of her for five days. On the fifth day, her birth mother’s 18th birthday, her maternal grandfather and their lawyer flew Jamie from Virginia to Georgia to be handed over to her adoptive parents.

Jamie (20:23):

Her father actually had a mutual friend to my adoptive parents. So my biological grandfather has his daughter who’s having a baby and looking to make an adoption plan and then the mutual friend knew that my parents were looking to adopt because they weren’t able to have a baby. So he connected them and then it was all done through a private law firm.

Damon (20:48):

Oh, that’s amazing. So you were like two degrees of separation from your biological family.

Jamie (20:54):

Mhmm.

Damon (20:54):

Oh wow.

Jamie (20:56):

And something else amazing that I found out in the process of finding her is that she had met my, my two half brothers. She had met their father just about six weeks after she gave birth to me. And they’ve been together now ever since. So she’s been with the same man pretty much after right after I was born for the last, you know, 38 years. And that’s the father of my two half-brothers.

Damon (21:24):

Wow. That’s a long standing relationship, especially after trauma. I mean she at 17 if she met him six months later, she’s still a young woman. That’s amazing. Six weeks. Yeah. Oh wow.

Jamie (21:39):

Yes, six weeks. She said if she would have known that she would have been meeting him and then they would have been together all this time she may have, you know, kept me.

Damon (21:50):

Wow. What did you think when you heard that?

Jamie (21:52):

I guess a little bit of a mixed reaction, like in a way that would have been, you know, interesting I guess, but I love my adoptive family, so I wouldn’t really want my life to have changed as far as the way I grew up, so I don’t know. I’m a little bit of a mixed emotions there, I guess.

Damon (22:09):

That’s really fascinating.

Jamie (22:10):

But I can understand.

Damon (22:11):

Yeah, and it’s an interesting piece of speculation too because one would like to think that the man that you’ve married would have been as in love with you without your daughter as he would have been had he been the new father to this daughter that you’ve just had. I mean, he would’ve, if they would’ve met, she would’ve had a daughter and it would’ve been a different scenario. It’s some real nice wishful thinking to think that he would have been this awesome guy and you all could have been a family, but the reality is a young man meeting a woman with a baby at that time might not have been receptive to the relationship.

Jamie (22:48):

That’s true. Things could have been completely different.

Damon (22:53):

Yeah, absolutely.

Damon (22:55):

Jamie took several pages of notes as her mother spoke openly about the past and the parts of her story. Her mother was forthcoming with lots of information during their first conversation while Jamie documented everything feverishly.

Jamie (23:08):

Yeah. I just know I took tons and tons and tons and tons of notes because there was always that fear that what if this was the only time we, I ever get this opportunity to talk to her. So, um, which it was not, we continue to have a great relationship, um, in talking with each other regularly, but I think the first time that we talk, I was just so afraid that I needed to get every little bit of piece of information that I could right then and there, you know?

Damon (23:36):

Yeah. Yeah. And that’s a hard thing too because you’ve been searching for her for more than a decade and you’ve known that this was coming and in some way you were mentally prepared for it and a lot of times when you show up on somebody’s door or on their phone, like it’s this holy crap moment that they’ve not been necessarily preparing for as much as you. So it’s good that she was able to be open and forthright. Um, having just heard about how you are discovering how to get in touch with her.

Jamie (24:06):

Oh, for sure.

Damon (24:07):

Jamie’s mother put her mind at ease that she had been thinking about her over the years too and had joined adoption registries, hoping they would connect somehow, but Jamie wasn’t sure if she should register where she was adopted or where she was born. So she never pursued that course of action. Jamie also got a picture from her mother that she always wanted and a confirmation about her scar that was the key to verifying she had found her birth mother.

Jamie (24:34):

And I also found that, you know, something I had never had was a hospital picture. I remember growing up and seeing all of my cousins baby pictures at my grandmother’s house, you know, in the album or sitting out on a frame and things of that nature. And that was always a thought in my mind of I wish I had a hospital picture. You know, I wonder what I was like the first day I was born and I found out that my birth mother actually had the proof of my hospital picture and she had been carrying, carrying it in her wallet all of these years.

Damon (25:06):

Are you serious? That’s unreal. Oh my God. That’s amazing. She carried you with her the whole time.

Jamie (25:14):

So now I have a hospital picture.

Damon (25:16):

That’s so cool. Did you ask her about the scar?

Jamie (25:20):

Yes. Oh yes. And she knew, I wanted her to tell me. I didn’t want to tell her about the scar and then her be like, Oh yeah, I wanted her to, to tell me about it. And she did. I can’t remember how exactly it was brought up, but I think she said, maybe told me about being born by Cesarean. And I may have just said, was there anything, you know with that or anything that was different that happened or something of that nature because I wanted her to tell me what it was.

Damon (25:45):

Yeah, but you probed for it to give her the open opportunity to say something.

Jamie (25:49):

Right.

Damon (25:50):

You know, even if you knew for sure that was her. For her to actually say it must’ve been really validating. This is definitely her.

Jamie (25:58):

It was, it’s like that’s the password to get in the door. You’ve got to know about my scar.

Damon (26:05):

Jamie and her birth mother exchanged photos and things were good, but there was one thing Jamie was hoping for that didn’t quite happen.

Jamie (26:12):

One of the things I guess I was a little bit sad about is that I really didn’t seem to look much like her or really anyone else on that side of the family, so that was still that little adoptee thing in my head of oh my gosh, I don’t really look like them though. It’s kind of a let down.

Damon (26:29):

They discovered they only lived four hours from one another. It would be a road trip that would take Jamie back to the area where she grew up. It was a cool coincidence because she and her mother had lived very near one another when Jamie was a girl. So close, in fact, that she and her brother almost went to the same school at the same time. So within eight months Jamie’s family was on the road to meet her birth mother outside of Atlanta.

Jamie (26:54):

She had moved down to the area where I grew up in sometime during my childhood. So we actually lived in the same county for a lot of my life.

Damon (27:06):

Wow, that’s amazing.

Jamie (27:07):

Yes. Um, had no idea. And um, my oldest half brother and I actually went to the same middle school, but we missed each other by a year because he transferred and ended up going there the year that I’ve transferred out to go to high school.

Damon (27:23):

That’s unbelievable. You were so close. That would’ve been really cool.

Jamie (27:27):

I know, I know. We were and had no idea. Um, but we, we made the trip to go down to meet her. We were able to meet with her, met with her first, I guess the first night that we were there, just her and my husband and children. Um, and then the rest of the weekend we got to spend with the whole family, my two half brothers and their families. We took lots and lots of pictures. Of course.

Damon (27:49):

I’ll bet you did. Naturally I was curious about Jamie’s birth father. Her birth mother told her his name in the very first phone call they had. Jamie got his name, which was really common, the year he graduated from high school and his mother’s name. It was still hard to find him. So her search went on again off again as her curiosity peaked at different times throughout her life. Then while completing the branches on her adopted and biological family trees on ancestry.com she decided to pay for a full subscription. That would help her accumulate more documentation about everyone in the tree. Jamie found one document that led her to findagrave.com.

Jamie (28:31):

Something has drawn me to a document that from ancestry that connected to um, findagrave.com and it shows listings and pictures of like burial sites and grave markers in the cemeteries where people are are buried. Well, I really never heard of that site before and thinking through it, I thought, well maybe I should type in my biological grandmother’s name, my birth father’s mom, I mean it’s possible to be deceased. So I went to findagrave.com, I typed in her name and there it was. That showed her her maiden name, then on her grave marker, which gave me another clue to match up some family on ancestry. And somehow I ended up through that finding my birth father’s middle name.

Damon (29:19):

Interesting.

Jamie (29:20):

Right. So he had a super common name except his middle name was pretty different. So now I could differentiate him from all the other men who shared the same name.

Damon (29:29):

Yes. Wow. That was pretty clever.

Jamie (29:32):

So I just went into Google, typed in his name and there was phone number, address, everything, just staring right there back at me, waiting for me to make contact. And again, that all happened in the course of a day. I was not really looking and then to start looking and it all just fell into place.

Damon (29:53):

The first thing Jamie did was message her birth mother to tell her she thought she had found her birth father’s information online. She showed her birth mother a photo of the man. Her mother said..

Jamie (30:03):

Well, if I had a phone number I would just call. And I said, Oh, I found the phone number. So I sent it to her and I don’t even think I told her exactly to call, but um, I’m assuming she took me sending her the number as a here, go ahead. And so she made a phone call. She asked for him and said she was a friend from high school and I next thing I know, she’s on the phone with him telling him about me and that I had been looking for him and he was very receptive and I was actually eating dinner with my adoptive mom at the time when I got a message from her that said, you’re going to be getting an email shortly. I’m like, Oh you can’t be serious.

Damon (30:47):

That’s so cool!

Jamie (30:47):

Like it was just a little too easy or something, you know? And then trying to, again, I’m sitting at dinner with my adoptive mom trying to not show in my face that I’m like nervous as heck and super excited.

Damon (31:03):

Oh right. Cause your adopted mom was not necessarily openly supportive. Oh boy. We had to put on a poker face.

Jamie (31:12):

Oh yeah. So, but she had to see something cause she’s like, who are you texting or something like that. Of course, I’m always just like its a friend. You know, a friend.

Damon (31:24):

Jamie’s birth father found her on Facebook and added her as a friend. Jamie’s birth mother said that her birth father was going to email her very soon, but Jamie was impatient. So she Facebook messaged with her birth father. She didn’t really know what to say, but the communications were open. She found herself in that familiar place, not wanting to push too hard because she didn’t know if his family knew about her and she didn’t want to disrupt his life. They messaged for a few days while Jamie waited patiently for him to feel comfortable enough to call her.

Jamie (31:56):

One of the things that he was concerned about was that I would be angry with him, you know, for not being a part of my life. And um, I definitely have never felt angry or had any, any anger towards either of my birth parents. So, um, I assured him that was not the case and you know, he was very happy about that.

Damon (32:17):

That’s great. It’s good that you can go back and reassure him that you’re okay with what happened. It’s kind of water under the bridge by now. Right?

Jamie (32:25):

Right, right. I choose to know both of them today. You know from the time that I found them and not you know, anything in the past that’s just, we all have paths and I choose to know them today and for who they are today, no matter what the situation was, you know, 38 years ago.

Damon (32:41):

That’s a pretty smart approach and I can appreciate where you’re coming from because there no way to go back and change it. You were just a product of it. I asked Jamie if she had met her father yet. She told me that within weeks he said he wanted to go visit her. That was pretty cool to her because she thought she might have to be the one to go meet him.

Jamie (33:00):

Yeah. It only took a few weeks until he said that he wanted to come visit. And I was actually pretty shocked because for some reason, I guess I just had it in my head that I would have to be the one to travel to where he is. And I, at that point we only still known each other for a few weeks. So it wasn’t, you know, 100% sure how interested he was in me. So far, everything seemed well, but you know, you worry if they’re just being nice for a little while. And so when he said he wanted to to come out, I was just shocked and super excited and he was able to come and visit for six days, which meant we got to do a lot of things together while he was here. The very first night we met, just he and I for dinner and I’d seen a few pictures that had been sent to me online through Facebook and texting and things like that from him or things that he had on his Facebook page. And I wasn’t really sure if I was like him or not. I knew that I might possibly look more like him or someone in his family then, you know, birth mom’s side of the family. Um, but the minute that we met in person, it was just, it was obvious. And the first thing I said was, I do look like you!

Damon (34:13):

Finally I look like somebody. Yeah.

Jamie (34:15):

I know, I know. I was so excited, I’m like, ah, I look like somebody this is so cool!

Damon (34:21):

That’s great.

Jamie (34:22):

We sat there like just eating, talking for about three hours and I even apologize for awkwardly staring because I think, you know, I was analyzing every piece of his face and what it looked like and you know, if his hands look like my hands and you know, just all of those different physical characteristics because I wanted to look like somebody. And I remember it wasn’t actually during dinner, but on another day was here when I had noticed. I said, we even have the same hands, kind of the long slender fingers. And he says, well yeah, does your thumb do this? And he held up his, his thumb like you’re giving a thumbs up and it looked just like my thumb because our thumbs don’t point up. When we do thumbs up, they, they go up and curve and point out to the side.

Damon (35:11):

That’s so funny! Hysterical.

Jamie (35:18):

So we definitely had to take a picture like that.

Damon (35:21):

Jamie shared two very unique and meaningful experiences with her birth father all on his very first trip to meet his daughter. The first happened during a spectacular event in the skies above. The second was a very special dream come true that Jamie had wished for on her wedding day.

Jamie (35:39):

When he came to visit, we actually got to share a really special time together. It happened to be during the same time that the solar eclipse took place. So the last solar eclipse in the U S happened in 1979 which was the year that I was born. And then fast forward 38 years here we are together getting to watch the solar eclipse.

Damon (36:04):

Wow, that’s so cool.

Jamie (36:07):

I connect a lot of my emotions with music. So, um, again as a child, a song that I always connected to was the song Somewhere Out There from um, American Tale and you know, it talks about there being, you know, somewhere out there, this other person maybe looking at the same star as you and such. So that was always a thought I had also throughout childhood, somewhere out there, maybe we’re both looking at the moon tonight or maybe we were both seeing a shooting star, something of that nature. So it was really neat for us to be together and to know at that time, not only are we looking at the same star at the same time but we’re looking at it together.

Damon (36:50):

That’s so crazy, man. Oh my gosh. That’s unbelievable. How cool that you guys got to do that together.

Jamie (36:57):

Then we also got to have another really special moment just before he came to visit as I’m thinking all about adoption related stuff. The song by Daughtery called The Start of Something Good came on the radio. And I had never listened to it in this way, but it was to me, it spoke to me exactly about kind of our situation at the time of, you know, you never know when you’re gonna meet someone and this is going to change your life and this may just be the start of something good. So I really connected with that song right before he got here and then after he arrived and we met and everything was going so well, the, the thought crossed my mind that, you know, I would love to be able to have the opportunity to do a father daughter dance because when I got married, my adopted father had already passed away.

Jamie (37:48):

And by my profession, I’m a professional photographer. So week in and week out I get to see other fathers and daughters at this very special dance at their wedding together. And you know, that was just something that I never got to do and it was always a little bit, you know, envious of their chance to do that. So I, I nervously, um, told my husband about my ideas, getting my wedding dress out of the closet and being able to have a father daughter dance with my, my birth father in, in our backyard. And he agreed. He thought it was a great idea. He liked the song. And so then I asked my birth father if that was to be okay with him and he agreed. And so that last day together we were able to share that father daughter dance with me in my wedding dress in my backyard.

Damon (38:40):

Oh my gosh. That is unbelievable, wow. How cool that you were able to bring that back from your own wedding and do that with your biological father. I mean, that’s just so sweet.

Jamie (38:55):

It truly is. Definitely a moment I’ll never forget one of the, one of the top moments in my life for sure.

Damon (39:01):

And that’s, that’s like so heartwarming. It’s unbelievable. That’s really, really cool. On his side of the family, Jamie’s birth father has been married for 37 years. Also finding his wife just after Jamie’s birth, just like her birth mother. She learned, she has a half brother and a half sister on his side too that are almost her age.

Jamie (39:21):

But I did make him a grandpa. He did not have any grandchildren yet. So when I found him, he had 2 grandkids.

Damon (39:29):

That’s so awesome. Congratulations. That’s really cool. Well I appreciate you telling your story. There’s some really important lessons there about, um, one the patience to go on this voyage of discovery and holding out hope as it were and then, um, you know, sort of really realizing what it means for your adoptive parents for you to reach out and be on this voyage of discovery and fully acknowledging their feelings and their place in your heart and what it means to do this as it’s seen through their eyes.

Jamie (40:04):

I’m very, very happy to have found them. I’ve always been big on family, so this just allows me to have even more people in my life to love and um, I’m thankful for that.

Damon (40:16):

Thanks a lot for telling your story. I appreciate you taking time.

Jamie (40:19):

Absolutely.

Damon (40:20):

Take care. All the best.

Jamie (40:21):

Thanks Damon.

Damon (40:25):

Hey, it’s me. Jamie sounds thankful for the blessing to have two positive reunions with her birth mother and father. At the time of our interview, Jamie was struggling with the fact that her adopted mother didn’t know that she had found her birth parents. The struggle to bear the secret got to be too much and Jamie decided she just needed to open up and share the news. Thankfully her mother was very understanding of Jamie’s curiosity and need to know more, agreeing that now she just has a bigger family to be a part of. I enjoyed hearing how music, which Jamie trained in as a child was an inspirational part of her adoption and reunification experience and how amazing must it have been for her to share an incredible solar eclipse and a father daughter dance in her wedding dress during their very first time meeting.

Damon (41:11):

I’m Damon Davis and I hope you’ll find something in Jamie’s journey that inspires you, validates your feelings about wanting to search or motivates you to have this strength along your journey to learn Who Am I Really? If you would like to share your story of locating and connecting to your biological family visit. Whoamireallypodcast.com/share. You can also find the show at facebook.com/waireally, or follow me on Twitter @waireally, and please, if you liked this show, take a moment to rate Who Am I Really on Apple Podcast, Google Play or wherever you get your podcasts or leave a comment at www.whoamireallypodcast.com. Those ratings can help others find the show too.

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  1. Jennifer Dyan Ghoston on 10/23/2017 at 11:18 PM

    This podcast really resonated with me and would like to further connect with Jamie. When she is interested in meeting another adoptee, I’m available on social medias (Facebook and Twitter). Thank you for passing this message on to her. And, an especially huge thank you for doing these episodes…I’ll be listening and spreading the word about this great podcast.

    • Jamie on 10/24/2017 at 2:41 PM

      Hey Jennifer! I found you on fb.

      Jamie

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