“Who Am I Really, An Adoptee Memoir” Epilogue: Turning My Journey into Purpose
In March 2017, Michele, Seth, and I were on a road trip down from Washington, D.C. to Richmond, Virginia. Occasionally, we liked to visit Michele’s younger siblings, Adam and Emma. Their mother, Sally Ann, has a beautiful home with a yard and a dog, two things that Seth really enjoys, and the family time is great.
Behind the wheel riding down I-95, I was listening to the TED Radio Hour podcast from NPR. The episode was called “Simply Happy,” talking about happiness as it relates to when our minds wander. “People are substantially less happy when their minds are wandering than when they are not.” After miles and miles of tree-lined highway, my mind was wandering because an idea was forming. I was reflecting on my experiences reuniting with Ann, Mr. H to that point. I was also thinking about the thousands of adoptees whose messages of joy and despair flood Facebook groups, like I AM ADOPTED, Adoption Search & Reunion, and others. I was dismayed by how seldom the entire story of an adoption is told from the adoptee’s perspective.
I thought about how whenever I had the time to share my entire story of how I found Ann, the listener(s) remarked on how incredible it all sounded, that they had chills — some admitted they were about to cry. When the listener has time to absorb the whole story, they’re very moved. I was dismayed by the sometimes-abbreviated versions of other adoption stories in the local news or online. They usually lack the full color and detail of an individual’s journey to find their first family. I often found myself wanting to hear what adoption was like for them growing up. I get curious about the moment when they decided they needed more information, and they wanted to search for their birth family. I also wanted to know how the reunion unfolded, and how things were for them and their newly-found family in the aftermath.
During that drive, I decided to launch the Who Am I Really? podcast, offering other adoptees the chance to share their entire story of adoption and attempts to reunite. It’s their story, in their voice and in their own words. Adoptees find it cathartic to share and explore the full range of their emotions.
The stories are real, and they’re fascinating in their variety and diversity. I wrote a blog post about how vastly different each adoption story can be. If you’ve heard one adoption story, you’ve only heard one unique story! To illustrate my point, I encourage you to listen to a few episodes of Who Am I Really?” podcast (www.whoamireallypodcast.com/episodes)
Often my guests are glad they have shared their experiences for the benefit of others who may be considering a search, are on the journey to answers, or who have found their families. Storytelling is an important part of community and culture. It is my pleasure to host the podcast, as it’s a project of passion to help share a few of the millions of stories from the adoptee community.
Damon L. Davis is the Host/Producer of the “Who Am I Really?” podcast, stories of adoption and attempts at reunion as told by the adoptees themselves.