167 – We Had Two Close Encounters

Today my guest is Micheleana who lives outside of Kansas city in Lawrence, Kansas. Micheleana’s early life was tumultuous after her parents divorced. Her adoptive mother passed away suddenly, and she was abandoned by her adoptive family. Incredibly her birth father walked right into her life twice and she didn’t even recognize him.

Unfortunately, she got an unexpectedly awkward introduction to her birth mother that may have set the stage of continued uneasiness between them when it comes to really getting to know one another. This is Micheleana’s journey

Transcript

167 Michelena

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I plan to do some writing. Start recording for season 10. Shore up some loose ends with my real estate investments and check in on my adoptive mother, Veronica and my birth father, bill. I share these things with you to remind you that we're all human, we're all going through something uniquely special to us in our lives.

When you hear and adoptee's story on who am I really it's told only from that moment in time when they've chosen to share their story with me. That person's life goes on and their feelings about adoption, their relationship with their adoptive or natural families or other elements of their life may have changed. I hope you'll join adoptee support groups in person or online, share your stories or support others in Facebook groups on Instagram

or on other [:

Cold Cut Intro

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Show Intro

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Unfortunately, she got an unexpectedly awkward introduction to her birth mother that may have set the stage of continued uneasiness between them when it comes to really getting to know one another. This is michelina's journey

Opening

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Micheleana grew up in a small town in rural Kansas, her adoptive parents divorced when she was five years old. Michelina's adoptive father was in and out of her life, but they didn't have a very good relationship and he's not the greatest guy to use her words. She was raised by her single mother and they moved around a lot from town to town so she moved from school to school

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And then, , when I was 17, my mom passed away and events leading, like from that was when, , I was told again that I was adopted and that's kind of what fueled my search shortly after that.

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What was the setup?

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And her and I were just extremely close. And I think maybe I might've had some emotions of, you know, not only confusion, but maybe some anger. And I, I can remember just crying and just being upset and her, you know, kind of just dropping it. And then we ne neither her or I ever brought it up again, after that.

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I, I always kind of felt a little different from everyone in my family. Aside from my mom, I always remembered just feeling like I fit with her, she never made me feel like I was different in any sort of way or anything like that. But kind of when I, like, after finding out that, , I was adopted, yeah, I was still feeling confusion and, um, probably some anger from that.

Yeah.

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So I I'm not, I don't, I don't want to put emotions in words, you. I'm imagining what a teenager might feel hearing at 10 and living with that knowledge going into their teenage years.

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So I think that kind of, it sparked a lot of emotions that I think, followed me throughout my teenage years.

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Why, why were you so close? Do you think share interests? What was,

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I, you know, I felt like she always had my best intentions, you know, just as any mom would. I never felt like she didn't love me or like her love was conditional or anything like that. And I was her only child. So, you know, growing up with just her, mostly we did a lot of things together. We always spent a lot of time together, and she was like my best friend.

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You never brought it up again. And then just a few short years later, she's gone. What happened now? Was that for you?

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And it was determined that she had a brain aneurysm that is a very sudden unexpected, , situation. It was a lot.

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And I mean, at the end of the day, it's unbelievable that she just dropped dead out of nowhere. That must've been so scary.

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It was, it was a lot.

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Your primary caregiver is gone. What happened in the aftermath of her passing

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So I can remember like vividly, like coming home and going to get like clothes. And like some of my schoolbooks and our locks were changed on our house. And, um, this is my, I guess, a little pre-phase to that. My mom in the hospital that she passed away in was about three hours from our, from where we lived.

dparents to get into my home.[:

So it turned out like my mom's siblings kind of went in and picked over what they wanted from my mom's items. , I was told that some of the things would be put into storage that I would receive when I was of age or like when I moved out onto my own and, yeah, it, there was that, but my adopted dad, he did not reach out.

He, I, I don't know who told him about her passing, but he, he did not attend the funeral. He didn't, he didn't reach out. So yeah, I ended up moving on with my friend at the time and her family. Oh

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Yeah. That's a, that's a stark indication of the character of the people that you're dealing with. I mean, to basically loot somebody's house immediately after their passing is awful. But to also leave the child of your, this woman out in the cold, say, you need to know your stuff. Go through me is also very callous.

[:[:[:

You know, we'll make sure that you finish out your senior year, anything like that. So that was kind of where my, um, my friend's mom and stepdad kind of were like, Hey, we want you to make sure that you finish out your senior year, you know, and you're welcome here. And, and that's kinda how that got how that ended up going.

Wow.

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When you know you, you're going through one of the worst moments in your life, there doing what they did. So it was, this is a lot.

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And you know, of course didn't charge rent or anything like that, or just their main rule was you have to stay in school and finish high school.

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You know, as an adult, like if that happened to me as a, you know, at this age, I would be like, what the hell is going on? You're 17, you got no resources, you've got nowhere to go, but check the box. These folks have stepped in and given you a home and, and giving you the guidance to say finish school. But I mean to actually do it, like I could see things going dramatically off the rails and the fact that they didn't for you, that you forced your way forward is really awesome.

[:So I owe a lot [:[:

She tried to access the document at the hospital. But didn't have any look.

The situation is foggy for her, but she remembers hoping her aunt would be a resource for her. So she asked about how to get her birth certificate, the woman worked for a medical office in town. So when Michelina asked for more information, Her aunt called Michelina into the office to chat

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And I remember her telling me, , to not go searching, that they weren't good people. , and you know, that was that as far as that conversation and of course, you know, I'm like, okay, well, you're going to tell me not to go looking so naturally I want to go look, you know, so that's kinda when that's sparked.

And, , I don't quite remember like how long after my mom's death that that happens. It wasn't long, like maybe within a year. And, , coincidentally at that, in that timeframe, my adopted father. Had reached out to me. So we were like communicating, , via email. And, , that's when I asked him, I'm like, well, Hey, like I just kinda had this bomb dropped on me again.

lling me anything. Like, can [:

, Grandparents. He knew their names. , he was like, I'll, you know, I'll tell you whatever you want to know. Okay. So , , he provided me like names. Um, I think he told me like my biological father's like year that he graduated high school. I think he knew that my biological father went on to have more children.

So that's when I learned like, okay, wow. I may have, you know, siblings out there. So that's really what I think ignited me wanting to find my biological family.

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So how did you go about like this? He knows who they are, so, yeah. So how did tell me about the search?

[:like my first day, like I am [:[:[:

And I'm like, oh, what the hell? Like, who, like, who are you? You know, like, how do you, like, how do you know that I like the green bay Packers? And, um, he was like, well, I substitute taught you in high school. And I remember like that you liked the Packers. And I was like, oh, I was like, well, yeah, like I do, you know, whatever.

always very nice, like just [:

you know, this various things about his life and this isn't, like I said, this is where it's really weird because at that same timeframe is when I was getting the information from my adopted father about like names and that sort of thing. And I remember, you know, my boyfriend at the time, he was like, man, what's up with this old guy, like talking to you every day.

And like, I'm like, I don't know. Like, I don't know, just he's friendly. He's not like he doesn't give me the creeps or anything, , so when my adopted father told me that. Name of my biological father. I was at a friend's house on the computer, reading the email from my adopted father. And he told me the name.

work with, that's his name, [:

And then like, as the emails from my adopted father are coming in, I'm reflecting back on my conversations with this guy at Amazon. And I'm like, okay. It was like, well, he did mention he's from the, you know, small town, which my adoptive father confirmed that, you know, he was from a small town called Cherryville Kansas.

And I was like, whoa. Okay. It was like, Cherryville is not big, you know? , He was like, he graduated, I think like late eighties. And I was like, okay, well, I was born in 88 and he was like, he had other kids and this guy had told me that he had kids andSoundlong

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And now you're working next to him at Amazon. That

is crazy.

[:kind of told them, like the [:

he know.

When he was subbing, you just didn't know who he was, what?

Correct. Yeah. And he didn't know if I knew I was adopted. So he, he had to, I can't even imagine the composure that he had to try to maintain, but yeah. Had to try to compose himself to know that his biological kid is about to walk through the door and he's going to spend, you know, however long teaching her.

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Micheleana ended up parking outside and psyching herself up to go knock. Sean wasn't home but his brother answered the door

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Yeah. Yeah. And I'm sure like your grandfather,

[:[:re. And, , she walked in the [:

A couple hours later and , that's when he was like, oh wow. You know, like you figured it out, you know? And, and he that's when he did confirm, like, while I was telling you all that information at, at Amazon, because he was like, I wanted you to have that, you know, if someday you were to go searching that you would have some, you know, some sort of information.

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So he drove over that evening. And, , we, we went for a walk and he just kind of, I think he, you know, tried to give me the best version of everything from his point of view. And, you know, told me about my siblings and it turned out, you know, I went from being, , an only child growing up to, I learned that I was the oldest of five.

So yeah, he's telling me about that, telling me about, you know, his life and, , you know, what transpired between he and my biological mom and kind of, you know, everything since then

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Did he share why you were relinquished into.

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And they knew that they weren't going to be together. And that they just felt like this was the best decision for me

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I was still in the living room and had went into the kitchen and I could hear her, like on the phone, I wasn't sure who she was calling, but she brought in the phone and like handed it over and was like, here's your mom? And that was something that I, that day, you know, I was not intending on facing at that time.

You know, I, I was excited to meet Sean and, was kind of just looking forward to that. Wasn't really planning on dealing with that yet. And that it kinda got put, you know, put on me pretty quickly. The same day. Yes. Yeah.

, her reaction was the same, [:

And yeah. Yeah, that was, that was a lot.

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It wasn't a choice. You didn't. It doesn't sound like you said, you know, Hey Sean, would you mind connecting me with her or anything like that? It was just kind of hurled over the fence at you and you had

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Michelina made the decision to meet her birth mother by herself, despite her then boyfriend offering to accompany her for support.

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Yeah.

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He was very respectful, , that we, you know, it was more just like a casual, like friendship meetup, almost it didn't, we didn't talk about anything adoption related or anything like that. So it was, it was, it was a little awkward, I guess you could say a little

[:[:ve never, still fully talked [:[:[:lot about me. Third sort of [:[:t stuff until all came back. [:

And you haven't addressed the stuff leading up to them being here either.

You got to cope with both at the same time. That's a lot to do with.

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So it, it's definitely a challenge trying to navigate her and I's relationship because of some of that.

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Those moments. And I've tried to be very, you know, respectful and understanding to that because I, you know, try to put myself in her situation and understand how hard it really must be for her, but also trying to, you know, for myself as well, give myself what I, I feel like I need and, um, you know, try to find answers about my life and, you know, being able to, I think have, , a good relationship I feel like is it's important for her.

And I had to have those [:[:ust help her understand that [:

And it's really tough.

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Did she allow you guys to connect? Are you in touch? Do you chat at all?

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So him and I have never, we've never talked about it. , I, I kind of get the impression that it would make her uncomfortable with him and I were to ever have that conversation. So I'm trying to be respectful to the fact that he's also, you know, he's 15 and I don't want to, go there with a lot of like really heavy adult conversations with him either.

So. That's that's also where , I'm trying to, you know, learn how to navigate, being a, being a sibling and I, you know, I didn't have that. So I'm like, I don't know how to be like a, an older and older sibling. So

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She's an adoptive mother. Her adoptive son is younger than you. So he's, you know, possibly not ready to even think about this stuff. . And so there's the, I want to know everything that I can from her. And I would like to connect with him, support him, whatever it is, but there are two completely different approaches to adoption in the same house.

Right. Yep.

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, her and I were built kind of the same where we're kind of the same build. And I feel like her and I do look quite a bit of like, she, she has shared that she doesn't think we look anything like, so that, that's kind of interesting, but, , my dad's genes definitely are, are pretty strong . , my half siblings, we have a lot of the same features and, uh, yeah.

And I think Sean and I, we have like commonalities as far as sports. He's real big into sports. So we have that in common. Personality wise. I would say I'm probably more like him. I, I still don't have like a really good feel for how she really is that I, I definitely think there are some similarities there as well.

[:then you worked next to him [:

Right. I would go on vacation and be looking for people there, or , I would be in my hometown, like you hear adoptees say I would go to the, the town where I knew I was adopted in. And I would be looking for people that looked like me, but here, this guy walked right into your life and you feel like you look like him now that you know, you didn't, you couldn't see it before.

And it's just a fascinating phenomenon of sort of really wanting to find it out there on your own by virtue of just looking at someone and feeling like you look like them, but then. You know, not even seeing it, when it walks right up to you and asks, do you still like the Packers? You know?

[:d family, but, you know, and [:[:

So how are you doing now? You have experienced the loss at a young age. You have found that these folks, some of whom you look like and, and sort of have this awkward introduction to your birth mom, who most people look for first, but your biological father found you first. Like you've had a lot happen.

How are you doing.

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You know, kind of having that support and knowing that, this could be tied to being adopted, that's been a really. Good thing for me to have, , as far as support and filling that in, I I'm, I'm married now. I have two children on my own who are simply amazing. So it's, been a joy being able to experience being a mother and having, you know, a family of my own.

siblings. So it's just still [:[:

Yeah. Well, Michelina, thanks so much for sharing this incredible story. I just think, you know, I'm always marveling at people who end up being friends with working with knowing somehow a biological relative, and you've brought yet another one of those amazing stories. And I'm so glad that you know, you and Sean are getting along and I'm hopeful that you and Kathy can find a way to sort of have a more open discussion and at least, , build some trust that it sounds like you're really missing. So I wish you the best of

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Thank you so much, Damon. Bye bye. All right, bye bye.

Show Close

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Admittedly, she wasn't looking for him, but how crazy is it that she had two encounters with him before they were reunited? It was kind of a shame that her paternal grandmother just dialed up her birth mother and put the women on the phone together. I think there's something healthy about anticipating reunion and having an opportunity to try to process it a little bit. So having there's rammed in the middle of Michelina's reunion with Sean, wasn't the best start.

gate as a family in reunion. [:

I'm Damon Davis, and I hope you found something in Michelina'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?

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