Family Twist Podcast Episode 1: Adoption & the Magic of DNA Technology
Corey interviews Kendall about his early years and closed adoption in Arkansas, and how he was raised with loving Southern Baptist parents. The first twists in Kendall’s story happen when he’s only 10, and this episode details how he begins his search for his birth family, as a teenage orphan.
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00:06 Welcome to Family Twist, a podcast about relatively unusual stories of long lost families, adoption, and lots of drama. I'm Corey and I'm Kendall, and we've been partners for over 16 years. The first season of Family Twist is about how we upended our life in California after some surprising discoveries on the East Coast.
00:26 Whenever we get asked why we moved from sunny California to the sometimes frigid New England, we tell a three minute version of Kendall's story, and most people get goosebumps after they hear it. Any. People have their own amazing family stories to share, too, more than half the time, whether it's about adoption or long lost siblings or surprise your dad isn't your birth father. That's what prompted this podcast. Kendall's story brings out a lot of emotion in people and him.
00:53 We want to share this story for our own historical posterity, but also to hear other people's stories about the Wham Bam experience of family. Kendall was born in Arkansas in July 1970 and adopted almost immediately. Kendall, how old were you when you found out you were adopted? I don't ever remember not knowing that I was adopted.
01:16 My parents told me early on when I was a toddler, and what I really respect was there was never any stigma associated with either the adoption or with my birth parents, because I remember being a very small child, probably three, and saying to my mom, what do you think happened to my birth parents? I'm not sure what terminology I used to refer to them, but that was my question.
01:44 And my mother was so she was the ultimate diplomat, and she never wanted to disparage anyone in life. And I remember her just giving me examples. Again, very matter of fact, saying things like, she might have been super young, your birth mother, or she might have passed away, or she might have just been financially unable to take care of the baby. But what I loved about my adoptive parents is that they always said, it doesn't really matter how we got you.
02:13 We just love you and we're happy to have you as our baby. Yeah. Did you, I mean, even as a little kid, like, have any interest in who these people were, who your birth parents were, or was it just you wanted to know why you were giving up? I didn't really focus on the why, but I did always wonder, like, who they were when you're playing make believe and you're a little small child before, probably preschool age, I used to think that someday I would find that I had a sibling who was a Prince or Princess, like these little fantasies that small kids might have.
02:50 But I really never focused on the parents. I always was much more curious about the potential for sibling. Sure. So it was a closed adoption. Talk about what that means and what you knew about yourself. Yeah, I remember when I started asking more advanced questions as I got a little bit older, I would say to my adopted dad, I would say, what's the potential that I'll ever be able to find out who these people were? And again, very matter of fact, my dad would say things and both my parents would say things like, you might never know.
03:23 It was a closed adoption, which means that the courts were trying to protect the identities of the people who were your birth parents. And so their names are not revealed in the documentation that we have. And that's when for the first time, my dad showed me the adoption papers. And it was the first time no one had ever referred to me with my birth name, which was Scott White. And no one ever had said those words before. I never asked the question.
03:53 I think being so young, I didn't think of myself as anybody but Kendall. And so it never dawned on me to ask, well, what name was used in my adoption? And so it was really interesting and surreal to read that I was probably eight years old, something like that, when I was reading this very complex document about the adoption and found it fascinating and could see right there in the adoption papers that the only name of an adult that was listed as my Guardian was someone who was assigned to me by the state of Arkansas as my official Guardian, who I later found out works for the Department of Children and Family Services.
04:34 So totally made sense. But again, no reference to my birth parents names whatsoever. When do you remember asking your parents why they didn't have kids of their own, why they went the adoption route? Yeah. Again, my parents were so matter of fact about everything. They were never martyrs about anything. And I had already heard stories by the time I really delved into them about the fact that my mother had had three miscarriages before they adopted me and that sort of thing. So I knew that they had struggled.
05:04 I knew that they had always wanted babies, and I knew that I had come along when they'd already been married for 17 years. So it wasn't like a couple who struggled for just a couple of years and decided, okay, we'll go the adoption route. It really wasn't like that at all for them. And I think it would have meant a lot to them to have had a biological child, as it probably does for most people, but it just wasn't in the cards. This was the tail end of the sort of adoption boom when there was a lot of kids available for adoption in the late 60s and the early 70s, but it still took them a while for them to get you.
05:37 It did. It was 1964 when my mother apparently had the conversation with her physician where she said, I've just had the third miscarriage. Do you think I'm ever going to be able to bring a child to full term. And I don't know what the reason was, but she was told no. And so they stopped trying at that point. And let's face it, she at that point was not super young. She thought, this is not a bad time to stop. And so that's when they started the proceedings. And it really took almost six years.
06:07 So it's shocking. You and I joke I've often joked with you about the fact that there are people that can pop out babies right and left. And my poor parents, who were fantastic parents, had to jump through a million Hoops to get a baby. Granted, they were focused on a baby. They didn't want a toddler. They didn't want a preschooler. They didn't want an elementary school. They only wanted an infant, which I don't really follow that logic, but whatever, that's what they wanted. And that's part of what took so long, right?
06:35 There weren't as many infants available, of course, just like nowadays, there aren't as many infants available as older children. Do you remember was there ever a time when you had to tell friends that you were adopted, or was it always just known in the community? Yes, it's a good question. My home town is so small that everybody knew. I didn't really ever have to tell anybody. I grew up in an air based town, so I did have air base friends who when I was in elementary school, would move to our town and start going to our school because of the air base.
07:05 And they would sometimes physically see my mother and dad with me. And A would say, you don't really look like them, or B, they are really older, aren't they? As tactfully as a child would be right for those people. I needed to say, oh, yeah, by the way, they adopted me. But again, I have to say I never, ever really felt stigmatized by being an adopted child. I knew some other adopted children as well, which was cool and amazing for me.
07:36 Yeah. That part of it was always positive. We grew up very differently in one big way and that I was raised Catholic and we would go to Church once a week unless we could somehow be quiet enough that my mom didn't wake up in time for us to go. But you had a very different experience. I did. My parents were Super I won't even say super religious. I think that they enjoyed Church because it was a social thing, but they were very heavily involved. And yes, you're right.
08:06 I went to four services a week. I used to laugh when you would say, oh, we had to sit through an hour Mass. I'm like, oh, honey, that's nothing compared to our services. I'm like, I would have begged to go 1 hour per week to Church. We did the math. I for sure spent 7 hours at Church a week, if not more. And what you're politely ignoring is the fact that I grew up Southern Baptist. So it was super conservative.
08:33 And yeah, so difficult, not from an adoption perspective, but growing up as a child who felt that I was at least bisexual, if not gay. Different story for a different podcast, probably, but yeah, difficult, sure. But as you're raised in that environment, I'm sure you're into it because that's your life. You don't know anything different. I'm sure there are aspects of it that the community aspects of it that were good for you. Oh, sure. I enjoyed at Church and really liked that a lot.
09:04 It's interesting because you've shared with me a lot of really great memories of you and your parents adventures, your vacations and things like that. But all of this happened in a relatively short period of time because your mom got pretty ill when you were young. It did. It's sad because she in retrospect, I think she got guilt associated with the fact that they had adopted me and that when I was only six years old, she was diagnosed with a terminal illness.
09:35 And I did not know that at the time. But she had a lot of guilt associated with not feeling like she wouldn't be around for my teenage years, for my adult years, and what that impact would mean for not only me, but for my dad as well. You're right. My dad, God loved him. He stuffed in a lot of adventures for us in the limited time that he thought that she had left.
10:04 And yeah, the last four years of her life, every time she wasn't in a hospital, we were on some sort of travel adventure. That's really cool. And I think a lot of people wouldn't even think to try to cram that kind of stuff in because they're going to be focused on the illness and everything else. It's nice that he had the foresight to do that well. And what he knew that she wanted is for me to have those positive memories of the first time I got to see the Grand Canyon was with them and how much that would mean to me.
10:37 Right throughout the rest. Yeah. Things changed pretty dramatically when after your mom died and your dad took it really hard. He did. I can't know what it's like to be with somebody for 27 years. And she was definitely the love of his life. And he lost her and I lost her and it was hard on both of us. I was ten. She died a month after I turned ten, exactly one week after she turned 46. And it was sad.
11:07 And you're right, we never met him, but he did. He fell apart emotionally, fell apart and struggled a lot and did his struggles. I saw them all. It was just him and me in the house. And he was a mess. And he loved me deeply. And I knew he did. And I tried as well as a ten year old can try to help him. But it was really difficult. And it's funny.
11:35 Only now as an older, middle aged adult, I feel so much more empathy for him than I ever have before for how difficult it must have been. And lots of people are single parents. Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to say that he was unique in that respect, but a lot of people don't live through what he lived through for those four years of her illness and how difficult that was. And then he tried to keep a brave face for me.
12:02 He was amazingly good at that and what was falling apart inside. So I feel like knowing that your mom had a terminal illness, there was this plan for what would happen after she died. And so there was a family friend that was widowed. Yeah. It's interesting how my stepmother became my stepmother because she had always been a family friend of ours. So again, my hometown is as big as the room that we're sitting in.
12:32 It's interesting how all these things are intertwined. But my mother was a human resources manager, and she hired years and years before she had hired my stepmother, which she didn't know her was just a stranger at the time hired her as an employee. They became friends. My stepmother has two daughters, one of whom is eight years older than I am. The other one is exactly my age. So I actually have pictures after I was born and my stepsister, who wasn't my step sister at the time after she was born.
13:04 I have photos of us as babies in the same photos because our families were hanging out. Right. So my stepmother and her first husband were hanging out with my mom and dad. So Joyce, my stepmother, has always been a family friend, and she, sadly, had become widowed the second time the year that my mother died. Coincidentally, we knew husband number two as well, because, again, family friend. So I feel like dad and Joyce were commiserating.
13:34 They were friends who had both just lost spouses. Joyce per second, dad his first. And they would call each other and just talk. I think anybody who knew them both, even after they married, would tell you that it was always just a friendly situation. It didn't seem like they were in love. And probably let's be realistic. I don't know that they were, but it worked. I was ecstatic when my dad came to me one day and said, what do you think if I went out with Aunt Joyce?
14:03 Because that's what I called her, because I had known her all my life. And I was like, creepy much. And I get it. I was very concerned about my thoughts of him, the fact that he might want to date. And I was not bothered by that at all. And probably most of that is because I knew Joyce. It wasn't some stranger that he wanted to go to the movies with. It was a woman that I'd known all my life. It was great. And I encouraged them.
14:31 And Darla, my step sister, before we became step siblings, we would call each other as ten year olds and eleven year olds and be like, So I'm going to arrange for dad to ask Joyce out this weekend. It was just it was comical how we were pushing them together a lot. And it worked out when they got married, it brought some sort of family normalcy back into your life. It did. And again, I think I was so comfortable with Joyce to begin with already. It was great.
15:00 And they moved in with us, which selfishly I was happy about because I didn't have to leave my family home. They lived 8 miles away. And so they moved in. Joyce and Darla, my older step sister, was already married out of the house. But Joyce and Darla moved into our house, and that was good for me. Selfishly again, but it worked out really well, I should say, except that Joyce went to Church even more than I was already used to going.
15:31 So that brought another layer of, oh, wow, I'm going to be even busier than I was before. Yeah. You've referred to her as Queen of the Southern Baptist. I do. She still is going strong wearing that Crown. So even though things were sort of normal in a family situation, your dad was still not in a great place. And he started to decline relatively quickly, too. I think we were all a bit delusional about what a second marriage would bring to him.
16:03 Honestly, Joyce and I had very heart to heart talks before she married him. And she said, Kendall, he still misses your mother terribly. This is not an instant cure for that. She was so pragmatic about her approach to the whole situation. And she said, I love you and I want to be your stepmother, but this isn't going to fix his heartbreak. And she was right. And we instantly saw that because I thought that I was a child.
16:34 He got married right before I turned twelve when he married Joyce. And I thought, oh, he'll be back to his happy self once he gets remarried. And he wasn't he never to the day he died. He never got over my mother Betty's death. Never. And he even said that to me, too. He said he would get angry with me because I was angry with him for being sad. And he would say, Kendall, I love Joyce on a different level, and I'm not going to forget about your mother just because I'm getting remarried.
17:05 And he was wrestling with my expectations for his behavior. And it was tough. It was really tough. And I got very teenager on him about that and was like metaphorically smacked him on the back of the head and said, dad, grow up mom's gone. Pull yourself together. Joyce is here. Let's be a family, right? As if that can all happen instantaneously. Exactly. Over the course of a month.
17:35 And that's just how little I knew about relationships right at that point in time. But it felt logical to me. It felt like Joyce is a great person. You already know her. This is going to be great. We can all click and we'll all connect. And we did on many levels. But he still, to your point, struggled so much and drank alcohol incessantly in private, hidden, because, again, if Joyce was the Queen of the Southern Baptist, he was close to being the King.
18:06 And so there was just this overarching stigma. I grew up in a household because of the influence of the Church, where I was not allowed to dance, I was not allowed to play cards. I was not allowed to think about having an alcoholic drink. Just super conservative in many ways, at least socially conservative. Dad was taking on all of those expectations for himself and didn't deal well with it. You never learned how to play cards, but you definitely learned how to dance.
18:37 Absolutely. Yeah. I still have zero interest in cards. Not because I think they're a tool of the devil, but just because it's boring to me. Like, it's tedious to me to sit that long. So I don't have any interesting cards. I do the occasional drink of alcohol. But dancing is a cure for many things that Al us as a society. So not to get too maudlin, but here you are, a high schooler. Your mother died a few years ago.
19:04 Now your dad dies, both of your parents are gone, and you've got your stepmom, you've got Joyce still. But at what point did you start thinking there is a birth family out there somewhere? Almost instantly, I had never lost sight of it. But what was interesting is that because of the struggles that my dad had for those last few years of his life, I'd almost lost sight of that desire to find my birth family.
19:32 March of my junior year in high school is when my dad Rube passed away suddenly. And I instantly went to Joyce, my stepmother. And I was like, We've been talking here and there for years about the fact that I'd love to find my birth family. And she was like, let's do it. She knew that both my mom and dad supported that idea. And she said, I'll do whatever I can do to help you.
20:00 I had a small amount of fear that she would feel betrayed as the weird word to use to describe it, but she didn't at all. She was like, I get it. She said, if I had birth family out there, I'd want to know, too. Again, all three of my parents, my mom, dad, and Joyce all made me feel like, this is something that you have the right to pursue. Kendall. And logically, you should, but there was some friction with your mom's family. Yeah.
20:28 So my mom, Betty, who had passed away in 1980 when I was ten, her sister lived in my hometown, and we were always close. And Aunt Pat know that Joyce had never adopted me. I never expected to be adopted by Joyce. We never really talked about it much. And my Aunt Pat, as soon as my dad died, said, Your dad's will says that you'll come and live with us, my mom's sister and her husband, Uncle Dawn.
20:57 And I was like, I have one more year at the same school that I've gone through my entire life. I'm at the end of my junior year. Why in the world would I want to move to your house, which is in a different school district, for my senior year? And PS, Joyce loves me, wants me to stay, has no expectation that I'm leaving. So I was like, Aunt Pat, pump your brakes. That's never going to happen. And we did go head to head for a while. She was a polite woman, but she was very demanding about that.
21:28 And to the point that she started questioning Joyce's commitment to me. And it really got out of hand. And I just told her, I said, if you think that this is a smart move, you're wrong. And you are risking the fact that we could not be close for the rest of my life if you don't chill out. And she did chill out. Everybody who knows me, especially at that age, knew I was not going to do one thing that I didn't want to do.
21:54 Sure, for whatever reason, her feelings were hurt that you would even dare to look for your birth family, even though her sister and your dad were all for it. Absolutely. It's funny. Aunt Pat has always she adored me and she loved me, and she loved the fact that my parents adopted me. She would say, even when my mother and father were both living, of course, and we'd be with Aunt Pat and Uncle Don.
22:21 And they would say, we want to always support Kendall in that search if he ever decides to do that someday, even though way back then at Pat would say, oh, he will never want to do that. She tried to stigmatize that search, and I don't know what that was. I don't know if it was possessiveness. I never quite understood because I knew that she knew that, like you said, that my parents were all for it. So it was always odd to me that she was so anxious about that.
22:50 And I would say that to her as a child, as a teenager, I'd be like, Pat, what is your deal? Mom and dad either don't care or didn't care. And I have that right to go search for these people. Sure. So talk a little bit about what the efforts were for trying to find them yeah. So back then, gosh this, of course, this is pre Internet, and I just thought there have to be some agencies out there that might help you find people.
23:18 So I go to my local library kicking at old school and bust out whatever references you could find. Actually, Ironically, I was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Little Rock is the state capital. So I assumed that if I open the Little Rock phone book that in the yellow pages, I might just find some agencies that could help me. And Ironically, I did. I found that there's an Arkansas adoption. I'm going to slaughter the name maybe right now.
23:45 But Arkansas recovery anyway, it's a nonprofit that helps people find their birth families. And so I registered with that as soon as I could. Joyce actually helped me register with it before I turned 18. So in general, I could have needed to wait until I was 18. But again, I mentioned that Joyce, my stepmother, was very grow my search, and so she helped me register with that agency to see who we could find immediately.
24:14 And nothing I gave and really all they did back then. Of course, DNA was not part of the equation. Really. All you were doing was giving details, either the person you were trying to find or you yourself if you were the person wanting to be found the hospital that you were born in. Exactly. That kind of stuff. Exactly. Which I did know in those adoption papers that my father had shown me when I was around eight. I could see my birth name, which I gave to that agency, that it was Scott White. I knew what my birth date was.
24:43 I knew which hospital I was born in. So those are really the three details that I was able to give and the name of that man who was listed as my Guardian in those adoption papers. But again, he was probably listed with 1000 kids. So that might have not been a really helpful factor. But those are the things I knew. Yeah, unfortunately, pretty much dead ends constantly. It was a different time, as you said, free Internet.
25:11 We couldn't just Google stuff and all of a sudden get answers, which I'm sure was extremely frustrating. Let's fast forward a little bit because I haven't been in this store yet. Kendall and I had one of those love at first sight, or at least love at first date type of experiences. And we were pretty much inseparable from then on. I moved in in September of that year. And then let's fast forward three years later at that point, you told me very early on your story, but I think you were at that point where it was just like, yeah, probably not going to happen.
25:44 Probably not going to find out. Yes, I think back then, even in 2005, I don't know why even you and I didn't talk about the potential for DNA matches. It just wasn't something I think we thought. No, it definitely wasn't the thing that it's become, for sure. So it was just. Yeah, I would ask you, what have you tried? And I was frustrated myself. As a journalist, you always want to get to the answers. I thought I'd let you tell a quick version of the story of how we met. Yeah, we were in St. Louis. Cory.
26:14 I called him a lifer. He had never gotten away from St. Louis. I love St. Louis, by the way. Don't take that wrong. I moved to St. Louis in 99, and I met Corey in 2005 because I had been singing in the Gateway Men's Chorus. Nice plug for them. Great organization still in existence, and those people can sing. So go listen to him if you haven't. But anyway, I was singing with the Gateway Men's Chorus, and there was a guy in the chorus, and he was in community theater.
26:42 And so a whole group of us went to watch Jerry, this guy in a play that he was in. And I remember sitting down for the performance and being handed the program for the play. And I remember seeing Cory's name as one of the actors. And I was like, why do I know this name? And for a moment, I wondered if I had already met him. Somehow, Cory's name just seems so familiar to me. When he stepped on stage and I looked at him, I instantly knew why I knew his name.
27:13 It's because I had been reading one of his columns for years in one of the local publications, because beside his bylines by, Cory still be a little photo of Corey's face, and it just instantly clicked. And I was like, oh, that's who he is. So I suddenly realized, I haven't met this person. But at the cast party that night happened to be the cast party. After that show and the guys from the chorus that I had gone along with, we all stayed to say hello to Jerry, the guy that we knew.
27:43 And Cory and I locked eyes, and we started talking that night at the cast party. The funny thing about it, though, is we really got separated that night at the party and didn't really exchange phone numbers or anything. But let me step in for a second. I assumed Kendall wasn't single, because there was this guy hanging all over him like a dirty shirt, which turned out to be he was a member of the chorus, but he's a drunken priest. He is a gay drunken priest.
28:13 Yeah, it was classy. So poor Corey assumed that this guy, whose name we won't use to assume that. But I didn't even make that connection. Later, about two more weeks passed, and I ran into Jerry at our next rehearsal for the chorus. And I was like, hey, Jerry, I met this guy Cory, at your cast party. And we never really got to finish our conversation. And so I said, if you run into him, here's my phone number. Give it to him. Maybe he'll call me. And Jerry mentioned at that point, he said, oh, yeah, Corey.
28:43 Ironically, not only did we do this play together, But Corey just lives a few doors down for me. And I was like, oh, okay, that's cool. So if you run into Corey, you can find his car. Just stick my number under his windshield Wiper. And so then Corey ran into Jerry, I guess, maybe even a couple of more weeks later and kind of said the same thing was like, hey, I met this guy Kendall at the cast party. We didn't really get to finish our conversation. Will you give him my phone number? And I think at that point, what?
29:13 Jerry finally pulled his head out of his and said, oh, by the way, here's his number. So I didn't end up being a lifer in St. Louis. We ended up on a whim. After a great vacation to the San Francisco Bay area, we decided, hey, we can make it happen. Let's move there. And I think literally six or seven weeks later, Kendall was there, working in San Francisco And living in my former College roommate's office, which kind of had a makeshift apartment in it.
29:44 That was crazy. Yes. And then I was joining him soon after packing up our condo and getting our critters ready for crazy trip. Road trip. So here we are in California, just having an amazing time, but it's still, like, lingering in the back of my mind, and I would bring it up at least once or twice a year. This closed adoption thing, there's got to be something more we can find. And I think I always just thought, even if your parents who knows what the circumstances were, even if your parents birth parents were already gone, It would be hard for me to imagine that there weren't siblings out there.
30:18 And I think that's what really bothered me is that I have a really close relationship with my family and my siblings, and I felt like that was a piece of you that was missing for you, and I wanted you to have that. It was like we just kept running into dead ends. It was not much we could do. And you said, I think around the time that you turned 40 that you just kind of turned that off, got that whole search part of it off you're right. When I turned 40, I won't say that I'd given up, but again, the DNA option just was not there in my mind yet.
30:51 And so I just didn't know what else I could do. I thought I've registered at this point on the internet, which made things so much more easy. I had registered with as many agencies as I could, giving out those details right and left. I was never shy about saying my name was this and I was born this day in this hospital in this city. I was putting it out there widely, and I was trying to resign myself to the fact that it was okay. And truly it would have been okay.
31:20 I wasn't unhappy. But I think you're right. I always hoped at the very least, that I'd have siblings out there and then secondarily hoped that my birth parents would be living and that I could connect with them and learn about them. And even if it wasn't a close relationship, that I could have some type of relationship. Sure. After living in California for a few years, I think we started to see more and more advertising for these DNA tests, find out about your history, your heritage, your geography.
31:54 So I think just after seeing that over and over, I thought, what's it going to hurt to find out? For your birthday in 2017, I got you the Ancestry kit, which I don't know why, but you let it sit on the counter for two weeks before you even sent it back in. People have often asked me why I waited, and I don't even think it was purposeful.
32:18 I hate to say I feel like in 2010, when I turned 40, for some reason, I don't want to say if that's the year I gave up, but it just felt like I'm never going to find these people. So even when you presented me with this Ancestry.com kit in the back of your mind, you think, oh, it could happen, I could find a real connection. I thought, maybe I won't. And again, I wasn't opposed to doing it. Sadly, I didn't assume the best. I think at that point, you just didn't want to get your hopes up anymore.
32:49 But something was nagging me that I was like, okay, yes, it was, however many years ago, but these could have been young people or one of them could have been young. And what are the chances that even if they didn't stay together, that surely one of them would have had at least one other child, that you could have a half sibling out there? That was what made me think, okay, let's at least give this a try, see what happens. So you did send it in, and then Ancestry contacts you via email and says you've got how many, what, three to six weeks or something like that while they do the processing.
33:20 Actually, the email that I got said, Please expect six to eight weeks. But I got my results in three weeks. So it was bizarre. I remember getting that first email saying, It's going to take six to eight weeks. And then when I was sitting in my office on the day that I got the results, I was thinking they were trying to sell me something because I got this cryptic email that said, Congratulations, your DNA results are in love with marketing. Oh, it is. But it was a little disconcerting. I'm like, three weeks.
33:50 Have they done their due diligence? Did they try? And I click on the email and all you listeners would have to know that I have to keep a cheat sheet of all my passwords for my life. And this is a password that I must have really wanted to remember because when it said, Please follow this link to get your results, I remembered that password immediately for Ancestry.com. I always tear up. So this is that moment, everybody.
34:17 I'll never forget that moment when I click on the website and they're clever again for marketing. It's a really well designed website because the first page it takes you to is your DNA matches, which of course, for most people, that's really interesting. The most interesting thing, it's a list of names and they're supposedly in descending order. So in other words, the top match is the person that you have the most DNA match with. And it was my half brother's name.
34:47 But of course, I didn't know that's who it was. And when I see this name, it looked to me like a male's name. And the first thing I thought was, this could be my dad. And the website is really super secure, though. And I respect that so much because when I clicked on my half brother's name, he could have given lots of information, he could have given his age, he could have given his location, he could have said, I'm looking for my half brother. And I understand why he protected himself. It gave nothing.
35:16 When I clicked on his name, it didn't say how old he was, where he was, what he was looking for, anything. And I was like, well, I could be an ex murderer. He doesn't know me, he doesn't know who he's going to find. And so I get it. But of course, my mind was going 100 miles a minute thinking, it could be my dad, it could be my brother, it could be my uncle, it could be my cousin, I didn't know who it could be. And so I sent an email, you have to send it through Ancestry. And that he didn't even give his email address.
35:45 He could have, but he chose not to. And so I said in an email through Ancestry site, send it back to him. I said, I literally just got my results. You show up at the top of my list. Here's what I know about myself. And I gave him my date of birth, my birth name, and where I was born. And I said, Please contact me as soon as you can. That probably sounded pitiful. And I said, here's my phone number. We, of course, were living in San Francisco Bay Area at the time.
36:12 I'm sitting in my office in San Francisco and I get an email back three minutes later that says calling you right now. And my phone rings, my desk phone rings and I pick it up and my half brother, says Kendall, I'm your brother and it was the most crazy moment of my life, but one I will never forget.
36:38 And it was the start of this crazy start of this crazy story. Really in the next episode, we found Kendall's birth family after 47 years. This is the Family Twist podcast hosted by Kendall and Cory stealth with original music by Cosmic afterthoughts and produced by outpost productions and presented by Savoir Fair Marketing Communications. Have a story you want to share visit family Twist Podcast.com.
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