Kendall and Corey look back at the three found family/DNA magic episodes with Kendall’s half-siblings Chris, Stephanie and Monica. And Stephanie joins them to weigh in on Kendall’s intention on meeting his birth mother and his half-brother.
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00:05 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. Welcome back to Family Twist. If you've been listening throughout this series, you know that Corey and I have spoken to three of my six halfsiblings.
00:32 We've spoken to my dad's son Chris, my dad's daughter Monica, and my mother's daughter Stephanie. And what we thought we'd do on this episode is listen to some clips again and give you guys as listeners some of our thoughts about the way that those conversations went. We chose some clips that stood out to us, like the Chris clips.
00:59 He's talking a little bit about information from his dad, how Kendall came to be, how they live in the base, and that the reason that Chris wasn't named Scott was that Kendall was already named Scott. He went on to explain that your name was Scott, and that's all he knew. They were transferred off base out of Otis Air Force Base. They were transferred away and they kept in touch through letter a few times, never spoke again. He didn't know anything after that. That was it just that I was born.
01:29 Yeah, that he knew you were there. And that the reason I wasn't named Scott was because you were already named Scott. My middle name Scott. So something just literally popped into my head. And I don't know if you've thought about this before, but for a very short period of time, you were a junior. You were Scott. Well, I mean, yes, but I didn't have the last name. True. The junior wasn't part of my name either, of course, because she didn't give me Dad's last name. But I get it. I get what you're saying.
01:57 Yes, your name has changed a couple of times. It has. Well, keep in mind, too, dad's first name is Walter. So dad is Walter Scott Clark, and I was never anything but Scott White, so Walter wasn't part of it at all for me. Do we know how he went from being known as Walter to Scott? Because I know your Uncle Sean calls in Wally. Yes.
02:25 I think that's just a family thing because I think even all through school, dad was called Scott and Uncle Sean was called Sean, and Uncle Sean's first name is not Sean either. His middle name is Sean. So Uncle Steve, Dad's older brother, is the only one whose first name was Stephen, and he went by Steve, but the other two boys went by their middle names. Crazy. I know.
02:50 Part of Chris's recollections of talking to your dad, almost being like an interrogator or a detective or something, like trying to get whatever information he could out of him, how did that make you feel that Chris was so adamant about finding his brother that he knew was out there? That really almost seems like he was on a lone mission at that point. One thing if you haven't figured out, he's a pretty reclusive guy, and he's okay with letting the past stay in the past.
03:19 And I'm sure he's got his regrets that he didn't do right by you. I think he'd rather just leave that in the past, that type of thing. So I asked him. And he said yes, I do. So we talked about you, and I was always thinking of, when am I going to meet my brother Scott? I knew I couldn't find you. That was my thing. You're just a Scott. I had searched for you, I don't know, probably on six or seven occasions, I think. Chris told me way back when that he was curious about me and of course, wanted to find me because he wanted a brother, but also wanted to find me because he was so curious.
03:55 Does Scott, which is what he thought my name was back then does Scott look like dad? How would Scott fit into the family? We've often talked about how we wish we'd known each other when we were children and teenagers and that sort of thing, how much that would have meant to us. I mean, it would have meant a lot to Monica as well. I know that, and I can sense that from everything that she and I have talked about.
04:19 But Chris is just the one who really tried, who really did do the research, who did register with the registries and try to find me. That means a lot to me, because when you are the child who's been given up, you hope that that's the way somebody in your biological family feels about you, that you weren't just this throwaway child that everybody can forget about. That's what you hope, and at least on my dad's side, that wasn't the case.ese stories back in August of:
05:17 That just kind of really put a wrench into their relationship. How did dad describe what happened when the pregnancy with me was discovered? What he told you about the whole circumstances of my yeah, they were very care free and care less hippie type kids, and this is his first real serious girlfriend.
05:46 He's dumb enough, probably, to this day, to think that was one of his true loves in his life. Sadly, it was, right? I mean, my mother was the last one, and he was 17 when he married her. So, sadly, when he looks back at the history of his great girlfriends or they were all, like, middle, young teenage stuff, where I have three teenagers, and none of them have had a serious relationship yet. Thank God. It's just a different world. You go back into the late 60s, early 70s, but he said that she became pregnant, and I don't know any details about how long they hid the fact that she was pregnant.
06:21 I've never asked that. I don't know if he even remembers the details behind that. It was found out on base. The base commander was upset that two teenagers, children of two guys on base, were going to have a child, and back then, things were handled a little differently and pulled in Grandpa, your other grandfather. Yeah. And said that one of you guys have to pick up and transfer out. And I guess their decision was to get her family, your mom's side of the family, out.
06:52 So they transferred to Arkansas. And like I said, that's all I really knew about that. But he was madly in love with her. He wanted to marry her. He wanted to raise you in our grandparents house. He tried to convince Grandma and Grandpa that, and they weren't having it. And I think deep down, that was probably some of the stuff that created such a wedge between Grandma and him, because you asked him about her.
07:18 He describes that relationship as bad and violent, and honestly, I think she probably just had enough of him being reckless. It's interesting in that Scott has some memory issues, and he tends to tell the same stories over and over and say the same things over and over, and he keeps going back to not a great relationship with his mother. And so it's interesting that he's really stuck on that.
07:47 And I wonder if that was the thing that made it so hard between them. Well, I do think it was not easy, and it sounds like my grandfather, my dad's father was trying to be the voice of reason, but I think it sounds like my grandmother just had enough of everything at that point. I think dad had been not particularly rebellious, but kind of just did what he wanted to do and hung out too late and drank too much and smoked too much and probably had a good time as a teenager.
08:20 But at the same time, I think my grandmother just sometimes struggled when my grandfather would be out of town on military business. And then my grandmother was left with these three boys who were pretty close to the same age as each other, and it sounds like it was a free for all sometime. So I can't relate. I have never wanted three children, nor would I ever. I get the sense from everybody.
08:47 My Uncle Sean has been more diplomatic about it, but everybody kind of says, yeah, Scott's getting Jackie pregnant was not a great moment for the family. I remember Chris, when he first told me this story before the podcast a long time ago, five years ago almost, that he said he was trying to be so careful of my feelings.
09:10 He wanted to tell me, for instance, that my mother's pregnancy caused difficulty between him, between my dad and his parents, but he tried to do it so jingerily that it wouldn't hurt my feelings. And of course, I don't feel at all to blame or responsible for that. I was in utero. I don't know how it would be my fault. I do appreciate how Chris really tried to safeguard my feelings while he's telling me these stories way back then.
09:41 And it meant a lot to me that he was trying to be so careful about how I felt about the whole thing. Let's move on to Monica. Monica, where she kind of gets a little cheery at talking about the fact that deep down wish she had a sibling that she was closer to, and that one that kind of followed along with her sort of ideology and beliefs and things like that. You share a lot of common beliefs and interests, and I feel the same connection.
10:13 I instantly felt comfortable with you and just having a lot of the same beliefs and same compassion and heart towards other human beings in the world and the things we believe are right from wrong. And Chris and I are definitely very opposite on a lot of that stuff. And so I loved having you to be close with. And, yeah, I definitely feel that we connected immediately that way, for sure.
10:36 Yeah, I think it's clear you're listening to episodes about your stories, that we're ultra liberal, and Monica is as well, socially super liberal, and I think that was sort of an instant connection between all of us, for sure. And it's funny because she and I talked about that during our very first conversation on the phone. And you're right, we both kind of latched onto that similarity.
11:08 And she explained that dad was kind of middle of the road, but really wasn't very vocal about politics. Her mother, my stepmother, was more on the conservative side, and Chris definitely is as well. And I think she was so happy to see that I wasn't and that she and I could, in the future, have some great conversations. And we have so that was a nice point.
11:34 What's interesting, too, though, is she also said to me early on, and she might have even said it during the podcast episode, but I think she thought that if I had known her when I was a teenager, and she's six years younger than I am, a much younger person, that I would have been more supportive of her than Chris was. I'm just going to say I don't know if I would have been. And the reason I say that is that I was a goody goody, and I wasn't always supportive of Darla, my stepsister that I lived with.
12:08 I had pretty high standards for people's behavior, and I don't know that Monica lived up to them, and she would admit that but I also know that Chris and I both love her and it might have been tough love from Chris, but we both have always probably just wanted what's best for her. Well, it's interesting because you and Darla were same age, same grade.
12:38 So, like you were saying, you're looking at yourself as like, super scholarly and best grades and everything else, and so you're probably judging her a little bit for not going down that path. Now, you're six years older than Monica, right. You would have been six more years mature. It's possible you could have been more of an influence on her being the older brother and stepping in and saying, like, hey, this path you're going down right now, not cool.
13:11 I don't like it. What can we do? What can I do to help you turn this around? But who knows? We can't just look at the past and say, what if? And I have said to Monica, don't you think you might have just resented me the way that you resented Chris? Then you would have had two big brothers being really judgmental and snarky with you. Right? Who knows? Right? We weren't there, but I wasn't there.
13:40 But it is interesting to think that she assumes the best about my behavior. That's nice of her. I'm glad I found my brother. I am so grateful to have you. And I'm going to cry now because I wish I had you growing up and I'm just glad I have you now. This just then, we were hoping that my sister Stephanie would be able to join us and surprise, she's here.
14:14 Stephanie, you've heard about people finding each other through DNA tests, but you never thought that would be something that would happen to your family. I've heard quite a few people finding loved ones through ancestry, DNA or other forms of DNA testing, but never thought in a million years it would happen in my family. Just talking to friends and coworkers, these are interesting.
14:41 There's a lot of things that you see families coworkers that you work with and you think everything's perfect and families are complicated and complicated, complicated, bad, then. This has definitely been one of the best experiences of my life and I'm very fortunate that this has happened. It's been a great ride so far.
15:07 Even since we recorded that first episode with Stephanie, I think she and I have both heard of so many new stories of people who have found others. I don't want to speak for you, Stephanie, but it just warms my heart to think that other people have had really positive experiences like you and I have had. And I love that.
15:29 If we can do anything with this podcast similar to that, like getting the word out, getting people to feel comfortable meeting their family members, connecting with them, whether it's on things like video calls or getting to see people in person, I think it's worth it. Absolutely. Since meeting you through the ancestry DNA. I feel like I'm more alert to people and their stories now or it catches my attention.
15:58 I listen to a lot of podcasts, and it's crazy how you will come across one who said, I was adopted and I found my birth parents. And sometimes it works out great, sometimes it doesn't, but I feel like I'm way more high work to those stories now, or it catches my attention and just speaking with coworkers and listening to their stories. And there are so many people out there that have that shared experience that I never would have known about or wouldn't be as interested, I guess.
16:31 But, yeah, I think what you're doing is really positive, and every episode I listen to, I'm just really proud of you guys. Thank you. So I think I talked about this a little bit in the episode that we had you on, Stephanie, but as you remember, you were on vacation when Kendall sort of plunged himself into your family. Brooke was the first one that he spoke to, and your brother found out about him as well, and they both got to see what he looked like and everything else.
17:03 And I think your gut reaction was like, why did they get to because my question was, why did he reach out to Brooke first? Why did he reach out to me? Find me through Facebook? And then I think Brooke and Richard may have sent a picture of you, sent it via text. And I'm like, oh, my gosh, he looks just like me. And so that made the connection even more strong, is that we favor so much, I think.
17:36 And you just look like my family, I feel like. And it's like, wow, this is really real. And you don't know. You're told that you have a biological sibling out there, and you really don't know what you're going to get. And to see you look normal and then to see, like, you are you're one of us. You look like brother. That made it more at ease for me as well. And then, of course, just talking to you, I don't know if talking to you the bond started there, but then when I met you, I don't know.
18:06 It's really hard to describe the bond that I have with you because it is different than the bond that I have with my other siblings. I feel like we share the same outlook and personality traits, but it's kind of unreal. It's just kind of funny because you two have developed this amazingly strong bond as siblings. In the meantime, in the last four years. Yeah. My initial reaction was, why was I the last to find out when I'm the oldest of Richard and Brooks?
18:37 But I understand now why? But I was just curious, like, why didn't he reach out to me? But I don't think you could like, you couldn't connect with me through social media for some reason or another, but from the first moment I spoke to you and then whenever we met at the airport, it was just immediate and I don't know how to explain it. We're just very much alike, I feel like. And we just got this bond that I never thought I would have with someone that I just met.
19:09 But it's almost like I've known you my whole life with the closeness that we have. So it's been such a good experience. I missed you guys already. I wish we lived closer and hopefully one day we will be closer in proximity, maybe when we retire. It's been really amazing. I could never, ever imagine that I would have an older brother and that we would have developed the closeness that we have. It's been one of the greatest experiences that I've ever had growing up.
19:41 Our outlook on life, that bond just grew, but I felt like it was immediate, but it definitely grew. And that time with you was extremely valuable. And getting to know you, it was just a really wonderful time. And taking you over to our aunt's house and I remember even this sounds really weird, but just being protected, I just wanted to protect you. Even though you're my older brother, I wanted to make sure that you were okay. But you're so easy.
20:11 Everything with you is pretty easy. You're easy to talk to, easy to be with. But I just remember, like, this is my new brother and I want to take care of him. And it was wonderful. The best part was just getting to hear your stories of growing up with your family and what it was like living in Arkansas. We just visited with you last week.
20:37 We just had a really nice I think one of the things that really helped us along is who Kendall is. Like, who the person Kendall is the times that we've come out to New England to visit, he has taken off work and has spent as much time with me and my family as he possibly could. Not a lot of people would do that, and I'm a very giving person.
21:05 I always want to make sure everyone feels comfortable and included, and he's like that. And I love the fact that he makes me and my family a priority when we're there. He came to Maine with us and stayed with us, and he's been over to my husband's sister's house and has stayed with us. And he's taken a ferry ride to Pee Town with us and gone to Red Sox and Patriot Games.
21:33 So I love the fact that he's all in when I'm there. And it's like his time is completely given to me and that means so much to me. That touches my heart because it just shows his character and his love, and I love that about him. I don't know. I mean, it's very special because you're not going to find that in a lot of people. And my husband's commented, too.
22:00 He's like, wow, Kendall just really gives up his time for you when we're here. And I mean, it does not go unnoticed. It's really great to see and just like, seeing the two of you in the same room and sitting next to each other, whatever, there's just a light, there's a spark there that gets brighter when the two of you are together. So I don't know. As Stephanie just said, it's hard to describe.
22:26 But Kendall, like, how do you describe that bond that this relationship that you guys have developed over the last few years? Well, you know, it's funny. When I was an only child until I was almost twelve, I always wanted siblings. And you can't really say that to your parents who struggle to just get you, right. You can't keep saying, can you find another kid? But I always wanted it.
22:54 When my dad married my stepmother, I did get instant step family, and one of my stepsisters was already out of the house. She was already married. But Darla, my step sister, is exactly my age, and that was great. I loved having her as a step sister, and I loved having her in the house. But at the same time, we'd missed a lot of years living together, right?
23:26 I mean, we got to start living together right before we were both twelve. And I'm not saying that wasn't so great. It was, but there's something about the fact that it's different, right? I didn't get to grow up with my step sister, so, I mean, yes, I knew her and we got along really well. We hung out as much as two teenagers who would probably.
23:52 But there is something just a little bit different, right, about not having gotten to grow up between birth and twelve with somebody else. So I feel like there was always this missing feeling for me, and now I have it. And I know I didn't get to spend any of those same years with any of my siblings, but still, there's just something neat about having somebody that's biological and that you look like and you sound like sometimes.
24:26 And people have watched me and my brother Chris and say that even some of our mannerisms are similar, and we haven't known each other that long in comparison to the length of our lives. So those things are just fun for me, because if you're somebody who'd never had any biological family, you didn't know what you were missing, you didn't know how you might relate with all these people. So it's been wonderful.
24:55 I want to spend as much time with you guys as I can, and we always do fun stuff, too. It's great. And I feel like there's no way for us to make up for all the years that we missed, but having those moments are fantastic. When Stephanie arrived in town last week with her husband and their son, the first thing she did was give me my birthday gift, which was this great photo that is of all of us, including Corey. And it's just I love it.
25:26 It's a cool photo that's on a canvas backing, and it's the perfect gift for us because we love that sort of thing, and it's already on the wall. We're trying to catch up for all those lost memories and make memories here. Well, I love to hear this, because I did spring this on Stephanie.
25:45 She was here, but I volunteered to ship Kendall down after Christmas just because I was thinking, like, well, when we moved to California years ago, and even since we've been in New England for the last four years, it's probably been at least every other year that I've gone back to St. Louis to spend some part of the holiday season with my family. It's like, why shouldn't be the only one that gets to do that?
26:13 I'm willing to take on taking care of our 18 animals so can go down and enjoy Christmas with his family. Yeah. Really excited. That was kind of a highlight of the trip, knowing that there's possibility he could spend Christmas with us. I love it. So this is our first recap episode, as Kendall mentioned earlier on, that we've had three of his six siblings on the podcast. We would love to have the other three. I think we're pretty helpful about two of the three.
26:41 We'll see what happens with Kendall's brother on his mom's side. We had some pretty deep conversations with Stephanie when she was here about their mother and just why a connection has not yet occurred. And I think we're all hopeful for the best still, but I think it's become a point of frustration for both Kendall and Stephanie.
27:07 I hope it doesn't cause a permanent rift, Stephanie, between you and your family members, but I know that it's caused some stress and upset for you. Yeah, it's not been easy. I just wish it didn't have to be this way. I wish what we all want is to have a peaceful resolution, and like you said, it's really frustrating. Just want the best for everybody.
27:35 I don't want anybody to look back and have any regrets. Well, as much as Kendall and I are fans of Halloween, and we are we're also huge fans of Christmas as well. And I know it is definitely a time of magic, so who knows? Who knows what could happen this year? Temple comes to death. Yeah. So we remain hopeful, and we will keep the door open for conversation and relationship. I can't imagine Kendall ever permanently closing the door on anyone.
28:06 I wouldn't. We've definitely gone through, and we haven't gone into, like, all the dirty details of how this journey has been. I mean, there are some twists that we probably will never talk about on this podcast, but it hasn't always been sunshine and roses. But we are not closing the door on anybody. I will always want to meet everybody in my family. You know, it is bizarre when I stop and think that I haven't met our brother Richard, I haven't met his children.
28:39 It just seems odd. I'm not the big bad wolf. I don't get the trepidation on anybody's part except just not knowing me. I mean, we're not getting any older. You never know what can happen. So I just would love to see the family coal and everyone getting along and this just comes to a good resolution for everyone.
29:08 I love everyone in my family and I just want it to work out in a positive way. Yeah, I agree. I never dreamt that it would be as awkward for everybody as it is. I don't know. I don't know why I didn't think it was a possibility. Obviously, it kind of makes sense. People are nervous about meeting somebody they'd never met, but I am.
29:36 They're flesh and blood and anyone that has met you and Corey know that you're one of the kindest people out there. I'm not perfect. I've got some regrets that has happened in the family and I feel like I've tried to make amends with that and that's all I can do is learn from my mistakes and try to do better. And I just want to see us all come to a positive resolution and this should be a happy time for everyone.
30:07 What I've learned in doing research for this podcast and being part of several Facebook groups about DNA found families is that you too are part of the lucky ones, the fortunate ones. They're able to have a good relationship. And I would say, more often than not, I'm seeing people say, like, well, I found my great father. He wants nothing to do with me. That every single day. And in posts, we're going to talk about that. They're not all super happy endings.
30:36 And I think most of the episodes we've had so far have been really great stories and we love those stories and we'll continue to tell those stories and we definitely have some coming up, but it's not always the case. And I think that it's becoming more and more common for people to spin the tube and send it away and find out their family history. And there are some deep, dark, buried secrets that are coming to light and the people that buried them aren't always happy about it.
31:06 And I always go back to the fact that it shouldn't be this way, it shouldn't be this way. Not to end on a somber note, it was a wonderful visit. Family and the good that has come out of this experience over the last five years definitely outweighs the negative. Absolutely. Oh, yeah. I mean, Kendall has been one of the highlights of my life. I mean, I wouldn't change a thing.
31:36 I'm so fortunate that we found each other and I don't regret. Anything. I love you guys. I again wish we were closer, but my relationship with Kendall is amazing and so positive, and I can't wait to spend more time with you guys. We feel the same way. Excellent. Well, I think that's a great spot to end this episode on a positive note, nearly Jim and Oliver included.
32:05 I can't wait to meet your critters, because you know how many critters we have? Two gorgeous dogs and a kitty cat. And so Kendall's coming for Christmas, then mark me down for 4 July. Sounds great. I love it. Okay, this was good talking to you guys again. And I'll talk to you soon. I love you both. You too. Bye. Bye. Bye. Bye. Bye. Bye.
32:32 This is the Family Twist podcast hosted by Kendall and Corey Stalls with original music by Cosmic Afterthoughts and produced by Outpost Productions and presented by Savvy Affair Marketing Communications. Have a story you want to share? Visit familytwistpodcast.com. All our social media links are there as well.