NPE: Guess What? My Dad is Not My Dad.

Updated On: August 30, 2023

Our guest this round is Michelle Tullier, who discovered after taking a DNA test for fun that the man she thought was her bio dad was not. In fact, she had known her bio dad her entire life. Michelle realized her mother was closer to a family friend than she first knew. Michelle reconnected with her half siblings that she knew as kids.

“I had some kind of connection with him. Now I understand why. He would look at me in a certain way. Didn’t bother me. It was an intense way. Now I understand why,” Michelle says of her bio dad.

Guess what? My Dad is not My Dad.

Guest bio:

Michelle Tullier has spent 30+ years as a career counselor and nine-times published author of prescriptive non-fiction. She worked at Barnard College and Georgia Tech, was on the adjunct faculty at NYU, and spent 13 years in career coaching and leadership roles with global consulting firm Right Management. Since 2019, she has been full-time in her private practice Careers Uncomplicated, with clients all across the U.S.

Guest links:

Twitter: @tullierauthor

Instagram: michelle_tullier_author

Facebook: michelletullierauthor

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Hello and welcome to season three of Family Twist.


A podcast about DNA surprises, found family, and amazing adoption stories. I'm Kendall Austin Stulce, and my partner is Corey Stulce. We've had fabulous guests during seasons one and two. We're sharing stories of people who identify as NPEs, also called not-parent-expected, others who found out they were donor conceived and have surprise siblings, and even others with unique family twists. We started this podcast to spotlight Kendall's adoption story and his discovering both sides


Biological Family in 2017. So if you're just finding the podcast, we encourage you to start with episode one to learn more about Kendall's journey. Thank you for listening.


Hi, and thanks for joining us again on season three of Family Twist. We have a lovely guest with us today, Michelle Tullier, who has a NPE story to share with us. Welcome, Michelle. Thanks. Glad to be here. So now when you refer to yourself as an NPE, do you use the non-parental event or? Not parent expected, I think is the other word. Yeah. Yeah.


And in fact, technically, it shouldn't even be a noun. I think it's, I mean, or it shouldn't be what we call ourselves, you know, because it's a thing, right? It's an experience. It's an event, but I just, I find it easier just to say, I'm an, I am an NPE. Yeah. Right. And I think that's relatively, that's pretty common in the NPE community. Like that's people kind of introduce themselves that way. So it's just, you know, that was something that, you know, we've, we've gotten used to hearing, you know, over the last year doing this. Right.


So when did you discover? I discovered in 2016. So it's been several years, but it takes a lot of process, right? Absolutely, absolutely. It's probably a forever kind of process in a situation. How did you make your discovery? Yeah, so I had actually first done Ancestry, a DNA home test kit through Ancestry in 2014.


And at that time, the results seemed a little odd. Like I grew up thinking I was almost entirely French and the results showed sort of otherwise kind of a mixture of a lot of different things and it heavily like English and Irish. And I'd never heard about much of that in my background. But I also know that those results are really not always real reliable. You know, they get better as more.


more DNA gets into the databases. So I didn't think much of it. And I also didn't recognize any surnames of the matches, but I came from a tiny family. I was an only child. My father was an only child. My mother had one brother. He had an only child. So in my orbit, there were like four or five surnames that I knew of. And these were all third, fourth, fifth cousins. So I thought, okay, they're just people I don't know. They're pretty distant relations. And I was really busy at the time in my...


career and parenting a teenage daughter and I just thought one day I'll go back in and figure it out. And then two years later in 2016, that day still hadn't come because I was still busy. And I was not in any place to like design a fancy family tree and figure it all out. But I went back in because my husband and I were going on a trip to Ireland.


And I remembered that I had a lot of Irish in me. So I thought, well, let me just log back in, see if it gave any more detail about, you know, where in Ireland or the percentage or anything. And I go back in and I'm just, I'm at work at having my lunch at my desk, like just sitting there, you know, like any normal day. And I log in for truly the first time in two years had not looked at my results and I had a notification of a match. And I thought it was just gonna be, yeah.


whole bunch more, you know, screen after screen of distant cousins. And instead it was a close family match and it turned out to be a half brother. And I recognized the last name immediately as family friends. So in that instant, I knew exactly what had happened, even though I had never had any reason to suspect that my father was not my biological father. Wow. So you didn't do the test because you were researching, you know, something like a mystery, you just did it to do it.


That's right, I just thought it was fun. My husband had done 23andMe to test out some allergies, you know, that a doctor had advised him to do it for the health part of it. And then why I did Ancestry versus 23andMe, I don't know. I think I probably saw an ad for it or something, right, and just clicked on it. And yeah, I just thought it would be fun to see more about my supposedly French ancestry and maybe find some relatives.


you know, since I always kind of felt lonely as like an only child and, you know, in such a small family, I thought, well, maybe there's some cousins out there that I could get to know. And since I was a child, I'd really wanted to be related to somebody famous. So of course, I know a lot of people do it for that reason too, like hoping they're gonna, you know, be related to royalty or something, or some famous celebrity. And I, like always had this obsession with philosophers, you know, since I learned about it in high school and even as a little girl, I kind of had this sense of like,


just important writers and thinkers in the world. And I wanted one of those to be my ancestors. So that, yeah, so I just did it just purely for fun out of curiosity. And here you are at work, bam, at lunch. Yeah. Realized that your life is not what you thought it was. That's right, that's right. Yeah. Wow. So what do you do? Like what's your immediate reaction and action? What do you do? Well, so that's where.


I'm maybe not the most normal person because I know that certainly I was surprised. Obviously I didn't wake up that day thinking that was going to happen in my life. But in a way I wasn't shocked. And when I say I'm not normal, I've always been somebody who's not very, now I am, now after several years of processing all this, but I've always was always somebody not very in touch with my emotions. Like just.


I would just soldier on through anything that happened in life, pour myself into work, just really task-oriented, goal-oriented, just kind of keep going. And so that's what I did with this. I actually told my husband by email, and he'll never let me live that down. He's a psychologist and he's very, very warm and fuzzy and very emotionally evolved. And he just could not believe that I told him by email.


It was pragmatic. I had a busy afternoon ahead of me. We actually had like some sort of crisis, a fire to put out in my department. And I thought, okay, I just got to fire off an email to him. Guess what? My dad's not my dad. And we'll talk about it when I get home. Of course, he called immediately. Are you kidding me? So how quickly? Well,


Did you respond to your half-brother through the site? I did. You know, I didn't right away. I didn't know if he'd seen the results. And so I thought, let me kind of do a little research first, make sure. Even though I was certain that this was what it appeared to be, and I wasn't like,


I know that many people understandably question the results. Surely there must be a mistake. The lab mixed up the test or something. But I just knew. I knew that my mother was very close with this man, the father of the family. Not as close as I realized. I mean, closer than I realized. But still there was that part of me that was sort of like, well, I need to kind of check this out. So I kind of poked around, stalked people on Facebook and whatever I could find.


And oddly, I didn't, my father had died two years before. In fact, if this match had come up when I first got my results two years before, I could have spoken with him about it. He was alive for like a handful of weeks after that and no dementia or anything, you know, he would have been able to talk with me. So that was sad to realize that, but yeah. So I just did a little research and oddly I didn't see my biological father's.


obituary right away I saw his father who had the same name, you know, senior junior thing. So I thought maybe he was still alive. But yeah, then I wrote to them through the message box in Ancestry and they wrote back amazingly. He too had not been in his Ancestry account in several months and just happened to go back in that same week. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. So. Amazing. And yeah.


So then we talked on the phone and it was great. He was welcoming and wonderful and I feel really fortunate because I know a lot of people have not that experience. Plus some people never even find their biological family or don't know who they are. True, true. So I was lucky that way. And then I was lucky that for the most part, they've all been very welcoming and I know some of them would probably rather this hadn't happened. It wasn't like the best thing that ever happened to them. But.


But some I've actually gotten very close with and some cousins, first cousins. Oh, good. Do you have additional half siblings? Yeah, three other half siblings. Oh, wow. So, yeah, four total. And I knew them all as kids. That's what I was just about to ask if, yeah. Yeah, yeah. We drifted apart as families, I think when I was around maybe 12, 13. But before that, we were always doing things together as families, and so I remember them pretty well.


Wow, that is wild. Now are either of the parents who raised you still alive? They're not now, but they were at the time that I made the discovery. Oh. Yeah. Some of my, my father that I grew up with all those years had, he was like in his first year of dementia. And so I did not tell him. Because if I did, I would have had to tell him, you know, 50,000 times and that would not have been fun. Plus, if he didn't know, I didn't want to break his heart.


you know, why tell a man who's probably dying in a couple of years? And in fact, he died about a year and a half after I made the discovery. So I had to sort of go through the motions of, you know, life as normal with him. You know, he was at that point had to be moved into a nursing home and I was visiting him and that was hard because it was an odd feeling, right? To, you know,


know this huge thing and yet still going through the motions because he had the he didn't have such severe dementia or Alzheimer's that he didn't Recognize me or anything. He always did right up to the end But he would just forget things, you know, he had very very minimal short-term memory My mother is another story. We've been very estranged. We'd had a really horrible relationship most of my adult life now I understand why she was the way she was she kept this secret all her life and


And so I hadn't spoken to her a year and I contacted her to tell her what I knew. I did actually call her Nottie Miller. We got together for lunch the next day and you know, her secret was out. She didn't deny it. First she started trying to deny it, like we're in the world when I get that idea and then I said, you know, I've got the science to prove it. And she was a chemist in her younger years so she couldn't claim to deny the science of it.


She said that my biological father did know that I was his and that my raising father did not know. So, yeah. That had to be really odd for your biological father to see you as a kid. I know. As a friend of the family. And here he is, he knows that that's my girl. I know. I now sometimes think about


um, yeah, what that must have been like for him. And, and I have very vivid memories. They're kind of like little still images almost, like I can't remember, like, you know, whole periods of time with them doing something, but just little snippets here and there and, and I, I just, I always really liked him. He was always very sweet to me. Um, and I just, I truly had some kind of connection with him and I, and I've


I've tried to be honest with myself and say, am I just saying that now because I know what I know, but I know that's not the case. I know I always felt like some sort of connection with him. And now I understand why. Interesting. And I knew he would look at me in a certain way that just seemed, didn't bother me, you know, it could seem odd, but just in this very sort of intense way that he would look at me. And now I understand why. Do you...


resemble him or like physically? Yeah, very much so. Wow. Very much so. Yeah. I mean, it's so funny like. I look a lot like my mother. And so I think that's how she, you know, it wasn't revealed, you know, at some point. And I looked enough like my father that, you know, no one would really suspect. And again, not having siblings, there wasn't like that case that a lot of people have where you look like the.


the odd person out, not looking like your siblings. So, yeah, but now I see photos of, you know, the family has given me photos of him when he was a baby and a little boy and all throughout his life. And there's a lot of resemblance. I look a good bit like one half brother. The others I actually don't look that much like. Yeah, so. Now your bio dad, did his wife know about you? My mother says no. So.


You know, who knows if she suspected anything. And your half siblings had no clue. They had no idea. No idea. Wow. Yeah. Wow. Yeah. So is your, so is your biological father's wife, she's not still living? She's not living. Um, and they had divorced back in the seventies, I think it was, and, um, she had died a good bit before all this happened, so she wasn't around to have to.


be a part of this. Right. So did you ask your mother like what happened? Did you want to know the story? Yes, I did.


Before I met with my mother to talk about this, I had talked with my one aunt, the wife of my mother's brother, and my mother's brother had died so I couldn't speak with him. But I had talked with my cousin, their daughter, who I'd grown up close with. She was my only first cousin, at least then she was. And when I told her, she said, I know.


And I said, are you kidding me? She said, well, I should say, I was pretty sure I knew. She said, when I was a teenager, I overheard my parents talking, saying that they suspected that this other person was your father. So my aunt and uncle really thought it since like way back, even before I was born, they thought that he and my mother were having an affair. And since like the mid 1950s. And...


So then I remembered something my grandmother, my mother's mother said when I was home from college working in her little business. And she said she thought, my grandmother treated me like a friend. I mean, we were very, very close. She said, she said, I think your mother is having an affair with and then named this person.


And at the time I thought, no, that's crazy. We haven't seen any of them in years. And no, she's not hanging around with him. And she's not having an affair. But I started to piece all these memories together and the information from my aunt and my cousin. And so I went to the lunch with my mother kind of armed with this information. And I said to my mother, you know, I'm not going to judge you for what happened. It's not my place to say, you know, did you do anything wrong or not?


having an affair, having me extramaritaly. And I thought that maybe she would open up and talk and instead she said no it was just a transaction that because she'd had miscarriages, two miscarriages with my father and was told that it was his sperm that was not viable and so she didn't think she could become a mother with my father, with her husband.


She arranged, she said, for this other person to be my father, to conceive me with.


and that it was just a one-time transaction.


I don't believe that for a minute. Exactly, because your aunt and uncle fought. Wow. But now there's not anybody around to corroborate. Exactly, there really isn't. My biological father's sister, so my aunt, was still living until just a couple years ago. She died at 90. And so I got to know her for about a year and a half, and she was just an amazing person. Just this.


wacky character and loving and welcoming and just so much fun. And, but she didn't know. She had no idea. I thought surely she would know and she didn't. Yeah. They kept things quiet. Yeah.


So, I guess it's all speculation with you now, but I know in the information that you sent to us, you mentioned that the father who raised you was in the closet. He couldn't be out as a gay man because time and place. Yeah, yeah. And I mean, do you think that had anything to do with it? I think it did probably. So my parents married in 1954 in a small town in Louisiana.


and my father had been raised in a small town in Louisiana in the 1930s and they were high school sweethearts and I think they were truly good friends really all their lives even after divorcing after many years of marriage. And so apparently in the first year of marriage and my mother did tell me this that


in the first year of the marriage, now she was 19 when they got married, my father was 21, they come from, you know, tiny town in Louisiana and had moved to Atlanta for my father to go to dental school. And so they get there and she learns within the first year of marriage that my father's involved with, you know, men, that he was going out to whatever existed as gay bars in Atlanta in the mid 1950s, there were some. And...


And so, yeah, so I think that, who knows if she couldn't conceive a child with my father, truly, who knows what the cause of the miscarriages was? I don't know, maybe that was the case, but I think that, again, from what I've been able to piece together, I think when they both met my biological father immediately when they all converged in the same place for school.


at the same university and even lived in the same grad student apartment housing. And I've kind of pieced together through various things, various sources that my mother really sort of fell in love with him instantly. And so I suppose, you know, I don't know if my parents discussed openly that they would just kind of have an open marriage that my did my father know that my mother was involved with him.


I don't know, I never know. But as a kid growing up, you had no suspicion at all that anything odd was happening. Not really. I never doubted that my father was my father. People would always, my father was quite short, as average men in the US go, and I was quite tall, and some people would always joke about that, or comment on that.


I don't know, they just explained it. I ate a lot of meat or something. I just always have these really stupid things they would say. But I never doubted that. I always knew my father was, if you know the actor, Leslie Jordan, my father was basically Leslie Jordan. I was not only devastated when Leslie Jordan died recently because I loved him as a personality and actor and character, but because I knew that if


the memoir I'm writing ever got made into a movie, I wanted him to play my dad. So I was particularly upset about that. As were we, we actually knew Leslie a little bit. Oh, did you really? Oh, how lucky. Yeah, how Kendall and I actually met was we, I was performing in a production of Sorted Lives, which was, you know. Oh, one of my all time favorite movies. So you were in a theater production of it? A theater production of it, yeah. And we met after.


the after the show and I think it was the year after that they were doing a national tour of it and so we met Leslie there you know and I'd interviewed him a couple of times and he was just an amazing person. Oh I bet. Oh you're so lucky. I know. So yeah growing up I mean you know I knew that my father was definitely sort of effeminate and just not like the other dads around me. Right.


In the South, you can kind of get away with that. There's this sort of persona of men in the South that something about the accent, something about, they know the dessert fork from the salad fork. And you know, just. Yes. So I didn't really doubt. And then by high school, I was kind of realizing, yeah, I think there's something more to it here. And then when I was in college and out of college in the 80s, I came back in the late 80s to.


and lived with my dad for a year before going to graduate school and being on my own. I sort of was able to kind of glimpse his lifestyle more then. It was the 80s and it was just clear that he was finally, he was divorced from my mother at that time, he was finally getting to live still secretly though, still very quietly, but he was getting to live the life that he had wanted to live, which is nice to see. That's good. But he was still very closed mouthed about it elsewhere.


you never had conversations about or met boyfriends or anything like that? Not really, not really. I knew somebody who was really close with for a lot of years and that person I've now spoken with about all this and it turns out that that was just a platonic friendship and I have absolutely no reason not to believe this person because I won't get into it but I just I know he's telling the truth but he did know who my father was involved with so yeah.


So, but no, we never really talked about it. I just figured, and I do have regrets about that. I wish I had been able to say to my dad, it's really okay if you want me to know, it's okay for me to know this. It's not gonna change how I feel about you. And I wish I had let him be open with me and I didn't. So, yeah.


biological father, you know, ended up, well, he was married. Um, and did you ever ask your mother if she tried to reach out to him, you know, after your mother and other father divorced, you know, could there have been a chance that she would have tried to reconnect? I didn't ask my mother, but my aunt knows that my, that, that my biological father remarried and.


that my mother was devastated, that he didn't wait for her. Why she didn't divorce my father sooner than when I was in college, I don't know. I know a lot of parents stay together for the kids, right? And maybe through high school or something if they make it that far, but she certainly didn't have to wait till I was actually just before my senior year of college. So I really don't know why she waited so long. And he had already remarried and yeah, my aunt said she was devastated.


Your half siblings, are they from just that first marriage or did he have children, your bio dad with his second wife? Nope. They're all from the first marriage. Two are a little bit older than I am and two are a bit younger than I am. And how has it been, what was your approach of forming a relationship with these new siblings? Yeah. So with the first one, it was easy because that's the one I was matched with and so it kind of just naturally-


fell out from there and they lived in a neighboring state from where I was. So I was still in the south at that time living in Atlanta. So he told the other siblings for me. And he told, of course with my permission, not that I needed to give it, but he asked, which was nice, told his...


our three first cousins. And then they told my aunt, so that was pretty much everybody. And my aunt, who at that point was in her late 80s, her three sons, so my cousins, asked their mother, my aunt, to get on a conference call with them. And when they got on, they told her about this, what her brother had done, who he was to me.


And she said, well, I'm so relieved because I thought you were all getting on the phone to tell me that you're taking my car away from me and I can't drive anymore. Priorities. Right. Yeah, exactly. Oh my gosh. Yeah. But how wonderful. Yeah, it was. So, you know, shortly after sort of all of it getting out with everybody, a bunch of it was close to Thanksgiving that first year that I'd learned. And so a bunch of them gathered.


we all got together the weekend before Thanksgiving. And so I got to meet at least one of my cousins and my aunt and one of my half siblings and their spouses were partners. And so it was, that was good. And then, you know, then over the next several months or year things kind of fell, you know, in place from there meeting others at various places and times.


Now you mentioned you have a child. Was your child involved in all of this too? Yeah, so when I first learned of it, I didn't tell her right away. She was in her first semester of college in New Orleans and I knew I was going to be going down there soon for parents weekend. So I thought I'll wait till then and tell her in person.


So my husband and I went down and I was so nervous to tell her. She was incredibly close with my father, like a really sweet grandfather, granddaughter relationship. And so I was just beyond nervous to tell her. And I blurted it out not too long after we got there because I didn't want to, you know, delay, prolong the agony. And,


She said, well, that doesn't surprise me. And I'm like, what is this? First my cousin saying I know, and now my daughter. She said, well, just last night, I was talking with my roommate about how you and my grandpa are so different and how I don't understand how you came from him because you have such different personalities. And she said we were just talking about our parents and grandparents and who we take after. And she said, I was just saying that


It's like you didn't even come from him because you're so different. And later I think the shot kind of set in and she had to process it, of course, emotionally herself. But at first it was not at all the reaction I expected. Well, and it doesn't change the relationship that she had with the father-in-law. Yeah, exactly. Right. Exactly. Yeah, and again, he was still alive for a while so she still got to be with him.


I think it's, you know, just I can't imagine how she felt. Like suddenly she's got these, you know, new aunts and uncles. And you know what I mean? Yeah. It has to be weird because you were an only child, you know, so. That's that's right. It's been sort of instant family. And we've we've been included in gosh, a couple of weddings and my my aunt's funeral and


dropping by a half-sibli or a cousin's house on Thanksgiving evening, at the end of the day on Thanksgiving and just various occasions we've been included in, which has been really nice. And so she's met her whole generation, what would be, I guess, my great nephews and nieces and things and never to the point of like, really forming real relationships outside of these occasions, but they've all been friendly with her.


She's enjoyed getting to know them and all that. Good. Does it today for you, does it feel like you have sibling relationships like you're, you know, you've? Well, yes and no, not really. And that's been a hard part of this because growing up an only child, I don't really know how to have siblings, you know? I don't know what it's supposed to be like. And I'm.


I'm a true introvert. I mean, over my adult life, and especially professionally, I've had to be outgoing, and I can kind of masquerade as an extrovert, and I'm not necessarily shy, per se, but I'm definitely a person who doesn't sort of start every day thinking, who am I gonna connect with today? And being on the phone with people all the time or constantly texting or something.


even my close friends, we're all kind of the same and we're not constantly in contact with each other. Yeah, so it's something I really grapple with, it's hard, because I'm trying to be kind to myself and compassionate and not judge myself and say, well, I should be in touch with them more, or I should have done this, or I should have included them in such and such, or I should have asked about such and such.


You know, that's that does nobody that doesn't do anybody any good. Right. Sure. Absolutely. And I mean, it's even growing up with siblings like everybody, you know, that all relationships are going to be different. You know, it doesn't you don't have to be all over them every minute just because you made this discovery. You know, it's it should be for, you know, for your comfort level and their comfort level. Yeah. Well, and and you know,


To your point, I was raised an only child and wanted siblings so badly that I think I idealize a lot of those. Like when I think of my friends and I think of their relationships with their siblings, I've always idealized that ridiculously, I think. And so when I found all of my six, I have six half siblings, I know.


I just expected, you know, they're all going to love me and they're going to, it's going to be great. And you know, constant content. And that is not the way this has gone down and it's okay. It's okay. But to your point, I had to start being good to myself too, because I've always had a savior complex. And so for me, I've always been like, Oh, if anything's going wrong, I want to help them. Well, they don't.


They don't need my help necessarily. They don't solicit my help. And that's been weird for me, right? I bet, I bet. Yeah, because I'm just that person, you know, but. Yeah, yeah, it's like we have our identities and we expect that identity to sort of stay the same with all these new relationships, but they don't know us that way, right? They've been functioning all these years without us and without that.


what our identity brings to the table. And yeah, it just calls into question, who are you? Who can I be if I'm not in that, if I can't be that way with certain people? Right. And I think it seems to be just, for the people we've been talking to, that it's pretty similar, your experience and Kendall's experience with finding siblings, have siblings later in life. But there've been like the,


rare, you know, episodes where we've had siblings who have met and like, boom, it's like they're the best of friends and super, super close and they talk all the time. And there's a, there was a set of sisters in Las Vegas who didn't know about each other. And, um, one of them was a longtime realtor. The other one was just getting her real estate license and now their sister's selling Vegas. Like they've got their own marketing. They're just adorable. And just seeing the two of them, you know, on screen together was just, I mean, like, oh, wow. Well, it's,


this was meant to be like you had to find each other because you know, like you're, you're making your lives more complete just by knowing each other. But you know, our experience has been, you know, more positive than negative for sure. Like I don't think we have any regrets. No. Yeah, same here. And mine, you know, mine. So, you know, like they really show up if in times when it matters. I mean, there haven't been any major like crises or anything that they've had to be there for. But, you know, just


For example, I surprised my daughter for her 25th birthday earlier this year, which involved a weekend trip to meet up with her, and she had no idea I would be there. And it happened to be a place that one of my cousins and one of my half-brothers lives within an hour or so of, or a couple of hours of. And they came and met up with us.


it was just like, you know, they didn't have to do that. Even though it was reasonably close, it wasn't the most convenient thing for them, the timing and all that, and they did it, and there they were. And there are those moments when it's really touching. It's like, okay, that's kind of what brothers are for, what are cousins for. This must be what normal sibling relationships feel like, or so-called normal, right? Whatever normal is, yeah.


Well, like you said, I think that idealized version I've had For sure and I think for me and we we haven't had him on here yet But we want to get my my best friend from when I was a kid I'd love to have him on here just because I grew up with him and his three siblings and They're I mean, you know super close and so it you know, it's just my expectations were not really realistic


You know, uh, that, that that's the way every family, you know, is going to be. And, you know, yeah, I can't even, I haven't even spoken to one of my six half siblings. Yep. He we've texted and I've called and left him voice messages and he has texted me back, but I've literally never heard his voice because he's never, you know what I mean? So.


And it's just, yeah, I don't think it's malicious. I just think, I don't think he has the interest, you know, I just, yep. And that's okay. Right, right. Well, cool. So what are you looking forward to in the future as far as family goes? Oh gosh, that's a big question. Interesting. Wow. I...


That's a really hard question. Because I think I'm pretty content with how things are with the half siblings and the cousins. I wish my aunt were still around. Obviously, I wish my biological father were around.


I'm going to give you a kind of metaphysical answer, if that's the right word. It's more like I'm hoping with this newfound family for just kind of a sense of peace and closure, really around my three parents, since they're all gone now. And I feel like I'm still sort of haunted by them in a way, in the bad parts of it all. And so I'm still...


kind of trying to reckon with that. Finding compassion for my mother, again, not being judgmental about what she did, but really about how she handled it when I found out. She was just harsh, cruel, cold, unloving, got really, really hateful. She really kind of spiraled out of control for several months after it, and then died really, really kind of suddenly and unexpectedly. I think she almost willed it to happen.


So I had just a really messed up relationship with her and it just only got worse at the end. So that's hard. So I'm really grappling with that. A lot of good therapy. And then with my two fathers, you know, I'm really just kind of trying to make sense of all that and reach a place of comfort with the not having answers. You know, who knows what happens with us when we all die and maybe I'll get all the answers then, but.


Obviously I can't assume that, and so now I just have to know to live without having all the pieces in place. And I try to be really grateful that my puzzle pieces that are missing are just really not... They're more out of me being, you know, obsessive-compulsive, just wanting everything in place in the whole story. You know, there's so many more tragic stories than mine. So many, you know, complicated stories of this misattributed parentage world.


And so I think that's helping too, just to realize, hey, let me be grateful for the things I do have and know and the people I've gotten to know and the pieces that are in place, the answers I do have. Absolutely, yeah. It's a community that's growing daily and we see a lot of just heartbreaking stories. So it's important, I think, to think of the positive side of things because things can always be worse, right?


Right. But you know, I do want to applaud you. I'm glad that you did go there with your mother. I mean, I'm glad you had that conversation. I, you know, I it's as uncomfortable as it was, I'm sure, you know, I just I feel like you're owed that, you know, as as the child, you know, I just I no matter how, no matter how long it took to get the answers, you know, it's like


You still deserve it. Yeah.


Excellent. Well, Michelle, you seem very resilient. And we really appreciate you, you know, opening up and sharing your story. We're hopeful that you know what we're doing is helpful to the community, you know, and I think just as more people hear these stories, you know, it's, they can grow from it and maybe heal a little bit from it as well. It certainly is so helpful. I appreciate that that you all are doing this. It really is good to hear the other stories and I appreciate the chance to tell mine.


Yeah. Excellent. Well, thank you so much. Yeah, we've loved having you.


Thank you so much for listening to Family Twist. We feature original music by Cosmic Afterthoughts. And Family Twist is presented by Savoir Faire Marketing Communications. Check out our website at for blog posts and all of our episodes.

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