Peeling Back the Layers and Discovering Identity

Updated On: August 30, 2023

Family Twist Episode 31: Peeling Back the Layers and Discovering Identity

Our guest this episode is Shari Leid, a Life Coach and author, who was born in Seoul, South Korea, found abandoned in a cardboard box in a parking lot. She grew up in a conservative Christian family with Japanese-American parents. Shari’s parents spent time in an internment camp during World War II. Shari and her husband adopted their daughter from China.

Guest bio

Shari Leid is a certified and professionally insured Life Coach, a Core Dynamic Specialist, graduate of the Happiness Studies Academy, author of three highly acclaimed books, “The 50/50 Friendship Flow,” “Make Your Mess Your Message” and “Ask Yourself This”, Certified Member of the International Coaching Federation, a member of the Washington State Bar Association, a Board Member of WWIN (Washington Women In Need) and a President’s Circle Member of The Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center, Contributor Circle Member of the Seattle Art Museum, 2023 Volunteer Community Leader for Seattle Dances benefiting Plymouth Housing.

Connect with Shari: https://animperfectlyperfectlife.com/

Join the Family Twist family here!

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Transcript

00:00

This is Family Twist, a podcast about astonishing adoption stories and finding family via DNA magic. I'm Kendall. And I'm Corey, and we've been inseparable partners in life since 03-04-05, also known as March 4, 2005. In January 2018, our found family journey took us 3,000 miles from the San Francisco Bay area to New England, where we now live near my biological father, two half-siblings, and their families.

00:30

and the adventure continues. Thank you for joining us again on Family Twist. We're very excited about today's guest, Sherry Leed. Sherry has a couple really remarkable adoption stories, and there's that DNA twist in there as well. Welcome, Sherry.

00:49

Hi, thank you so much. I'm so excited to talk to you. I've been listening to your podcast and so your voices sound so familiar to me. We appreciate that. Thank you. All right, so we'd already done introductions. So why don't we just launch in, I mean, just the bits that we already know about your stories are so interesting. Tell us a little bit about your birth and your parents and childhood.

01:19

that sort of thing.

01:21

Sure, so I was born in Seoul, South Korea, and if my records are correct, I was found in a parking lot in a box without any identifying information. So I did not have a birth family name with me, a birth date, or birth location, birthplace. So I just sort of appeared. And this is back in 1969, 1970. So quite some time.

01:51

ago when international adoptions they consider South Korea to be the first real wave of international adoptions following the Korean War because there are so many Amor Asian and Euro Asian babies left there after the war.

02:07

So we're the, even though I'm a few years after the Korean War, I'm still concerned in that first wave of international adoptees. And of course, I was adopted into the United States. And like you Kendall, I was adopted and raised as an only child. My parents who adopted me were of Japanese descent, both being born here in the United States, but also a generation older than my friend's parents. So they were the same age as my friends.

02:37

grandparents and they as Japanese Americans were interned during World War II, which happened on the West Coast for people of Japanese descent.

02:48

I was a Korean adoptee raised by Japanese American parents that were a generation older and also similar to you Kendall, very religious. There I grew up in a very conservative Christian conservative family. That's kind of it in the beginning, the nutshell in the beginning, the framework of it all. At what age did you find out you were adopted? I

03:10

always knew I was adopted as far as, it was just part of my birth story. There was a book that showed me coming off of the plane to women from the agency that I was adopted through, which was Holt International. I believe they were the first large agency to start the international adoptions in Korea. And at the time, parents not like today, where they travel a lot of times to the countries to pick up their children, we were, many of us, most of us were delivered to the US. So my first

03:40

coming off of a plane with two older Caucasian white women. And so that's why I saw my baby book. So I knew. Wow. How open were your parents to talking about their time in the camp? They were.

03:58

You know, my dad was a little bit older. He was born in 1922. So when he it really affected him all of his life. He was born in Seattle on Main Street in Seattle. He had never neither parent has had ever left the US except for a few trips to Canada. So they had never been to any Asian country and for my dad, he always tried to be this great, you know, this good American citizen and to kind of prove you as American.

04:28

So this really affected him. It was the only topic that when he started to talk about it, it made him emotional. And he used to say, I don't know where these emotions are coming from. He wasn't from the generation that was open to talk about, about therapy or things that, you know, affected you in that way. So they talked about it, but it was not necessarily something that was super comfortable. And because of it, we, I grew up not really traveling the US

04:58

didn't feel comfortable with our Asian faces. He didn't feel welcome everywhere. Were they open to you discovering about your heritage or what was that what was the conversations like with you know Japanese parents and you coming from Korea? Yeah so they didn't realize that especially back then that there was such a dislike between the Japanese people and Koreans in general and so when

05:26

Japanese and other Japanese Americans or Japanese from Japan would find out that they adopted a Korean child.

05:33

their reaction was not always very positive. In fact, I remember as a child, most of their family was born here in the US, but there were some that were from Japan. And I remember as a child hiding because I was at a family gathering and there was discussion about how terrible Korean people were. And I remember hiding, and this is back, like I said in the 70s, where adoptive parents weren't given the tools

06:02

they have available to them now. And so they, although I knew about adoption, the way they dealt with it was, it doesn't matter. You're just like us, it doesn't matter. So they didn't really, you're basically, they kind of say, you're basically Japanese. And I knew I wasn't. And it was a big deal for me to want to be.

06:25

known as as Korean or at least as an adoptee. And I did not meet another Korean person actually until I was in law school. So until my 20s. Whoa. Wow. That is surprising. Yeah. Yeah. We just, I know, you know, in the Seattle area, too, there's a lot of, especially now, there's a lot of Korean families, Korean businesses. But at the time,

06:53

That was not my parents' group of people. And where I went to school, there weren't other Korean students there. And so I just never was a part of that community. And until last one, I met my first Korean friend. Wow.

07:09

which I can understand your, you know, I've heard so many stories of the Japanese people who were born in the US, who just wanted to assimilate and felt, of course, really insulted that they were being treated as outsiders when they were born here. You know, it's just, it's shocking. And I can understand to a small degree how they would have felt like, you know, yeah, of course you're just like we are, you know, you belong here.

07:38

uh just like we do. My husband, I actually adopted our daughter too and our daughter though is adopted from China. So I have Japanese American parents, I'm adopted from Korea and our daughter's adopted from China. Um but it's interesting because I learned a lot about my adoption through being an adopted parent also to to look at it from that angle. As an adopted person for me, I there was a big identity issue for me and then when I look at my parents who

08:08

World War II and when they came out in internship, internment, they tried, my dad especially, tried to raise me to actually kind of stay away from other Asian people because he thought it would be safer for me if I wasn't in a group of Asian kids and if I felt more comfortable you know around kind of the general population.

08:38

back to how this affected me growing up, my identity and confidence, because I had the layer of my parents struggling with their own identity, and then I can come in and I'm struggling as an adoptee to figure out myself. So it's kind of layer upon layer. Touching on the identity topic, as a child, I mean, you didn't have any information about where you came from, and it was a complete mystery. So is that, do you kind of shut that off as far as like thinking, I'm never going to find out

09:08

from or did it make you more curious about who are my people?

09:12

It really, it really used to bother me. I used to think, gosh, I must have in the back of my mind, some memory of my birth mother's face or the room I was in or because I was a few months old before I was abandoned. And I used to just try to get that memory out. And I made up a story about my adoption when I was in kindergarten. And I told my kindergarten class that I was a Korean princess.

09:42

I was embarrassed, the principal got called in, and I never told that story again. Instead, I made up a probably worst birth story for myself based on the evidence I had of, you know, kind of like, I ended up with hip dysplasia, being diagnosed in my 30s, and I found out one of the causes is a breech birth. I thought, okay, that's it. I must have been a breech birth because I can't tell direction, and of course this makes sense. So I started to make up...

10:12

this other birth story that that probably wasn't the most healthy birth story. But I used to I used to try to figure it out. And now I still want to know. I have my DNA in every DNA bank possible, including Lost Children's DNA Bank in Seoul, South Korea. Wow. Well, that was one of the things that Kendall and I were talking about before we started speaking to you today was that are there other

10:39

databases, you know, specific to Korea. So there, there is one. Yeah, it's fairly recent. They recently, and I say recent, probably within the last maybe five years or so passed a law that allowed Korean orphans to submit their DNA to the I believe it's through the police station in Korea. And so during the I did this, you had to go through all these steps to do this, because you have to verify that you were an orphan, you were orphaned person in Korea.

11:09

and then you go to the Korean consulate in your area and submit the DNA. It was a very surreal experience for me and surprisingly, it surprises me what becomes emotional. And I felt very emotional doing that. But also, I also have to tell you the truth, I don't feel very hopeful that that will lead to something. But it's interesting how these emotions come up for me

11:40

I don't necessarily expect or feel that I'm emotional necessarily about my adoption experience. Why do you feel that you might not get anything out of that, might not get any connections out of that?

11:53

Maybe that's a defense mechanism that I feel that but I've you know, I'm in 23andMeAncestry.com I mean all our big ones around here in the US and Nothing has been a close relation

12:10

And it's, you know, maybe that will come at some point because I think Asian countries are starting to be okay with DNA testing. It hasn't been very popular or encouraged is my understanding. But I've tried getting records and you can't, I have no records over in Korea. I've tried to see if I could find a investigator that could help me in Korea. And it's difficult with a language barrier. Historically, from the time I was adopted, it was something that was not accepted.

12:40

single moms assuming if my mom was single or whatever the case was there there's a good chance it was done in secrecy my birth so I don't know I'm not super hopeful I joke with my husband I joked with my husband one person who matched me but was too far from match to be considered really a cousin reached out and wanted to meet me I Initially said yes, and I looked at how far apart we were on the DNA And I thought oh, you know I don't want to open up this can of worms

13:10

far apart. She was also an adoptee. And but then I kind of joked with my husband, well, how about if you know, I need a body part at some point, I should have somebody and he goes, how about she's looking for at you too, because she needs a body part. Right. Yes.

13:26

I can relate to what you said because when I, if I didn't have these close matches with my half brother or my half sister that show up on Ancestry, when you start going further down it almost creates a little angst because it's like you know there's some connection but you know that connecting those dots is going to be so difficult, you know? Especially like you alluded to.

13:55

I was a secret, you know, on my mother's side for sure. So even reaching out to the people that I have that are pretty close connections, that was just sufficiently awkward because it's like, you don't even know I exist by the way, and I'm your like not very far away cousin, you know? It was surreal. Yeah, and.

14:18

You know, I've been blessed by being able to travel internationally quite a bit. And I haven't yet done that trip to Korea. And I don't know what's stopping me, but something is stopping me. And I, I think at some point I used to feel like I don't know how to do it. And it felt like I needed to do something special or it had to be right. And I, I was afraid that I was going to get disappointed, I think. And even now to this day, I haven't done that trip yet.

14:48

something is holding me back and I think it is that fear of being disappointed or that fear that I will go and I won't fit in What if you were to get that that ping all of a sudden that looks like it's a close relative and they're in Korea Would that be the would that be enough to get you on a plane? That would be actually that would be enough to get me on the plane after I did a deep dive through social media

15:18

No, absolutely. I mean either I've even applied to be on There was a TV show for a while I don't know if it's still going on in Korea where you go on and you say this is you know What I know about my birth is anyone out there to you know connect with me and I've heard nightmare stories about that with people You know hotels of lines of birth mothers or families. They're waiting So fortunately probably I never got picked to be on that show because I didn't have enough information Because they do want to have a show that has a nice

15:48

ending to it. Right. But yes, if there was that, I mean, when I listen to stories, like when I listen to your story, Kendall, or any of your stories on your on your podcast where people have found family, I start crying. And again, I don't know where that emotion comes from, but I could listen to your story.

16:08

time and time again, which actually I have, every time I get just as emotional about it. So there is something inside of me that really, really longs for that connection. So yes, I would jump on that plane. Yes, there's that piece in your heart that's empty right now and wants to be full. We haven't talked about your relationship with your adoptive parents, but I know mine was so good that, you know, there's that, it's that, just.

16:36

It's a duality, right? It's like, I want to be respectful of them and their memories, but thankfully I also know that they were very open to the thought that I could find someone, and they were, they always encouraged me to do that. So, you know, I know every adoptee probably goes through some level of that with the thought of finding biological family.

17:02

Yeah, I know my daughter, like I mentioned, my daughter is adopted from China and I know that she would love she has a similar situation as me. She has no identifying birth name, birthplace or birth date. And I see her struggling with it as well. It's nice that we could bond that way.

17:23

But it's also interesting watching her experience and even though she's also Asian like me, so people may not automatically go, oh, you're adopted. She does comfortably and tells people all the time that she's adopted. And it's interesting too, at some level, I realized the thing about adopted kids is even when we're little, we're always explaining why we are in a family, to adults. And I remember having these arguments with people as a little child.

17:53

because my parents, people would assume they were my grandparents because they looked older. And they were older and they looked older. And so I would always say, no, I'm Korean and my name was Japanese, clearly Japanese. And I would have arguments with adult strangers that I was Korean and adopted and explaining to adult strangers why I belonged in this family or justified why I belonged. And now looking back at it, and then when I've heard my daughter do the same thing, I think this is just, this is a lot for us.

18:23

little child to grow up with having to justify why she's in a family.

18:28

Right, and what's going through your mind is that's happening, especially as a child. You start thinking, why is this a deal? Why is there this assumed stigma that I don't feel? You know what I mean? It's bizarre to me and how disrespectful to treat any person like that. You know? Or people telling adoptive kids that they're lucky. You're so lucky.

18:55

And to, you know, to you don't realize what psychologically that could be doing to a child to think that you're in a family because you're lucky. Right. That's, that's a lot on the confidence. No, it's true. Kind of bring that down. I remember, I remember hearing that when I was like, probably like four or five and what the first thing that it made me think is like, well, what else could have happened to me? You know what I mean? Like, you know, it's like, um, I'm well adjusted and I love these people.

19:25

You know, this, it doesn't feel like luck. It felt like natural to me. Yeah. It's interesting, especially now as adults to look back on our experience as kids. Yep. Sherry, can we talk a little bit about you and your husband's decision to adopt?

19:42

Yeah, definitely, definitely. So it actually was his idea. It wasn't a we didn't it wasn't like a fertility issue for us. We had been married for a few years and we decided

19:55

You know, we knew at the time because we adopted internationally would take about two years at that time Okay, if we got pregnant great if we didn't you know, we're on this path And so as it turns out we we did not get pregnant We actually this was this year the year that we adopted my dad was very close to my adoptive father Died that year on my mom's birthday And then a few weeks after that we got noticed that we had a child waiting for us in China

20:25

all this stuff happening at once. We go to China, we pick her up. I was working a litigator at the time. I had a lot of time off, so I was taking this very long maternity leave because we were traveling. We come back.

20:40

Two weeks later, we found out I was pregnant. I am pregnant at this time. So I had to cut my maternity leave in half because I needed two maternity leaves in one year. So we had our adopted child and our biological baby in the same year. Wow, wow. And how old are your children today?

21:00

20 and 22. Okay. Wow. Yeah. So I we made it through. That's amazing. You know, and it's funny, I haven't mentioned him before. But you just made me think of my previous supervisor in San Francisco, he and his wife went through something similar, they'd start making these plans for a European country, I can't remember which one it was. And, and they were

21:30

is like right at the same time, the wife of the couple found out she was pregnant. And so they have these two children and I think they're exactly the same age. I mean, I like the born in the same year. So I just it's a it's a crazy cool story that they all are, you know, nope, they're not twins. You know what I mean? Like, they don't look like twins to begin with. But then there's that constant description of you know.

21:57

Yeah, and you know, honestly that having a biological child to especially so close to having an adopted child also taught me a lot about my own adoption watching that I have this baby who Basically anytime he moved made a noise somebody was there to help him somebody that was there to feed him He never

22:18

lacked for knowing who he is. You know, he looks like my husband and I, he knows where he was born, he has his birth, first time down to the second. So I mean, you know, this child, this baby was brought

22:32

you know, born into a very secure environment. And I think about my daughter and I, both in similar situations where I, you know, I always say if my records are correct, because it's hard to know what the record keeping was back in Korea in 1970, or what they may have changed. I have no idea. But if the records are correct, I had been in four different homes or orphanages before coming to the US. And I think about my son and how important it is

23:02

in that time was for him to become secure in who he was even as an infant that my daughter and I did have and so by the time we came to our, for lack of bare words, forever homes.

23:15

we have been disappointed quite a bit by people who are supposed to take care of us and passed around quite a bit. So I just imagine how that has affected who we are or what we work through, not that other biological kids don't have those identity things also because we all struggle in whatever way we all have a story because I really did struggle with confidence and when I think of,

23:45

A lot of my experience as a young person, I think personally that I can tie it back to not knowing who I was for so much of my life and having that not trust. At some point, I just, I didn't realize that's what I was doing, but I didn't trust people.

24:06

Now you mentioned that your father was very ill and about to pass when this was going on. Did your family have an opportunity to get to know your kids?

24:17

No, so my dad actually wasn't ill. He died suddenly of a heart attack. And again, it was on my mom's birthday. So no, he didn't. My mom actually is still alive. She's 94. So she did get to know them. But my dad, who would have been a great, great, wonderful grandfather, unfortunately missed the opportunity by just less than a year. Wow. Are there, are there aunts and uncles and cousins? I know you were an only child, but is there more family out there that...

24:47

you've got to get to know better and your children have gotten to know.

24:50

Um, well, I, my mom comes from a very large family. She's one of 10 and my dad was one of four, but I'm not close to my extended family. Uh, my cousins were a lot older than me growing up and we didn't see them very often and I don't feel that connection. I don't know if that's because of adoption or not. Um, I, I'm curious cause I wonder because I don't also, I also don't feel the need to connect.

25:20

And I feel a greater need to connect to a biological family member than I do to the family members that I was adopted into. And I don't know if that's just me personally and my relationship with them or if it's a matter of biology. So I have a question about birthdays because you didn't know your birth date. So I imagine your parents, they chose one for you.

25:48

Well, the orphanage chose one for me. And my goodness, if you could choose a birthday, I just actually celebrated my birthday yesterday, which is in December, the middle of December. Why would they have me competing with

26:05

Jesus, I mean, that's a hard birthday to compete with for Christmas and the holiday season. So they chose a birthday for me and they gave me a very challenging birthday nine days before Christmas. Geez. Oh boy, yikes. I know, one of our really good friends is a Christmas, he was born on Christmas. Oh wow. Yeah, it's just.

26:30

So when the time came for your daughter that had the orphanage also chosen a birthday for her? Yes, they did and they were much much kinder. She is a late late April birthday, which is the perfect time of year to have a birthday. You know, people are still in school, weather is nice, your options are out there. People aren't upset at you for having a birthday in the middle of a fun season. Right.

26:58

So I'm curious, has she taken any DNA tests? She has, and she's also on 23andMe as well.

27:08

And same as me. In fact, I think she has less connections and maybe that's because China, there's less opportunity. I think most of the people who are even remotely connected to her are adoptees as well in the US. But my understanding actually is that in China, they're starting to do this with birth moms, have a DNA bank and I don't know exactly how they're doing that, but.

27:33

Yeah, she's very interested and I could actually see because we share a family account. I could see her logging on

27:39

And she's been on this for quite some time, even when she was in high school, middle school, whenever this actually started with 23andMe. And so I know she's curious and interested. Do you have conversations about that? Like what her hopes are as far as finding connections? Yeah, she would really love to find her family. And she's very different than my husband, myself, and my son.

28:09

wired the same way. School is meant for us, it's designed for us. We are test takers. We are check the box, check the list. We are designed for the common education system. My daughter is creative. She does things differently than we do. She comes up with great ideas. She's more spontaneous. She doesn't like tests. She doesn't like math and science. She'd rather

28:39

She'd rather sing. None of us can carry a tune. She can carry a tune. But that means she's the odd person out, right, in our family. So she'll ask questions. I wonder if my birth family did this. I wonder if my birth family can carry a tune. And so she's looking for where are these traits because, you know, my son, people will say even, you know, oh, he's just like you, or he looks just like you, or he looks like a combination of you. Every little thing they can tie for him back to my husband or aunt.

29:09

including his weird toe. That's my husband's. But my daughter, that's when these things will come up. She has math dyscalculia. I wonder if my parents have math dyscalculia. I mean things like that. Trying to figure out how she fits in and where all this stuff came from.

29:29

What was it like for them growing up, you know, one an adoptee and one a birth child growing up going to school at the same time? Yeah, I'm really glad that they were two different genders. I think that helped because it helped from the comparison that people tend to do with siblings in general, especially so close in age. We sent them to different schools starting middle school on because their education needs were different.

29:59

able to do that. So they didn't get that comparison. Because my daughter does struggle with learning disabilities. And, or, you know, I say learning disabilities, but honestly, I would I learned one of the things she doesn't have discount, what you call dysgraphia, or, of dyscalculia, she doesn't have that. But I learned that that's not disability in China, or any of the character countries, because they don't write that way, the way we do. So when I say a learning disability, what I mean really with her is

30:29

a learning style that doesn't work in the traditional school. So they grew up going to very separate schools, even though they were just a greater part in age, and I think that helped. They're very respectful of one another. They would not have necessarily been friends in school because they're so different. But right now, they're both in Los Angeles together, going to Disneyland with a group of friends. So they're very kind to one another.

30:59

That's awesome. That's what you want, right? Yeah.

31:05

That's exciting too, because I'm a Disney freak. So I am too. I love Disney. When people tell me they don't love Disney, I just stare at them. Yeah, I don't I don't get it. Yes, I my I carry my laptop in a Disney villain's backpack, you know, probably for designed for a child, but I don't care. I get a lot of compliments on it. Yeah. And strange looks, but that's right.

31:31

At least people are paying attention. Right, yes. Because it's kind of purple. It is purple, yeah. So it's not the most discreet of bags. So your story is still sort of open-ended. It's interesting. We'd be definitely curious to hear what happens, if you do end up with a connection, as things are starting to open up and other countries are starting to explore.

31:57

you know, the idea of opening things up to birth mothers, you know, getting on a registry, it's an exciting time. Yeah, absolutely. I just think it'd be life-changing. It's one of those things that I, for some reason, I feel like it's not gonna happen, but there's a piece of me that feels like it could. And even thinking about it, it makes me emotional. Yeah. I just can't imagine what that would be like. I'm totally with you. I mean, I remember...

32:27

You know, Cory and I met long ago, almost 18 years ago. And honestly, even at that point, I think I had, I won't say I had given up, but I had just resigned myself, you know, pretty successfully, I think, that it just wasn't going to happen. You know, and this is obviously before DNA was really a factor in searches. And...

32:53

but talk about life changing, you know, that instant that I got. I hadn't, you know, I obviously hadn't gone through what he had gone through as far as the years of like looking and dead ends and stuff, but the, you know, the journalist in me was like pushing like, how could you not, we gotta keep looking, you know, how could you, how could you wanna stop, you know, that's, it's this big mystery out there. And I just kept saying, I'm like, man, the chances of there being family.

33:18

out there are so huge. I really feel like there's your people are out there. We just have to find them. Definitely. They have to be half siblings or something like that. I would imagine. For sure. So can I ask you, Kendall, when you met your, when you found out and you met your birth family or found out something about them, did you feel something inside? Like did you, did that change the way you felt inside? Yeah, and I think

33:47

partly, and you can relate to this because of losing your dad, you know, when you did. It's such a, you know, a weird time in your own family life. You know, I think because my parents have been gone so long, I'd really gotten used to being, I don't want to say on my own, you know, I definitely have family members that I had remained connected to and in my adoptive family and things. But there was an instant. Just that.

34:16

Oh my gosh, I belong to somebody. You know what I mean? Like biologically, like, oh my gosh, you know, and to see, we should post, Uncle Sean would let us, we should post a photo of, I look like my birth father and my birth mother, but I look strangely like my birth father's brother. Like, yeah, very much like Uncle Sean.

34:43

Like you think you look like him when you look at him. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Oh, that's cool. Because you know, just to your point, you know, and I think I've maybe mentioned this on a different episode in my adoptive family, we look like the Benetton ad. That's what I always say. Because my dad was super he was he my adoptive father was partially at least maybe an eighth.

35:10

Native American. So super dark complexion, black hair. My mother was alabaster white, you know, and with reddish hair. And I was this little kid in the middle that was just different complexion with blonde hair. And so, you know, I knew I didn't look like they did, you know, and when people would

35:35

claim to see similarities, we would all just laugh out loud and say, that's nice of you to say, but that's not real. And so, you know, to find people that I really, you know, favor, I mean, I feel like I look like a lot of my siblings. Yeah, I think Kendall's even underplaying it a little bit. I mean, when you ask about, was there a change inside? Immediate. I mean, from that first- You can see it. You can also see it. Oh, yes. From the first phone call with his brother.

36:05

his he had changed. Yeah. And then it just it just it grew from there. And that's why we went on this crazy journey. I mean, I think if there if there hadn't been that instant, like, wow, electricity connection, you know, we probably wouldn't have moved. But I mean, it all happened so fast. You know, conversations on the phone turned into a trip a couple of months later. And that turned into.

36:28

we're moving from California to New England. In two months. In two months, right. So from the time we found my family in August, it was only until January that we had moved across. And you didn't scare them by doing that? Well, no, it's funny that you say that because my brother, Chris, the one person I connected with first, he was very happy, of course, because we were so happy to find each other.

36:55

but he had a lot of anxiety about the fact. He's like, you guys have nice lives out there. You have great jobs. You have a great home. You've got great friends. And he just didn't want to oversell the experience. Although he was, like I said, very happy and it's been wonderful. But even this morning, I joked with him on, we were texting and I said, because of the snow that Cory alluded to, I was like,

37:23

Can I remind you that I haven't whined enough lately about this horrible weather here? And you know, almost like, and you guys are worth it, but you know, you're the only reason we're here. Yeah. I was really holding out for a not white Christmas. Yeah, no kidding. I think it has arrived. Well, you know what I realized talking to you and I mentioned that listening to your story and the stories that you share, it makes me emotional.

37:51

As you talk about your story, you know, I do, I feel something inside and I think it's healing, at least that's my view as an adoptee, to hear other adoptee stories when they find family. And, you know, even though it's not happening for me right now, when I hear your story, there's something inside of me when you say, I feel like I found I belong or there's a feeling that I belong to someone I belong somewhere.

38:16

For me, that feels very healing to hear you say that because it reminds me that there is somebody out there and I do belong to somebody, I came from someplace. So I think that's the wonderful miracle about your podcasts and the stories you share is there is also, in addition to them being very interesting, I feel that there's really a healing for, at least for me as an adoptee to listen to other adoptee stories.

38:46

That's exactly what we want to do. And I'm usually emotional anyway, and I'm making myself emotional right now. But you're right. To this day, when we step through the threshold at my brother's house, it's, I'm not mystic, but it feels almost magical to me. It's like, I'm at my brother's house. You know, it took me 47 years.

39:16

to discover this person. And when he hugs me and, you know, it just makes you feel like, wow, what was I missing all those years? Yeah, wow, that's surreal. And I think that's, you know, that's maybe that my fear of going to Korea without having somebody there to meet me is that that's the feeling that even stepping off the plane and being in my birth country, for some reason I feel like I should feel like I belong or that I should have this feeling.

39:46

I fear that if I don't have that connection already there that I know somebody's gonna meet me there, I might feel lost. And I think that may be the biggest thing that's holding me back from taking that next step is actually at least visiting my birthplace or birth country. But conversely, it might make you feel really, you know, partially at peace. You know, like having never been there. You know, it's funny because

40:15

I had been to Boston many, many times in my past and never knowing that I had any connection to New England because this is where I was conceived. So, but stepping off the plane when Corey and I arrived in October of 2017, it was a different feeling to your point. I mean, stepping, I was like, oh, like never thinking that I had this weird connection to New England, you know.

40:45

that continues, of course, but it was a different, it was a different feeling. Like, oh, yeah, I was, I came from this place, you know? It's like, even though I had never lived here, you know? It's interesting. That's the thing movies are made of. Yeah. Right, absolutely, absolutely. And I think, you know, sort of selfishly, it's been nice to be able to, to sort of,

41:13

create a community through this podcast because it's, you know, every story that we hear, we're just like, we're just sitting here in awe and just like sometimes our jaws are hitting the table. And, but you know, we, we love our families, but we also love our chosen families. And, and, you know, we just, this is an opportunity for us to sort of, you know, connect with people who are going through the same thing. Yeah. Well, I appreciate it. And your stories, they're all so different than one another.

41:43

and they're interesting and I've, you know, I found myself going down the rabbit hole as I go through your podcast, I'm gonna start to listen to one. Also I'm listening to, you know, this man who's fostering all these children and then this woman who finds her birth family after 40 years or whatever it was, us two half siblings meeting up together again after years. I mean, it's really fascinating and the changes

42:10

that happen in lives through adoption and through finding their birth connections. It's amazing. Absolutely. I mean, talk about heartwarming. You know, it's just like, wow. I mean, it's just it's great. It's you know, we're we're it's a it's a treat for us to be able to share stories like this. Thank you. And, you know, I just want I want people to never lose hope because if it took me 47 years, you know, it can happen any time.

42:40

You know, it can just happen. It's say all it takes, my joke with Corey is all it takes is one vial of saliva in a tube. You know, it's like, it's just, it's that simple. And you know, that's not very glamorous, but hey, it's what it takes, right? Well, I'm hoping, you know, I just turned 53 yesterday and so I'm hoping, and I actually hope when it happens, it's before I'm so old that it becomes.

43:06

a big news story. Right. Ninety-five year old woman finally finds. So I'm hoping it happens. Right. If it does happen a little bit before then. Yeah. You know, it's funny you say that because I just, you know, I'm always looking, you know, always searching online, you know, for potential stories for the podcast and just stumbled upon like a, not local to us, but just like a local news story about a man who was found on a doorstep and he just turned 90.

43:35

And it was his Christmas wish to find family. And he's got two brothers and they've been able to talk and, and you know, it's just, wow, I mean, 90, you know? Wow. That's amazing. That's amazing. Yeah. It's like, it's never too late, right? Right. It's never, it's never too late. Yeah. So very good. Yeah.

44:01

Well, Sherry definitely stay in touch with us and, you know, keep us up to date as to what's happening with your story. And thank you so much for coming on and being so open about it. This has been wonderful. Yeah. Family Twist features original music from Cosmic Afterthoughts and is presented by Savoir Faire Marketing Communications.

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