The Rainbow Inside Stormy: History, Genealogy and DNA Magic

Updated On: August 2, 2022

Our guest Stormy King experienced many family twists in her history decades before DNA magic became an important part of her life. Stormy spent the first eleven years of her life in foster care in 28 homes before she found a permanent one. Stormy was adopted, ran away from home as a teenager and ended up in the sex traffic industry. Stormy got out and turned her life around and dedicated herself to finding her younger brother. She did and through their reunion, Stormy discovered she had four other siblings.

Guest biography: Stormy King is a Destiny Creator, Mindset Coach, Public Speaker & Manifestor.

Connect with Stormy: https://linktr.ee/stormyrose

Caught in the system

My parents actually took me from New Mexico to Oregon, las a drug-addicted, premature baby and moved me to another state to keep me hidden. And within about less than a year, I came into the system through child care workers and mom’s lifestyle at that time.

Stormy’s brother

He’s four years younger than I am, and I knew about him and he came along. My mom had a habit of man to man, different relationship kind of things. And after he was born, it was, oh, I can’t handle her, because she wanted to focus her energy on my little brother and her new boyfriend at the time.

Foster roller coaster

There were times where mom would just leave me with whoever for days on end. And sometimes I would end up in foster care and sometimes I would stay with that person. And my dad at that time, as a small child, was in and out.

Running away from a permanent home

I didn’t like my adoptive parents at the time. It was all the stuff. And I didn’t even just run away from down the street like most teenagers do. I left the state like I was three states over before anybody realized it was missing and was gone for quite some time before I was reunited.

Escaping sex traffic

Some people will say it’s by the grace of God. Some people will say it was pure luck, determination, desire, knowing that there’s more and this is not where I’m supposed to be. There were many times I didn’t think I’d make it out of it. There really was there’s many times that I did not think I was going to. I didn’t know where my next meal was going to come from. I didn’t know where I was sleeping that night, or what I was going to have to do, or what was going to be done, which created its own set of trauma, its own set of PTSD, its own set of environmental things.

Finding her brother

It was really early in the morning, and I woke up to this message, hey, I think your brother is my husband. And I was like a little kid. You almost could have pictured it in a movie. I was jumping up and down on my bed going, oh, my God, I sound on my side, on my side. And then I hunt the pot because I had to give him time to deal with his own wounds of what he had gone through. And so we would talk on the phone, and it unfolded perfectly.

Finding unknown cousins

One of my girlfriends was doing some work on Ancestry DNA and she said, Give me your dad’s information. And I said, Why? She’s like, Just give me everything you got. And within minutes, she had me connected with cousins that I knew nothing about. That next thing, I mean, it was just almost like a domino went off. Within minutes, it was all of these things that were happening over and over and over. I’m on this phone call with a cousin who said, because I’m so sorry I put fed you dirt.

And there are more siblings

Lo and behold, I had a bunch of older siblings on my dad’s side that I had no idea about. Beautiful. I got to meet my sister before she passed, and that was absolutely amazing. And my older brother and then my older brother and I decided, let’s do 23 and Me.

Stormy’s mother is alive

I had to make a very hard decision not to take her on as a responsibility. She is in a state institution down here in Florida, has a lot of mental health, psychological damage and is basically indigent to the sense that she can’t hold a full on conversation. She has very they say her brain capacity is almost next to nothing.

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Transcript

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. Thank you for joining us today, Stormy. Well, thank you for having me. Now, you and I had a little chat because I'd only heard a couple of details about your life story, which I found really fascinating.

00:29 So we had a little chat so I could get to know a little bit more. But I'm going to let you take over and sort of give us a little bit of a background on your life and your history. Thank you so much, Corey. I'm Stormy King, and I currently reside here in South Tampa, which I absolutely love. My life story started out in the foster care system and I spent the first eleven years of my life in foster care and not just one home, but 28 homes before I found a permanent home.

01:03 And even before the permanent home there was three failed adoptive permanent homes that took place. And so that was how my life started. And then I was adopted, ran away from home later as a teenager, ended up in a traffic industry, which is a whole nother. That's a whole nother episode and prevailed and overcame and completely turned my life around.

01:35 Went on this mad mission because I knew I had a little brother. And unfortunately my story is not much different than so many others who come into the foster care system that have siblings. We go in, we go to a foster home, and then we come back out. So there's this yoyo that often happens to children that end up in the system and my brother and I got separated.

02:01 Of course, we're talking the kind of aging myself here in the keeping siblings together was not a priority, let alone at that time following different kinds of equal laws. So we were separated. So I had this mission in life to find my little brother and I kept looking and kept looking and it unfolded in a really beautiful way to only find out I have four other siblings.

02:30 Wow. Just yeah. That's remarkable. Well, let's rewind a little bit. How did you end up in the foster system to begin with? So my biological mom, when she met my dad, he was a part of the Health Angels and so a very rough lifestyle. I was born drug addicted, so I caught the eyes of medical professionals and child protective services early on.

02:58 My parents actually took me from New Mexico to Oregon, like as a drug addicted premature baby and moved me to another state to kind of keep me hidden. And within about less than a year, I kind of came into the system through child care workers and mom's lifestyle at that time. Her Teresa's lifestyle at that time was so unpredictable.

03:26 So that just kind of started the roller coaster and when did your brother come along? And is he a full brother? He's a half brother. He's four years younger than I am, and I knew about him and he came along. My mom had a habit of man to man, different relationship kind of things. And after he was born, it was, oh, I can't handle her, because she wanted to focus her energy on my little brother and her new boyfriend at the time.

03:58 And then I came back, they had split up. And so my mom came and got me back out of the state care. It was just this never ending cycle. She actually, at one point, we were in Redmond, Oregon, and she joined a religious cult, if you remember what big cult was happening on the West Coast in the 80s. She was part of that. And I lived in the Dallas at the time, so you can piece all of those pieces together. And so then I came back into care like I was already in and out, in and out.

04:28 But there were times where mom would just leave me with whoever for days on end. And sometimes I would end up in foster care and sometimes I would stay with that person. And my dad at that time, as a small child, was in and out. I remember bits and pieces and learned so much more over the past five years as my journey progressed in looking, trying to find my history. Were you able to sort of develop a relationship with your younger brothers through the ins and outs with foster care and bacteria lawn?

04:58 Well, my brother was used as a carrot, so to speak. Like, we'll take Stormy because you're proclaiming. Stormy is such a difficult child and she's hard to maintain. And we'll put all these services in place to help you with your son. So he was kind of used as a carrot to get her to finally agree to relinquish her rates to me, only for him to permanently come into the system six months later.

05:28 Wow. It's a shame that somebody in the system couldn't have thought, let's find a carer who could take two people, two children. But maybe that was just like you said. Maybe that's just not the way it was structured back then. So I think there was an attempt, but it was a failed attempt, so to speak. His story, he actually ended up in Shriiner's Hospital for about a year and a half before he ended up getting connected with his biological dad.

05:57 And then you look at technology now compared to what it was in the early 80s, right? They didn't have computers to do research. They didn't have all the things, so they had to go off of whatever she said, whoever actually responded to a letter. And dad lived a rough lifestyle at that time. And she created this big story that he was an only child. He had been in the Navy.

06:26 This really elaborate story that later in life I found out was not true at all. Were you back then hoping to get adopted and kind of get out of this cycle? I did. I wanted a family so bad. I wanted some normal city.

06:46 And I remember going from one home to the next, going to the school or to the library and picking up the big yellow pages and going through the white pages and looking for my dad, because I had very good memories of the little tiny bit of time that I got to spend with my dad. So I was looking for him. Everywhere I went, I was looking for him, or I was looking for her, because really what I wanted was my family, and I couldn't understand why I couldn't be with them.

07:18 So then when it came time for permanent home, I wanted this permanent home so bad, but I never had one, so I didn't know what to expect. I was so used to that. When the smallest thing went wrong, what happened? I got moved. That's what I knew. What made you run away after getting adopted? That's what I knew. I didn't like the rules. I didn't like the things, I didn't all of it. I look back, it was a boy.

07:47 I didn't like my adoptive parents at the time. It was all the stuff. And I didn't even just run away from down the street like most teenagers do. I left the state like I was three states over before anybody realized it was missing and was gone for quite some time before I was reunited. I can't even imagine what the traffic and situation was like, and we don't have to go into details, but how do you get out of something like that and then progress to have a normal life?

08:21 Some people will say it's by the grace of God. Some people will say it was pure luck, determination, desire, knowing that there's more and this is not where I'm supposed to be. There were many times I didn't think I'd make it out of it. There really was there's many times that I did not think I was going to. I didn't know where my next meal was going to come from. I didn't know where I was sleeping that night, or what I was going to have to do, or what was going to be done, which created its own set of trauma, its own set of PTSD, its own set of environmental things.

08:57 To this day, I mean, I'm almost 50. I can't believe I'm saying that out loud, but to this day, there are still moments where a certain smell will take me to that place, or a certain sound, and I have to, with all the therapy, all the training, all of the advocacy, all of the things, remind myself, you're safe, there's nothing wrong, you're safe.

09:25 When you're going through that, does the thought that or the idea that you know you have family out there somewhere. Does that help drive? It does. It really did for me at the time. I need to find my brother. I knew I had this adopted family. Whether I was mad at him and didn't like them and all the things when I left, I knew there were people out there that loved me, and I knew there was somebody looking for me.

09:55 So how did you get on the path of trying to find your brother? What were the steps that you took? It was kind of a yoyo series of events where, I want to find my brother, I want to find my mom, I want to find my dad. I want all the answers. And then I would do everything I could to look, and then I would stop. Either I would either get too close, or I kept hitting a dead end. And I would say, well, it's the universe's way of saying I'm not supposed to know.

10:24 It's the universe's way of saying I'm not supposed to be in their life, whatever story I would tell myself. So I would go through this yoyo about every seven or eight months. I get on the computer, and I'd start looking. I had a case file that had a lot of redactions in it where you could hold it up to the light to see, make out the names and stuff that my adoptive parents, thankfully, were smart enough to ask for.

10:53 Like, it wasn't my entire file, but it was enough to give me enough information to searches before the Internet became really big. But I kept kicking hit with kind of the stumbling blocks I had found on the Internet. Someone who I thought was my mom, but I kind of was like, no, that's not her. There's no way that this woman could be my mom just based on these pictures. There's no way. So I kind of put that to the side, because really at the moment, I was like, no, that's not her.

11:23 And I went back to looking for my brother, and that unfolded really beautifully. So talk a little bit about what that reunion was like. It was magical. Literally, it was magical. So I was working for a program called Casa, which is court appointed advocates for children in foster care. And I was the director of the county that we lived in in Oregon. And they had done a big article kind of about my story, and my brother's wife had put my mom's name into the Google, and up popped this article, and she found me on Facebook.

12:00 And it was really early in the morning, and I woke up to this message, hey, I think your brother is my husband. And I was like a little kid. You almost could have pictured it in a movie. I was jumping up and down on my bed going, oh, my God, I sound on my side, on my side. And then I hunt the pot because I had to give him time to deal with his own wounds of what he had gone through. And so we would talk on the phone, and it unfolded perfectly.

12:31 We gave ourselves a few months to have conversations and get to know each other long. Behold, it was only 5 hours away from where he was still. He never left. He was still in the same state we had been adopted out from. And so I got to spend a beautiful weekend with him and his wife and my nephew and my niece. And I was content. That was full on contentment for me.

13:00 By this time, I had already knew my dad had passed away in the early eighties. So I kind of put that side of the family at the moment aside because my record said he was an only child and there was no living relatives. So I took that for what it was and I let it go. And I was so content that I found my brother. And that was all I ever wanted. It was all I ever wanted. One of my girlfriends was doing some work on Ancestry DNC and she said, Give me your dad's information.

13:34 And I said, Why? She's like, Just give me everything you got. And within minutes, she had me connected with cousins that I knew nothing about. That next thing, I mean, it was just almost like a domino went off. Within minutes, it was all of these things that were happening over and over and over. I'm on this phone call with a cousin who said, because I'm so sorry I put fed you dirt.

14:04 And I'm like, what? What do you mean fed me dirt? What are you talking about? You were three years old. We were in such and such place in Washington, and I got my butt beat because I fed you dirt. And I'm like, I remember the place. I don't remember that incident, but I remember the place. And then I'm having these other conversations with these other cousins, and I'm meeting his brothers, and I'm like, Wait a minute, brothers? My staff says she was an only child. And I'm unfolding unpacking all of this stuff.

14:33 And someone says, he's sitting down because you have more siblings. And I'm like, no way. So, lo and behold, I had a bunch of older siblings on my dad's side that I had no idea about. Beautiful. I got to meet my sister before she passed, and that was absolutely amazing. And my older brother and then my older brother and I decided, let's do 23 of me dad lived the life right? Like her. Fucking sixty s. Seventy s hills angels.

15:02 Everybody loves everybody. Everybody's doing all the things. And I had that test probably on my desk for almost a year before I did it. I could not bring myself to do it. What was holding you back? I must know. I almost didn't want to know? Could I hold space for another sibling that may have gone through something similar to I did? Or did I have room in my heart to add someone else to the family and what was their story?

15:32 And part of me just didn't want to know. And then there was the genuine part of me that was like, alright, how many of us are there? And then you hear horror stories. Right. I was one of the ones that was lucky that got welcomed with open arms. And I've had girlfriends and even boyfriends who found their biological family and didn't get that and so I internally wasn't sure if I would be okay having any kind of rejection.

16:03 Plus, just shortly before that, my older sister had taken her life right before Christmas and so it was still dealing with that woman and it was still very fresh for me and so I wasn't quite sure. There's speculation that she didn't and it was an accident and she fell, but nobody really truly knows exactly what transpired except for her. But losing her was really hard for me because she was the sister I always wanted.

16:35 And we'd get on the phone and speak for hours even though and lived not very far apart. But we couldn't spend the time together at that time because our lives were so different and I felt guilt because I didn't. And so there were some pieces of me that was like am I ready to open space for somebody else to come in my world? Question about your younger brother and this is going back. I know, but did he remember you? Yeah.

17:04 Oh good. Yeah. Not only did he remember me, he actually had pictures. So that was something that was just amazing. He had pictures of both my mom and pictures of me and he got to live with his dad. Unfortunately his dad passed when he was young but he remembered me very much and he shared his story with me.

17:29 It was the last time I ever remember seeing you is looking out the back window of a car with tears crying down your face because I remember the day they came and got you and putting all your stuff in garbage bags and taking you away and not understanding what was going on and he was quite small. Well, since we're kind of going down that path, is your mother still alive? She is. Wow.

17:57 And I had to make a very hard decision not to take her on as a responsibility. So that picture that I found on the internet was actually her and it is actually a picture that you see quite often go around as like most hilarious mug shot kind of thing.

18:21 And she is in a state institution down here in Florida, has a lot of mental health, psychological damage and is basically indigent to the sense that she can't hold a fullon conversation. She has very they say her brain capacity is almost next to nothing.

18:49 After she lost both my brother and Arie, she fell to the streets and lived on the streets the rest of her life and would go back and forth between Oregon and Florida and she has a guardian athletem over her. And they had asked me for information when we found her and I gave them what I had and then they literally wanted me to take responsibility for her. And as a mom with a small child at the time, I couldn't make that decision.

19:19 I couldn't bring that into my environment and subject to my son, to that or my older children. Right. I think that's totally fair. Of course, it's a horrible position to be put in. And I think that was part of my resistance with the doing the DNA test was you're opening up a door to not knowing what's going on in their life or where they're at in their life.

19:54 Are they good people, are they bad people? Are they all of the things? And being faced with having to make that decision about my mom and even my younger brother and I had many conversations about it like, do we go? What do we do? And neither one of us could. We have children and we had to protect our children. What ultimately made you decide to go ahead and do the test?

20:22 Curiosity got the best of me and I was sharing my story and how to step into purpose when your self image is just torn. And how you can be angry and mad about the history that you've gone through or you can share it with purpose to inspire other people to overcome and overcome the fears and step into you know, as we step into our goals, we're stepping into our purpose, which are both the same thing.

20:55 They just look a little different. And it was a courage moment. So I did the test about two weeks later. My brother did his, sent his in at the same time about two weeks later, 630 in the morning on a Saturday morning. And I called them and I said, did you get the results? Because we have a sister and backing up a little bit. When I first met with talk with David, he called her sister Connie and he said, you're never going to believe who I'm talking to. And it's our one sister.

21:25 And she said, oh, my God, you found stormy. He didn't know why existed. My older sister did because she had heard stories throughout the years from the family and I would kind of pop in and pop out as a small child, but nobody really had the truth. So we found her on Facebook and we connected. And then we did a family zoom because by this time, COLID was in full effect and nobody could go anywhere.

21:56 Come to find out, she lived in Reno and she didn't know anything about that. Her mom had passed away and refused to speak about her dad. So after her mom passed away, she genuinely curious and want to know. And we all have our own speculations around it, around how she came about. But so of Tifkoff Pink, I mean, like the most beautiful human being and to bring into our world.

22:31 So just for clarification, just for everyone listening. So if we could just get everybody's name straight. So Connie is your younger sister? Connie is my older sister. Okay. David is an older brother. There's another brother in the middle of there. And then Sandra is my oldest sister. Okay. And Sandra is the sister nobody knew about. And we are pretty sure there's more just because of that life and the promiscuity that happened.

22:59 But every time I actually put into our family chat, does anybody else get the jitters when 23 of me announces new DNA relatives? What are we opening up today? I can relate to that because there's a joke with my dad's other children and I joke about that. We feel the same way because he was so promiscuous that you never crow. It was the age, right? Right.

23:28 That was just the way life was. And I guess it's not much different than it is now. But we didn't have to leave technology back then. Secrets were easier to keep back then. Right? Yes, very true. Well, and that's the thing, and I think you touched on this, is that back then you could essentially lie about somebody's history or things can be redacted. You can't lie about DNA.

23:57 No, you can't. Unfortunately, my grandmother had passed away on my dad's side and she had spent many years looking for me and some of the other family members had to that had already passed. But I got to go spend some time with my uncle and his wife in view and see all the pictures and see pictures of my father and how much my dad looks like my boys now. And I have one son who is just that was my grandpa.

24:27 And that is the coolest thing next to slice bread. This is like, look at how much we look alike. And it was kind of a way to just allow myself to heal and close the door instead of just, oh, dad died. I don't know anything. This story, like you said, the redaction, the story my mom wrote when I asked my uncle, wasn't my dad in the navy? She was like, what are you talking about? Like, no, your dad never served in the Navy. What? I'm looking to my papers going, what?

24:57 But it says, right, what is this journey been like for your husband and kids? So I think it's probably affected my older kids. So I have three older children. They're all in their twenty s more so than my youngest. Two is 13. Because I didn't start really sharing until this past few years about what my life was like and what I had been through because I was so ashamed of it.

25:29 They knew I was adopted then. That was about kind of the extent of it. They knew bits and pieces, but it wasn't real. Wasn't really talked about much. Why were you carrying? Shame environment. Right? Because society said it was bad. Society said I was this bad person and I could have never amount to anything. And so I took on this mission to be the best of the best of the like.

25:58 I'm going to rise to the top of my network marketing industry. I'm going to rise to the top of corporate America. I'm going to rise to the top of working for the government. I did them all because the society had labeled me, and even in my adoption records labeled me as the throwaway child. She has been referred to as the state's throwaway child because there were times where I didn't stay in a foster home more than a couple of hours. Like I was the throwaway.

26:29 So I had this determination, well, watch me and you'll never know about my story. Just watch me prevail and not honoring that. That was part of my journey at the time. So in past episodes, we've talked about nature versus nurture. With Kendall's story. Now that you've gotten to know your siblings, are you finding similarities in that perseverance, that strength? What are the similarities? What are the differences? So funny.

26:58 So my older brother David is very techy and writes lines of codes. It the whole nine yards. And that is actually something that I often refer to as my nerd. So when I am avoiding doing anything that I should be doing, like sending messages, follow up, sending emails and stuff, I'm over creating and doing all of the tech stuff in my natural network.

27:30 My girlfriends, if they have a technological issue, they're like, well, just hashtag store me. That's kind of an ongoing joke. So we share very big similarities, although that's not my career field. We share similarities there. And my younger brother, we share the love for the outdoors and stability, the crave for stability. And he's been with the same company for many years.

27:59 He has a beautiful wife and two beautiful children. I'm so just proud of him and what he's overcome. And my oldest sister Sandra didn't know, but she has this love of the outdoors and plants and love of family. And my cousins, all of us are kind of artsy fartsy in a weird, eclectic way. Very eclectic, I would say. Most of us are all in our own way.

28:28 So we're still dealing with covet, obviously. But have you all talked about a big family reunion getting together in person? Yes, we would like to do one. We were actually going to try to do one this summer and things just didn't line up the right way for us to be able to help get there. At the same time, but we are hoping to do one out in Oregon soon. What would be your dream vision of that? What does that look like to you?

28:57 My dream is to stay in Brbo cabin type place and have all the siblings come together with their children or their grandchildren as they have them and sit around a big huge bonfire next to a lake or a river or the ocean or something and just be just cook together.

29:21 That is one thing that we all share, is the love of culinary arts, and we all share the love of cooking and being shared kitchen and cook together and spend intimate time of getting to know each other. Nothing super fancy and over the top, but just something that was just natural, like, I think, in my head. Yeah, that sounds wonderful. It really does. Well, I know we don't know each other well, but your strength is very inspiring.

29:53 Just a little bit of time that we've been able to spend together. And I've gotten a little tearyeyed a couple of times if you've been talking today, but it's just this is why we're doing this. We want to be able to help people tell their stories, and obviously you don't need any help telling your story, but we really appreciate you coming on and sharing it. I am so honored that you guys allowed me to be a guest with you guys and what I think what you guys are doing, giving other families in place to be able to have this open conversation, because not everybody can't.

30:23 The joyful ending is so beautiful to be a part of. This is why we're doing this. We want to be able to help people tell their stories. And obviously you don't need any help telling your story, but we really appreciate you coming on and sharing it with the family Twist audience. It's just remarkable. It's healing for us too. Absolutely. And we'd love to have you back on and especially when I'm thinking about your getting to meet your brothers and sisters and having that experience.

30:56 I would love to hear how that goes. Absolutely. I would love to be a part of that. Absolutely. Because I found six half siblings and I've met five of them, and so I just know how special that can be. And in fact, in two days, one of my sisters, my half sister from Arkansas, she's coming to visit for a week, so you can't put a price tag on that.

31:28 It's just amazing. Oh, how exciting, how excited. You must be, like, full of bubbles and joy and kind of that giddiness, like, okay, we got to do all of these things, but I just want to be, yeah, she's great. We've just connected so well and so quickly. When I think about it, really, I feel like the first time I met her, it felt like I hadn't known her for years and years as I should have. But it. Was wonderful. I'm so glad you guys got to connect. Thank you.

31:57 Well, Stormy, definitely keep us in the loop as to what's happening with your story as it continues to unfold. Absolutely. As Kendall sort of half jokes, like, we don't know if he's going to have another half sibling pop up, I've done ancestry and no surprises, but I am toying with the idea of 23 and me just because there could be a possibility for a sibling to pop up on my end, too. There is.

32:23 And sometimes I have a friend who actually is a genealogist and that's what he loves to do, and he said, you really got to look at some of those ones that pop up as first and second cousins because sometimes they end up being siblings that you didn't know about. And it was like, what going through my first and second cousin list going, oh, wow, right. All joking aside, we'll have to post a picture of my father's brother with me.

32:54 I look so much like my Uncle Sean that I joked with him. I was like, you never met my mom. I mean, he didn't meet her, but it was like an open joke because I look more like Uncle Sean than Uncle Sean's children look like him. So it looked interesting. Well, it was similar with our family. My older sister and my daughter looked like they could be siblings.

33:25 And then both my brothers, my youngest brother, who is from my mom's side and my oldest brother on my dad's side, look like they could share that. They look very much alike. And for my brother, my youngest brother has not done the ancestry, and I don't think he wants to change what he knows right now. And I respect that on every level for him, every level, because I know how emotional it was for me.

33:58 Wow. Willis, this has been a really great conversation. Thank you for being so forthcoming about your journey, your struggles, and it's just amazing to see what you've come through and where you are today and how you're helping other people. So thank you. Absolutely. Thank you for having me. This is the Family Twist podcast hosted by Kendall and Corey Salts with original music by Cosmic Afterthoughts and produced by Outpost Production and presented by Savoir Fair Marketing Communications.

34:33 Have a story you want to share? Visit familytwistpodcast.com. All our social media links are there as well.

35:27 You.