Seventeen days after Kendall’s found family discovery of his brother, Chris, the two had a substantial conversation on Labor Day 2017. Chris was playing DNA detective with his Dad and discovered some vital details about Kendall’s birth mother. That day, Kendall found out he had three more siblings, making him the oldest of seven.
I found the obituary (2:59)
Chris: You knew it was a perfect hit when you read the obituary, and it referenced her
name being exactly that. I was like, Oh my God, I just found out who they are.
Where they are. He has more siblings. And I gave you that information.
Kendall: I felt like I just won some sort of competition.
Chris: I was so excited to help you with that.
Labor Day discovery (3:26)
Kendall: I’ll never forget. We were all home on Labor Day. I remember you called me and you said, ‘Are you sitting down?’ And I was like, No. And you were like, ‘You should. I think I just found your birth mother.’ And I was like, ‘Holy God.’ It was amazing. I think you and I were still on the phone when I jumped onto Facebook and did a quick search for it.
Huge revelation (3:56)
Kendall: I instantly knew I had at least three other half siblings.
Smashing family secrets (4:24)
Chris: I got off the phone, and I sat with that information for maybe 10 or 15 minutes. I said to Karen, ‘I’m worried that he’s going to go reach out to siblings that doesn’t know that he exists, and he is going to break this thing wide open for them. I’m worried about what the impact of that will be.’
Breaking the news (5:26)
Kendall: I break into the bedroom, scare him to death and say, ‘Oh my God, Chris just
helped me find my birth mother!’
Kendall: I use my age as a justification for myself constantly. I’ve waited 47 years. I’m not waiting 10 more minutes to reach out to these people.
Introducing Kendall’s birth sister, Stephanie (8:24)
Kendall: I’m so happy to introduce you to my sister Stephanie. Welcome to the show,
Sibling bonding (9:17)
Stephanie: Families are complicated good and complicated bad. This has definitely been one of the best experiences of my life, and I’m very fortunate that this has happened. It’s been a great ride so far.
Kid in a candy store (14:47)
Kendall: I was like a kid in a candy store and just couldn’t wait. I was like, I get to talk to my sister, finally.
Stephanie: My question was, why did he reach out to Brooke first? Why did he reach out to find me through Facebook? And then I think Brooke and Richard may have sent a picture of you, sent it via text. And I’m like, oh, my gosh, he looks just like me.
The bond (16:08)
Stephanie: The bond that I feel for you, that’s completely biological, and it’s been great. I feel very bonded and connected to you.
Southern siblings (24:04)
Stephanie: You’re easy to talk to, easy to be with. I remember, this is my new brother and I want to take care of him. It was wonderful. The best part was just getting to hear your stories of growing up with your family and what it was like living in Arkansas. I could totally relate growing up in a small town and wanting to get out and experience life.
Stephanie: I want to make sure everybody’s happy. Maybe that’s part of the nurse and me the caretaker, but I feel like he’s the same way and I can’t pinpoint it. But just our shared beliefs, our compassion for other people, wanting to make the world a better place kind of ideology, but, yeah, it’s kind of uncanny how similar we are in that.
Stephanie Blackwood was born in Arkansas, and her parents moved to Louisiana shortly after she was born. She is the oldest of three with a younger brother and sister. Stephanie moved back to Arkansas right after graduating high school, where she met her husband, Jim. They’ve been married for almost 30 years. After struggling with infertility, they did have one son, Oliver, who is 17 years old and is a junior in high school. He plays baseball in high school. Stephanie graduated from University of Central Arkansas with a BSN in nursing and has been a nurse for over 20 years. She works at UAMS, the largest teaching hospital in Arkansas, in the NICU. The family loves sports especially New England teams.