In this episode, Kendall speaks of “my three mothers,” his adoptive mother, Betty; his step-mother, Joyce; and his birth mother (who he has not had any contact with). While Kendall had a short amount of time with his adoptive Mom, she impacted his personality greatly. And, his step-mother helped him through the difficult days after his mother’s and father’s deaths. We also discuss how Kendall’s being gay affects the relationships with his mothers. We’re celebrating the women who “made” Kendall who he is – and we hope there’s a happy ending with his him and his birth mother.
The gay thing (2:28)
Kendall: When I came out of the closet, my stepsister says I knocked the door off its hinges. And my stepmother was surprised, I guess, because I was kind of one of these militant people when I first came out. And I think that rubbed her the wrong way and probably would with a lot of people. But she also wasn’t the type to tell me how she was feeling about it. So I just sensed it. And I’ve continued to sense it all these years later. From what I understand about my birth mother, I think that one of the reasons that she and I aren’t close or haven’t ever spoken has to do with the fact that I’m gay. And again, nobody wants to really say that to me, but it just seems like that’s the case.
Conservative and accepting (3:27)
Kendall: My adopted mother, Betty, who raised me until I was 10, was super religious, a conservative Christian, but she was very open about the gay community. My mom, Betty, was very accepting of the gay community. And it to this day bothers me because people will say after I came out, ‘Oh, gosh, what would your mom and dad say if they knew you were gay?’ And I laugh and say they kind of thought I was way back then.
Trapped in the closet (8:48)
When you were a kid, a lot of conservative people thought gay people were evil. If your parents felt that way, maybe you wouldn’t have come out the same way, or maybe you would have never come out and just had to be living miserably in the closet. So I’m certainly happy that they were as accepting because we might have not ever met.
All I want is a conversation (20:08)
Corey: It’s been four plus years since Kendall found his birth family on his dad’s side and his birth mother’s side, but he has yet to have any direct contact, phone call, email, letter through the mail with his birth mother. And I know that’s weighed heavy on your mind these last four years and probably continues to this day. Talk a little bit about your feelings about that.
Kendall: You’re right. It still weighs heavily on my mind. And I still want to have a conversation, one conversation, at the very least, before either something happens to her or me. And I think we’re both well, I don’t think that anything is imminent. It’s this overarching desire that I have.
Will it ever happen? (21:04)
Kendall: I don’t know who wouldn’t want to have at least one conversation with the birth parents, but with that being said, now, four years later, I’ve kind of resigned myself to the fact that it might never happen. I don’t feel like that’s fair. I’m just putting that out there.
I’ve talked to so many women, and not necessarily women her age, but women who have told me that I should be as forgiving as I can be, that she hasn’t spoken to me and that I can never know what it’s like as a mother to give up a child. I hear all of that. I really try to have some grace when it comes to the way I feel about it.
But I also feel like she might regret if something happened to me tomorrow and I died suddenly. I worry that she would also feel like she’d missed an opportunity to meet me. So I feel like it could only be a positive thing for us to have at least one conversation.
No regrets (23:24)
Kendall: I have no regrets about finding the family. I never dreamt, never in 100 years did I think that I would not have spoken to my birth mother four years later. I wanted to speak to her the day I found her.
Podcast as olive branch (25:54)
Corey: I’m hopeful that maybe this podcast might be the bridge that makes that happen. We’ll just have to wait and see.