Family Secrets, Libby Copeland, Sylvia Burstein discussed on Family Secrets

Family Secrets


Shapiro and this is part two of special bonus episode of Family Secrets Speaking with journalist and author Libby Copeland about DNA discoveries. That unleash the long held secrets that affect so many of our lives. And how as a society we can learn to grow evolve change and understand one another. There is a pretty big leap of empathy that needs to be made for people who have never considered or had the experience themselves of that kind of disruption to their origin story Just thinking what difference does it make or a favorite line that was delivered to me on an index card in you know during a QNA Was what good is knowing and I almost laughed when I was like I actually kept index card and I had it pinned to my bulletin board in my office because what what good is knowing. It's everything and you know in family secrets In every episode whether it ends up in the final episode or not. I always ask my guests. you know. Who's like family secret? Were unpacking Do you wish you hadn't found out. Do you wish you hadn't known and not a single one in thirty guests thus far no-one one has said yes. I wish I didn't know no one In fact one of my favorite responses was from my friend Sylvia Burstein. Who is a mindfulness Buddhist Meditation teacher in her eighties and she just we were in person and she looked at me and she said do i. What do I do I want do? I wish I had. I mean she couldn't even understand the question of like. How could you possibly wish that you didn't know? And and that doesn't mean that it's not painful and hard but the relief that that people feel because that hole in the heart that you're talking about like. I think with people who have always known that they were adopted and who didn't have access to Their birth parents or their origin story The term in adoption literature is genealogical bewilderment Yeah the sense of sort of walking around just not knowing And so that's I would say. Probably what people describe of describe as the hole in their hearts but then there's the not knowing and the not knowing that you know which is the with so many people whose stories have been withheld from them and that is a different kind of hole in the heart. That's like a that's a hole in the heart that you don't know is a hole in your heart. You just you just have this ache. But you don't the the AAC doesn't have a name. It doesn't have a story attached and so when it does And this is not just. This isn't just my experience. It's experiences everyone that I've talked to. There's just a feeling amid amid all the shock and pain and confusion and disorientation of how publ relief like This makes so much sense. Yes yeah and kind of like people would talk to me about. There's a sense of excavating. So you make the discovery and then in the days and weeks and months. Follow there's this process of unbidden excavation of the past where these memories arise and all of a sudden you make sense these memories. You know of an interaction with your mom where she said something. And then you haven't thought about it in thirty years and suddenly you're putting that statement that she made into a different context and it's like pink and so there's this kind of emotional Archaeology that people would talk about where they were reprocessing reprocessing everything from once upon a time on forward and they were reprocessing it with the knowledge that put everything into a different perspective. And there's a term that you use And one of your interviews unthought known and I don't know if that's exactly what this is but it's like the sense of kind of sensing something but maybe not even a totally admitting it to yourself if I if I have it right yeah And so Again a number again. We're talking about commonalities right. And how how do these many many different experiences? Among many different people have different ages and different demographics. How do they align themselves with one another? Because that's part of the the amazing thing about this moment of the humanness commonalities human experience And one of the things over and over is that people would say to me and I'm sure they've said to you. You know I I kind of always wondered about that even if I never quite totally admitted it or I always have questions or Now it all makes sense right and there may be for some people. I did interview people who said they. They had never an inkling at all But enough of them. Who did that it may be that? There's a kind of a like a like a nascent knowledge. Like you said you know a feeling of Outsider ness or maybe little things that you pick up on that ad together into this this just this kind of I don't know diaphanous Ghazi sense of nagging question and then the DNA tests comes along and it's like there's the question solidified right there and there's an answer absolutely no that that's beautifully put and the the onslaught known which is a psychoanalytic term You know really refers to that which we we know we know it in our bones. We know it. We know it like when we talk about a six percents But we it's too dangerous to articulate to ourselves so we never actually consciously think it. It's more like why would anyone really ever entertain the thought that. Oh maybe this isn't my biological parent. It's just it's it's there's so much confirmation bias and so much need I mean I adored my father and And felt so incredibly connected to him and still do even though he's been gone for more than half my life but the two ever sink the thought maybe he's not. My biological father would have been impossible for me and and yeah and yet there is a way in which I knew you know that I never thought it but when I went back and read my early work as a writer. It's in there. It's like a trail of breadcrumbs. It's like it. It's like the unconscious made conscious Or the unconscious like on the page. There it is so I actually have something that even amounts to a kind of proof of the unthought known in my own in my own life but If if someone had put you know the given me a polygraph or whatever and said you know is do you think that your father isn't your biological father. What are you talking about what who could possibly give you that idea? I think that's why the fact that the various companies put a warning saying you may discover unexpected relatives. I think that's why those warnings don't take root. I mean you just sort of explained it so it kind of all clicked into place in my brain. There's there's of course even like even as you're saying even if you're someone who on some less than conscious level could have question. Did maybe questioned it you you a conscious level. So and so a warning is not. It's it's as good as a puff of smoke. We'll be back in a moment with more family secrets. We aren't really going out. These days at patterns have been interrupted disrupted and because of this. Our habits have changed. I used to listen to audible books in my car or walking the city streets or waiting to meet a friend in a crowded restaurant not so much these days these days. I'm doing my listening while cooking or folding laundry or even when taking a bath. I'm longing for the company that an audible book provides and.

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