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Topic : 08/28 "Who Am I?"

Number of Replies: 403
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Created on : Friday, May 18, 2007, 12:42:57 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
(Original Air Date: 05/24/07) What if everything you thought you knew about yourself was a lie? Today’s guests are real-life unsolved mysteries. First, Savannah, 27, has never known her biological mother and has always felt incomplete. She says her mother, Peggy, vanished when she and her sister were very young, and she’s always wondered why her mom never tried to find them. Dr. Phil reunites Savannah with her mystery mother for the first time in over 20 years. Dr. Phil attempts to get to the bottom of why Peggy left her children and moved on to form another family, but Peggy says it wasn’t all her fault. Can this mother and daughter forgive, forget and start over? Next, George, 38, recently found out his family’s secret: the man he knew as his father is not his biological father. His mother was the only one with the answer to who his father was, but she died two years ago and took the truth to her grave. Now George is left wondering if there is a man out there who doesn’t even know he has a son and grandchildren. Then, when her mother passed away eight years ago, Rena, 18, learned that her birth certificate was fake, her social security number belonged to someone else, and she didn’t exist anywhere on paper. Without an identity, Rena says her life is on hold. She can’t get financial aid for college, she can’t get a driver’s license, and she can’t travel out of the country. Share your thoughts about the show here.

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May 20, 2007, 7:41 am CDT

My Story as well

I've got the same story.  Mom left when I was 2 and brother was 6, and no one in my family will tell me why.  Just "it is better not knowing."  I did find out she married again and had 3 more children, but never wanted to see my brother and I.


I'm now almost 39 and still have no answers.  I've written to the Dr. Phil show about 10 times asking for help, but never got a response. 


May 20, 2007, 7:49 am CDT

"The truth shall set you free"

 As I read these I think, I'm one of the "lucky" ones; I know who my parents are (were). But my Dad, who died when I was 23, wasn't so fortunate. He found out the people he thought were his birth parents had adopted him -- and he only found out this at 18 from an acrimonious (will contesting) relative when his "parents" had died. He tried to trace his origins to no avail.
I only discovered bits and pieces of my Dad's background as a teenager (about the same time I "accidentally" found out he was 27 years older than my Mom; I'd always thought they were about the same age and no one ever said otherwise...until confronted!). I never ever talked to him about any of it. (Mom said it'd be too upsetting -- for him.)
To this day, there's a question mark over my (wonderful) Dad's history. My Mom's paternal family has been traced back to the Pilgrims; maternally, we have deep roots in pre-war Germany. But, at nearly 60(!), I still make up stories in my head about my Dad's origins!
Everyone deserves to know as much of the truth as possible -- and well before there's some sort of crisis which throws the facts out into the open! (Mom, bless her, is still going strong at 86, and will -- if delicately approached -- talk about my father's she knew it! But it's her version and vision, still one step removed  from the source.)
Living a good life is challenging enough; it doesn't need to be further complicated by telling lies and keeping secrets!
May 20, 2007, 8:43 am CDT


Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a serious psychological disorder characterized by pervasive instability in moods, interpersonal relationships, self-image, and behavior.  This instability often disrupts family and work life, long-term planning, and the individual's sense of self-identity. 


While less known than schizophrenia or bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), BPD is more common, affecting 2% of adults (1-33), mostly females.  Some of my favorite books that provide a great introduction and insight are:



Why is it Always About You?  The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism by Sandy Hotchkiss AND Emotional Blackmail:  When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation and Guilt to Manipulate You by Susan Forward


Understanding the Borderline (Parent) Mother:  Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable and Volatile Relationship by Christine Ann Lawson  


Surviving a Borderline Parent:  How to Heal Your Childhood Wounds & Build Trust, Boundaries and Self-Esteem by Kimberlee Roth and Freda Friedman


How to Journal for Therapy: 



Some of the story is typical:  early family conflicts, abusive relationships, feelings of insecurity contributing to destructive behaviors such as selfishness, manipulations, promiscuity, addictions, self abuse and eating disorders.  The extreme behaviors of BPD constitute the high drama in the stories of those who endure its ravages.



Hope it helps!



May 20, 2007, 3:12 pm CDT

05/24 "Who Am I?"

Quote From: blondie825

I can really relate to this upcoming show and will make sure not to miss it.  I am one of those people in the same situation.  At the age of 5 days old my biological mother handed me over to my maternal grandparents to take care of me because her life at that time was somewhat "screwed up".  Whether this is true or not, I will never know.  Later when the time came for biological mother to come and get me, it shook up my grandparents so much that she could not follow through.  During my elementary years, my grandparents raised me who are now deceased along with my mother, but I always felt somewhat out of place.  When I reached the age of approximately 13 or 14, I find out that this woman I have been calling my aunt for many years is in fact my biological mother.  For some reason, all parties involved felt that this was a secret to keep from me as long as possible and the only way I found out anything different was through my younger stepbrothers.  In the meantime, my mother had remarried and had three other kids after me, all boys.  I had no idea for many, many years this hidden secret.  My first question was well then who is my father?  Of course, this was a family secret also.  The maternal side of my family never to this date gave me any information about my biological father other than what his name that is listed on my birth certificate.  I have made many inquiries and many internet searches to end up at a dead end position.  To this date, I am currently 50 years old, I have no clue if there is other family that I may have or if my father is living or dead.  I just wanted to write this note, because I can very much relate and it is a part of my life that is very depressing and saddening.  I always said that if I have children when I got older, no matter what, I would never put them in that position.  Unfortunately, God never blessed me with any children either.  So now, I have three stepbrothers, 2 of whom I have not seen  since the funeral of mother and my "baby" brother who is now 35 years old has moved from NYS to Ohio because of a possible internet date relationship which went sour.  I miss him so much, we keep in contact as much as possible, but it is tough to mingle at parties, bbq's etc. when many of my friends have children and/or siblings or whose parents are still living.  I feel very alone and out of place.  I look forward to watching this show, no matter what!!!  I am unable to catch the Dr. Phil Show during the day hours.  I catch it on prime time in my location and I am surely a fan.  Keep up the good work Dr. Phil.  I wish I had a man, friend, doctor like you when I was growing up.  I mostly appreciate the fact that you have no problem telling people like it is.  I admire you for telling them "like it is". 




Debbie G. from NYS

I can relate to this, but I was the mother who was not present.  He won custody, moved several times with out notice.  One weekend I had seen them, by the next visitation 2 weeks later they were gone....when they were 13 and 11 he moved to Guam without notice and I never saw my precious children again.  I am now in touch with one and the other is a drifter.  Yes I am partially to blame but so is their father.... 
May 20, 2007, 4:18 pm CDT

Closed Records are so unfair

It's strange how people don't understand your feelings if you were adopted.  I never found out that I was adopted until I was 45 years old.  The family kept it a secret all those years.  Unfortantly both of my adoptive parents passed away, so I never was able to ask them about the adoption.  Their birth daughter (my sister) told me forget it.  You are who you are.   I petioned the court and was granted only some information.  My birth mother is alive and doing well, however, she doesn't want to have any contact with me.  But, she thinks about me everyday....OH PLEASE!!!!!!!!  I think it is wonderful if birth mothers who gave their child up for adoption would like the child toknow what happened.  That would put our minds at ease.  People do not understand what it is like to look in the mirror and wonder, Who am I.......who is my mother......what is she like........what are my brother and sisters like.......Who are they???  There are always so many unanswered questions.  I wish that the state (PA)that I live in would pass a law that if you were adopted that the records would be open.  It is so unfair to us adopties not to know about our biologial mother and father.



May 21, 2007, 12:32 am CDT

Female Florida Adoptee!

I know exactly what these people are going through! I'm adopted and I know all about how hard it is to get answers and the truth about your biological family! The legislature is such that records are closed or have even been destroyed, information is hard to come by, and tight-lipped "well-meaning" people in government think we're not entitled to the truth or to know anything about ourselves! I'll be 31 in October and I'm hoping to get at least a few answers before then. I was given up for adoption immediately after being born in Naples, Florida. I was one of the lucky ones. I had a family waiting to adopt me and went home with them just a few days later. My adoptive parents were told that my birth parents were a young couple that couldn't afford to take care of me and so they gave me up for adoption so I would have a chance at a better life. I have no way of knowing if this story is fact or fiction. Both of my mothers shared the same doctor (GYN), but never met each other. My adoption was a private one handled by the doctor and an attorney hired by my adoptive parents. My adoptive family is wonderful and I have always been loved as if I was their flesh and blood daughter. I was told as soon as I was able to understand that I had been adopted. I never felt ashamed or bitter, but I've always wanted to know more about my biological family.

Most of us adoptees have a hard time finding out anything about where we come from because of all the red tape. We also get a lot of run-around too. Maybe someday we'll finally be free of the stigmata of being adopted.


 I hope Dr. Phil lights a fire under the butts of the government officials to help us adoptees to get answers! We were born in America, yet we're treated like second-rate citizens and denied the very same God-given right that all other Americans are entitled to! The right to our heritage! It's high time that the curtain of shame and lies be lifted!


For all the other adoptees out there searching for answers... know this.....




May 21, 2007, 10:06 am CDT

Who are my siblings?

Dr. Phil,

I too found out that the person on my birth certificate was not my father.  I always knew that I had been adopted by my father, who raised me, but I didn't find the rest of the story until after my mothers death.  She took all the details with her to the grave.  I don't think my adoptive father even knew.  After his death, I had a longing to know who my biological father was and questioned maternal relatives whom I thought knew the story.  It was than that I found out the name on my birth certificate (prior to my adoption) was a real person but not my biological father.  He was also so far out of the picture no one even knew where he was.  I learned that when I was born I resembled the sister of the man everyone guessed was my biological father.  He had been a boyfriend of my mothers.  At that time I learned that he had also died so I searched the obituaries and found that he had three children.  So I have half siblings who don't even know that I exist.  I was raised in a wonderful family and I have 4sisters and 2 brothers and have never considered them to be half siblings even though I knew they were.  But now I have 2 sisters and 1 brother also.  I would love to meet them and get to know them but I am now 60 years old and I am afraid to even try.  I am sure they never knew that their father had a child before he married their mother and he probably didn't know either.  I know where they were raised but do not know where they are now.  Is there any way I can accomplish this or do I just give up?

May 21, 2007, 1:49 pm CDT

05/24 "Who Am I?"

Quote From: cur2cute

It's strange how people don't understand your feelings if you were adopted.  I never found out that I was adopted until I was 45 years old.  The family kept it a secret all those years.  Unfortantly both of my adoptive parents passed away, so I never was able to ask them about the adoption.  Their birth daughter (my sister) told me forget it.  You are who you are.   I petioned the court and was granted only some information.  My birth mother is alive and doing well, however, she doesn't want to have any contact with me.  But, she thinks about me everyday....OH PLEASE!!!!!!!!  I think it is wonderful if birth mothers who gave their child up for adoption would like the child toknow what happened.  That would put our minds at ease.  People do not understand what it is like to look in the mirror and wonder, Who am I.......who is my mother......what is she like........what are my brother and sisters like.......Who are they???  There are always so many unanswered questions.  I wish that the state (PA)that I live in would pass a law that if you were adopted that the records would be open.  It is so unfair to us adopties not to know about our biologial mother and father.



I can really relate to this, I was 49 years old when I found out that I was adopted.  I cannot even begin to describe the anger when I also found out that everyone knew except me.  My adoptive dad's 2nd wife knew, her children knew, their friends knew.  The big dark secret that my adoptive mother made everyone swear to keep secret came out during my adoptive father's funeral service, which was 25 years after her death. My adoptive father's funeral service was 25 years to the day that my adoptive mother died. 

Then to add insult to injury I find out that because of a law passed in 1927 in Ontario Canada, even though I am an adult, I am not entitled to any information unless it is non identifying information because I was adopted. 

I was in a car accident 5 1/2 years ago and every time I have been referred to a specialist, I now have to list unknown in the section dealing with family medical history.

The entire system dealing with foster care, adoption is so screwed up it is beyond sad.    All adoptees have a mother and a father as well as the family that they were raised by, no amount of legal paper can change that fact and no amount of the "as if born to" nonesense as the reason for sealing records, or the mother's wanted anonymity myth will ever change that fact.  The majority of infants were adopted because society said a single unwed women was not fit to raise their own child and should be given away for adoption.  The facts are that given even a smidge of support the majority of women would have raised their children.  Even though more young women are raising their children, there are still lots of adoptions taking place, it is a billion dollar industry after all, and they have had decades to perfect their coercion tactics.

It is also ridiculous to believe that prior to the date some judge signed on the dotted line I did not exist, that my life began on the day he signed the paper giving me to my adoptive parents.

It is absolutely ridiculous that every person is entitled to a copy of their original birth registration unless they were adopted.

North America needs to take a long hard look at how things are done in Australia and Europe and the other countries where sealed records do not exist and how all the secrecy and forced guilt etc damage not only the mother, but the father and the adopted person.

May 21, 2007, 2:26 pm CDT

I can relate!!!

I myself found out when I was 18 that the man who had raised me all my life was not my father.  My mother was the one to break the news to me.  She also did not give me a whole lot to go as far as finding him went so I was pretty much on my own, assuming she did not want me to find him.  A couple of years afterwards I had met a lady that new my mother in school and new my biological father and told me that I had a sister that was attending the exact same school as I.  I couldn't believe it.  I did eventually hook up with this sister and she told me some things but I also found out eventually that she is not a very trustworthy person and her lifestyle I was not very fond of so I quickly lost touch with her.  Fourteen years later, Easter 2006, a girlfriend just sent me a website to sign up to called Names, and what it is is a website that you can register with to find anyone from any high school in the U.S, Canada and even home schooled as long as that person is registered with the site.  So by fluke, since I had exhausted practically every other angle I possibly could, I decided to type in what I knew about my biological father and it came back with one that really fit the bill so through this website you can email this person without them ever knowing your email address so that is exactly what I did.  I had asked him some personal questions about my mother, whom he didn't really remember too much about, then I asked some other questions about the sister I had had contact with and yep, she's his daughter.  After a weekend of questions and him coming back with right answers I had finally found my biological father.  He lives in Russia where he is currently working and has married a beautiful Russian lady, not much older than me mind you, but that's his life and I have no problem with that.  We keep in contact quite often through the internet only because unfortunately neither one of us are very rich and can't exactly hop a plane and do a face to face.  He is supposed to be moving back to Alberta, Canada in October but is having problems with his wife coming to Canada so I don't know if that will still be happening.  He has had heart problems in the past and has also told me that the men in his family have never really lasted all that long so I am really scared that I will never get the face to face meeting that I am hoping for.  My mother on the other hand hasn't exactly been very supportive when I have spoken to her about him, she just keeps telling me to be careful and to not believe everything he says so I don't think she is as happy as I am with me finding him and that hurts me because after the life I have had growing up with my step father, I thought she would have at least been a little more supportive.  I actually had to turn to a family friend of many years to get the support that I should have gotten from her and I don't think that is right.  My mom hasn't even spoken to him in 33 years so just because he may have been a bad person then, does that mean that people aren't allowed to change their lives?  I am assuming that in her eyes they aren't, even though I have changed a lot from the kind of teen I was and I think I turned out alright, having a family of my own now and working full-time.  I just hope that one day my father can meet his beautiful grandchildren without me having to spend thousands of dollars on passports because we just don't have the money for that.  As far as my sister goes, my father doesn't speak with her at all and I have not told her at all that I have found him because she only wants him for money, I also have a brother who my father pretty much does not associate with at all either because he turned out to be a rotten egg also.  Like I said, I am going by his words on this but I think I still deserve the right to have a relationship with someone who has missed 33 years of my life.  With my husbands parents gone all my children have are my mom and her boyfriend and my biological father whom they have never met, only seen pictures.  I have, to this day, no relationship with my step father at all and I never will again and I do not want my children knowing him either.
May 22, 2007, 12:00 am CDT

"Who Am I?"

Quote From: bellasbest

Although I birthed both of my children, they are only distantly related to me. My husband and I used my niece's eggs due to fertility issues on my part.  Now I have 2 healthy beautiful children and no one, except the three of us, knows the truth.  Should the children be told?  If so, when and how?  What about my brother and his wife?  They are technically the grandparents.  Of course we talked about this before we went through all the procedures, but it was all so abstract then.  Who knew if we would even be successful?  But now that they're here I find myself shying away from disclosure.  I don't want an elephant in the room!  Help!

PS - With so many women nowadays using egg/sperm donors this is a growing issue.  I'd really like to know how others are handling it.  A few decades ago children were rarely told they were adopted.  Now it is common for a child to know and acknowledge being adopted.  I wonder how children of "the miracle of modern chemistry" will be regarded.

First of all you didn't mention how old your children are. In my opinion since I was adopted, your children should be told. I assume that you have read the other posts and I'm sure that you have seen that at some time or another the truth always comes out. (Your children are lucky that they will know who the natural mother is or should I say who's eggs were used to get you pregnant.) Also, how old is your niece? When I say that the truth always comes out, you have no way of seeing into the future. God forbid, but what would happen if something happened to you and your husband while your children were still minors. Would your niece tell them the truth then? I'm just saying that you never know. I'm 50 now and I can't remember a time when I didn't know that I was adopted. My parent's would read me a book called "The Chosen Baby" and I just always knew. I couldn't imagine finding out later in my life. Personally I would feel like my whole life was a lie. I still would like to know my background and have information regarding my natural parents but I never will and at times I really struggle with that fact.


How to tell your children? Again not knowing their ages is hard but I'll assume that they are young. At some point children always ask, "Where do babies come from?" At a young age you don't go into great detail. The information you give grows as the children grow. In your case I would say something like Mommies have eggs and Daddies have sperm and they meet together and then a baby grows in Mommies tummy like you grew in mine. But in your case, I didn't have any eggs so I got some from Aunt so and so because I wanted to have you so much! Maybe something like that. I would try to get an answer from Dr. Phil but if he doesn't answer, I would seek a professional opinion on how to tell your children. Get a consult with a Psychologist in your area but PLEASE tell them when they ask questions or when it's age appropriate. You don't want that elephant in your room forever or this on your mind for the rest of your life.

                                                                      God Bless,


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