In this week’s episode, Lawrence shares his surprise at learning that he is a late discovery adoptee. After he took a DNA test, Lawrence discovered that the mom who raised him is not his biological mother. He describes his search for his biological family, as well as the truth about his birth story, and how his newfound relationships are blossoming. Thank you for sharing your story, Lawrence.
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Transcripts are AI-generated and may not reflect the final published episodes.
[00:00:00] Lawrence: It was something I missed. I don’t know if I could say I missed it because I didn’t have it, Growing up, there were families that we were close with. one of the family, their dad was was in their life. A lot of different things going on there. I didn’t have none of that.
[00:00:17] Lawrence: No, no dad figure in my life. So that’s why this has been such a good deal for me. It really has.
[00:00:35] Lawrence: My name is Lawrence . I am 55 I am from Southern Cal, San Diego to be exact.
[00:00:43] Lawrence: Growing up it was just me and moms. And I had a brother, but I knew he was related, but he wasn’t my brother, cause he had the last name. So basically it was just me at home cause he was older. And over time, I’ve always kind of, wondered about biological family.
[00:01:06] Lawrence: So my mom, her family’s from Houston, Texas, and dad wasn’t in the picture at all. We had a picture in a photo album and heard that was his brother. So as I got older, there was a few things I did to try to track down My dad there was that one time Salvation Army was running this little find a person type of thing for 10 bucks.
[00:01:35] Lawrence: And so I did that and I figured, well, they’ll find him easy. Cause I had his military information. So once I did that though, there was no luck really.
[00:01:48] Alexis: And growing up, were you always. Really wanting to know your dad? Was that something that you felt like you were missing as a child?
[00:01:56] Lawrence: Yeah, exactly. Cause because other than my brother was, like I said, was older and he was gone. He did a little time in the military his cell. So he was older and he was doing his thing. So. There were other families around me that I kind of considered had some neighbors and had that father figure.
[00:02:19] Alexis: Yeah. sO you tried the Salvation Army. It kind of stopped.
[00:02:24] Lawrence: yeah, and I just gave up at that point as I got older, I was interested more in family and history. it was probably about eight or nine years ago, where I started sort of doing the census thing it might have been through ancestry at the time. I didn’t do the DNA right away. And I started doing the census and finding my mom’s, my grandmother and her sisters and her brothers. Now, also too, my mom was still alive. And as, when I got older. Later on, I ended up having sort of take care of her,
[00:03:04] Alexis: Mm hmm.
[00:03:05] Lawrence: I found a lot of my grandmother’s brothers and sisters and my mom didn’t even know about some of these brothers. She’s got like 11 or 12, brothers and sisters, you know, and some of them I knew I’ve had pictures of some of them.
[00:03:21] Lawrence: At that point it really grew inside of me to find more family. You know what I mean? I did the DNA. And once I did it. I said, okay, this is going to be interesting. See who’s out here. So I can find some people on my dad’s side. And I had first cousins on there. And I was like, well, shoot, I don’t know any of these people. There was one particular gentleman who was a first cousin. And I couldn’t get in touch with him. He just did not look at his thing at all. I finally did my mom’s DNA. Once I did her DNA she didn’t pop up right away on my page. And so I’m like, okay, let me give this some time. Cause you know, maybe it takes a little time to, I don’t know, work itself out or whatever, you know,
[00:04:17] Lawrence: aNd and I kept calling ancestry and I was like, Hey, it’s been three or four months, you know, my mom hasn’t, popped up on my page, what’s going on.
[00:04:27] Lawrence: Some were like, you know what, you need to ask your mom some questions.
[00:04:32] Lawrence: I was like, yeah, right. Are you serious? I know which way they were going, but I was like no, you guys tripping. So I actually I let it go for seven, eight, nine months and I call back and they say, yeah you’re going to have to ask questions. You got to find out what’s going on. So what I did was at this point, not really knowing what’s going on. And now I’m starting to believe something is wrong. So I immediately thought. I need to call and find out, find where adoption agency is. And that was the first thing. So I called some other friends also to ask, Hey, do you know anything about maybe mom saying I was adopted or anything? And they said, no, Lawrence, so I found a county adoption agency and I called and I was talking to the young lady and she says find your birth certificate. And look on there, and she says if there’s an, there’s going to be a number, and there may be an A in front of the number. So I was at work that day too, and my heart is racing and I’m like all over the place and I’m like, I gotta find this out. I gotta see what’s going on. You know?
[00:05:54] Alexis: What were you thinking when you, after this period of time that you let go by? Like during that time, were you thinking about the possibilities and wondering what it could be? Or did you just put it to the,
[00:06:07] Lawrence: Oh my gosh. Yes. Yes. I’m thinking, what if, and then on the other hand, I’m like thinking something’s gotta be wrong with. I believe in DNA. We all know that’s all, you know, real,
[00:06:22] Alexis: Mhm.
[00:06:23] Lawrence: Once I came home and I found my birth certificate, now I got this birth certificate.
[00:06:29] Lawrence: It looked like it’s a thousand years old. It’s black and a little, it’s about size of an eight by 10 card. And everything is typed in there all crazy, just looks really old, you know,
[00:06:43] Alexis: Mhm.
[00:06:45] Lawrence: I looked on there and I saw the number, but the number was typed crooked, but there was a, that was the A was typed over the number and I’m like, Oh my god, this looks like a, I’m not sure. And my heart’s racing. I go down to the county adoption agency, and the lady that I was talking to at first, and I give it to her so she goes back to her computer sits down and she comes back and she says, Yeah, Lawrence we have your file here. with our agency, adoption agency. I say, you gotta be kidding.
[00:07:26] Alexis: What did you feel when you saw that or heard that?
[00:07:28] Lawrence: Oh man. I’m just like, you know what the thing is so mom’s raised me well, right? So how can I be mad at her? She did good. She loved the brother, but she left out one part, man. I’m just like, golly. So when she told me that and I said, well, how much can I find out about who my mom was or what’s going on? They said, well,, here we can give you what they call non identifying information.
[00:08:04] Lawrence: So I said, okay let’s fill out the paperwork.
[00:08:09] Lawrence: And I did that and as I was leaving the building, seeing this, it was nobody there, hardly, cause it was the end of the day. And I went and I saw this little chair and I sat down for a minute and just my mind and everything was racing and just like, oh, wow, you kidding me? At this point , mom was still alive.
[00:08:32] Alexis: Did you confront her?
[00:08:33] Lawrence: No, not right away. She was dealing with dementia I felt like, I know my mom and she wasn’t going to give me a straight answer.
[00:08:43] Lawrence: I just kind of milled around with it and it just, it’s so funny how Once I found that out because I had hit a, block wall on my ancestry it’s funny how things happen sometimes, but I happened to see that CNN episode of the young lady, I forget her name, but she started the BNA MPE,
[00:09:10] Alexis: NPE friends?
[00:09:11] Lawrence: who she is.
[00:09:13] Lawrence: And um,
[00:09:14] Alexis: St. Clair?
[00:09:15] Lawrence: that’s her,
[00:09:16] Lawrence: and she had her Facebook thing. I was like, wow, I fall in this category now. It’s just a trip, I joined and immediately got on there and I put it out there that I had hit a brick wall, basically. And at that point two wonderful ladies., a matter of fact, they say they know you Kelly and Laura.
[00:09:43] Alexis: Yeah! DNA Angels?
[00:09:46] Lawrence: Yes.
[00:09:47] Lawrence: They’re like sisters to me. Love them to death.
[00:09:50] Lawrence: They took my case. I remember it being over a holiday weekend, like Memorial day or something, and they worked like all night on it and they found pictures and they found an uncle.
[00:10:08] Lawrence: And so once they found my uncle, they were like well, we have phone numbers, Lawrence, we need you to call. I was like, what
[00:10:16] Alexis: Is this your mother’s brother or your father’s brother that they found?
[00:10:20] Lawrence: my mother’s brother. So I was real nervous and I thought about it didn’t take long. And I was like, cause I’m that type of person. I’m just a chance taker. I said, you know what, let me have this number. I need to call. I called. Uncle Tony is his name. And and I say, Uncle Tony, I say, my name is Lawrence. I’ve been in San Diego all my life. And I was born in Japan. Is there anybody in the family that may have been overseas that gave up a child? And he said, No, Not that I can think of, but then he, it just comes to his head. He says, Oh, wait a minute. Wait a minute. My sister, Itanza, she was married to an army veteran and she had been overseas.
[00:11:10] Lawrence: And I said, well, do you know of any, did she have a child?
[00:11:14] Lawrence: She got, he said, I don’t know. He said, give me 10 minutes. Let me call you back. So man, it was long. It’s 10 minutes. I’ve ever come across, you know what I mean?
[00:11:26] Alexis: Yeah.
[00:11:27] Lawrence: He calls me back and he says well, I got some information nephew. And he said, you hear what I called you, right? I said, Oh my gosh, are you kidding me? He said, my sister, I Tanza is your mother. sUpposedly like all the girls in the family knew something.
[00:11:48] Lawrence: They didn’t know who I was, but they knew that there was a situation that happened. None of the boys didn’t know.
[00:11:55] Lawrence: So he called the other sisters, but they had got a hold of my mom and she was on the phone and she was crying and where is he and how’s he doing? And, you know, just a bunch of different, questions and whatnot.
[00:12:12] Alexis: Did she share what happened?
[00:12:14] Lawrence: So she was married to an army gentleman. But he was in Japan at the time. So my mom and my siblings were in Wichita, Kansas. Well, it just so happened she was going over there eventually to be with him and the family. It just so happened that she had an affair
[00:12:36] Lawrence: So, from what I understand also, that like, like my grandmother, her mom told her, Do not go. You need to stay here with this child and whatnot, but do not go. There’s no way. And so, of course, she didn’t listen. So she goes over there and tells him. And I guess he was. It sounds as if they say she didn’t tell me this part, but from the other family members that he might have been a little on the violent side, maybe really upset about the whole thing. She told me she was in a dark place or something , and she just made some mistakes.
[00:13:23] Alexis: And so because she had an affair and got pregnant as a result, but while she was married and already had children, she relinquished you for adoption.
[00:13:34] Lawrence: This is the tricky part. . I’m a type of person. If we talk about something, I don’t want to beat it. You know what I’m saying? Over time and just keep talking about it and keep talking about it to where, you just ruin the whole thing. You know, you’re talking about it so much cause ain’t nothing going to change.
[00:13:52] Lawrence: So I didn’t, I really didn’t get into it real deep, but I believe, so she says that she almost lost her life during pregnancy. Honestly, I believe that her husband concocted something. I don’t know how easy that is.
[00:14:12] Lawrence: He was a medic in the military and I just kind of feel like, that he came up with something and did that whole thing himself. Being that that was her husband and she didn’t really, I guess, maybe didn’t want to lose him. I still got a couple questions I want to ask her. You know what I mean? One thing is that I did get the paperwork, the non identifying information, There were some things that was on there that I asked her about. So it said something to the effect of she loves to do keyboarding and sewing and some other little activity. I said, I didn’t know you’d like to do keyboarding and sewing and such and such. She said, what? I don’t like to do none of that mess.
[00:15:00] Lawrence: So that just to me meant that, he just wrote down something and you know what I mean?
[00:15:05] Alexis: Yeah.
[00:15:06] Lawrence: And just kinda, you know, came up with something.
[00:15:10] Alexis: Okay, so you think her husband is the one that really orchestrated the adoption and she
[00:15:15] Alexis: went along with it.
[00:15:16] Alexis: Okay. So you connected with her or she finds out about you. how soon after do you talk to her?
[00:15:25] Lawrence: My uncle Tony gives me her number I call her right away, actually, like maybe the next day
[00:15:34] Lawrence: Is real awkward in, you know, whatnot, and I’m just like, okay, so this is Lawrence and I’m your son. And she said, Lawrence, are her. And she tells me, she said, look, this is so hard on me. And it’s taken a lot out of me. She says, will you do me a favor? Will you give me two weeks? And I’m going to call you back. I promise I’m going to call you back. And we’re going to talk about this. I said, okay, yeah, no problem.
[00:16:08] Alexis: Yeah.
[00:16:09] Lawrence: She calls back in two weeks and that’s actually when she tells me somewhat of that story.
[00:16:17] Lawrence: She says she, she had to have some time to talk with her pastor and whatnot, and I said, you know, I’ll give you all the time you need. I said it is what it is. I am your son. This is DNA. Don’t lie.
[00:16:32] Alexis: Yeah.
[00:16:33] Lawrence: And so I was like we’re going to take this bull by the horns and we’re going to just ride it out, go with it. And it was tough for her. It was tough for her. And it was tough for me. And I still, to this day, what four or five years later, I think about it every day.
[00:16:51] Lawrence: And I asked myself, you know, I wondered You know, why moms? I wish she would have told me. I wish she would have told me. So once that happened, I actually I told her I say, I’m coming down there to visit you. I have to come down there. She said, Okay, no problem.
[00:17:10] Lawrence: She lives in San Antonio.
[00:17:12] Lawrence: It just so happens that, so picture this, it sounds weird, but I have to break it down like this. So my dad, who was from Louisiana, lived in Wichita and my dad had like five or six brothers and he has sisters, right?
[00:17:33] Alexis: Yeah.
[00:17:34] Lawrence: My mom’s, my mom has probably, I can’t remember, there’s of them, brothers and sisters.
[00:17:44] Lawrence: All five of my uncles, my dad and my uncles, having kids or marrying the same siblings of my mom.
[00:17:54] Lawrence: Like they was all on the same block
[00:17:57] Alexis: Okay.
[00:17:58] Lawrence: got together, sort of, right?
[00:18:01] Alexis: Okay. So your mom matched up with one of the brothers, but it was not in marriage. It was…
[00:18:07] Lawrence: right. But there’s marriage and there’s kids in marriages with the other brothers and sisters on both sides.
[00:18:16] Alexis: Wow. Okay.
[00:18:17] Lawrence: Right? So we’re, so, so we’re double related.
[00:18:21] Alexis: Yeah. Right. Right.
[00:18:25] Lawrence: Huge family,
[00:18:26] Alexis: What happens next?
[00:18:27] Lawrence: I go visit her, me and the wifey, we go down there
[00:18:32] Lawrence: iT was nice. It was wonderful. Now, I went down there. Once word spread in the family, right, I’m getting all these calls from you know, they’re calling me. Hey, man, I want you to know I’m the best fisherman in the family. I hope you can fish and whatnot.
[00:18:52] Lawrence: And I was like, I’m a pro at it. So don’t worry about that. I’m gonna come down and, you know, put you to a test and whatnot. And we talked sports. I played sports and so did they. So I’m starting to see this. DNA thing. I feel like that’s running through the family. Right.
[00:19:11] Alexis: Yeah.
[00:19:13] Lawrence: Another cousin of mine, my cousin, Ernest his mother married my dad’s brother, and he lives in San Antonio as well. So I went down to San Antonio. I stayed with my cousin, Ernest because. Even though I told mom I was coming down there, she didn’t kind of, you know, maybe put it out there. Hey, I got some where you stay right here. Don’t worry about it.
[00:19:38] Lawrence: Come on down. She wasn’t, she didn’t extend that, when I went over to meet my mom for the first time, it was pretty pretty heartwarming. It’s like, The whole night while I was there, I’m talking with her. And I also have one, two, three, four siblings on that side. They were all there.
[00:20:01] Lawrence: And just like the whole night she was, I could catch, I see her. I might be talking to my brother and I look over at her and, I could just see her, she’s looking at me, she’s checking me out and she’s like. Trying to figure out who I look like maybe and this and that. So, but it really turned out to be a wonderful. Night. That particular night we were leaving and I said, okay, mom, I’ll be back tomorrow. And she kind of made a comment, made me feel pretty good, I’m gonna let you guys stay with Ernest this time, but next time that won’t be happening.
[00:20:37] Lawrence: Cause I got plenty of rooms here. You will be here.
[00:20:41] Alexis: Oh, that’s
[00:20:42] Lawrence: so I was like, okay, no, I get it. I understand. Yeah. It was cool.
[00:20:47] Alexis: Did anyone
[00:20:48] Alexis: remember you? Because you said she she already had children. So did anyone remember her being pregnant and then wonder where the baby went?
[00:20:56] Lawrence: My brother Gary said he remembers being at the hospital downstairs. They were like in the car or something or downstairs. And while she was in the hospital, because I don’t think their dad was up there with her
[00:21:16] Lawrence: Delivery. And he said, I remember her being up in the hospital and their dad saying something like, Oh, she’s getting, having an operation or I don’t know if they said anything about pregnancy, but they remember something going on. He does.
[00:21:33] Alexis: were you able to connect
[00:21:35] Alexis: with your biological father? Is he still alive?
[00:21:40] Lawrence: no, he was deceased. I had already connected on my mom’s side, I still had the contact. My brother and my sister on my dad’s side. That was pretty tough. So, I had to call, I called my sister. I had got a number and I called and it happened to be their mom’s house. So, I called and I was like, well, is Denisha there? And she was like, no. wHo’s calling? And I said this is Lawrence. And because my sister is married, I think she was kind of asking some questions and I didn’t really want to say it, but I said, well, if you get in touch when you get in touch where you have her call me and I kind of had to tell her mom, I’m her brother., it was probably a day later and she calls me. I tell her the story and she says, Oh, wow. Okay. And I can tell she didn’t, she wasn’t like sold on it right away. And she’ll tell you to this day, she wasn’t right. So like maybe two weeks later, I see that she pops up on my page of my DNA.
[00:22:56] Lawrence: She’s at the top. And I, and she says, yeah, okay, I guess you you my brother.
[00:23:05] Alexis: HAve you met her?
[00:23:07] Lawrence: I’ve met her. Yes, me, her and my brother. We talk just about every day. July of 2000 and 22. I went to Wichita because majority of the family way back when moved to Wichita, Kansas. I went down there for 4th of July weekend. And this was the first time that I was going to physically meet all my cousins. My mom’s sisters my dad’s two brothers that are left. So I go down there and we’re all talking on Facebook, okay, we’re going to have the 4th of July barbecue and this and that. And I said, I’m coming, you guys, I’ll be there. I’ll see you there. So there was a delay on the airplane. I didn’t get there when I was supposed to Friday night. And I’m nervous, I’m a wreck. Finally Saturday I get there and once we got to Wichita my sister picks me up and me and my wife, we were going down the escalator. My sister actually starts to cry and she said, you know what? You look more like daddy than we do.
[00:24:25] Alexis: Oh,
[00:24:26] Lawrence: She saw a lot of me and her dad. He had passed in 2000 and maybe 16. So that was pretty emotional right there. And so ever since then I’ve been in contact with both sides
[00:24:42] Alexis: It sounds like you have a family. Relationship with them, you know, some people they connect with people after so many decades and they’re building these relationships How would you say that you define these relationships with your found family now? Do you look at them as your brothers and sisters and your mom?
[00:25:01] Lawrence: Oh, yeah. Yeah, that’s without question right there. Mom is mom. My brothers and sisters are my brothers and sisters. We have that conversation where, my older brother, Kevin on my mom’s side. He says, man, honestly I hate that this happened like this. Cause I, you know, I would have loved to have a little brother to beat up on.
[00:25:28] Lawrence: You know what I mean? That kind of thing. And, but one thing he told me he said his dad was how do I say it? He was rough. He was not that he was mean, but. He was pretty tough on him, I guess,
[00:25:46] Lawrence: so he mentioned that he hates the way things happen, but on the other side, it was probably a good thing because if I had been living there, who knows how he would have took things out on me being that I wasn’t, he is. You know, I felt like to also they say my grandmother on my mom’s side, she was the matriarch, she was the nucleus and she took care of everybody. So I don’t know, I just kind of felt like maybe she would have been taking care of me and raising me, you know, around all that family.
[00:26:26] Alexis: What has it meant to you to reunite with your birth family?
[00:26:31] Lawrence: It’s a wonderful thing. I’ve read so many stories and looked at so many cases. And some of the stories I hear is just devastating. And I’m just like, wow, this is crazy but me, I’m excited.
[00:26:47] Lawrence: I call my uncles quite a bit. My Uncle Tony, I tell you what, Uncle Tony, I love him to death and my cousins, I call everybody. Now, my mom’s sisters, I call them and they have been, ever since the beginning, open arms about the whole deal, everybody.
[00:27:09] Alexis: That’s so great.
[00:27:11] Lawrence: I’m kind of, a person that just goes for it. Right. And I, me and my mom, because we would, I would call her probably, three to four times out of the week. And we talk about different things and it was early on, but I was got to the point where I was like, mom, I love you. And this, I couldn’t quite get that out of her
[00:27:38] Lawrence: Now my aunties. My uncle’s, yeah, with no problem, but her, I couldn’t get it out. Now it’s changed and I can get it out of her now. Still a little work to do, you know. Plan on going down there again here real soon. Spend some quality time with her, you know.
[00:28:01] Alexis: Yeah. That’s awesome. I’m so happy for you that you’ve had such a good outcome and such a positive outlook on the situation. Now, did you ever talk to your mom about it? Your adopted mom?
[00:28:19] Lawrence: Mom had got to the point where she had this issue where she I had to blend her food and kind of feed her because her food was going down the wrong tube.
[00:28:34] Lawrence: So I sat down one day and I’m feeding her. And I said, hey, mom you got anything that you might want to tell me? And I said, about me? And I can’t remember if I said, do I have another mother or something to that effect? I don’t remember how I worded it. And my mom looked at me and she looked on the wall. She had a picture of Jesus. She looked on the wall. And stared at it for a while and went back to eat and she wouldn’t answer me.
[00:29:11] Lawrence: So I just left it alone at that point.
[00:29:14] Lawrence: Cause I knew I wasn’t one. I wasn’t going to get any more information out of her.
[00:29:20] Alexis: You mentioned that you still kind of had this question for your mom of, your adoptive mother of why and, why didn’t she tell you? Do you have any other questions for her still?
[00:29:32] Lawrence: That’s the only one. But, you know, I think about it and, and talking with people. Mom always told me before me, years before me, she had lost a child. So I think I don’t think she could have kids.
[00:29:52] Alexis: Okay.
[00:29:53] Lawrence: So when I came into her life, I think she was just more or less, you know, this is my son, which I am, but this is her son and she’s gonna raise me the best way she can. And that’s that. And that’s what she did. She was, and she was gonna, take whatever to the grave.,
[00:30:16] Alexis: you had no real suspicions that you were adopted by her.
[00:30:20] Lawrence: No, that’s what gets me.
[00:30:23] Alexis: Yeah.
[00:30:25] Lawrence: I never would have known. .
[00:30:26] Alexis: what advice do you have for a parent who is keeping a DNA surprise such as adoption from their child?
[00:30:33] Lawrence: I don’t think this is a good idea. That’s just my personal opinion because of the fact that what I went through I believe that. at a certain age that you should honestly tell them and let them know what’s going on. It doesn’t mean you know, much is going to change for the most part. Had I been told I wouldn’t have resented moms at all. But at that time, if I was told, I don’t know how easy it was at that time to find people like it is today, you know what I mean?
[00:31:13] Alexis: Yeah.
[00:31:14] Lawrence: And I would have been wondering and I would have been trying to figure something out and I don’t, being California, they seal all that up sort of and I would have dealt with it, but. I don’t think I would have been, I’m not really mad at her I just wanted to know why she didn’t tell me and I don’t know, I kind of got my own answers from that.
[00:31:37] Alexis: What advice do you have for someone who just discovered that they were adopted?
[00:31:43] Lawrence: Hopefully in my, like in my case that their upbringing and their family was a good family. It doesn’t have to be a negative thing because you don’t know what your parents, mother or dad or whatever the case may be, have what they were going through at the time that they decided that
[00:32:04] Lawrence: I think I would have been a lot more upset with my biological mom if I’d have been, I guess adopted by somebody that was kind of not too good to me and had a rough life, it would have been different. Because now I’d be, you know, a little, I would have a little resentment towards my biological mom.
[00:32:24] Alexis: Lawrence, thank you so much for coming on the podcast and sharing your LDA, NPE, all those acronyms that we’re so familiar with now STORI. I’m so happy for you that you’ve had such a positive outcome with your newfound family. I just hope that, things get easier and easier for you and hopefully reach a day where it’s not at the forefront of your mind.
[00:32:49] Lawrence: Thank you. Thank you. I appreciate it. I appreciate it. This worked out very good. Thank you.