Rikki, Jules, and Kendall’s DNA Surprise

Welcome to Season 6 of DNA Surprises. We’re kicking off this season with a quadruple DNA surprise story as told by triplets.

Rikki, Julianne, and Kendall are donor-conceived triplets who were separated at birth. Rikki was raised by her biological mother and who she believed was her biological father. Jules and Kendall were raised together by their adoptive parents.

Rikki knew about her sisters but didn’t know she was donor-conceived until after her dad died. Meanwhile, Julianne and Kendall knew they were donor-conceived, but didn’t know about Rikki until they were older.

In this episode, they share how they connected with each other and built a relationship. Rikki discusses her determination to learn more about their donor and what happened as a result.

We also chat about how complicated all of this is – adoption, donor conception, and DNA surprises, and why it’s important to allow space for every individual to own their feelings.

Rikki, Jules, and Kendall share their story in depth on Season 1 of their podcast, Luke Who Is Your Father. Their next season shares other stories, including mine. You can find Luke Who Is Your Father on all streaming platforms.

Thank you to the Luke Who Is Your Father ladies for sharing your story.

You can find more about Luke Who Is Your Father at www.lukewhoisyourfather.com.

Join the DNA Surprises Patreon community! Listen to episodes one week early, gain access to exclusive content, use merch discounts, and more.

Episode Transcript

Transcripts are AI-generated and may not reflect the final published episodes.

[00:00:00] Rikki: But to hear and to not have even thought of it, Kendall’s perspective, that if she had been the one separated, meaning us would’ve been. There’s no way that we would’ve had the relationship that we would today. Yeah, I can’t imagine. I don’t think so. That brings me a lot of peace as the reason that happened, not because me and Julianne shouldn’t have been raised together, but because Julian and Kendall very much should have been raised together so that we could all come together like this. Now

[00:02:42] Rikki: My name is Rikki. I am 31, about to thir turn 32 in mere days, and I’m in Austin, Texas.

[00:02:52] Rikki: I’ve been here for 10 years now.

[00:02:55] Jules: I’m Jules. I will be 32. In a few days, a couple minutes before both Rikki and Kendall and I am also in Austin. I’ve been here, I think it’s, oh wow. I think I might just had my anniversary, four year anniversary. And

[00:03:10] Kendall: my name is Kenny and I will be 32 in another 30 days. I’m just kidding.

[00:03:16] Kendall: And I have been in Austin for three years, three and a half years now.

[00:03:24] Rikki: We are triplets separated at birth. My mom is our biological mother, our birth mom. She had always told me that I was a triplet. I don’t even remember finding out. It was just something that I always knew. And I got the hankering when I was around six or seven, like to really reach out and try to meet them.

[00:03:46] Rikki: And my mom, I. Let me like an independent little lady, start to write their parents. And then they got their DNA surprise later because they did not know about me.

[00:04:00] Alexis: Rikki, your mom is the birth mother. And what story, what background did she give you about your sisters, Jules and Kendall before you started reaching out to them?

[00:04:12] Alexis: What did you know?

[00:04:12] Rikki: Initially the adoption was supposed to be open. And then it was closed. So we had a bunch of, but they continued to send letters and photos. So I had always seen a bunch of photos. I knew exactly who their parents were, I knew exactly where they lived. She just, they always sent photos for Christmas and for birthdays.

[00:04:34] Rikki: So I knew, everything that you could know about someone without speaking to them personally, and they were a mere 40 minutes down the road. Wow.

[00:04:44] Alexis: Wow. Yeah. Yeah. And so was it a situation where three babies was a lot and so she opted to keep one and then the other two were relinquished?

[00:04:56] Alexis: Is that kind of the situation?

[00:04:58] Rikki: Yes. Okay. Thank you for asking in such a nice way.

[00:05:01] Jules: I know. I was just gonna say, wow, it seems like you grasped onto that very easily and quickly

[00:05:02] Rikki:. It was amazing. This is definitely the most hotly contested part of the story, if you will. Sure. I’m sure that you can imagine.

[00:05:14] Rikki: What happened was my mom was deaf and she married an older man, so she was 35. My dad was 58. He had already had two children. One of them died by a motorcycle accident when he was 28 years old. His son, Rick, My name’s a And so by the time that he met my mom, he’d already been married a couple times, a few kiddos under his belt, and obviously the death of his son was very traumatic for him, and he’d had a vasectomy and they didn’t really, my mom didn’t express the desire to have children when they got together.

[00:05:50] Rikki: And I think it was a mutual understanding that conversation wouldn’t necessarily be on the table. And then that biological clock started ticking. So she told him she wanted to have a baby. He said, absolutely not. They separated, got back together after a month, and he called her and said, come home, you can have a baby.

[00:06:10] Rikki: So they went through artificial insemination or IUI. So it was just good old. Turkey based are on dry ice. Sure. Yeah. And she was 35, which at that time was, and still is very much a geriatric pregnancy. And so was taking fertility drugs, she said the doctors told her there was a 2% chance that she would conceive twins, and then there was a little snafu because her doctor that was giving her prenatal care was not the doctor that inseminated her.

[00:06:41] Rikki: So when she was seven months pregnant, she went in and they measured her and they said, oh, we need to have an ultrasound. You are 28 weeks and you’re measuring at 32. So at seven months pregnant, they told my mother that there was not one baby, not two babies, but three babies, because they had made a mistake with her prenatal care, no communication there.

[00:07:06] Rikki: And then I believe the dosage, it was to the extent where they changed procedure for the. Both clinics entirely. So that’s when obviously her and my dad had to have a pretty difficult conversation because they were staring down a two month barrel. And obviously triplets usually come a little bit early.

[00:07:26] Rikki: So yeah, that is why.

[00:07:29] Alexis: Okay. Yeah. And I know that, that is a sensitive topic, adoption, donor conception. I feel like you have all the makings of a lot of hot topics in this community. But I did want to ask that question because I’m sure people are like, how did that happen? Flipping over to Jules and Kendall, Rikki’s known about you.

[00:07:48] Alexis: She wants to know you. She’s known you since she was very little. She feels like she knows you. How did you learn about her and your origins?

[00:07:58] Jules: Much Rikki always knew that I. She was a triplet and that we were adopted. We always knew that we were adopted. That was never a question for us. They read us books when we were little.

It’s not something that they were trying to hide. Our parents had been on the adoption list for seven years. And my mom had been through a very violent sexual assault when she was 16. And so when she, her and my dad got married when they were 26 and started to try to have a baby right away, they were, my mom was told You have, what was it, A greater chance of being struck by lightning twice.

[00:08:30] Jules: Than getting pregnant. And so they went on the adoption list first through, I think Catholic churches and things like that, and just had a streak of really bad luck. And finally got in touch with a woman that knew Kathleen knew Rikki’s mom, and they had two instances, one where they were told that, there was gonna be a baby of adoption, but the the birth mother refused to give up the identity of the father, and they said, we’re not going to be tied to that.

[00:09:00] Jules: What if he comes back? What if if you, if we don’t even know who he is, there’s such a great chance that he could enter into our life again. And that, so that fell through. And then the second time around was really bad. There was a young lady who said that she was pregnant, carried out this whole thing, then told them that she had an abortion, which was heartbreaking if they’re waiting for a baby.

[00:09:21] Jules: And then told that she had an abortion. And the adoption agency said, okay, we need paperwork on that. We need medical paperwork. And she like, faltered a little bit. Oh no. I had a miscarriage. Okay, we still need paperwork. And it turned out that she was never pregnant to begin with. So their hopes were dashed and they had, were losing faith.

[00:09:44] Jules: And then they found out that, There were two twins out of triplets, up for adoption. They called my parents when they were in separate locations in the early nineties. And without even talking to each other, they said, yes, absolutely, we’ll take twins. Went and met Rikki’s mom and dad and it was set up and then we were born five weeks early, so they had about a month’s notice.

[00:10:10] Jules: Yeah. Like Rikki said, the original plan was to have an open adoption, but my mom, Specifically started to get really scared. There was a lot of stuff in the news about, the laws that a birth mother can claim her child up to two years,

[00:10:23] Jules: After they’ve given up her up for adoption. And so she just started to get really nervous and very protective.

[00:10:30] Jules: So they decided to close it. And I think that’s probably the time when they decided not to tell us that we had a sister.

[00:10:37] Jules: And then Kendall, why don’t, if you can, why don’t you tell the story of the ca or Rikki, the catalyst that made them have to tell us? Oh, yes, there was a catalyst.

[00:10:55] Rikki: Okay. So I had started writing their parents when I was six or seven because my dad was very sick. Which was just another reason. He was never in great health, like when they were trying to conceive and they also had. No money to speak of. So there’s a lot of contributing factors leading up to why they did give two babies up for adoption. But I started writing at that time because he was getting really sick, I think when I was just looking for a creative outlet.

[00:11:18] Rikki: And they were very adamant about the fact that they did not know that they had a sister. No, we wouldn’t be able to meet. But that might be a conversation that we could have in the future. So a couple of years later, I started to get. Very impatient. So I coerced my mother into taking me to an outlet mall that I knew was like closer to where Juliana Kendall lived in hopes that I would just see them there at the outlet mall, which didn’t happen.

[00:11:49] Rikki: But what did happen is me and my mom were in the shoe aisle trying on shoes, and I heard behind me, hi Julianne. And I was like, oh my God, my master plan has worked. Ah, they’re in the store. And I turned around and it was a little girl our age talking to me. So my mom had to call her mom over and explain that they could never ever breathe a word of this to the girls because I was their triplet separated at birth, and they didn’t know about me.

[00:12:24] Rikki: And I would’ve thought that she thought that we were just total whack jobs. But I guess it was a woman with me that I was not Julian because Kendall wasn’t there. Tina wasn’t there. So she never said anything. But my mom did write Tina and Kendall letter shortly thereafter where she said, oh, also, just a heads up, you guys should probably know that there is someone out there in the world walking around who did see us at the outlet mall and did mistake Rikki for Julianne.

[00:12:52] Rikki: So I think that Kendall can bring her on home.

[00:12:57] Kendall: Yep. Yeah. So then, I think they decided that it would probably be pretty terrible if we found out not from them. And stories differ here. I remember it as New Year’s of third grade. My parents sat us down. They said, we have a gift to give you that cannot be wrapped for Christmas.

[00:13:16] Kendall: And I. Showed us a picture of Rikki and it looked exactly like Julianne, but she had, cooler clothes. We had she honestly looks like Lindsay Lohan out of Parent Trap, the style and the little bang thing. But, so yeah, we were like, this is really weird. And yeah, I guess they took us aside separately.

[00:13:40] Kendall: My dad talked to Julianne, my mom talked to me and asked us like how we were feeling. I was a nerd and I was like, I’m unique because they look exactly like they look alike for anyone who’s just listening.

[00:13:51] Alexis: Yeah. Two of the three look exactly alike. Kendall looks different, you were very young when you found this out.

[00:14:01] Alexis: Like how did you feel when you learned this information? I think

[00:14:05] Jules: that’s the most interesting thing is I think our parents were shitting their pants to tell us for so long. And children, and I think us especially, were, we’re resilient and we don’t even remember that day that well because it was not like a ground or an earth shattering thing.

[00:14:21] Jules: It was just something that we took in stride, absolutely zero resentment. We definitely were not angry or felt like they had been hiding something from us or anything like that. We just took it in stride and we were really excited, I think and literally just absorbed the blow.

[00:14:36] Jules: And I’m sure they were like, what the fuck? Why didn’t we talk sooner? So yeah, it didn’t, there was not, I think a lot of people they here adopted and just automatically assume that you have some kind of complex about being abandoned and yada. And we didn’t have any of that and we did not.

[00:14:52] Jules: We were not. Mad, find this out and find out. We weren’t mad that we hadn’t heard sooner.

[00:14:57] Jules: We were just really excited to have another sister out there in the world.

[00:15:02] Alexis: So what happens next? So you’re in third grade, like at this point, do you connect?

[00:15:07] Rikki: Yeah. So they told them and allowed us to start writing letters, and they’re dated from, I think December 31st.

[00:15:15] Rikki: Or January, one of that year. Her birthday. Our birthday, we waited six month. Yes. They waited six months and they wrote me for our birthday. That’s so cute. So they wrote our first letters and then we became best of pen pals.

[00:15:32] Jules: You wanna embarrass yourself, read some shit that you wrote when you were eight into teenage years.

[00:15:38] Jules: Geez, Louise. It’s so mortified. Yeah.

[00:15:42] Rikki: And that was a lot of just trading back and forth, like favorite things or me telling them about every single farm animal that did or did not exist on our property. And just, things certainly a young child would wanna know about their sibling, favorite colors, favorite foods, what they’re doing for the summer, and they grew up in very different circumstances.

[00:16:05] Rikki: So that was always a little bit like reading a fantasy novel. Yeah.

[00:16:09] Alexis: So you said your parents didn’t have a ton of money. You grew up with an older father, Jules and Kendall. How did you grow up? What was your existence like?

[00:16:20] Kendall: we were just so loved, like our parents wanted kids so bad. That’s actually how Kathleen picked them, was that she had asked a couple of their couples, how do you feel about having kids who are not biologically yours?

[00:16:36] Kendall: And the wife. Was the instigator and the husband was like, I don’t want to have a kid that’s not mine, but like she does.

[00:16:44] Rikki: You’re doing this for her?

[00:16:45] Kendall: Yeah. I’m doing this for her. And then my dad said, I just wanna be a dad. I don’t care how it happens.

[00:16:53] Kendall: So that’s how she was like, automatically.

[00:16:55] Kendall: Absolutely. Yes. Yeah. And we had, moved up to Fort Collins because Colorado, yeah, Colorado because our dad was a real estate developer. He was building a whole complex of condos and it was during the real estate boom. So we were much better off financially than Rikki was, and just totally different.

[00:17:17] Kendall: Like they all had friends with kids that they’d knew known since college.

[00:17:26] Jules: And it was just, and we had a big family, very tight knit Italian. Yeah. Tons of cousins, family. Our cousins were our best friends. We saw them all the time. Very active, lot of, trips, grew up on boats, grew up on the mountain.

[00:17:38] Jules: Every sport that you can think of, just my parents like to keep us busy. They like to keep us around and they wanted us to just be having fun all the time. So we didn’t, we really didn’t want for. Anything. We look back on our childhood and it’s riding bikes down the street.

[00:17:52] Jules: It’s just very idyllic and picturesque.

[00:17:55] Alexis: That’s really interesting. During your learning about each other, did you ever have these, like what if I’d, what if we’d grown up together or what if we’d all been adopted or what if we all stayed together? Like kind of those comparisons of what your life would’ve been like?

[00:18:11] Rikki: I certainly did. Not in a, that’s what I was alluding to with how we got onto this topic in reading about their letters, where it would be summers at the country club and eating chocolate mousse. And I was like, what is chocolate MOUs? It was very much, I don’t remember ever being like why did they get that?

[00:18:32] Rikki: And I didn’t grow up in ideal circumstances, but I don’t remember feeling that at the time at all. I loved my parents and my dad, after he got over the initial blow of having to have another baby, then it being three, then putting two up for adoption right around the time when I started to become a more animated baby, he fell in love with me.

[00:18:54] Rikki: So he took every opportunity he could to, he started driving my school bus. He chaperoned all of my field trips. They did their best to. I had no idea that I was living in such different circumstances because we were also not in an area where that was not the norm. It was just a very low income area.

[00:19:15] Rikki: Sure. And I was on a farm having a blast, but I was very lonely because my dad was working or gone a lot and my mom was deaf. So there was just a little bit of a different kind of barrier there, I think, to communication. And I spent a lot of time by myself just playing outside with imaginary friends. And I was always questioning what if, but it wasn’t, what if they had ended up with me or I had ended up with them.

[00:19:42] Rikki: It was just what if we had been all together?

[00:19:44] Jules: Yeah.

[00:19:45] Alexis: Yeah. So you get to know each other as pen pals. When do you actually get to meet?

[00:19:50] Rikki: Yeah, so not off the heels of the best circumstances, but it was when my dad passed away when I was 10. My mom had written their parents on May 5th to say, things are not looking good.

[00:20:05] Rikki: It looks like Lee is in his last days. And we had gotten a letter back from their parents on May 9th, I believe, which was the day that he passed away. And that was when they had their dad had written us and said, the girls aren’t ready. But it’s our job as parents to do what we think is best for them and what they’ll think is best in the long run.

[00:20:28] Rikki: And how can we support Rikki, if she’s losing her dad? Then maybe it would be best if she gained her sisters. So we’re gonna cry during this.

[00:20:38] Alexis: I know. I was, I’m getting a little teary..

[00:20:40] Kendall: Yeah.

[00:20:40] Rikki: I am trooping through this. Yeah. I have to say, we just read a review on, we hadn’t read our iTunes reviews in a while, and we just read a review on our podcast where they talk about how callously we laugh through everything and then as a at a side they’re like, but maybe it’s nervous laughter.

[00:20:59] Rikki: Oh. And that is definitely what it is. Sure. Yeah. If we are chuckling through it at all. But, so my dad passed away May 9th. It was a brutal process, a brutal death. And my mom was left to be in charge of the entire farm, which she did like an absolute champion. My mom is a beast. She’s badass, and she can like, build anything with her own two hands.

[00:21:25] Rikki: Like barns. Like barns. Oh wow. Can probably build a house. Yeah. Yeah. No, they did build basically a house. Recently she did. But so I remember just walking out one day and she was digging a post hole with a post hole digger, and she was just sobbing and I was 10 and I could tell that she was not having a good time.

[00:21:45] Rikki: And she looked up at me and asked, If we could move to Missouri to be with her parents. And she really was seeking me for like genuine counsel, like that is how our relationship was going. So I went back inside thought on it for a second that I came back out and said, yeah we can do whatever you want, mom.

[00:22:04] Rikki: So I wrote their parents and I said, this is my last ditch effort. It’s really important to me. Could I meet my sisters before we move across the country from Missouri? That’s so dramatic. It’s definitely two states away.

[00:22:18] Alexis: But but far enough that you can’t just drive down the street or drive 30 minutes.

[00:22:21] Jules: Can’t Plan a incognito reunion. Exactly. Yeah. So

[00:22:26] Rikki: then I received a letter a couple, maybe a week later from both of them that said, good news, we are ready to meet you. Call our parents number, my dad to set up a timeand date. So we met for the first time when we were 11.

[00:22:42] Alexis: And what was that like?

[00:22:44] Jules: Pretty much the same as the first time.

[00:22:46] Kendall: It was very anticlimactic. We went to a mall. We went lip gloss shopping. The, I just remember we saw each other and just immediately ran to each other, gave each other hugs, and this was also the first time that we were meeting our birth mom too.

[00:23:01] Kendall: But the parents very much wanted it to only be about us, I think. Rikki’s mom was very hesitant to show us like any kind of affection. ’cause she didn’t want it to be weird for our parents or to freak them out in any way. So the parents just chilled and talked the whole time and let us do whatever we wanted.

[00:23:20] Kendall: We went to Claire’s and then we went and saw the cinematic masterpiece that is, Daredevil. And then we went and got pizza afterwards and it was just like nothing. It was like we had been friends forever.

[00:23:36] Jules: Yeah. It was like meeting it not again, just not uncomfortable for us. Felt like we were falling right into step, but I think the biggest difference that made.

[00:23:46] Jules: That when over the course of our podcast and interviewing Rikki’s mom and my mom, we learned so much more about how they were feeling at this time. ’cause we’ve never really asked. And Rikki’s mom was really heartbroken about the decision that she had to make, felt a lot of shame and guilt and sadness and it was really difficult for her.

[00:24:08] Jules: And then obviously we know my pa, my mom, especially my parents, were feeling very protective, very wanted to. Shelter us and make sure that we didn’t feel any type of way about being adopted or anything like that. And they left there and Kathleen wrote a letter about that. This was the first time that she knew she made the right decision because she saw how loved we were and saw how happy we were.

[00:24:32] Jules: And she finally felt at peace with her decision. And then my parents on the flip side, we come home and we’re jumping up and down and we haven’t, stowed away in the back of Kathleen’s truck and said, we’re gonna move with Rikki. And we are, we’re very much so excited to meet our sister, but still loving and acknowledging them as our parents.

[00:24:51] Jules: So it just brought a lot of peace for both sides of that.

[00:24:53] Rikki: That’s really cool. And I really am so glad that Jules highlighted that because I do feel like Like I said, my mom, putting two kids up for adoption is definitely the most hotly contested part of this story on the internet. I’m sure you can imagine.

[00:25:09] Rikki: And I think when people hear that or are just scrolling and see a snippet of a story, they think that what she did was rather callous or she did it out of carelessness or selfishness, and to read her letters to Tina and Ken up to that point, she was pretty. Open with them about the fact that she regretted having to do it and she had actually gotten the opportunity to hold both of them in the hospital before Julie, or before Tina and Ken came to take them home.

[00:25:39] Rikki: And that was very difficult for her. So she’s definitely lamenting about that for the entirety of her letter writing up until the point where she got to see them with their parents.

[00:25:51] Kendall: She said she had known that she had made the right decision after seeing that.

[00:25:55] Alexis: Yeah, I just wanna validate something because the internet can be wild and there can be a lot of opinions, but one of the kind of tenets of my show and like the community that I try to foster is that we don’t get to tell people how they feel about their own experiences.

[00:26:12] Alexis: If you feel good about your story, you’re allowed to feel good. And I’m not allowed to tell you, Kendall, that you should be upset that you were adopted because if you’re not, that is great for you and. Likewise some, I do understand where people are coming from and that there are a lot of issues in the adoption industry and the fertility industry and everything, but I think it’s important that we all get to own our stories and feel how we wanna feel about them.

[00:26:40] Alexis: So I just wanted to say that because I’m hearing from you all that you’re getting it.

[00:26:45] Jules: It’s so much appreciated. And when we see stuff like that, we’re like, can you imagine, can you, like how many people out there can financially take care of three newborns two months after finding out that they exist? It’s just it’s very put good Lord Almighty,

[00:27:03] Jules: get put yourself in her shoes. And we have never thought of that decision as selfish and it as the complete and total opposite of that, it was absolutely the most selfless. Thing that she

[00:27:17] Jules: could have done, and it tore her apart. And so that it, my parents think obviously my parents and my mom is forever grateful to her.

[00:27:26] Jules: We are forever grateful to her. And it’s she, we know, and thank you for saying that. We know that she made the right decision and now it’s now she knows. And our parents knew as well.

[00:27:37] Rikkia; Yeah. Yeah. And I do wanna just give you your flowers really quickly. Alexis. That is why we’re so comfortable coming on.

[00:27:44] Rikki: I so love your presence on my Instagram feed and my TikTok feed. Thank you. I knew that we were stepping into safe, a safe place with you. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:27:54] Alexis: Oh thank you. Thank you. So you all meet. It goes great. I do wanna ask Jules and Rikki, was it weird to see each other in person a little bit? I don’t know.

[00:28:05] Alexis: I feel like that would be, maybe it isn’t. I don’t know

[00:28:09] Rikki: . No, I’m glad you asked. I’m, this is the first time I have been asked this question since I have been vindicated and I guess there’s a, what’s It’s the third DNA surprise. Yeah. Yeah. So it was strange. But at that point in time, I looked a lot different from them, both of them, because I had started my cycle as soon as my dad passed away.

[00:28:39] Rikki: Ah. And they. We’re far behind me. So I just looked a little bit older, definitely more developed. So it was strange, but we did not at that moment in time look as similar as we did when we were younger at all. Okay. So it wasn’t as strange as you would think.

[00:29:00] Alexis: Okay. And then I know that there’s a third, I know there’s a third DNA surprise and we will get to that, but, sorry, go ahead Jules.

[00:29:05] Jules: Seeing her picture for the first time for me was very strange.

[00:29:08] Jules: Very strange because I literally was like, what the fuck am I looking at? Is this me? What is this? Rikki, I think, not strange ’cause she had grown up seeing photos of us, but yes, for me it was very weird when I saw her picture for the first time.

[00:29:22] Jules: Just like Rikki said, when we first met each other, I don’t think there’s a moment in time that we looked more different than when we first met each other. Okay. In puberty. But as we grew up and started seeing each other and all of that, I don’t know if it was so much weird as a little bit, it’s still a little bit weird when you see someone moving and acting and your mannerisms are the same.

[00:29:43] Jules: It can get a little bit freaky. It was most weird for other people. To see how similar we were and how our voices sounded and how we moved the same which we obviously took full advantage of.

[00:29:56] Rikki: And Alexis, I say vindicated because I had always had a theory that I was supposed to be taller and had some doctors more or less confirm that my growth was stunted by starting my cycle earlier than would’ve been the natural progression for me.

[00:30:14] Rikki: But we can wait to talk about the full indication. Yeah.

[00:30:17] Alexis: Okay. Alright. So Rikki, your mom tells you actually your donor conceived. How does that hit you? Given the fact that you’ve been grieving your dad who you thought was your biological father? And again, that doesn’t change the way that you feel about him or anything, but you’re learning this new information and then to think I’m donor conceived and I don’t know who my biological father is now.

[00:30:43] Rikki: Before we did our podcast, I would’ve answered this question and said it didn’t really affect me at all. I felt pretty normal about it. But in the course of having a lot of conversations with our moms and these two and just revisiting things a lot, I can tell that was not the case. My dad, had always really expressly asked my mom to not tell me that information because it would break his heart if I ever thought that he was less of a dad than he was.

[00:31:14] Rikki: So she decided to tell me after he had passed my mom, we were riding in her truck and she just handed me a, an article on artificial insemination and I read it. It was very short. And she said, so what do you think? And I was like, I don’t, I. Seems, seems interesting. I dunno, why are you showing me this?

[00:31:38] Rikki: And she said, I want, I wanted you to know that is what we did. And so she left me to I was like, oh, you’re telling me that my dad was not my biological dad? So she said, I went home and I’m always a person who walks away from a conversation if I feel like I’m gonna get upset or heated or anything like that.

[00:31:58] Rikki: So she said, I just went upstairs and shut my door and came back downstairs the next morning and she said, how are you feeling? And I said, pretty good considering I found out yesterday that my entire life is a lie. Oh,

[00:32:12] Alexis: so you did have some feelings.

[00:32:13] Rikki: I think I remember that as me being funny. But I look back on it now and realize that I probably wasn’t being funny.

[00:32:23] Rikki: And then I don’t remember reflecting on it specifically very much. But now I can see that was the start of a lot of angsty behavior on my part and a lot of anger. And I still need to unpack maybe why, that’s why me and my mom’s relationship got a little bit more contentious after that. But I remember being pretty steadfast at the time and, my mom asked me if I wanted to try to find out more, anything like that, and I said, no, absolutely not.

[00:32:51] Rikki: My loyalty lies with my dad, Lee.

[00:32:55] Jules: The other interesting thing to note here is that we, Kendall and I never were under the impression that Rikki’s father was our biological father. They wouldn’t have done that. They wouldn’t have done that just to pull the rug out from under us later. So we can’t figure out how it never came up how in all of these years.

[00:33:14] Jules: It never came up between us and Rikki to say, to make this discovery. And maybe that was the catalyst, just like the mal thing that she was like, she’s, what if she finds out from someone other than me?

[00:33:26] Rikki: Yeah. They can’t remember if their parents said, don’t tell her we don’t know.

[00:33:33] Jules: We don’t know.

[00:33:33] Alexis: So Kathleen and Lee told your parents. Kendall and Jules, that they used a donor. So your parents knew.

[00:33:42] Jules: Yeah, of course. Yeah.

[00:33:43] Alexis: Yeah. Okay, because that was a question I was going to ask is were your parents surprised to learn this information too? But they weren’t? Okay.

[00:33:51] Jules: I feel like hat might’ve not been allowed.

[00:33:54] Kendall: Yeah. ’cause I feel like, oh, that would’ve been super rough if we thought that Lee was our

[00:34:00] Jules: Yeah. That would’ve

[00:34:01] Kendall: been our biological father, and then he like died. I think that

[00:34:04] Rikki: would’ve been like a really, yeah. We can’t

[00:34:06] Jules: figure out the progression of events there.

[00:34:08] Jules: No.

[00:34:09] Alexis: Yeah. You’d think that Kathleen wouldn’t have been able to fib, but as I’ve learned, and I’m sure you’re learning as you do your podcast, that does happen. So I wasn’t sure if you knew about the donor conceived piece.

[00:34:21] Rikki: I think it was a really important part of the reason she was giving up to babies is because she had done IUI and it had an unexpected result.

[00:34:33] Rikki: An unexpected result. Yeah.

[00:34:35] Alexis: Yeah. Kendall, maybe you can answer this one. Did you have any feelings about being donor conceived as a child, or did it not necessarily mean anything to you?

[00:34:44] Kendall: It seems like we, had no feelings when we were kids, but that’s not the case. No, we, yeah, I think we just loved our parents so much that it didn’t really matter to us at all.

[00:34:55] Kendall: I never remember thinking weirdly about it or anything like that. It was just kind of part of, life. I don’t think that they like specifically used like artificial insemination and that kind of stuff. I’m sure they just told us that like our birth mom was our birth mom and they didn’t, we didn’t know who our birth father was.

[00:35:15] Alexis: Okay. You learn this information, Rikki you’re processing it in your own way or not, but maybe you are.

[00:35:23] Kendall: She also never told us after she learned either, this was never a conversation that we had.

[00:35:29] Rikki: Okay. Literally do not remember the first time that we spoke about it. And I do think that might be because we were on a o l, we had transferred from writing, writing letters to being on a o l instant messenger.

[00:35:45] Rikki: So if we can’t find a single trace of us having the conversation and we don’t remember it, it might be tucked away in the archives of a o l instant messenger. Or it could be because they also never really demonstrated any curiosity about him. Okay. Like one time. So I think I. I think when I started to become more actively curious about it is the first time that we ever talked about it.

[00:36:14] Rikki: I don’t know.

[00:36:15] Alexis: So the first time you talked about it was when,

[00:36:19] Jules: I think it was when you found his paperwork

[00:36:20] Rikki:. Yeah. That was when we were like 20.

[00:36:29] Rikki: I very genuinely think it might’ve been when I was moving from Missouri to Texas. So my mom was like turning over all of the documents to me that she thought that I might wanna take with me on the road. And that would’ve, I think, been the first time that we actually got to see his paperwork.

[00:36:51] Jules: I’m also thinking that when Rikki’s dad passed away and then she moved to Missouri, she started spending a lot more time with our family and my dad really stepped into a father role for her.

[00:37:05] Jules: So I think that might’ve had something to do with that. Like why would we talk about this when you, Kenny is right there. You know what I mean?

[00:37:12] Rikki: Yeah. I don’t think I was really feeling the effects of not having anyone in a father role because I. After we turn after we met for the first time, I started going out to Julian and Kendall’s every single summer.

[00:37:26] Rikki: And it feels like I spent entire summers there, but that was actually like two weeks at a time. But their dad, Ken really took it upon himself to step into that role for me.

[00:37:36] Alexis: s That’s really pecial. The, so we’ve had, let’s see how many DNA surprises. Sorry. No, I’m like, okay. Kendall and Jules Yeah.

[00:37:43] Alexis: Have had a surprise in learning about Rikki. Rikki had a surprise in learning that she’s donor conceived. And you all knew this other fact about each other. You knew that Rikki was donor conceived, and Rikki, you knew that you had sisters. But you all didn’t obviously break that news to each other. So there’s two DNA surprises.

[00:38:07] Alexis: Do you find who your donor is?

[00:38:10] Rikki: Yes. So I had moved from Missouri to Austin, Texas, and on top of my dad passing away, Jules and Kent, or Jules and Kenny’s dad passed away when we were 18. Wow. Leaving just. A big giant hole. Kenneth Scavo sized gaping hole. And I think that’s when I did become actively more curious about our donor.

[00:38:40] Rikki: And so my mom would’ve turned over that paperwork to me right upon I think leaving to go to grad school in Austin. And then life just kept getting a little bit harder for all of us. And there it was just like unfortunate event after unfortunate event. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had a great time and we’re very happy.

[00:38:59] Rikki: But there were some things that led up to me finally acquiescing and saying, I wanna do a DNA test. ’cause I would just like to know more about who we are, where we come from. Did the DNA test did find in that first in the first round of results, a half sister. On Ancestry, DNA, like she was already in the system when we got in the system, so that was fun.

[00:39:26] Rikki: It is again, just anti-climactic. I found her on Instagram and she knew that she was donor conceived, and we were old enough at that point where it wasn’t like a a voracious or rabid let’s get to know each other. What are your favorite colors, et cetera, et cetera. It was just, Hey, this is my deal.

[00:39:43] Rikki: I, this is your deal. So nice to meet you. Let’s follow each other on Instagram and just watch each other’s lives unfold from afar. So that was another DNA surprise, and then, Found his aunt, someone reached out to me on ancestry, DNA, said, I see that we have these relatives in common and I can’t, and we have a very high DNA match percentage, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how we’re related.

[00:40:12] Rikki: These are my parents, these are my grandparents. What do you think? And I thought that this was another. Successful insemination from our sperm donor. So I was like, oh no, I didn’t plan on having to ruin someone’s day or life. So I was just very straightforward with them and said, I’m not totally sure, but I will say that our shared connection on this app is conceived via the same sperm donor as I am.

[00:40:42] Rikki: And I see that you are a twin. I am a triplet. So it’s very possible that multiples might run on that on the sperm donor side of the family. And then they just never said everything. And I was like, I have indeed ruined someone’s day at the very least. And then just this last December me and my boyfriend were going through old paperwork.

[00:41:07] Rikki: He saw these papers and was like, why aren’t you doing anything with these? And I was like, there’s really no information there that’s helpful or pertinent. It’s like ages heights, weights, interests at the time of donation. And it’s that way for the whole family. But then while I was leaf through it, I saw that our sperm donor’s mom was an identical twin.

[00:41:32] Rikki: And I was like, oh my God. So I hopped back on Ancestry DNA and messaged her and said, I’m just sorry to message so late. Or follow up so late. I’m just now seeing in my sperm donor’s paperwork that his mom was an identical twin. Do you by chance have a nephew that was born in this year and went to this college and she just signed off?

[00:41:59] Rikki: Yes. Your great aunt Jenny. And that’s all she gave me. So I messaged her about a million times after that. Just saying in rapid succession, not over the course of days blowing up her phone. Sure, yeah. To just say, can you share more information with me? And I thought she wasn’t answering me because she didn’t want to, but she’s actually 89, so I’m sure she had just logged off the computer for the time being.

[00:42:31] Rikki: So the next day, me and my fiance,

[00:42:35] Alexis: oh, is that new? Congratulations.

[00:42:37] Rikki: Thank you. The next day, me and my fiance just sat down and spread out all of these, this paperwork and we said today’s the day we’re gonna crack this code. So we were looking for the name of the two sisters in Arizona.

[00:42:52] Rikki: Finally found our great-grandmother’s obituary and went through every single line to say, okay, it’s obviously this line of kids ’cause this is what matches up. So we just gotta find every single one of these kids and narrow it down from there. And some were easier and some were more difficult to find.

[00:43:13] Rikki: And the names were like super basic except for a Romans. And I had found this other, I had found a profile that I thought was probably him, but it, he’s literally not on the internet at all, so I could not confirm. So found Roman. And Roman is actually an artist, which is just crazy ’cause Kendall is a great artist.

[00:43:37] Rikki: And there were a lot of similarities like that, that are very cool. As I’m sure Alexis. Yeah. And he had a really public artist page up on the internet where he, sells his work and does, he wants people to be able to get ahold of him. So he had a phone number. On it. And I am a salesperson, and I was like, all right, I’m gonna sleep on this, but yeah, pretty sure I’m gonna make the phone call.

[00:44:03] Rikki: So the next morning I called Roman, he answered on the second ring and I was like, oh no, I didn’t think you were gonna answer. What am I supposed to do? So I asked if it was him and he said yes. And I said do you have a minute to chat? And he was like, I, it depends on what you’re calling about. And I said I’m sure that you’ve seen in the news at this point a lot of crazy stories come about come out about ancestry, DNA and 23 and me.

[00:44:33] Rikki: And he said, yeah. And I said I think I’m, your niece was shocked. And it, I, didn’t, it’s not very believable at first, but I said is your aunt. Jenny and he said yeah. And I said, okay. And went through some defining details about her and then I said, do you have a brother named Keith who was born in this year and went to this college and studied this?

[00:45:00] Rikki: And he said, yeah. And I said that’s my biological father. And then I was like, oh shit, by the way, conceive via artificial insemination. This is, yeah, not an enlisted love affair. An enlisted love affair, secret family situation. And he said, okay, tell me about yourself. And I told him a little bit about myself and he was just the kindest, warmest, coolest guy.

[00:45:25] Rikki: And he said I need to give you a call back ’cause I need to call my brother because it all checks out, but I’m gonna need to confirm. And he called me back within five minutes and said, Yep. He donated sperm at that time. I don’t think he’s ever gonna be able to meet you. And I said, oh my God. No, that’s fine.

[00:45:46] Rikki: I, if you have any pictures of him, like from right around the time that he donated or you could tell me anything more about him, that would be great. And he said, oh, no, he created a, an email address specifically for you to email him. Here it is.

[00:46:00] Alexis: Oh, okay. And did you email him?

[00:46:02] Rikki: I did email him weirdest thing I’ve ever done in my whole entire life.

[00:46:06] Rikki: Just the email started and was like, I’m sure that you never thought that you’d be receiving this. This is a little bit about me. This is where I live. This is what I do. This is why I’m reaching out. I wanted to be very explicit in the fact that I do not need anything like I am. Financially stable. I am live in a beautiful home with my fiance and my two dogs.

[00:46:30] Rikki: And I’m not looking for anything. I just wanted to confirm who you were basically. And then I said, and I did not enter the world alone, broke the news that I was one of three. And he emailed back, pretty much right away and just said that he was very surprised to be receiving my email. And he was a definitely a little bit, not standoffish, but reserved at first and didn’t really acknowledge the triplets thing.

[00:46:58] Rikki: Kind of just breezed over that. And we exchanged a few very nice emails back and forth. And then he asked to get on a FaceTime, so he got on a FaceTime and that’s when he said, Oh, I know you’re going to your sister’s for a Christmas dinner tonight. And I said Keith been burying the lead here.

[00:47:19] Rikki: You know that those are, were part of the same pregnancy. Yeah. There’s yours too. And he said yeah. I figured that. Wow.

[00:47:29] Alexis: So did you ever meet Keith?

[00:47:32] Rikki: We did, yeah. So it was really a whirlwind. So we FaceTimed and then, I met up with Julianne and Kendall and told ’em everything.

[00:47:46] Rikki: Asked if they would be interested in talking to him eventually, and they said yes, but it was on me to make the introduction and then, He asked if we would like to come out and no, he asked if I would like to come out and meet him. And I said yes. And then I said, do you want me to extend the invitation to Juliana Kendall?

[00:48:07] Rikki: And he thought on it for a second, and then he was like, yeah, obviously I want you to extend the invitation to Juliana Kendall. Kendall sat this one out and me and Julianne went to meet him at the end of, what is time? April. April. April.

[00:48:26] Jules: And what was that like? It was interesting. I think that, and this is something I think that has stirred up a lot of feelings for Rikki, which she can speak to better.

[00:48:37] Jules: For me, it was more, okay, I’m gonna go do this. I wanna support Rikki and Sure. Like whatever. I think that because Kendall and I had. Already been raised by two people that were not biologically our parents. For me, this was like more of the same, I’m just gonna meet just and I’m Kathleen, if you ever listen to this, I don’t feel the same way, but it’s very, very close in circumstance to, I’m just meeting someone that donated, is part of my DNA, but did not have any part in raising me.

[00:49:10] Jules: I don’t identify with, I, my parents are my parents, so for me it was pretty just like again, roll with the punches. Up until about 10 minutes before he got to the Airbnb that we were staying at. And then I started freak out for a little bit. Then when we actually met him face to face, the weirdest thing was his appearance.

[00:49:29] Jules: He like, from here to here just looks exactly like myself and Rikki, which was wild. And you couldn’t tell, you couldn’t see that from the photos that we had seen of him. So that was crazy to look into someone’s like upper half of their face or he was sitting next to Rikki at run lunch and I was like, holy shit. They literally look exactly the same. And then three of us have these little tiny baby hands, very like frail Rikki’s ring. Her new ring I think is a three and a half, like skinny little hands. And I remember looking over at lunch and he was sitting next to me as well, and I saw his hands. I was like, oh my God, that’s where they come from.

[00:50:10] Jules: But overall, I think it just reinforced what I had always felt about my parents, which is that I totally appreciate this and what an opportunity. And he welcomed us with open arms. But this very much so is my biological father and not my father and not one of my parents. So was not as it was great to meet him and we’re so thankful and again, could not have asked for a better reception, but didn’t sh shake my core at all.

[00:50:41] Alexis: And Rikki, it affected you a little bit more?

[00:50:44] Rikki: Yeah. So I think I was bound to be affected by it more, the more that we’ve unpacked with, because I was the one, I was the one raised separately. So that’s a wound, if you will. And then my father passed away when I was 10, which was a massive wound that I don’t think.

[00:51:04] Rikki: I realized until we revisited all of this and then Ken passing away huge wound, so I think that more than I knew, I was going into this thinking that maybe I would just meet this person and just feel like, okay, now I have a dad. And we met him and he, but we really can’t stress enough how warmly he and his entire family received us.

[00:51:34] Rikki: And they are all so friendly and brilliant people, and he is as well. He’s been nothing but incredibly kind to us. But yeah, upon. Meeting him. I think I was just, everyone said to go in with no expectations and I thought I was going in with no expectations. Expectations, yeah.

[00:51:56] Rikki: He got out of the car and we really look like our mom like a lot. And so I did not expect to see such likeness in a man. That’s been very strange to, to see. I don’t know. ’cause we’ve never seen that. I’ve never met a man that I’m biologically related to, but besides my uncles which is crazy.

[00:52:17] Rikki: Or I guess my grandparents, but my grandparents passed away very early. Yeah. Meeting him was it went wonderfully. He ran, went to lunch with us and then we ran around the zoo together and then went out to dinner and I just did not expect it to actually unearth a lot of sorrow for my own.

[00:52:39] Rikki: Dad. Yeah. What I expected to come away with was not sadness that he wasn’t there. And that I wasn’t going to see him. Yeah. Yeah. I thought that we were gonna walk away and it was just gonna be like totally joyous. And we do feel a great, connection to him. He is again, just such a kind man.

[00:52:59] Rikki: But it was not the familial connection that I expected to feel. Okay.

[00:53:04] Alexis: Yeah. Yeah. That it doesn’t replace the dad.

[00:53:08] Rikki: I was talking to a friend about it this weekend and she was like, if you think that lead jump is up wherever he is, and was like, I’m just gonna sit back and let this happen. You’re crazy. So very much feels him saying, you will not replace me, my little girl.

[00:53:25] Alexis: How are you working through some of this stuff? It’s a lot of loss that you’ve had and then meeting new people. Are you doing anything to work through it?

[00:53:34] Rikki: A lot of therapy. And then I think that that is actually the really cool part about us having done, we had to do the podcast earlier than we thought we were going to.

[00:53:47] Rikki: Because of internet circumstances. I had gone viral on TikTok accidentally, and we were like and the only reason I was on TikTok was to eventually promote our podcast. So we were like we gotta hop on this wave a little quicker than we thought we were going to. So I think in talking through all of it altogether, like what we just talked through with you, but in much greater depth and detail was very healing for all of us just to be able to talk about those circumstances for the first time. And so to continue to do that together. ’cause now we have a much more open line of communication. Like I think that I’m more open about those feelings than I would’ve been without that. I don’t know what I would’ve said to them. So it very much feels like they’re caring for me in this moment.

[00:54:35] Rikki: And so is my therapist and so is my fiance. So it’s just nice to. Have told the entire world the story. And then to be very honest about the outcome and to feel like I can talk about it in real time for the first time, instead of reflecting on it years later,

[00:54:54] Alexis: We have the last DNA Surprise?

[00:54:55] Rikki: One more DNA surprise to unveil. And I think it actually really feeds into the question that you just asked me about how we’re dealing with all of this. So on our final episode, I had been writing to Julian and Kendall from the time I, we had been writing to them and introduced myself as being identical to Julianne, even though the doctors definitely said that we were not.

[00:55:15] Rikki: And our parents, I think their, my mom suspected that we were, and then their. Their parents suspected that we weren’t. And then Kendall suspected that we weren’t because there’s a massive height difference and we have grown up differently. We did. There are just some differences about us.

[00:55:31] Rikki: So we decided to take our off DNA test.

[00:55:36] Jules: And I think, I wanna back up just one second. ’cause I, and I wanna give Kendall the opportunity to tell this story. Kathleen was very expressive that she did not want to separate identical twins. And I think one of the story, the questions that people ask so often is how did she choose which two to keep?

[00:55:56] Jules: And so thinking that none of us were identical she did have to make that decision and that, I know Kendall loves that story.

[00:56:04] Kendall: I do. Man, I feel like every time I tell it, I mess it up though. So the way she chose was Rikki and I were breach. Breach. And then Julianne was. Face or head down the right way.

[00:56:18] Rikki: Yes, as always. Yes.

[00:56:20] Kendall: And the doctor said, because we were so jam packed in there that we would not be moving. That’s how we would stay the entirety of the, two months because there was no ultrasound. That’s how we were gonna stay. And then I kinda wiggled around somehow so that I was head down with Julianne.

[00:56:42] Kendall: Kathleen took that as a sign that we wanted to be together and Rikki would be her one that she was keeping.

[00:56:48] Jules: Yeah. So I think people are calling out that we look a lot alike and we’re moving a lot alike and yada there was always a question of “Are they identical?” And Alexis, when I tell you I was absolutely dead set on the answer, no, I was absolutely dead set on it.

[00:57:11] Jules: But we did, we wanted to find out for, we just wanted to find out. We thought it was important for the podcast. So we did, we ended up taking Twin, I always say it wrong zygosity,

[00:57:22] Jules: Mono zygosity tests. And we opened them up on air and

[00:57:29] Rikki: oh, I read so they

[00:57:30] Jules: match. It was like Kendall and Julianne.

[00:57:32] Jules: Rikki and Kendall, Rikki and Julianne, what percentage chances there that they are. Identical. And of course I read mine and Kendall’s and it was 0.0 0, 0 0 chance. And then Rikki read hers and Kendall’s, and it was 0.000, or Kendall read hers and Rikki’s 0.00 chance. And then Rikki opened the last one.

[00:57:55] Jules: I think we had made wagers even, but a lot of the internet did. And she read it and it said that there was a 99.9 9, 9 9 9, 9 9% chance that we were identical twins.

[00:58:08] Jules: So we just found that out at 31 years old. Yeah. Which honestly it was a huge surprise to me and came with a lot of, for me, the biggest feeling was, oh my God I feel, I hope that Kathleen is gonna be okay, because she had been so adamant about not separating identical twins.

[00:58:27] Jules: And obviously we have now found out that she did.

[00:58:31] Jules: Yeah. Through no fault of her own. Yeah. So yeah, it was definitely a revelation.

[00:58:36] Alexis: So how did you all feel about that?

[00:58:38] Rikki: It’s been a whole different can of worms, man. It’s very fun. But they’re like, it’s not as fun for Kendall obviously, so that is shitty.

[00:58:45] Rikki: And then, it, it does feel fun, but it also, for me, I just feel like I’ve taken punch after punch, honestly. It just, it feels a little even more sad that I wasn’t with them. So that separation definitely feels more stark, but just in having gone through this whole journey together over the last six months, it’s been the most rewarding thing that we’ve ever done together.

[00:59:12] Rikki: And to just have that be like a really fun last piece of the puzzle. And to really realize, I think all three of us, I speak for them this matter frequently. I’ve never actually heard them say it, but To realize that unpacking all of this ended up being a lot more about our sisterhood than anything else has been very healing and very rewarding.

[00:59:36] Alexis: Yeah. Do you all feel like sisters today? Do you think of each other that way? ’cause sometimes people find each other and they’re like, it’s like a friend or an acquaintance. Do you feel like you have that sisterly bond?

[00:59:47] Rikki: 100%. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:59:49] Kendall: I do think for me the twin revelation, I don’t know, it’s really tough.

[00:59:54] Kendall: ’cause Julianne and I grew up as the twins ’cause we didn’t know we had a triplet. And now I’m like, how do I fit in the equation because they’re technically twins. But then how can you be twins and triplets at this? I’m like, I need to know science. Like how the hell does anybody, is there another situation out there wherein there is two identical twins and one outlier?

[01:00:16] Kendall: So that’s been. A little interesting, especially ’cause I don’t know, whenever we meet people and we tell them we’re triplets, they don’t believe us. They’re like, clearly you are not. And I’m like, thanks. That makes me feel great. But I think that’s been interesting. And also I’m just, I don’t know.

[01:00:33] Kendall: I think Rikki is very strong. I don’t know if I would’ve fared as well as her in her upbringing. I think if I had been the one who grew up separately and then I met my identical twin sisters it, it would’ve been really hard.

[01:00:53] Kendall: It would’ve felt really weird. Yeah. And I still, I think, I don’t know if it would’ve worked out the way that it did.

[01:00:59] Kendall: I don’t know if I would’ve connected with them as we have.

[01:01:02] Rikki: I’m actually so glad that you have said that as of late. Because the running joke has always been that like, if Julian and I were raised together, that we would’ve burned the world down. It’s true. And it was funny until we found out that we were identical twins to me, and then it was suddenly deeply unfunny because I have been like you don’t like the reason that our dynamic is the way that it is because we were separated.

[01:01:30] Rikki: So it could have been very different.

[01:01:32] Alexis: I’m curious about, now that you’ve gotten so immersed in this DNA surprise community, what your overall thoughts are like on donor conception. How many siblings do you think you might have out there and like those kinds of things? Because those were things that I never thought about until I had my own DNA surprised, and I’m not donor conceived, I never really, it never really occurred to me like, oh, there’s like weird stuff in this industry.

[01:01:58] Alexis: And so have you had any thoughts around that since learning more?

[01:02:04] Jules: I think it’s a great thing if it’s done for the right reasons, which in our case it was our Keith was very adamant that he donated sperm. Yes, because he needed burger money, but also because he wanted it to go to a good cause or, and help a family.

[01:02:19] Jules: So I don’t think, like ethically, I, if there is, if I don’t know how you could be against it, and I’m sure other people are, but I don’t think that ethically there’s any like gray area for us. I think more of it comes. Just we’re talking to you today and we have gotten to speak with so many people out there that share some kind of similar vein.

[01:02:42] Jules: And we were just talking yesterday about how this is new. This is just like you said this at-home, DNA testing is fairly new. And that’s why I asked Keith when I met him, I was like, when you heard about that, did you freak out? ’cause you thought, oh my God, I donated sperm. So there’s a chance that this could happen.

[01:03:00] Jules: And he’s did not think that at all. And so I think it does just people it’s a very unique thing to relate to. And I think that’s what we’re enjoying is just being able to build relationships speak with people that we wouldn’t have gotten to speak with and make them feel more normal in their own dynamic.

So that’s, it’s just been super rewarding. So much fun for us, and we obviously can’t wait to dive even deeper into it. It’s just a a little community, and we’re just, like I said, we’re so excited to be talking to you and we wouldn’t have gotten that opportunity if we hadn’t sunk our teeth into this.

[01:03:39] Rikki: Yeah. I think we should all answer separately. For me, I don’t I totally. Especially when you hear about 96 successful insemination in the same town that were illicit, obviously because they were by someone who wasn’t saying that he was doing that. But stories like that are certainly disturbing and I can understand why people would say overhaul the entire industry.

[01:04:02] Rikki: And I know that some people even think adoption is quite immoral and big business and traumatizing no matter how you do it or who does it. So listening to their stories it’s really interesting to enter in into a community where you feel really good about things and then people have such good reason for not feeling great about things.

[01:04:21] Rikki: If I were to say anything, I’d say that maybe to cap the number of inseminations much earlier would probably be good policy. And to have just much more rigor around making sure that who’s doing it as. Who’s saying they’re doing it and things like that. So certainly I think more rigor around making sure that exactly what is supposed to happen happens.

[01:04:45] Rikki: But or Keith had to listen to 10 episodes of us 50% lamenting about unfortunate things that happen to us, right? And we are all exceptionally now well adjusted, successful, fun, loving, super happy people. So it was super important for us to convey to him we’ve taken our punches for sure, but we’re not, all of us wake up very happy to be here every day.

[01:05:14] Rikki: And I think we all really appreciate our situation and our life story unfolding the way that it has. Overall, really grateful that it was an option.

[01:05:25] Jules: Yeah. I feel bad about my answer. Of course. You have your answer. I didn’t when I said ethically sound I wasn’t even thinking about. The bad situations, I think we’re so grateful. And Kendall and I see probably in rose colored glasses because we had an a birth mother who did the selfless thing, a sperm donor who did the most selfless thing. So that’s like the lens that we viewed out of, but certainly, yes.

[01:05:46] Rikki: Oh, I didn’t make mean to make you feel Oh no.

[01:05:49] Jules: I was over here thinking, I was like, oh my God, I forgot that it, candid, it doesn’t always end up a happy, in a happy way.

[01:05:56] Jules: So I think my answer is reserved for the people that do it for the right reasons, in an honest way, et cetera, et cetera.

[01:06:02] Rikki: Kendall Loney.

[01:06:04] Kendall: Yeah, I, I think adoption and donor conception in all the ways that we’ve figured out to help people who want to have kids is beautiful. I do think that, and I don’t, I’m not educated on this subject.

[01:06:19] Kendall: I’m very honored to be a part of this community now ’cause I’m, we’re getting stories and all these things and it’s. So cool to learn about and it’s fascinating. I am have not done any research. I am not an authority. I know nothing. But I think when done for the right reasons, I think with the correct regulations in place.

[01:06:40] Kendall: And I think obviously we’re finding out that our society has like a lot of work to do in a lot of areas, and this is one of them. But I, who knows what our life would have been like if adoption was not an option. And especially in our situation where there literally was no other options, except like literally growing up in poverty.

[01:07:02] Kendall: ’cause that would’ve.

[01:07:04] Rikki: Made it Oh, a hundred times worse than it already

[01:07:06] Jules: was. Way worse. We

[01:07:07] Kendall: probably would’ve, we wouldn’t have had meals like we, we would’ve, it would’ve been really bad. So I’m very grateful for it and I’m grateful for donor conception. I do think there needs to be like very strict regulations involved and monitoring and all sorts of things that I’m sure could happen.

[01:07:29] Kendall: But also I think what we’ve learned. Or I, my personal theory on why we’re so well adjusted and we’ve taken everything like, just off the cuff and we’re just, it’s never been like some crazy is because our parents were honest with us from the get go. That’s exactly what I was gonna say.

[01:07:47] Kendall: We always knew we were adopted. It was never like, so it was never like, oh, we’re your parents. And then a big lie that like, sorry, Rikki, but she also knew that we existed too. Yeah.

[01:08:03] Alexis: So they did keep some, they did keep a DNA surprise from you. And this kind of goes into, so every episode I ask people two questions and I’m curious for your take on this.

[01:08:13] Alexis: So the first question is, what advice do you have for parents who are keeping a DNA surprise from their children?

[01:08:21] Jules: Kendall took the words right out of my mouth. We were speaking with someone wonderful lady, who has actually written a book about sperm donation. And she, we spoke with her for a while and she was literally just asking us the best way to handle it with her kids and things like that.

[01:08:40] Jules: And I think that’s the number one piece of advice is transparency. Be honest. You ha don’t don’t put yourself in a situation where your child will resent you or have any reason to.

[01:08:50] Jules: It’s just being honest from the very, very jump and transparent. Know that don’t force a relationship on anyone.

[01:08:59] Jules: Don’t try to hinder anything. Let your kids handle it the way that they wanna handle it and answer any question that they have as honestly as you can. Yeah, because it seems like most of the trauma comes from the secret, right? I’m, you can relate.

[01:09:16] Alexis Yes. Yeah, I sure can.

[01:09:18] Rikki: So I would say that, yeah I, so many people ask me about when my mom told me and if I think it was the right time.

[01:09:26] Rikki: I think it was the right time for her. She’s dealing with a lot. And I have no idea how I would’ve felt personally if I had known sooner. I personally am almost grateful that I had the time with my dad just thinking that he was my biological father. But I cannot speak to how I would be different if I would’ve found out earlier.

[01:09:46] Rikki: But I do think and I don’t, I have a few, I don’t know where you stand on this, but especially in light of it being pride month, I do think to just say all of this should be not an option for anyone is bat it crazy. There are families that are non-traditional families that have to have these options to ever have it.

[01:10:08] Rikki: I hope at having the family that they want.

[01:10:12] Kendall: But yeah, I think These people are people who want children more than anything in the entire world. There are plenty of people who don’t want children and shouldn’t have them. So yeah, I think you’re right, though. The honesty is key and in, gay couples, they don’t have a choice. Like they have to be forthcoming right from the beginning and yeah.

[01:10:30] Alexis: Okay. What advice do you have for someone who just uncovered a DNA surprise? Like you have a sister out there, or you were donor conceived.

[01:10:45] Jules: Zero expectations.

[01:10:47] Jules: I think going into it, you don’t wanna go into it thinking that the absolute best thing is gonna happen and they’re gonna receive you with open arms and it’s gonna be all rainbows and butterflies and you don’t wanna go into it expecting the worst.

[01:10:58] Jules: Thing either. But I think being okay with yourself, very much so first before you seek out that kind of connection at all. Because there are so many different ways it can go when you actually meet, if you were to actually meet that person, that can have a huge effect on you as a person. So I think going into it with zero expectations as far as what you’re gonna meet on the other side, and also going into it with zero expectations about if you are going to ever get to meet that person.

[ [01:11:29] Rikki: And respecting that person’s choice and privacy as well. And I would say if an option, which it won’t always be, but if it is doing your due diligence in, for instance the half-sister that we uncovered on Ancestry, DNA, I was able to contact her mother first and ask if she knew about this. Ask if her mom was okay with us talking about that information, because I was very cognizant of not the person who reached out to me on Ancestry, DNA, I was like, this is an adult asking questions and making their own decisions.

[01:12:01] Rikki: The our half sister did not come to me asking any sort of questions. So if you have the option to circumvent the situation and find out who knows what, and then make your own decision on whether or not you wanna move forward with the conversation, I think is hugely important.

[01:12:21] Alexis: That’s great advice.

[01:12:21] Alexis: Kendall, do you have any advice? I

[01:12:22] Kendall: don’t know, have a ton of advice ’cause this is all Rikki. I think, she, every bit of information she’s come to me with, I’ve been very like, even keel nonplus cool. That’s great. Maybe being okay with that. Yeah.

[01:12:40] Kendall: And same thing with we, we mentioned that I did not go to meet our biological father.

[01:12:46] Kendall: I not only had like multiple trips already that month and it was like a very quickly planned thing. Like it wasn’t like we’re gonna give you time to prepare and stuff. So I chose to stay home also ’cause I’m just not really ready yet and that is okay. And I don’t know if I ever will be ready and that is okay.

[01:13:05] Kendall: That is okay. That’s okay. And I hope that Keith understands as well. But I’ve very much loved my dad. He’s my dad. I have no others. And even calling Keith, my biological dad feels really weird. I’m like, he is sperm donor, biological father is so I hold that relationship Very dear.

[01:13:25] Alexis: Yeah.

[01:13:26] Alexis: Rikki, Julianne, Kendall, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast. If people want to listen to your story more in depth, and I know you have future topics coming up, can you share a little bit about your podcast and where to find you?

[01:13:42] Jules: Yes, our podcast is called Luke, who is your father. You can find it on any streaming platform. And this, our first season is over. It really dives into our story

[01:13:57] Jules: and now we’ve put that to bed. We’ve started recording our second season, which Alexis, we really hope that you will be on at some point. We hope you’ll be on the pod. So any streaming platform. And then I’m gonna let Rikki rattle off the social media handles because I cannot.

[01:14:17] Rikki: You can find us on TikTok at Luke, who is your father pod? You can find us on Instagram at Luke. Who is your father? You can email us at the pod at Luke. Who is your father? Dot com and YouTube. YouTube. Who is your father?

[01:14:32] Alexis: Awesome. Welcome to the community. Can’t wait to hear more about what you ladies put together and just wish you the best as you continue to build your relationship.

[01:14:41] Rikki: Thank you so much. Thank you so much. It was so

[01:14:43] Kendall: nice meeting you, and we can’t wait to talk to you.

[01:14:45] Jules: We had the best time and I know that having three of us on the other end is a bit of a stampede, so thank you so much for your patience and you have just been an absolute pleasure and we’re Honored.


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