Season 4, Episode 13: Donna - I Come from a Lineage of Loss

What happens when you are so hopeful about connecting with your first mother but then you discover they’re already gone? Today Donna shares her story of searching for her birth family and what happens when she finds out some very sobering details of her birth mother’s life.

Show Notes


Topics We Discussed

  • Donna comes from a lineage of loss; finding out her birth mother was also an adoptee
  • Even attending an adoption conference at age 18 didn’t prepare her for what was about to come
  • Going to the agency (in Arizona) to help find some information before she begins her search and she was read her entire chart in her adoption file.
  • Donna shares her birth mother’s story, which is full of tragic details.
  • Her birth mother was adopted from Ecuador
  • Searching for her birth father when she was 20 and he was also looking for her
  • International Soundex Reunion Registry (ISRR)
  • How Donna processed all of these items - her birth mother’s suicide, finding out her birth father wanted to keep her, the immense disconnection and losses that her birth mother experienced in her own life - while she was only 20 years old
  • Donna experienced depression and suicidal ideation as young as jr. high into high school. She “spent her 20s in a state of moderate to severe depression.”
  • Paul Sunderland video - adoption and trauma
  • Her reunion with her birth father, and her younger biological brother, and how they have started a new and more open relationship since Donna has come out of the fog.
  • The Girls Who Went Away - by Ann Fessler
  • Donna’s search for maternal connections in Ecuador
  • “I was grown in trauma soup”
  • Adoptees are four times more likely to attempt suicide
  • Don’t miss Donna’s piece for Dear Adoption, “I See You Now”


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