BIO: Daryl Fuller, I’m 52, married to my wife Michelle for 28 years, and have three children, Harrison 23, Danielle 20, and Annabelle 12. They are the reason I get up every day! I’m a 1st Class Sheetmetal Worker by trade and also a 1st Class Welder by trade, so dual trades. I have worked in the automotive manufacturing industry most of my life and have watched it slowly collapse. I’m about to start a new job in a different industry, landscaping related. I go to the gym 2-3 days a week and a 5km run on Saturday mornings. I survived adoption mostly by my passion for surfing, which I have done since 12 years old. I also enjoy watching a bit of Netflix and love a good coffee. I don’t have many friends, but the ones I do are lifelong, and I remain committed to working on all my relationships. Oh, I’m a movie star too, no royalties, though!
My adoption was forced and closed. I was born in Adelaide, South Australia, on the 30th of April 1968 and relinquished at birth. I spent the first two weeks of my life in the hospital (for unwed mothers). There are no records of those two weeks. My adoptive parents were married in 1964 and were struggling to conceive. When I was adopted, my parents had no say in the gender of the baby being adopted, but if you adopted a second time, you were allowed to choose the gender.
My parents applied to adopt again, this time choosing a girl. In the meantime, my mum fell pregnant. They went ahead with the second adoption anyway. My brother was born in April 1970, and my sister, adopted, was born in August 1971. It all looked quite normal from outside of the family. Far from it, though.
I wasn’t told I was adopted until I turned 13 years of age. They only told me on the advice of the local GP. After being told, I asked a few questions, got no answers to them, and was told not to speak of it again. The subject was closed and hasn’t been talked about to this very day. I told people at the time what I had been told to say if anyone asked questions about me.
I learned very quickly during high school to keep my mouth shut. I was bullied to the point that at 14 ½ years old, I decided to try to end my life. I was going to take my mum’s sleeping pills and never wake up. So many pills, I didn’t know which ones they were. Life went on.
I struggled with all the classic adoptee issues, rejection, abandonment, fear of intimacy, and my biggest, trust. I always blended in, mostly in the background. I never thought I was any good, just discarded like an old toy. I was the good adoptee, safe in my own imagination.
I first searched when I was 25 (in the fog). I hit a few dead ends, got my original birth certificate, and just turned up on the doorstep of an address from 1968. I didn’t have any other choice. I had no other information. The door opened to a Chinese lady. I felt relieved as it wasn’t my birth, mum (I’m not Chinese). I went to the next-door neighbor, and before I said a word, she said, “I know who you are. You look just like her”. I’ll never forget that day!
I met my birth mum and my five half-sisters that day. I look the most like my birth mum out of all the girls. I went through the classic honeymoon period of reunion. It was on-again, off-again for many years. Through that time, I had not forgiven my birth mum. I didn’t know the whole story of why I was adopted out, and I was firmly entrenched in the fog. I realized a few years ago that I was still drowning in my own story.
One of my biological sisters had passed, and my birth mum passed away four years ago. Her birthday was ten days before mine. I have since learned many more things surrounding my being adopted out and the reasons why. Everyone is hurting from this; EVERYONE INVOLVED IS HURTING! I have also met my birth dad. He is slowly dying from dementia. I learned that he tried searching for me when I would have been a teenager, his own doing. He had wanted my birth mum to have an abortion at the time. I guess he changed his mind. I have another half-sister on his side. I don’t call them half-sisters, by the way. No one is half a person.
I have grown closer to all of them, but it is usually me doing all the chasing. This is hard. Reunion seems to be the most difficult thing to navigate. It’s the only road I can take if I want to stay in touch, and I do like that. Unfortunately, I don’t have much to do with my adoptive family. My adoptive dad passed seven years ago, and that was the last time I saw my sister. She is a methamphetamine addict, gets violent, and moves around a lot. My brother moved interstate, a closet gay alcoholic, still drinking. I do speak with him occasionally, usually when he is sobered up. I had two years in therapy and finally talked about the sexual abuse that had occurred growing up. The ugly side!
I have become far more active over the last few years (out of the fog). I meet up with a group of adoptees once a month. We discuss everything adoption-related and have done several activities to help us with healing. I took part in a documentary in 2018 called “You Should Be Grateful.” I started songwriting in 2019 and had the honor of one song being included in ARD 2020. I’m currently working on this song with a company and producer in the USA. This has helped me so much, and I hope it helps many others.
My DNA Twist
Like many adoptees, I did a DNA test to try to put together a family tree that was authentic to me. I have 5003 relatives, none close, i.e., no parents or siblings have tested. I do, however, have two that are maybe 3rd cousins. One is in her 70s and lives in the UK. The other is a man in his 70s in the USA. My highest match is with the man in the USA. I write a message to him. Dear Mark, tell him my name, etc., and I add, I’m adopted and have limited information. I wait for a few weeks. Here’s the ironic twist. He says Dear Daryl; I hate to be the bearer of bad news but, I’m also adopted and have no information. I couldn’t believe it. Two hundred million people and my closest match is with another adoptee. I have also been in contact with the woman in the UK, and she believes that our connection is also through adoption. What else can I say, but adoption is my life, and everyone and everything revolves around it.
Thank you, Daryl for so bravely sharing your story with us!
Please help us support Daryl in the comments below.
Relationships Australia – Once in search pass, post-adoption support services.
Adoptees On – podcast, my favorite series was the healing series.
Adoptees Connect. – Adult Adoptee Connect Groups – Where Adoptee Voices Meet
Facebook: Daryl Fuller
Daryl’s song, “I Belong to the Universe” was the closing song for Adoptee Remembrance Day – October 30th 2020. This is a dedication to all the adoptees out there who might feel isolated or all alone. Take a listen.
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