On February 25, 2006, VH1 showed an excellent documentary about one mans journey toward an adoption reunion. Darryl "DMC" McDaniels of RUN-DMC, was that man. At the age of 35, DMC began work on his autobiography and asked his mother for more information. She shared with him that he was adopted. This began an emotional and tiring journey towards discovering his roots. DMC expressed that finding his birth parents was not only about finding them, but about finding himself.
dmc: my adoption journey was one of the most honest and best documentaries on adoption reunion that I have seen to date. A first with reality TV was the fact that this documentary was real. Through the one-hour long segment we watched DMC jump through many hoops to meet his birth mother, not only showing the difficulty and heartache involved in adoption search, but hopefully the need for open records. With only a name of his birth mother that came from his adoptive parents, DMC enlisted the help of many different adoption professionals. The film followed him along each step of the way though therapy, support group meetings and even to the Harlem Hospital.
DMC was obviously overwhelmed with his new found knowledge of being adopted and the task of locating and reuniting with a lost mother, emotions flowed with tears, anger and fear. DMC's adoptive family was not happy with the fact that he was actively searching. His adoptive mother, who was ill at the time of taping, was hurt by his need to search which brought out the protective side of Alfred, DMC's brother. But DMC needed to do this for himself. In the past, he struggled with the feeling of an empty void and had suicidal ideation until he heard a song by Sarah McLachlan, Angel. He reported that he listened to the song daily for a year and that it saved his life.
This documentary brought to light the reality of closed records and closed doors as DMC learned that he would never have his original birth certificate, that it was forever sealed. This knowledge, while nothing new to veteran searching adoptees, blew DMC away and he expressed his frustration in a support group for adoptees. He also shared how the group has kept him going on his search and has helped in his grieving process.
DMC also contacted Pamela Slaton, his "private eye for the adopted guy". Slaton, who specializes in adoption search, encouraged DMC to visit the Harlem Hospital and ask for his records. At the hospital DMC learned his birth mother's full name and address at the time he was placed, but only after much effort as he did not have any identification proving that he was "Darryl Lovelace". A quick search on a database with his PI revealed what they had hoped to find, a current address for his birth mother on Staten Island.
One of the agencies working with DMC, "The Foundling," suggested that DMC send a letter to his birth mother followed by a call. DMC called his brother to let him know his progress with the search, but Alfred made it known that he did not want to be involved.
DMC purchased bright green stationary and matching envelopes to pen the important message. With much struggle he finished the short note and put it in the mail with his support system on the phone. He spoke of the fear and worry of rejection and the hope that she will want to meet him.
After several days there was no response. The letter was returned unopened due to a wrong address, which relieved DMC to know that he was not ignored, but it was clear that he had to make "the call". After dialing and hanging up several times like a nervous school boy, he finally waited on the line. She answered, and DMC stumbled out an explanation for his call. There was much silence on the other end when DMC asked if she could be his birth mother until she finally said, "It's possible". A date was set to meet the next day.
DMC met his birth mother on November 19, 2005, at 1pm with his wife, son and manager in tow. He learned that he had 2 half-brothers, and a half-sister. He told his birth mother that he feels that his two mothers are not separate but one entity of motherhood and love.
dmc: my adoption journey was a roller coaster ride of emotion. I was near tears several times. I could feel his frustration as he continued to hit brick walls every step of the way. I rejoiced when he found hope with each new development, and I smiled when his birth mother wanted to meet him. I wish DMC peace and much love as he bonds with his new found family and I hope he can heal any undue hurt with his adoptive family.
Adoption reunion is not easy, but worth the trip.
Keep an eye out for DMC and Sarah McLachlan's new song, Just Like Me, a remake of Harry Chapin's Cat's in the Cradle. The song puts into words DMC's feelings about being adopted. He hopes that other adoptees or children in foster care can identify with him and know that they are not alone.