Lee Michaels is a radio host on AM 980 The Mission out of the Twin Cities, he is also a husband, a brother, a father, a friend….and an adoptee. I have know Lee for a few years now and we often talk adoption since it is a commonality in our lives. I thought it was appropriate to post this blog today, November 21 – it is Lee’s birthday. Happy Birthday Lee!! Here is my interview with him.
Tell me about yourself – where you grew up – your home life – present day – etc. My name is Lee Michaels and grew up here in the Twin Cities and live here with my wife and daughter. I have been working in radio for over 30 years and love telling my adoption story!
How old were you when you first realized or were told you were adopted? What did it feel like. I knew from as early as I could remember. My brother and sisters were all adopted too. I can remember going to the ‘Store” to get my brother and went to the airport to pick up my sister when she came to us from Korea. I never felt anything but love and support from my family, so there was never any issue.
Growing up…did you ever feel like a part of you was missing? Or ever have feelings of not fitting in? Struggle with it? Not really. My family was very loving and supportive. My grandparents were thrilled and I never felt as if I did not fit in. We were definitely part of the family! I did have some questions about my birth parents but never felt as if they did not love or care about me. I feel they loved me enough to make sure I had a good life.
How and when did you decide to look into finding your birth family? Did something other than curiosity decide it? I did not think about it often growing up. I did make an inquiry when I turned 18 but the initial search turned up nothing and at that point I did not invest the money to search more. My parents had always said they would pay for any search but I just did not pursue it fully. After my daughter came along there was more interest and I also wanted to know about health history.
DNA kits are used so much present day for families to connect…what do you see as a pro and con of them as a way to find birth parents in an adoption? I used a DNA search, I had done one about a year ago but it really did not tell me anything but possible regions my family might have been from. I decided to try another DNA test to see if that had more success. I was excited to see what I would find out but thought the chance of connecting would be slim. The advantage is you can find a connection but it is possible that if you make a connection that a biological parent my not know (the father) or want to make a connection. I feel it would always be a positive thing to have the info.
I did get a connection through a DNA test and it turns out that a few years after my biological parents put my up for adoption they got married and just celebrated 50 years of marriage. I also have a full biological brother and sister. We have just begun the process of getting to know each other thru emails and picture and looking forward to meeting in person. We have taken is slow and enjoying getting to know them. I am sure more questions will be asked and answered but there is nor need to hurry though it.
Was adoption talked about openly in your family growing up? If so, what was said about it? My family was very open to it. We had family friends that had adopted too. I would talk about it if it came up and was always a positive experience. My parents would always share with us about the process, how much they loved us and were so grateful to get us.
What questions have you always wanted answered by your birth family? or your adoptive family? I can’t think of any burning questions. I have never been hung up on why they choose adoption because I believe they wanted what was best for me.
Does you adoptive parents know your interest in finding your birth parents, if so – how do they feel about it? My parents have always been very supportive and I wish my mom could have met my birth parents. She would have been very happy to share about my childhood. My dad would love to meet them and I hope that we can make that happen.
Today is your birthday! Does it feel different this year, now that you know your birth parents? This birthday will be a little more special. I did not always think about being adopted on my birthday but this year I am for sure! Really happy to for my birth parents as they now don’t have to wonder anymore. (me either!)
You can hear more from Lee on AM 980 The Mission Mondays-Fridays at 4pm! Here is a recent show he invited to be on as we talk about adoption and our adoption stories.