' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: 'Burger King Baby' is thrilled to meet her 'birth mom'

Thursday, April 10, 2014

'Burger King Baby' is thrilled to meet her 'birth mom'

In contrast to the situation we have been discussing at the last post*--about a woman who wrote to us stating that she does not want to meet her first mother--is the Burger King Baby who actively searched for her mother, and was thrilled to meet her.

Katheryn Deprill, 27, who was left as a  newborn in the bathroom of a Burger King in Allentown, Pennsylvania, teared up this morning on the Today show as she recalled meeting her biological mother, Cathy Pochek, for the first time two weeks ago. 

“It’s so surreal; never in a million years did I think this was going to happen,” Deprill said.

Pochek was raped at age 16 and secretly gave birth in her bedroom before leaving the two-hour old baby wrapped in a red sweater in a Burger King bathroom in Pennsylvania. The baby girl was adopted by Carl and Brenda Hollis. When she was 12, they told her the truth. 

“You just wonder where you come from,” Deprill said in the interview. “I would never want to replace (my adopted family) but being adopted, a part of you is missing and unless you've been adopted, you really just don’t understand that.” 

Her adoptive mother, Brenda encouraged her daughter to search for her biological mother. A mother of three herself, Deprill turned to Facebook with a photo of herself and her story written on a poster. The photograph went viral and Cathy Pochek came forward three weeks later. The two met two weeks ago for the first time since September of 1986, when Cathy Ann Pochek gave birth to the girl who became Katheryn Ann Deprill. 

In the Today interview, the two talked about the many coincidences they share: Both were named Catherine Ann, thought the spelling of Katheryn is different; both drive the same make and model of car. They said there were many other coincidences, but didn't go into them. And in a weird twist of fate, Cathy Pochek, the mother, at some point baby-sat for her daughter's future husband. 

Watching this story this morning as I was going out the door I was struck by the absolute difference between "Angela," who has so much anger towards her first mother, and Katheryn Deprill, who sought out a woman who left her in a bathroom shortly after birth. I  understand that Angela has no knowledge of what happened to her in the first first years of her life. It might have been bad. I am not judging Angela but remarking on the difference in attitude. Deprill, upon hearing her story, could have ended up with the same feelings that Angela has. 

Samantha Guthrie did the interview with warmth: she called Cathy Pochek a "birth mom," which has a friendly, open connotation to the phrase; the interview was focused on the mother and daughter reunited, but she gave warm credit to Brenda Hollis, the adoptive mom. Hollis said that Katheryn had been talking about searching for a long time and when Katheryn showed her what people were doing on Facebook, she encouraged her to do the same. It all sounded very relaxed and normal--and consider they were looking for a woman who left a baby in a Burger King bathroom. 

Guthrie called that a "selfless" act, and she said something about all the women "being in the right place." 

What I loved is that Katheryn is able to accept and forgive a woman who left her in a bathroom. What I loved was the way the Guthrie (who is about four months pregnant herself) did the interview. What I loved was how the three of them related and were able to do this interview on national television together. 

Right, I thought, thinking about all the different stories were hear, thinking about women and men like Julia Emily, whose parents barely acknowledge that she was not born to them. At that point I was grateful for adoptive moms like Brenda and Jay Iyer and Tiffany and others that I know are out there. 

At that point, Katheryn started tearing up and says: I've kinda opened up and feel all these feelings." And at that point, I teared up. 

Everybody's different. There is always going to be adoption and what we can all hope that more are like this one--open, understanding, and giving, thinking about the best for the child.--lorraine
I've tried to include photos but that has almost resulted in losing the whole post; Today video is below.


Part two: Navigating the first meeting between birth mother and child

RECOMMENDED Recommended Reading:
Taking Down the Wall by Christine Murphy (and recommended by Rebecca Hawkes)
"This book was very helpful to me in understanding the feelings an adoptee has as an adult and the reasons for them. The author, Christine Murphy, tells her journey as an adoptee who at age 23 is stunned by a phone call from her original mother. Murphy rejects most contact for 15 years until she decides she needs to find out why she has feelings of anger. She works with a therapist and on her own and makes great emotional progress over the course of a year. Because this book is a true life story, it provides insights into one person's journey from rejection and not wanting to know about her conception, gestation, birth and post-birth history to accepting and working on changing the resulting feelings and actions she had unconsciously had and done during her life."--Amazon review 

The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole by Lori Holden 
"Holden’s debut is an insightful, heartfelt exploration of open adoption, an evolving arrangement that has been growing in popularity over the last 20 years. Her endorsement is personal; she has two children from open adoptions and maintains that openness helps heal adoption’s split between a person’s biology and biography. She references open adoption as a “process” that encourages high-functioning relationships between birth parents, extended family members, and adopted parents." (Publishers Weekly) FMF hasn't read it yet but a quick look into it indicates this is a book we can recommend. 


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  1. What an amazing story! I have been following this ever since Katheryn put her picture up on Facebook.

    Her adoptive mother is to be applauded for her honesty with her daughter, and for her encouragement. I would give anything for my own A-mother to have a thimble full of such an attitude!

    Her Birth mother....my God I can not even imagine how desperate she was as a young girl. Look what desperation drove her to do! And how strong she is to come forward knowing that there will be those who will judge her by what happened when she was a young teen.

    And Katheryn....I am so happy for you! I can't even put it into words!

  2. Lorraine, you are my window to good TV and TV shows! I am so happy for all of them.

    Did the first mom Cathy by any chance talk about her life after giving birth to Katheryn, and whether she had any regrets and/or tried to find her? What a hard, hard circumstance for someone to go through at the tender age of 16! I am so glad about the outcome.

  3. Jay-- In a six minute interview with all of them, that question didn't get asked.

  4. Lorraine, I read your blog regularly but imagine my surprise today to be scrolling down and reading and seeing my book as recommended reading. I am honored. I saw the link to the today show story earlier in the day. I read the text of it but have not yet watched. I wish these women nothing but happiness in their reunion. I saw some of the headlines saying...a happy ending. I challenge that they are only in the beginning and reunion has ups and downs even in the best of circumstances. I hope they will continue to share about their reunion.

  5. I missed the interview- thank you for your recap. I too have followed the story since I first saw the fb posting. (Not going to comment on what I think of adoptees having to resort to such desperate actions-although in abandonment cases it makes much more sense)I was so happy that these ladies seem able to embrace the future and have empathy & caring for each other. I am very proud of the adoptive mother that she encouraged and helped her daughter throughout. Hopefully, this will stand to open some eyes and hearts of those in and outside the adoption circles.

  6. Christine Murphy:

    You can thank Rebecca Hawkes for recommending your book; I had not heard of it, but I looked it up and realized it so appropriate for this and particularly, the previous blog. I hope you will comment frequently.

    As we all know, reunion is the first step of a long and sometimes difficult and challenging journey.

  7. Yes, renee, posting for connection on FB is absurd. In this case, however, there was no birth certificate that would have any information, so social media was the only solution!

  8. I too saw the original FB post of Katheryn searching for her first mother. I stayed out of it, waiting for comments about Safe Haven & first moms in general. Thankfully none surfaced around here and, most thankfully, Katheryn got answers she so desperately needed.

    One of my best friends was an adoptive mom. Through exhaustive research and outlay of funds she helped her adopted daughter find her first mother - and this is back in the days before computers. Somehow this woman and I crossed the "color line" (for lack of a better word) and shored each other up through the trials of adoptionland. I'll always be grateful for having known her.

    As for placards posted on FB? Forgive me Jane....I know this is a cheap shot....but somebody needs to put one up that says "Searching for a human being in the Governor's mansion of New Jersey!"

    Anonymous in the North

  9. Anon in the North, there is no human being in the Governor's Mansion in NJ, just that disgusting crooked creep Boss Hogg aka Christie. There are so many reasons to wish he would go away. His treatment of adoptees is shameful. But he keeps on earning points with the Catholic Bishops, who for the most part are equally out of touch with the real people of NJ.

  10. Lorraine, this is a beautiful story and I, too, was struck by the stark contrast in attitudes between Angela and Katheryn. I wonder if Katheryn's compassionate, positive attitude is due to being a generally upbeat person, or her adoptive mom's supportive position, or perhaps a combination of both. Regardless, entering a reunion relationship without anger is definitely a plus.

  11. Sorry Lorraine. Didn't mean to call you Jane. My apologies,

    Anonymous in the North

  12. Thanks, Northern Lady. It was a tad weird, and I'm glad you noticed. :)

  13. Maryanne, does any one in NJ have a take on his adopted sister, or what's up with that? I have a feeling being adopted in his family was ... was... I am at a loss for words.

    You did see FMF's box in the left sidebar?

  14. https://whatstheformulablog.wordpress.com/tag/dawn-christie/

    "His sister, nine years younger, considers him her second father."

  15. Saw the sidebar, love your comments on Christie. Jackass indeed! I do not know anything about Christie's adopted sister except that he has one. Pam would probably know what there is to know about her.

  16. Lorraine, I just wanted to say that it meant a lot to me to be mentioned as an adoptive parent for whom you are grateful. It is really only by listening, supporting, and respecting one another- first mom, adoptive mom, and adoptee- that we are all going to make it through the many challenges of adoption. This blog is such a wonderful source of insight for adoptive parents.

    I'm so happy for Kathryn that she found her birth mom. I'm going to try to find a clip of the interview.

    Along the lines of Kathryn's adoptive mother, Brenda, I have a feeling she might have simply felt something along the lines of "whatever makes my child happy and fulfilled." Obviously, Kathryn felt a need to search out her birth mother, and Brenda simply wanted to support her daughter. I do admire her for it, since it seems to be so rare, but at the same time, I feel Brenda was being a loving, supportive parent. She was simply doing her job.

    More of us parents, not just adoptive, could take a page out of her book: support our children in what is important to them and make sure they feel secure enough in our love to include us in their journey. And finally, both Kathryn and Brenda exhibit a lot of compassion in this case, since it was a bit of an extreme situation surrounding Kathryn's birth. I really, truly do admire that.

  17. Tiffany: you are definitely an adoptive parent that has it all together. You understand. Plain and simple. And from your posts...if you don't understand, at least you TRY.
    Adoptive parents like Brenda and like yourself are the only way something as complex as adoption can ever work. The approach my adoptive mother takes is not working at all. She is extremely threatened and insecure, and her feelings come first. There was never any question about that.

    I am not only frustrated at my own situation, I am frustrated that these archaic laws are so slow to change. I am frustrated that adoptees and first mothers are plastering themselves on Facebook to find one another. I am frustrated about all the money that is made in the adoption industry....

    The whole thing is just a nightmare.

  18. As an adoptee, Mom and adoptive Mom, I was delighted that the adoptee Kathryn, adoptive Mom, Brenda, and birth Mom, Cathy, could all approach Kathryn's desire to know her birth Mom in such a positive manner. ALL PARENTS DO WELL TO SUPPORT THEIR CHILDREN IN WAYS THAT ARE IMPORTANT FOR THEIR CHILD.

    Based on my own experience, this open position is the type of behavior and thinking that I feel should replace outdated ideas and sealed records.

    I was blessed to have open, supportive adoptive parents (ahead of their time)that encouraged a relationship for all of us with my birth Mom, birth Father and their families when I became ready for those relationships. Birth Family Information was provided from an early age and age appropriate discussions about my adoption took place with my adoptive parents (sometimes to my discomfort) throughout my youth, teen and young adult years.

    My adopted children have all the birth family information and contact I can provide with their birth families. They too deserve accurate information, presented and represented in an age appropriate way, that enables them to develop a true understand the truth of their origins. Any supportive relatioships that can help provide a child's emotional growth and well-being should be encouraged,provided, welcomed, accepted all the way around.

    Well done to the three women in this case, Kathryn, Brenda and Cathy.



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