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IS THIS REAL LIFE? (why my life is a Jerry Springer episode) [Part 1 of 2]

Updated: Mar 28, 2021

My name given at birth was Danielle. My dad’s name is Daniel, but my mom said she saw the name of an author, Danielle Steel, and thought it was pretty, and that is where she got it from. (Dad says it was after him, so I’ll let them argue that one out. 😉) I’ve been waiting over 5 weeks to write this email, because I really didn’t know how to tell the story of my #JerrySpringerLife (turns out it’s more of a Maury episode, but you’ll get the point)

The irony of being named after Danielle Steel is that, she is the reason I found out, “The Awful Truth”

When I was 13 years old, I decided to read a Danielle Steel book… because… my name!

The book I stumbled across was called Mixed Blessings, it was a story of three couples and their quests to have children and their struggles with mixed families, pregnancy, and infertility. (a bit deep for a 13 year old, but whatever)

My dad was driving me to gymnastics one night and I was telling him about the infertility stories in the book, and out of nowhere, he just blurts out:

“You know I’m not your real dad, right?”

Gulp. “What?”

I felt my face getting hot.

My first thought was, “Am I adopted?” but I said nothing… He went on to explain that he got mumps as a child and was sterile. Mom and dad really wanted kids, so they went to a clinic where they had learned about artifical insemination and I was “most likely” the product of a sperm donor.

Then he dropped me off at my 4-hour practice…. bye! When I got home from gymnastics, I started crying and went into my mom’s room and woke her up saying, “Mom! Is dad my real dad?!”

She sat up quickly, “What?”

I told her what dad told me in the car and she sternly told me,

“Go to your room.”


My mom was visibly upset when she eventually came into my room. First thing she told me, was that I was never supposed to find out. She was furious at my dad for telling me the truth, but she tried to sugar coat the situation by telling me “possibly” dad was stll my biological father because they weren’t using birth control. She said she had no records of the donor, no name, no characteristics, and no doctor or clinic name.

Everything I had believed to be true about my life, my family, and WHO I WAS… was a LIE.

Cousins that I loved and thought that we shared characteristics, I wasn’t even related to! I had never really thought that I looked like either one of my parents, but now… NOW… I don’t even know who I looked like!

I sat in front of the mirror the next morning and cried.

Who’s nose was this? Who’s freckles were these? Who’s teeth? Who’s eyes?

I was angry! Maybe, if my parents couldn’t have kids, then God didn’t want them to have kids! I shouldn’t even be here!

And my donor… who was he?

…Some homeless, drug-addict, who was just jerking off for money?

Gross. I was the product of a dirty, anonymous, drug-addicted fiend who got paid to masturbate and I should have never been born. UGH.

Once I found “The Awful Truth” the topic was NEVER spoken about again…

Until February, this year


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