STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And it's time now for StoryCorps, the project recording the stories of everyday Americans. And today, we're going to hear from Diane Tells His Name. She's a Lakota Indian. Growing up, she never knew anything about her heritage. She was adopted when she was a baby. And at StoryCorps, her daughter, Bonnie Buchanan, asks Diane about her childhood.
BONNIE BUCHANAN: When did you first feel like you were different?
DIANE TELLS HIS NAME: Probably elementary school. I had a younger sister, and I really didn't like doing the same things that she would do. She would do tea parties and play with dolls, and things like that; and I was always outside, looking at the clouds or the stars. And my sister was blond, tall and thin, like my mother; and I was round and brown.
TELLS HIS NAME: I remember going through the family albums, looking for my face in the old photographs, and I didn't see me. And eventually, when I was 37 years old, I happened to see a picture of my mom in October of 1951. And it shocked me because I was born in November of 1951 - and my mother was not pregnant. So that's when I knew that I was adopted.
BUCHANAN: How did you feel?
TELLS HIS NAME: It was very satisfying to know that I wasn't crazy. I didn't blame them. I wasn't angry with them. In 1951, you just didn't talk about those things. So when I got my original birth certificate, it said on there my birth mother's name; and it said that she was born at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. So I went to South Dakota to receive my Indian name, and get a crash course in how to be Indian.
After that, my husband and I told Indian Family Services we wanted to adopt a child from my tribe, a Lakota child. And finally, they faxed us a picture of a little Indian child, and she was drinking chocolate syrup out of a Hershey's bottle. And our son said, that's her! That's the one we need to adopt. And it was you.
TELLS HIS NAME: I started doing research on your family, and when I started looking at your family tree, I saw one of my relatives on your paper. So we are cousins. I thought that was just - that was amazing. I'm glad you're my baby.
BUCHANAN: I know. I'm glad you adopted me.
TELLS HIS NAME: I am, too. It's like our whole family was just planned out so that it would be best for all of us.
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INSKEEP: You can take a moment to collect yourself. That's Bonnie Buchanan with her mom, Diane Tells His Name; at StoryCorps in San Francisco. Their story will be archived with thousands of others, at the Library of Congress. The podcast is at npr.org.
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