Who Am I: Savannah

Who Am I: Savannah

"When I was 2 and my sister was 4, our mother left us and never looked back," Savannah says, crying. "I just don't understand why she did this. I was raised by my father. My dad showed us a love that a parent should." She shows a photo of herself at 5. "My mother missed my first day of school, and all the other mothers were there. My father took very good care of my sister and me. He never abandoned me. No matter what I did, I was always his daughter. My biological
mother's name is Peggy Sue. Six years ago, I found out that I had a brother, Robbie, who is now 21. Peggy left Robbie when he was only 6 months old." Robbie eventually discovered a box of their mother's belongings, including Savannah and her sister, Renee's, birth certificates. "That's how Robbie found us," Savannah says.

"A couple of months ago, Robbie's aunt tracked Peggy down, and I made the call," she explains. "She answered the phone, and I said, ‘I'm sorry, this phone call is going to be very strange, but my sister, my brother and I are looking for our biological mother.'
And she interrupted me, and asked me what my name was, and I said, ‘Savannah,' and she said, ‘Savannah Lee?' and I knew it was her. Oh, God." Savannah sobs and tries to continue. "And I mouthed to my sister, ‘It's her.' And my sister was crying, and I was crying. I was angry because she did tell me that she had a family. I just didn't understand how she could start a new family and pretend like we never existed. Peggy Sue told me that she tried to find us, but I don't believe her."
Savannah's father, Ed, says his ex-wife's leaving is a mystery to him as well. "My ex-wife left my daughters without looking back, no phone calls, no explanation," he says. "The last time I saw Peggy was 1982. She had come up to where the girls and I were living. She took them around the town, she took them for pizza, she brought them home, said she was coming
back the next weekend to take them to the zoo, and left " literally just vanished. They were crying all the time, and I didn't have any answers. I've been raising the little girls since they were toddlers. I've been a mom, a dad, a disciplinarian, a shoulder to cry on, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny. I really have no idea why Peggy left. I figured, you know, evidently she wasn't cut out to be a mom. She
owes all three kids, Renee, Savannah and Robbie, an explanation on why she left, and it better be a good one," Ed says.

"It's hard for me to really feel loved knowing that somebody who gave birth to me never wanted me. I wonder who I am. I don't think I do know who I am," Savannah says.

"What is your primary emotion?" Dr. Phil asks Savannah. "You said your mother threw you away, your mother didn't look for you. What do you say to yourself about that?"

"What was wrong with me?" Savannah asks. "Why me? Why my sister? Why? I don't know. I'm confused. I feel upset, angry, unwanted. I can't wrap it up in one word." Savannah has a fear of abandonment that permeates her relationships. "When I'm really mad at somebody, I don't tell them because I don't want them to leave me," she says, through tears.

Savannah's sister and brother do not want to see their mother and don't want Savannah to either. Still, Savannah says she feels driven to meet her. "I need to know why. I need to know this is really me. I need her to know how I've been feeling my whole life without her," she says.

"Because it's changed who you are," Dr. Phil surmises.

"I have a vague memory of standing at the window, waiting for her to come back. I don't remember her. I wonder what my mom is like. Is she tall? Is she short? Does she have the same eye color, hair color, teeth? Is she nice? When you're abandoned, you wonder," she says.

"What are your expectations?" Dr. Phil asks Savannah.

"I want her to admit that she was wrong. I want her to admit that it was her fault, and I want her to say I'm sorry," she says.

"You said one of your greatest fears that you've had is that because you don't know her, because you couldn't pick her out of a lineup, that you could be sitting at a restaurant with her at the table next to you, you could be passing her in the street, you could be standing next to her in line, and you wouldn't know who it was," Dr. Phil says.


"I did it my whole life. I wonder if that's her," Savannah says.

"Well, you're doing it now because she's in this audience," Dr.
Phil tells her. "She's here. Any one of these women could be your mother, Savannah. Are you ready to meet your real mother?"

"Yes," she sobs, looking out at the audience.

 

"Peggy, stand up. It's time to meet your daughter," he says.