This week was both serious and funny — as I share new news with old college friends (Oo-Oop to my girls!) in town for Howard University Homecoming and spend time with new friends at Oasis, the Salahi family vineyard. Sometimes it seems that being clueless is better than knowing half the story; especially when you begin to sense that there is MUCH more to the story, and that much of it is being hidden or distorted. Episode 4 finds me with conflicting thoughts — emotionally, as I struggle to unlock the full mystery of my birth story, and socially, where a day trip to Oasis creates more questions than answers.
Who Am I?
A little history: Just after midnight on Valentine’s Day in 2007, Jason surprised me by showing me, for the first time in my life, the full name and picture of my birth mother. From that moment, my desire, my need to know the full story of my biological reality moved from the back burner to top three on my life’s bucket list.
After months of letters, pictures, emails, all communication ended in the first (and last) phone call with my birth mother. She flatly refused to provide a name or any info that would enable me to find my birth father. But it's all good — I fundamentally respected my birth mother’s privacy and understand her desire (fear) to protect loved ones unaware of her self-described “secret”. I was content knowing who and where she is, with a clearer picture of my biological heritage (well, half of it anyway). I grew up an only child; now, the prospect of siblings at age 43? In Nigeria? WOW! I yearned to make contact ... to connect. Ironically, our communication gave me a sense of just how similar we might be, both stubborn at least. The disappointment only strengthened my resolve to get ALL the information - with or without her help.
So I decided to keep it really real during the taping by fully sharing what was going on in my life, my mind, and my heart during this exciting, difficult, confusing period. In no way am I ashamed of being adopted — in fact, quite the opposite. I grew up thinking that I was in fact more special than most kids, because my parents actually “chose” me! As an adult, I know that my birth mother (and all women who choose to give a child up for adoption), are angels. Adoption is a truly selfless act of love. I am eternally grateful for the chance she gave me, to belong to a wonderful family who provided all I believe she wanted for me, but could not herself provide. While I have absolutely no desire to inject myself into her daily life (think: Guess Whos Coming to Dinner?), I am deeply affected by her firm, frank decision to keep the identity of my birth father from me. I remain hopeful that once he knows I exist, he might welcome and accept a relationship of some sort with me and my children.
Who are THEY?
On a much lighter note, we head to a grape stomp at Oasis Vineyard. All the ladies were invited—and all accepted but Lynda—who I respect for not pretending she could stomach the Salahis. Cat—was being Cat. Despite a clear disdain for the hosts she accepted their invitation, and entertained with "bitchy” comments, followed by an early exit. Is there a pattern here? A hilarious scene you didn’t see was Cat bringing store bought grapes and bottles of wine into the limo — in mocking anticipation of there not being any grapes or wine at the Vineyard. CLASSIC! There was real debate about what we were going to see at Oasis. Cat would prove prophetic.
Jason and I were vaguely familiar with stories in the local media about a family feud over the vineyard, so we knew the winery had been defunct for a few years, and that the idea of a grape stomp at a "grape-less" vineyard seemed outrageous. It appeared that the Salahis bought grapes from the supermarket (OK — let’s say farmers market) just as Cat had predicted. Unlike real winemaking grapes, the skin of the grapes was so thick, you couldn't stomp out any juice! Regardless of my future as a grape stomper, the outdoor experience was fun. The combination of curiosity, food, drink, and fall mountain foliage still trumped skepticism. The climate in the limo on the ride out to Oasis was almost all about the Salahis, and anything but complimentary (surprise). I was completely shocked to hear Jason Baake's reflections on the "crash" of the CBC gala. Sneaking thru the kitchen? Casing out empty seats? WHAT? This is all sounding CRAZY, but the fact that Tareq and Michaele traveled across an ocean and gave love to our family event – won them the benefit of our RAPIDLY increasing doubt. The mama drama that warranted a security detail was totally unexpected by everyone, this is not "Vineyard in the Hood." What is up?
But despite the security drama, the Doberman, the dried-up vines and cobwebs, Oasis Vineyards, the real estate, is gorgeous. Set against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Skyline Drive, with a lake and acres of vines as far as you can see, there is little doubt that Oasis was a thriving business in its hey day. The weather was ideal; the sunset was incredible as we sipped wine on the observation deck. Inside welcomes visitors to a large, open lodge and huge stone hearth (I have a fireplace, this was a hearth) for dinners, receptions, tastings, etc. Downstairs, you find the operational guts of the place: a huge underground, temperature controlled concrete bunker with vintage Italian imported vats, automated bottling/corking machines, and racks of wine holding hundreds of bottles. It was impressive, yet dormant. More than wine and equipment, most intriguing to me was the decades old family memorabilia on the wall: photos of Tareq as a tot riding horses and farming the land with his dad; trophies, medals, and newspaper clippings acknowledging Tareq's polo accomplishments and the quality wines produced at Oasis. It was sad to see a place where love and family once thrived, now left to deteriorate. Jason and I chose to appreciate the positive — the scenery, the hospitality, the silly grape stomp experience, the catered dinner in the wine cellar and the Oasis wine, which had aged nicely!
No question, at this point, we are seeing “holes” in the Salahi story, and are questioning who we are dealing with. Micheale goes on the offensive with Mary ("who never talks about or judges anybody"). Can't wait to see what comes next...
Stacie: I am enjoying learning your story and reading your view of each of the episodes. I too give people the benefit of the doubt based on my personal experiences with them, until I learn otherwise. Love your blog. My favority quote this week? "This is not Vineyard in the Hood!"...
I am enjoying learning your story and reading your interpretations of each episode. I too give people the benefit of the doubt based on my experiences with them until - and if - something happens to change it. My favorite line in your blog this week? "...this is not Vineyard in the Hood"!
Nice blog. You are my favorite, and the sanest by far.
Loved you speaking up at the table when Mary tried to backtrack and cover for Lynda.
I sense positivity from you and your husband. Nice to see some normalcy in this otherwise chaotic group.
I can not tell you, how refreshing it is, to see a REAL housewive on these shows. I take that back, a REAL woman! An honest, intelligent woman. Who isn't jumping everytime someone, maybe doesn't always do things the way everyone else thinks they should. I want to wish you all of the best on your journey, to find your birth father. It is your birth right! Good luck and God bless with that. It seems to me, that you have what we all thrive for...a wonderful husband, beautiful children and extended family that's "Got your back". You are a breath of fresh air!
Stacie, I am a fan of all the Real Housewives franchises and find you to be the epitome of class, refinement, and intelligence. You seem so grounded although I sense you were raised in an environment that was probably of a higher social class than the other ladies. I am hoping you rub off on the rest of the DC women! I enjoy watching you with your family. You seem so "real".
Stacie - my heart felt for you when talking about your birth mom and the situation. I am glad that you clarified that you respect her wishes. I can see the struggle she might have if she has lied to her husband and son for all these years and she probably fears what that might do to those relationships. Not to mention that your birth father would find out something he never knew. The easy thing is to keep things as is. The difficult thing would be to tell the truth. While I would want to tell the truth, I don't judge her for not wanting to. She made a very brave decision in giving you up and part of that desicion included privacy so I'm glad you cleared this up. I wish you the best in trying to find your father. Perhaps, by some miracle someone watching will remember a Nigiran man hooking up with a white women in the Peace Corps around after the time your were born and you can find the information on your own. You are by far my favorite DC housewife and I wish you the best.
You were VERY fortunate to be adopted by a family that loved you. There are thousands of children in foster care that don’t get that chance to find the love and care in a family that you were given! I’m glad you’re trying to find your birth parents but the storyline is boring and has nothing to do with being a DC housewife!
How many foster children have you taken into your home since this is a passion of yours now? Why aren’t you taking Lynda around and showing her new homes to purchase since you are the resident realtor? How close are you to your “friends” if they didn’t know your birth mother was Caucasian? I think this whole show is scripted and all of you are fake and a waste of airtime. At least Cat does speak her mind!
Stacie, I couldn't help feeling for you after watching you talk about your birth mother. You have the right attitude about it. If she had kept you after the birth I think you would have grown up in very hard, non-accepting circumstances. But she should give you information about your father. It is your right to know, and his right to know you. I am caucasian, and had I had a child I had given up for adoption, I would be thrilled to find out it was you. You are beautiful, strong, and accomplished. The parents who raised you and took you into their hearts were obviously great parents!
Stacie, after watching you talk about your birth mother, I really felt for you. You have the right attitude about it. I think, had she raised you, you would have grown up in difficult, non-accepting circumstances. As it is, she should tell you about your father. You have a right to know, and he has a right to know you. I am caucasian, and had I given a child up for adoption, I would be thrilled to know it was you. You are beautiful, strong and accomplished.
Stacie, How refreshing to actually read a blog that "tells it like it is". You are honest and warm, as well as diplomatic and thoughtful. Thank you so much for letting us "see" what really was going on - not what the editors decided to present to the viewers. I wish you and your lovely family continued blessings in every endeavor. You seem to be a woman of character and great strength. I call the "Class".
Hi Stacie! I hope this comment gets posted. I am so thankful to Bravo for casting you and your family on the show. You are such an inspiration for all women, but especially black women. You are educated, kind, fun, cool, honest and beautiful. The story of your birth mother really upsets me. I know that recongnizing you as her daughter would deeply impact her world, but I DONT CARE. You deserve to at least know who your birth father is..she owes you that much. I truely hope and pray that you find out your true heritage. I am from West Africa and it is a blessing to be able to travel there and visit my grandparents. I truely hope one day you get to travel to Africa and meet your family.
My name is Christy and I was moved by your birth story. I was even more moved when you stated that he is from Nigeria because my husband is from Nigeria. I am black American and I've been to Nigeria twice and if your father knew about you-believe me he would welcome you with open arms. His family would as well. Nigerians value family so much and they are very hospitable. I was made to feel so at home when I was there and it was a wonderful experience. There are many ethnic groups in Nigeria but the three main groups are Yoruba, Ibo and Hausa. If somehow you had any information at all about your Dad--especially his LAST name--we could get information and then my husband will know his ethnic group and he can make a lot of contacts for you to try and locate him. If he is not actually in Nigeria right now-we could at least help you find his family there which would in turn lead you to him. It's really quite unfortunate that your birth Mom is not seeing how important it is for you to know him but I have a feeling that a way will be made to bring you together with your Nigeria side.
It is wonderful that you are trying to connect with your birth family, but remember that even if your birth mother never wants to get to know you she had no hand in molding who you are today. That was your Mom and Dad and there is a great difference between birth parents of adopted children and MOMS and DADS. And on the birth father front I think you should still keep looking because your are an adult now and have the right to at least know who he is also. Who knows maybe you, your parents and birth father will hit it off and be great friends. Good Luck and many Blessings for you and your family.
I am very impressed with you!! I think you are an awesome asset to the Housewives and gives the Housewives a good "look' and there is hope for a NON ignorant housewife! it is sad to see that in some cases money does nOT buy class but this is not the case with you!! Best of Luck- I hope you find your biological dad!
I have to admit, I am surprised to find that you are the cast member with the most class and graciousness. I really expected the loan African American (as you truly are!) to have been picked b/c she is a stereotypical black woman. I don't think I need to explain. I know that these shows get edited to death, but you and your husband seem to be the most authentic with the cameras rolling. I have never watched a show like this (I am only doing so b/c I know a couple of your fellow cast members). I am a bit disappointed to see some of the behavior that has been displayed (and magnified due to editing). I happen to know that some on the show, at their core, are not as their magnified blunders portray. They are truly decent people struggling like so many of us to make it through days without acting on those little internal fears that sometimes have us going for the quick and temporary high. Some of what I have seen has deeply saddened me, and I hope they will reflect Who or what they want to represent by coming clean and being honest about dark behavior in their blogs. Given your seemed class, I am wondering why you would even. agree to do a show like this. It doesn't seem to fit you. I hope this finds you further along on your search for your birth father. God bless you for your words about birth parents.
Stacie is the only housewife so far that I can even identify with. She's kind, and she's real, a lesson the other housewives could learn. Her story about searching for her birthfather and her interactions with the birthmother really hit me. We adopted our son a year ago and he is the love of our life. He has been our son since the start, but we went with an open adoption, just in case he'd want to learn more when he grew up. I think it'll hurt a bit but I'll support his search, and I'm glad he won't have to go through what Stacie is going through. If only they'd done more open adoptions back then, Stacie would at least have his name. I think it's hard for adoptive parents to think ahead and it's natural for us to pull back from the birthparents b/c our child is OURS. But I hope Stacie finds her Bio Dad- my prayers are with her.
I continue to respect your dignified and respectful manner in the face of two people who are clearly decieving you...From a viewer's perspective, the Salahis appear to be major social climbers who will (obviously) do anything to be famous and get attention. The Oasis Vineyard segments were hilarious-and while you remained exceedingly polite, it was clear none of you were buying their B.S. I really hope these two don't get the rest of you caught up in their dishonesty and shady behavior. It would be a shame if you and your husband and the other ladies' reputations were somehow affected by the Salahis. They are an association you DO NOT want. But, you would know better than I and I'm sure you will continue to be respected in your community.
Oh the storm is coming......the Salahi's story is coming out and unfolding and it is going to get even uglier.....I'll be watching. Cat called it RIGHT, she should have had more back up with the BS, but she is the only one who really called it what it was - bollocks is for sure!! O.M.G. pause and O.M.G.....On a real note, I hope you get your roots found out regardless of who your be biologically or not.
I am HOOKED!!!! Love te show, love the ladies ( one of whom I take with a grain of salt! LOL) But most of all you resonate with me! Your birth father? Nigerian, huh? A student perhaps? In the states or in Europe? I bet finding him will be easier than you think! I speak due to personal experience with Nigerian Students! Much luck on your journey! You truly have a unique heritage to behold!
Stacie, you are truely sassy, down to earth but, fore'most a classy Sista in which; I'm proud to see represented on any reality TV show. I thought of you in the episode Cat shared her real feelings about Tyra Banks & Pres Bush; In which I wanted to share this David Letterman's video under Great Moments In Presidential Speeches Compilation Website: hunto.com
GREAT blog- I was really touched by what you said about women who give their babies up for adoption. I completely agree and that is a point seldom made in my experience. Also, I found it refreshing that you and Jason chose to enjoy the positive aspects of the day as opposed to the negative. Btw, everyone loves Jason, and we think he should narrate the whole show :)
After reading the previous posts and comments from those white viewers that feel race doesn't matter, I wondered what they made of this episode in which you reveal that your white mother wishes to keep you a SECRET from her white family. Obviously race matters to her as it seems that was the primary reason you were given away. I'm sure finances may have played a role as well. Any real mother would be proud of how you turned out - despite her lack of involvement in your life - and would be happy to show you off.
Having never been adopted I do not agree with your views on the subject. I think these so called "birth mothers" are irresponsible women that give away a precious gift rather than embracing it. By God's grace the REAL angels - adoptive mothers - selflessly raise children that are not theirs as lovingly as they would their own children.
Initially, I was wondering why someone like you would be on a show like this, but after hearing your story it is obvious that you had no choice, as your mother has decided to be selfish once again by withholding any clues that could lead you to your father. Hopefully you have better luck with your dad and his family. My heart truly goes out to this poor man as he was denied his child for 43 years. Good luck to you!
I'm a white 40-something, midwest, CONSERVATIVE woman (my mother is bi-racial - Native American/English - born & somewhat raised on a South Dakota Reservation) and would be proud to call you my half-sister, if that were the case. Shame on your biological mother, she isn't even giving her other children (or husband) and chance to make up their own minds, how dare she.
Also, see Cat isn't racist - she just rude - she does her stunts with everyone, no discriminating.
Stacie, You are a classy lady. Speaking as a 52 year old, gradmother in New Hampshire, I have to tell you...your husband is so so handsome! You are an adorable couple. Best of luck to you. Sarah
Hi Stacie, I love watching you and your family on the show. Please keep your eyes open with Tareq and Michaela...the seem "shady". I hope you find your birth father. You deserve to have the same opportunity to talk to him, like you did with your mother- wherever that road leads you. Your children are absolutely beautiful. I'm proud of your success. You're like a girlfriend in my head! LOL...
Hi, Please remember, you are a beautiful, intelligent, glorious woman with a fantastic family. I hope you find the answers you are looking for, but please, never forget "who" you have become. :)
And what, Stacie, is wrong with a Doberman? You listed it as a negative in your blog. From what I could see he was perfectly behaved and gorgeous. You should know better than to judge a being on its appearance!
You, my dear, are an inspiration! Beautiful, smart, and elegant. I admire you so much -- you are, by far, my favorite housewife!
Jeanette sum it all up you are a woman of substance , and you cant buy it , you cant fake it . It is something a person have because they are genuine , people come and go, you an Erica got it they wish they had it.
Do the show keep the line moving and Erica needs more air time to keep the balance ..... keep up the good work Sis im proud to finally have a lady represent the real women of DC.Hpoe the Divas in Atlanta take notes :)
Your descrpition of the Oasis Vineyard was so eloquent! lol Shows you are a true Real Estate professional!! lol I love the dynamic between you and your husband. You are both so down to earth and keep things so real! But those Salahi's seem to be opportunists and a bit wacky - I would watch out for them. And giving Cat an excuse as "being Cat" is ridiculous.. we shouldn't give people permission to be ***holes. I'm glad Michael's assistant put her in her place! She deserved ALL of that! haha!! But anyway, you have a great personality, Stacie! Keep it up!!
I just wanted to say that you really cannot believe that your father was/is from Nigeria. "Guess who's coming to dinner" is right. All white girls that got pregnant in former times got pregnant from some African prince or some student from Nigeria. Meanwhile it really was some less than desireable guy. We all love to solve a man's problems don't we? And we all DO NOT want people to think that we would have sex with a less than desireable person. But anyway, I wish you good luck with your search.
I love to watch you and your family, but shame on bravo for not representing chocolate city. All lies!
FINALLY!!! Stacie, with just about every housewife writing a book I think we found a true author!! BRAVO!! The way you wrote this blog I felt as though I just kicked off my shoes, sat on my couch, opened my favorite book & started reading! I truly think you have a gift of writing. Even more I have finally chosen my favorite housewife!
Elegant, Elegant, Elegant ! That is what you are ! Your real parents did a great job raising you. Never forget that ! They made you who you are today not the bio-mom was nothing more than ignorant !
I have never been able to post a comment since the beginning of signing up. I hope my previous post and this one make it on here. Stacie you are the luckiest girl in the world. You are so right that you are special because your parents picked YOU ! And they obviously did a fabulous job too because you are a wonderful person on this show and your blog knocks it out of the park.
THANKS FOR THE UPDATE STACIE, SOMETIMES WE GET A LITTLE CONFUSED BY WHAT WE SEE, HOLES IN THEIR STORY, I THINK THEY ARE HIDING SO MUCH, THIS SHOW WILL BE CATHARTIC FOR THEM WE HOPE.
Beautiful woman you are Stacie and i truly hope you get to resolve this situation with your birthparents but like many think, the real ones are the ones that raised you so I hope you can see through that light. Kisses,your children are beautiful,too and your husband is awesome ,what else could you ask for??? Wonderful family!!! :):)
my heart went out 2 u and your family, any one who do not want 2 get 2 know u is missing out and u should not let it brother u (easy said then done) JUST MET U AND I FIND U 2 BE A BEAUTIFUL INTELLIGENT WOMEN. just saying watch out for the SELAHI'S there is something wrong with their picture. Much love 2 u and your family.
I am a 41 year old woman who has always known she was adopted. Watching your story play out is thrilling and frighting at the same time. I don't think I could do it, the fear of being rejected again is overwhelming.
Consider yourself very lucky. I was born in VA before 1974 and I have no rights to any information about my adoption, birth parents, and such. The agency did a search but could not find any leads. I do not have their names, medical history or anything. At least you have a part of your story. I will never have any of mine. Unlike you I did not get very good adoptive parents.
The jury is still out for me on you. You seem a little judgemental and I am not we are seeing your true self yet.
Hi Stacie! You are such an incredible women..such an inspiration! My comments never make it on here, but I feel your pain..I really do. You have a much more forgiving heart than I do. I will never understand how a mother could prevent her child from knowing her true orgin..WOW. I pray you get the information you are looking for. Thank goodness for you on this show!
I admire your sweet spirt, your charm and elegance..Hello Soror!! I enjoy watching you every week, and I was most happy that you included other sorors!!! Thanks for being a lady on the show!
I thought it was selfish of your girlfriends to immediately judge your mom for making what was probably the toughest decision of her life. Have you ever thought she might have been protecting herself, and is now protecting you from some horrible pain or truth about your birth father? Maybe you should go easier on her - give her some time, and avoid letting a bunch of people who know her judge her decision on national television.
I love you for being so real....always stay true to yourself. Your Father [who ever, where ever he may be] is one lucky man....and hopefully, he will realize that you exist & truly want to have you in his life. Hugs, #1NanafmMD
I admire you for telling your very personal story and sharing the journey with us. Hopefully in the near future you will get the answers you seek. In the meanwhile, stay classy and sweet.
I just want to say OOOO-OOOOP my soror!!! You are making all of your sorors very proud!!! I watch each week just for you! :)
Of all the housewives I found you to be the most sincerest and kindest of them all. So what was with bringing back the gossip to Micheala about who said what when the ladies were getting their hair and makeup done? What was the purpose in repeating what you (thought) you heard and by whom? You had to know, know good would come of it. My mom taught me that if you bring a tale, you'll carry a tale (looks like she was right). Speaking of mothers, I really do hope you get the resolution you are seeking with both your birth parents. In spite of carrying gossip back and forth I still find you a very charming, beautiful, and likeable person--God Bless