Originally published on June 7, 2021. Updated on May 5, 2022.
When Dan Moen, the creative director of APIAVote Michigan, and Joe Hunter, the minister of media at the Historic Little Rock Baptist Church, first met at Macomb Community College, where they were art students, it was not love at first sight. Dan was very irritated and put off by Joe’s overzealous love of Lady Gaga and Joe thought Dan was rude.
Over time, however, the romantic sparks flared as Joe’s dedication to the arts captivated Dan, and Dan’s caring for others and leadership won over Joe. Over the couple’s decade-long relationship, they have been through many adventures and creative pursuits, but one of the biggest moments of their relationship was Dan’s search for his birth mom.
Dan, an adoptee from the Philippines, grew up in the Romeo area in a loving family with a close-knit group of friends, but something always felt off for him. With Joe’s love and support, Dan kept looking for his biological family even when the search seemed futile.
Part 1: Dan shares his adoption story
Dan and Joe talk about the search for Dan’s birth mother and what they learned from each other along the way.
Part 2: Growing up as a Filipino adoptee in Romeo
Dan shares his experiences growing up as a Filipino adoptee in the Romeo, Michigan area.
Part 3: The search for Dan’s birth mother begins
A Facebook search points to potential leads.
Part 4: Dan finds his birth mother
Dan gets to talk to his birth mother via an online call. Then, a chance arises to finally meet her in person after decades apart.
Part 5: More relatives & learning from each other
Dan shares that he’s found out about more relatives; Dan and Joe talk about what they’ve learned from each other and how their relationship and advocacy are intertwined.
These stories were created in collaboration between WDET and Detroit Public TV to amplify the voices of Southeast Michigan’s AAPI community by inviting them to have meaningful conversations and sharing their stories all throughout the year.
If you have a story about your family’s history, your own personal experience, how you identify, favorite traditions, or other important stories that you want to share, click here. Check out WDET’s features in this storytelling project here.
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Watch One Detroit every Monday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET on Detroit Public TV on Detroit Public TV, WTVS-Channel 56.