Growing up looking ‘different’
When I was younger, my friends often asked me, “Where are you from?”. I didn’t quite get their question because, to me, I was always from Singapore. As I got older, I grew to realise that I looked different compared to my parents and the people around me. I started to wonder if I really was adopted.
I decided to ask my parents about my place of birth, and they showed me that it was Indonesia. I was confused and probed further. My parents stuck to the same story again and again – my mother had given birth during their trip to Indonesia.
I was persistent on finding out the truth. I did not believe them.
One day, I decided to rummage through my parent’s room because I just felt that what they told me wasn’t the full truth. Lo and behold, after hours of digging, I found my adoption papers. When I saw my real name, my heart sank. A whole swarm of emotions overwhelmed me, and I broke down.
On the birth certificate, my place of birth is Indonesia. I confronted my parents about this, and they finally admitted that I was adopted. My parents were on a holiday in Indonesia when a woman approached them and begged for them to adopt me. They said they fell in love with me the moment they met me, and chose to bring me back to Singapore.
I just recovered from depression and my wedding is approaching. This was a bombshell.
I didn’t know what else to say. All I felt was a shock when the truth finally came out of their mouths. I texted my Church mentor and told her about it. She was worried for me and my family so she came down and offered to mediate the situation.
I slept with my parents that night. As angry as I felt about the lie, I also felt comfortable around them. They were worried that I had relapsed and constantly checked up on me to make sure I was ok. How could I be ok? It felt like my whole life was a lie. Who am I? Despite these feelings, I tried my best to reassure them that I was okay and just needed time to accept this new information.
I had completely no idea how I should have reacted
I didn’t know how to feel – angry because they lied to me? Curious about who my real parents are? Devastated because I didn’t understand why they didn’t me? Or happy because my adoptive parents did the best they could to raise me?
I have so many questions about my real family back in Indonesia. I don’t know what I can do from here on. However, it would be almost impossible to look for them since I was just a baby when I was adopted.
I took some time to finally come to terms with it, but I still do think about it from time to time. Despite this, I’ve had the time to reflect and to be grateful to both my biological and adoptive parents.
A letter to my parents — all four of them
To my adoptive parents, thank you. I wasn’t the easiest child to raise and I’m sure you didn’t expect that when you adopted this sweet-looking child back then. Thank you for never giving up on me even though I wasn’t your own blood.
To my biological parents, thank you for leaving me in good hands. I know it wouldn’t have been easy to give up your own child. Because of you, I have a good life here in Singapore. Although we wouldn’t have known how things would turn out, thank you for doing what you thought was best at that point of time.
It helped to write it all down
The first two days were difficult to navigate through. I found myself thinking, and overthinking. I was tired from the constant noise in my head. I decided to journal some of them down and that really helped me piece everything together. Whatever big noises in my head suddenly became small and not noticeable once I wrote them down on paper.
To those out there facing similar issues, be brave and dare to reflect on your feelings. Feelings can be tough to access especially at times like these. You’ll realise that you have many things to be thankful for and many things that you may have questions for. Dare to ask these questions and encourage yourself to express your gratefulness to those around you.
Are you adopted? How did you find out and reconcile with the reality of it?