I was born in Swansea to a 16 year old single Jamaican girl. She tried her best to keep me but the system denied her any support or other options, so I was placed into care at three months of age. I was fostered and finally adopted by a very nice white middle class couple by the age of eighteen months, and settled into place as the youngest of three daughters, my elder sisters being their natural children . Located in South Wales Uk, swansea was a city where during the 1970's, the only black people that the local people had ever seen, were the blacked out faces of The Black and White Minstrel Show. If you're not from the UK, then you've probably never experienced the joy of Saturday evenings, when every family would be glued to the TV set, watching this craziness unfold before them...
That really summed up the level of cultural enlightenment during this era!
My adopted parents loved me. They had spent some time in the Cameroons in East Africa, where my father had been stationed whilst he served as an officer in the Merchant Navy. Upon their return to Wales, they vowed to adopt a black child (My father was a Liberal haha). So after hanging their assortment of African memorabilia in prominent positions all over the house, and purchasing a handful of Calypso LPs (which my father would sing to me), they felt prepared to handle any obstacles that this adoption would throw their way over the following 18 years....
I am now 53, and I can honestly say that the primal wound of being separated from my birth mother, the resulting abondonment issues (that Donald Trump would be proud of), the relentless racist abuse during my childhood from my peers and total strangers, and the ongoing identity crisis have marred my entire adult life. It has been a work in progress, battling social anxiety, addiction and significant inner loneliness. My journey of self discovery has included being reunited with my birth mother (and being un-reunited), re-locating to London to find people that looked like me (I saw black people on the tube during a girl guides day trip to the Commonwealth Centre...), finding endless brothers and father was a busy man evidently, finally, feelings of self-acceptance and understanding have begun to creep in...finally.
During my journey, I have read some marvellous books, found some life-changing resources...and even learned to cook some West Indian food which my children adore. I've been blessed with four children, the youngest being an added gift as I adopted him from a relative in my adopted family. So I've seen both sides of the coin!
I hope that the articles and experiences that I post, and any recommendations that I make, help any adopted people (transracially or otherwise), that see themselves mirrored in my story. I have created two Facebook groups so we can create a little safe haven and community. I've found it so exciting over the years, when I've met another adoptee. So many shared experiences!
Please feel free to comment on any posts, join the FB group and share your thoughts and story with the rest of us.
We've Found Our Tribe!