I’ve always wished I was surrounded by family. I was adopted when I was four years old and my adopted parents had a daughter of their own so I gained a Sister too. I also gained the various relatives of my adopted parents. It never worked out.
I can remember from a very young age – up until the day I finally walked away from this family – something that my adopted Mum said to me over and over again. ‘Your Dad’s a thief and you Mum’s a whore’. Now, obviously, I had no idea what an earth this meant when it was first being said to me, but as I grew up I realised just how bloody mean it was. It always ended with her saying ‘we dragged you out of the gutter’. I’m still confused as to what my response was supposed to be! Should I have said thank you? Should I have said I’m sorry? I didn’t know what to say so I never said anything.
I’m not against adoption. Who an earth would be? It is an amazing thing when someone adopts a child into their life to love and nurture. What I am against, is how in the 1960’s, it didn’t seem to matter whether an adopted parent was wholly suitable or not.
Growing up in London in the 1960’s wasn’t easy. I just remember everything as being quite grey. The ugly Victorian school was a prime example. My real Dad was white British and my Mum was half Indian and half Dutch. Not that I knew or understood any of that until older. What I did understand though, was how divided and hateful school was. The children had divided themselves into three groups. White British, Indian and West Indians. I wasn’t white and I wasn’t black. I did look very Asian though with my tanned skin and long hair in a plait. The trouble was the Indian kids would not accept me into their little group as I clearly didn’t identify with them. That was my very first experience of racism, but from all sides, the Brits, the West Indians and the Asians all at the same time. Needless to say school was hell. I was asked constantly why my parents were white and I wasn’t. I learned at a very young age that I didn’t fit in. Not at school and not at home.
The one thing I have never done as an adult, is to blame my childhood for anything. A million and one things happened, but I always have looked forward and tried to never look back. What you do with your life should never be compromised by the past. If anything, it made me very independent and stronger. I learned from a young age to look after myself, but I do wish – and always will – that I’d never been adopted and had been with my real family.
As it turned out I discovered years later that my Dad was indeed a ‘thief’. I have, however, never discovered anything that would point to my Mum being a ‘whore’. I think my adopted Mum referred to her as a whore because she wasn’t married to my Dad. I know in the 1960’s it was still classed as something terrible and shocking to have a child out of wedlock!
I found my real parents when I was in my twenties. So much to say about all four of my parent’s, but another day!
I think now because I am not well and can’t do much, it’s made me think a lot about the past. My childhood doesn’t upset me anymore. What does get the better of me though is being ill. To be so strong and independent and then end up like this where I haven’t even been able to drive for four years has definitely been the worst time of my life. I will get better though and I’m sure I will eventually be able to drive and walk round a supermarket again. A supermarket! Who would have thought it possible that you could miss doing the weekly shop? I guess it’s because it’s something normal and that’s what I need, some sort of normalcy back in my life.