SATURDAY, 21 NOVEMBER 2015
To tell or not to tell, that shouldn’t be a question.
After one week, I have begun to accept the fact that most if not all of my uncles and aunties, cousins included, knew about me being an adopted child. Some knew all along. Some knew in recent times.
And I also now know that I am not the only one adopted. On my paternal side, there were no less than 5 cases of my cousins being adopted. But there are 2 key differences. Firstly, they were informed of their adoption and secondly, they grew up with their non-natural siblings.
I on the other hand, had neither of the 2 privileges.
And while I was surprised that I am adopted after 48 years, they were all surprised that I just came to know about it. They have all assumed that I am in the know.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not on a witch hunt now. Just simply trying to rationalise how so many people in the name of love, deny you of the very information that is rightly yours to know.
That is past now.
Moving forward, I have received a number of messages from parents who sought my opinion on whether they should disclose the adoption information to their child.
I am no expert in adoption though this experience has taught me a lot. I am no expert in adoption though I am now living on both spectrums of the adoption. As an adopted child and having an adopted child.
But I can say this for sure. Do not make a secret of someone else’s life. Simply because we wouldn’t want that to happen to us. Love is a free force. It is not based on bloodlines.
I love my late father that I build my public reputation using his family name. I named my 2 sons using his name. I am probably the only person in 3 generations of Rais family that carry the name through new borns. And I am technically now an outsider.
I love my late mom, that I named my first daughter after her. The only other child of mine not bearing my maternal or paternal parents’ name is my adopted daughter. If I can have my way, I would renamed her as well. I even have a ready name for my next son if there will be one. Another Rais.
I do not see many others doing what I did.
So whoever you are, if you have an adopted child and the child is of understanding age, please disclose the information, unless you have a very sure way of keeping the secret eternally.
Let your child love you for who you are. Love your child for who he or she is. The ‘make-believe’ cannot and should not form the basis of the relationship.
Do not fear your child running away or distancing. That will happen when you mistreat them. But if the upbringing is clothed with care and love, your adopted child will love you more than his or her biological parents. That I can put my life as a bet.
Adoption is not secret. If not knowing who you are or where you came from is a lawful thing, then the basic right of living and having an identity have been violated.
Adoption is love. Marriage is also love. They are both common in the sense that you love someone who is not yours in blood. You can’t marry someone that you secretly do not know. So why should adoption be any different?
Save your child from the pain that I feel now. My father may have planned to tell me. He died out of heart failure. My mother may have planned to tell me, she died out of heart failure 7 years later. My grandfather may have planned to tell me, he died out of heart failure 7 months later.
My grandmother did the right thing by coming clean when I asked her last week.
I can’t imagine if she did not have the opportunity to do so.
I may risk having the rest of my life as a one big ‘lie’.
She has discharged her duty to share the truth with me when no one else in the circle would. While it was painful, I have only her to thank now for allowing me to live hereon in world of truth.
The Star Online
3 Malaysian media have contacted me with the first having done a full interview.
The Straits Times
3 Singapore key newspapers have contacted me and interviewed me.
However, The Local Society.com and TNP ran my story online without informing or interviewing me. The content were extracted from my blog entry or FB Roots Seeker page.
I know the media holds the best chance of me finding my biological family and I understand that I have no influence over the editorial choice of headings. Nonetheless, as long as the reporting helps to further my reach for a possible closure, I am thankful.
I hope that more media (radio and TV) included will take an interest too so that with the experience I get, the Adoption Support Group that I will facilitate to help more people like myself will gain from it.
By the way, thank you for all who have visited this blog and taking time to read. I appreciate the comments and am taking them positively.
This blog has grown from 145 page views 4 days ago to more than 10,000 last night.