Been busy, in September/October, but for a good cause. Even if society is going through difficult times, healing of the human identity is still possible.
Back in 2003, when I was still in Belgium, I had requests from some young Dutch, (the Netherlands), adults who had been adopted from Mauritius to find their original families and roots. I undertook this task not really knowing where this would take me. I will describe here just one case that successfully ended on 7 October 2010.
The young man from Northern Holland had been adopted from Mauritius at the age of 4 months (baby), I will name him (C), he is 30 years old today.
Back in the 1970’s the adoption law(s) in Mauritius were very different to those of today. You might say, more flexible but maybe questionable, probably border line. Most of the adoptions to the Netherlands were done through an NGO and a one-man representative in Mauritius (which I will not name, no longer alive today). There were about 284 adoptions of children to the Netherlands in the mid 1970’s.
I became friendly with this young man’s father on a visit to the Netherlands and after gathering information about the adoption circumstances, (C) asked me if I could try to find his family in Mauritius.
A task which I started with very little information or documentation, I was working with a couple of official documents that the adoption father had kept. Remember I was working from Belgium so it was not easy. Added to the difficulty there are country laws which do not allow the disclosure of personal information. So I was working like any detective would do to gather information and use contacts. After a few months, I was able to find and make contact with an Aunt who was willing to talk about the circumstances of the adoption although understandably with some reservations. You must appreciate the delicate and personal issues involved in this work, not many are willing to drag up their difficult and emotional past.
Around this time (C) was going through some difficult psychological times, adoption leaves deep wounds. These wounds usually start manifesting themselves around adolescence when the young person starts questioning his/her existence and circumstances. This in turn can bring about rebellion and anger at society in general. Even if the adoption parents are very loving and offer a good home the adoptee still goes through this process of hurt with the same repetitive questions, why, who am I, what happened. With the death of his loving adoption mother due to a long illness (C) was somewhat insecure. The result was that (C)’s life started going wrong. He could not handle a relationship he had with his fiancée who was also an adoptee, she was adopted from Colombia, South America. I had forewarned him that his relationship would not work out because both partners had enormous emotional baggage which was an obstacle to their well-being. The result of this break-up was that (C) started sampling drugs and he attempted suicide which put several families at risk in a block of flats when he turned on the gas. Fortunately, nobody was hurt but the law was quite severe about him putting people at risk. (C) received a prison term which was shortened and changed into a compulsory psychotherapy sessions and treatment. Then to add to (C)’s heavy load, his adoption father suddenly died from a cardiac problem a few months ago. Probably due to the stress of (C)’s problems with the law. This left (C) quite distraught and lost, I guess with a feeling of his world crumbling around him.
At this stage (C) decided to pack his suitcase and come to me in Mauritius with a view that this could be the right time to make contact with his original family. So (C) arrived here in September with little money and stayed with us for one month. We set up a first meeting with the Aunt that we had contact with. An emotional reunion followed with him meeting 2 cousins of around the same age group. As it turned out when we slowly received more information, the cousins were really half-brothers.
So even more emotion for him to deal with but he seemed to accept the past. This prepared him for yet another big day, the day he would meet his natural mother. With the help of the Aunt and more information we tracked down (C)’s natural mother. Another surprise was to come. After a few days the big day arrived. We set out in two cars to pick-up a member of the family from Beau-Bassin who would guide us to where (C)’s mother is living. I suppose that, coming from Europe, (C) must have had a slight shock because we ended up in a really poor area of Camp-Creole. We found his mother living in poor conditions, house made of corrugated iron living with an elderly husband (not C’s father) and three other boys. Again more half-brothers!
This was a very emotional reunion between (C) and his mother. You can imagine what must have gone through their minds and hearts, 30 years had separated them. After spending sometime with them to discuss each other’s lives (with us translating because (C) only speaks Dutch and English) the convoy returned to Beau-Bassin for more meetings. In the Beau-Bassin area we found all the rest of (C)’s family, more Aunts, cousins etc., quite a huge family. In just the space of 48 hours (C) had acquired a new and huge family. All seemed overjoyed to meet him, some said they were proud to have a family member in Europe. From this moment on more meetings were arranged as the family wanted to celebrate the finding of the lost son.
At this time my wife and I decided it was time to take a back seat and let (C) go it alone with his new-found family. He quickly made strong ties with the boys of his own age group and seemed well at ease with his mother. There were several reunions, picnics by the seaside and (C) spent much time alone with them. I did not attend as (C) was getting integrated into the family group and my mission was coming to an end.
(C) returned to Holland on 7 October 2010 with much to deal with in his heart but this time only good things. Having lost both his adoption parents he has now regained his original family including his mother. In this process we got his birth certificate from the civil status office and he could regain Mauritian nationality if he wanted to go that route. So much for him to ponder on and I hope he realises that he has received a most precious gift; his human dignity and identity.
My wife and I have pushed him out on that bicycle of life, it is now up to him to keep the equilibrium. All I know is that he is grateful and overjoyed. Hopefully, he will use this new opportunity to seek peace and stability for his life. I have no doubt he will be back to visit his Mauritian family in the future. Our mission with him is ended, it is up to him now. There was also a spiritual dimension to this story but that is for those who have faith and recognize who was working a healing.