When I grew up, it wasn’t much of a secret that I was adopted. My mother from Indonesia, my father half Dutch and half Indonesian, it wasn’t difficult to guess that I wasn’t there son in the biological sense. Looking back at family pictures when I was a kid, my white square face gave away the “secret” at the first glance. Some of the kids at school made a fuzz about it but that never bothered me much because I had the best parents any kid could wish for!
When i was old enough to understand everything, my parents explained me about the adoption, the little things they knew about my parents and where they came from. Always educating me about my background, encouraging me to find my roots when I was ready for it. When my parents, my loving adoptive parents were still alive, finding my roots was not so much on my mind as my parents wished for. My father always asked me about it, challenged me to find out before it is too late but I kept pushing it away, not able to accept that I had other parents than my parents. It felt to me like betraying the parents who adopted me and loved me, my father kept telling me I was wrong in feeling that way and as always, my wise loving father was right and I was just stubborn.
Some years ago, when my parents were already sick and knew they wouldn’t have much days left, I promised my father to finally search my roots, finally find out if there was still family of my parents. It took much more effort than I expected and I had many moments in which I considered to give up. Luckily there was always some kind of progress when I was about to throw in the towel and eventually I found the brother of my father, my very own uncle. And a year later, I found my aunt, the sister of my mother. My family!
This summer I enjoyed several weeks with my aunt, spending time together, get to know each other better. Visiting places where she has been with my mother, several times visiting the place where my father met my mother the first time, enjoying the stories about that night and how my mother fell in love with my father in a split second. These special days make us grow together so fast, by now it feels as if my aunt has always been part of my life although we have been apart for 40 years without even knowing of each other that we existed. The same happened with my uncle. We call every day, talk about everything, about my father, about our family, about our lives.
A few weeks ago at my aunts house, I had just finished bathing my daughter, I saw my aunt and my girlfriend sitting in the garden with my sweet cosine. Chatting, laughing, zipping a glass of wine. My daughter who should be going to bed, quickly crawled outside and my aunt pulled her on her lap like she always does, her smile telling me “let her stay with us a bit”. I heard my girl say all the Jaja-names she has for our family, Jaja is how she calls me ever since we flew to The Netherlands together last year. Jaja-names are special, for family only! All our family members have Jaja-names, this is how my girl expresses that she knows these are our family. And Juja-names are for the family of my girlfriend, her Juja. My girl was very happy being with her Juja and her Jaja’s, smiling from ear to ear.
This moment was so special, so intense that I had to share it with my uncle, who is of course also a Jaja. I took a picture of my family enjoying the late summer evening and send it to him. Seconds later he called, happy I showed him this beautiful moment. We talked like we always do. About everything and anything. About work, vacation, life, politics, economy, future, past, plans. Time flies by when we talk, it always does and these are special moments every day. Yes, it is even special to talk about the weather with your own family!
Please enjoy how special it is to have family!
I am blessed to have family. Members of my adoptive family and members of my birth family, alike. I HAVE FAMILY!