I stood rooted to the ground as I gazed at the portrait of my beloved father. All the memories of my happy childhood came flooding back into my mind. He was the source of my happiness and inspiration.
He passed away 56 years ago, when I was 12. Still his love, kindness and patience endear him to me. I can never forget the things he did for me, because he took care of every detail in my life. Tears just welled up in my eyes as I recalled his love and kindness.
My father worked tirelessly as a contractor, and he was under a lot of stress. Yet he still found the time to help me with my homework at night. He always took me to a shop selling imported biscuits and confectionery. I just had to pick what I fancied. I can remember my favourite imported Crawford’s 4 O’clock Afternoon Tea Biscuits and the colourful fruit toffees with which my father pampered me.
After late night movies, he carried me while I slept on his shoulder. I always went to the coffee shop next door with him. Whenever I could not drink my hot Milo, he would pour the hot drink into a saucer to cool it.
He bought me an imported tricycle and an imported bicycle. I could see the children in my neighbourhood envying me whenever I rode my flashy red bicycle around. Everyone knew that I was the apple of my father’s eye. I even had a nanny to look after me until I was 16.
You can imagine how shocked I was to learn, from an outsider, that I was an adopted child. My nanny confirmed it when I questioned her. She revealed to me who my natural parents were. In a small town, news travels around quickly.
My natural parents had nine children. They were financially burdened because my natural father was a taxi driver.
My foster mother had only two children who were more than 10 years my senior. Both of them were studying outstation. I suppose my foster parents felt lonely, and wanted a child to dote on. My nanny even reminded me that I should be grateful to my foster parents who gave me the best of everything.
Naturally, I did not feel any sense of rejection or dejection. I was grateful to grow up in a well-to-do home. I was showered with much love by my brother, sister and nanny. I had everything I wanted. My nanny took very good care of me, and she never let me out of her sight.
My natural mother was my foster mother’s good friend. She used to come and visit us. I did not feel any bond with her. She was just a friend. She felt most indebted to my foster mother who had helped her financially in her time of need. My foster mother was a very generous woman.
I wonder why adoptive parents do not want their adopted child to know or have any contact with his or her natural parents. Are they afraid that their adopted child will run back to his natural parents? Logically, if they have truly loved their adopted child like their own, then they should not fear because there is no bond between their adopted child and her natural parents. Bonds are fostered through close ties, love, care and loving concern.
I have also heard of parents who neglected their adopted child when they eventually had their own children. This is bad for the morale of the adopted child. When parents are biased against a child, it gives rise to jealousy and hatred among the siblings. The adopted child will grow up with a sense of rejection, a lack of self-confidence and a low level of self-esteem.
It is better for foster parents to let their adopted child know that he or she was adopted rather than let them find out by themselves. It may come as a rude shock, and normally adopted children will be very curious to know their background. They will try their best to find out who their biological parents are.
Well, I am glad I was given away to the best family in town. I can never repay my foster parents for all the time and resources they had invested into my life. I am grateful for the way my foster mother had trained me to be a disciplined and determined person like her.