30 years after being given up in adoption to Belgium couple, she travels back for some answers
When Beena met her biological parents in Ernakulam last year after a gap of 30 years, they were lost for words — largely because emotions were on a rolling boil and also because she didn’t speak her mother tongue. She had a translator in tow to speak to her parents because she grew up in Belgium though was born here. But it didn’t help much because the translator couldn’t read her mind during the reunion, which also gave her four brothers.
Beena, now 34, was adopted by a Belgium couple from an orphanage in Kothamangalam. She was in Ernakulam again, a couple of days ago, foraging through the adoption records submitted in courts to find out why was she given up for adoption.
Her biological parents were shocked to learn that their daughter, whom they had given to an orphanage because it was tough to bring up a family of five children, is alive and had come seeking them. According to Beena, the orphanage told her parents, who came for her two years after they left her there, that she fell sick and died.
She was in the court to find an answer to that nagging question — why did the orphanage keep her parents in the dark about her existence. She sought an answer among the adoption documents that time has left behind. It had everything about her foster parents, and nothing about her parents.
Growing up in a different country, Beena had adapted herself well into foreign milieu, but always felt the real person in her was missing. To live with the barbed feeling that she was a “thrown-away baby” was the worst for her. But she managed to create a world around her that buffered her from real feelings.
Then she thought that having her own children who carried her genes would put band aid on her trauma. But it only increased her urgency to find who she was. “Being a mother to my son Casper (6 years) and daughter Elena (two and a half years) made it all the more important for me to find my mother,” said Beena.
As time ticked by, she plumbed the depths of depression and required several counselling sessions to overcome trauma. During that time she came in contact with Triobla, a social agency in Belgium working in the field of adoption. It helped her with her mission.
She had engaged a private detective to trace her biological parents. A year later they found them for her. To find out more and be in touch with her biological parents and also to help a lot of other adoptees in Belgium and other parts of Europe who are seeking their roots, Beena and Pia Dejonckheere, director, Triobla, flew down to Kochi. But it was a hard task to seek the documents in court that give the adoptees an indication who they are.
Beena could trace her parents because she was a born in wedlock and was baptised in a local church, said the head of an orphanage in Ernakulam. But many other adoptees are not lucky enough, she said.
Ms. Dejonckheere said a professional agency that could help build bridges for the adoptees in Europe would be of great help. “Adoptees have a right to know their roots. There are at least fifty such requests with Triobla and hundreds more are out there seeking to know themselves for a sense of belonging.”