Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Sister That I Never Found

I realized that there are many thing even a reunion will not grant me, and one of those things is what once was taken from me (even before I was born). Many of the things I lost I have managed to either regain or recreate, but some I have to accept will always be lost for me.

Adoption ultimately meant that I not only would be separated from my own flesh and blood — it would take decades until we'd ever met again – face to face. By then they would have had endure their reaction for having been told a lie, and then the actual fact that they were unable and refused the opportunity to be raised with one of their own, another younger sister.  They weren't our birth parents only children. For many years there had been another unknown younger child — somewhere in the world. Raised by other people, growing up in another family. Meeting my sisters was like nectar to my soul – yet the fact is that our different cultures has recreated me, I'm no longer a sister to them. Fact is I am more similar to a stranger or distant relative or even an unknown stranger, with the only difference that we share the same birth parents and genetics.

My Omma was relieved when she first got to meet me so many years ago, and my sisters seemed to be excited and happy too. But being a member in such a large family does come with its sacrifice, and it soon seemed clear to me that neither of my birth parents could offer me the love I so needed and craved. While my older sisters were disappointed in me when I failed to fulfill the function in the family that had been assigned to me with my prospective part in the family. For my birth family I seemed to be a burden when I objected to participating and sharing the economic responsibility for my poor family back in the land of the morning calm. When I didn't accept the conditions that were explained to me several times, I thought it was best to say farewell …

It doesn't matter how much my heart yearns and longs for it, it will never be something I will experience. One of things I was forced to forsake as a consequence of my adoption was the actual loss of sisters not a sister. Luckily though I didn't grow up a lonely child, but I lost the experience of having a close confidant, a sister. By birth I actually have at least six older sisters; yet, I cannot claim that they really are my sisters even though we share the same parents.

They never got to watch me grow up or get to know me as a child, I lost the daily bickering, fights and sisterly advice. To be honest I'm not even sure if my older sisters do all that … being a daughter and sibling in such a large family has meant many disappointments for me personally.

I have a large family (at least on paper and by DNA) somehow my sisters that I'd like to call sisters officially will not allow me to call them by the title since we have an almost nonexistent sibling relationship. Maybe the thing that I'm forgetting is that like me my sisters are more than merely sisters, daughters, wives and mothers – they're human beings with different personalities.

Even within families were siblings haven't been separated, it's a given that some of them will feel closer towards some and not so much with others. My adoptive mum and dad, each has siblings and neither one of them are particularly close with their brother or sister. My dad's brother, my paternal uncle, honestly doesn't live that far from my dad. Yet they rarely see each other more than once a year and speak on the phone a few times. My paternal grandmother is no longer alive so that natural need to keep in touch is lost … My mum has a slightly better relationship with her sister, they see each other several times a year but don't call each other that often. My mum was almost 13 when her younger sister was born. On my dad's side I have two cousins, and in turn they each have sons. When my cousins' were small children we used to gather on social events, now those occasions have ceased.

Neither of my older sisters knew about me before I was born and didn't get a chance to get to know me or form some kind of relationship and attachment to me. Same thing for me, I only had sisters on a piece of paper I had never met them, didn't know them or anything about them other then their age. I used to say that I was the seventh sister something which I was proud about. But now I realize that I don't have the right to use older sister or even sister when referring to a relative. Instead, I am a big sister but will never be someone's younger sister …

Will a future daughter replace that unconditional strong bond that some siblings share … possibly not since I would be somebody's mother then and not a sister. The bond between sisters or between brothers is a relationship where everyone is on the same level. Nobody is above the other where a mother is supposed to punish, praise, encourage, console, support whereas I imagine that sisters share, support, encourage and console.

Maybe I should be realistic most distant relatives or siblings might not get along that well, or be that close to one another. Because I never experienced that bond or have any memories to compare with I will always mourn the loss of them.

Whether or not I still remain in contact with them, that is up for you to imagine. Up until this point I have been as honest and shared only as much as I felt comfortable with. But our different childhoods and upbringings in different parts of the world has certainly added another dimension onto my adoption identity and also my relationship to my own flesh and blood … I lost many things due to adoption and I will never get to experience that natural bond that sisters share because we did not get to grow up together. You could say that being in reunion with your birth family can be very complicated. Neither of my siblings knew of my existance in addition I was raised in Western Europe and Scandinavia. The cultural difference adds another layer in my reunion story I know neither of my siblings have passed they are all doing quite well. But to be honest to me the loss and rejection sometimes makes me imagine that this is how it feels to lose a family member to death.

I was an infant when my birth mother lost me and you could say I returned from the dead when we were fortunate to be reunited. So for some years now  I have felt like a stranger and ghost in my birth family. I am trying to find my supposed place in a family who already are very close and where it seems like there is no place for yet another daughter and sister. To try to reclaim a place in a family that mourned my loss and never knew of me has and is still not easy. I share their genes and blood but my upbringing is anything but Asian. Which to me is sad and understandable, if I would have been somehow able to find them when I was five instead of a teen then perhaps it would have been easier for me to integrate into my birth family. To return as an adult when my siblings already formed close ties to each other through shared memories , hardships and milestones. Maybe the expected outcome could not have been anything else...