The Beauty Behind The Trauma of Adoption
“Unfortunately, I’m that kid.” The one whose birth mom was a sex worker in South Africa, who was HIV positive (no that does not mean I have it, that’s another story), and who handed me in to the police station when I was only three months old. From there, she was never seen again. My birth dad was never in the picture, he was a German soldier and left before I was born. I don’t know the full story, and that’s okay. I’ve accepted that, for now. I believe my birth mom wanted to give me a better chance, a second chance at life. She was said to have been from either the Zulu or Ndebele tribe, I’m still not sure.
The parents I have now are two of the strongest, most phenomenal people I have ever met in my entire life. I don’t think I will ever be able to put into words how grateful I am to have been adopted by them. It was 1999 and even though the Apartheid had ended, there was still racism in every corner. My parents are a Caucasian couple that have been together for more than 35 years and have dealt with a great deal of negativity from both family and friends for adopting a brown skin, hair, and eyed baby girl. I like to use the term “coloured.”
My adopted dad is Jean André Gruneberg. His grandparents were Johanna Wilhelmina and Walter Gruneberg, to them I was an abomination. My adopted mother, Wendy Lee Trotter, also experienced great struggles from her family too; especially coming from the UK. Despite the struggles and consequences, they still went through with my adoption.
Moving from one place my five senses were familiar with, to a completely knew surrounding, My mom tells me I would not stop crying. Nothing would stop me from crying, no matter if they were holding me, feeding me or even if my diaper was clean. I don’t know how she knew, but the only thing that stopped me from crying was skin on skin contact with my mother. The warmth of actually being held by another person, stopped my crying all together. Though they were only going to foster me for awhile, after such an experience, my mother knew she couldn’t leave this little baby, a mixed baby, one of the biggest abominations in Africa at the time, all alone. Being the whitest of the white (half German) and the blackest of the black (#WAKANDAPRIDE), she knew that no one else would be there to help me cope with all the struggles, hatred I would experience and face growing up. She knew I need someone to be there, to tell me that it’s okay and that I am loved.
Everyone has a story that needs to be shared, a voice that needs to be heard. For change to happen, it has to start somewhere, and it has to start by someone telling their story first, to allow others to have the strength to tell theirs. Though life is filled with ups and downs, that’s okay. Because they’re just ups and downs, and from every down there is a lesson, and in that lesson we grow, and we don’t have to be alone when we grow and heal. There is strength in numbers, and I hope this story will allow others to have the strength to tell their stories too. People are willing to help you, you just have to ask.
This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.