After reading the announcement on the Facebook page of the Dagblad van het Noorden (Northern Daily), I suddenly feared the worst. Because if they were mistaken about our age (hello, 40 ??)… and they described Lia and Coby as tourists who picked us up at Schiphol …?
For me it was exactly the reason why Saturday I asked for a preview of the article. For some fact-checking. Unfortunately the journalist said there would be no time for such, which made me a little nervous.
Fortunately, this announcement appeared to be written by some web editor who hadn’t even read the article. And probably wasn’t very good at math. I could agree with the actual article. (However… he described us as ‘bubbly babies’? I was severely malnourished, when I arrived in the Netherlands. And as opposed to what the article says, I did NOT go back to Indonesia myself to look for my family. But hey well, those are just details I guess…?! Even the My Roots Foundation is mentioned in the article. And my blog. Yes, it’s time for a thank-you email.
Here is the text:
“Suddenly I have a bonus-sister”
Almost forty years ago, they were delivered at the airport upon their Dutch adoptive families. Saturday Victor van der Land and Wendy Dekker met for the first time since. In Sappemeer.
He sat on the couch in front of the TV when girlfriend Karin suddenly asked from behind the laptop: ,, Hey, on which date did you arrive at Schiphol again when you were a baby”,, On August 24, 1977, why?” ,,Well, someone on Facebook is looking for you! ”
Barely a month after they saw the call on Facebook, Victor and Karin are sitting with Wendy and her family in their sunlit garden in Sappemeer. Reunited for the first time since they were flown in as a baby from Indonesia. Victor was nine weeks old Victor and Wendy five months.
When he saw Wendy’s Facebook message, Victor knew immediately it was about him. Especially by seeing the picture. Two bubbly babies in the arms of two Dutch women. ,,The same picture is also in my children’s album. ”
Immediately that same evening they were chatting for hours together via Skype. And since then there have been many more Skype calls. ,,It’s bizarre,” Victor says. ,,Although we’re not related by blood, it felt very familiar right away. Suddenly I have a bonus sister.”
Wendy has a theory about this: ,,We have made the largest and most important journey of our lives together. And though we were still babies, I’m convinced an experience like that lies somewhere deep in our memory. From that very first conversation there was a click. ”
It is a warm but also a little mixed feeling, Victor says. Happiness on the rediscovery of that shared part of their early childhood, goes hand in hand with gratitude about their happy childhood in Holland. Wendy went to Axel in Zeeland. Victor went to Gouda, but moved by the work of his father to the north, where he grew up in Veendam.
,,Your whole life you’re aware of the fact that you were born somewhere else in this world,” Victor outlines his double feeling. ,,And no matter how happy the home is in which you grow up, the youngest youth remains a white spot: where do I come from, who am I?” That question however never played a predominant role in their lives, they both emphasize. But once they grew up it became more urgent. Especially when they became parents themselves.
,,Then you start wondering about your roots,” Victor says. ,,I know I’m from Indonesia. My parents have always been very open about everything. I am also proud I’m adopted. I want to be able to tell my children: see, this is where your dad’s from,” he explains while his two sons romp with Wendy’s daughters in the yard.
Especially for magazine journalist Wendy – now living in Bennebroek – it is nothing less than a mission. A quest which she reports on her blog www.indowees.nl and ultimately will be published as a book.
They both made the trip back to the image of their earliest childhood to colors. They proved born in Central Java: Victor in Klaten in Yogyakarta and Wendy in Magelang. His trail stops at the foster families who took care of him in Indonesia until the flight to Schiphol, but she found her family. My Roots Foundation, which helps Indonesian adoptive children to trace their roots, succeeded in finding a half-sister and an aunt. Not her mother, she turned deceased six days before her arrival.
That leaves many white spots in their lives to fill in the coming period, but first: the reunion with the ladies who held them so proudly in their arms. ,,Two tourists from Bergen op Zoom who were just returning from their holiday in Indonesia. They got to deliver two Indonesian babies at Schiphol. We found them back also via Facebook. They are now in their seventies, but seem to remember everything that happened during that flight exactly. We are planning on meeting them soon.”