Family

What is family? It’s a question I ask myself often since I started writing my book. (By the way, I’ve sent the manuscript to several publishers and I already received a couple of rejections, unfortunately …) My sister stopped sending me e-mails. Whether that is because of the money issue … Oh well, let’s not draw conclusions too quickly. Family goes beyond kinship. Much further. Although I was always looking for my place in our adoptive family, I’ve always known who I considered to be my family. The family in which I grew up. I used to…

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A broken heart

A broken heart. Two halves separately and yet together. I could not think of anything more symbolic than this. Today I bought two necklaces with two – mating – half hearts. In one half I had my sister’s name engraved, while my name was there in the other half. So now I can wear my sister close to my heart. And so can she. For her children, my three nephews and my niece, I went shopping too. For my nephew T. who translates our e-mails from and into English, I got an Ajax shirt. He loves soccer…

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Money makes the world go ’round

Today I received a mail from my sister. And though I knew beforehand this could happen, her question took me off guard anyway. Money. In Indonesian families is the most normal thing in the world to support each other financially. There is no social safety net, so within your family you just support each other. That’s nice, so I think. But why do I feel so much resistance then? I’m totally not enthusiastic about transferring money to Indonesia. The amount my sister asks is considerable. Even if I wanted to help…

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Letter to my sister

Bennebroek, 3 March My dearest sister, It’s hard to write a letter to someone you’ve never met. Where do I start? Oh well, I’ll just start and we’ll see where it leads us. Because I want you to know that I’m thinking of you and our mother Marwiyah. First of all, my condolences with the loss of our mother. I can hardly express in words how sorry I am for not having searched for her a couple of days earlier. It breaks my heart when I think about her never knowing…

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I have a sister!

I was prepared for anything. Or so I thought. I had even already given up hope my mother would still be alive. Never could I have imagined an outcome quite this ironic: my mom dying just 6 days before My Roots knocked on her door on my behalf. SIX DAYS. I learned that my mother – right after she had brought me to Jakarta to give me up for adoption – changed her mind and tried to get me back. I can feel her pain as I think about that….

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