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.
The good news is: I have a half-sister! Whom from now on I’ll refer to as my sister. I’ve always thought of ‘half’ as such a weird addition. You either are family or you’re not. Not half. And so: I have a sister! She’s never known of my existence and was caught off guard to say the least. But above all she was pleasantly surprised. Eleven days ago, she lost her mother. And less than two weeks later she gets a sister: me. She has told Teguh that she would very much like to get in touch. Problem is though: she only speaks Bahasa Indonesia. A language I still have to learn unfortunately. Ana has offered to mediate as an interpreter for the time being. Meanwhile, I have signed up for a home course Bahasa Indonesia. I want to learn the language and have never been as motivated as I am now.
The reason why my sister has never heard about me: I was born out of an affair (Yes! AN AFFAIR!!!) between my mother and a man to whom she was not married. Which was (or maybe still is) a great taboo in a country such as Indonesia. It’s the reason why I was given up for adoption. It’s why my whole existence was kept under wraps. Actually I am somewhat surprised about the fact that ‘money’ isn’t mentioned at all in this whole story … I’ve always been told my mom was too poor to provide me with the basic things needed to live an acceptable life. No one has said anything about an ordinary love affair.
My mother’s neighbors were the ones who told the whole story to Teguh, the travel guide that visited my family in Magelang on behalf of me. These neighbors claimed to know my mother well and they said to be the only ones aware of my existence. Or well, my mom has a few sisters, who I presume have known some things as well. Two sisters – my aunts – currently live in Bandung. One of the sisters lives in Magelang.
My Roots has sent me photos: my mothers and my sister.
However … I do not recognize myself in them. Somewhat disappointing.