Posts tagged Adoption
DNA Time
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Thinking about tracking your ancestors heritage is both an exciting and intimidating experience. 

The biggest concern was if the results would confirm the information I had grown to know as the truth or flag up more questions?  

What is fascinating is the breakdown in results and the land my ancestors covered from their direction out of Africa.  

Sadly I cannot go into detail as the report has ‘wandered’ off and I need to contact the company to see if I can still have access. But what I do remember is that the Indian percentage was 33%, there was some Portuguese in there amongst other nationalities with English being the majority. Which was no surprise given my mum being half English and my birth being English too. 

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So what next? How can I find out more about more about the Indian element? Whilst it was fascinating to find out the information from the report it was equally frustrating to still be hitting a brick wall in terms of specifics. Where was my mum’s birth mother from? Which part of India? How can we find out more information without it being emotionally detrimental to my mum? 

Unpicking my identity was / is becoming more and more important.  

University Time and Japan
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University was a great time. A time to be more independent and discover myself more without fear of critique.

It gets tiring answering the same question frequently ‘where are you from?’ 

It was during this time I stated to embrace my ‘other’ heritage and not feel ashamed of it. Shame is a heavy burden as is denial. It is hard when you are not given the space to discuss, ask questions or explore what your identity means because your immediate role model was not equipped with the tools nor confidence to tackle this very personal subject matter either. 

However I decided that university was the start of my own journey, my journey to unpick the any questions I had regarding my identity.  

 

It became quite simple.

 

Talking about my mum’s mixed heritage and adoption factually. How we do not know about her background aside from her mother being Indian and father being British. How her adoptive parents were progressive, adopting children from different countries post Second World War.  How her birth parents relationship was not acceptable out of wedlock nor due to it being interracial or so we were told. Who truly knows? 

 

That was it.  

 

But it still felt very therapeutic just being very literal about the facts. We knew what we knew and that was that. I embraced the ‘difference’ and celebrated it instead of being shrouded in shame. It was liberating. It marked the start of an era. 

 

The next chapter was to travel.

To fulfill an ambition.

 

So I turned 25 and two weeks later I was traveling 6000 miles to Tokyo, Japan by myself.

It was exciting. A new found confidence emerged and talking more about my mums background became easier. As did meeting new people and exploring a new culture.  Albeit East Asian not South Asian. But it was one of the best experiences of my life. 

Which led to more intrigue. How do I found out more? What are the procedures to retrieve more information? How would my mum feel about it? And her Father, my grandfather who was very dear to us? 

A lot of questions to be answered. A lot of avenues to explore. It suddenly felt overwhelming. 

 

Back to the Beginning

As the title of this story suggests, reflecting on my history is important to create a meaningful brand.

This is my story.

My mother was born to an Indian mother and an English father. She was adopted due to interracial relationships not being accepted at the time. Ironic as the 1960’s is heralded as the start of female emancipation - only for some I guess? 

Her adoption, by a German mother and English father, who had also adopted a boy from Singapore and another girl of African or Caribbean mixed heritage, were very progressive for their time. The United Colours of Benneton a friend of mine coined some time ago. 

However sadly due to the time there was no celebration of cultural diversity. You were made to fit in the white mould and suffer racial discrimination as and when it came. It came. 

We have spoken about tracing her background but it is fraught with many bureaucratic hurdles that I do not want to enforce as it is her journey, her emotions. 

The brand is mine.  

Exploring identity, embracing identity and seeking role models who I can align my self with. Feeling empowered. 

Thinking about my childhood made me delve into the archives and find images that made me reminisce and smile for one reason or another.  

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I love this photo as I remember the experience of wearing Indian clothing and celebrating Divali by dancing in front of the school. It really was such an exciting experience and one that was given to me by my teacher. I thank her for that as I was able to celebrate Indian culture that was part of my heritage but not within my home growing up due to my mums adoption. It was a celebration of the festival but internally it was my own celebration. 

I recall loving the colour of the clothes and the embellishment, sequins galore, it looked and felt so luxurious. And practising the dance routine was so much fun. I remember we had batons to use and make them click, the sound was electric. 

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This photo makes me laugh. I wanted to wear trousers so badly. I was quite tom boyish when I was younger and liked the freedom they brought and was very much insistent on wearing them. I was aware of what I wanted from a young age I think that is why my teacher put me in certain roles, to channel my energy and determination. 

This emotive energy is what I want to remember and channel in to this work, this business, the brand and ethos. 

There are many stories about there. So much variation, diversity, that needs to be recognised and given a space in which to be celebrated.  

I hope to contribute to this narrative.