Monday 26th November 2018
Love that film. Gwyneth Paltrow at her best, before she went a little weird. Sliding Doors, the film that depicts how it might have gone, one person, two very different lives.
I had my own Sliding Doors Day today. (Winnie, who is co-ordinating my search has arranged for me to go back to where I was born). I got off the MTR at Long Ping station, 30 minutes from where I’m staying in HK and took a 10 minute train ride to my birthplace. The doors slid open and I saw how my life might have been had my Mother kept me. How life would had been had she not relinquished me, complete with my full story into Po Leung Kuk orphanage, 10 weeks after giving birth to me. She gave birth to me, her fourth child, in a hut, in Hung Shui Kiu, Tai Po, New Territories. She gave birth to me in the hut of a man she cohabited with after my birth Father left her, and her 3 children from her first marriage (she a widow) when his own wife appeared from mainland China with their children. Are you getting this? I barely can. Complicated, and so very sad.
Such a sad, sad, heartbreaking story. And equally sad, the stories of older women today, forced to gather cardboard to eek out their meagre ‘pensions’.
This could have been my life, a life of sickness and poverty. I am extremely shortsighted, -16.5 in one eye, -15.75 in the other. Would be blind without my lenses/glasses. My feet are an amazing mess, lots of work in my early years. My teeth were not good when I arrived in UK, but are now wonderful due to great NHS dentistry in my early years. I had an amazing education. But had I not been adopted I would likely be dead, illiterate, struggling with my health…., gathering cardboard.
People, usually English, on hearing my story, sometimes say “You must be really angry with her (my birth Mother)”. As a therapist I was taught never to say “You must” followed by a feeling. That when you get it wrong you close the other person down. Better to say I wonder if you feel……Be tentative.
But I know not to be closed down by You Must statements, and have the courage to not just agree, but say my truth. And the truth is this.
I am not angry with my birth Mother. I am sad for her, and my heart breaks when I think of how hard it must have been for her. To give away her 10 week old baby. To struggle to survive. To give birth in the hut of a man who was not my Father, and then put the co habitee’s name on the birth certificate because she had been deserted. How can I be angry at this? I want to thank her, tell her I turned out fine, more than fine. That I am loved, know what love is. How to give and receive love. That I have my own family, she has amazing grandchildren and a great grand daughter. I am grateful. So grateful. She relinquished me, into the orphanage with my story. Of the106 adoptees that were brought to England in the 1960s, only 3, me included have a story, information. Most were abandoned in stairwells, on doorsteps, in public places. My mother could have done this too.
If I don’t find anyone, I won’t be sad, disappointed. It’s hard to explain how much it means to have walked in my birthplace. To receive so much help from the people here. To finally see the place I had only seen as words on a birth certificate before.
To say aloud, in the place she gave birth to me “I love you and I thank you” and let the words fly to her in the wind.