You’re most likely wondering what the dramatic headline is about. In fact I know, a lot of the people who are reading this piece, will be a bit surprised.
My family, that being my adoptive family and my extended god-family and I guess possibly even my biological family, all know what the 20th March means to me. By no underestimation know this. It means A LOT. Like a kid I can still can not sleep until the clock strikes 00:00 at midnight the eve before my birthday.
The first day of March 2017 pretty much means, that all everyone is going to hear about for the next 31 days is me blabbing about my birthday. So what’s the big deal? Why is this the most important day on my calendar? I mean, it’s just a birthday right? Wrong! Let me give you a little insight!
Firstly, everyone calls me Cee or Ceecee or my old nickname CC. I have yet to hear anyone in the last two years refer to me by my full name. Aptly named after Simon & Garfunkel I am in fact Cecilia.
Secondly, I was one of the first 100 cross culturally adopted babies in Southern Africa before 94′. Sometimes I forget just how many people I know today, have no idea who I am, where I came from, or the life I have lived. It’s honestly two VASTLY different worlds being mixed together, expect they’ve never mixed. This is the beginning of changing that. I will be publishing the first of my 3 part biography in 2017.
Anyway, so here’s the low down. I was an abandoned baby. I was 3 weeks old when I was left next to a bridge in Isipingo, Durban, South Africa. It was a rainy and thundery evening, and I was left wrapped in barely nothing, next too the bridge…not under it. Strange since this is my favorite weather. Always has been. I find it calming to both mind and soul.
I was rescued by a lady who stayed in the area, who had gone out to see if she could find the “cat” she could hear making distressing sounds. Yup! It seems I have always been a talker. Anyway, this lady (who’s name I don’t know), found me, saved my life and took me to R.K.Khan hospital.
There, I was checked out, and all the usual happenings, happened. The doctor that evaluated me, came up with the 3 week age calculation, also stating that I was most likely very premature and there was a possibility of me having had a twin sibling (that’s a whole other story I will tell you about one day).
Anyway, safe and sound, and very sick I was kept at the hospital in the abandoned babies ward.
In the meantime my adoptive father who was working at the newspapers, a sub editor for one and a journo for another. Both he and my mother had been very involved in fighting against apartheid and what came with it. My mother came from a very Afrikaans family from a small town in South Africa called, Parys.
And my father was white English with German relations. Anyway, my mom used to protest against apartheid when she was younger, getting arrested almost weekly, and then getting bailed out by her dad. Back in the day, my dad was working for the Rand Daily Mail. A name that will be known to you if you’re a writer or journo in South Africa.
Moving along, they had three of their own kids and it was just when the youngest had reached 18 and was almost out of the house, that my father got sent to cover a story on the abandoned baby crisis. Now note this, this is still before 94′ things are still somewhat new, tense and strange in South Africa. So off my dad goes to cover the story. When he returned he said something to my mom that would change not only their life, or my life, but those I have met my entire life.
In their early fifties already, my dad came home and said to my mom. “Look. We can’t help every child out there. We can’t change things over night. We can help one child. We can change one persons life”. And with that, the rest was history! No, not really, oh if only it had been that easy. A simple click of their fingers and BaZinGa! I’m afraid not folks. Holy crap, did my folks go through hell.
Back then, there wasn’t so much focus on “how things were said” so my parents got it pretty straight from the social department. Some of the terms used and phrases said were ” You’re too old, too white, have enough kids oh and YOU’RE TOO WHITE!!!!!!“.
Sadly, for that lady, she had no idea who she was dealing with, my parents decided then, that they were in for the whole deal. If they had to go in fighting tooth and nail that is exactly what they would do, and its exactly what they did!
Eventually after fighting every road block and racist based rejection reason possible, my father came to the conclusion that they had to get a lot more backing to aid in their situation. So after a deep talk with my mom, he decided to write a story about me, including a photo of me, and it placed it on the front page of the newspaper.
Oh and that’s not all, they also brought in the big guns. The God Mother, utterly more terrifying than the Godfather, I promise you. Lol, my godmother certainly did not arrive covered in fairy dust and a sparkly dress. Nie man! This is Africa! She was packing, vooma, gutspa, and kick ass head to toe.
Eventually between the two sets of parentals, the backing of some of the public and a baby that would scream its head off every time my parents came to visit and then left, my parents were told they could take me home. STILL, not out of the woods, they were only allowed to foster me, and quite frankly if they hadn’t kept pressing just as hard, there was a huge chance, the department would have tried to take me back again.
It was not an easy time for my mother, emotionally or mentally, can you imagine. The hate the judgement, the flat out racist attacks that my parents faced in many aspects, it was disgusting and sad. And they stuck it out.
It’s funny the trauma’s the we recall as children, and even as babies. A few weeks later, my parents decided they needed to take some baby photo’s of me, so that I had something to look at as I grew up.
To this day my mother says she wishes she had some sort of sixth sense to know what kind of emotional trauma that visit would cause me. Arriving just down the road of their destination, my mother and father pulled over to the side of the road to take a photo of my mom holding me, with the hospital in the backdrop.
I went BALLISTIC! Like crazy, screaming, clawing, mentally insane, ballistic. My mother tried to give me to my dad for a few seconds, so she would get a wipe for my face and I dug my fingers into her arms so hard that I almost cut skin. They couldn’t put me physically down for a week.
The idea or thought of me being that mentally distraught gives me cold shivers to this day. I’m not sure what I felt then, but a few years ago I went through something very traumatic and life changing. Something that put me in therapy for 6 months, and let me tell you while I was going through it, I had something as cold and as dark as I imagine that feeling was that I had as a baby.
Anyway, my parents weren’t in the clear yet, they lost friends, they lost jobs, they lost the house they were staying in at the time. The landlord couldn’t deal with the idea of having a black person on her property. She even illegally tried to kick my parents out, but alas The God Mother swooped in again, and made sure that it wasn’t going down that way. They still moved, I mean who wants to live under that kind of oppression? It’s exactly what they had been fighting against!
And sadly or not, I don’t know how I feel about it, but they lost their first born son. He was all on board with the adoption. Until they brought home a black baby. At least that’s what I have been told, what I recall and what he has personally shown me with his actions my entire life. Moving his family as far away as possible, leaving my parents and me to literally starve when we were going through a bad time and never making contact again. Great brother. Anyway, I hold no grudge, why should I? What would that bring to my life? How would that better my future? It doesn’t and it wont. I’m just sad for them that they lost their first born, no matter what they say, it must of hurt.
By the way, ALL this has gone down, like in the first 6 months of them having me. You have no idea the life I have to share and tell the world after that. It’s going to be an interesting time in my life, when I do get to tell you all more in detail. Look its not all roses and peaches and cream, in fact some of it is pretty dark, but if I have learnt one thing in my life, is that I have a story to tell.
So back to the beginning, the doctor chose my birthday based on the medical exam. He could only be a day or two out on either side. Before you start asking, if I could be years older than I actually am. Lol. With my strange ocd obsession with numbers and words, it’s like the good doctor knew who I would grow up to be. As he picked the most perfect day on the calendar for me. And the day after? Well, I kid you not. It’s Human Rights Day. It could not be more iconic.
Sadly, the fight didn’t end with my parents. I still fight DAILY for my right to be me. I have been and I get verbally abused, judged, and sometimes physically attacked in my own country, in my own city. Why? Mainly because my skin is dark and I am perceived to have an accent. I am told almost every time I walk out my front door that I am not good enough by complete strangers. That I am lesser than. That I am broken. Its delightful really (drips sarcasm).
I have been robbed, beaten, and worse and this is always the reason or excuse given. And on top of that my parents, who fought so hard for EVERYONE’S freedom, are automatically judged because they’re white. Good lord its frustrating, and annoying. And I am sick and tired of not feeling like I can be me in my own home land. I am done with not being able to date someone because our skin colors don’t match, or dating someone and being nervous every-time we’re in public.
Lucky for me, I know I am good enough, I know I deserve to be happy, to be me,to be loved and to be free. I am one strong as hell and fierce woman, and no matter what comes at me, I’m ready for it.
So yes, folks. I love my birthday. Quite frankly that was only the beginning of my life. I have SO MUCH MORE to tell you, I have survived so much more mentally, physically, and emotionally. And I am STILL here. Each year I get too STILL BE HERE. That’s important to me. It means a lot to me, that what my folks fought for, what I fight for daily. It’s important.
So as the clock on my desktop tells me its ten minutes to midnight (Isn’t that a Linkin Park song?), I start feeling this little flutter in my stomach again. Knowing that the whole of tomorrow I will be walking on air.
I am where I am today, by a lot of my own efforts and survivals, but I am also here by a crap tone of love, light and fight from the people in my life back then. My father passed away when I was 15, my mother is still here, and my god parents are still being exactly that.
So, that’s just a little piece of me that I wanted to share with you. Take something positive from it and use it to better your own life.
And As Always…