Posted by: Anon | 2009/07/21

Where do I start?

Dear Doc and everyone,

I am a 26yr old female. I was informally adopted when I was 6mths old. I found out when I was 18yrs old. I found letters in my Father' s Old briefcase after he passed away. My late sister and I asked my Mother and she got very angry and defensive. She told us our Mother was a drunk and she coudn' t look after us so she gave us away after trying to kill us. That was the end of it. I tried to get leads after that so I look for my Mother but I didn' t get far and became the bad guy at home.

Now I am old enough and want to know the truth. The letters dissapeared after the confrontation and when I asked about them my Mother denied taking them!

I don' t know where to start. Do I go and ask her for the truth again and tell her I' m planning on finding my parents? Or do I try and do it alone. If I do, How?!
Please help me....

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Our expert says:
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That sounds like your "adoptive" mother handled this about as badly as it is humanly possible to do. Let's see what other readers can suggest as to ways of checking on the facts. The problem ma be when you say "informally" adopted --- so there would presumably be no paperwork or official records of the adoption. Nomatter what the truth about your mom may be, the adoption was improper and illegal, and what you were told about her may be true or lies. Apparently your "adoptive" mother feels guilty enough about whatever happened to be covering up the truth and getting angry when you ask, though you have every right to do so.
Presumably when you were born the births should have been registered and a birth certificate registered --- but you'd need to be certain of your date of birth and actual name at birth, and where this occurred, to have much chance of looking that up. Do you have an ID or passport ? Presumably if so, there should have been copies provided to Home Affairs of your birth certificate. But I don't know if they could trace that far back, as they seem to get lost with applications received a month ago.
Were you christened in a church ? There might be some records of that, there.
You refer to your "late" sister --- if she died, there should have been a death certificate, which should have carried date of birth, etc. Or did Mom do that informally too ? That would have been criminal, so probably not.
The central problem seems to be that she doesn't want to tell you, and that you may have nothing to go on if you try to find out on your own. You could inqure at local adoption agencies ( or at agencies wherver you were as an infant. It may be wise to consult a lawyer about whether you have any rights, maybe to complain about the "informal" adoption leaving you no normal route to trace your parents as is your right.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Me | 2009/07/21

There' s a programme called " Khumbulekhaya"  on SABC 1 on Wednesdays at 21:00 or 21:30. If you write to them and explain your situation and include as many details of what you know as possible, they can read your letter on air and hopefully people who know anything about you, your sister or your mother will come forth. There are even ways to invite the crew to help you search for long-lost loved one' s. That' s all I can think of, I think it might actually help. On the other hand, you also need to reassure your adoptive mother that you love her very much and are eternally grateful for what she' s done for you, finding your mother won' t change any of that or the love that you feel for her, it' s just that you need to know where you come from and won' t rest until you do.

Reply to Me
Posted by: Anon | 2009/07/21

Thanks Doc. I do have an ID and passport. From the letter I know my other name is Prudence and my late sister is Priscilla but none of those names are in our ID books. I' m not even sure my date of birth is real or was just given to me. When I say informally adopted Imean like given away. From what I understand from the letters, my " Mother"  was suppossed to take care of us for sometime until our real Mother could sort herself. There is a point where in the letters she is very angry because " Mother"  was ignoring her letters and she stopped writing to her and telling her about our progress.

The story is so shady that I' m so convinced there is so much more to it than what I' m telling you now.

Reply to Anon

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