Lauren Hanekom's Adoption Story

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I wanted to share my adoption story with you. I am 28 and live in South Africa. I was adopted out of foster care when i was 6 months old. I don't recall a time in my life that I didn't know that I was adopted. My mom used to tell me (and my other adopted sister, unrelated and 5 years younger) bed time stories of how there was another mother but I was especially chosen to be her daughter. In primary school, children used to tease me sometimes but my brother (2 years older, unrelated) always stood up for me.

I always wondered about my biological parents growing up and my mother always supported the inquisitiveness. When I turned 18, I was legally allowed to search for my biological parents so I tried to approach the adoption agency that handled my adoption but it turned out that they had closed down. Their records ended up at a welfare that is run by social workers for young mothers or pregnant teens who have nowhere else to go. I had to go through a screening process to see if i was mentally prepared to start the journey of discovery.

It took them 4 years to locate my biological mother. I was able to email her indirectly through the social worker. She has 2 daughters, of which one is only 3 years younger than me. It made me wonder how she could keep that child so soon after giving me up, but I realized that I had to keep an open mind because I don't know what her circumstances were at the time or how I came to exist. We sent about 3 emails to each other, she then decided that she wasn't ready to have contact. My biological father is to this day probably unaware of my existence. I did hire a private investigator last year to try and locate him but he could only provide me with more information on my biological mother due to lack of information.

I intend to try establish contact with my biological mother again since her children are grown up now. I never felt bad about being adopted, my family has always supported me and provided me with whatever I needed. I grew up in a house with 6 siblings. It was certainly interesting when we all hit the teenage phase at more or less the same time. I don't think that it will bother me if I never have contact with my biological family but I do wonder. Other children know whose hair or eyes they've got, I would simply like medical history, a picture and to find out what they've done with their lives. I have a 5 year old son, so I can definitely imagine how difficult it must've been to give up a child, I just don't know how people manage to do it, but in my case, I'm glad she did because my life could've been very different and less fortunate.