My Story

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

My name is Ryan Anderson. Shortly before I turned 18, I learned that I was adopted. This discovery rocked my world. Twelve years later, I am finally ready to talk about who I am and where I came from. This is my story, told for the first time. I am keen to see if anyone can relate.

A bit of background, my adopted father is Moroccan and mother is English. I was adopted from a Moroccan orphanage as an infant when I was about 3 months old. At that time, my parents had a son and daughter who were both teenagers.
 
My adopted mother is a kind caring person, and my father a deeply religious man. My mother always had an idea to adopt. However, having seen the plight of orphans in Morocco first-hand she was keen to adopt there rather than from the UK despite this being more difficult to pursue. My father was initially less keen to adopt, but supported her anyway and eventually came round to the idea.
 
Eventually, after years of deliberation, they both took steps to adopt. They came to my orphanage which was in a small municipal town called El-Jadida, where I had been abandoned as baby. My adopted parents picked me out from a line of babies, all equally deserving of a home. They were shown several babies all about 3 months old all of whom had no biological parental info. My parents were simply asked to pick a baby and they picked me. Recently after speaking to my parents about this they confirmed that my father didn't want a girl as she would be more likely to leave when she grew up. The first baby they were presented with was however a girl, next in line was me.
 
As I was abandoned, there were no details left of who my biological mother and father were. To this day, I still don’t know if I have any biological siblings, the reasons why I was abandoned or if any of my biological family are alive. However, I recently learned that many families in Morocco, especially those around El-Jadida area are from poor farming communities. I understand that it is often the case in Morocco that a Mother will give birth to a child and then will not be able to care for them, so they feel compelled to abandon their babies. I am speculating, but my belief is that this is precisely what happened to me.
 
During my first 3 months at the hospital, I had no name. The Moroccan government allowed my adopted parents to choose my first name but wouldn't allow the same surname (Mourini). I was given the name Rachid Aboulfadl, Aboulfadl chosen by the hospital. My adopted parents spent several weeks (close to 2 months) in Morocco in order to get things put in place for the adoption. When the paperwork was completed, I was able to leave the orphanage with them. However, due to confusion with the British Consulate, I was not able to return to the UK until the paperwork was processed. My adopted parents were told this would take approximately 6-9 months to complete. My adopted mother was distraught, as she wanted to stay with me and care for me, but could not as my brother was in the Scotland and she needed to get back for him. My sister was cared for by my nan at the time in England. They came to an arrangement with some of their friends in the El-Jadida area to look after me while they returned to the UK and sorted out the paperwork, and ensure my adopted brother was provisioned for. I guess you could say that by the age of 6 months I had been potentially abandoned twice. Although I cannot recall the time I spent with my foster family, I know I was cared for.
 
As soon as they were able to (approximately 6 months later) my adopted parents returned to Morocco to collect me. I was brought back to Scotland where they raised me as their own. Never once did they let on that I was adopted. Once I arrived in Britain, I had my name changed to Rachid Aboulfadl Mourini to be part of the family. However, my adopted mother always referred to me as her special little boy, little did I know what that meant. I truly believed they were my biological parents. Unlike now there wasn't much information or support on how to adopt so my parents done the best they could raising me and making me part of the family.
 
Growing up I never really met any of my dad’s family as they were all living in Morocco although we did travel there when I was younger a few times. Most of my relationships when growing up have been with my mums' side of the family who lived in England so we would visit 3/4 times a year. As both my mum and dad are Muslim, I felt there was a bit of racism directed at all of us growing up and some bullying.
 
My dad was, until retired, a second hand dealer and is an untidy person. This made me embarrassed growing up as my friends would ridicule me about his appearance and profession – he is also was very tight with money. Over the years growing up he became resentful about having to look after his family. We were not poor, but we lived as though we were due to my adopted fathers’ lifestyle beliefs. My mum had to scrimp and save to get by and provide me with the clothes and toys I wanted. I did not at any time feel unloved though despite the circumstances mainly from my mum but I did know my dad cared in his own way. My mum was always my main parent and care giver, and has always done her best and would worry and care 24/7, come out looking for me if I was a minute late etc. Growing up I would say at times I was a sweet child then the complete opposite, very disruptive when I didn't get my own way. I got my caring side from my mum and the money-orientated side from my dad. I was also embarrassed growing up of my name, ashamed of my ethnicity, skin colour and where I was born. My older brother and sister were both closer to being white skinned and British which I was jealous of and always wondered why not me? I would then lie and say that I was born in Scotland to cover this up and also hide my middle name which I was embarrassed of. I understand my brother and mother often disagreed about “coming clean” with me as I was growing up which led to arguments. However, he respected my mother’s wishes and never said anything to me. I was oblivious of my adopted status.
 
Family wise I believe the 5 of us have never been in a room together as my sister was left behind in England when she was 14 as she refused to go with my parents to Morocco so stayed with her nan. My brother left the family home when I was about 1 year old, but would come back and stay with us from time to time while I was growing up. At the age of 14 I found out I suffer from a rare incurable illness called Bechet's. This illness would affect my eyesight, joints and immune system. In the UK only 1 in 33,000 have this illness so I would always think why me? This effected my childhood and I believe I need to be on medication to manage this for the rest of my life until a cure is found.
 
By the time I was 17 I moved out with my mum as my nan had become really ill. For a long time leading up to this my mum was unhappy and there was no relationship with any of us to my dad due to not following in his religious views. Ultimately this led to my mum and dad divorcing and my mum and I moving to England to care for my nan and be closer to my sister and extended family. When I was away, I missed Scotland and my friends terribly and did visit as much as I could.
 
Just before my 18th birthday I was told the truth. I was still with my mum and nan living in England. While I was in Scotland visiting friends, my brother hinted to me I needed to have a serious chat with mum. A few days later I returned home I confronted my mum then that night she wrote me a letter which I still have to this day explaining everything. When I found out I burst into tears ran out and within a few days I packed my bags and moved out back to Scotland staying alone for the next 12 years, keeping the information bottled up. My mother said that the delay was because she loved me and didn’t want to hurt me. Recently after doing some research from books and articles, I found out it is important to tell a child they are adopted at an early age. My parents were not aware of this, there is no instruction manual on how to adopt. 04/01/2008 is a traumatic day I will always remember.
 
As a result of this trauma and being in the wrong crowd, I got involved in drink and drugs. I wouldn't say I was addicted to any of them but it was a good release to enjoy myself rather than deal with the problems. I didn't think about getting help but probably wasn't ready so the drink and drugs were a distraction. I changed my name copying my brother and sister changing away from my father's side to my mother's side and tried to start a new life. I would change from my Arabic name Rachid Aboulfadl Mourini to a British name Ryan Anderson. I was also known by my nickname Peshy, therefore I had multiple identities, different names known to different people. I would keep my party lifestyle separate from my family, keeping them at arms lengths and is the reason why I value all my friends as family. As my friends were my family this was fine in the younger years but as the years went on friends drifted, people grew up and I started to get lonelier. I was likeable, popular and everybody's friend but none of them knew about my story. Over the next 10 years I would spend most of the Christmas period alone unless I felt brave to go to visit my family or got invited to a friend's house.
 
In my early 20's I would be very stubborn and would still block most of this information out. It was my late 20's where I wanted peace and it played on my mind more. I would do my best to repair any bad relationships I had with people and would always try fix other people's relationships. I would focus on making money and do as much travelling as possible which I found made me happy. I had a large friend group and was liked my most people but experienced serious bullying and betrayal from friends that I treated as family. I would always forgive people as upsetting as it could be as I found it hard to let go of friendships. From the age of 25 I would spend half the year in Ibiza living the party lifestyle in the summer then in the winter I'd travel. I did this for the next 5 years but deep down I still wasn't happy and refused to tell any of my close friends what was going on in my head.
 
Today, my relationship with the family is fine, but I have a mental block and a feeling that I don't belong with them despite them showing nothing but love and support. I was and still am hurt about this and have blocked a lot out and continue to where I can to distract myself with my friends and with travel. However, I have never really shared this information with anyone or talked about it. Only my family knew and I made it a taboo subject to talk about in my mind with anyone. The only person I would talk about this too is my mum, she would call me every day checking I am ok. However, when I wasn't great I would tell her my adoption is always on my mind and I feel lost. She is deeply regretful and in tears, begging for forgiveness and wishing she could turn back time and had told me earlier. Over the years there was not much of an emotional connection with my dad although he does care in his own way. I feel obliged to look after him and be at peace with everything that's happened in the past. The relationship with my brother and sister has never been close when I compare it to others but I believe we all know we care for each other and I will do my best to let my guard down more and have a better connection.
 
I am 30 years old now and for the past 5 years or maybe even until that day I have dealt with depression, had mental health problems with suicidal thoughts so I was taking medication on and off to deal with this. I noticed a depressive spell would come so then I would lock myself away with my thoughts and cut contact with everyone going into a rut. Over the years my depressive spells got worse and lasted longer. Due to my adoption, I felt the need to be perfect and grateful. I put a lot of pressure on myself to prove to everyone I deserved to be picked. Over the last 2 years bottling it up got too much so I have told 2 people on separate occasions (not close friends) when I was drunk and got a supportive reaction but personally felt sick and instantly regretted it feeling shameful never talking about it again. I did try to get counselling a year ago but wasn't ready and just walked out. I didn't even have the guts to open up and tell my councillor then. It has only been over the recent years I have been more at peace with myself and tried to aspire to be the best person I can be. I would help out all family and friends financially trying to spread my generosity even to those that didn't deserve it. Over the years I experienced a lot of betrayal from friends mostly who take my kindness for weakness so I am numb to when people let me down or doing something hurtful.
 
Looking back thoughts run through my mind about when would have been the right time to know? Being told at a young age? Told before school? Teenager? 20's? 30's? Or to have never have known?! I imagine how my life could have been different in every scenario but what is done is done. I have no blame directed to anyone and want to own my story. I do my best to care for everyone and anyone, a trait learned from my mum. I feel I am turning a corner so going to embrace being adopted and every traumatic event that's happened to me I want it to fuel me to become a good caring person which will hopefully attract likeminded people. I have learned if I share my story it's a piece of me and can cause me to feel low going into panic mode with the fear of rejection. I understand to some people this might not be important to you but it's so important to me so I would rather share than not. I anticipate I will get reactions like I am an attention seeker and doing it for the likes but my mentality is I am doing it for mental health, people say to speak up, so by doing this hopefully encourages others to have the courage to do the same. Holding onto this secret has not been healthy and I think abandonment issues are at the root cause to my mental health. When I am down it feels like the life force has been drained out of me.
 
Now over the last 6 months I have done my best with getting the help I need. I was brave enough to call the doctor to open up about my adoption and have done the following off my own back;
 
  • reading self-help books,
  • doing yoga,
  • writing a life story,
  • meditation,
  • volunteering,
  • 1 to 1 counselling/group counselling,
  • doing an ancestry test to find my identity

 

Hopefully any of the above could be a useful idea to anyone stuck for ideas which might help.Unfortunately, I was getting very little progress with feeling better but positive as at least I am taking baby steps, looking back I was getting better I just didn't realise. I also decided to attempt a sober year too not interfere with my recovery. This is proved challenging as no one knows my story and since I cut alcohol out my system people assume I should feel great, when I was hurting inside. I struggle to find anyone who has kept this a secret and still does so curious to know if there are people out there. I was looking for someone to hold my hand and tell me how to tell my story but I just decided to man up and do it myself. I want to be at the stage where I can speak freely and proudly about my adoption and even joke about it. After my last dip in depression due to Covid-19 and me thinking I was strong enough coming off my medication I felt I hit an all-time low. I was in tears and made a feeble attempt to commit suicide taking some tablets and didn't want to live anymore but once I recovered what that made me realise is, I never want to go back to that place again. I vow to help others as much as I can and as draining as it can be at times. I always hear you can't save everyone but I will try!
 
To explain my character and feelings here's a list of how to describe me if you can relate;
  • I have zero self-love,
  • not bothered about dying,
  • like to be friends with everyone,
  • some people think I am fake
  • people don’t like me at first then grow to like me,
  • I feel I am an outcast,
  • distant with others,
  • go into myself,
  • I feel am everyone's friend but nobody's best friend,
  • a people pleaser who puts other people first,
  • find it hard to say no,
  • have trust issues,
  • it kills me when someone doesn't like me,
  • like being around lots of people,
  • like to include everyone so no ones left out,
  • never had a relationship,
  • hyperactive at times,
  • my mind works 100mph,
  • over thinker,
  • always think ahead never in the moment,
  • lonely & unwanted feeling,
  • struggle with my identity.

 

I opened up on Reddit but have been too scared to reveal on Facebook as I am ashamed people will match my name to my face. I am very happy to see people support each other online and I am now brave enough to ask for support myself. Am not sure what the chances of me meeting my birth family are and if it's even possible. I know it will be difficult to communicate due to the language barrier. Any advice or comments or if anyone can relate please give me a message as it would be good to know there are people out there with a similar story. Thank you for reading and I hope now after finally telling my story it will be a big weight off my shoulders then I can move forward in life to heal and find happiness.
 
© RYAN ANDERSON 2021


Submitted: February 18, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Peshy37. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Eraser

Intense story. The deepest bonds are not necessarily based on genetics. After all, many parents and children as well as siblings can't stand each other. It sounds like you've largely escaped that trap. We must all be thankful what we have even while we aspire to have more.

Fri, February 19th, 2021 9:36pm

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