Everyone deserves to know this
Everyone deserves to know... Where they come from
When at the age of 18, Ryan was told he had been adopted in Morocco by his Moroccan father and white British mother, his world fell in. He spoke to Adoption Arena about the impact this has had on him and the search for his roots, truth and identity.
I was 18 when my parents told me I was adopted so I’m what’s known as a late discovery adoptee. It really messed me up. I kept my adoption a secret from everyone else in my life for another 12 years. I travelled a lot, lived in Ibiza, had a busy life and managed to ignore it. Then Covid and lockdowns hit and I couldn’t avoid it any longer. Since then, adoption has ruled my life. I decided I had to trace my roots and am on a reunion journey.
A theory I was told was I was found in a street in Morocco and taken to a hospital. I was adopted by my Moroccan father and English mother and brought to live in Scotland. While they were going through the process of adopting me, which was complicated, I spent some time with a foster family in Morocco. This is about as much as I know. I always wondered why my skin was darker than my siblings and could never work out why. There are so many unanswered questions.
I took a DNA test and the results only identified a 4th cousin, which is not a good match. I’ve applied to be on Long Lost Families twice but have not been successful so far. In June I took a trip to Morocco to try and find more information. Every single piece of information is valuable to me.
Everyone deserves to know where they come from.
It’s hard work trying to find information in another country and in another language. I don’t speak Arabic and so I need to have someone with me to interpret. I met my foster family and they were positive about the likelihood of me tracing my birth family. I visited the hospital I spent time in and saw my name in a court register, but getting more information is difficult. I got sent to five different offices and then back to where I started. Each place I went, I got told I had to go somewhere else to get the information I wanted, or the person I needed to see was on holiday, or the files were in an old archive, or the information didn’t exist. At the hospital, they wanted money from me. You have to be careful not get scammed. There are a lot of people trying to make money out of you.
I appeared on some national television programmes in the hope that someone watching would know something, but nothing came of it. In 1990 Moroccan society, there is shame around women having children outside of marriage, they could get in trouble from the authorities and lots of babies are abandoned for that reason, or because of the poverty. I know there are many barriers to finding out who my birth parents are. I’ve tried going through the embassies, but I’ve waited months and months for a response and they don’t seem to be able to help that much. You need to be persistent, but it’s very draining. I’ve hit a dead end for now and feel in limbo, so I need to go back to Morocco. It’s expensive and I’ll need to save up more money.
I love Scotland but I was taken away from my roots. One thing I noticed in Morocco is despite the poverty, the people there were happy. I’d like to meet my Moroccan family and thank them, but I don’t know if I will ever get the chance to do that. I am close to my adoptive mum and she’s been a huge support to me.
I struggle to know where I fit in – in my adoptive family, in Morocco, in Scotland and even with other adopted people. I have low points when I think that everyone else is happier and more solid than me. I try to be spontaneous to keep my head above water, and then I can crash. I think I can be hard work and I can push people away and self-sabotage. I know I’m hard on myself. I have ambitions to be successful and to have a family, but I’m not sure how to achieve these yet.
In July last year I decided to share my experiences publicly. I made a YouTube video, talked to the press and published my story on my website. I find it healing to talk about my situation and I’m keen to share my story.
Even small pieces of information mean a lot to me and there is always the outside chance that someone listening, watching or even reading this will know something which will really matter to me.
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Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. It takes great courage and extreme bravery to share you story especially when you are still working on challenging issues.
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