During my 5-month stay in Peru, I will be writing blogs about my experiences twice per month.
The first series of blogs will be about my personal journey and experiences in Peru (like birth family, life in Cusco, food, health, travels…)
The second series of blogs will be about my work as a therapist with children and youth living in orphanages and transition houses (therapeutic approaches, interventions, case studies…)
Personal Journey 1: Arrival in Lima
I landed in Lima, Peru, at 2am last Tuesday morning, and was welcomed by my birth family at the airport. As I was walking towards all the people waiting for their loved ones to get through customs, I heard my 5 year-old niece yelling my name and running towards me. I knelt down, opened my arms and she ran right into them, while she continued screaming in my left ear until I almost became deaf. Then, she started talking some gibberish to me in a very excited manner, and I just looked at her and smiled. I didn’t understand a word of what she was saying. However, my heart felt warm and was open to this little girl who still remembered me since I first met them all 3 years ago. Then, I looked up and saw my birth mother, and the rest of the family. We all greeted each other before driving back to their little house in Callao, the district in which I was born. It must have been about 4am when I finally fell asleep after a long exhausting day.
This was the second time I met my birth mother in person. I shared the story of our first encounter in my book “The Untold Story of My Heart” (which can be found on amazon.com).
Writing my book and putting all my feelings about being adopted on paper really helped me make peace with my past. I came to accept that my birth mother had given me up for adoption, that we wouldn’t be able to go back in time and that I needed to learn to fill the hole inside me by myself. This second encounter made me realize that I came a long way as I didn’t feel triggered during my stay there. On the contrary, I felt much more in balance with everything as I now have the resources required to take care of myself much more efficiently.
The next day, we went to visit two of my aunts in a different part of Callao. I also met an uncle I had not met before. While there, my birth mother asked me if I wanted to go see the house in which my birth father used to live. I agreed and we walked just a couple of blocks away from where we were. As we were walking, I remembered all the things I had been told about him, namely his drug addiction, unwillingness to hold me at the hospital as well as the fact that he disappeared from everyone without leaving any traces. Even his family members don’t know where he is.
We suddenly arrived at a rundown building with apartments on each floor. It looked really poor and I was later told that this was the most dangerous part of Callao. Fortunately, we were together with people from the neighbourhood so that nothing bad was going to happen to me.
I walked up the steps with my half brother and felt my stress levels drastically increase. We knocked at the door but nobody answered. We tried three more times with the same result. This wasn’t going to be the day I meet my birth dad.
We spent the rest of my time at their place visiting family members, eating and sleeping.
All in all, my birth family treated me like a queen the whole time. They cooked for me, gave me their best room to sleep in, took me out for dinner, brought me to the airport and wouldn’t let me pay for anything. It seems as if they all accepted me as a full member of their family, no questions asked. I am very grateful for this second experience of meeting with them, and for their support for trying to find my birth dad.