Thursday, August 17, 2006

Reclaiming a part of my heritage

About 3 weeks ago now I had some news about T5. I received a call to inform me that my donor's name was now safe with the ITA. That in itself made me really happy. If legislation ever does become retrospective at least there is a name for me to search with, much more than other older DC people have. Some DC people's records have been destroyed, which is a downright crime against them!

Anyway, the conversation was a blur in my mind. I was sitting at a tram stop waiting to go home after my first day back at uni. I was scanning the counselor's words, waiting for the good bits. I knew this was a different conversation to others i had had in the past.

She knows how much i have wanted to know the nationality of my father and his family.... It's something I have fantisised about since i found out. I always imagined he was from the UK, that my paternal heritage was perhaps Scottish. Over time this idea has stuck with me, and I only realised it after i got this news.

Apparently his surname is distinctly Maltese. When she said this i burst into tears. I didn't care who was around or what they thought. I was in a trance like state, replaying the words over again and again, reminding myself that i was awake and that this directly impacted me, myself.. my identity.

My mother was born in Malta and travelled here when she was 16 years old. My dad's family is also from Malta. I am fortunate that I have been surrounded by Maltese people and culture since i was little, for now it means a lot more to me. Of course T5 having a Maltese surname does not mean that he is necessarily completely Maltese himself, however it is a definate part of who he is, who his father is, and who i am. Maybe there is still a UK connection on my paternal grandmother's side?

The news is still sinking in. Now and then i remember the weight of such information and have to really stop and process it again. It's really amazing how grounding this information has been for me. I feel a little closer to him, a little closer to knowing myself better. I don't feel complete in any way, but i do feel a sense of calm. A sense that this is right.

It also shatters my previous fantasies, as i mentioned earlier. It is so bizzaire how easy it is to conjur up a image of someone you have never met, never known. He is no longer a UK/Australian with a pot belly! Also, there is now certain fear that he has not told his family. Knowing my own Maltese family and the community in Melbourne at least, I don't think that he would have told his parents or anyone really. His parents would not understand.... He would face a lot of stereotypical cop-outs about this. It makes me think he is less likely to come forward, and that sucks. And perhaps more likely that he just did it for some extra cash. But who knows? I shouldn't generalise, but it's hard not to when i know it's most likely the case.

But this is another piece of information that I am certainly thrilled about. As a friend said I am getting closer!

In thinking about this whole process however i have thought that it might be compared to slow torture... this bit by bit revealing of information. I find out when i am 15, get a few non-identifying bits of information... wait a few more years find out a donor code... another year and i find out i have many more siblings than i had ever imagined... find out their years of birth and gender a few months later... now this. There is a voice inside of me screaming like an impatient child "I want it all and i want it NOW!" Patience is not one of my strong points generally speaking, but in reality i have no choice but to be patient with this.

I am happy that I know all of this information, don't get me wrong, but I don't want to sing the grateful child song. I deserve this information, it is mine, i know this. The universe has a funny way of working sometimes. I guess i just have to wait and see what happens next.

Well actually i did get some other news with relation to all of this, but i will save that for the next post. It's another whole can of worms!


Sinking into my skin... slowly moving down the rope to the Earth. I can see people through the clouds, but i can't make out their faces. Still disconnected, but somehow very changed.


Umbilicly Challenged said...

Gosh Rel, that was so moving. It is so amazing and disturbing all at the same time, how one little piece of information such as your unknown father's (to you anyway) last name can elicit such emotion and at the same time, detroy so many fantasies. Something so simple as the nationality of a surname, which everyone who knows who they are takes for granted, could mean so much to a DC person.

And how unfair, how bloody, horribly, stinking unfair that the woman on the other end of the line could see that name but you, because your only "sin" is that you are genetically half of that person with the name, are NOT allowed to see it. That is just SCREWED UP. It's beyond screwed. It is cruel and torturous. Whoever the hell thought up this anonyminity crap must have been sick in the head.

Rel said...

Hey Sarah,

It is really really weird! And yeh, most people reading i don't think will think much of this news, most people take this stuff for granted. For me it's like a miracle to know.

It is pretty sucky to think some people can see my father's name but i can't. I do respect the counselor's position though... it's not her fault either that such contracts were drawn up to keep this information from me.

I do think it's pretty messed up that this all happened... that there is this unfortunate lot of us who just may never know. Whose birth information may never be seen by them. It's totally wrong...... dehumanising.

Thanks for your words. You are a great source of inspiration!!

Mia said...

WOW there is a NAME!!! I know it's frustrating that his name is in that file and you can't see it (yet) but, GREAT news that his identity has been "found"!

Maltese huh? It is fascinating that you were raised to know this culture so well. My parents are Italian and my bmom is also Italian. I still have no clue as to the other half of me but I get how you feel having one more piece of the puzzle put into place.

Congratulations Rel!!!

Rel said...


Yes :D A name! Somewhere safe. A bit of a relief, a bit of a frustration.... and definately a bit more hope!!

Thanks so much Mia!! It is so good to know this piece of the puzzle. xo

damianhadams said...

Hi Rel,

that is bitter sweet news.
How big is the Maltese community in Melbourne? Surely it can't be that big. Perhaps it's time to start seeing if you look a bit like someone else in the comunity.

All the best,

Rel said...

Hi Damian,

I think it's more sweet than bitter though :p

It's a fairly big Maltese population here, not sure on exact figures, but it definately narrows things down a bit.

Mia said...

Hey Rel! Just popping in to say HI!!! I hope you are having a fantastic September.

Rhonda said...

A name. A name with a history. A name, part of you. I am so thrilled to read this, Rel. That you have to wait, to celebrate tiny tidbits of your own fiber, makes me ache for you, so the bittersweetness is not lost on me.

Rel said...

Hey Mia,

Yeah my September is going pretty well thanks :) Started uni placement and loving it. And Spring is in the air here, so getting out of bed is lots easier! Hope you are well too. xo

Rel said...

Hey Rhonda,

Yes a name!! If only I could know it. On the upside at least it is safe and can't be destroyed. Some hope...

"to celebrate tiny tidbits of your own fiber" - that's exactly it. xo