Sandra Wekesa @andayisandra
One fine morning as the sun’s rays flashed through the windows and birds chirped to welcome the new day, Simon Njoroge decided to peruse his late mother’s document. It was in 2005. He had just lost his mother a few weeks before. He was lonely, devastated and in emotional pain. He, therefore cherished his mother’s memories, going through her documents.
One document, however, left him in shock. “The document had my name, my mother’s name, my place of birth and other details. However, the document didn’t qualify to be a birth certificate, rather it was an adoption certificate,” he recalls.
Since he was young, he always suspected that he was adopted. After he was enrolled in a nursery school, there was this boy who got into the habit of taunting him. “He would call me Njoroge wa kuguruo (Njoroge who was bought),” he says. The boy further incited other children to call him by that nickname.
Njoroge asked his mother why the boy would call him by that name. “She said I should just ignore him since he was just a kid. Though I never bothered her with this conversation anymore, I became curious,” he adds.
At one time, his mother’s friend became expectant. And she got a bouncing baby girl. Two months later, Njoroge’s mother came home with a baby boy and told him he was to be his small brother henceforth.
“My puzzle was solved. I got to know that a woman has to be expectant to get a baby. However, I never got to see my mum being pregnant. I concluded it must have been the same for me. At the age of eight though, I didn’t quite contextualise what that really meant,” he says.
Life moved on as usual until when he got to Class Eight. “It was on a Monday morning in February, 1999. Each candidate was expected to select a list of secondary schools they would want to attend. Unexpectedly, mum appeared in school that day and told me she had come to give me support.
Though she had been in consistent support, there was something peculiar this time. Her leg was bandaged and she had a slight limp. I could tell she was in pain. The distance from the main road to the school was about a kilometre and I could tell it had taken a toll on her.
This gesture of love and sacrifice had a profound impact on me. Later when she was gone I hid in the bathroom and wept uncontrollably wondering who else would travel that far in pain just to be with me on a special day.
My perception about her and about adoption in general was defined. I knew whatever the circumstances that had led to my adoption, it was a beautiful thing that she got to be my mother,” he says.
Now he held his adoption certificate. The truth was right before his eyes. The feeling of finding out was overwhelming. He didn’t know how to react to the matter, especially since his mother was no more. He was happy that the matter was finally settled in his mind.
Thirteen year since he saw his adoption certificate, he still holds it dearly. To him, it’s the symbol of the compassion and love that his mum had for him that counts. Even though there was a court ruling that adopted children could replace the adoption certificate with birth certificate, he has chosen to remain with it appreciation to her.
As a father of two, his experience has inspired him to love unconditionally and be open-minded. He advises people not to stigmatise adopted children. “My mum may not have had the courage to tell me the truth. But the good she did for me outweighs that.
From her. I have also learnt virtues of compassion and courage to face a society that is yet to come to terms with adoption,” says Njoroge who works with a non-governmental organisation.
“The fact that she never moved to a new place after she adopted us means she was not ashamed. Therefore, I’m not ashamed to be adopted,” he concludes.