Nini Narimanidze, 29 years old, Tbilisi
“If I didn’t have my family, I wouldn’t know where or who I would be, I don’t even know what my name would be. I’m very lucky, that I had them in my life.
I grew up in a big family. My grandmother was a teacher, my grandfather a soldier, veteran of the war. They raised three daughters and gave them a good education. My mother is a lawyer, my aunt a musicologist, and the other one is a German language specialist. They have always been studying and were career-oriented and have never had the desire to get married. At some point, my mother realized, that she didn’t want to be alone and decided to adopt a child. It wasn’t an easy step. Especially when she was working on a high position back them and had a lot of acquaintances. In this period of time, relatives, neighbors, and friends were even more judgmental, than today. I was 7 days old when she adopted me from the hospital. As far as I know, my mother worked very hard for it, everything was agreed beforehand. I didn’t ask for details since it was hard for her to remember it. Even then it was not easy to adopt a child and today it’s even more difficult. I remember my mother telling me often that when she looked me in the eye first time, she fell in love with me immediately with my huge eyes. I only realized what love at first was when I myself had a baby. In pregnancy, mothers have first emotions, but falling in love, at first sight, was when she realized the very first time in life.
I was not an ordinary child, I had everything I needed. Despite the so-called ” dark” ’90s, where no one had diapers, they would bring them for me from turkey. If my friend wore oversized clothes, I would wear leather boots and a double-breasted jacket. Sometimes, I was even embarrassed, or rather, ashamed of it. They gave me anything, warm relationships, material needs, they did their best to give me a new life.
I was 11-12 years old when my mother told me everything. I was very strange because even though nobody ever told me that, I knew it, I was feeling it all the time. Preparation has started at a very young age, when I was about 3-4 years old, probably they had decided from the start that they’d eventually tell me the truth. They let me watch movies in which child adoption was portrayed. They told me, look, that child was adopted and that’s very good behavior. There was an orphanage in Tskneti and I remember, my mother took me there and we gave my clothes to other children there. Such episodes have always accompanied my life and of course, my attitude to it was positive. My family helped me acquire this attitude. They are very open and positive people. It’s because of them that I can talk about it openly in public.
When my puberty started, my mother realized that my character changed a bit and I’m sure it was very tough for her to start talking about it, but one evening she sat down with me and told me everything. She was crying and became very emotional. I remember that I got angry about tears because there was nothing to cry; in the opposite, I thought she was a strong woman by taking that step. I was irritated by her emotions, not by the fact that I was adopted. I remember telling her, that I didn’t want any other family. I didn’t look for my biological family, not even for a day. Even though I know that I have a biological family, even siblings. I haven’t contacted them and don’t know who they are. I think I don’t need anyone who rejected me. Maybe it’s a kind of anger, but I don’t want to get to know them. I love my life the way it is.
I never had the situation, when someone called me an adopted child, so attitude from society wasn’t an issue for me. Due to my mother’s profession, she had a serious look and probably nobody dared to disrespect her.
I think that we talk about anything openly now. On actual problems, like women’s rights, children with disabilities, even about rights of the LGBT community. But this topic – adoption is still a taboo. And I don’t understand why. It’s not a shame, right? In opposite, it’s a huge step forward and still taboo. I always had not enough to talk about it, that someone talks about it but couldn’t find anyone. I can talk to everyone about it completely free, and I think the more I talk, the more people I could help. There are so many stereotypes about this topic, people in their 40s and 50s find out they’re adopted. I think everyone has a right to know who they are and where they come from. I was allowed to have this right from my family and I was lucky.
I also thought about adopting a child. Maybe I will take this step at the age of 35-40, but I can’t trust myself, it’s a huge responsibility. You may not be able to give your biological child everything he or she needs, and especially he or she is adopted, you have more responsibilities.
I asked my mother to write one emotion how she felt about me. She wrote on a piece of paper: ‘’Happiness’’. I stole this manuscript and transferred it to my body as a tattoo in exactly the same way. I still live with her. Even though I’m an adult, have my own child, and have enough income to afford to move separately, I will never leave my mother. My mother is my best friend. She still always supports me and my child in everything. If I didn’t have my family, I wouldn’t be anyone today.’’
Author: Nino Gamisonia
Photo: Geda Darchia
Translation: Mariam Kajrishvili