It's strange to think that all these years when believing one thing the truth is completely different.
I don't particularly look Welsh, but I'm the Welsh connection in my birth family.
Until recently I hadn't met any of this family.
Dyma sgwrs efo Aled Hughes am y daith...
Below is the question and answer to an interview recently that might shed some light on this...
1. You mentioned that you’ve always known a part of your story was missing. Did you have any expectations or hopes when you began the search for your birth family?
My initial search was for my sister. A full sister adopted 18 months before I was born. She would have no idea of my existence, where she was on my documents. There was a real fear of rejection of looking for parents... you know the “what ifs”. Where I thought that our similar experiences of being adopted would help us bond on a deeper level. So I suppose my biggest expectation was to find her. Just to let you know she’s the last piece of the jigsaw to be found. I’m still on the hunt and have narrowed down the country thanks to some marvellous researchers from the North Wales Adoption Service.
2. Growing up and being the only bi-racial child in your school, how difficult was that for you and did you ever talk about it with your adoptive mum?
My mam was aware of issues but we never directly talked about them. I didn’t bruise like other kids so it was easier to hide them from mam. I never told her of the continuous name calling or the beatings. I didn’t want to frighten her. Yet there were others that I would talk to openly. My best friend James and his mum were some of the kindest people I knew, giving me sanctuary during lunchtimes at school when they moved to a house within spitting distance just over the school wall. This and my home being very rural kept me sane.
Years later I talked to some of my bullies. Most (not all) confessed to a form of jealousy, seeing a boy given more than they had, or because I was unique in my own way, confident in expressing myself (which didn’t go down well with many). My son had many of the same issues at school as we still live in the area.
3. In the documentary, your adoptive mum expressed that she wanted to adopt children that were not easily accepted or placed because of the colour of their skin – why do you think this was so important to her?
My Mam’s family are religious, community focused and leaders in their own right. One of three sister (who all were brilliant in their own way). Enid the oldest was a Doctor, Mair was a Missionary and the first female Methodist preacher in Wales, and Olwen my mam is a Musician, author and teacher.
My mam knew of the issues of housing children of mixed race origin and wanted to help. Leading by example as usual.
4. We met your daughter Fflur in the documentary. Having a child of your own, what has been important to you about raising a child?
In fact I have two beautiful children, Fflur is my oldest and lives at home with me full time. Noah is my youngest, he lives between here and his girlfriends in Liverpool. It’s a shame that the program didn’t feature him as he was away working with Simple Minds on their European tour.
What has been important to me about raising my own children is honesty. Every difficult question thorough their lives has been answered with a higher degree of honesty than most parents I know. But that’s because I’ve had to had conversations with my children that not many parents do in my region of the UK. What to do when you are stopped by the Police. How to deal with conflict. Defending yourself and the legal implications, how to handle aggression, living outside of your comfort zone and how to be comfortable being different to everyone else. Both have had a Martial arts background they have trained from the ages of 4 and 6 (they are now 23 and 25, Noah still trains regularly), I’ve tried to show them cultures and beauty from my travels and teach that they are part of a vast world of both cruelty and beauty. I’m now getting the chance to show them these countries first hand.
5. When you met up with Jackie, from the tracing service for that second time, and you knew she had vital information for you, it must have been a tough build-up. Is it possible to describe the sorts of emotions were you feeling?
I’m not sure it’s possible to describe the mixed emotions I was feeling at the time. On reflection I felt guilty that I hadn’t started the search earlier and a bit jealous of my siblings that had enjoyed and experienced time with my father. It’s a strange mixture. By now I’ve realized that each member of the family had their own unique relationship with my father and through them his way of doing things, views, values and love still exist. I smile so much when talking to them about him.
6. After you received the unfortunate and sad news that your birth father had passed away before you were able to meet him, you met his brother and his other children. Do you have plans to keep in contact with them and to explore your Bajan roots?
Defiantly, we are in contact all of the time. Danielle who was on the show is in contact as well as Aaron my little brother (we’ve bonded over Martial Arts and the great outdoors). I’m also in contact with my older half sister Dionne who is still in Manchester and tracked down our farther years ago. Also there has been some contact with Uncle Frank’s daughters. It’s been great. I’ve been invited to spread the ashes of my father with the rest of the family back on Barbados in the future and will make it a priority to be there with my children as there will be no better way or with no better people to explore our Bajan roots.
7. Has your adoptive mother had the chance to meet your birth family?
No not yet, I hope we can get them to meet as they all have had a fundamental part in my story.
8. How has learning about and meeting your birth family changed your life, if it has?
My life from day to day has not changed, but the possibilities moving forward have increased exponentially. Going to a Martial arts contest with my brother to traveling to Barbados to meet family with my uncle.
I do have a feeling of relief that I never had before, again another hard concept to explain, not quite relief that I found someone. But the relief of knowing. Knowledge is power... the power is relief in my case.
9. What advice would you give your 16-year-old self, reading the envelope you received from your adoptive parents for the first time?
Do not assume... whatever you read is from a time gone by, with decisions made by very young adults. You are a some of your experiences not theirs. Enjoy the opportunities you have as you have been chosen and supported in a way that your birth parents may not of been able to do.
Here is the full program link on the BBC iPlayer available until August 2023.
There is always more... and I have a few unfinished explorations to complete the full picture of my family, past and heritage.