Issue 89 February 2012
Adopted at birth, but cousins by blood, Ruqayya and Sajedah reveal how they have always considered themselves blood-sisters.
Even though Sajedah and I aren’t blood sisters, we’ve never felt as if were anything but family. Before I was born, my mother had nine miscarriages. Sometimes the babies died in the first few months of pregnancy; others were stillborn. Knowing how much my mum wanted a child, my aunt (Sajedah’s biological mother) offered her first child up for adoption. It’s strange how things work out. Five months after Sajedah was born, my mum gave birth to me and I survived.
As far back as I can remember, I always knew that Saj wasn’t my blood sister, but we’ve always been like normal sisters; we’ve had our ups and downs, our fights and tiffs; but at the end of the day we’ve always
been there for each other.
I clearly remember when I was first told that I was adopted. My parents sat Ruqayya and I down; we must have been about six. I remember being quite excited by the news; at that age, children are oblivious to the implications of what’s said to them. I didn’t realise that I had a whole other family, who until now, I had considered to be my cousins, aunt and uncle.
It’s always been good fun explaining to others how Ruqayya and I are related. At school, the kids would think we were twins until they realised that there was a five month age-gap between us. I used to jokingly tell people that Ruqayya was a medical experiment; that she’d come out with her brain half-developed and that the doctors had re-inserted her into my mother’s womb until her brain was fully functional. The shocking thing is that some of the kids actually believed me.