Asmita /KATHMANDU – My name is Tiana (Asmita), I am a journalist and actress. I was born in 1993 in Kathmandu. I was adopted by a French family when I was 6 months old. My parents came to get me in Nepal. They were a French couple who could not have children.
I always felt that I knew I was adopted and had access to my adoption file. I knew I had 2 sisters, 8 and 13 years old when I was born. My mother, but noted as “father unknown”. I also had some photos, some names and a photocopy of my ID card.
My parents never hid my story from me. When I wanted to visit my country, they took me along and always supported me in all my stages of life. Also, they always tried to keep links with other adopted children in Nepal. Moreover, they had created an association (Médic Nepal) with other adoptive parents to continue to help children in Nepal and for us it was a way to meet once a year. It was a pillar for me. However, from my teenage years on, questions about my identity became more and more frequent. In particular, when my father realized the family tree of the family.
It was complicated in my head. This was added to the trauma of abandonment that I had always had in me: the fear of being abandoned, the ability to connect very strongly and at the same time the fear of losing people, as well as a great anguish in my relationships. I also had major eating disorders. All of this forced me to go through a process in my head, with myself at first. For several years, I got to know myself, I traveled a lot and then in 2019, I told myself that I was ready.
I started my research on social networks. But it was too vast, I had too few elements and my Nepalese name was too common to find my family members. I tried the school where my sisters had gone to school. To no avail. A friend of my parents who has set up an association that helps a children’s home in Pharping, then gave me the contact of Roshan. I told him all the details of my adoption and he agreed to search with me. At that time, I planned to come to Nepal to look for my family in April 2020. As I am a journalist I wanted to tell my story and this search. So I set up a podcast project. Unfortunately, at the time, the few productions I approached discouraged me. In the meantime, I did a dance workshop and a choreographer-director. He advised me to express myself artistically.
Then the confinement arrived. The borders of the whole world closed.
Impossible for me to come to Nepal. So I had to hand over the research to Roshan. On my side, it was impossible to continue my research. But I chose to contact Mikael Fau again. I told him my story and from the quest for his family, we moved on to the quest for identity and we created a show. I wrote, he imagined the staging.
In June 2021, we realized a first artistic residence. Little by little, this project has grown. A producer, then a co-director and dancer joined us. This project became the “project of my life”. From a simple play, it became a real global project on adoption, with a book, a podcast, conferences…
Coincidence or not, last December 1st, while this project is still growing, a small miracle happened. It was a day a bit like any other, except that on that day in Paris, I had planned to receive a visit from my mother. She arrived in the late morning. We went to eat momos in a small Tibetan restaurant (which happens less than once a year!) and then we visited an exceptional exhibition on the Newar art of the Kathmandu Valley at the Guimet Museum of Asian Art. In the afternoon, I received a message from Roshan. He asked me to call him as soon as possible to me. I couldn’t answer immediatly. So, I told him I would call him in the late afternoon.
I still remember the exact moment. I was walking on a bridge over the Seine, it was dark, I called Roshan on video. He told me “Tiana, I found your family”. I then learned that they were alive, that he had their name, their whatsapp number and facebook profile. At that moment, I didn’t know how to be: to shout with joy, to cry, to fall on the ground. A thousand emotions a minute were running through my mind. The only thought that came to me was “this is huge, this is huge what is happening to me”.
I was wondering if it was a dream. But 21st century magic a few hours later I was in a vision with my sisters. They were there. For the first time in 28 years, I was seeing people “of my blood”. For them too it was “an earthquake”. For me, it was the culmination of a long quest. It was also a lot of fears that arose “Will they agree to see me, to talk to me, to meet me”. “Will they remember me?”, “Will they be interested in me just for the money?”.
No, I had before me a family for whom I had never disappeared, who love me unconditionally. I, who was always afraid of being abandoned, familiar with loneliness, was told that I would never be alone again. So of course it’s not easy. Adoption has its shadows, its misunderstandings on both sides. Its modified stories that need to be clarified. My Nepalese family had obviously not understood all the ins and outs of international adoption. On the other hand, my French family had a wrong version of my story. Plenary adoption cuts the ties, and it was a trauma for my Nepalese family. And then I have a French culture now, a family in France, you have to find your place.
But after years of searching, trauma and questioning my identity, I now have all the pieces of the puzzle of my story. I will be able to move forward with serenity and my project of a show about adoption and the quest for identity now makes even more sense. I really hope to find funding to realize it and to testify about my story to the millions of other adopted children.