The Jakarta Post
For years, Widya Wisata – a Dutch citizen – has struggled to reconcile her present self with her elusive past.
Her legal documents, including birth certificate, have made it clear that she was adopted by a family in the Netherlands when she was 5 years old. However, questions about her past have always lingered in the back of her mind.
Glimpses of Widya’s earliest memories have recently resurfaced – vague impressions of the Keraton and a sultan convinced her that she was born in Yogyakarta and that she had spent a period of her life in Indonesia. She also fondly remembers a familiar, maternal figure that she believes is her mother.
How did she end up with another family halfway around the world? Where is her biological mother?
Who is she?
Widya’s quest to recover lost fragments of her past has attracted public attention, since she chronicled her story in an open letter to her biological mother, which was published on Twitter by her colleague Tazia Teresia on Monday.
TWITTER PLEASE DO YOUR MIRACLE 💫— Tazia (@taziateresa) June 15, 2020
Widyastuti @Widyastuti2020, WN Belanda, mencari ibu kandungnya di Indonesia.
- Sekaligus mencoba membongkar perdagangan anak berkedok adopsi di Indonesia. -
[a thread] pic.twitter.com/iIubiDq5cC
In the letter, Widya recalled a time in her early childhood when she and her mother knelt before the sultan. She distinctly described the pineapple fields surrounding their home somewhere in Lampung.
She also recalled the day when her life was turned upside down.
“I remember being in prison together, sleeping under bridges and on the streets of Jakarta,” Widya wrote in the letter.
“I was aware that you had a hard time making a living, but you gave it your all. Sometimes you left me with a nanny, but I always knew you would come and pick me up at the end of the day.”
After some time, she said, her mother had left her with a “Chinese lady” and had never come back. Three weeks later, Widya found herself adopted by a Dutch couple who brought her to a hospital in the Netherlands, as she was sick with typhoid.
“Here I was in a strange country, where I did not understand the language and was appointed to brand-new parents. But even here, I waited years for you to come and get me,” Widya wrote in the letter to her mother.
In an accompanying thread, Tazia said that Widya had since confided in her and told her further details regarding her recollections.
For instance, Widya recalled that the Chinese woman who had taken her in after her own mother had left her was called Utari and that she was a staff member of an orphanage called Kasih Bunda.
She lived in the orphanage until August of 1979, when she flew to the Netherlands alongside her foster parents, according to Tazia.
In 1991, Widya returned to Indonesia and paid a visit to Kasih Bunda with her foster parents. There, she asked whether she could see her biological mother. The orphanage then arranged a meeting with a woman claiming to be her mother, three stepsiblings and a woman claiming to be her aunt at a private residence in Bandung, West Java.
To this day, Widya is skeptical that they are her biological relatives, Tazia said.
Her doubts only grew when Utari revealed to her that her legal documents had been falsified.
Di akte lahir, disebutkan dia lahir tanggal 6 November 1975.— Tazia (@taziateresa) June 15, 2020
Di surat adopsi, nama orang tuanya adalah Sunarti dan (alm.) Kartono.
Widya ga tau apa semua ini benar? pic.twitter.com/A6DRPRBdgS
“Her birth certificate says that she was born on Nov. 6, 1975. Her adoption paper says that her biological parents are Sunarti and Kartono. Widya never knew whether any of it was true,” @taziateresa tweeted.
The thread has since gone viral, garnering more than 15,000 retweets and nearly 16,000 likes as of Wednesday afternoon.
Widya’s story has since struck an emotional chord with fellow Twitter users. Some netizens have even engaged in their own investigation and shared tips regarding Widya’s situation on the platform.
“As a person whose own mother left him when he was a child, I am saddened by this story. The biological mother must have wanted her child to have a better life,” @praztDR tweeted.