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For our monthly column Asian Praisings, we highlight an initiative or a person with East and/or Southeast-Asian roots. This time, we shine a light on Sasa Bruning, who recently released her poetry collection Ongezien Verlies. In Ongezien Verlies, Sara depicts the emotions, feelings, thoughts, and experiences she has encountered throughout her life in relation to her adoption and the accompanying sense of loss.

Turning feelings into poetry

Sasa was born in 1994 and was adopted by a Dutch couple from China when she was 5 and a half months old. According to the information she obtained, her adoption story begins in the city of Chengdu, where she was abandoned. When the person who found her brought her to the police station, it turned out there was no room for her in the orphanage. As a result, Sasa ended up with a foster mother with whom she stayed for about 5 months. Later in the orphanage, she was given the name Sasa and was estimated to be about four days old. No more of her story is known. Over the past few years, partly thanks to therapy, she became aware of her feelings. Inspired by the poetry collection Grenzeloos Gewenst (Boundlessly Desired) by Indra Hagelstein, she began writing poems to express those feelings. This resulted in Ongezien Verlies.

Ongezien Verlies

In Ongezien Verlies, Sasa describes the emotions, feelings, thoughts, and experiences she encountered throughout her life in relation to her adoption and the accompanying loss. The paradox she experiences of being adopted is made very clear.. Sasa writes about how, despite the difficult emotions, she is working towards a life with fewer struggles through healing and recovery. Ongezien Verlies aims to provide others with insights into her feelings, thoughts, and experiences. ‘Her poems serve as recognition and support for other adoptees,’ but also offer non-adoptees an understanding of what adoption might mean.

‘Her poems serve as recognition and support for other adoptees,’ but also offer non-adoptees an understanding of what adoption might mean.

A poem from ‘ongezien verlies’ (Dutch)

Dialectiek van adoptie

Hier een goed leven

Alle kansen gekregen

Lieve ouders en een zusje

Bescherming en warmte

Een welvarend land

Studies en een baan

Zou niet mogen klagen

Maar adoptie zou niet bestaan

Als er ook niet is verloren

Het gekregen kindje

Ergens anders geboren

Verliest haar ouders

Verliest haar land

Verliest die allersterkste

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