For My Change-ling

Erm… Hi. 

I spent hours brooding over what to begin with. I mean, I know what I feel, I just don’t know how to express it. 

First, I want to thank everyone who has been a part of this search party. When we first put out invitations to join, I was honestly pessimistic. I thought: Nigerians already have too much on their plates to make out time for a random family looking for a random missing member of the family. But I put out the invite anyway. I want to thank you all on Twitter who did not ignore the tweet, who kept retweeting, who filled the form, who actually showed up, who donated in some way to the search party, who cajoled people to join, who defended the party when people threw insensitive comments at the very idea of having a search party in Lagos. 

Thank you all so much. I am more than grateful. And I pray that God himself who has the ability to reward us far more than man can, would definitely reward you for this sacrifice that you have done. 

You see, in life, what would end up counting is the number of people who have been positively influenced by you. And trust me, I would be the first on the queue of people who say that you guys have influenced me positively. Waaaaay more than even helping me find my younger sister, Morenikepeluola, you have all taught me to look outside myself; that the pain of sacrifice is infinitesimal compared to the gain. 

Today being the agreed last day of the search, I can see on all our faces that we’re a little burdened with disappointment, but it’s okay. The fact that we did not find her does not mean that she will not be found. And what if she’s never found? I know it sounds cheesy, but in my mind, she already has been found by your sweats and sacrifices.

 I’ll tell you all a short weird story to cancel out the sorrow and replace it with curious weirdness. Morenikepeluola is not really my sister by blood. She was switched in the hospital. According to my mom, she had noticed a prominent birthmark on her baby’s left little finger before the nurses carried her away. The delivery process was very tedious so my mom had passed out almost immediately after holding her child. The doctors went through a lot to get her stable and when she finally woke some days after and asked for her baby, she was presented with Morenikepeluola; a child who had no birth marks anywhere. 

While my mom ranted and screamed at the nurses and doctors that that was not her child, the couple with the child were already far away from Lagos state. The nurses and doctors shook like leaves in a storm apologizing and explaining that the only other child that was delivered the night of the delivery and was kept in the same room as my mom’s baby, was the child of another family who had, once the woman was stable the next day, left the hospital with the child. They tried all the contact info they had left, none was valid. And then the hospital retired to convincing and in fact, vehemently declaring to my mom that indeed, the child presented to her was her child. Of course, my mom was sorrowful and stood by her convictions till her death – 6 months after the birth. 

I am very certain Morenikepeluola does not know this story. We do not treat her like a foreigner. Never. But yet, everytime she returns from school, I notice an ink-painted birthmark on her left little finger. One day, I asked her what it was and she said, ‘Oh that? I just do it when I’m bored o. That my stupid class captain that would be doing like an ITK said I would get cancer. If that’s how people got cancer, Nigerians would not exist. Rubbish boy that is just looking for excuse to always be talking.’

How weird huh? 

On this freakish note, I say adieu!

I love you all! 

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