Adoption Awereness Week - Thailand

Adoption Awareness Week 2023: Searching for your roots
Suti Niemelä went to search his roots in Thailand in September 2023.
1. Can you tell us why you decided to start searching for you roots?
I was heading for Asia on my summer vacation, and I decided to try to search for my roots while I was there. I wanted to know more about my background, foster family, biological family and why I came here and why I became the kind of person I am, the kind that follow their own path.
2. How did you carry out the search?
I had already booked my tickets when I contacted Interpedia. I met with Sanna and Tiina several times to prepare my trip.
In Chiang Mai I visited first Vienping children’s home where I was placed before my adoption. Some members of staff were there already when I was there. I also found a photo of myself on the office wall.
At Vienping I found out that I can meet with members of my foster family, where I stayed the first two years of my life. My foster grandmother, aunt and cousin met me at my already deceased foster parents’ house. My grandmother and some neighbours remembered me and said I haven’t changed (just grown). We also called some other relatives. They were really relieved to see that I’m doing fine, the visit meant a lot. Now I have a family in Thailand as well and I talk to my foster siblings often.
3. How did your root search affect your identity?
The root trip confirmed my feeling that I am not from one place. I am a cosmopolitan. I come from a bilingual family, and I work in an international environment. Now I have three families: one in Finland, one in Thailand and one in Sweden, where I now live.
4. What would you like to say to an adoptee who is considering searching for their roots?
Think carefully why you want to go and what you want to find. Everybody has their own reasons. You don’t necessarily find out everything you want. I was lucky that I found more than I expected. You also need to prepare well and have an adventurous mind and hunger for life. It’s not a vacation. You might want to have someone with you for support. I preferred to go alone, it is such a personal experience.