Louise was born in Rwanda and orphaned as a result of the civil war in 1990. After spending time in an orphanage, she and her brother were adopted by a French couple in 1993 just before the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. Louise moved to France and then on to the UK. She now works in higher education, specialising in equality and diversity.

This is probably the first time that I am a little speechless when asked about adoption. It’s not that I have nothing to say – but after speaking on it through so many different lenses, I am realising how much trauma is tied to my experience - which all feels rather bittersweet.

One of my deepest wishes is that the narrative around adoption changes, with greater compassion towards adoptees. The storytelling around forever families sits uneasily with me – as it often erases the origin story of the biological family – however wrapped in pain it may be.

As I have gotten older, I have realised that my numerous trips back to Rwanda were less of a journey of rebuilding pieces of my childhood but more about finding myself. Adoption for adoptees doesn’t end once we are placed in a family but is a lifelong quest of healing and being at peace with our scattered identities. For a long time, I was desperate to scoop up my broken pieces to feel whole. Now I am more focused on embracing my full complexities, unapologetically. My adoption will forever shape me – the good, the bad and the ugly. I can either fight it or embrace it. I am choosing joy.