Christine Rogers

I stole this

Photograph by Michelle Williams

I often stayed with my birthfather Brian and his partner Carolyn in their cosy house in Auckland. One time, I can’t remember when, I found this handkerchief in their drying cupboard and on impulse I put it in my luggage without asking and brought it home to Melbourne.

This handkerchief was a material link to Brian, to my missing genealogy. Adoptees are often collectors, gathering a history that feels precarious. This is because even when adoptees find their birthparents and finally ‘know’ where they come from and belong, this knowing is never felt in the bones. I embroidered the handkerchief as part of my PhD. I love how the handkerchief, even after many washes, is still stained with his use, and then mine. Such an ordinary object, made precious by association with a loved one.