From being bullied in school to losing her virginity because her friend lied, Naomi Neo has dropped another bomb — she’s an adopted child.
In a YouTube video on Jan 25, the 26-year-old influencer shared the story of her adoption as she spoke with her parents and friends.
According to Neo, she first had suspicions about her parentage during a health check-up in primary school.
As her friends asked about each others’ blood types, Neo realised she didn’t know hers because the information couldn’t be found in her health booklet. And when she asked her parents, they “were uncertain about it”.
Other hints included her NRIC that stated her birthplace as China, as well as her parents not having photos of her as a baby.
Neo didn’t manage to get a straight answer out of her parents and decided to not pursue the matter.
‘It was always someone else’s advice’
When Neo was expecting her first child in 2018, her suspicions were roused again after she noticed her mother’s lack of knowledge about childbirth.
Neo said: “Things like a baby’s kicks, she got very fascinated about it.
“She would say like, ‘Oh grandma told me that when you’re pregnant, you’re not supposed to do this or eat this.’ It was always someone else’s advice.”
The big reveal came after Neo had a medical check-up and the topic of blood types resurfaced. After she received different answers from her parents after calling them separately that day, Neo “knew something was wrong”.
Revealing the truth at the right time
Neo’s parents, who appeared in the video, also shared their fears about the truth of her parentage coming to light.
“I actually wanted to hide this from you forever because, in my mind, I don’t take you as an adopted child,” said her mother. “I’m so afraid that once I tell you, you will leave the house and not come back anymore.”
However, her parents felt it was time to break the news to Neo when she was starting her own family. She has two children — Kyzo and Zyla — with her husband Han.
Neo’s mother said: “You should hear from us rather than you hear from somebody outside.”
Her parents had been “trying to have a baby” for about eight years. During a family trip to China, they learnt about a child who was put up for adoption.
(Read also “9 Celebrity Mums Who Went Through Tough Pregnancies“)
According to Neo’s father, the entire adoption process took three to four months, from applying to legal departments to house visits and interviews.
Recalling the past, her parents confessed that they struggled to accept the fact that they were “taking someone’s kid away”. However, they always cared for Neo as their own and even forbid others from mentioning the adoption.
Family comes first
Blood isn’t always thicker than water, she came to realise.
In the video, a tearful Neo thanked her parents for bringing her up, saying: “All the more because I’m not your biological daughter, I’m very thankful for the way you all took care of me”.
Her mother replied: “Never once have I regretted adopting you. Seeing your achievement today brings me contentment, my job is done.”
Now that she’s a mum of two herself, Neo said she “truly understands the difficulties and struggles of parenthood.”
“Blood-related or not, I believe the love and care from my parents throughout the years have taught me that real family isn’t necessarily defined by our blood, but rather, the people who have been there by our side when no one else is.”
This article was first published in AsiaOne.