Brown Babies – Individual Stories

Rosemarie Möllgaard Haymon-Peña

I was born November 1956 in Viernheim to Ilse Möllgaard. At the time, she had just married a white American soldier who was not my father. I was tossed about in three different environments until my adoptive parents, Walter & Perrie Haymon, found me in an orphanage and brought me to the United States with them. Out of their love and desire to protect me, my parents withheld these facts from me in my childhood as best they could. Whispers and taunts from extended family members ignited my curiosity and, in my mid 30s, I discovered the truth on my own.

Before her passing, I spent two weeks with my birth mother and learned from her that her father had been killed in front of her by the Nazis when she was 6 years old. She and the remaining family members were separated and sent to a concentration camp where she remained until the end of the war. I later reunited with two of my three half sisters. One who had also been adopted has not yet been found.

When I discovered other Black Germans on the Internet in the early 2000s, I was excited to know that I was not the only one. It was healing for me to learn about our history and share our experiences together. In 2008, I returned to Germany for the first time and attended the ISD Bundestreffen. It was a life-changing experience and prompted my return the following year. Since that time, I returned to Rutgers University and obtained a second Bachelor’s Degree in German. Currently working towards my Masters, I aspire to obtain a doctorate degree, focusing on international adoption and Afro/Black German identity. I am passionate about my role in the Black German Cultural Society, Inc., where I presently serve as president.

– Rosemarie Möllgaard Haymon-Peña

 

Rudi Richardson

I  was born Udo Ackermann in Germany on May 28, 1955. My mother was incarcerated for prostitution and gave birth to me in a prison in the small Bavarian town of Aichach. I was a product of postwar Germany, and one of the 5,000 German Black children born during the Allied occupation of Germany during 1945-1955. Unfortunately, all mulatto children were scattered throughout Germany to various institutions and orphanages. Germany didn´t want us because of our color. I was immediately taken away from my mother, who was still serving time in prison, and given over to a foster care family who physically and sexually abused me. Because of the international outcry concerning the plight of German Black babies and their need for new homes, I was adopted by Mr. & Mrs. Claud & Alva Richardson and came over to the U.S. in December 1959.

Coming back to Germany in 2003 and hearing the German language, as well as seeing German people, places, and things, triggered all my early childhood memories. Although this was quite painful and scary, I was able to come through and finally began to feel the reality of what had happened to me in that foster care home in Schweinfurt, Germany. Today, I am clean of drugs and alcohol; my many painful experiences have enabled me to see and feel life on a deeper level. There is an old Negro spiritual titled “My Soul Looks Back in Wonder as to How I Got Over.” Whenever I hear that song, a river rises up inside me, and I feel a deep sense of gratitude and joy that can only be released through tears. Today I am Founder and CEO of Streetlytes-UK where I have the opportunity to work out my salvation and see the face of God in everyone we serve in the homeless sector.

– Rudi Richarson