'We need a space where we could just feel like human beings': How a cross-racial adoptee is using her story to help others

"I offer space for people to find their power."
"I offer space for people to find their power."

Thola Antamu was adopted when she was just five days old by parents from a different race. Now she's helping other adoptees find their space in the world through both the creative arts and the therapeutic field. 

Read part one of Thola’s story here: “My family wasn’t wrong": A black adoptee talks about growing up with white parents

For the last three years, Thola and her mom have been performing two stage shows; Black and White: An Adoption Storytelling and Black and White: In Colour. 

"We decided to put on this performance because there were way too many people asking all of the same questions and we were like 'Okay, people want to know these things, let's tell them," explains Thola, whose also found a calling as an "empowerment practitioner."

Originally a student of performance art, Thola also tried her hand at psychology, but her path would eventually lead to creative grief, loss and trauma support. 

"So I call myself an 'empowerment practitioner'. And what that means is that I offer space for people to find their power," she says.

"At the moment I'm working predominantly with adoptees, but I'm also hoping to offer space for more melanated bodies, queer bodies, and for any other people who have felt othered or outside of the norm."

Also see: WATCH: Should white people adopt black children? Kristin Davis opens up about her experience with interracial adoption

Thola says that while challenging, she is very aware that aspects of her childhood deem her privileged, but it's also allowed her to bring light to important conversations.

"While studying psychology, everything I learnt was pathologising who I am as a person on all of the different levels and all of the platforms with which I identify. I was like this is crazy. Some white, European man, far away has written this book and in this book has stated that I am a problem and I need to be medicated and institutionalised and worked on... I realised as adoptees, we need a space where we could just feel like human beings... that's the kind of healing we need in this world." 

Grateful for her upbringing, Thola says she wouldn’t have it any other way. “It’s been amazing as an adult becoming my mom’s friend. Where we have conversations I suppose most white people would not be willing to have. My mom is very aware that there are things she has access to that I will never have access to even when I am her age. And there are things that I experience as her daughter that she cannot make better for me. Because I’m black and she can’t do anything about that. She can’t make it not hurt.”

So, what about Thola having her own kids one day? Well, if she and her partner decide that that is something they want to do, she plans to adopt.

Find more information about Thola’s services on her website tholaantamu.com.

You can also follow the Adoptee Spaces SA page on Facebook or the Adoptee Spaces Instagram account.

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