Anna Rosenburg was brought up by her father in a two-room flat in north west London. Life was simple but happy, and though adopted she was healthy, loved and secure. Then one day when she was seven years old, a neighbour across the road and told her she was taking her for a ride in the country.
It was a one-way trip. The woman, a right-thinking pillar of society who felt it wasn’t appropriate for a little girl to be brought up by a poor father on his own, had arranged for her to live in a Barnardo’s home a 90-minute journey away.
The devastation of this betrayal and the loss of regular contact with her father destroyed Anna’s young world. She became desperately unhappy and insecure and started to rebel against the strict regime. Her misery was compounded by her confusion over her own identity. What did her black skin mean? Why wasn’t it the same colour as her father’s?
Anna remained a Barnardos’ child until she was 19 years old, only finally securing her freedom by seeking work abroad. After her return to the UK she stayed at a YMCA hostel, where she was raped by another inmate.
After a variety of jobs ranging from cleaning and nursing to working in a zoo, Anna married a well-bred Englishman who turned out to be a violent alcoholic. She finally left him, taking their two young children, and made a new life for herself in Jamaica, where at last she felt the colour of her skin made her fit in. But her new life was not to last – she had to flee back home to England to escape political rebellion and rioting.
Back home, Anna got a job with the Salvation Army helping to resettle homeless people. Today she lives and works in Bristol, helping people who have been in care to cope with social and other issues.
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Who am I Really?
by Anna Rosenburg
Taken away from her father aged 7, Anna Rosenburg spent the next 12 years in a children's home. All because a nosey neighbour thought her father was incapable of looking after her. She was desperately unhappy and started to rebel against the strict regime. Her misery was compounded by confusion over her own identity. What did her black skin mean?
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