In the theatre, performance evenings follow one another, but are not necessarily alike. At the end of March, the play Chokola ended in tears for many spectators. The latter, adopted persons or adoptive parents, were strongly affected by the words of the show.

After the performance, a good forty people remained in the small room of La Licorne to attend a discussion organized by the organization L’Hybridé around the various challenges faced by people adopted abroad.

This theme is at the heart of Chokola, by the young playwright and performer Phara Thibault. Born in Haiti, the latter was adopted by a Quebec family at the age of two and a half and grew up in a small village in Beauce. Soon enough, the search for her biological mother and the search for her identity as a young black woman took up a lot of space in her life.

Although she grew up surrounded by love, the clumsiness and unintentional microaggressions of her adoptive parents left their marks on the young woman. A reality in which many of the adopted persons who spoke during the discussion, which lasted beyond 45 minutes, recognized themselves.

Phara Thibault takes the lead: “My mother always trivialized the racism I was experiencing. Since she never taught me what racism is, I accepted it for a long time. »

“I can’t be racist because I love you. “Be grateful, for I adopted you.” “You are lucky to be in Quebec and to have been saved from poverty…” Such phrases were the lot of some people who testified during the discussion. Justine Boulanger, president of L’Hybridé, discussion leader and adopted person herself, adds: “Society always reminds us that we have been saved. There is still a tenacious idea of ​​the white saviour. “If my country is not able to take care of its children, there is a reason and it should be explained,” said Phara Thibault. The social injustices that explain this poverty should be addressed. »

With Lochin Brouillard, a Chinese-born teacher who was adopted by a Quebec family at the age of 8 months, the play found a strong resonance, even if she believes that each adopted person has a story of their own. “There are universal questions, including where we come from, why we were adopted, about our biological mother: does she think of me? Do I look like him? Why did she leave me? The story is not always as simple as the one we are told. We all wonder what would have become of us if we had stayed in our home country. »

Justine Boulanger also recognized herself in certain passages of the play, in particular the one where Phara Thibault dreams of being a little blond girl with blue eyes. “Me, when I was young, I walked for whole days with a nylon stocking on my head to pretend to have long hair…” The two women are not of the same generation, but their lives are made fiercely echo.

Several people present also said they were experiencing a great conflict of loyalty vis-à-vis their adoptive family. The first question that was posed to Phara Thibault also concerned the reaction of the one she calls her “mother-adopt-heart” to the reading of her text.

The playwright’s response: “She managed to understand what I internalized all these years. We are closer than ever. »

Many questions have also been raised about the place of adoptees in the community. “I will never belong 100% to Quebec society,” laments a spectator. “I’m still considered an outsider,” adds Lochin Brouillard. The unfortunate thing is that adoptees don’t feel more understood by people from their culture of origin: “They tell me that I’m not a real black woman because I don’t speak Creole”, launches another female.

Perhaps it’s only when they come together, like that night at The Unicorn, that a real sense of togetherness is created.

This community of similars, Phara Thibault had never experienced it before this discussion with the organization L’Hybridé. “The discussion made me feel less alone. We often heard the “savior parents”, but finally we were able to talk. »

Every viewer seems to have benefited from this sometimes difficult discussion. Even the adoptive mothers who were there. One of them wrote to the artist after the performance to tell him about the “punch in the stomach” she received because she saw in her 11-year-old daughters the same needs expressed on the scene. She chose to give her daughters the book of the play.

Another mother, however, created a stir in the audience by declaring that she had chosen to adopt a child abroad so that it would be more complicated for him to find his biological family…

The comment made Lochin Brouillard cringe. But the 33-year-old says she understands the reality of adoptive parents. “Sometimes adoptive parents have a background, such as a history of infertility that has caused them unhappiness. It is not easy for them to be confronted about their decisions, especially since the latter have immense consequences on us. No one likes being told they are a bad parent. »

Phara Thibault hopes for his part that international adoption is better regulated. “Not in the choice of parents, but in the follow-up that is done. Parents must be aware of their racial biases to truly care for an uprooted child. Being adopted is violent. An adopted child is a child in love with a land and a language. There is still a lot of education to be done. »