Memoir ‘Killing Karoline’ Documents Story Of Adoption, Rejection, Identity.
Meghan Rivard, September 30, 2017
When Sara-Jayne King reached out to her birth mother at 21, everything in her life turned upside down.
One hears many stories concerning an adopted child or adult wanting more information about their birth parents, whether wanting a relationship or just medical information. But what happens if the biological parents reject you and even tell you that they never wanted you, that “You were a mistake?”
This was the story of Sara-Jayne King, born Karoline, as shared in her memoir, Killing Karoline. King’s biological mother was a married British woman who had an affair with a white South-African man while working at a hotel in Africa. She became pregnant and thought the baby was her husband’s. When Karoline was born, her mother noticed there was no resemblance to her husband and that she had darker skin. Karoline’s mother admitted the tryst to her husband and decided she did not want to keep the child. Acting on her own, she concocted a story that Karoline was ill and needed medical care in the United Kingdom. In reality, she was taken there to be placed for adoption. Karoline was adopted but grew up in the country of England where, as a biracial individual, she was in the vast minority.
King had always desired to know about her biological parents and contacted the adoption agency that helped facilitate her adoption. Surprisingly, the agency had always been updated with the current address of the biological family. So at age 21 King wrote her biological mother a letter and in an interview with her local paper, she stated that she received the worst possible response back: “You’re the worst mistake I ever made. Do not contact me again.” She was devastated. To cope, she turned to alcohol.
Fortunately, it was during rehab that she found healing by writing her memoir, Killing Karoline. King has found no information about her biological father. When she was 26 years old, King decided to move back to South Africa. King stated in a local news article, “I love it. To come to a country at that time of apartheid and be its worst nightmare, this mixing of races, this awful, awful thing, to have to be taken out of the country in secrecy and all the rest of it and to come back and live here.” King now has a very successful life as a presenter and journalist in Cape Town.