Nadine Bernadette Bleechington Browne-Evans Henry sat down with TNN’s Trevor Lindsay and shared her Story of Adoption. In 1973, Pamela Bleechington, an expectant Jamaican mother, traveled from Jamaica to Bermuda to allegedly traffic drugs.
She was tracked and caught when she arrived in Bermuda. The late Dame Lois Browne-Evans, who was the honorary Jamaican Consulate on the island at the time, became Ms. Bleechington’s attorney. Since the drugs were in her possession, Ms. Bleechington was found guilty and served some time in the Prospect Women’s prison. She now resides in the United States.
Ms. Bleechington had the baby girl, Nadine Bernadette, while in prison. Dame Lois and her husband took the baby into their home for the weekend and eventually legally adopting her.
“ A reporter showed up at Dellwood Primary School and began questioning me in the halls and they had to call my mom from Parliament to come to the school that day,” Ms. Nadine Browne-Evans Henry said. “ When the reporter showed up, I did not really digest [the fact that I was adopted], because I was always a little aggressive [in school], but mellowed down as I got older.”
Because Dame Lois was frequently busy with law and politics, Ms. Browne-Evans Henry’s adoptive father ( Dame Lois’ husband) was her main caregiver. According to Ms. Browne-Evans Henry, she and her father were at odds when she was younger, but after Dame Lois passed away, their relationship reconciled.
“ My father used to say ‘don’t rush the brush,’ ‘don’t let anyone push you into anything’ and ‘go at your own pace and you will get it done,’” she said.
Ms. Browne-Evans Henry learned to always be mindful and wary of person circumstance and to be considered of other persons needs from her mother.
“ I know that a lot of people view her as a hero now, but to me Dame Lois was just mom,” she said. “ There is a lot of pressure, but when I walk in a room, I just like to be me. I try to uphold some of her legacy, for example, I’m a Justice of the Peace ( JP ). I continue to live up to what she would expect and I think that my brother Donald, and sister Tina do the same thing.”
Ms. Browne-Evans Henry said that she received the contact information for her birth mother from one of her best friends, when she was in her late-twenties or early-thirties. When she first called her birth mother, they talked for maybe a minute and then Ms. Bleechington passed the phone to her other daughter.
“ [Ms. Bleechington] was not prepared to face the fact that she had left this child behind, so our relationship kind of goes up and down,” she said. “ When she is prepared to face me, I will go, but if she does not wish to talk, then I recognize it and just stay back because it’s a lot for her to swallow.”
Ms. Browne-Evans Henry even went to visit Ms. Bleechington once and she tried to tell her that she tried to come back and get her, but Dame Lois would not allow it.
“ I know the woman that raised me and there is no way that she was not going to make it impossible [for me to meet my birth mom]; they waited eight years for her to leave the island, get herself sorted, and the expectation was that she would come back [to get me,” she said.
Ms. Browne-Evans Henry says that, when she was around three years old, her grandmother in Jamaica tried to come and get her, but the family had already become attached at that point. Due to everything that her sister has told her, however, she feels blessed to have been raised by the Browne-Evans family in Bermuda.
“ The world of drugs and guns never truly ceased for my mom, so I would have lived through a lot of horrors,” she said. “ I’ll never know my father because she does not want to have that conversation. I’ve also been sent on some wild goose chases, but I leave it because I’m satisfied. I grew up with that picture perfect family.”
Ms. Bleechington Browne-Evans would like to thank Sandra Barnett, who also came from a Jamaican family, for being an especially good friend to her throughout her entire life.
“ I got in trouble with my parents sometimes and Ms. Barnett’s family would take me in for a couple of weeks, because my mom was often busy with canvassing and politics and the like,” she said. “ I have to give it to the Barnett family, who were key in helping to raise me.”
Ms. Browne-Evans Henry would like to thank her biological mother for not getting rid of her and assures her, if she may be reading this article by some chance, that she felt ample love by the family who chose to adopt her. She encourages other people to also embrace the love that they receive.
“ People come into your life for a reason and if it’s for your own good, you just need to fall into and embrace it,” she said.
Finally, Ms. Browne-Evans Henry would like to acknowledge my husband, Alafia ‘Lafi’Henry, whom she said is her best friend and helped raise her daughter Rodneyk, and son Kenneth as she returned from school as a young mother.
Today my children are my reasons for continuing to push through this life – I Pay It Forward so my children may relish in my Good Karma.
Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful, or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites, or repeats previous comments will be removed.
User comments posted on this website are solely the views and opinions of the comment writer and are not a representation of or reflection of the opinions of TNN or its staff.
TNN reserves the right to remove, edit or censor any comments.
TNN accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for the comments made by users.