Welcome to All who are new here and good to see my fellow adoptee Heather amongst you! We go back a long way, or it seems a long way now, as we have made our way through the complexities of our own stories and through the maze of abuse, misrepresentation, bullying and resistance to the truth of adoptees about adoption as we live it, know it and survive it. Heather has been unswervingly supportive and encouraging and I publicly thank her here for that which I greatly appreciate. It is the gestures of support from fellow adoptees and others that sustain and keep the fingers moving over the keys, because it is for us all that we need to keep moving forward, to resist the background buzzing noises, the hard knocks and abuse and the hardship of it being those we might have hoped would most support us, who supported us the least, who stood in our way at every opportunity, who ridiculed and called us ‘Johnny-come-Latelies. I know some horrendous examples of callous and cruel disregard, as do most of us who have been involved here. Had any of us treated mothers-of-loss the same way, we would have been crucified!! Kindness was not their forte. Adoptees with a couple of exceptions, have been unswervingly kind to each other, supportive, loving and part of that which we adoptees across the world experience as a brother and sisterhood, a tribe and a united group of people who understand. I will always be amazed and sustained by the offerings of support, the friendships and the ability adoptees have to be there for each other in the tough times and the better times.
No-one has the right to tell us what we should say, ought to say, or how to define our own adoptions, our relationships to the parents and others in our lives. No-one has the right to question and cast doubts on how we view our experiences as adoptees. It is not so very long ago that Linda Bryant, a mother-of- loss from Queensland, a member of origins, wondered why anyone like me, who had a ‘good’ adoption, would want to make a Submission to the Inquiry!! There are a number of points here –
*who defines a good adoption or a bad one?
*anyone was entitled to make a Submission – even people from outside the country, who might have been thought to support adoptees did not and there was a suspicion that some Submissions had been ‘solicited’
*anyone qualified to work with adoptees effectively, knows that adoption is not able to be pinned down to one size fits all; it is a fluid thing, changeable, a slippery bastard that surprises us at every turn, has synchronicities and looks different in every year we live it.
*it is often those least connected to adoption who have the firmest grasp on what it involves, what it means and how it affects adoptees.
More of the same old abuse and closed thinking has been happening over at the Facbook page of the History of Adoption Project. I know some adoptees have already messaged the Admins. This was the bulk of the message I just sent for the information of those of you who are following what is happening there, as these Admins valiantly try to keep things on the level, with the same old stuff happening that has been going on since the early days of the Inquiry into forced adoption a few years ago. Lizzy Brew/Howard once an origins member, once a Recommendation Implementation Group member, adopted, if you’ll excuse the term, a false alias, because she said later as excuse, that she was afraid of abuse! She, the prime abuser of adoptees for the last few years!
The history between mothers-of-loss of origins and adoptees goes back to the time of the Inquiry when a group was set up for information. When adoptees challenged some of the assumptions made about adoptees and adoptions and about individuals we were abused, ridiculed, bullied and excluded. It was an ugly time and we adoptees had to struggle to be heard and to speak our truth, to make submissions to the Inquiry and to give evidence. Being heard by the Senators was the first time some of us had ever been acknowledgd in any way and the Apology validated our experiences in a wider world, a first.
No adoptee gives consent to adoption and the trauma and loss live on. Had mothers supported us, encouraged or even accepted that we have the right to define our own adoption expriences in all their complexity the outcome would be very different today. I know of no adoptee who doesn’t support the right of mothers to their own story, who isn’t in sympathy with their experience, but I know of very few Australian mothers who extend the same compassion to adoptees. It is a tragic consequence of the trauma and abuse of adoption that sometimes those who are damaged, damage others.
Adoption has made some strong survivors of adoptees. I am, as an older adoptee, very proud of what has been achieved by adoptees and by our Governments.
I hope this Project will continue and survive to reveal the many truths of adoption, the complexities, apparent contradictions and confusions
I have always said I would one day tell the story of what really went on over the Inquiry and it seems now might be the time.
Finally a Report which may be of interest – http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/committee.nsf/0/56e4e53dfa16a023ca256cfd002a63bc/$FILE/Report.PDF