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Despite the fact that the Irish Adoption Bill came into force in 1952, astonishingly, illegal adoptions still continued up until the late 80s. 42 mother and baby homes mainly run by nurses involved in this informal or illegal practice closed suddenly in 1972 when the new Health Act came into force. An astounding co-incidence I would say. But what’s even more astounding is out of those 42 nursing homes, there is reportedly not one set of files available, which is statistically unrealistic. Somewhere these files are hidden away in archives and informal adoptees should have the right to access these files.                                                     

The 2010 Adoption Bill was passed without a single provision to help facilitate  both legally adopted people and ‘illegal adoptees’  to access files in relation to their birth.  They have been subjected to a closed secret adoption system since 1952 until recently the 2016 proposed adoption bill has made provision for adoptees to access their files. However it does not come without conditions. Adoptees are required to give an undertaking not to contact the mother if the mother has requested no contact and could result legal action if this occurs.

Having lobbied the Irish government for the right to access  files an online petition had been set up at www.petitiononline.com/tinggal1 which has now expired. Although we collected 1800 signatures within a three month period in 2012 and handed these into the then Minister for children Frances Fitzgerald they have never been acknowledged.  The Irish government stance on this can be seen as 'Deny till they die' but for us the denial of our identity is a gross miscarriage of justice. We still campaign relentlessly for justice. We are now being excluded from the 'Commission of Investigation'.

It is our basic human right to know where we came from. With the release of the film 'Philomena' it has attracted worldwide attention. With the launch of the 'Philomena Project',  set up to shame the Irish government  into opening secret records on 60,000 forced adoptions, this is the time to have our voices heard. It is not new however. We have been campaigning for access to records for the past 5 years which involved the submission of 1800 signatures to the Minister for Children in 2012 which was  subsequently ignored However, this is not the first time that the government has been called on to release records. This was followed up by a meeting by ‘Adopted Illegally Ireland ‘ with Frances Fitzgerald the following September, supported by Adoption Rights Now and Adoption Rights Alliance. We were assured that all records would be collated including church records.  I have so far received one item of correspondence from Frances Fitzgerald stating that it was being looked into. Now that  Philomena herself has called for the release of records perhaps the Irish government will at last take note,  take their heads out of the sand and acknowledge these illegal adoptions, which is what  ‘Philomena’s  was and give us the right to an identity which is a basic human right denied to thousands of adopted people in Ireland. I hope that ‘Philomena’ will not be ignored in the way that we have  by the Irish Government and that perhaps  within another five years  we will have positive results for all adoptees, with the opening of these vital records. Let’s hope that ‘Philomena’s’  story is at last the catalyst for change which will bring Ireland in line with the rest of Europe and into the 21st century.

 

We, the adopted people of the world, who walk alone not knowing who we are, who have provided so many childless families with a child, demand the same human rights as any other human being - knowing where we came from  Grainne Mason- taken from Adopted Rights Alliance

SEARCH FOR AN IDENTITY - Ger Willis

For generations, most adoptees were told or assumed, if they were told nothing at all-that they should view their adoptive parents backgrounds as their own. They did that, and for the most part they still do, because it feels right and good to embrace every aspect of to embrace every aspect of the family in which we grow up.
The adoptees always knew that they had a second background, too, the one that explained their appearance, that accounted for some of their talents and traits. the family in which we grow up. The adoptees always knew that they had a second background too, the one that explained their appearance, that accounted for some of their talents and traits.For generations, most adoptees were told - or assumed, if they were told nothing at all - that they should view their adoptive parents' backgrounds as their own.
They did that, and for the most part they still do, because it feels good and right to embrace every aspect of the family in which we grow up.
The adoptees always knew that they had a second background, too, the one that explained their appearance, that accounted for some of their talents and traits.
They knew there were people out there from whom they'd inherited their strong chins or weak hearts, a woman with whom they had shared at least nine months of early life . Hundreds of years of history. Adoptees care deeply about all this.
We need our voices to be heard through the deafening silence on Adoption.
We want our questions to be answered.
We need our Identities to be released and revealed.
We want our Medical Histories unveiled.

Finally then Adoptees will begin to share equal rights to this little thing called "Life"

Orphaned /1954

What years have passed and shadows cast

On a person’s right to know
Their parents that had sown the seed
To make this baby grow

What rights have they in following years
To lock it all away
And keep these secrets from the child
Until the present day

And even now the lips are sealed
And documents amiss
The cruelty of adoption
Is like a Judas kiss

So to fight for right to find the name
For those children in the past
Some self-imposed office fool
Will make their torment last

And those people with the right to know
Their years will slip away
Unless the records are released
To give them peace of mind today

Tony Gorman -