As there are many organizations that support adoptees, this website has been created purely for those informally or illegally adopted or as the Irish Adoption Board likes to label us defacto adoptees. Unlike legal adoptions, where there are records kept of the birth mother, we do not have records, therefore forcing us to live in limbo, never knowing where we came from. l hope that this website will bring us together and help us compare our experiences and search methods. Please share what roadblocks you encountered and how you got around them as an informal/illegal adoptee. Copyright© 2011.

18 yrs ago at the age of 48, I discovered that I was adopted. Not adopted in the normal sense but informally or illegally. I was handed over at two days old to my adoptive parents and then registered as their legal child. It came as a great shock therefore when I discovered that  I wasn't who I thought I was, and so the search began!. It has been a long journey, however, after 15yrs of relentlessly searching and stonewalled by the Irish government I found my family through Ancestry DNA, the only option left open to me. Unfortunately, my mother passed away in 2009, 7yrs after I discovered I wasn't the child of James and Kathleen Hiney. Sad as it is that I never got to meet her, now at least I have an identity and know where I came from I hope that this will encourage people who are in this situation never to give up.

Illegal adoptees became aware as adults, that they were illegally adopted. Sometimes when they went to obtain their birth certificates or sometimes purely by chance, when this information may have been divulged, or as in a lot of cases (like myself) by family relatives. From contacts with other illegal adoptees, we know that illegal adoptions were arranged by individuals and also by church-run adoption agencies. These should have been inspected and monitored by the Irish Adoption Board. In fact, these agencies have never been deregistered, pursued or investigated. The individuals concerned were usually a nurse, doctor and a social worker working together. I know from experience that the people involved with my illegal adoption were never investigated or pursued."Couldn't be found" was written on my file, when in fact I myself tracked down their families 3yrs ago. All three, of course, are now deceased, however, there had to have been some medical files kept and I am convinced that they are archived safely in Ireland. This has deprived illegal adoptees of their basic human rights, that is knowing where you came from.  Without this knowledge, illegal adoptees live in a permanent limbo throughout their lives.

Without proper legislation, there is nothing to stop illegal adoptions happening today. The new adoption bill has completely ignored the rights of not only illegally adopted people but also legally adopted people.

If you are an illegal adoptee or a birth parent or you have any knowledge of illegal adoptions please contact us in the strictest of confidence.

This should never be allowed to happen again!

AM I MARGARET O'GRADY? That is not what my birth cert says!

After I discovered that I was adopted I was told by the Health Board that there were no records whatsoever. Six months later, however (miraculously, the way things seem to happen in Ireland) I received a file from them documenting my life from the age of 2-16yrs of age, with the last statement Theresa still doesn't know that she is adopted. The first page is that they went to the house that I was picked up from at two days old and there was no such nurse residing there. Quite strange when her daughter in law is still living there today.!! To this day I have never been offered any resources to help in the search for my birth mother. A further six months passed and I received an index card with the following:

Name of foster child Margaret O'Grady and name of foster mother

With that information, you are expected to go off on your merry way. We don't have any further information. That's the way it was in the '50s.

NOT GOOD ENOUGH..the Irish Government needs to take ownership of this problem and no I am not going to go away. What about the files of the 42 mother and baby homes in Dublin that were closed down (suddenly) in 1972 when the new Health Act was introduced? and there isn't one set of files!!!!!!!!!!! Impossible and untrue as Nurse Doodys file was found in 2011 !! and how many more files are there in attics of old mother and baby homes...

Theresa Hiney Tinggal

The Irish Examiner published an article by Conall O' Fatharta, exposing the secrecy behind 'illegal adoptions by the Irish authorities. If you are in a similar situation please contact us at info@adoptedillegally-ireland.comAll letters treated in the strictest of confidence. Click here to see the article www.irishexaminer.com

Maria Dumbell's Story

I was born in Ireland in 1950, my birth was never registered and the attitude of the Irish Government when I asked them for information was " well things were done illegally then" and we don't know who you are. When I threatened them many years ago with the Court Of Human Rights as I had no identity they gave me a passport. I have since discovered a document relating to me being Fostered/farmed out and they did know about it. The lady that took me was a registered foster patent the midwife that delivered me was a State Registered Midwife and they were given the legal form that stated intent to receive the infant for 'promise of reward', so things were done legally. However, when I ask to see certain papers I am refused. I asked about the records of the Midwife and her Nursing home and was told when she died her records were destroyed.

I had to stop the search for many years because I had a young family at the time and it can take over your life. I am now a lot older and my family all adults and I now have the time to pursue my quest. I now feel after a lot of research and looking up the Human Rights Act that under article 8 the Irish Government is withholding information.

Personal information, the holding, use or disclosure of personal information about someone is covered by Article 8. The article may also give someone the right to access personal information held about them. I have since discovered I am only one amongst hundreds.

Maria 1977

A little girl who had no name, and could not understand life's pain.
A little child with deep green eyes, whose smile would brighten up the skies.
A child who hid her pain and hurt, a little child with a fearful heart.

I can not understand said she, how everyone is not like me,
They have their Mam's and Dads and Aunts. But everything I want I can't.
Perhaps there's no one really cares and her wee heart was truly scared.

So deep inside her heart near died, as day by day it cried and cried.
I want a Mam, a Dad a name I can not understand this pain.
If they don't want me, how can it be that anyone could love just me?

No one she'd trust, no one at all and around her heart she built a wall.
Her fearful heart, hid from the sun refused its love to everyone.
But she was blind and could not see. A love for her which had to be.

Sure, it matters not from whence you came, or if you bear a Fathers name.
Its what you are and what you do, that makes the person that is YOU.
And there's no reason to be sad, for no one's sure who is their Dad.
So learn to give and learn to share, the love you have with those who care.
So shout it out and have no fear, there's always one who wants to hear.
Break down the wall tear it apart and let the love flow from your heart.
Share out that love be brave be bold, and it comes back a hundredfold.
A little girl who turned and fled, believing that all love was dead.
If she had opened up her eyes. Would know that love's not born nor dies.
For written in this little rhyme. Is love that's longer than all time.
And written in each line and verse love love wider than the universe.

And so it was down through the years, through sorrow, joy and sometimes tears.
That love with constant flame did burn.and looked for nothing in return.
But then behind those sad green eyes, there came the day she realised.
This love that has no start or end, was not the love of spouse or friend.
But the best love beneath the sun, that makes two souls. Forever One.

Dedicated form me to my lovely children my soul mates xxxxxxxxxxxxx

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