In February of this year, I wrote an opinion piece for GCN, asking for the LGBT+ Community to support adopted people in opposing a draconian piece of legislation called the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill. Minister Zappone was attempting to rush the Bill through the Seanad, without consulting the stakeholders, or even acknowledging their ongoing opposition, to what is essentially a hugely discriminatory piece of legislation.
In her Seanad address that followed, Minister Zappone, and other Senators admitted to being overwhelmed by the amount of email, letters and phone calls objecting to the Adoption Bill. It was the first time adoptees had that level of public support, and that, combined with powerful opposition speakers on the day, stopped the legislation being rushed through. If any of you were part of that tsunami scale of objections, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
The Bill has surfaced again, and while there have been some modifications to it, it is still sacrificing adopted people’s identities over the privacy of Birth Mothers. We are the only country in Europe that has approached the issue of birth information in this cruel manner, with no balance being struck.
It is hard enough as a survivor of a Mother and Baby Institution to be constantly faced with the fact that 796 babies are still in a septic tank in Tuam, and nearly 800 more in a mass grave, in Bessborough, as well as graves in; Sean Ross Abbey, Castlepollard and countless other former Mother and Baby Institutions. It is emotionally challenging to feel that nobody cares about those infants and children, or their families and relatives.
As adoptees, we are already battling the deeply flawed, State agency Tusla for birth information. It is soul-destroying and packs an emotional impact that is hard to bear. I have spent the last seventeen years fighting for information and having been lied to in 2002, now know, that my birth fathers name and address does exist, but has been deliberately obliterated by Tipex.
People always say, ‘but what if a birth parent doesn’t want contact’? Of course, that is their right, but can we, can they, be given a personal choice, before the State decides to intervene on a private family matter? It’s about choice. Despite the circumstances of our births, or the circumstances of our adoptions, we are still families. Blood relatives, in a country, where who your people are, where you come from is paramount.
I am asking each and every one of you in the community to help us in our fight for equality, by using the link below to make your voices heard by TD’s and Senators. There are 100,000 of us, and not everyone is able to speak out. Adoptees have been emotionally battered by the Catholic Church for fifty years, and the Irish State has taken up that role now in deciding how we live our lives as adults. We need your support.
Find out more from the Adoption Rights Alliance here.
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