tells of painful search for birth mum
Herald, Tuesday June 08 2010
TD Joan Burton has revealed her pain at trying to find her birth mother.
Burton (below) has made an impassioned plea with the Department of
Health to introduce new laws that will make it easy for adopted people
to find their biological parents.
Labour finance spokesperson was put up for adoption three months after
her birth and only managed to track down her family heritage years after
her mother had passed away.
can tell him what the experience is like and I am sure others have told
him," she told Minister of State Barry Andrews.
Burton was born in Co Carlow to an unmarried woman in 1949 and was taken
to Temple Hill Mother and Baby Home in Blackrock three months later.
stayed there until she was fostered by Bridie and John Burton, from
Rialto, and was then adopted. As an adult she decided to seek
information on her birth mother and make contact ahead of her marriage.
am one of those people and I went in to the offices when I was in my
20s. I went in when I was getting married to ask whether a letter could
go to my birth family just to say that I was getting married, that I was
alive and that I was all right.
answer was 'No'," she recalled. Ms Burton said Ireland needs
"a comprehensive structure that would allow adopted people obtain
information about their origins".
people who are adopted, especially women, want to get information about
their background, their parentage and their medical history from the
time they are older teenagers or young adults.
desire increases when they get married or enter into a long
relationship, and it increases even more when they become parents."
added: "Nobody expects a fairy story with a happy ever after
ending. A child is given up for adoption based on a decision made by a
birth mother; she may have been badly advised on it but she has made the
decision. The adopted child moves on to another life, usually with very
loving adoptive parents."
Burton argues that there must be more openness in the system so that the
child can gain information about issues such as medical history.
relatively recently it was always nuns who decided that children could
not have information. It is a product of the era of secrecy that arose
through the Catholic Church's control of institutions and the adoption
process," she noted.
Kevin Doyle, POLITICAL REPORTER
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