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Forcibly adopted women
Irish Independent, 4th October 2012
Two women who lived for
years not knowing they had been forcibly adopted have called for
official State records to be opened to try and trace their birth
Theresa Tinggal, 58, and Maria Dumbell, 42, are among tens of thousands
of people sent for adoption around the 1950s after their mothers were
deemed too young or unfit.
"I was handed over to my adoptive parents at two-days-old and then
registered as their legal child," Ms Tinggal said. "It came as
a great shock therefore when I discovered that I wasn't who I thought I
The Government has delayed until next year, plans for new adoption
legislation which would allow people access to files to trace biological
The women claim the Health Service Executive (HSE) has told them they
cannot release files linked to informal adoptions.
Ms Tinggal was brought up as Theresa Hiney. The nurse who helped deliver
her kept records of her own and a box with 1,000 names, including her
name, has been recovered by her relatives. "The state could have
found my birth mother but they didn't really bother," she said.
A website - adoptedillegally-ireland.com - has been set up to try and
bring together people affected by adoptions authorised by hospitals,
churches, religious orders and doctors after judging a mother unfit.
Ms Dumbell found out she was adopted when she applied for a passport.
She discovered her birth was never registered and she only got an Irish
passport after threatening a human rights lawsuit in Europe. "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'," she said.
Clare Daly TD, who supports the women's cause, said the records exist.
She added: "It is not good enough to talk about guaranteeing
children's rights in a new referendum if we continue to ignore children
failed in the past. The right to identity is the most basic human
A spokeswoman for the Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald said she
had no difficulty in meeting the women. She said they had been urged to
discuss their cases with the national specialist for adoption in the HSE
before she would meet them. The minister has also been pursuing the new
legislation with the Attorney General's office.
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|“In all of us there
is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage, to know who we are
and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there
is a hollow yearning . . . and the most disquieting
Alex Haley, Author of Roots