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I was 'given up' as a child–not 'placed'

Irish Independent, 15th March 2011

I WAS ‘given up' for adoption by my birth mother, so forgive me for being absolutely disgusted, angry and insulted by Mary Kenny's article, especially where she says she wants to use the term ‘placed for adoption' rather than ‘given up for adoption' as this implies rejection.

I was rejected when I was born and I was rejected again last year by my birth mother after I traced her, so please do not tell me what phrase I can use.

There are many adopted people who had terrible upbringings. Some wished they had never been adopted, but left in a home because they felt it couldn't have been any worse.

Thankfully, I had wonderful adoptive parents who loved me very much and I will always refer to them as my parents, but I do have a mother and a father as well.

When you start to look at your past you think about the choices you have made and say ‘I could have been this' or ‘I could have done that'. Being adopted, however, when you finally get your birth certificate you look at the name and the first thing you think is ‘this is who I was supposed to be'. Then, you need to know who that person should have been.

Let us not for one moment place Archbishop John McQuaid on a pedestal. He is the very reason why adopted people in Ireland are still not allowed access to their files, medical history or automatic right of access to their own birth certificate.

This man had such power that he was able to silence the American press when they wanted to cover the stories of Irish children being exported for adoption to the US.

I am so happy for Joan Burton and the fact that she has found her birth mother's family and has been made welcome by them.

The fact that she has another photograph of her birth mother must be wonderful. But please remember for every one adopted person with a happyever- after story, there are hundreds who are not so fortunate.

The majority of us are not even allowed to know our birth mother's name, where she came from, let alone be given a photograph.

Name and address with editor


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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 loneliness." 

Alex Haley, Author of Roots 





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