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Adoptees deserve adult treatment 

Irish Independent Letters, 17th March 2011

Mary Kenny's article (Irish Independent, March 14) contains a number of good points: a loving and supportive family provides the best start in life for most people and some mothers do feel adoption gives their child a better chance in life.

However, I believe that Joan Burton's elevation to Cabinet is neither an endorsement nor a criticism of adoption practice. For example, if Ms Burton singlehandedly destroys any semblance of social protection during her time as minister, will there be a similar article condemning adoption or supportive families?

On the contrary, I would hope that Ms Burton has reached her post as a result of her ability and hard work.

As regards the terminology used around adoption I am unconvinced that using "placed" rather than "given up" is necessarily better.

If there is an attempt to trace later in life that is rejected I think the feeling of having been given up is keenly felt by adoptees or birth parents.

In addition, "giving up" can signify a sacrifice being made by a birth mother where she feels it is her child's best option. When I hear the phrase "placed for adoption" I always think that decorations or ornaments are placed but not children.

Thankfully, in my case, I am very definitely a branch of my family's tree and have never felt alienated because I was adopted. This is down to a loving and supportive family who were very open about the fact that I was adopted for as long as I can remember.

Adoption is heralded as being for the benefit of the child and I would hope that this is always at the forefront of people's minds. However, given that adoptees have little rights to their files and can face huge obstacles in tracing relatives, whose benefit is really being considered as paramount?

Adoption, like many other issues, follows a person into adult life and the needs of adoptees should not be ignored just because we're all grown up.

Currently, the system seems to operate on the basis that we remain children and cannot be trusted with the information in our adoption file.

My suggestion to the new Government is to deal with adoption in a similar manner to my parents -- be open and honest. It's time we truly cherish all the children of the nation equally.

Martin Foran
Lucan, Co Dublin

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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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