Unlike most other
members of society, people adopted under a closed secret system (like
the system in Ireland) grow up with a gap in their identities.
Adopted people, at whatever stage of their lives they decide to explore
their history, will find themselves wanting to gather as much
information as possible in an effort to build the jigsaw puzzle of their
history and heritage. As the journey progresses, many people find
that everything from paperwork to photographs will have huge
importance. To other people they're just forms, letters and
photos, but to an adopted person they're jigsaw pieces and vital parts
of one's heritage.
We hope that the
photos and information we have provided will help you piece together your jigsaw
puzzle. If you have any photos or other items you are willing to
share send them to email@example.com
or feel free to contact us if we have left any home or agency out.
Mother & Baby Homes
While much has been rightly made about the treatment of women and girls
Laundries, Adoption Rights Alliance would like to ensure that women
who were ill-treated in Mother and Baby Homes are not forgotten.
We are aware that women and girls who resided at Mother and Baby
Homes were often treated cruelly and subjected to physical and emotional
abuse. The women and girls were treated like pariahs, with
the nuns assuming control of their lives once they entered the home.
From entering the homes, girls and women were forced to wear a uniform
and were deprived of their own clothes, a measure designed to both
humiliate inmates and prevent them from escaping.
Usually the women and girls were forced to stay in
the homes for three years unless they could pay the huge sum of IR£100
to leave. Considering that a
typical industrial wage was IR£3 per week in 1955, it is safe to assert
that most would have had to stay for the three years.
Capitation grants were paid by local authorities, yet the women
were forced to work long arduous hours, sometimes carrying out
humiliating, not to mention unnecessary tasks, such as being forced to
pluck grass on their hands and knees (see The
Light in the Window by June Goulding).
During their time in the Mother and Baby Homes,
these women and girls were treated in a sub-human fashion, often denied
adequate medical care or pain relief while giving birth.
The women were also forced to carry out tough manual labour,
whether they were pregnant or not. After
their time was up (sometimes before) their babies were taken from them
and sent for adoption, sometimes to America.
Abuse was often cruel in an emotional and psychological sense:
We have received reports from natural mothers who spent time in
Mother and Baby Homes who were forced to carry out various jobs,
including the packing of greeting cards for the birth of new babies.
The nuns had no regard for the fact that the women and girls may
have been grieving for the loss of their babies.
read further about Mother and Baby Homes, we recommend The
Light in the Window by June Goulding. We also recommend A
Woman to Blame by Nell McCafferty for an insight into the
circumstances faced by natural mothers. Visit our Reading
List for other reading material.
Click the links below
paperwork and other information about Mother and Baby Homes and other
institutions such as Temple Hill.
Patrick's Home, Navan Road
Patrick's Guild and Temple Hill
Ross Abbey, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary
Rita's Nursing Home
note we have gathered the information from survivor accounts and what
little records are available to the public. Until the religious
run agencies open their records it will not be possible to compile a full history
of past adoption practice in Ireland. If you have any corrections,
contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org