Readers' Blog: Plight of adoptees searching for parents

Over the last 20 years, I have written many letters, especially to the Irish Examiner concerning the plight and frustration of adult adoptees attempting to trace their birth families.

Most of my angst was focused on church-run adoption agencies who in my opinion did everything in their power to hinder such reunions taking place. As Mike Milotte stated in his brilliantly researched book on the export of Irish babies to the USA (Banished Babies), “deny till die” was the guiding principle of the day. Various ministers over the years dragged their heals while

Sir Humphrey-types in the civil service lacked empathy and ensured birth families never met.

Since 1997, I have been helping Marianne to trace her birth family in the midlands. She was adopted to New York in 1957; she has been searching since 1979. Both of us with little information searched in vain.

However about six months ago, a social worker who works for Tusla took over the case and worked tirelessly and left no stone unturned in an effort to find Marianne’s birth-family.

Sadly Marianne’s mum passed away in 1986. This was very sad for her and she is dealing with the loss. On a happier note contact has been made with close cousins.

I wish to thank Tusla for all their efforts on Marianne’s behalf and encourage them to continue for others who are in similar situations. When we were searching, I encouraged Marianne to get her DNA tested and registered. Her results came back as 99% Irish. For a long time, it was looking like she would never meet a living relative from the country of her birth. A sympathetic social worker in Carlow changed all that.

Jim Jackman


Dublin 15

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