One of the fundamentals of contentment, for most people is the rootedness being a member of a family confers.
That human reality stands even if an individual does not enjoy a strong relationship with those around them. As the poet John Donne said all those years ago, “No Man Is An Island, Entire of itself”.
In that context, President Michael D Higgins’ call for the State and adoption agencies to release information to those trying to establish their identity strikes a right note.
It is not hard to imagine that an individual who has no toehold on their past, no link to their natural parents, can feel tormented and excluded. This is not always the case but it is so in many adoption stories.
Of course, there is, as there always is in these matters in Ireland, a subtext. These files may contain more than the bare details of birth and parentage. The will again shine a light on a cold and unwholesome country where pregnant single women were treated like criminals.
The needs of individuals must take priority here but it would be no harm if we were reminded how very cruel this society was so we might not be again.
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