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I wish to respond to the fine article written by Conall Ó Fatharta on ‘Illegal’ adoptions (Jan 14).
It is indeed something that is not entirely new. Not surprisingly, the various adoption authorities over the years have ignored these ‘illegal’ adoptions, and I am citing the case of the adoption of Tressa Reeves’s son Andre Donnelly (exposed by the Irish Examiner in April 2010 and further covered in RTÉ’s Prime Time in May 2010). The Adoption Authority were made aware of her case a decade ago, but as yet no action has been taken to resolve this. The same goes for the HSE. Those of us ‘illegally’ adopted who have tried to find out the circumstances of our birth have not been given one bit of help.
In 1956 the HSE discovered I had been illegally adopted in June 1954, therefore contravening the Adoption Act of 1952. I have written evidence of this and they did nothing to track my birth mother down at that time (covered by Conall Ó Fatharta. Apr 23, 2011). Despite the fact that I only found this out 10 years ago I have not been offered any help in finding my natural mother or offered counselling for the trauma it caused me.
Illegal adoptees are just being ignored. We have been denied knowledge of genealogical and historical connections with our birth families, thus leaving us with no identity. Doctors left no paper trail to cover up this illegal practice, leaving adoptees unable to find their mothers, and indeed mothers unable to find their children. Some of us have spent agonising years searching for some knowledge about our background. What these so called doctors and ‘pillars of the community’ did is downright cruel.
We are also stonewalled by the Government who are doing nothing to help us. In view of the forthcoming legislation it is time that Frances Fitzgerald and her government put this right and recognised the rights of adopted people to know their own identities.
Another ‘illegal’ adoptee, Maria Dumbell, and myself, are campaigning for access to files that could help us ie doctors/social worker and nurses particularly where there is written evidence of them being involved.
On Oct 4, 2012, we submitted a petition to Frances Fitzgerald, minister for children and on Oct 6 we held a protest in Dublin.
It is believed that there are thousands of illegal adoptees who have been affected by this illegal practice throughout the State, and I urge them to contact us at: www.adoptedillegally-ireland.com
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