Tag Archives: adoptees

Adoption is …

National Adoption Awareness Month (NAAM) is coming and in Australia the conversation on adoption during November, will again be dominated by the voices of Deborra Lee Furness and her corporate machine, AdoptChange.

In contrast, NAAM can be a difficult time for Adoptees, of sadness, of anger, and feeling powerless against dominant voices.

weighing baby.png

I am an Adoptee, who has joined with three others to write and publish a book of poetry,  I have more to say on what Adoption Is for me, and I encourage others to continue to speak up on what Adoption Is for them.   Join me!


Photo credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org General Lying In Hospital, York Road: nurses weighing a baby. Photograph, 1908. 1906 Album of photographs and cuttings pertaining to dr. Basil Hood

IdentityRites – Adelaide

Visit the new website of IdentityRites: a peer support and advocacy group which gives a voice to Adoptees, at:

“We have been deprived of knowledge of identity, heritage, and medical information; issued with false birth certificates; and denied public acknowledgement and awareness of the lifelong impact of separating us from our blood families.

IdentityRites seeks to quench the yearning for the dignity of ancestral connection.

We are an Adelaide based Group of Adoptees with a common purpose to initiate respectful and non-traumatising ways to tell our stories.”

Contact: info [@] identityrites.org

Abbott and Furness Team for Adoptions

A morning tea was held at Kirribilli, Sydney residence of the Prime Minister of Australia. Invited were the celebrities who have advocated for changes to Adoption laws in Australia. Of note were Cadel Evans, Deborra-Lee Furness and Hugh Jackman and a host of child Adoptees from various overseas countries.
Furness explained to Lee Sales on the 7.30 report that adoption practice had been ‘spooked’ and ‘tainted’ by the stolen generation, the forgotten children, and the ‘forced adoptions’ and as a result Australia had the lowest adoption rates for some time.
So what had made the difference, Lee Sales asked:
‘A new government on board – we have to have a champion or leader’ and they had found that in Tony Abbott. Furness went on to say ‘let’s talk about adoption …let’s do it’.

My comments: It’s a shame Abbott isn’t the champion for the children in Nauru, Christmas Island and Manus Island detention centres. Regarding past practices, what has been learned to avoid the same mistakes being made and consigning another generation of adopted children to the consequences of ‘Adoptions Past’: higher incidences of complex PTSD disorder, mental illness, suicides, lung disease, auto-immune disease, unemployment … part of the findings of the AIFS Report before the Apology in 2013.

Furness fosters adoption crusade

In the Sunday Mail, Adelaide 14 December 2013, an article commenced with: “Adoption champion Deborra-Lee Furness has won the support of Prime Minister Tony Abbott to tackle Australia’s ‘anti-adoption culture’ “. I dispute Furness’s statement. Australia does not have an ‘anti-adoption culture’. Its policies are child-centric and slow, to ensure that adopters have adequate skills to provide a safe and positive adoption experience for infants and children.

Adoption cannot be about the needs of adults; it must be about children’s need for safety. We have not learned what contributes to positive and negative adoption experiences. Is today’s situation any different to the past? Where are the pressures to increase the number of adoptions coming from?

Are there guarantees that adoption will be done better by this generation of Adopters? The mistakes of the past were not just about forced removal of infants from their mothers, as the title of the AIFS study implies. The mistakes were also about the lack of options at the time, the needs of childless women in the post war boom time, the influence of the ‘nature versus nurture’ theory, and the overall conclusion that an infant’s mother could be replaced by another in the process of adoption. This belief remains unchallenged despite its inconsistency. On one hand there was community outrage when a mother was returned to Nauru without her newborn, and on the other, society accepts that an infant is transplantable from the familiar environment of the womb, to a totally strange environment, devoid of comfort and deprived of attachment.

There is ample research on the trauma experienced by newborns who were separated at birth and the importance of maternal attachment for healthy childhood development, yet the ongoing complex trauma and lifelong difficulties for Adoptees as they interpret life through the lens of trauma, is not understood, accepted or allowed for in funding support.

The adoption industry in the US does not provide a healthy model for parenting adopted children. Children with post adoption behaviour difficulties are labelled with Adoption Syndrome and treatment can be abusive. I believe this is a blind-spot in a culture that needs to believe in a romantic notion of adoption rather than dialoguing with Adoptees to learn from the past, improve adoption practice for the sake of the children. There are few potential adopters that are willing to learn from Adoptees’ experience.

Adoptees past, present and future have no champion, no voice and no audience.

National Adoption Awareness Week in Oz

In November 2013 National Adoption Awareness Week came and went dominated by calls to increase the numbers of local and inter-country adoptions in Australia. An admirable appeal it seems, except for the absence of balance and the voice of Adoptees.
Australia was criticised as being anti-adoption when in fact the adoption practices in this country hold the welfare of children central to policy at present. There is pressure for this to change, catering to demand, the needs of adults, and there is suspicion that underneath these proposed changes within government policy, is the need to reduce their financial involvement and responsibility in children’s out of home care.
The recent Apology and the AIFS studies that led up to this, identified that some thousands of Adoptees were affected, and were still suffering, from the past adoption practices of previous decades.
This site aims to present the opinions and experiences of Adoptees, in the hope that it will become a resource for Adoptees and the community.
We welcome Adoptees adding their voices through replying to posts on these pages.