Monday, 13 October 2014

The Cancer of Hate

During the Senate inquiry into Forced Adoptions and the subsequent Apologies up to even recently I was subjected to a very vicious hate campaign directed towards me . Certain people vaguely threatened to harm me if i went to the Handing down of the senate report, on the eve of the Tasmanian apology claims were made I was a paedophile which were later carried on by a twisted adoptee where i was named on a outing Facebook page. Even in the last 12 months twisted individuals sought to destroy me putting up a false Facebook page on my name. I remember one day a full day was conducted on a Facebook group that illegally used the Australian coat of arms to attract members with the implication it was a official site, on attacking me.  Most of this is in the past and this is to impart upon all that i know what it is like to have a hate campaign conducted against you.

But what i endured is nothing compared to what is being endured by residents of Australia by the hate groups that have arisen which are instilling hate and bigotry within our community. There are many of them but i will mainly talk about what i read on the site of The Australian defence League-Soldiers Facebook page.  but i note that this organisation is opening Facebook sub groups all over Australia spreading their hatred to members of the Australian Islamic community in the guise of fee speech. but is it free speech to say things like the following:


" those fukn muslim pigs!!!! 
slaughter the fukn lot of them"


"Fuck it. Go get them. Kill them all and hang their bodies from a bridge."


"Lets get some muslim scum and give them the full on Aussie fight they want. Wipe them from the history books permanently"



The above is just a small example and yet the Government of the day whilst shouting loudly , and with some justification, about the hatred coming from a small number of extremists who use the cover of Islam to justify their hate campaigns, is strangely silent when others wrap themselves in the Australian flag to use a cover to spew their hate and bile. we know ASIO and police authorities are actively monitoring the Islamic extremists yet they have done nothing to those who spew the hate from the other side. yet as we know the Oklahoma bomber was a extreme right wing person and ASIO dropped the ball many years by concentrating on communist sympathisers when i fact the danger was the extreme right wing from a Baltic state. hence the raid on ASIO by the then Attorney General.

We as Australians have a responsibility to publicly out these hate groups to the authorities and our politicians regardless of who they are. The Australian Defence League-Soldiers were actually compiling a list of Islamist and left-wingers facebook profiles for whatever reason they had. A the name implies it would appear that former and serving members of the military may be involved. One can only imagine Hitler style brownshirts pounding on the "undesirables doors in the middle of the night to help educate the recalcitrant.  The rule of the thug replacing the rule of law and the freedom to disagree.

Now i have many friends on my list of friends who have legitimate concerns in relation to the role some of the extremists , especially those who have headed overseas to fight in other people war. But they don't run about threatening people they express their concerns in a legitimate way and good on them for doing it  because that is what democracy is about. as a retired RAAF member I too have concerns about the security of our nation and our reliance on materials support from overseas suppliers. I also have concerns at the events going on in the middle east and other hotspots around the world.  But what we think and talk about is not about hatred based upon race religion etc it is about being Australians and the many varied peoples who are so proud of our country. This is about ensuring the hate mongers are removed from their phony covers of using patriotism of religion to preach their hate. But we cant do it whilst our leaders also use those props to support their causes.

I am sure our prime minister has a good heart and has no racist intent. but by reacting to speeches conducted at Islamic centre in the manner he did inflames what is a delicate situation.  he has aggressive tendencies as shown by his use of the term " shirt fronting President Putin"  In Australia a shirt front means this:

"An aggressive scruff of an opponents jumper is often called a shirt front and is an illegal and reportable offense (but again, often subject to interpretation). In some cases, for example, one player will grasp his opponents jumper and aggressively pull and push him trying to make contact with the lower jaw with his fist."

So our Prime Minister is espousing the use of aggressive behaviour to the leader of another country,much like what the Australian defence league is espousing towards people of the islamic faith

This hatred has to stop as it is destroying the delicate framework of our society built up over 100 years.
Failure to do so will make our country so much more dangerous and fearful

Saturday, 6 September 2014

THE UNCERTAINTY OF LIFE

This post today is not about adoption but starts from the moment the then prime minister of Australia did offer a heartfelt apology to all those affected by past adoption practises. it is about the continual uncertainty that life brings and is a lesson for all adoptees and other people to understand. The lesson is that there will always be major trauma and events that affect you and those around you that you love and that to sheet home blame to others or what may have happened when you were a baby is to ignore the reality that life for all its wonderful glory does involve tragedy, trauma and all of life's not so  wonderful events and these shape you and  test you.

For many years my life has been mixed up in adoptee activism which sometimes has taken me from the emotional connection to  my loved spouse, Sheryl. Sometimes i questioned my commitment to her in this period as being led into the "light of healing" and leaving the comfort zone of rationalisation and logical facts had for me become a disaster with emotional confusion, a emotional breakdown many miles from home and a questioning of my own values. This had happened before when i discovered I was adoption but the generous abuse of alcohol and loose women in a foreign land had deadened the pain, albeit at the expense of the welfare of my family. So this time having gave up drinking in vast quantities, i felt every inglorious heartache, every piece of abuse levelled at me because i was considered a uneducated brain washed moron. Some felt i had leadership qualities but for me personally I always felt uncomfortable even being thought of in that role. so even that caused conflict within me. many wanted me to bare my soul which i did and then it was used against me in later disputes.  A old boss of mine once said " Murray you are too honest for your own good".  he was right because being honest with people within the adoption community is a recipe for future heartache.

Bu the time of the apology this was broadly receding as a important issue because i felt i had regained my equilibrium . So off to Canberra I set off two days before the apology, the 19 march 2013.  The next day was to prove a life altering time for Sheryl and myself.  There was a message on my phone for Sheryl to ring the breast screen people at Ballarat as they needed her to come back. I called Sheryl and she contacted them and when i was meeting with our local MP Catherine King that morning of 20 march 2013 she was back at breast screen having a biopsy, two lumps had been found.  A week later we were sitting in a private room at breast screen being told that the tumours were malignant and that they were triple negative. The next few weeks are a blur; we saw the surgeon at the hospital and Sheryl was admitted for a full mastectomy of the right breast and full ancillary lymph nodes removals on 23 April 2013 two days before ANZAC day. The operation was successful and 5 days later Sheryl came home.  In subsequent days we were told the 13 removed lymph nodes were negative but in the last month we found out that three were in fact positive. Why we were not told I don't know

Sheryl was due to start chemotherapy by early June bur was delayed due to problems with a seroma drainage, One session she was actually drained of 700 mils of fluid, the equivalent of a large bottle of beer.  Her first session of chemotherapy, using a broad spectrum drug as there is no targeted treatment for triple negative cancers seemed to go off without a hitch until the ninth day after when I had to rush Sheryl to hospital with a raging temperature. That night she went tachycardia in front of me and passed out. Thankfully that was in emergency.  Sheryl remained in hospital for the next nine days, 5 of them she was mostly delirious.  I believe the only thing that stopped me from breaking down was the Lexapro medication i have been on.  I could not cry but inside i was very very distraught.

As a sideline this was also the time a person who claims to be Maori, indigenous , Irish and any other racial mix she decides on at the time decided to launch a vicious attack upon me on the Adoption truth and Transparency Facebook page further adding to my distress.  This person who has a love of dingoes was acting like a dingo around a child at Uluru, striking whilst i was at my weakest.  I sought help and support from whom i considered to be friends by asking them to remove this person from their list. Instead they rebutted and rejected me one of them saying , Cancer is temporary; adoption last forever. Well Nim, the cancer may not last forever but as you will read, the after effects can and for Sheryl do last a lifetime.

When Sheryl had her second round of chemotherapy, she lasted four days before being back in hospital for 5 days this time with thrush from the sinus's through to the stomach .  When she was admitted her blood sugar levels were 30 ,( Sheryl being type 2 diabetic). This I have been told that have been the catalyst which has left her the way she now is. She had developed a allergy to the antibiotics pushed into her during the period she was delirious.

Thankfully the final course of chemotherapy only resulted in a short time in emergency.  Her chemotherapy main drug was a drug called docataxyl which can have a adverse reaction to diabetes sufferers and can cause long term damage.

From the time of her admission until then we had been coping on a very reduced source of income, mainly my military retirement pension and some income from the limited work i could do. To manage I had been juggling the bills and using credit cards that I had previously cleared out to zero balances. but this could no longer go on.

When it appeared that the reaction to the chemotherapy for Sheryl was extremely negative, with very bad neuropathic pains in the legs which were swelling up, numbness in the left hand, Lymphodema in the right arm, and poor cognitive skills, we knew plan A was out the door, so we applied for a Disability Support pension for her in September 2012 After 8weeks she was refused based upon the fact that they needed to see if the damage to her nerves etc were permanent at the first anniversary of the operation. in the Interim they put her on Newstart with no job search requirement . Upon checking i found about 60 percent of Newstart recipients are people parked there with no requirement to seek work.  One fortnight she received about 45 cents Newstart when my pay was a little high.  gain because i could not put a full effort into work because i had to look after her meant our income was dropping rapidly and the hole was becoming bigger.

I applied for the Carer payment and allowance in late October 2012 after she had been refused the DSP.  By christmas no decision on my application was made hence the hole became bigger, To help a little , I successfully converted my home loan to a interest only loan for twelve months thus reducing the repayment burden.  After a enquiry in February this year the carer payment was approved and the allowance a week later. In April 2014 Sheryl was approved for Disability support and whilst our income is some twenty to thirty thousand less than before, at least we have consistency.  We are climbing slowly out of the hole.

But Sheryl's chronic neuropathy continues, She cannot walk any distance without a walking stick, we are now looking at the pro's and cons of buying wheelchair for her so at least we can move around without her becoming tired and in pain. She still uses Endone twice  a day and lyrica twice a day to control the pain. She regularly attends hydrotherapy, Lymphodema clinic and and a counsellor.  but the pain is a constant and quite often i try to avoid her in the morning until the pain killers kick in. She tries to help me around the house, mainly because we mere males never do it the way a woman does, but that is also very limited. She has been to emergency twice this year due to temperature spikes and reactions to antibiotics. We never know from one day to the next how the day will be.

This is now our retirement life, not exactly what we had envisaged but she has been cancer free for twelve months and we can still laugh at each other. it is a prime example of the uncertainty of life. often at night i ponder what can i do to improve Sheryl's life so she can have some enjoyment because her enjoyment would lift a giant weight off my shoulders. I also think about myself and how i will handle it in the future as i age. It has made me really understand that she is my life and whilst i may get sidetracked on adoption issues and yes a pretty smiling face sometimes, my loie without her would be very hollow indeed.

I have not written this to elicit sympathy for i know that we are not alone, there are millions of couple worldwide that have the experiences we have. Rather it is to show those adoptees who wallow and cry woe is me, i was adopted., how cruel people are because they don't empathise , that they should look at how fickle life experiences are and how unpredictable life can be. This is something we have been taught in womb, when removed, how families have treated us. The world and governments do not owe us anything. It is our responsibility to soldier on, looking for help from professionals not fly by night quick fix experts. it comes back to the motto of "forging meaning thus building identity" .

It is not about you and your birth , it is about being a person who lives a life to the best they can and we are flawed.  Society will offer sympathy then get on working out how to get the new smart TV they want. Get used to that. Those adoptees who decided i was not worthy of their friendship because i spoke my mind forcibly are prime examples of stiff bickies attitude in society. they express words of sympathy and empathy but underneath they are only concerned with their own feelings and attitudes. And like dingoes they circle the wounded warriors who have a concern for the future and those who will be joining us

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

HAVE ADOPTEES BEEN SOLD A PUP

For decades adoptees have been told by interest groups how they have been so adversely affected by the removal from their mothers and how this cruel act has left us vulnerable, higher incidents of emotional issues and other traits that seem to be similar within the adoptee tribe. In Australia this has been blamed on the forced adoption era and the methods used to remove us from our mothers and yes the different ages we were upon removal.  In fact many people have and are profiting from this accepted theories worldwide and alternative healing " professionals" have been also at play to ensure the status quo remains.  But what if they were wrong; what if there has been a attempt to cover up the mothers role in this, the issues we have to reduce their feelings of guilt which has come from us being removed in many different circumstances.  What if the primal wound was in fact the results higher level of stress and other circumstances whilst we were developing in the womb. What if????????

I am not a professional , just a ordinary adoptee who because of my past based upon falsehoods questions everything and have been concerned at the lack of modern day research into adoptees as adults.  I put forward these ideas with the aim to make adoptees think and not just accept the social attitudes of the adoption community. this is the context under which this is presented.

I am not trying to diminish the effects that removal from our natural parent has impacted upon our lives.  But i do question the exclusiveness of that impact.  many children are removed from parents at early age not just adoptees and as the HILDA(living in Australia) study as shown as reported in the AIFS study  The life satisfaction scores of 8 to 10 on a standardised scale where o = poor satisfaction  and 10 high satisfaction 61 percent of the 148 adoptees in the HILDA sample scored 61 percent against the non adopted of 67 percent. I am using the HILDA result as this is a longitudinal  study where the household were selected by randomised house selections within census districts.  Furthermore the WHO Quality of life instrument showed overall satisfaction with life for adoptees was 3.5 with a standard deviation of 1.2 against the Australian norms of 3.6 and a 0.9 standard deviation.


The AIFS study of 825 adoptees also showed that the higher the level of education  amongst adoptees the higher the score in life satisfaction scales. With adoptees representing an above Australian average of post secondary education, the significance of the life style available to them also need consideration if we could compare them to  those who were institutionalised and not adopted.  Overall adoptees have fared a better lifestyle than those who have been placed in institutions and into the rotating foster care system. but that does not mean we do not have major issues, rather we have overall a much better ability to process the issues and lead productive lives.

We must remember however, these abilities to process our trauma and stress will vary from time to time, we will be influenced by parties saying what they think you should believe and just how evil the people who adopted you were. The fact that many elicit sympathy by using terms like ripped from my womb, pillows over heads, passing full blame onto the staff at the home or the hospital and absolving immediate family and society are all designed to make the adoptee feel guilty that their life has in the main been one of greater opportunities. They promote the fallacy that welfare payments in then past meant they could have raised you, thus pushing the greedy adoptive parent mantra. The facts were that any payments in the past would not have been able to support a young lady and her child. Some have blamed the adoptive parents for what their child has become; one in particular blames them for her son's sexuality. Some blame adoptees for not getting a slam dunk in relation to the apology and try to rewrite history.  All these whether intentional or not are designed to make the adoptee feel guilty that he has been brainwashed, that life would have been so much better with their mother.  The only fact in all this is that in most cases our mothers were never given a opportunity to show they could be good loving parents.

Recent studies have now showed that many of the issues we adoptees have faced have i fact originated within the womb in which we grew. Every body understands how alcohol and drug abuse will lead to babies being born with significant drug addiction and developmental issues
 The following links show just some of the research. it has been difficult to look for reputable research as opposed to voodoo magic so forgive me if any of the links are not reputable:

http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/04/27/prenatal-anxiety-affects-babys-immune-system/54185.html

http://www.beginbeforebirth.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Animal-slide6.jpg

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=51730

http://www.jhsph.edu/research/centers-and-institutes/johns-hopkins-fetal-development-project/_materials/_publications/currentdirections.pdf

These are just a few of the articles and i am sure many will look for more as well as articles the refute these.  Based upon this it is logical to presume that much of what we adoptees do, act feel etc is caused by the long term stress we experienced inside the womb. Whether our removal was forced or not from the moment our mothers became aware of their pregnancy she was placed under unbearable stress,; from parents; from family; from society. Just imagine the stress placed upon a poor young girl being sent to a cold , cruel place by angry parents and then tell me that this level of high stress did not affect we the unborn.  it is still happening today in  over seas countries and also with surrogacy. it would also be happening with young single pregnant ladies in Australia even though they would most likely keeping their child.  Why adoptees can be identified is because we are the most visible group, so the long term error has been to say we are unique. but we are not as any mother undergoing any long term stress will create a potential deleterious affect on the unborn child.

It is now time to get our head out of the sand and realise that we are not unique with these issues and many others also have mental health and emotional issues due to family disruptions and events beyond our control in the womb. it is time our mothers accept that they too contributed to the way we are, not just the cruel hospitals and homes.




Saturday, 9 August 2014

Tasmania: The shocking secret

               TASMANIA: THE SHOCKING SECRET

One of the most beautiful places in the world is the State of Tasmania.   It always delights me when I hop on a plane and return to the beautiful state that I love but have not resided in since 30 May 1968. I mention this as this is about my home state and no other state in the commonwealth.  This state that I have idolised and once had visions of returning to no longer exists. Instead there exists a state that, initially created a law back in 1920 to prevent shocking infanticide cases and to prevent people from profiteering from the odious industry of baby farming where people were paid by parents to take over care of a child or baby and then they were let starve to death as well as being drugged. The last conviction in Australia for Baby Farming murder was in 1913, just seven years before the Adoption of Children Act 1920, which was undoubtedly a result of this worldwide abuse and killing of children.  However a simple omission which was brought to their attention in 1950 but not corrected, as far as I can ascertain, until The Adoption of Children Act 1968, opened a gate to profiteering by families and other parties where babies became a valuable currency to fill one’s coffers.

Back at the turn of the 20th century, state governments were rightly concerned with the tragic consequences of Baby Farming and the fact there were no controls over adoption of children or safeguards.  Western Australia had prior to federation enacted adoption legislation and to its credit, Tasmania was the first state after federation to enact legislation, the adoption of children Act 1920. This act was very specific that no adoptive family could be paid a premium without the consent of the authorise delegate approving the adoption, namely the registrar of births deaths and marriages. Whilst the Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee inquiry into forced adoption listed Adoption Statistics from 1939 through to 2010, the state of Tasmania statistics from the years 1939 to 1968 only provided information for the years 1951 to 1960 with a total of 2556 adoptions or an average of 256 per year.  I now have in my possession a letter to the federal government dated 13 June 1950 that shows in the period of 1945 to 1949 inclusive there were 516 adoptions an average of 103 per year.  How adoptions increased in one year from about 103 to 259 (1951) I will come back to later.

In 1950 after a question in the federal by the then ALP member Mr Cremean, the federal government was advised that there was no impediment under legislation to the natural parents and other person receiving a premium (quaint term for paying) and that the Registrar General advising he would take steps to correct this immediately. From what I can ascertain no correction was done until the introduction of the Adoption of children Act 1968.  And so the scene was set, but it may be that the Salvation Army who was in control of their home for unwed mothers in Launceston, known as Rock Lynne House, Rocklyn house and other names, may have been aware of this loophole and in fact were exploiting it.


A document dated 13 June 1950 tell us that there were overall 1271 illegitimate births in Tasmania for the period 1945 to 1949 of whom 516 or 40.6 per cent were adopted. This seems to be a legitimate figure because in the peak adoption years numerically which is 1969/1972 the adoption rate nationwide was also about 40 per cent of illegitimate children.  The letter breaks it down even more with figures showing that of the 400 illegitimates born in private hospitals /homes 195 or 49 per cent were adopted a slightly higher figure. The figures broke down the Hobart area with 79 adoptions private hospitals out of 251 births (31.47 per cent) and Launceston and country, which were 116 adoptions out of 149 births (77.85 per cent).  The main culprit in Launceston was Rock Lynne House. A special note was made of the fact that of the 115 illegitimate births, 91 (or 79 per cent) were adopted.  The author of a letter dated 15 June 1950 who was a Federal department of health official (Mr B. Warren) said the high Rocklyn house figures give rise to suspicions of baby buying because of the sellers market that existed. He said he would make discrete inquiries next time he visited Launceston.  I have not found any record of his discrete inquiries. It would appear that Launceston was a law unto it’s own at this time given the distance between there and Hobart and the traditional resentment that was a part of the Tasmanian culture between the North and the South.

I was born at Rocklyn House on either the 23rd or 24th of February 1950, a date was manually corrected.  The consent to adopt was witnessed by a Justice of the Peace and incidentally also a magistrate of the Children court (A.M.White).  This person was a retired matron of the home in which I was born so an apparent conflict of interest is present from my birth.  I have always had my suspicions about the operation at Rocklyn house and wrote a blog spot on 19 January 2012 after the Senate inquiry hearings in Hobart. At those hearings the Hobart divisional commander who made a submission to the inquiry was asked if they had ever had any other homes apart from Elim House in Hobart. His reply was no they had no other homes. I passed the information I had on Rocklyn to the secretary of the senate community affairs reference committee and he was asked to provide information on this home to the senate. Subsequently he provided information, which was exactly the same information I had provided the committee, a short entry from the Find and Connect website. This initiated my curiosity as all attempts to find information on this home was sketchy and there were claims that all records were destroyed in a boiler room fire in the early sixties.  The current Find and connect entry on Salvation Army records for rock Lynn house states
 “ Some records may have been destroyed in a laundry fire during the 1960’s. However, there are book records with the dates 1904 to 1912, 1939 to 1948, and 1954 to 1960.”
 There is one small problem with the fire theory. In a letter dated 30 March 1961, The salvation Army belatedly advised the Tasmanian government that they had shut down the Rock Lynn House Maternity home on 13 December 1960, the year 256 babies had been adopted in Tasmania, a peak period for the adoption industry.  How then were records destroyed in a laundry fire in the sixties?  How do you explain this discrepancy? 

One must also ask the logical question as to why was it closed down at that time?   Was their successful business model of the forties and fifties falling apart as more private homes were becoming aware of the loophole in the law. One can only make educated guesses on this without the co-operation of the Salvation Army Southern command or division.

I remained in Rock Lynn for 6 weeks after my birth being adopted on 14 April 1950. In that time my mother stayed also to nurture me, which has led to many claiming I was not the child of a forced adoption. Nothing could be further from the truth with her diary saying how the matron and her mother forced her to sign.  An article in the Melbourne Argus dated 18 July 1950 quotes a Major Stevens as saying
“ An unmarried mother should be made to feel responsibility towards her child, and unless she had the baby in her care for at least two months she would escape this responsibility. The fact that a girl had to look after her baby for several weeks and then face the wrench of parting with it could have a very definite influence on her future morals”   “ If things are made too easy for the girl and her child adopted immediately after birth, she may be inclined to give little thought to the dangers of returning to her former life”

A Tasmanian Government Department of Public Health inspection report dated 2 June 1954 on Rock Lynn house is quoted in the general remarks

“Most babes breast fed for as long as possible (prior to adoptions)”

As we can see this home partook of emotional and physical torture of the young girls as well as creating a great trauma when the adoption took place to both the babe and the mother. I feel there is a need to say here that a financial report for the salvation Army Home, Elim House Hobart for the year ending 30 September 1953 should revenue to the total value of 213 pound, 14 shillings and twopence from child endowment. So there was a financial incentive to retain the mother and it also saved costs on formula. Ewe must remember these institutions were receiving about 8 pound a week “inmate “ accommodation from persons placing the young girls there.

I said that I would get back to the matter of why there was more than double the number of adoptions post 1950 than in the five years prior to 1950. Whilst it is only a theory, I believe that once the government started querying the maternity homes, around the state as to the status following the question by Mr Cremean in the Commonwealth House of Representatives, the best kept secret in Tasmanian was let out.  It would appear that the staff at Rock Lynn had been made aware possibly through the honorary Gynaecologist, Dr Ida Birchall, MBE or they had read the act more thoroughly than other homes. This would account for the abnormally high adoptions rates for that home.  But post 1950 others would have become aware and would have started utilising this loophole to maximise sales and profits in a demand driven economy.

As a final note, the Tasmanian government has apologised for their past actions but I am sure they were not fully aware of the failure of government to close a loophole when it was apparent back in 1950. The Salvation Army however was operating a predatory maternity hospital in Launceston and was successfully marketing their product until the closure on 13 December 1960. And as the winds of change slowly started to take hold they decided after the closure to destroy incriminating records in a “ Laundry Fire” which coincidentally no record has been found nor firm date as to when this occurred.   Most of the mothers who lost their children in this place of emotional torture would now be deceased or in their seventies and have lived with the burden and shame heaped upon them for all of their adult lives. We the adoptees from this place now have to live with the fact that we were sold like slaves in a country that had at the time fought two word wars for “ freedom” and were fighting an enemy in Korea, which were treating their citizens much like we were treated in Rock Lynn House under Salvation Army Control. At the very least they should give a heartfelt statement of extreme remorse and yes contribute funds to the federal and state government programs to assist those who have been so badly affected by the past adoption era’s.

One thing I would like to add here. An article in the Hobart Mercury dated Wednesday 26 Jan 1949 was about the big list of young couples that were registered waiting to adopt. On 14 April 1950 I was adopted.  My father was born in 1897, which meant his age was over the guidelines for adoption. Yet he managed to adopt me.  One wonders how much of a premium he paid to ensure this went smoothly.








Murray Legro

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Personal Journey to find Identity

My previous blog I wrote about how the words of Andrew Solomon can be related to the adoptees journey to forge meaning and building identity.   This will be a self examination of my life's journey of forging meaning and ultimately accepting my identity as a functioning left brain sided rational human being with a predisposition to tell it like i see it regardless.

I like everyone else was born in a traumatic event. The very nature of being expelled from one home for 9 months must be a traumatic even but none of us , or very few will ever remember it.  That has affected most men in that at least once a week they like to lay back in a snug enclosed chair with their food and drink and remote control and watch the footy or cricket. I myself had other traumas from that period which I do not remember but which like the actual birth has affected me unknowingly. The first is the ongoing stress and trauma my mother was going through. my fathers sister in law told me of the time my mother appeared at her place very early in January 1950 so distressed and could not stop crying. She was looking for my father, who by this time had bolted in fear of his well being, and that she was being shoved into a Salvation Army home, how the family was continually continually calling her a slut a whore and any other form of abuse they could think of.  In her dairies she tells how she was blamed for her grandmothers death because of the shame she bestowed upon the family. this stress would have been traumatic for me in the womb as the adrenaline and other coping hormones coursed through her blood steam into my body. Trauma number two to over come and i had just been born. Add in sometime shortly after birth I was snipped as the custom of the day.

Unlike later years such as the sixties, the accepted trend in Salvation Army homes was for the mother to remain and feed the child until adoption.  The reasoning for this was simple. it was to punish the mother by getting them to build a closer bond with the baby, then have it ripped away thus creating a greater pain for the mother so she would not sin again.  secondary were the the fact that they did not have to provide formula for the babies and they could also pocket the child endowment that the federal government paid for the child. Te were also being paid to keep the mother there by accommodation fees.  So here i was at 6 weeks of age nicely accustomed to the nipple and bang off i went to the great unknown. The date 14 April 1950.  I have since discovered that my new parents were in Ballarat on holiday on Anzac day 1950 (25 April) but not with me. i was at some relatives place so double whammy. no wonder in those early months and my first Tasmanian winter on earth I suffered chronic bronchitis.  So people this is the beginning of finding identity.

Identity is a funny concept. Macquarie describes identity as " the condition of being oneself or itself and not another" being just one of the description. But identity crisis it is more precise" a phase of crisis in the attempt of an individual to establish his or her identity in relation society"  So as a layman i look at identity being who you are at any given point of time and who you was also at any given point of time.  For most of my life I never gave much thought to identity I was who i was. I was a child who did not fit in, I was a high school student living away from home, I was a teenager who was more interested in girls and fun in lieu of work which was a means of having money to make fun. I was a serviceman for twenty years, a retired serviceman now for 26 years, i have been a husband for 44 years a father for nearly that long as well, I have been a research interviewer for nearly 16 years and am now a carer. For most of my life I have never thought about identity as a place in society but there i was.

During those years, I had a friend who died after a ute rolled, I was a passenger in a car and had a boy die in my arms after he decided to ride in front of us, I separated from my wife for about 6 months, rode a pushbike down a monsoon drain, ride a pushbike into Malaysian police motor bikes and many other things.  had the Malay military cock their weapons because i ignored them, had a antiaircraft gun pointed at me from about 10 feet with a full blank up the barrel.  been in a couple of vehicle accidents Oh and yes found out i was adopted at the age of 34.  Had all the normal households problems like the neighbour coming into my house and taking my son to his to clean up with me not there, deaths in the family.

I mention all these inane little traumas to say that my identity which i never thought of much had been influenced and determined how i live my life has been influenced by all these trauma's.  They have influenced the way i look at people and how i react in situations.  It took me many years after discovery to understand that my identity is not and was never mixed up with my natural parents nor for that matter my adoptive parents. it has been created by me , myself and I.  That is not to say that events can happen that may change your very nature.

During the senate reference committee inquiry, I found that many people have a dogmatic view and if you do not follow that view regardless of the accuracy of that view they will attempt to destroy you emotionally to shut you down. One of the most traumatic events was the time i was curled up in a bed in a motel unable to move because of the high level of abuse being tossed at me. and like most people being bullied i just had to look at what else was being said. One weekend whilst away from home I discovered that one particular Facebook page dedicated a full afternoon into abusing and telling pure lies about me. Another time a attack was made on this blog page which made vile accusations about me.  These accusation were to appear later on a page my daughter was a member of.

Again I am not wanting to drag over the old coals but I am using to describe how this has now made me into a person who can actually hate some people. before this I would get angry and yes even today still do but it always passes and i am left wondering why folk are cranky with me. but from the multitudes of actions I have become more and more intolerant of people who create false statements  to stir people emotions and people up.I am intolerant of people who refuse to read the actual overall facts and claim their personal truth is the overall truth. I despise people who make false claims about me no matter in what context. This happened yesterday and today by one person from Launceston Tasmania because he did not like my opinion. I am single minded on untruths and that is based on the fact i was never told i was adopted, finding out by myself and the attempts to really smear me.  This is a perfect example of how life's trauma's affect your identity.

I don't have a family identity not really belonging to natural or adoptive families. My own children would be the first to acknowledge we are not a traditional lovey dovey family and i rarely have deep discussions because i know it will get them offside. I identify myself as a Australian and am proud of being a Australian and as such i belong to this wonderful multicultural country which has many arseholes but in general is full of good decent people struggling to make life, forging meaning and building their own identities.

As a person I am now back to being me identifying as me, identifying with the adoptee community and not thinking too much about my identity as my identity will keep evolving and keep changing depending upon the circumstances and I will try not to let the past consciously control me even though many times it does

Saturday, 19 July 2014

IS ADOPTION SLOWLY BUT SURELY REACHING IT'S USE BY DATE

Recently with the change of government in Australia and the ascendancy of the pro adoption forces in Australia, one could be forgiven in thinking that adoption is back on the rise.  I contend though that in reality this and others is one of the last signs that adoption as a means of creating a family is slowly losing favour and that we are now slowly entering the era of designer babies through commercial surrogacy overseas and eventually within Australia.  Whenever a change in attitudes and thinking occurs there is always a last gasp from the old guard and whilst we must always be careful not to link child protection to adoption as a means for creating families or extending families, the statistics do show a world decline in adoption trade

In the past year there has been the closing down of the Seven day Adventists adoption programme LDS is shutting down because of the shrinking availability of local and international children and the business model is unsustainable.  Catholic adoption services around the USA are shutting down because of the requirement not to discriminate against unmarried and same sex couple. Ethiopia and other third world countries are restricting adoptions to special needs and older children.  Adoption Advocates international and other USA agencies are finding the going tough in relation to cash flow and are closing their doors. The following article from a pro adoption point of view is showing how they are blaming UNICEF for the decline in children. Yet UNICEF and others have worked towards keeping the children in country and with education help to advance their societies.

In Australia the situation is also the same.  Whilst the federal government has been making noises and changing the rules to make it easier to adopt their own interdepartmental report indicates that the major delays in processing the applications to adopt are in fact from the countries where the children are and; that these countries are in fact trying to retain most under five year olds and are in fact pushing for foreigners to adopt their special needs and older children.  What this means in relation to blowouts of health costs and and who would be able to handle such children is any ones guess because we all know a three hour class does not a special needs carer make.  So as such the international market is drying up and no matter how much you change local adoption to be used as a choice for child protection purposes, it will never reach the numbers that occurred in the past. But that does not mean complacency as has been recently evidenced by Barnados recruiting a researcher from the United kingdom, a nation with a appalling record when it comes to the treatment of children at risk and their parents in relation to unjustified removals, to conduct a study on open adoption by researching 200 odd families.  One would have thought that since open adoption has been going on now for over 25 years there would be adult adoptees they could research because quite often many of the issues arise later in life not when one is in their teens with other matters relating to life taking priority.  So complacency is not a option even if I do believe adoption is slowly reaching a use by date. The fact is that long after the death throws there will be still be attempts.  An example of this is the Eugenics movements was pretty well wiped out in 1945 after the death camps of Europe became public knowledge. but the influence emanating out of that movement was seen in Victoria with the priority spending on Technical colleges so the lower class children could be trained in menial labour intensive tasks.  but the biggest ting that is making adoption redundant is the advances in alternative methods of creating a family.

People and society do not remain stagnant.  When i was married back in 1969, Sheryl and i were both teenagers. Yet such a marriage was not the exception back then. Nor was having children.  By today's standards, Sheryl and i are dinosaurs in that we were married so young and because we had children so young. In addition the longevity of our marriage is no longer the normal situation.  So the idea of a forever family for children has changed dramatically. Also medical advances have allowed for the termination of pregnancy where a major defect can be discovered.  Science is now also able to correct any anomalies whilst the child is in the womb.  So we must ask ourselves why would any person who wants to create a family by other than natural means adopt a baby with a unknown background and predispositions when one can crate a designer baby and have the gestation completed by surrogacy.  It is now a viable proposition for those with the ability to pay either via loans or with their own available cash to create a fertilised egg in a laboratory with all undesirable characteristics being removed and then heading overseas to a third world country for impregnation impregnation and birth. in fact some companies are quietly advertising the fact that the costs are competitive.  In the USA a white baby can be obtained for adoption through commercial agencies as well as religious for about 30,000 dollars US yet you can go to Thailand or India and have your own designer baby for about the same price. And you know what you are getting unlike a adopted child.  And we all know there is no thought as to the welfare of the young ladies in those countries after the have been used as gestational carriers. No wonder third world countries are keeping the babies; there more money to be made with surrogacy.  And sadly within y lifetime we may the use of artificial wombs as the link shows:

http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/02/23/what-do-artificial-wombs-mean-women/


Many people who read this may think i am off my rocker what with the federal government moves to make international adoption easier and moves by the NSW to make adoption of children in  out of home care easier.  The first point is that no matter what the federal government does to ease bottlenecks in Australia they have no influence in the countries who permit adoption which is where the waiting times are the biggest bottlenecks unless you have much coffee money. Most people wishing to adopt will not want anyone child over  5 or with special needs so that market place will primarily be restricted.  In relation to the NSW moves, whilst they may concern some the fact is there is no proposal to bring back wholesale adoption practises which were practises in the forced adoption era.  The moves are primarily in relation to children at risk. And whilst it is reasonable to say the NSW system does appear to be badly flawed, hopefully the senate reference Affairs committee enquiry into out of home care may bring some of the state practises to light and create a nation-wide standard in relation to protecting children at risk.  So yes in Australia market place adoption is slowly but surely reaching its use by date and whilst i may not see it in my lifetime it is slowly becoming a international process

Thursday, 3 July 2014

HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE A GOVERNMENT OF COWARDS

The next blog I was going to do was in relation to the slow death of Adoption as a tool for creating families. I had even written the introduction.  But events within the Australian political and moral landscape of Australia over the last months has led me to make a full comment on the actions being carried in mine and millions of other Australian's good names. we as a nation are becoming sadly lacking in the spirit of mate ship, fair play and fair go for all. I have become sickened by the laissez faire attitude the government has towards the nation and the economy and the drift to create whipping boys for the rest of the population to blame.  Sadly this attitude has been a long time coming and has also been created by both sides of the political fence.

Australia historically has always been a paranoid nation ever since federation whose main aim apart from free trade between the states (former colonies) was defence of the sparse land from believe it or not the Russians. The old fortresses near Melbourne, Sydney and Hobart are evidence of this irrational fear. Perhaps this paranoia was the result of having invaded and conquering this great southern land ourselves.  The paranoia showed very early on in federation when the White Australia policy was implemented.  We thought of ourselves as british hence blindly following the British war machine into disasters like Gallipoli and the western front where our losses as a percentage was greater than the british (i may be wrong on that one).  Our soldiers fought gallantly for a cause that was not the defence of the new nation of Australia but for the crown  in England.

After the war one of the first obvious shame that this country carried out was the deporting of 6150 german many with british citizenship. Such was the paranoia./  There was also a fear that Australia needed to be in line with the united kingdom and when the Statute of Westminster was passed in 1931, Australia did not ratify it until 1941. Australia had voluntarily allowed a foreign nation to dictate our defence and foreign policy even though that country had  decided it did not want t dictate the polices of former colonies. Such was the paranoia in this country.  Governments have a direct responsibility to ensure such fears and paranoid attitudes do not infect the Australia population. Sadly since 2001 governments have played upon peoples fears, the inherent fear of invasion which is in the countries DNA and the subtle politics of racism.

Many governments Australian and others have played upon peoples fears and insecurities. Generally this card has been played by conservative governments and is used to attempt to deflect the peoples minds away from draconian market place policies that generally benefit those with economic power at the expense of the populace. this is not socialistic rhetoric but a political fact. Controlled capitalism is a excellent ideology because it allows the individual to have protection from extreme predatory practices that corporations could engage in . The commonwealth bank and it's fraudulent financial advisors is a case in point. it also allows the individual a chance not to have to negotiate individually their employment conditions with conglomerates.  The freely given individual work contract is akin to the freely given consent many  others gave during the forced adoption era. It doesn't happen.  Over the decades governments have given us the Domino theory, the yellow peril, Reds under the bed, the war on terrorism and have tried to limit our freedoms using those fears.  They tried to ban the Communist party in the early 1950's only to have it rejected by the Australian people.  They tried to say that if South Vietnam fell to the communists it would only be a matter of time before they reached Australia.  And many of us believed this hype thinking that in the national security we needed to blindly follow the USA, a view that is still current policy today. we forget that the only war we have been involved in that was to defend the homeland was World War 2 after December 1941. Australians have fought and died in foreign wars. but we have always believed that the superpowers will protect us if we are good little "vegemites"   Singapore in World war 2 should have shown that to be a fallacy when British interests surpassed ours.  The fact that Winston Churchill took away the security ships protecting Australian soldiers returning from the Egypt to defend Australia because the Australian government refused to let them go to Burma and India is also evidence that super powers only have their self interest at heart.

Now to today.  We now find  governments who since the infamous speech by prime minister Howard " we will determine who comes to our country and the manner in which they come" have made a art form out of portraying and enhancing the nations collective fears of a takeover of this country by the followers of Islam.  Whilst claiming to respect Islam they then attempt to portray asylum seekers as bludging liars who may be terrorists and not worthy of Australian help and support.They shove them off to island internment/concentration camps and then throw their hands up in the air saying we told you so when these poor folk actually have the audacity to show their feelings.  And if reports are correct they are returning asylum seekers without due process to the lands from which they fled before they even hit Australian land. we are the only country in the world that claims that Sri Lanka is a peaceful place where all citizens are protected.Even the united nations humans rights committee has shown that it is not a safe place for Tamil's. but what is disturbing is that just like through the forced adoption era, the citizens of this country just don't care anymore. They get fed false information by elements of the media who are anti Islam, the shock jocks exacerbate the already heightened tensions with their portrayal of Mullahs as warmongers wand then say they rest should be calling them out. They never have said that about the IRA during the troubles or any other extreme christian organisation. In Bendigo we have a anti Islam/mosque movement being funded by the far right Restore Australia willing to help fund the fight against a mosque up to the Supreme Court. We have a former liberal and Palmer united party  being one of the biggest opponents. She was also part of the group that did the " Ditch the Witch " campaign against the previous Prime minister. Hypocrisy runs amok. Another former PUP candidate is also funding the the group to oppose the mosque. People like Larry Pickering, a bankrupt , has been spreading inflammatory posts on his facebook page and makes wild unsubstantiated claims about anyone.  The crazies have taken over the country.  But this government of today is no longer content in just demonising the helpless Asylum seekers, they are now starting in on it's own citizens who are unable and i  many cases not able to articulate their plight.

The first port of call is the move by the government to crate a climate of division between those who rely to government support due to age or matters often beyond there control and those who are currently in the workforce. This division was highlighted recently in a TV current affairs show , ACA, which attempted to link low income wage earners as paying for those like single mothers who receive support. The mother they used was a single mother with four children who receives government assistance of 49,000 per year against a single income family of less than 50,000.  What they show failed to declare was the level of Family tax benefits this low income family received from the government. Selective fact gathering from a obviously biased show which is trying to demonise welfare recipients. There have been attacks on aged pensioners saying we cant afford to pay them yet previously that is exactly what was promised.  in fact pre 1950 a part of the income tax paid was put aside for just that reason and the liberal government under Menzies placed it back into general revenue. The  embellishment of welfare recipients being a cost we cant afford is a slow attempt to re define the social mores of the country. There already was a group willing to think this anyway so to use this Calvinist religious ideology of these people only have them selves to blame. we adoptees know full well how social mores in the past centuries had been manipulated to demonise us. Yet there is never any cutbacks to defence based upon their inability to manage contracts with suppliers which traditionally have massive overruns that could clean out the deficit if correctly managed.  There has never been any efficiency reviews of the value to the economy of subsidising the diesel fuel used by mining and agriculture. Both industries have been shedding staff at a rate of knots and passing their bad management techniques back to the government in the form of dole queues . only now are they deciding to look at the process of moving profits offshore to tax havens. This government has supported the rorting of the fringe benefit tax by creating two classes of people to buy cars. those whose job are secure enough to have them get company leases for their cars and those of us who have to pay from our after tax earnings.  It could be assumed that many taxpayers who benefit from such loopholes would have been paying a marginal rate of 43 percent until they could off set their earnings. The same with negative gearing which for many allows them to offset their losses against other earnings not just the investment property.  the rorts go on and they are legal.  But hey the poor in our society are demonised whilst the true shirkers are out there reducing their income that is taxed by any means possible.

The country has now been divided into the haves and have nots; with experts who have never lived on the breadline telling us to the battlers to budget and save.  The government is exploiting this with a great effect and the traditional of a egalitarian society once dreamt of and yes once was is now a distant memory.  The sad thing is we have done this to ourselves because we have let a government of ideology rule  not a government that was elected for all Australian, the poor and the well off and the so many in between who may be only one month from financial disaster through no fault of their own.


To all out there  please remember one thing. it may be you that is next in the Centrelink line swallowing your pride and seeking some basic support and having to love from one pension day to another. It happened to me