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

Sunday, 22 June 2014

WHO CAN CARE FOR DAMAGED CHILDREN

For the last year I have been caring for my dear wife full time.  Her neuropathy that continues long after chemotherapy has finished and she has very limited walking capabilities and limited use of her left hand.  The neuropathy along with her medications limits her cognitive capabilities at times.  I am telling you all this because i know just how frustrating and challenging it is caring for someone.  There are moments that i could scream at her, and she me, and we often argue over little things, how i clean is never good enough, i try to avoid conversations in the morning until her pain killers kick in.  BUT we can still laugh at each other and we still have a love and kinship that has lasted over 44 years.  And when things get too much i just go to the chopping and walk around.  The reason i mention this is that if it it is so difficult to care and manage someone you deeply love how would it be for a adoptive parent to bond and handle a 7 or 8 year old child who has seen so much pain, so much abuse, and to top it off to be removed from those people who have abused them but whom he still is attached to by parentage.

The NSW government has decided to make it easier for people to adopt children whose parents have been deemed unfit. They have passed this responsibility off to the NGO like Barnados.  There is also financial incentives to place such vulnerable children. Whilst the first choice of parents would be current foster carers and yes they would have greater qualifications than others given they have cared for the child, we also know that NGO foster care system have more negative reports in relation to a minority of the carers than the foster carers employed directly by government.  There also seems to be a buddy buddy setup with the children's courts who approve such matters with little or no judicial oversight, with cases reported of the court not recognising the submissions of the parents solicitor.

But they will also need to recruit willing couples who will adopt these " damaged" children. And therein lies the problems. i for one would never criticise or denigrate the good intentions of these possible adopters who wish to help their fellow human beings. BUT i do question their general ability to handle that 24 hours a day care that is needed to hep such children deal with the multitudes of devils they are facing .  Goodwill is never enough and I am so sure that they will eventually be like me, very worn out and tired but not having lived with the child from birth they have not developed that love and bond.  Anecdotal evidence from the USA shows that children who are adopted at a older age are more at risk from rehoming or disruptions as the yanks quaintly say ( i say adoption failure).  The former NSW minister for children services Pru Goward is on record during SBS programme admitting that there are many failures within  the foster care system, so imagine if some one who has been promised a mythical " forever family" would feel when that breaks down. Also such a troubled child would place unforeseen pressures on the couple which could cause the marriage to crack and with 40 percent of marriages finishing in divorce, there is a good chance the forever family may disappear in a puff of smoke. What happens to that already damaged child.

I don't know the solutions to all this , but i can say that i know the pressures of caring for someone who is vulnerable, albeit someone i love deeply.  I can also imagine just how a young child would feel after being promised a forever family which then disappears in a puff of smoke. The term adoption implies permanency , but in this modern world we live in , nothing is permanent any more, unless you have been married as long as Sheryl and I, and we are the exception.

Friday, 13 June 2014

A Layman's view of Societal Attitudes to Bastard Children over the Decades

I do not claim to be a sociologist nor claim to be a expert .  However, if people are to look at why society readily accepted to mass adoption of babies during what is known as the forced Adoption era in Australia one needs to look at the attitude of society to bastard babies which for all of us born in that area was our legal description. This attitude evolved with the industrialisation of the United Kingdom and was exported to all the english speaking countries.  Australia prior to federation looked upon them selves as the outpost of the motherland and upon federation, the Commonwealth of Australia strove to be more british than the United Kingdom. So it is logical that we, Australia, imported that societal norm and more that still appears to be prevalent in the United kingdom today.
Many of the activist first mothers have strenuously denied the link and causation of forced and potentially illegal removal processes of their children. There motive was simple and that was to ensure the primary blame was passed upon the hospital/mothers maternity home staff and by default the governments of the day.  this is understandable but they have failed to understand that it did not operate in a vacuum. It operated with relative impunity only because the social attitudes of the day regarded single pregnant women with at best disdain at worst simple minded loose women with no morals. And their children, we bastards were no better and a blight upon society.  This no way condones the activities of the staff at places where forced adoptions occurred. but it does show how these places did operate in many cases in contravention of the laws of the day and no one gave  two hoots because society mores had already condemned us.

I have been thinking a lot about the overall attitude towards children born out of wedlock for a long time because despite the findings of the senate committee and apologies i believe that nothing happens in a vacuum.  I then read this extract from from the ratepayers meeting in Potumna, Republic of Ireland in 1929:
  " continuing, the speaker said the ratepayers had to work hard to support their families, and some of
     of them were hardly able to get the bare necessities of life. They had enough to do besides     supporting the waifs and strays in the Homes, such as illegitimate children and unmarried mothers"


This lit up a lightbulb moment. Whilst this was in Ireland the feelings of the population would have been similar to that in the other countries from whom Australia received migrants from since 1788.  If the social mores and attitudes in Ireland 1929 had placed illegitimate's and their mothers at the bottom of the pecking order the must have been occurring in Australia which had been the destination of so many person of Irish heritage.  The article gave me a the clue i wanted that historically the social mores and norms were against the mother and illegitimate child had been in place for most of the early to middle twentieth century.  I wondered just how such attitudes were in the United kingdom.  In some article I read the term Baby Farm so i googled it.

The article that i found in relation to baby farms was the  one on the attached link:

http://www.loyno.edu/~history/journal/1989-0/haller.htm


The article started with the words " illegitimacy has always been stigmatised in English Society"
The article goes to to tell us just how vicious 19th century England was to bastards like me.  Advertisements would appear in papers read by the working class where for small sums like 15 shillings per month they would look after a single mothers child or if under 12 months they would adopt for 12 pounds. These baby farmers would then take the child  and starve them to death so they could have more. it was a lucrative business.

 "the primary objective of professional baby farmers was to solicit as many sickly infants or infants under two months as possible, because life was precarious for them and their deaths would appear more natural. They would adopt the infants for a set fee and get rid of them as quickly as possible in order to maximize their profits. The infants were kept drugged on laudanum, paregoric, and other poisons, and fed watered down milk laced with lime. They quickly died of thrush induced by malnutrition and fluid on the brain due to excessive doses of strong narcotics. The costs of burial was avoided by wrapping the naked bodies of the dead infants in old newspapers and damping them in a deserted area, or by throwing them in the Thames. <32>"

Older children where a monthly payment was made were slowly starved and abused so they could stretch the monthly payments out:

 "Older infants were also lucrative. These babies, whose young mothers struggled to support and to visit them on a regular basis, were the ones who suffered a slow and agonizing death. Babies accepted under these conditions had to be healthy and robust. They were profitable because they could withstand the most abuse before they finally succumbed; the longer they lasted, the longer the weekly fees were paid. To insure maximum profits the farmers would slowly starve the infants to death. The mothers continued to work night and day to support their infants believing they were being well cared for only to watch them slowly waste away. <33>"

Whilst there were efforts by some in authority to protect children, the sad fact was that society from all demographic levels had no time for us or our mothers. In fact the appeal for the organisation of a society for prevention of cruelty to children occurred 65 years after the establishment of the Royal Society of prevention of cruelty to animals.

As Australia was a  group of english Colonies before federation in 1901, it , to me seemed logical that such barbaric attitudes towards we, the bastards of the world would exist so off i went hunting for baby farm information in Australia.  I did not have to look far.

The first article i found was the attached link which again describes letting babies starve to death in small hovels


That in itself showed the societal attitudes of the day in Australia and again describes the same events that were happening in England and no doubt elsewhere in the world.  Then i saw a article which listed the known baby farm mass murderers


If these were the ones discovered just how many were out there undiscovered. it also makes one wonder where were the maternal instincts of the mothers who left their responsibilities with such people. A further article from south Australia was also located


Using trove i was also able to see quite a few cases of infanticide which again makes one wonder just how bad it was and I also noted the last case in Australia of baby farm killing was 1907



As it is common knowledge that the dirt collection lanes of Melbourne used to have dead newly babies babies found , it is obvious that the social norms in relation to illegitimate babies was not a positive one , and whilst the states did introduce adoption laws to protect us these laws were mainly designed to reduce the number being placed in children's homes.

Whether the mothers like it or not the simple fact is that societal norms or mores were still present up until the early 1990's  as shown by this article in the canberra times


How the practice of adoption became a mass production line i do not know, but what i can see is there was a stigma in relation to single mothers and their illegitimate offspring that came from England and Ireland during the decades that they were the prevalent immigrants to this country. Some Australian complain today as to how recent immigrants bring their customs and attitudes to our country. So again it is logical that the immigrants from the Mother country would also be bringing their social attitudes and mores as well. hence the social mores of looking upon single pregnant girls and especially we bastards was well established with  decades of migration. in fact until the late 1960's we in Australia tried to be more english than the english

For the mothers and some adoptees to exclude social mores and attitudes from the forced adoption is to deny nearly two hundred years of history. is it a excuse for the illegalities and coercion which occurred. IT IS NOT.  but it was factor in allowing the activities to go unchecked much like the baby farms that were still around some forty to fifty years previously.  The fact that adoption was used in a large scale was in part due to higher number of single ladies presenting to have babies as evidenced by this article


There was also a desire to keep as many babies out of the homes run by religious orders and government so as to save the public purse because we bastards were not worth the expense. it would have been very easy to adjust the social mores of the day to change the attitude towards we bastards to one of pity not scorn, although the scorn was still prevalent

Finally the social mores and attitudes towards us was ever present in a good english society be it in the UK or in Australia. The mothers could quite easily hide their shame from the good people of society by palming their kids off to baby farms and in later years adoption. How it became a  procedure where the single pregnant girls was to be coerced or forced to have their child taken , it is unclear and actually how many fell into that category is also unclear.  But regardless of that fact we the adoptee or the person who was raised in a children homes were treated as a nuisance that society had to sort out. And sort out over the centuries they did with cool efficiency


Tuesday, 10 June 2014

THAT LITTLE BOY

That little boy
May 22, 2011 at 11:47pm
Theres a little boy inside of me trying to get out
he wants to kick and scream
yell and shout
and also wants to  lash out
This little boy he just wants love
from one no longer here
he wants to live in a different time
that never did begin
Please rest in peace my little boy
for one day will come
when we will join and be as one
when my work is done

Back in 2011, I wrote this small poem to explain how much in conflict i was with myself.  My mother had passed away four years before , i had gone through the honeymoon period of meeting a brother for the first time, A sister who we tracked down  as she had been adopted and i met my father who was aged 84.  I was working through why i was mourning a person who I never met as a adult, the sister hating me because I put in the trace that led to her finding out she was adopted, my father died 13 months after finding him. I was for the first time reaching out to people who were , or so i thought like me. i developed a friendship with one man, got to know some mothers and learnt of the pain they had gone through, seen part of my mothers diary which confirmed what was being told.  I got involved in the Inquiry into forced adoptions and quite frankly the continual pain and suffering was overwhelming. people were actively pushing me to show my feelings and not revert back to the rational, objective standoffish person I was.  Until then i had never sought the company of others and had started to believe that i missed out on much in life.  Oh how wrong i was!!!!!

Whilst I was showing that I was in a huge moment of weakness which others decided to use and exploit, my rational self was digesting the information checking it against actual data and found that whilst the truth showed so much  was done that was incorrect immoral and quite frankly illegal the personal histories often did not gel with the cold hard facts.  For example many mothers showed their contempt, with justification , of the hospital/home staff but very few would freely admit the complicity of their parents.  Whilst they refused to even admit societal attitudes were involved, nearly every submission mentioned the societal mistreatment of them.  I then queried much of what was being said including the experimentation that went on in children's homes for the majority of adoptees were never in such homes and this inquiry was about adoption (or so i thought)

Well the sky fell in . People were being advised to steer clear of me, I was called naive, a person who was subjected to the Stockholm Syndrome, was abused just because i said adoptees are now adults not children and we have our own voice. it seems i was upsetting the trodden path and had to be put in my place. Being a male i was then also called a misogynist for daring to challenge the accepted story, At one time i said we needed more submission for the inquiry only to be told that there was enough and no more are needed by some mothers because to have more submissions would entail their line of thought could be challenged. when i showed that people had actually lied to the inquiry, official complaints were lodged and I then had to provide my evidence. The culprits were never taken to task because  SENATE REFERENCE COMMITTEE INQUIRIES ARE NOT HELD UNDER OATH and thus are not subject to the truth of law, something that still concerns me today because some good people may have been slandered and it is on the public record. When the report was handed that very morning i was still being told by a mother that this is not about us the adoptees but only about the mothers. Thankfully the good senators did listen to us and understood our plight.  it was during this time that the person who was my friend or so i thought started to warn people away from me.

After the report the quest for state apologies went into full mode and many good people were involved. i was invited to speak to the local Ballarat media and also the local newspaper and ABC Open. I kept all matters factual and mostly about how i felt;yet still the abuse kept coming where even ABC Open had to stop all comments on my post. we had adoptee zealots from South Australia falsely believing that their rights were far more important than the mothers in relation to the veto's in that state and also that the mothers had responsibilities towards us. Having just told a mother that any attempt to use the family court to bypass contact veto's by seeking access to their children was a disgraceful idea, I ensured i was consistent by vigorously challenging the adoptees. For that i lost another friend and mysteriously a claim was posted on this blog that i was a paedophile at the same time. this was a week before the Tasmanian Apology. later on that at Xmas time that year 2012, another person posted my name on a Facebook page that outs paedophiles. luckily my dear daughter saw it and complained to the administrator.

The apology came and went and still,these people considered me a enemy not a ally in their cause because i used statistics and facts not rhetoric and mantras.  To unsettle me four people were actually involved in making a phony Facebook page and another accused me of not being a adoptee because i dared to tell that a study showed that the small majority of persons surveyed had good relations with their adoptive parents.

So the battle to tell the actual truth not gilded has been a horrific journey further exacerbated by my wife's illness. but i would do it all again but the poem would go something like this

There is a little boy inside who will  not come on out
he wants to hide and shrink
and  shut his little mouth
for fear of speaking out

This little boy he wanted love
but love was strangely missing
betrays and lies were commonplace
even though quest was righteous

Go back and hide my little boy
the real world is too painful
for one so tender just like you
deserves better, so much better

I will fight the good fight for you
even though the quest is lonely
I will protect you with my shield
Until the job is over




Thursday, 29 May 2014

FORGE MEANING ; BUILD IDENTITY

The title of this blog is taken from a TED speech made by Andrew Solomon on a presentation he made titled " How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are"  it was a inspirational talk and I now wish to try to place it into context in relation to those of us affected by Adoption.

The perception of adoption as presented by glassy advertisements by agencies wishing to sell a product and the media is one of either a heroic Boadecia proudly giving up her newborn to a loving well adjusted forever family, the supreme sacrifice only a good human being can give . The other is that of a wasted child in a dirty grotty orphanage in some far corner of the world waiting to be saved by a loving western family and being reared in a humane understanding non judgemental society.
Nothing like a good piece of fiction and slick salesmanship  to sell a good product and nothing can be further from the truth.

Adoption is and always will be about Loss, Pain, Emotional Trauma and a lifetime of multiple issues that will always float to the surface. There is nothing heroic about a woman who through a multitude of reasons has to, or is forced to , lose responsibility of her child or children. And no matter how they try to gloss it over with so called open adoption, the fact that the mothers family values will never ever be ingrained into that child means a permanent loss of a branch on the family tree.  Losing a child to adoption is possibly a larger cost to a mother that the death of a child because for the rest of their lives the matter of " what If" will always be there.

I do not propose to talk a great deal about mothers except to say that "one of the worst moments of their lives" has helped to make them who they are.  Many have bravely moved on developing another  meaning to life and a identity. I have met many of these ladies and they are quite content to live the lives they have in a form of contentment forging a meaning to life within their family structure. I have also met many mothers who have forged meaning thus building their identity out of this moment  by not only developing a another life but also by telling the world exactly what happened and the brutality of it all, Some of these mothers , there are too many to mention are Sue MacDonald, Christine Cole, Lily Arthur, Pam O'Brien, Barbara Maison. There are too many to mention but without there efforts society would not have been truly aware of our troubled and brutal past.  They have forged meaning out of life and then built a identity for themselves.  Finally there are the mothers and sadly , who i will not name who never quite managed to forge meaning out of the adversity of their  lives and as such can be identified as those who have let anger, rage and obsession rule their lives to the point it consumes their emotions.  For those folk, i hope Andrews dissertation may help them to move on and forge meaning.


Adoptees at some time in their lives often view their lives as having no real identity.  This is based upon  the simple fact that they lost their original name upon adoption and the new family is  for many purposes not their own.  The Primal Wound often describes this loss of identity  and bond as a major cause of grief amongst us.  One could say that at some period of all of our lives, we adoptees  must face this hurdle. late discovery adoptees have a extra burden of being kept in the dark for so many years.  Adoption is one of the worst moments in our lives and even though we do not remember it , (if we were under three) it always will make us what we are and our subconscious will always use the adoption experience to influence how we react to given situations.  Adoption is the removal of a family heritage and substituting it with a artificial heritage, that of the folk who adopted us and this is why people like Nancy Verrier write about the Primal Wound and loss of identity. There is a primal wound that is etched in our subconscious but i do question the use of the term identity. It is the natural heritage that was taken so brutally (yes in a infants mind it was brutal removal from the source of sustenance), but was it our identity  as our identity had not been forged at the time of removal.  For those who think i am espousing the blank slate theory nothing could be further from the truth.  Our combined DNA of our parents will be there affecting our long term health, the colour of out eyes hair, skin  and yes even many personality traits.   And the time spent in our mothers womb will influence our natural language, our stress factors if she is stressed out with fear etc, the affects of what she smokes , drinks or eats. These all affect how we, the adoptee functions as we move on in life. but a blank slate we ate not.

As we grow and develop then other matters intertwine to forge our meaning in life and eventually our identity, Many adoptees have experience severe trauma from the adoptive parents and this will also be a matter of adversity that will make you who your are. For others it might be the early departure for schooling and the confirmation of the subconscious that you have only yourself to rely on.  In life you may be involved in horrific incidents like motor vehicle accident, wars, marital and relationship breakdowns, death of loved ones, the lists go on. All these tragedies along with adoption  can be looked upon as huge negatives or can be used to forge your unique meaning to life and thus building your identity as a human being. Easy, not at all and every worst moment will mean that you revaluate your life,  your meaning of life and the identity that is being built. This building must continue to your last breath on earth which again proves you are always learning evaluating forging its meaning and building it into your identity.  Again the choice of how your identity develops is yours. There are many out there like Elizabeth Hughes, Charlotte Smith who have built their identity in using their skills to heal, others like Zara Phillips and DMZ  who have used their worst moments of their lives to build successful careers in the arts.  Others have built successful political careers and careers in industry. Again sadly there are those who have allowed the worst moment of their life to over run their lives and turn them into angry and bitter people always finding excuses and others to blame for their actions.

We are what we forged and built  . Our lives is littered with bad decisions and good ,which have affected how we have forged meaning and built our identities. Identity is not developed before we were born and the trauma of removal at a babies age. it is developed subsequent to that and whilst part of building meaning in our lives there are so many other  worst moments in our lives which have also helped to forge. Just maybe we should be careful not to confuse our heritage which is very important with identity which has been forged from the best and worse moments of our lives and many other events in between.

Thank you Andrew Solomon for your wisdom





http://www.ted.com/talks/andrew_solomon_how_the_worst_moments_in_our_lives_make_us_who_we_are?utm_source=facebook&source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=ios-share