Friday, 15 February 2013

The Male Adoptee within the Adoptee Community

One of the most underrepresented person within the adoptee community to day is the male adoptee.
For example The Australian Adoptee Network a website based organisation has only 26 of 129 members.  Facebook groups are also lacking in male numbers.  The National Forced Adoption Apology group has 94 members of which 7 are men. The living with adoption page has 9 men from 77 members.  The list could go on.  But the simple fact is that men have effectively been disenfranchised  from the adoption and forced removal movement due to their sex and the way they have been regarded by many of the ladies affected by adoption.  This was not the case when the apology was negotiated for the stolen generations or the forgotten Australians and one must ask themselves why did this occur.

The first item that comes to mind that in the recent push for enquiries and apologies the main direction has come from mothers of those of us who were taken.  You can see that in writings in the last decade. The battle has been over whose philosophy should prevail, a philosophy that a was based upon a matriarchal approach to the problem with the implication that it was men who decided in the back-rooms of power how they would solve the problem of unwanted babies and loose morals of girls. from thus instinctive dislike of what the the male leaders  did and coming from families where their was patriarchal rules in the house it is understandable that many of the mothers did in fact feel that it was a gender fight for recognition and justice. The fact that the over control of society was also influenced by male dominated religious orders and that in many cases the father did a runner and fled his responsibilities, one can understand that many mothers felt we, male adoptee's and a few fathers should not interfere in what they considered their domain.  However, they always forgot the fact that about half the adoptee's were males and apart from a few who obediently  followed their designated line and obeyed all who had different views were treated with suspicion and generally looked upon a a danger.

But we have also had situations where female adoptee's have attempted to isolate and exclude male adoptee's who did not go along with their methods and they , through their actions have always attempted to portray the adoption issue as a their issue, not  men's.  Men who speak their mind are often called misogynists and also supporters of paedophiles in attempts to discredit them.  Successful techniques like microagression (examples putting a man down subtly like questioning is education etc) have been used and when men respond in a typical male manner like saying  " that a load of S''t" they are called aggressive and dangerous. Phoney shock and horror tactics  have been used  by females who are not shy of swearing and cursing themselves. Only males who are fully in tune with their female side so to speak seems to manage to  prevent such responses.  But we all must realise that Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus and the way matters are sorted or handled are two differing things.  For example i am stickler for facts not someones truth but many ladies tend to use the emotional view point which can and sometimes cause exaggeration.  One example was a claim of the number of suicides amongst adoptee's . While one death is one too many when you look at the over statistics of suicide there are in fact very few suicides amongst adoptee's that we are aware of. Another example is  a exaggerated view that eugenics was the defining factor behind our adoption policies.  The Senate Inquiry report  accurately excluded that by noting that the eugenics movement in Australia died out in 1945 when the horrors of Germany became knowledge.  The History of Adoption project also debunked that theory.  So to blame it all on that is an exaggeration. Was their some people in power who individually support the notion. no doubt there was but there was no specific government push to use eugenics as part of the adoption reasoning. There were racist policies but then again the country still had a white Australia Policy for the bulk of the period. Adoption was a supply and demand situation, which still exists today and in such a situation very few people were prepared to receive a damaged product like a child with a disability. you would not buy a damaged TV would you.

So many men when seeing such ideas that they consider "hairy fairy" they either drop out thinking this is all " s..t or fight it like i have done and as a result suffer the consequences of battling the accepted theories.

There is also the fact that many men do not like to talk about their personal emotions which is why it has been found a high degree of anger amongst males who have come in from the cold and a feeling of helplessness.  Men need to handle this on a factual level before even approaching the emotional levels that are needed for healing.  I have been seeing a psychologist for over 18 months and we are now just getting into the nitty gritty.  For most of the time she has been validating my male feelings on all this not bagging them and treating me like a "wild animal"who needs taming. but many men i talk to, and i see many men and women affected by adoption they say that they doing need that sort of garbage and that there is nothing wrong when you can see there is.

From what i can ascertain the only place in Australia that has men only support group sessions is Jigsaw Qld and i congratulate them for that.  Not even the men's Shed has any program for adoptee's and doesn't look like it will.

Into the future all bodes need to recognise the difference between men and women in the matter of adoption related distress and different programs will need to be developed, men only group support like that by Jigsaw rolled out through the nation, a development of men only Facebook support under the auspices of recognised organisations and the inclusion of adoptee/father related issues within developed programmes like men's Shed and mens Shed online. They are funded via Beyond blue which means they draw much funding from the federal government so in the discussions about service delivery it will be vital to tell them to develop programmes with the help of other male adoptee's

I have often said that only an adoptee can understand another adoptee. I will go one step further and say it is only a male adoptee who understands a male adoptee and why they act differently from female adoptee's  And that is not misogyny but a biological fact.

Murray Legro


  1. Glad you've written this Murray.It needed spelling out. As in other areas of life the way forward is never for men and women to be at loggerheads but to learn to cooperate, to appreciate the differences and the similarities and to work on the problematic areas. I have been very saddened by the cheap attacks on male adoptees, they do the women who make them no credit whatever their beliefs but especially if they call themselves feminists.A lack of compassion is never a good look!

  2. I am also a late discovery adoptee and happen to be male. During my search for roots, I sometimes felt like I was the only man searching. And nearly all of the people who stepped up to help me were females. You can read about my search in my new book, Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA. See

  3. Yes, I have only ever met 4 or 5 adopted males, I always thought that maybe mothers were encouraged to keep male children.

    The male side of the story is NO less hurtful, NO less unimportant, NO less trivial, it is EXACTLY the same as the female side. You TOO had stigma, feelings of rejection, verbal (and more than likely physical) abuse. Always wondering when walking down a street, are you my mom? dad? brother, sister?

    I was terrified to date men of Mediterranean appearance in case I should date a brother or sister unknowingly. To some people who I told this laugh at me and tell me to grow up!

    Yes, we have heard it all a million times before.The male person who adopted me called me a *bastard* all my life.

    Am I hurting? You bet!