allowed to share the personal effect that Queensland legislation re objections has had on my life is an honor and a privilege and also very therapeutic.
in 1953. Secrecy re true identity till late teens. Discovering truth re possible search by my birth mother in twenties. Registering
to adopt a child after miscarriages. Adoptive mothers impending death and urgency to contact birth mother. Years of searching
archives in winter with a babe at the breast. Discovery of birth mothers whereabouts and initial letter sent through Jigsaw.
No answer. Non-identifying information bombshell re sister. Then second lifetime rejection via contact information objection.
Veto impact beyond grave. Depression, anxiety, worthlessness.
The most difficult part
of trying to describe the affect adoption and later contact veto on a
person you love so much,
from an ‘outsiders’ point of view is trying to make sense of the
that it has caused.
When Kathleen told me
of her adoption, it was as if she was revealing a deep dark secret,
the consequences of which
were most dire. I didn’t realise at the time, but when she
revealed this dark secret
it was a test to see if I was going to reject her. Over the 19 years
of marriage this has been a common theme. During the time when her adoptive mother
was dying of cancer she
started to actively search for her mother. The amount of hours
spent going over records
was very draining. There were highs when she thought she had
found her and massive
lows when the trail got lost.
Finally she was found,
the joy was immense. The next step was to try contact through
Jigsaw. When she found
out that her mother didn’t wish to know about her, a second
stronger sense of rejection
From very early on in
our relationship Kathleen was trying to get me to reject her. Her
whole world was rejecting
them before they reject you. How do you convince someone
that you’re not
rejecting them, believe me it is possibly only surpassed by the fear of
rejection in difficulty.
Every word, every action, every deed has to be carefully thought
out, and even then you
can still be accused of treachery. When Kath found out about the
*veto, she was shattered.
It appeared to her that she could never be a complete human
being. She felt violated,
she felt second rate, and she felt the whole world was against her,
During Kath’s research
it was found she had a sister, once again the excitement was so
great, that at at night we drove to the other side of town
and knocked on the door
with flowers in hand.
Not knowing what sort
of response this was going to receive was most terrifying to her,
but she had to find out
and hopefully find out about her mother.Fortunately the greeting was good and
we spent the night, till about 1.30 in the morning looking through photo albums and hearing her sister’s story.
Once again the excitement
of possibly finding her father spurred her on. Her sister was
more helpful then she
really would have been had she had time to think about it.But then the bomb
came again with a message (which Kath still has) on our answering machine saying that her sister had contacted their mother
and her mother had said Kath’s father had died several years ago but would not reveal his name. She also instructed
Kath never to contact any one from her family ever again.
Once again devastation
set in. This was compounded by the government department
telling her that while
she was in the waiting room for an appointment soon after all this,
her mother was on the
phone talking to the adoption officer complaining that she had
surfaced. The officer
warned her of the legislation and said to leave a letter on file for her
mother for if and when
she ever contacted them again, as they aren’t even allowed by law
to pass anything on.She was also told that even if she sent a greeting card to her mother
that as the law stood
she could be prosecuted and fined or jailed.
Knowing Kath as I do you
would not be able to comprehend the anguish and torture she
has endured to stand here
today and give her talk. I am extremely proud of her. But what
you also don’t realise
is how all consuming the effects of this entire business is.It affects every
relationship she has, whether it’s the rejection she sometimes feels from her own children or convincing herself that
a close friend really doesn’t like her and is only waiting for the opportunity to escape her, or it may be me not doing
the right thing at the right time which translated means I don’t love her or I’m doing this on purpose as some
sort of revenge or maybe I’m just being spiteful.
The worst of it is watching
someone you love tearing themselves apart when you know
there’s no need
to. How do you stop this? I don’t know but, what I do know is that it is a
tragedy and no person
should be put through it. Recently there has been a lot of talk
about the stolen generation,
maybe there should be more discussion about this lost
generation of people,
like Kath, who fight these demons every day of there life with only
brick walls and barricades
at every turn. Does Kath’s mother know how she feels? I
would say not. Does she
need to know? I think she does.
No matter what the situation
and details of how Kath was born, the very act of being born is the act of giving, or taking of human rights. In this case
it is taking of human rights. Kath is expected to ignore and not feel the empty place in her heart that can never be filled
by me or any one else, except her mother. I believe her adoptive parents were wonderful and she still considers them her
only mother and father,
but there is a small issue of mother/child bonding and maternal
nurturing that, through
no fault of there own, they could not provide.Yes it may have
been an unpleasant set
of events that brought Kath into the world, it may have also been a
loving chain of events,
Kath will never know, and is it not her basic human right to know.
On the other hand does
Kath’s mother sometimes wonder what became of her daughter?
does she still remember
her birthday, does she even care? Does she know she can lift th
veto before she dies?Kath’s mother is now 81 years old, which means it is entirely
possible that she could
die with out ever even hearing her voice I guess unless laws are
changed she will never
find out the answers to any of these questions or for that matter
hear her voice. I know
it’s difficult to understand but try and imagine the torment of not
knowing who your father
was and the sound of your own mothers voice, the voice heard
in the womb.
You often hear of the
fairy tail reunion between mother and daughter or mother and son,
but for every fairy
tail there is also a nightmare.I would give my own life to see Kath’s
story end in a fairy tail, because it has been a terrible experience to see such a wonderful, caring, sharing and loving individual
having her life destroyed by depression, self loathing and low self-esteem when she is loved by all around her. I don’t
want to see her tortured by the emptiness in her any longer but I also realise that it may be many years before I see this
happen.In all likely hood there will be no fairy tail ending I canonly hope that the love and concern of her family, friends and me can somehow compensate.
part Oxford Dictionary
meaning –“ right to reject, prohibit, or forbid”…….
Since this paper was printed
and by Grace alone, a group of people, through their
interest and concern about
injustices have inspired me to the point that now for the first
time in my life I no longer
feel a need to prove my worthiness of existence.I am truly
happy in whom I
am and hope soon to share that joy with my natural family.
FREEDOM AT LAST
at the 2ndNational Conference on the Mental Health Aspects of Persons
Affected by Family
Auspiced by Origins SPSA Inc
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