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Being 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.


Adopted 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

emotional rollercoaster 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 was established.


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,

even me.


During Kath’s research it was found she had a sister, once again the excitement was so

great, that at 8.30pm 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 can  only hope that the love and concern of her family, friends and me can somehow compensate. 


VETO – 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.      





Papers presented at the 2nd  National Conference on the Mental Health Aspects of Persons

Affected by Family Separation

Auspiced by Origins SPSA Inc


These papers are copyright Please contact the authors before reproducing



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