My first public presentation on the topic of adoption was at a conference in 1995. Since then, I have contributed on many occasions to community education and awareness, in Australia and in other countries, by public speaking, by contacting politicians, via the internet and via the media. I have been able to make Australians aware of adoption policies and practices in other countries, as well as informing many people around the world about how child-focussed Australia is with regard to reducing the number of adoptions. As well as my overseas presentations between 2001 and 2011, I was a member, from 2009 to 2012, of the National Intercountry Adoption Advisory Group (NICAAG), which was set up to advise the Attorney General’s Department on issues around intercountry adoption. I am the only mother separated from her child by adoption to have been appointed to NICAAG. In 2010 I contributed to the Monash University History of Adoption Project. In 2011, I contributed to the Australian Senate Enquiry into the Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices and, in 2012, I contributed to the National Research Study on the Service Response to Past Adoption Experiences conducted by the Australian Institute of Family Studies. In 2011 – 2012, I was the only person with a personal experience of adoption to be appointed to the group which advised the government of South Australia in the planning of their apology for past adoption policies and practices, which was presented in parliament on the 29th of March, 2012. I also assisted in formulating the apology delivered on the 21st of March, 2013 by the federal government in Canberra. After this apology, I was appointed to the Implementation Working Group, which is advising the government on fulfilling the commitments made at the time of the federal apology.
There have been enormous changes in attitudes since 1970 and there is now much more acceptance of single parent families.
- The birth and adoption of my son
- My hospital experience
- My life throughout my son’s childhood
- Access to adoption information
- My experience with a self-help support group
- My educational work
- My contribution to community awareness
- The impact of adoption separation in my life
- My work as a post-adoption counsellor
- Being separated from Stephen affected every single aspect of my life.