After my son was adopted, I could not bring myself to talk about him to anyone. I left Edinburgh after his birth and moved to Bermuda to join some members of my family, but they never mentioned my son. I suffered from anxiety and depression for many years, but did not tell any doctor that I had had a child who was adopted. Nearly four years after Stephen’s birth, I married. During the marriage, I had four more children. The marriage ended after seven years. I moved to Australia in 1982 and raised the children as a single parent. I knew that Stephen would be able to access his adoption information when he was seventeen and I hoped that he would wish to make contact with me. During the time that he was growing up, he was constantly on my mind. I suffered from low self-esteem and feelings of guilt, because of my adoption experience and felt that if people knew about my child, they would judge me harshly. I felt as if I were constantly deceiving people, because I was hiding this one experience from them, which felt to me to be a monumental misdeed on my part. Because of this I found it difficult to form friendships. When Stephen was seventeen, I started to make attempts to contact him. I also told my other children about their brother. My emotional well-being improved enormously after being honest with my children and I began to share my experience with other people and to regain my self-confidence. I contacted an agency in the United Kingdom, hoping that they could help me to get in touch with Stephen, but was disappointed in the way that the worker there took control and acted without consulting me.
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.