At a Distance

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I was born in Sydney and adopted out as a baby to an English mother and Australian Father. When I was 13 we moved to the UK with an adopted girl 18 months younger than me and from a different family. We always knew we were adopted, but I always wondered what it would be like to find people who look liked me. Around about 1991 the law in the UK and Australia relating to adopted people and their parents being able to trace each other was changed. I was curious on my young son's behalf and it set me thinking about genetic legacy. It was always a problem when a Doctor asked the question, any family history of heart/kidney/mental health issues?

I went so far as to order the relevant papers (by post, no Internet then). I scanned them all and came to the conclusion that whatever my idle curiosity, I could not imagine what it was like for a woman to have to give up a child. Nor could I really justify revisiting a woman/family disrupted so completely by events 30 years previously, who may not welcome revisiting those events. I formed a view that giving up a child must be a desperate event caused by circumstances perhaps because of violence, poverty, rape, mental illness, that to revisit it may cause harm. So I didnt pursue it. Crucially I didnt read the small print that said I could register not to be contacted.

In 1999 my UK parents got a letter from Sandra, with a letter for me. Suddenly I was looking at a person who looked like me. So I did find out what it was like to meet someone 38 years after the event which had given me life. We met in the UK and then I went back to Australia 25 years after leaving and met the rest of the family. My being discovered did cause waves, as my birth had been "hidden" at the time. My mother's treatment at age 17 by the authorities was criminal,the conspiracy was aided by my adopting parents removing me from the country aged 6 months to get round the "right of return" laws in place at the time.The apology from the PM was not enough.


I was born in Sydney and taken to the UK. My Mother found me from 12,000 miles away and I have 2 half brothers and a half sister and multiple relatives with a strong genetic and emotional link. Distances are vast but we visit each other across the world whenever we can.