* IRISH WOMEN ILLEGALLY ADOPTED AT BIRTH, DEMAND JUSTICE
* CHILDREN FAILED IN THE PAST MUST BE GRANTED THEIR RIGHT TO IDENTITY
At a Press Conference, in Buswells Hotel, today hosted by Clare Daly TD, women illegally adopted at birth, who have spent decades trying to trace their birth mothers and have come from abroad to try to meet the Minister, spoke about their experiences.
“For decades this country has failed its children”
Minister Children and Youth Affairs Dail Eireann 19th September.
The Minister is right in that governments, religious and state institutions were responsible for decades of neglect, physical and sexual abuse of children in religious and state run institutions but the Minister is refusing to meet representatives of children utterly failed by the State during those decades – those children taken from their mothers and illegally adopted.
A number of these now adult women have asked to meet the Minister. These adults have spent decades seeking access to records, trying to find their birth mothers. They want the Minister to act to ensure the the safety of medical and other records in private hands – religious and other societies – which facilitated these illegal adoptions prior to and after 1953.
The Minister has refused to meet the women.
Clare Daly TD stated:
‘It is known that these records exist and all the powers of the State should be used immediately to safeguard them to ensure that the children taken from their mothers can find their birth mothers details and to provide evidence of a crime committed against these helpless children.
It is not good enough to talk about guaranteeing children’s rights in a new referendum if we continue to ignore children failed in the past. The right to identity is the most basic human right. The Minister’s delay in bringing forward tracing legislation and her indications that this will be limited are unacceptable. Children of the past have rights too. I would appeal to the Minister to meet these women.”
THERESA TINGGAL’S STORY
10yrs ago at the age of 48 I discovered that I was adopted. Not adopted in the normal sense but informally or illegally. I was handed over to my adoptive parents at two days old and then registered as their legal child. It came as a great shock therefore when I discovered that I wasn’t who I thought I was, and so the search began!. It has been a long journey and I still haven’t found my birth mother or discovered the circumstances surrounding my birth.
AM I MARGARET O’GRADY? That is not what my birth cert says!
I was registered and brought up as Theresa Hiney (born 9/6/54 daughter of James and Kathleen Hiney)
After I discovered that I was ‘adopted’ I was told by the Health Board that there were no records whatsoever. Six months later however (miraculously, the way things seem to happen in Ireland) I received a file from them documenting my life from the age of 2-16yrs of age, with the last statement ”Theresa still doesn’t know that she is adopted”. The first page being that they went to the house that I was picked up from at two days old and there was no such nurse residing there. Quite strange when her daughter in law is still living there today.!! To this day I have never been offered any resources to help in the search for my birth mother. A further six months passed and I received an index card with the following:
Name of foster child Margaret O’Grady and name of foster mother………With that information you are expected to go off on your merry way.
Illegal adoptees became aware as adults, that they were illegally adopted. Sometimes when they went to obtain their birth certificates or sometimes purely by chance, when this information may have been divulged, or as in a lot of cases (like myself) by family relatives. From contacts with other ‘illegal adoptees’ we know that illegal adoptions were arranged by individuals and also by church run adoption agencies. These should have been inspected and monitored by the Irish Adoption Board. In fact these agencies have never been deregistered , pursued or investigated. The individuals concerned were usually a nurse, doctor and a social worker. I know from experience that the people involved with my ‘illegal’ adoption were never investigated or pursued. “ Couldn’t be found” was written on my file, when in fact I myself tracked down their families 3yrs ago. All three of course are now deceased, however there had to have been some medical files kept and I am convinced that they are archived safely in Ireland. This has deprived ‘illegal adoptees’ of their basic human right that is ‘knowing where you came from’, without this knowledge ‘illegal adoptees’ live in a permanent limbo throughout their lives.
Without proper legislation there is nothing to stop ‘illegal adoptions’ happening today. The new adoption bill has completely ignored the rights of not only ‘illegally’ adopted people but also legally adopted people.
Last year the grandson of the nurse contacted me as he had found his grandmothers register but again my adoptive mother was put down as my birth mother.”
Maria Dumbell’s Story – 3/08/1960-
” I was born in Ireland in 1950. My birth was never registered and the attitude of the Irish Government when I asked them for information was ” well things were done illegally then and we don’t know who you are”. When I threatened them many years ago with the Court Of Human Rights as I had no identity, they gave me a passport.
I have since discovered a document relating to me being Fostered/farmed out and that they did know about it. The lady that took me was a registered foster parent. The midwife that delivered me was a State Registered Midwife. They were given the legal form that stated intent to receive the infant for promise of reward. So things were done legally. However when I ask to see certain papers I am refused. I asked about the records of the Midwife and her Nursing Home and was told when she died her records were destroyed.
I had to stop the search for many years because I had a young family at the time and it can take over your life. I am now a lot older and my family all adults and I now have the time to pursue my quest. I now feel after a lot of research and looking up the Human Rights Act that under article 8 the Irish Government are withholding information.”
RTÉ This Week’s Fran McNulty speaks to Maria Dumbell and Theresa Tinggal, who are both campaigning for legislative change to the adoption bill. They are part of Adopted Illegally Ireland, an organisation that claims that up to two thousand people could have been adopted illegally here in Ireland.