"Life is a process and one of the constants in life is change."
My story of hope is about being an adult adoptee. I use the word ‘adult’ to reinforce the fact that I am over 18, have a driver’s licence and a passport and I’ve worked in management for over 15 years. I was adopted through Queensland’s Department of Families, in 1959 when I was two weeks old.
I started the search for my biological parents when I was nineteen. I thought all I had to do was say I wanted to be found and my birthparents would be waiting for me. Like the doggy in the window, here I am, pick me. I joined Jigsaw Qld Inc, an organisation for the benefit of all parties involved in the adoption triangle. During the 80s I went to meetings in Brisbane. The members of Jigsaw lobbied for Adoption reform in the late 1980’s. Then in 1990, success! - the Queensland Adoption legislation changed. At last the information I needed to put my family back together was available. There was a six months legislative wait then I sent off my application form.
I waited and waited and waited… finally I phoned. The six months waiting period gave my birthmother time to complete the form “objection to information and/or contact”. I was to have no information, and worse, if by a miracle I had her name and address I could be but in prison for up to 2 years with a $6,000 fine if I made contact. I was devastated. All hope gone, no chance ever of putting my family back together. The hopelessness of the situation overwhelmed me. Rejection again, but this time as an adult and impossible to deny, but deny it I did. Turning to addictive behaviours and bitterness I closed my heart to the world. “I’m okay, I don’t need anyone!”
Every couple of years the media would pick up the adoption issue and I, like many others, would write letters to the current Minister begging for change to the legislation. Eventually the Queensland Government agreed to conduct a review. Hope at last! Another chance to attain the unattainable. But at the end of the review there was no change to the objection clauses in the 1990 legislation, which means the objections currently in force are to remain.
In 1997 I visited the department with a friend. I put a letter on file addressed to my birthmother; the department could contact her because she had ticked the ‘yes’ to contact. I was given a copy of my adoption file excluding identifying information. Included was the objection form completed by my birthmother in her handwriting. Wow! For the first time I believed I existed and belonged to the human race. I was born of woman; I wasn’t an alien. I didn’t know that’s how I felt until this proof was in front of me.
Late in 2002 my birthmother asked for the correspondence I’d put on file with the department. Again Wow! After all this time, I sent off a new letter and photos of me as a child then waited. I didn’t have long to wait this time. I now have letters and a photo of my birthparents together when they were young. I look like my birthparents and they like me do not have two heads. I don’t understand the need for secrecy, as it hasn’t done anything worthwhile for me.
Life is a process and one of the constants in life is change. The legislation will be reviewed again in 5, 10 or 30 years, but if the objection part of the legislation doesn’t change, or my birthmother doesn’t take back her objection, I’ve changed. I have a personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as my saviour and friend. What was important to me yesterday doesn’t seem so important now. I thank my birthmother for giving me life. Because where there is life there is hope.