Read, watch and listen to some of the many wonderful adoption stories in Ireland today. If you'd like to send in your adoption story, contact us today and we'll show you how!
I was born in May 1973 to a 25 year old unmarried woman. She couldn’t tell her parents or family that she was pregnant as they were very religious and would have disowned her.
After I was born, I was put up for adoption pretty much straight away and I was adopted when I was 4 weeks old.
I was adopted by a couple who couldn’t have children of their own. I was given into the most loving, kind and generous family. I had a great up-bringing with my parents and my brother who was also adopted. I knew from age 3 that I was adopted and my parents always made me feel special that I had been given up for adoption.
I will be eternally grateful to my birth mother for putting me up for adoption. Firstly she could have chosen to have me aborted but she wanted me to have a good life and a better life than she could give me so she selflessly gave me away. She did this with me at the forefront of her thoughts. I have since found out that she found it very difficult to part with me but she did what was best for me.
What she did was in her baby’s best interest knowing that I would have a better life if I didn’t stay with her, she is a hero in my eyes for this.
I have met my birth mothers family but not her as she died in 2001. My half sister (we shared my birth mother) died last year and now I have custody and guardianship of her son so I can somewhat see the situation from that side too.
My Adoption Story, 1977
I was born to a young single mother in Bessborough Mothers and Baby Home in Cork City in 1977. After a short stay my parents adopted me and brought me home to Limerick.
My Father worked as cabin crew with British Airways and my mother was a housewife.
I was the eldest of 3 and have a brother and sister. (My sister is also adopted) I had a very privileged upbringing in a loving home. We were well travelled and saw all the sights and wonders the world had to offer as a result of Dad’s work.
From my earliest memories, I was aware of my adoption and the selfless reasons I was placed for adoption. It is a normal part of my life of which I am very open about. All my friends and some work colleagues would be aware, and I would not have a problem discussing with a stranger if it arose in conversation. I find some of the reactions amusing when I tell people of my adoption (what’s normal for me is alien to them) My birth mother is held in very high regard by me and all in my family for the sacrifices she made.
Approximately 16 years ago I received a letter from her outlining the reasons for her decision. It was very much a selfless endeavor on her part in order to offer me greater opportunities than she could provide at the time. It certainly turned out that way.
I traced her about 5 years ago and wrote a letter to her telling of my history and thanking her for the rich and happy life I enjoyed. She is yet to accept receipt of this letter but I am confident that one day she will.
My parents are my parents, of that there is no doubt and I would have it no other way. I will always think of my birth mother in the most positive way. I have immense respect for her and the strength, bravery and resilience she showed in the face of such adversity to give me a better life...
Imagine an adoptive mother in 2018 getting a phone call at home, out of the blue, to advise her that the baby she had adopted and had fully bonded with was in fact being collected from the house the next day as the adoption wasn't going to be formally completed as the birth mother had not agreed to sign the final order. Tihis is what happened my adoptive mother. She would never again receive a single piece of information about that child for the rest of her life.
It doesn't take much to feel a wave of empathy for her and her family for the loss they experienced.
But now imagine that a few months later the same woman being called again to be advised there was another child she could have as a replacement and she had first call. This second baby was me!
How likely is it there will be no emotional consequences for the adoptive mother and replacement child.
Such a situation would (could) never occur in 2018 but did occur in 1970s Ireland and the consequences shadowed both mother and child. It is an example of why the adoption process can be the source of fear for modern birth mothers.
The current debate between adoption or a termination is shaped by our past experiences when women with an unplanned or crisis pregnancies were judged and then punished by the State, at the behest of the Roman Catholic Church. They were always guilty.
In 2017 the process of adopting is to meet the needs of the child while also addressing the needs of the birth mother and laterally the adoptive parents. The child is now at the heart of the decision making process. But the emotional support a birth mother deserves as a right to be able to make an informed decision about what is in her best interests and of her child is now part of the process. As it should be!
Similarly, the emotional needs of the adoptive parents and how they can be supported to meet the needs of the child being entrusted to their care and nurtured are also taken into account.
The greatest sacrifice a mother can make is to give up her child for adoption and the greatest gift a parent can make is to open their heart to a child.
In the Ireland of 2018 the adoption process is designed to help both parties make the right decision that results in the best possible life for the child at the heart of the process. This is the way it should be.
I was adopted at birth in the early 50s in the U.K. I always knew I was adopted and it never bothered me. In fact I was always made to feel special because they picked me.
Unfortunately my adoptive parents divorced when I was five so I was destined to be in a one parent family.
Later, I moved to Ireland, married and had three children and it was then I thought more about my birth mother. Anyway, years passed and when in my 40's I decided to try and find her (easier to do due to U.K adoption). I always knew she was Swiss and had returned home after my adoption.
After a little ground work and a lot of luck, she was still at the same address as on my adoption forms.
I contacted her by phone. I can still feel the goose bumps, it was wonderful to talk to my birth mother for the first time.
In a couple of months I went to visit her and it was like we were never separated and although I loved my adoptive mother this was different. I felt a huge connection with her and she told me she always hoped this day would come.
We met many times over the years. The down side was I was her secret so nobody knew (only her husband). Not even her son, my brother!
I wanted to tell my brother who I was but it was not my scared to tell. I felt it would not be fair to do so as I would be going home and leaving her there to face family and friends. She told me she thought of me often and it was her dream that I would walk through her door. And I did !
She died a few years ago. I went to her funeral which was so hard. I wanted to stand up and shout this is my mother you are burying, but of course I couldn't.
Anyway a few months after, I wrote to my brother to tell him. He was so happy to have a sister and I visit him and his family often and we are a typical brother and sister. I also have lots of cousins and family and its like I have known them all my life.
I learned that birth mothers do not give up their children lightly.
Life began for me in a Mother and Baby Home in Castlepollard in Co. Westmeath.
This was way back in the sixties in an era when there was no compassion for a girl who got pregnant out of wedlock. I was adopted by my adoptive parents when I was 20 months, so I have no recollection of the Home I was born in.
I began my new life on a small farm in a little village in Co. Galway. My new parents were strict, hardworking, honest and good in many ways but work came first and the same was expected from me.
I was informed I was adopted for the first time when I was about eight years, some say that was very young to be told but I always thought I should have been told earlier. For years I never let the issue of being adopted bother me too much or gave it much thought as I was accepted one hundred percent by my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbours and friends who always treated me as one of their own. But like all adopted people there is always something in the back of your mind – thoughts and feelings and unanswered questions.
I think it takes a lot of courage to go searching and like so many adopted people, when their first child is born I too wanted to find my real roots. I got information about the path to take to go searching but then got cold feet. I think I didn’t want to rock the boat at home with my parents. Eventually, 13 years ago I knuckled down proper to search for my birth mother. Two years later, I got the fantastic news I was going to meet her.
My birth mum who was from Oranmore had four brothers and four sisters and yet, only her oldest sister ever knew she had a baby! Society at the time treated unmarried mothers as criminals and left them afraid to even tell their own family. Thank God things have moved on since.
I had the lucky experience of regularly visiting my birth mum for ten years, a chance I know not every adoptee gets to experience. I have also been lucky with the acceptance from her family and have a great relationship with my new found relatives. Sadly, my birth mum passed away last year at the age of 82.
I often think of what she went through way back then. Her options were limited and help much was less so. I am proud and so thankful that she decided to give me the chance to live. I often think of the old saying “Life is Sweet” and we should always be thankful to the people who brought us into the world and for every day we get to live.
ACE – Acceptance, Compassion, Education - All of these are much improved for any girl who might find herself in a position today of having to consider giving up their little baby for fostering or adoption.
If a girl, for any reason, finds she cannot keep her baby, it has to be a lot of reassurance to her that a home could be made very happy by rearing her child. All parties are now guided and assisted by much more reliable services compared with my era.
Every good wish,
"As an adopted adult, I can of course only encourage anyone with an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy to consider adoption for your child. I'm certainly very grateful that my 19 year old birth mother was brave enough to have me and give me up!
I honestly think adoption is the most selfless act a person can do - to give life and offer that child to a family who can love and raise them as their own, if you're not in a position to do so yourself.
If a pregnant woman or girl is struggling with the idea of having and raising a child at this stage in their life, and feels emotionally and physically capable of completing the pregnancy and giving the best possible gift of a child, then I salute you for so doing!
Having become a mother myself recently, and having reconnected with birth grandparents (as my birth mother is deceased) I've seen it from all sides.
Adoption truly is a wonderful gift of life, as long as the right support is provided to all involved parties during the process.
Sarah, aged 35,
Paula's Adoption Story
My name is Paula and in March 2018 I will be 55 years old. Yes Fifty Five years - more than half a Century! That SOUNDS very old to me when I say it like that but most days I don't FEEL that old. Most days I feel very blessed.
You see when I was conceived in June 1962 my young Mother, then aged 18, was not in a position to keep me. She brought me to Cork, where the best parents I could ever have asked for, adopted me and gave me a wonderful, wonderful life.
Back in 1962 and for many years after, ADOPTION was THE BEST OPTION available to a girl in my Birth Mother's situation. There were, and still are, a whole lot more plusses to Adoption than is always understood.
I firmly believe that, through ADOPTION, my Birth Mother was given the best way of grieving for her baby who was no longer with her. I know that GRIEF is a huge life-long emotion that follows the loss of your baby and while nobody wants to have a grief-filled life, not having your beautiful baby to call your own, makes it INEVITABLE that YOU WILL GRIEVE. But... and here's THE CHOICE YOU HAVE...
(a) Would you rather GRIEVE for your beautiful baby who is not with you but who is ALIVE, because YOU OPTED to have her ADOPTED, who is being LOVED and NURTURED, who is giving tremendous JOY to parents who never thought they would become parents, a baby who grows up FEELING LOVED, a baby who knows HOW TO LOVE herself & others, a baby who has babies of her own, who lives a very full life and who is so, so GRATEFUL that she has been ALLOWED TO LIVE, to experience LIFE, the best GIFT she has ever received.....BECAUSE YOU OPTED FOR ADOPTION ?
(b) Would you rather GRIEVE for your baby who is not with you but who is DEAD, because YOU OPTED to have her ABORTED, who will never experience LIFE, LOVE and all it has to offer ...?
Please please know that you HAVE A CHOICE regarding the future of your baby. Please understand that if you find yourself pregnant and cannot keep your baby, there is always someone who will love and rear your baby, someone who's life will be made complete by them being given your beautiful baby to love.
Also, please know that you are not alone. If, when reading this, you find yourself in a very lonely place, I'd very much like to hear from you and I assure you that I will, confidentially, help and support you in all the ways I can.
I'm asking you to please CHOOSE ADOPTION. I am living proof that because of my Birth Mother's decision to have me adopted, everyone concerned, ESPECIALLY ME, received the best GIFT of all. I really do feel blessed.
My name is Desmond Lynch and I would like to share with you my own experience and why I would appeal to you that if you cannot bring up your child yourself please consider Adoption rather than Abortion.
I was born in 1962 and was therefore lucky that there was no pressure put on my mother to have an abortion since Abortion was not legalised in Britain until 1967.
My birth mother later confided in me that she did not want to give me up for adoption which is true but the economic circumstances in Tyrone at the time for the family made it impossible. She also found out later, in very difficult circumstances, that my birth father did not want me. So I can completely understand the pressures girls in crisis pregnancies are under and these arguments being put forward by leaders of the main parties in this country are to put it mildly being economical with the truth.
To advance my story I met two wonderful people, my father and mother who adopted me and brought me to a little village in Co Donegal called St Johnston. While I have moved to Lifford in Co Donegal I will always hold the people in St Johnston in my heart. I did not have long to spend with my father because he died of cancer before I was three.
My mother did come under pressure to give me back to the orphanage and go back to work but she resisted. I would say that It is possible to resist if you are being pressurized into having an abortion.
After schooling I qualified as a chartered accountant at 25 . After my mother died in 2005 and an aunt who I was also close to died in 2007, I started to look for my birth mother and found her in 2008.
I was able to tell her in person that I bore absolutely no grudges and we were starting on a clean slate. I also found out that my birth father had passed away in 2003 and was able to close that chapter in her life.
I did meet with my mother on a number of occasions including at her home in London and was with her when she died in 2015. I met my sister and brother and we are still in contact. I also keep in touch with my birth mother’s partner.
I can totally understand that giving up a child for adoption can also be a traumatic experience but it is done today with much more compassion than when I was given up for adoption in 1962. Today you are able to keep in touch with your child during their life and even if you decide against this you are giving that child a chance in life that it will never have if you decide to go for an abortion. In my case I never had any grudges against either of my birth parents and the majority of adopted children I have met have felt the same.
I have also met some wonderful couples who have gone to great lengths to have a child either through natural family planning methods, IVF or foreign adoptions. Having done the foreign adoption course myself I can vouch for it being extremely thorough. I can ensure anybody considering placing a child for adoption that the welfare of the child is paramount.
I would therefore appeal to any girl or woman finding herself in the situation of a crisis pregnancy and not knowing where to turn to please consider adoption.
I was adopted as a baby at almost 7 months old and only recently realised I was from Bessborough, Co Cork.
I've always known I was adopted from my earliest memories. My adoptive parents have given me everything I could have ever wanted and more. Now as an adult I appreciate my childhood more than ever. I was sent to every class, including every Irish Summer College known to mankind.
I fell pregnant at the age of 19 myself and after the initial shock and gossip in the local area, I settled down. My adoptive parents got behind me, regardless of the negative comments in their ears.
I went on to train as a nurse and my parents practically reared my son, who to this day they treat as almost their son. I never had an issue with my adoption either as a child or teenager.
I was reared with an adopted brother. He landed into my world at 2 yrs old, he was 5 months old then. He has since had the opportunity to meet his birth mother and family.
Now as an adult I have made moves to find my birth mother. Sometimes I almost feel guilty trying to find my birth mother, but I'm reassured by family and friends not to feel so. My journey continues.
My name is Carla, but I wasn't born Carla. I was born Sara. My birth mother was a raging alcoholic, who chose life for me in 1988, even though she couldn't master her addiction.
I was conceived in an abusive relationship. My mother’s drinking was quite unhealthy, but she was incredibly brave to have given me life. And as hard as it was, I know she did the right thing. My adoptive parents are incredible and loving, and have never given up on me, even though I was a difficult child. From the age of 17, I began my own battle with alcoholism, which through the years got ugly.
In 2013, on the 26th of December, I had invited over a friend I had known since I was about 10 years old. For some odd reason we began talking about my adoption. I don't know what led us to talk about it that day, but life was about to take a journey on a crazy rollercoaster. Within an hour, of talking about my adoption, with help from my adoptive mother putting together pieces of the jigsaw, I was looking at my biological baby brother.
To say it was a shock, was an understatement. We had been friends for so long, but now I was looking at a sibling, not just a friend. Unfortunately once I realized he was my brother, I realized that I would never meet my biological mother. She had passed in 2011. I thought that meeting the gravestone of my biological mother would've torn me apart, but it gave me the strength to get sober.
Knowing she had given me up to give me life, I know had I continued to drink I would be in a grave now. Within three months, I had met my biological aunties and uncles, which gave me peace. At the same time, it was bittersweet.
At around the same time, I met a man who was to change my life even further. I'm glad to say we are now married. We have an incredible son, Joshua, who makes me feel complete.
Life hasn't been easy, but I'm more at peace than I ever have been. Through my addiction, I've had some seriously destructive and abusive relationships - including sexual abuse. In the last three years, I have learned to forgive the abusers through the power of prayer. I may be a victim but I won't let it define me. Life is too short, it must be cherished. I'm no stranger to feeling lost, alone, hurt, and in pain - but sometimes it's the difficult times that transform us.
I know in my heart that the 8th amendment is a precious thing to be upheld. We must fight, we must be relentless, and we must protect the 8th. And this is why I'm pro-life. #voteno #savethe8th #adoptionnotabortion