Find out how we came together, and meet our team
How we came about
We are a group of adult adoptees who gave evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) inquiry into The right to family life: adoption of children of unmarried women 1949-1976.
For some, this was a moment when we thought we were being heard and our struggles were being acknowledged. We were therefore willing to share our stories and open up about the ways in which adoption has affected us.
Growing up as an adoptee
Many of us have grown up believing that our mothers had relinquished us willingly and for our own good.
The role of the State
The testimony, and the evidence, showed how this was often not the case and that the state and its institutions, including the Church, were at least partly responsible.
Justice and reparation
We want justice and reparation for the wrongs done to birth mothers and adoptees. The gaslighting of those who question adoption should be stopped
Change the narrative of adoption
How can adoption practice ever be improved if the government only blames ‘society’, refuses to listen to lived experience, and resists meaningful change?
The JCHR published its report The Violation of Family Life: Adoption of Children of Unmarried Women 1949–1976 in July 2022. We were disappointed and concerned that the focus was primarily on the birth mothers, and not adoptees. We came together, united to make our voices heard. Spending many evenings on zoom – we created our own response to the report highlighting areas of missed opportunity for reform and creating our own set of 14 key recommendations for the Government.
We owe a huge debt of thanks to those who have supported us over the past months. We are so proud of what we have achieved, making our voices heard and hopefully making a difference. Adoptees all over the world have provided us with advice and assistance, adding perspectives from their own countries.
We want justice and reparation for the wrongs done to birth mothers and adoptees. But more than this, we want younger adoptees to have their trauma recognised, their rights upheld, and the gaslighting of those who question adoption to be stopped. How can adoption practice ever be improved if the government only blames ‘society’, refuses to listen to lived experience, and resists meaningful change?
Indebted for all the support we have received
Meet our amazing team
We’re all victims of historic forced adoptions. As individuals, our stories are all very different, but the impact of adoption on our adult lives is sadly all too familiar.
Not forgetting those who are happier to keep a private profile – thank you for the support and good wishes we have received. These kept us going through the darker times when we were wondering if we were just completely crazy!
Transracial Adoptee 1971
Born: Chase Farm Hospital, London
Adoption Agency: National Children Adoption Association, London
I was born in London and adopted through the National Children Adoption Association facilitated by Chase Farm Hospital and its staff.
I’m a transracial adoptee (TRA) who grew up in Somerset. I’m in reunion with my paternal side of my biological family, I chose non-contact with my maternal side. Both my birth parents died before I could meet them.
I have two children who feel the effects of adoption – particularly the gap in their medical records.
Born: The Limes Mother & Baby Home, Stratford Upon Avon
Adoption Agency: Warwickshire County Council
I have the dubious honour of having been adopted twice, firstly as a newborn, and subsequently following the remarriage of my adoptive mother. A breast cancer diagnosis prompted me to contact my maternal side and am in a happy reunion with my half-siblings. Sadly, my birth mother passed away from secondary breast cancer before I met her.
I have hit a brick wall trying to trace my biological father.
I want to make sure that adoptees are properly supported when faced with a medical emergency.
Adopted: Late 1960s
Essex County Council Children’s Department;
Chelmsford Diocesan Moral Welfare Association
I was born and adopted in England in the late 1960s. I was in hospital with my mother for ten days, fostered locally with a family for a few weeks then placed with my adoptive family. My adoption took place when I was six months old.
My mother did not want to give me up but had no way to support both of us and thought I would ‘have a better life’ with another family. I knew I was adopted but never knew my origins or birth story, until she searched for me once it became legal.
I am in partial reunion with my birth family. I want adult adoptees to receive the services we need and deserve and I don’t want today’s children to be gaslit and inadequately supported.
Adoption Agency: City of Birmingham Social Services Department
Church of England Children’s Society
I was born in January 1974 in Northampton, and spent 10 days with my mother, before being separated as a consequence of the forced adoption practices of the time. Then moved to a foster home. At 8 weeks old, my adoptive parents met me and took me back to their home in Birmingham.
I’ve always known I was adopted. As a child, I was deeply curious about my beginnings and my roots, which led me to search for my mother in my early 20s.
Luckily for me, she wanted to be found and we met in 2003, when I was 29. I met my father shortly afterwards. I am still in reunion with them both. I am passionate about advocating for adoptee rights and am proud to be a founding member of the Adult Adoptee Movement.
We hope to create a safe space here, for adoptees to feel seen, heard, and validated.
Intercountry Adoptee: 1968
Adoption Agency: The Phyllis Holman Richards Society and Suffolk Social Services.
I was born in London in 1968 and my adoption was facilitated by a private adoption agency. Although I was born in the UK and adopted domestically I am an Intercountry adoptee. My birth mother lived in the Middle East.
Concerns were raised by social services about the suitability of my adoptive mother but decided I should be adopted anyway. I grew up in a small town without any connections to people who looked like me. My appearance alienated and isolated me from others as I suffered a lot of racial abuse and questions about my origins were never discussed. I learnt about my adoption at the age of sixteen and I was treated with disdain when I asked for help to search for my birth mother.
I have spent my entire adult life trying to search for my birth parents and connect with my cultural origins without any professional support. Being an intercountry adoptee means that I am excluded from accessing intermediary services, tracing agencies, and contact registers. Even tracing through DNA can be futile. I am left alone to navigate bureaucracy in a foreign country without any assistance from British officials. I do not belong here in the UK but I do not belong in my country of origin. A deep sense of loss and confusion about my identity has shadowed my entire existence.
Adopted: late 1960s
Adoption Agency: Surrey County Council ‘Moral Welfare Officer’.
Weston Super Mare District Council
My mother died before I felt ready in my 50s to trace her. Through DNA testing and after a long, complicated, expensive search I am in reunion with my maternal sister and some paternal family, discovering my ethnicity and other information, including medical, that has been hugely helpful to me and my adult child.
I want lifelong support for adoptees and their children.
Adopted: mid 1970s
Adoption Agency: Surrey County Council
I was in the hospital for 8 days, in foster care for 5 weeks, and formally adopted at 6 months, via the local council.
My mother does not want contact, which has been tremendously hard.
I found my father through DNA testing but have not yet made contact.
I want a more honest and open discussion about adoption, and for the rights of children to be at the forefront.