Hi, i'm new here!

Moderator: AfterAdoption

Hi, i'm new here!

Postby jennyg » Thu Aug 08, 2013 9:29 pm

Hello, i've been looking at this site for a while now, and finally decided someone might be able to help!
I was adopted as a baby, about 5 months old, in 1972.
I have always known i was adopted, but have only recently decided that I would like to see my adoption file. Can anyone tell me what sort of information it might tell me? I know the christian names of my birth parents, and my birth surname. What I would really like to know is any medical details, things that might have been passed down and therefore I might have passed on!
Has anyone had their adoption records and discovered that details have been added to it over the years? I don't know if that's even possible!
At the minute I don't wish to trace anyone, just would like a bit more info!!
Thanks in advance,
Jenny
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Re: Hi, i'm new here!

Postby ladyarcher » Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:23 am

Hi JennyG.......and welcome ........

The short answer to your question is that a file may contain a lot, or very little.......it all depends on what sort of detail the local council, or adoption society were in the habit of recording at the time......this can differ greatly between authorities, and even between social workers within the same authority..........you will have to contact the local authority, or the adoption society that you were adopted through... and ask to see your file.......unfortunately you are before the magic date of 1975 .......so you will have to wait for the official interview with a social worker ........those adopted after 1975 don't have to get this 'counselling' interview........many who have had it say it is nothing to be worried about, although the word 'counselling' can make people think it is a test to be passed before they get information........

From your point of view, you don't actually need to go through all that, because you know all your name details, and if you wished to trace and contact you could do it all yourself.......however you say that at the moment you are not looking for contact......although you may change your mind later ......so as far as the file is concerned it may be as little as a page giving your birth name.........or it could be a large file with reports about your b.mother, sometimes about the b.father, there could be details of your birth weight etc ........there might even be a letter from your b.mother.......there is a very wide range of what is in the file.........you may even find, as I did, that the file has gone 'missing'........

If you do get the file, it may well be 'censored' in that you will not get to see all of it........and also, what you must remember is that it was never written for you to read........it was written to persuade a court that adoption was the right solution for you ......... so it may well say such things as 'the mother happily gave up her child'.......or 'willingly signed the papers'..........this does not always mean that the mother was happy to give you away, it can simply mean that several people badgered her many times, saying things like 'what can you give her' 'how will you manage' ' you can't give her what a 'proper family' with a mummy and a daddy can give her'.......

Anyway, apart from that, you actually at the moment, only want medical details..........it is possible in the past for your own doctor to access your b.families' records........obviously for confidentiality he could not tell you what he had seen, but he would at least know if he had to watch out for anything specific........I don't know if Drs. can still do this, or even if they will do it when asked.........it may all depend on the individual Dr. and they may not know that they are allowed to do this, or even know how to, but it is possible as far as I know. ......one thing that would make it easier for your Dr. would be if you were able to get copies of your b.parents b.certs. and a copy of your own original birth cert........the certificates have certain registration numbers on them which can be linked to National Health numbers, or it might be to National insurance numbers........these numbers used to be the identity numbers that every one had for rationing in the war, and were family linked, but a few years ago when there was computerisation everyones' numbers were changed........so there is not a 'direct' route now.....but I believe it can still be done......probably at a cost.....

Good luck, and keep coming back here for help and support......you will always get it...

LA
born 1944 - adopted 1946 - found b.mother 1972 - sadly missed b.father who died young, but who had told his subsequent children that they had two English sisters so when I made contact with them in Canada they were not shocked .......four years ago, after a forty year search, I found my full sister who had been adopted separately......
Last edited by ladyarcher on Fri Aug 09, 2013 7:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hi, i'm new here!

Postby jennyg » Fri Aug 09, 2013 6:29 am

Thank you for your response!
It sounds like, if files can be censored, that I probably won't get the answers I'm after anyway!
I've always been told by my a.mother that i was neglected by my b.mother and had to be taken from her by social services! I've now began to think that, after much talking with my husband, what if she was suffering from post natal depression and couldn't take care of me properly?
I don't imagine she had much support, I know that she and my b.father weren't married (he was, but not to her!!) So I guess he was keen for the adoption to go ahead! Maybe he pressured her into it?
I was hoping that this file would tell me everything I wanted to know, I've grown up hating this woman because she didn't bother to care for me, but now that my husband has suggested otherwise, it scares me! Such a huge can of worms to be opening!!
Thanks again
Jenny
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Re: Hi, i'm new here!

Postby Turtle » Fri Aug 09, 2013 8:00 am

Hi Jenny.

I thought long and hard about applying for my files. I wasn't looking for a reunion, just information (mainly my father's name) so I didn't know if it was going to be worth the hassle.

Eventually I decided that the only way I would find out if it was worth it, was to actually do it. Yes the process can be long, it was just over 4 months for me. Also no two files are alike and so you have no idea how much information they will contain or if they will find them at all. (Some do go missing).

I was asked if I was looking for specific information. Which I wasn't expecting to be asked. I didn't really know what to answer as I was basically just looking for my father's name. So I asked the social workers advice. She said people ask for things such as medical history and signatures. I wasn't interested in medical history, but I did want signatures. I basically said, that as I wasn't looking for a reunion, this would be the only information I ever got, so I wanted as much as they could give me.

My file, when it came, contained a lot of information. Far more than I had expected. It had my father's name, information about me at birth (weight, that fact that I was late etc), three hand written letters from my parents (all formal letters to the adoption agency, but never the less, something that was part of them). Basically the majority of it was letters from all the parties involved. By looking at them, and reading between the lines, you could get a real idea of what actually happened. For a start, it gave me a good idea of how my b.father felt. It is easy to think that men aren't so emotionally involved, but I got the feeling that he was devastated by what happened and felt that things were totally out of his control.

I really felt all the hassle of getting the files was worth it. The worst part is the constant waiting and hearing nothing. The actual interviews are more like informal chats and nothing to worry about. I am glad I did it.
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Re: Hi, i'm new here!

Postby ladyarcher » Fri Aug 09, 2013 7:27 pm

Many birth mothers were subjected to quite horrific mental pressure to part with their babies........and yes, it is quite likely that post natal depression would also have been a thing that could be seized upon by social workers, or 'do-gooders' of whatever nature, as being a reason to separate a b.mother from her child ....... anyone 'in the know' was quite likely to have put their tuppence worth of opinion in......it could be a 'family friend' or possibly a person from the church if they were church goers.......or a previous teacher if your b.mother was young ........

While I do think that in the best of worlds, the best 'family' for a child is two parents sharing the caring and the joy.........raising children on one's own is hard work.........it has to be said that there were probably many young women who could have raised their child well and happily if they had the right sort of help and support from their family, but even in the 1970s this was still disapproved of........and also, I might add from experience....divorcees were not treated much better in the 'disapproval' stakes either......

It is quite wrong to feel that you must hate your b.mother ...... you don't know all the facts at this time.......you may never know them, but at least for your own sake you should try to find out.....hate is very destructive, and the person it hurts is the person doing it ......there are always two sides to any story, you have only heard one side......and chances are that this was simply told to your a.parents to make them feel ok about taking you......my a.parents were told something similar in 1946, and it was actually very far from the truth....... also we have the tradition, in this country, of believing people to be innocent until they are proved guilty ........so find out the facts if you can, and then make your judgement about your b.mother........also, read the posts by the birth mothers who are writing on this forum .......they never forgot their babies, and grieved for them for years.......some have not found them yet and they still grieve.......there may be a b.mother out there somewhere who longs to know what happened to you.........there may not.......but you won't know until you find out for yourself.......

LA
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Re: Hi, i'm new here!

Postby jennyg » Mon Sep 01, 2014 9:43 pm

Hi all,
It's been a while but wanted to say that I finally got my adoption records a few weeks ago!
It didn't tell me any medical details (which was what I was hoping for) but did give me a lot of information, and has also given me more questions than answers!
As I've said previously, I've always know that I was adopted, but had been told by my a.parents that I had been removed from my b.parents by social services due to neglect!
The record shows that a g.p. had first raised the alarm about my b.mother, but she herself contacted social services asking for me to be taken into care as she felt she might "beat" me again!
I was less than 8 weeks old.
I've also always known that I was born 7 weeks prematurely, but still weighed 7 and half pound, found this a bit odd, the records state, by a doctor present, that I was born at 33 weeks gestation, by dates, but appears full term clinically!
The only thing I can guage from that is the man she has named as my father, might well not be! He was a married man with 6 children already, and it states in the record that they hadn't intended to have children together! They had moved in together 7 months before I was born, and had only met just prior to that!
It would make sense as he was keen for me to be kept in long term foster care rather than adoption. I wonder if he was waiting for proof that I was his?
Not really sure what my next move should be. I know its possible to attempt to get medical info with the help of my g.p. but if he's not my b.father there would be no point!
What do I do?
Confused!
Thanks for reading, sorry it was long
Jenny x
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Re: Hi, i'm new here!

Postby ladyarcher70 » Wed Sep 03, 2014 3:03 pm

Hello again Jennyg........wow, what a long time you had to wait for your file.........

I think it a great shame that so little was available to help young mothers, even then......... When I was growing up I belonged to the Girls' Life Brigade, which is a similar organisation to Guides but attached to the Baptist Church...... anyway the badges that we did included babycare and child care, and we spent a lot of time learning how to bath babies, testing the bath water for the right temperature......we put nappies on and off, the big towelling ones of course in those days, with muslin liners....we mixed bottles of milk with different amounts according to the age of the baby.......we dressed and undressed lifelike baby dolls and learned basic first aid for choking etc, and how to arrange our rooms so babies that started crawling were safe from power points, and all sorts of useful things.....one of which was that immediately after a feed, we had to strip baby and 'hold her out', that was the term, over a pot, in the hope that at least one nappy would escape with only wee in it...scraping and washing towelling nappies was not one's favourite job..........we had to pass tests, and also entered competitions regionally and nationally.....I remember our 'team' doing a competition at the Albert Hall ....

The result of all this learning about babies was that by the time I had mine I was totally confident in how to care for them, and what to expect about how they reacted.....this was particularly useful for me as I was being brought up as an only child in my adoption 'family' so did not have the experience of younger siblings to care for...... there were, in the 1960s also preparation for parenthood classes, as well as the birth preparation classes, all run by the District Nurses and Health Visitors.....but by the late 1970s when I had my second family, a lot of this seemed to have gone............and also families had been getting much smaller as birth control became available.........so at the time that your b.mother had you, she may have had very little idea of how to care for a baby, and what to expect in the way of baby behaviour..........I have come across people, even now, who think that a crying baby should be smacked to 'teach it a lesson'.........it seems amazing that such ignorance still exists, but it does..

....so it could be that your b.mother, possibly may well have had post natal depression, and not known much about how to soothe a fretful baby........but at least did know enough to know that she needed help.........and obviously asked for it, so although she was parted from you, she had done her best to see that you were safe.........it may be that she had no support from her family.........it may be that the fact that she was with a married man was frowned upon.......it may be that she had no family to help her anyway, or that they were at a distance.......... all sorts of questions that you do not have the answers to at the moment......7 weeks early and weighing more than seven pounds does seem unlikely........maybe her dates were confused..........

On your b.father's side, it is sort of comforting to think that he did not want the adoption, but as you say he may have had doubts about if he was your father.....only he, or your b.mother would know if he had good reason to suspect that he might not be.........I am not sure how long dna tests have been available.......were they around in the 1970s....on the other hand, he may have wanted you in foster care until he and your b.mother had sorted themselves out, which could have been very difficult given that he had a family already......and the new divorce laws were in the process of change at that time........

If you want to know for sure if he is your father, your only option is to trace him and ask him if he would do a dna test ...... if you want to contact your b.mother it sounds as if you have enough information to look for her. Perhaps you already know her age, but remember in the 70s' girls were a lot 'younger' in their experience and knowledge of life than they are now.........so even someone in their early twenties, whom you might think would 'know better' would not always be as streetwise as a fifteen or sixteen year old now...........so you will have to work out what your b.mother's upbringing had been like before you form an opinion on how or how not she should have behaved at the time..........she might have had a strict sheltered upbringing which did not prepare her for the world.........or she may herself have been neglected in her upbringing with parents perhaps not setting a good example themselves, or just being too busy to make sure that she was on a 'good' path in life generally........or she may have been a rebellious teenager, and now be a settled member of the community...........all sorts of things that you don't know, and cannot really judge from reports written many years ago by people who had themselves been brought up in a very different social age......

Keep coming back here for help and support whatever you decide to do.....there will always be someone ready to listen.....

LA70
born 1944 - adopted 1946
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Re: Hi, i'm new here!

Postby jennyg » Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:51 pm

Thank you for your response.
I had thought that my b.mother was very young, that was the impression my a.parents had been given. It turns out she was 25 and b.father was some 7 years older!
What bothers me most, I think, was the word 'beat'. In her own writing, signed by her, it states she was worried she might beat me again! Not smack or slap, beat!
B.father was not interested in keeping me as it says in the file he had threatened to leave if I was still there, but also wasn't keen to sign any forms. He was regularly out when appointments had been made for home visits to sign the forms. Confusing!
I kind of get the impression that she would do anything to keep him, and if that meant getting rid of me, then so be it.
I have watched every episode of long lost family and wondered what any reunion would be like for me, nothing like you see on there, I bet!
But if he is my b.father, then I have 3 half brothers and 3 half sisters! I can only imagine that they don't even know of my existence.
I feel like I've opened a huge can of worms, and I can't get the lid back on :-(
Thanks again for reading, sorry for ranting on
Jenny x
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Re: Hi, i'm new here!

Postby julie2009 » Mon Sep 08, 2014 11:50 am

Hi Jenny

Just read your story. That programme LLF never really got to me in such a way it did last week when the adoptee discovered her BM had died and then discovered she had two half sisters and an aunt who was very willing to help her fill in the blanks. I sat and thought why couldn't my BM sister have been like that with me. She contacted me by email a few weeks ago to say that everything the past comes up it affects her health and when I asked some important questions it was as if she couldn't be bothered.

Funny enough my BM was 25 when I born but because of their religions the relationship would never have worked out. I never saw any forms that were kept on my file but recently I made a request so waiting to hear back about that. I also discovered that my BM had three more children after me but when I asked about them her sister didn't give out much information. I even tried to track them down using FB but I don't know the eldest one's married name.
I found one of them on FB and the part where it says Friend Request was very tempting but I didn't send one.

I can understand Jenny like me and a lot of adoptees we all want answers. Even when I enquired from BM sister what her own mother died of she just said cancer but then told me in my last conversation her father had died of stomach cancer. It was as if it was such an ordeal for her to tell me.
I didn't want all the details and told her this. If only my BM was still alive I don't think I would receive this treatment but then you just never know do you.

Hope you decide what to do for the best and the outcome is a happy one.

Take care

Julie xx
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