Saturday 21 April 2018

They took her without my consent: 'Adoption Stories’ follows heart-breaking experiences of Irish women and their children

Adoption Stories - Episode 2 - Martha Giblin Boys 2
Adoption Stories - Episode 2 - Martha Giblin Boys 2 Newsdesk Newsdesk

The successful documentary series 'Adoption Stories' is returning to TV3 for a third season, looking at how so many Irish families have been affected by adoption.

‘Adoption Stories’ follows several people around the country whose lives have been affected by being adopted or having their own children taken from them at birth.

Pat McManus
Pat McManus

In episode one, we meet Sallynogin native Pat McManus who was adopted by an abusive mother who completely cut him out of her will.

On his 21st birthday, Pat was told by his mother that he was adopted because his natural mother was mad and had wanted to drown him at birth. She refused to give him any more information and told him he had no right to know.

Pat McManus
Pat McManus

Pat didn’t start looking for his natural mother until years later, when his eldest daughter, Linda, became seriously ill and he needed to know the family medical history. He discovered that his natural and adoptive mothers were first cousins and that he had an older sister and a younger brother.

Pat’s adoptive mother passed away in 2014, with Pat and his family at her bedside. Pat was called in for the reading of the will, only to discover she had left everything to her five nieces and nephews, specifically quoting succession. 

As a legally adopted child, Pat has the same rights as a naturally born child, but this one last kick in the face has made him realise how unwanted he was.

The documentary also introduces us to Winnie, whose two-year-old daughter was snatched out of her arms by a nun, who sent her for adoption, without any legal consent whatsoever.

Winnie Heavey
Winnie Heavey

Westmeath native Winnie became pregnant when she was just 15. Her parents immediately decided that they would stand by her and the baby, vowing to bring both of them up in the family home.

The family GP was the doctor for the Home, so that's where she gave birth. Her parents paid the Home £100, which was the fee to allow the mothers to leave the home after giving birth, rather than have to stay and work off the debt for their care.

Winnie returned home with her parents to raise her child, who she named Patricia.   Two years later, there was an unexpected call at the door. The driver for the Home called to the door with a note for Winnie - she was to send Patricia to the Home.

Winnie’s daughter was taken by the nuns and given up for adoption. The family were in complete shock and utterly devastated; none of them had signed anything to give consent for Patricia to be adopted, as that had never even been considered.

This highly emotive programme tackles the contentious issues, but at its heart is the true effect of breaking the indescribable, natural, primal bond between mother and child.

The brand new series of ‘Adoption Stories’ airs this Thursday (11th June) at 8.30pm on TV3.

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