Saturday 20 October 2018

Mary Kenny: Adopting attitudes

There's been a revolutionary change in adoption, but it's still complicated

Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin
Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin
Mary Kenny

Mary Kenny

When I was about 11 I heard my aunt say that a couple we knew had adopted their daughter. "And aren't they brave!" she exclaimed. "Because you wouldn't know where an adopted child came from."

Perhaps the couple were even more courageous in that they were open about the adoption. As we know now, many adoptions were kept secret, and to this day, it will come as a shock to some that they are not the biological child of those they always regarded as their parents.

It's a sensitive topic, and there can be a conflict between the right of children to know their biological origins, and the pledge made to biological mothers, many years ago, that their privacy would be respected and their anonymity preserved. Many stories will emerge from new disclosures, and it will require tact, compassion and emotional intelligence among those dealing with it officially.

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