As an adoptee, I have my own story and this has been told in The Scent of my Mother’s Kiss, available on Amazon. Initially published as The Little Mongrel – free to a
good home, Fixwrite 2007, this revised
edition includes a chapter on Rock Lynn
House, Launceston, Tasmania, the home in which I was born.
Operated by the Salvation Army between 1895 and 1960, the function of the home was, to a greater degree, driven by the social change and attitudes that influenced policy and practices, which led to an increase in separation of mothers and their children through adoption.
I took me a long time to write the Rock Lynn House chapter, as I wanted to present an account that was well researched and free of bias. To maintain this impartiality required me to look at the bigger picture, to look beyond the years immediately preceding and following my own birth in 1946, to the conditions of disadvantage for women as sole parents in late 19th century, post transportation Tasmania into the 20th century.
I had no pre, or recently, conceived ideas or opinions on Rock Lynn, accepting it as the place of my birth and that of my adopted siblings. It was the big place over the back fence of the house across the road from my grandmother’s house, where a salvo officer lived with his family road when I was growing up, a place that carried an air of mystery that I sensed was part of me, of who I was.
I was also fortunate in not writing from a position of anger or need to blame, having long ago made the decision not to let the past impact on the present or whatever future may be allowed me. This doesn’t mean I’m happy with my adoptee state. I’m not, and never will be. However, I refused to embark on, or attach to, any present-day blame finding or retributive campaigns that feed rage and discontentment and ultimately, disillusionment, when the answers sought are not forthcoming.
With the book now in print, I’m happy with the result, even to the point of changing my somewhat negative opinion of the Salvation Army, seeing in their work a nobler intention that surpasses retrospective criticism. This book is my truth and one that I'm comfortable with.
In relation to the adoptee community, what I’d like to see, but suspect I never will, is a time when all Australian adoptees are on the same page, when there can be consensus as to recommendations for legislative, policy, and practice reform, coming from the power of a united voice. A time when the emotional and psychological experience of the adoptee can be combined and filtered into a common voice, unfettered by the expression of unfairness and injustice of our individual experiences. To present to politicians, those who influence policy, and media, a clear mandate for change in favour of adoptee rights.,
Failing this, I’d set my sights on a more realistic goal, that of mutual respect between Australian adoptees for values and opinions held by all, understanding these have been formed through the diversity of the adoptee experience. To allow each adoptee to hold their personal truth, free of coercion, intimidation or adopting the role of ‘expert’ in order to over-ride or silence individual opinion.
With DLF and the rich, the famous, and the celebrity bedazzled gearing up for National Adoption Awareness Week 8-14 November, it would be amazing and productive if the adoptee community could set aside individual differences and anger at past practices, to focus instead on their shared beliefs and values and develop strategies to mount a credible campaign against the DLF driven propaganda in November.
DLF calls it Adoption Awareness Week yet, apart from a few well-chosen high profile adoptee supporters, where is the voice of the majority of Australian adoptees?