So ‘back in the day’ things were handled a bit differently in the world of adoption. They took details of the mother and her family, details of perspective parents, and then locked them away in sealed files to gather dust and frustrate (protect) the people involved.
In my case my mum had organised to have me adopted and then dissappeared. My adoptive parents had put adverts in the newspapers in an attempt to get her to bring me in. I’m not sure how long she kept me, it seems to only have been a month or so, but eventually she came in. I was handed over to a foster parent and the official adoption was about 5 or 6 months later.
Now the agency always tried to match the children as close as possible to the adoptive parents. Religion, colour, background etc were of prime importance so that your child would slide into the family with as little resistance as possible – but they also got to choose. At some stage my adoptive parents were taken into a room (I presume just after my birth and before mum dissappeared with me) and they were shown a little boy and a yours truly. They duly picked me and went off to wait for the paperwork to be done.
Nowadays things are far more ‘user friendly’. The records are far more complete, biologicals get a say in choosing the parents. They meet and chat about their lives and have an opportunity to get the information they will need for the future. The adoptives get an idea of what kind of kid they’re getting and the biologicals have at least a partial idea of how and where their children will grow up. Added to that, correspondence and photo’s are exchanged for about the first three years.
This means that when the child starts asking questions, the adoptive parents can haul out a file of information with pictures, letters written by their parents and all the contact details in the event they decide to attempt a relationship with them.
What a blessing!
In my case the files were sealed, my parents didn’t know much about anything except that my mum was Catholic and had named me Pamela. They also said that she had died in childbirth, and later that she had died in an accident and that my father could not care for me on his own….and then once they’d forgotten that version they announced at a family dinner (complete with priest) that both my parents had died.
Boy did they get a shock when I jumped up from the table using the VERY best items from my list of hysteria and profanity and told them they were liars and I knew that BOTH my parents were alive and I would find them even if it took my whole life!
I think I was 10 years old at the time.
I don’t remember the priest ever coming to dinner again…….