Posts tagged Adoption Act 1955
The baby or the fridge

1960 was a big year for my adopting parents. First came the infertility diagnosis. Then a new baby arrived with little warning and no fanfare. Followed within days by a new refrigerator.

I was one of over 103,000 New Zealand babies forcibly removed from my single mother. Her dying mother sent her to the doctor’s house with a couple of months to spare. The generous Dr Gerald Gleeson put her to work cleaning and scrubbing. Weeks before I was born he promised me away to the “an attractive young couple who belong to the Church of England."

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Consider youself one of us

As a child, my family saw the musical Oliver!. For days after, my adopting mother hummed and sang the theme tune:

Consider yourself one of us  
Consider yourself at home 
Consider yourself one of the family ….etc etc

The song is a bit of an earworm. I’d forgotten it and the memory until recently when I heard it on the radio.

If you’ve seen the film (or read Dickens), you’ll know that being ‘one of us in Oliver was conditional on acting the part. You had to abide by their code of thievery and obey Fagin, the orphan master.

It makes sense. Like Fagin’s gang, we humans are tribal.

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I blame Karl Marx

The Gallows Bird is a historical trilogy I have coming out next year. There, we meet Mr Fingleston, a silk merchant and tailor.

The character of Mr Fingleston visited me in the early hours, over 20 years ago. I described him as an ivy bush of a man, small and messy with a moustache drooping below his chin.

The timing is important.

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Who Owns You?

Who owns you? Have you ever asked yourself this question?
If you are a non-adopted person then the idea that someone could own you may never have occurred to you.
If you are an adopted person, you may not be aware of the terms of your adoption. Or how current adoption laws resemble sale and purchase agreements.
I had this lesson rammed home last week.

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Dear Toni Street

Dear Toni Street
Congratulations on the arrival of your child born through a surrogate. I have read of your frustration at the hoops you must jump through to now adopt him.
Thank you for lending your profile in support of a petition to update the Adoption Act 1955. By doing so, you are raising awareness of the inadequacies of this act.

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