there was a bit of concern about the short notice of the event at Parliament House unfortunately that was out of my control and just to explain I wrote the following:
Jan Barham worked very hard to get a motion passed so we could have a day of recognition and a memorial. The motion only passed about a week before the event – hence the short notice. Jan organised the event to alert her fellow politicians that the motion had passed and she asked me to speak to educate them about our issues. Jan requested that an adoptee also address her colleagues so I organised Kerri Saint to be part of the event. She is articulate and is the president of a national adoptee’s organisation. As well Kerri and I have worked as a team for a number of years.
Jan on her own initiative made ribbons for all her parliamentary colleagues – she liaised with me about the ribbon and I with ALAS in Queensland –
Kerri and I spoke as a team. An adoptee who accompanied Kerri stated: “What a team you guys make – I have been deeply moved”. Ann Symonds, former Labor MP, said to Kerri after: “You have changed my life, I will never view adoption the same”. This is what the event was about and why it was organised. It was not to educate those already educated. Neither was it a formal or informal get together. I made the event known to all the members of the Alliance and a number of politicians and the media as soon as I knew which was only a few days before the actual event took place. I did not organise the event however and as such had no control over the timing. It was hoped there would be a better media turn out – as that is one of the reasons the event was organised. It was not done to leave anyone out it was done quickly and as a forum to educate.
Kerri and I both emphasised the need for many mothers and adoptees to have an integrated birth certificate. We also discussed how traumatising many of us find the use of the word adoption and maybe it is time to substitute the word for something else to not only differentiate it from past forced adoptions but particularly when it is now being used to describe an institution under which unsafe children are removed – I suggested the use of the term ‘Permanent Guardianship’. Kerri supported me in that.
I am very grateful to Jan that she has supported survivors so publicly since the NSW apology – like organising the event. that she took the time to organise it in spite of a very busy schedule. Jan’s and our hope was to begin a journey that would lead to an event that would grow yearly so the NSW apology would never be forgotten.