I don’t know exactly when my birth mother found out that she was pregnant with me. I have no idea how far long she was when she realised that she was in this situation. She was unmarried,18 years old, living with her parents in the late 1970’s in a country where they had to line up to get bread that were rationed out to community. Times were very tough. And now she had to make her own tough decision. One that no one wants to make. She decided to have me. Many wouldn’t have. But she did. She left her small South American country under a cloud of family secrets where only a few knew the truth of why she was going to the UK. She gave birth to me in Wimbledon. She named me Tracey Ann (Ann is a family name). I guess my last name would be determined by the family that took me in. She had already made up her mind to adopt me out. A family wanted me. I went to stay with them and even have a picture of me with them and their gorgeous lassie dog in my baby album. I guess the deal was done.
But then comes the call from a family member in the UK to my now adoptive parents. There was a baby here. My adoptive mother wanted me straight away. There was no way the she was going to allow this child to be outside the family where it would be most likely that my birth mother would never know where I was. No. Her husband (my adoptive dad) thought she was mad. How where they going to get this child whilst they were in Australia and I was in England? This was the 1970’s after all. Communication was only through mail or phone calls which were ridiculous expensive. I should also mention that at this time, my (adoptive) parents already had 3 children of their own aged between 3 and 8, no doubt another reason why my dad thought his wife was mad. But she was determined. This child will stay within the family. She is my birth mothers sister-in-law, her husband is my birth mothers brother. I was to stay a Martin.And my birth mother agreed.
So mum started the process. Phone calls back and forth to my birth mum. Trips on the bus into the city to have meetings. Back then in the UK there was grace period for children to stay with families and the birth parents can change their mind within that time. We were on a strict time limit.
Fortunately for all parties involved, and after a visit from Child Protection to my parents home,the Australian and England Government agreed for me to be adopted outside of the country and come to Australia. Then biggest problem now was how was I going to get from England to Australia. Neither of my parents could fly over and get me so they started asking friends and work colleagues if they had anyone coming out to from England to the UK. They found someone. And then tragedy struck. There was a fire and the person that was meant to bring me out was badly injured. It looked like the deal was off. How could they find someone else with no barely no time left hat would agree to bring out a baby for someone that they didn’t know? And who really would want to bring a new born baby on a long haul flight to be honest….sounds like quite the nightmare!! Then, a friend of a friend knew a couple that was migrating to Australia and they agreed to be involved and be part of this story. I was on my way.
My parents never kept my adoption a secret from me. They started telling me from when I was about 3 years old. They had never wanted to keep it a secret. I have also never looked at them as not my parents, in fact I’m not a fan of the title “adoptive parents”. Parents are who raise you. Not necessarily who’s DNA you are made up of. And I know that my parents have never not seen me as their child. Never. I am theirs and they are mine. I feel so fortunate that my parents fought hard to get me and whilst they of course were sad for the couple that I left behind in the UK, their focus was me. I was a child that needed a home and there were parents that could give me one. Sure I was family and I am so fortunate that I have never had to really worry about where I came from due to what they did for me. Who knows if I had stayed in the UK whether I would have been given that same privilege of honesty from who adopted me. Luckily I will never have to worry about that.
I have nothing but admiration for my birth mother and my parents. No hurt. No ill fillings. Nothing but praise for everything that they did for me. They all gave me life.
Overseas or local adoption is successful. There is no doubt. I am a 40 year old success story.