Illegal adoptees 'forced to break the law' by using their falsified birth certificates

An Oireachtas committee heard from a number of representative groups today.

AN OIREACHTAS COMMITTEE has been told that people who were illegally adopted as children feel they are forced to ‘continuously break the law’ because the birth certificates they use contain false information.

As part of its pre-legislative scrutiny of the Birth Information and Tracing bill, the Committee on Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth today heard views from a number of organisations.

The legislation will enshrine in law a right for adopted people to access their birth certificates, and birth and early life information.

Representatives from the In it together – Who Am I? group told the committee that each of their birth certificates “contain false information making them illegal, not just incorrect”.

There are 151 officially recognised cases of false birth registrations, but the group said DNA discoveries suggest this number is higher.

They also said there is a failure to acknowledge that the descendants of these 151 people are also impacted.

“The state’s inability to provide a solution is now causing each of us to continually break the law while knowingly using false identities,” the committee heard.

The organisation said the use of DNA is critical in both verifying the information held in files and vital in proving identity. In addition to making counselling available to all, they said the State needs to provide access to qualified genealogists to work with them to enable them to find our identity.

“There is nothing in the current Bill to allow the members of this group to access their family data, even when their ancestors are deceased, nor to rectify those false entries. This is leading to a continuation of false certification as the false information is carried forward by each new generation.”

The committee also heard from representatives from the Adoption Loss/The Natural Parents Network of Ireland, who said the title of the bill should be changed to reflect the fact that there are mothers, fathers and other relatives who also seek to contact their adult children.

The group has called for mothers to be able to read their files in the presence of a social worker and for them to be facilitated in writing a statement to correct or add information, as they are the only “true witnesses” to the circumstances surrounding their separation from their child.

Representatives said they also want the Adoption Authority immediately trace and write to all people registered as adopted to inform them of the fact of their adoption.

Alice McEvoy of Solas for Mothers said natural mothers have a problem with the use of the term ‘birth mothers’ in the bill, stating that it is “offensive and reduces mothers to that of incubators”.

The committee was told that this term can be triggering for some women, who were referred to in institutions initially as ‘first offenders’ and then as ‘birth mothers’ after they gave birth and their children were taken away.

McEvoy also asked that terms such as “given up” be removed from the bill as “we were forced to give up our children for adoption”.

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