The confirmation

Finding out I was adopted was more about confirming what I’d already suspected.  The confirmation itself would come from a stranger at the end of the phone and the conversation went something like this:

“I’m sorry Katherine,  I am unable to disclose confidential information of this nature.”

As unbelievable as it sounds, that statement changed my life and started me on a search that’s still going today – 30 years later.

The lead up to this phone call entailed a night at the pub for my husband Mark who ran into my brother Chris which inevitably ended up in the two chatting over a few beers. The next morning, which was probably a Saturday since Mark only went out on Friday nights,  he recounted his conversation with Chris.


Chris’s and my father died on the 9th July 1981, he was only 58. He didn’t wake up one morning.  If my memory serves me well, I think my brother Chris was living at home at the time so he was there when mum woke up and discovered her husband of 36 years lying dead beside her.

Our mum was a beautiful soft soul who didn’t cope well with her emotions so sorting out all the paperwork one has to deal with on these occasions was left to my brother. I was tending to mum and my three month old baby girl Kristy.

Mark’s recount…

While Chris was gathering paperwork to provide the undertaker, he discovered two Order of Adoption certificates, his and mine. Chris had no idea he was adopted, he was 28 at the time and we all knew mum breast fed Chris. He told Mark that he wasn’t surprised to find my adoption papers, after all he was 7 and one day out of the blue mum and dad bought home a baby sister.

And that was about as much information as Mark could remember. Knowing my brother that was about as much information he knew. Like me, my brother adored mum and dad and I think he was devastated in finding out he was adopted so he wasn’t interested in getting to the bottom of the story.

You would think that this information was the confirmation I needed but on the contrary, Mark was recounting a conversation held in a pub between him and my brother both of whom enjoyed the odd drink or two or three.

I didn’t want to ask Chris for confirmation of his story. I certainly wasn’t going to ask mum, that would be devastating for her.  Asking questions would uncover my desire to find out who my birth parents are and I didn’t want my family to think I didn’t love them. Asking for my Order of Adoption certificate was also out of the question, at least it was at that time.

Looking back at that time, I conclude that the moment my adoption was confirmed was the moment I wanted to know – where did I came from and how did I get  here.

If I couldn’t ask my family maybe a stranger could provide the confirmation I needed.  If there was an Order of Adoption certificate, my name most certainly would be on a government list somewhere. What government department I didn’t know but it was Saturday and I couldn’t wait for Monday to come sooner so I could start calling.

Monday and the search begins

I can’t remember the exact date my search began but I do recall being in my newly renovated lounge room which was the home my father was raised in. So it must have been 1984. By this time I had two kids – Kristy 3 and Josh was a newborn.

After making several phone calls I was finally put through to the Department of Youth and Community Services. I told my story to a lovely man and I recall his genuine interest. I wish I knew his name as he is an important element in my story. He said he could look into the records over the next couple of days but he did warn me that if I was on the list he would be unable to disclose confidential information of that nature but he said he could confirm if I wasn’t on the list.

So the scene was set, in several days time this lovely man would either say he wasn’t able to disclose confidential information of that nature or that I wasn’t on the list.  It was the longest three days I’ve lived through.

The phone rang, he said he was from the Department of Youth and Community Services and that he searched his records and his next sentence changed my life:

“I’m sorry Katherine,  I am unable to disclose confidential information of this nature.”

Author: Kitty

First and foremost I'm a busy working woman but I'm also a mother, grandmother and mother-in-law. I was brought up in a small country town but I've lived and worked in Sydney for over 20 years. I'm a slack blogger because life and earning a living gets in the way.

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