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Dublin Live
Dublin Live
Cathal Austin

Dublin woman reveals shock at finding out she was illegally adopted at 54

A woman who was illegally adopted at birth has told of her shock at discovering her parents were not her birth mother and father at the age of 54. 

Anne O’Connor who was born in Dublin in 1964 and had a "normal childhood" found out she was adopted after she was contacted by the national child and family agency Tusla in 2019.

She was told by the agency that her birth was registered illegally in Ireland. 

Two years on she told Morning Ireland that she is still dealing with grief.

She said: “I wasn’t who I thought I was, but I don’t know who I am.

“I was told that I'm not the birth child of my parents. My birthday is not the day that I've been celebrating all my life. I was meant to be born in St Rita’s - I was born in Sorrento in Cabra Park. 

“And that was it, nothing else.

The Department of Children has confirmed that 151 cases of illegal birth registrations have been discovered as part of an ongoing review into former adoption agency St Patrick’s Guild.

The illegal adoptions were discovered after records of St Patrick’s Guild were transferred to Tusla in 2016. 

Index cards on the files contained the words “adopted from birth”. 

This phrase raised suspicions and the cases were analysed further by the Adoption Authority of Ireland and the General Register Office and It was confirmed they were illegal registrations. 

Anne said that after being told she was illegally adopted she was refused any further information and left in shock, without an identity.  

She said: “To be told this, and then be given nothing to go on it was like I had been emptied out inside.”

Tusla has said it provided access to any personal information it held in line with the current legislative provisions under GDPR. 

Anne did not get the chance to ask her parents about the circumstances of her birth and adoption as they have both passed away. 

She said that while she has many unanswered questions, she still loves them as a mother and father. 

She said: "I love them, I still love them, I can’t stop that. They’re still Mum and Dad."

Anne is happy that she knows about the circumstances of her birth and said she is processing the information and is working on moving forward.

She said: "There’s something about the truth that settles your system. Truth. My body feels settled with knowing this.

It’s like I can start to become me, myself, who I am."

A sample review of the St Patrick's Guild adoption agency records will be published by the Department of Children in the coming weeks.

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