Articles and interviews

26th July 2010

I was looking at three articles written last year by a journalist.  She had come across my book on Lulu which I had published there as I didn’t think any publisher would be interested in publishing it.  We couldn’t afford to pay a publisher to produce the book either.  She was interested in my story as she had never heard of an adult adoptee going to live with one or both of their parents.  At that time I only knew of two other cases and both out in America.  I checked the journalist out on the internet and came across several articles she had written plus other information.  She has written adoption related articles so that pacified me enough to respond to her after Rick and I discussed her email.

Although I was cautious I was willing to talk as I felt it was about time a mother spoke out.  Adoptees, adoptive parents and formerly fostered adults can be very judgemental of mothers as they believe what they are told.  There is no reason for them not to believe what they are told as parents don’t get the chance to tell their side of events unless reunion happens.  Open adoption in the UK generally amounts to letterbox contact once a year but there can be more contact if agreed on.  Unfortunately open adoptions aren’t legally binding so either side can close it.  I can understand why parents feel that way as not raising a child is a painful experience to go through.

The articles were in Pick Me Up, the Mirror and Bella which I have never regretted being published.  My main motive was that it is rare to see articles written from mothers points of views.  The ones I generally read are about mothers who chose adoption for their child and are fine about their decision.

In today’s society the media does promote that adoption happens more commonly for the child’s best interest or the mother chooses adoption.  I feel strongly about educating people that adoption isn’t always wonderful and there are those affected by it do have negative feelings about it.  From my own point of view of adoption = loss, pain, fear, shame, guilt, depression, fear of rejection, low self esteem and confidence, and, hate.  It took reunion for me to come to terms with what happened and to forgive my parents for what they put me through.  I know they will never apologise to me for what they did so I have had to come to terms with that as well.

I hadn’t expected my life to change direction quite so dramatically since reunion.  When I found Anthony I knew that it would be a huge upheaval not just for myself but also for Rick too.  Back in 2004 my outlet for dealing with my issues and dealing with reunion were online groups and forums.  I was quite content with that as I was getting the support I needed desperately.  At the time I hadn’t expected being more vocal of my experience beyond the adoption communities online.

On the 8th April 2009 the article appeared in the Daily Mirror which was more aimed at the negative side of adoption but with a positive ending.  It was centred on how our reunion affected my marriage and how it was resolved.  Rick dealt with this by ringing our pastor at the time who suggested him telling Anthony he loved him as he was part of me.  This was done by telephone and it helped Rick to move on.  Reunion has been a test on our marriage and we have worked through it.

Within hours I received emails from a publishing company, ITV and BBC South East.  The publishing company were keen to do a follow up story.  We weren’t comfortable with their terms nor would they agree to our choice of journalist.  Angela had made me feel comfortable and I was happy with the two articles she had written.

Rick then rang ITV and was asked if we were prepared to go This Morning the following day.  We agreed and it was arranged for us to be picked up at 7 am. Rick followed that phone call with one to the BBC.  After several phone calls we agreed to do a slot for BBC South East News and go on BBC Radio Kent.

The following day, which was a Thursday, we were picked up as planned.  The studio is at the South Bank and we were dropped off at the rear entrance where the staff go in.  It amused us to see the police box that’s used for Dr Who amongst the props as we walked through.

During our wait there was a constant flow of people in and out of the room as there is a kitchen area.  Alison Hammond who was in the third series of Big Brother is regularly on This Morning was in and out. She is exactly how I imaged her to be in real life and very likeable.

Years ago I used to work near the South Bank and had got used to seeing actors, MPs and journalists.  I have never been one for being star struck anyway but it was easy to slip back into feeling comfortable around well known people.

Signature who were the 2008 runner ups of Britain’s Got Talent were also there so we chatted with them for a little while.  It was a relief to have a chat as it was getting boring waiting.

During our wait Philip Schofield came in briefly to the Green Room and said ‘Hello’.  It had a calming effect on me whereas Rick was getting more nervous. We also got to meet Jack Coleman briefly whom I have seen in the American series Heroes.  Neither of us watch Heroes much so instantly recognised him as he wasn’t wearing glasses.

Before This Morning started we were asked to go into the studio.  When the programme starts there is a line up of what’s going to be on the show.  It took a couple of takes giving them an option which one to use.

Ruth Langsford came up to us during this time.  She made us feel comfortable and I was surprised by her reaction to my story.  Ruth told us she thought it was an incredible story and a film could be made of it.

Our spot was at 11.30 am so it was a long wait.  By the time we went to the make-up room we were both bored.  Denise Robertson, the shows’ agony aunt was there, so we were able to have a quick chat with her.

It was a relief when 11.30 came and we were sitting in the studio.  Philip and Ruth helped us feel relaxed just before but it didn’t completely cure the nerves. Although we were nervous we managed to answer all the questions and the slot flew by.  It is an experience we won’t forget nor do we regret going on the show. Although a positive note followed through the interview it was also about the dark side of adoption.

People, in general, think adoption is good but they don’t know about the negative side to it as it’s not talked about publicly.  The image of natural parents isn’t great so for this reason I will talk about my own experience as in real life I don’t the fit the bad image.  People see me as a very ordinary person so when they find out I am a mother who surrendered a child it gives them something to think about.  It’s not unusual for people to behave awkwardly then change the subject quickly.

It took us about half an hour to get out of the studio as members of the production team wanted to talk to us.  They were all very respectful and thought the interview had gone well.

On the Friday afternoon we were interviewed at home for BBC South East News.  This was much more relaxing as we were at home and it wasn’t going live.  The interview went on the Monday lunchtime news.  However we missed it as we went out in the morning and I didn’t read the email I received about it until the afternoon.

Tuesday morning we were off to Tunbridge Wells where BBC Radio Kent is. We got there early so had a tour of the studios.  The studio which is used for the news is small which surprised us. As there was still a bit of time to waste we had a look round town.

The interview with the D.J. lasted about 15 minutes with a brief break in the middle. Again Rick and I were relaxed as we were getting used to being interviewed. This one was serious to start off with then became more light hearted as the interview progressed.

Rick and I can understand why people get a buzz from doing radio and television work. It had been quite an intense time for us. It took me a little while to come down from the high but at the same time I am glad we did it.

 

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About Philippa

I am married to Rick and we live in a small town in County Durham. We have two dogs, a cat and two budgies. I am also an adoption survivor. In 1981 my son was born and I was then forced to surrender him. It took 23 years and reunion for my to find out that my son's adoption was legally known as a forced adoption and illegal but social workers got away with it because mothers didn't know their rights.
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