Thursday, 26 May 2016

2016 update;  We have an adoptee facebook group called "Association 4 Adoptees" it is a closed group so you will need to send me a member request. The facebook group is an extension of everything I have been doing over the past 20 odd years. WASH has become Association for Adoptees Inc. We are having are now on the stakeholders group that meets with the department of Child Safety to discuss adoption issues, 'past, present and future". It is fantastic to know that adoptees are actively involved in helping to steer, policies and practices of Children protection. We as a group are making sure that the mistakes of the past are never repeated here in Australia. If you would like to get involved or wish to contact me for more information please email me Kerri at, kerris.1@bigpond.com we would love to have others come on board. We are looking for adoptees who can fulfill certain roles within the group and if you have any type of skill such as fundraising, marketing, computer skills, we would love to hear from you. If you are keen to have a more public voice you are most welcome to get involved.

 Please know; that if you Google WASH, 'white Australian Stolen Heritage' and or my name, 'Kerri Saint adoption' you will find a great deal of information about me and the adoptee groups that I have established and the great work we have done, with some other wonderful adoptees. WASH, has once again become Association for Adoptees Inc, which was originally established in 1983...It feels great to be restored back to our old name.

 We truly hope that you can connect with us and find some great new adoptee friends who understand your journey. Please check out our facebook group 'Association 4 Adoptees' and submit a member request. We ask you to do this because we want to keep the group safe, which means when you join you will be cared for very much. I am looking forward to the future and feel positive that adoptees are engaging in helping future generations of children.

Thanking you
Kerri Saint
Chairperson/founder

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

New email address

New email address,


                                 I just want to let everyone know that I have a new email address for those who wish to contact me personally. it is: kerris.1@bigpond.com

This is an old email address that I use often. I have had an hiccup with the yahoo address and if you have sent an email and it has bounced I apologise and ask that you please send all other emails to this new address.
Thankyou everyone for your support ..
Kerri Saint

Saturday, 2 August 2014

What the apology mean't to me con't,

                                       By the end of the meeting there did not seem to be a dry eye around me. Each adoptee had a voice in expressing how repugnant it was that our government should denie and conceal the truth, 'that many adoptees suffered at the hands of their adopters' and 'that they are still suffering now and deserve an apology for past wrongs'. We were told that any apology for  those who suffered abuse will most likely come from the speeches, but never from the official apology it's self...We left with very mixed feelings, and saddened that our fight had failed on one of the most crucial points.

I lay pretty low for a few days, contemplating what I needed to do. As an adoptee who had been terribly abused and a leader to the cause, I felt I needed to find away to make the most of what we had been handed and still give hope to other adoptees. I reflected over the past 23 years or so of lobbying and how scared I was then to even mention publicly that I had suffered in such a way at the hand of my adopters. For adoptee's to speak up as we have the past few years, has been amazing. I had only gone public with the whole truth of my childhood only a few years before, in 2008, prior to that no adoptee had done so here in Australia, that I know of, it was unheard of. Adoptees never betray their adopters.

 When I realized that we were left out of the 'Children in Care Inquiry' I became angry, why was no one intereseted in knowing about the abuses to adoptees? Foster care demands that those potential foster parents are screened thorougly and each child is monitored and checked upon. Each foster parent must have referrences to their good character etc and yet  there were children placed in their care who were abused, as reported by the Inquiry. When it comes to adoption, at least 250,000 children in Australia were given to couples who had little or no screening process and no follow up. In essence you could take a child and never be heard of again. How much more would children be more likely to becomes victims of abuse, under these circumstances and yet our government deems it unnecessary to apologise to such victims of forced adoption.

I found it ironic that my younger adopted sister being  aboriginal was given a formal apology by our government, as one of the Stolen Generation, for being taken and abused by the same people I was. This is because she was fostered for 16 years of her life. The same abuses, the same traumas, same suffering, same losses, by the same people, but because I am white and never was fostered then I am denied the same type of apology. It seemed to make no sense as to why the government should denie another group of people the same thing, for the same type of abuses suffered, did it really boil down to fostering and the colour of my skin?

In understanding the wheels of adoption you have to understand the history and at some stage I will cover it all here on this web site, but for now I will keep it very brief. After the second world war there were a large number of citizens unable to have children and during the 60's there grew the Love, Peace, no war movement. When these two things happen around the same time we tend to have a supply and demand process. Couples demanded babies, and vulnerable single mothers became the supply. (Please note the word vulnerable). Adoption became a profitable business, relying on good  old  eugenics, where only the best baby will do. The supply became so great at one stage that many babies destined for adoption ended up in an institution instead.  Demand slowed to almost a stop when the single mothers pension was introduced to the Australian public. By the year 2000 only about 38 babies a year were adopted against the thousands in previous years.

Adoption it seems was never going to be buried, only the truth of the harm it causes. The reason that we  never got the apology we deserved was the continued demand to keep the wheels of adoption turning. And to do that, was to never expose the wrongs done to the child by adoption. For our government to apologise to all the adoptees taken and abused would be to expose one of the biggest mistakes this country has ever made and stills wants to make. Rather than support single mothers to raise their children in a happy, healthy biological home they would rather choose to support a system that is harmful and flawed. It seems if you are married and childless with position and money you can do a lot of demanding that gets results. In the ear of the Australian government was the 'Adoption Privacy Group' who demanded that no such apology should occur. This group is made up of some very wealthy and powerful adopters who fought against having other adopters who were cruel and abusive exposed. Instead they demanded to have the whole thing ignored and covered up.They believed that by apologising to adoptees who had been abused was a slight against ALL of them, when this is not true. Just as, not all priests nor foster parents abuse the children in their care, neither do ALL adoptive parents abuse the children in their care.  We did have an inquiries into re-Forgotten Australians and Kids in Care we are currently having the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse.. We have some good priests speaking out, demanding that the church be cleaned up, in which should happen in every church. Why would adopters who say they love their adopted child not want the rotten parts o adoptions exposed, why would they want to deny the truth to be told..why would they not want to support victims of abuse a voice? It seems that the voice against speaking up against abuse in adoption is so strong that we are even denied a voice in the Royal Commission into Child Sexual abuse. Yes you heard me right, no adoptee is allowed to present to the Royal Commission of sexual abuse against them by adopters..WHY NOT! Why are adoptees constantly being denied a voice and justice.?

I decided that I would accept the apology, warts and all. At least I thought that this could be a stepping stone to some of the truth of adoptees being revealed. I was not going to walk away beaten, nor feeling that nothing had been accomplished. By accepting it and staying a part of the process I was allowing myself to begin the healing process and it kept me on the road to continue the fight for other adoptees. The truth of what happened to many of us. will I believe, find the light it deserves eventually, but only if there is a light bearer. I had to stay strong and find the good in what I had been handed, for me and for others. For 50 years I have lived in pain and suffering because of my adoption and abuse. I did not want the rest of my life to be lived in the same way, I wanted to free from it's shackles, I deserved to be free and I was going to make it happen, my way.

So I decided to go back to the homes where I was raised and face the demons of my past, this was the only was I was going to move forward... Please read; 'The Jar of Sand' to be cont later; for more of this journey.

I decided that I wanted healing and if my government was not going to help me achieve it, than I was going to achieve it for myself. I decided not to rely on the apology to give me ALL, that I had hoped for but for it to be a catalyst for healing, It was a beginning. After all these years at least they were acknowledging the pain, suffering, loss and trauma we experienced. Adoption trauma was now being spoken of, publicly; it was no longer a secret. We had not failed; we had opened doors once shut so tight they seem to never be opened, we needed to celebrate the victories, not lament our defeats, and spend the rest of our life the way it had begun as victims; we were now survivors..it was time for change.


On that day of the apology I took my 'Jar of Sand' with my children by my side. My heart pounded as to my surprise the Prime Minister, Julie Gillard, apologised to adoptees who had been sexually abused by their adoptive fathers. This cannot be found in the apology it's self, but I know for sure that after she heard first hand the stories of adoptees, she could be nothing but moved to speak from the heart. Though there are many things missing from the apology that I would have liked spoken of openly, and apologised for, I can see reading between the lines, that the government knows what we lived through. It leaves me wondering if they too like us, are living in fear of speaking the truth as we once did and all it needs is time and the right person in leadership to take the torch and hold it high.


                               
                                        

Friday, 6 June 2014

What the apology meant to me, cont.

After a series of meetings with the government I knew that they were not going to give adoptees like myself, an apology that reflected the pain, suffering and trauma that we had experienced. For weeks after the meeting I agonised over accepting such an apology.  For years I had lobbied to bring adoptee's issues to the attention of the government and public. I had fought with all my being and had put my personal story of childhood trauma out on display for all the world to see and read. It certainly was not easy by any means, the toll on me was at times crushing, in reality I had begun my lobbying since 1982 this was now 2013. All my years of lobbying had boiled down to this one day, to one speech and it seemed as if those offering the apology could not bring themselves to apologise for all the years of suffering at the hands of my abusive adoptive parents.

 As I sat there in front of those sent by government to liaise with the victims of former forced adoptions, to hear our stories, to know what was important to say and not to say on the day in formulating the written apology, I steeled myself and asked the question, would adoptees be apologised to for being abused by their adoptive parents? The reply hit me like a hard block of ice being flung against my chest and at the same time being slapped with full force across my face. NO! Then silence fell upon the room as the people sitting with me at the table drew in their breath, alone in their own painful thoughts as the shock set in. I too fell silent, my head dropped and the tears began to rise, I did not want them to see me cry. I did not want to let them know that they had won over me with their insensitive agenda and political game plays.

My face and posture obviously betrayed my inner feelings, as the one who had said, "NO!" finally turned again to look at me and asked the most shocking question, "Did that answer upset you"? he asked. This was to be a question that was to be the most telling of all detail of how sadly lacking is the understanding of government officials, which emanates from nearly every political arena's I had spoken to over the years. After a full senate enquiry, State apologies and the Australian Institute of Studies report on former forced adoption and adoption, exposing and highlighting the extensive, trauma and abuse upon adoptees, left me completely dumbfounded at this response.

My shock turned to anger, as it did for the other adoptees in the room and it was there and then that those present were obviously sent to placate us into a paltry apology, and leave out the significant words that address the wrongs specifically against adoptees.  Each adoptee present driven by years of suppressed emotions erupted and the roomed filled with accounts of the most horrific abuses encountered upon innocent children. They sat there as we offloaded years of agony and suffering caused by the failure of those who were responsible for placing  us in homes where we were abused. Through shattered tears we shared how the physical and mental scars have not diminished over the years. Some of us enduring many hospital visits and operations and how our prognoses of the future will stilled be filled with continued pain, both physical and mental. The suffering of our childhood abuse never stayed in the past, it haunts us well into the our adult life and often dictates the life we live or the death we may choose.

An apology for the abuses at the hands of our adopters was paramount to me as it was to many other adoptees. But, for some unexplained reason we were told it was just not happening despite our pleas, our truths, the studies, the research, the broken minds and bodies and even those adoptees who's pain drove them to end their lives. Adoptees would not hear the same type of apology given to the Stolen Generation or Forgotten Australians, yet we suffered the same abuses, the same losses and the traumas.

to be continued.....

Monday, 20 January 2014

Missing planks

When you find out you were adopted life is like a bridge missing planks. You still have to cross it but it will be a difficult path with hazzards.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Baby bounty plan

LEGALISED child stealing - that is how Imbil family campaigner Kerri Saint sees new moves to re-introduce forced adoption in Australia.

Only months after parliaments around the country apologised to Australia's stolen white generation for the cruel injustices of a corrupt adoption system, Ms Saint says conservative governments are heading back to the bad old days.

Worst of all is a New South Wales proposal to enact a "bounty" system of paying adoption agencies up to $37,000 for every child they can produce for adoption. For the full story, see:http://www.gympietimes.com.au/news/baby-bounty-plan-outrage-imbil-mums-fight-on-legal/2129398/#comments

Gympie Volunteer Awards

Gympie Volunteer Recognition Award Ceremony hosted by Member for Gympie David Gibson. Volunteer Kerri Saint nominated by White Australian Stolen Heritage. Photo Tanya Easterby / The Gympie Times

Thursday, 21 November 2013

What the Apology meant to me

I now realise the power of the truth, whether it is good or bad.

Speaking my truth no matter how painful has helped me to reach deep down inside me, to that little girl hiding in the bushes, shaking in fear and tears. Grabbing her hand, wiping her eyes, I tell her it's okay now, no one is going to hurt you anymore. You can now run and jump and play and be the little girl you were mean't to be. Your truth has set you free.

I sit with her now, in the open, I don't feel I need to hide her away anymore. No one is going to threaten to kill, beat or lock her away just because she dared to speak her truth.

When the day came that this country apologised, I carried her on my shoulder I didn't want her to miss a thing. When all was said and done, I sat her down before me as I poured the sand of her abuse and trauma to the ground. It was then that we both knew that healing had begun and that I was truly grateful for the bravery of a small frightened little girl who was determined to survive.  (Kerri Saint, Adoptee)

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Crossing bridges one step at a time

What if you could cross a bridge one step at a time. Sometimes it feels like you are never going to get there. Sometimes, you take two steps back and one step forward.  Healing is like that. Sometimes, you have to walk it alone. Other times, you have someone walking beside you. The main thing is that you take another step forward at some time. Eventually, you will reach the other side.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Two Jars of Sand

There are many ways to look at trauma. When you are in it, it confounds you. Overwhelms. Numbs.

How to get out of trauma, and move forward in life is the hard part.

What if it took only two jars of sand...?