The price involving personal research as I learned, can be brutally high but does the pain in discovery ever go away? Having lived my entire life in damage control albeit subconsciously, the best it ever does is subside to the point where you don’t allow it to interfere in your everyday life. But having said that, the occasion will inevitably arise when someone will turn your world inside out emotionally. It does happen and usually when you least expect it:
I remember having taken myself down to the local shopping centre in 2019 and deciding to have a spot of lunch while I was there. I watched this smartly dressed man who I surmised as being of European descent, walk past me before doubling back then taking a seat at the next table. He then instructed his wife to go and fetch him some lunch. I could feel his very concentrated gaze but chose to ignore it. He couldn’t help himself:
“Are you aboriginal?”
“Yes, I am”
He wanted to know where I came from and when I told him I was born at La Perouse, he wanted to know my story. I was happy to oblige as it was no big deal, at least no big deal until he quite nonchalantly commented:
“I got three of them.”
“Oh ok” I replied, trying hard not to show any emotion. He went on:
“Yes, the girl is a Nurse and one of the boys is doing really well as an Office Manager.
The other one I have not seen for almost two years.”
“But you know what they say: sooner or later they get up and go walkabout!”
I don’t remember anything after that except going home to Bob in a shocked and distressed state. My God, I have never seen my baby sister Lynette. Had she been destined for a ‘white family’ from the moment she was born? It was a thought I just could not cope with. What I learned from that experience is this: there is always going to be someone or something out there that will shake the tree however, the grief brought upon you by any such experience, does not define you. I had to remember that, despite the pain being so exceedingly sharp at the time, like an arrow piercing my heart.
Adoption of Aboriginal children:
According to the Bringing Them Home report approximately 17 per cent of Aboriginal children forcibly removed from their families were adopted into new families. In the great majority of cases where fostering or adoption took place, the family was non-Aboriginal. There have also been reported incidences of babies and children being adopted into families overseas.
The majority of these adoptions occurred after 1950 when authorities began promoting the fostering and adoption of Aboriginal children by white parents as part of their assimilation policies. The government of the day was so taken with the notion that pamphlets – with titles such as ‘Fringe Dwellers’ and ‘The Skills of our Aborigines’ – were compiled for dissemination to Australians to support the idea of providing protection for the Aboriginal peoples of this land. https://psychology.org.au/inpsych/2014/august/dudgeon
I remind myself constantly, that hopefully, I still have a sister out there, a baby sister torn away from not just me, but from my entire family. A sister whom I have never met! I cried for days sensing that it was probably someone like that white guy in the shopping centre who was considered by the AWB and CWD at the time, as being the perfect choice under their destructive Assimilationist model. I moved on. For my own sake, I had to…