It took 54 years for me to find out I was born prematurely, and my birth weight. I am a survivor of a forced transracial adoption. In less than two years I have learnt so much about adoption and birth mothers.

I had attended events at my local university about mixed race, which led me to meeting Dr Perlita Harris, an eminent academic in Social Work, with particular interest in advocating for children in the care system and transnational and transracial adoptions. Dr Harris was hosting an event about birth mothers, and it was here I got to hear and speak to birth mothers.

Some of their stories were harrowing and hearing from a researcher the effects of adoption on birth mothers and their children was quite shocking. To meet these women and at one point about four birth mothers and myself just all huddled together and cried.

As I had spoken openly at the event about my story, these brave lovely women kept reassuring me how my birth mother would cry for me. Being huddled together with them felt almost like this was the nearest I would ever get to hugging my mother.

It was at this event I heard about the primal instinct of smell and how some mothers when being reunited with their adopted child, both could recognise each other by their smell. I have longed to smell my mother’s hair, hearing this I suddenly felt a brief sense of normality in this abominable unnatural set of circumstances of being an adoptee.

Listening to facts and seeing graphs of the affects adoption has on the mothers, many never recover, going on to suffer mental and physical medical conditions. Adopted children also are prone to suffer ill health.

It was at this event I asked Dr Harris, was there anything I could do to help. It was not long after that I was contacted and went on to speak to the lecturer involved in the Experts by Experience group and I was invited to become a member.

My life has regained a sense of purpose, as for years I have being in poor health with a plethora of medical conditions, being mostly housebound suffering immensely from cabin fever. Being an Expert by Experience (EBE) member has given me the opportunity to put my life’s experience to good use, especially my surviving my forced transracial adoption. It was forced because of bad practice by a social worker, I was never meant to be adopted and this was confirmed when I finally got to retrieve my adoption file, aged 54.

When I thanked Dr Harris for introducing me to the EBE group, Dr Harris refused to take any credit for it, stating I did it myself by offering to help. Dr Harris was the most selfless person I have ever met, giving me a priceless reminder when I spoke about how I had thought I had somehow rid myself from my adoption baggage sitting on a beach listening to the sea Dr Harris told me these words “It will never leave you, it is part of who you are.“ These words will never leave me, just as with sad passing of Dr Harris who will forever remain a part of who I am.

Dedicated to Dr Perlita Harris - Written by Anon

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