Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Secrets and lies

I don't know whether I mentioned this in a post before or not but a friend of mine once asked me,

"What did you get told off for most when you were a child?" 

Such an odd question but one that didn't take long to answer with a another question,

and therein lay the answer. 

"For asking questions..." was my immediate response. 

"Oh it's just that's probably your natural talent and the thing you should do more often as an adult." A question worth considering yourself dear reader ;-)

I was told off time and time again for asking questions. Something I learn't to control very early on in my development as the asking always seemed to cause such discomfort. It happened so often and I was punished so much, that it actually caused me to stop asking any questions at all. Over the years that's changed, of course and I've reached the stage where I have to keep asking the questions regardless but with absolute clarity and intention; even if I don't get the answers or if the answers come at a really unexpected time, the asking seems to be the important thing.

One of the probing questions I've asked recently is of myself.

Why are you still involved with this subject 'Tuam Babies?'

Of course there are so many outstanding injustices and truths that need to be addressed, there's so much I can still give to this cause and there's so much that correlates to every aspect of society that still affects us all today but I really don't have one definitive answer, other than the motivation that comes from the heart which is an unfathomable thing.

In August, I got into discussion with another friend who told me she'd just had an astrological chart done. It's something I've longed to do but the right person hadn't presented themselves, the person she described seemed ideal, so I set about seeking my birth records in order to find out the exact time of my birth (a requirement for the chart.) Naturally, I have lots of questions concerning my entry into the world and it's time to seek the answers.

What did actually happen at my birth?

According to my father; my mother was never the same woman after it (there's room for several jokes here but we'll keep to the point); mental illness plagued her for the rest of her life and her South African family maintain she was a very balanced woman when she left Cape Town. Hoping to track down my mothers medical records, I sent off a request for information. Quite a lengthy process, I finally got confirmation that I'd receive a document in the post. Weeks passed and the anticipation grew but I was told it could take up to 40 days; unable to sit it out another fortnight, I got in touch with Data Access and disclosure yesterday, only to be told that:

We have had a look in the areas that we would expect the records to be held but unfortunately there was not anything available. This is likely to be due to the date of the records as we do not have to keep records after a certain amount of time, as explained in the Data Protection Act 1998. With maternity records, it is recommended that they are kept for 25 years after birth.
I apologise that we have not been able to comply with your request this time. 

                                      I GOT SUCH A LAND!!! 

One of the most pressing things that survivors have to face is the constant disappointment in searching for their records, either the lies they are told by various departments sending them on a wild goose chase or the blatant refusal to hand them over. I didn't expect to be met with the same result and it makes my blood boil.

So, I'm back to asking the questions,

Why aren't my birth details available?

Why does the data protection act of 1998 only keep records for a certain amount of time?

Why was I given the impression that my birth details could be found if there's a clear cut off point after 25 years? 

Why mislead?

I know for a fact that many people in Ireland and the UK have been able to access their records (people much older than myself) so, 

Why have I met this particular block?

I've been coy about writing about my own experiences since I started research on Tuam but I know that by seeking ways to heal collectively, I'm also doing it for myself. Now is the time to share some of the reasons which keep me so present with this subject as there's such a massive correlation and I find I'm now asking the survivors for their advice.  

"So many secrets and lies brought us to this point in our history and it's only by uncovering them do we have the key to unlocking our future," says another friend (I feel blessed by the loving support in my life).

What next?
Who knows?

but I'm going to keep asking until I find out.

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