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Who am I?

April 19, 2019


Is it really important for adopted persons to know their true identity? Could this be their last wish? Apparently yes.


William Hammersley, 67, who was in the advanced stage of lung and brain cancer wanted to know and share his real identity before he died, writes Julie Power in 'The Sunday Morning Herald'. 


The cancer originated in his lung and crept to his brain and bloodstream.


That's when he decided that he didn't  want to die as "an adopted person", his last wish being to die with an authentic birth certificate with names of his birth parents.


"I certainly don't want to die an adopted person. When I do die, I want my correct identity on my birth certificate," he wrote in his application seeking his birth identity.


At the age 60, Hammersley discovered he had been a "£50 baby", one of thousands of non-Indigenous children taken from women who were pressured to put their babies up for adoption in the 1950s, when the sale of babies for £50 was "rife in certain capital cities".


Hammersley had a receipt proving his adoptive parents had paid his biological mother's hospital bill.


Though he was told he was special by his "parents", his adoptive father used to beat Hammersley with a leather razor strap.


Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, every child has a "right to know" his or her birth parents. Children of sperm or egg donors also have the right to know the identity of their donor once they are adults.


Any child adopted in Australia is issued a new birth certificate that records the child's adoptive parents as "if the child were born" to them. It deletes any reference to the child's biological parents, their biological ancestry, and the true circumstances of their birth.


Katrina Grace Kelly, a News Corp columnist formerly known as Grace Collier, had her adoption discharged last year and a new birth certificate issued in her new name.


"I feel like I have been let out of prison," she said after she got her real identity back.


The Australian Institute of Family Studies' report says that in the decades prior to the mid-1970s, it was common in Australia for babies of unwed mothers to be adopted.





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