Case Studies


Sally was adopted from a Mother and Baby Home in Westmeath. Tragically, Sally had what may have been a preventable genetic stroke, something which continues to impact her life today. 

“Medically I had a stroke which was genetic and could possibly have been prevented if I had the information [...] my health is impacted for life due to this stroke”.

Sally’s story sadly highlights how the lack of access to biological health information, particularly about hereditary health risks, can be extremely dangerous for adoptees, and their families. Adoptees are also concerned for their own children’s health as a result of not being aware of their own hereditary risks.

The serious life altering effect of an avoidable stroke is a direct result of being denied access to this most basic information about her body by adoption and child protection agencies such as Tusla (the Child and Family Agency) and Cúnamh (formerly the Catholic Protection and Rescue Society of Ireland).  But unfortunately, this is not the only consequence of the denial of identity rights for Sally. 

She also had to face probing questions and potential obstacles to her career when seeking to be admitted into the profession she had trained and studied for. 

“Having to explain when seeking admittance to my [professional accreditation] as to why I don’t have a long [form] birth certificate”.

Sally was delayed admittance to a professional body, which was vital to her work, due to not having access to her original (“long form”) birth certificate. This caused her distress and embarrassment, as well as impeding her ability to do her job.

Sally is also very clear on what needs to happen next. She believes adoptees need access to their documents. 

“We are denied a basic human right […] we should be given our original documents and medical records which could be redacted as a very minimum”.
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