I remember as a child in Goldenbridge people coming up to take some children away forever. I didn’t know at the time that it had a name attached to it, which was called adoption. I recall a family, who were professional medical people who had wanted to take one particular child with them to a far off country. I remember quite vividly that she kicked and screamed and wouldn’t go to the porch-hall to see the strangers. I think she may have even hidden away somewhere in a cupboard. I now know looking back that she would have been far too institutionalised and like the rest of us, too afraid of the unknown outside world and the people in it. Inmates were enclosed in Goldenbridge, and never stepped outside the gates to go for walks or any other local activity. It was stated to the commission to inquire into institutional child abuse that children did go for weekly walks. Not true of children in my era of the 50’s / 60’s, and doubtless not true of those who went before me. I’d find that incredulously hard to believe, given austerity of the times.

Goldenbridge: A View From Valparaiso (Paperback) ~ Teresita Durk... Cover ArtTo think that there was a canal full of beautiful swans in the vicinity. It was shocking. The religious had the audacity to bring an Alsatian dog and a monkey into the confined closed prison yard space to teach children about nature, when in fact nature was to be had right outside the prison gates in the guise of swans; notwithstanding too the zoo at nearby Phoenix park. Ah… but… then, inmates were incarcerated by the judiciary and given sentences, so one was hardly going to allow child prisoners outside to see nature. That would be out of sync with the punishment they received for merely existing. I discovered in recent years that the canal existed when an ex- nun at the convent wrote a book about swans at Goldenbridge.

I was absolutely infuriated that inmates from GB were so deprived of natural things in life that most people around them take for granted. It was okay for children to walk up and down long avenues in pairs saying fifteen decades of the rosary to beautify their souls, but not okay to enjoy the aestheticism in their immediate midst. Is it any wonder then that children’s minds were so fucked up that they were so afraid to go out with people – who in all probability would have given them everything that children need to be happy in the world.

There were some children adopted who were allegedly sexually abused by one of the spouses. The pleas of the child/ren who reported alleged abuse went on deaf ears. The children were sent back to the same family. So inhumane. Some children who went out with host families for weekends and summer holidays were also allegedly sexually abused. It turns my stomach when one looks back and sees children being lined up in the prison yard at Goldenbridge – where Christine Buckley stated ‘the sun never shone’ – and ogled by strangers, who then had the choice of which children to take out. I know that it was with good intentions that the sisters in Goldenbridge advertised in the national newspapers for people to take children out on holidays. Well… they do seek good homes for animals in the same way, don’t they…? So there.

I was told that adoption began in Ireland in 1952.

I was reading an article this morning in yahoo online news that pertains to adoption in Ireland. It is a very sore subject, just as were some adoptions that took place in industrial *schools* and Magdalen laundries. Of course one must leave aside those who were fortunate enough to have gone to good homes.

“I was handed over to my adoptive parents at two-days-old and then registered as their legal child,” Ms Tinggal said. “It came as a great shock therefore when I discovered that I wasn’t who I thought I was.”

Read the rest here

“We will work to achieve excellence in adoption and adoption related services, with the best interests of children as our primary consideration.”

Adoption Act 2010

The Hague Convention website ( has details of the Convention and a list of the Central Authorities, the Accredited Bodies and the Competent Authorities in each country.

I remember a survivor of Goldenbridge, now prematurely deceased who had a beautiful person call to her door one day out of the blue. She was numb-struck when the caller told her that indeed she was her sister. The latter had been adopted by a very loving family as a wee baby. She had gone on to produce a very loving family herself. ‘To those whom much is given much is expected.’ She came with open arms to accept her sister. Alas, the survivor mostly found it too difficult to cope with, as she never knew the concept of a family, let alone a loving one to boot. There was ambivalence on the part of the survivor who was basically an affectionless thief who could not relate to her new-found sister. Not even if she tried in a million years. You can’t get blood out of a stone. The survivor could not comprehend as to why this sister was adopted and had a good life, whilst she was thrown into Goldenbridge and given a life of hell on earth. She never came to terms with the differentiation, and didn’t either have the emotion / intellectual skills to comprehend same. Very sad. I spent a lot of time with the survivor telling her that she was very lucky to have discovered such a beautiful sister. It went on deaf ears. I pointed out that the same situation would never happen to me, and that she should really try to embrace the gift of this wonderful person who had come into her life. Albeit late. I was clueless. I had no concept either of what she was experiencing from the perspective of finding an adopted sister, but hell, I knew her Goldenbridge mindset and understood perfectly well that she would not have been wired up to take on board someone caring about her, as that was an alien thing to her. She lived without love all her life and wasn’t suddenly going to find it in the form of a person arriving at the door telling her that she was her sister. Yeah, what can I say…never mind. Adoption is another can of worms that needs to be dealt with properly.


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