Actions and Detail Panel
Loss, grief and the long-term impact of losing a baby to adoption
Tue 30 May 2017, 14:00 – 16:00 BST
Loss, grief and the long-term impact of losing a baby to adoption: The experience of mothers of past adoptions
This panel seeks to explore the experience of mothers who lost a child to adoption in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and the long-term impact this loss has had on their lives. The panel will comprise two women who are members of the Natural Parents Network and who support the Movement for an Adoption Apology, one of whom lost her child to adoption in the 1960s and the other later on, and a social worker who provides specialist intermediary services to adults affected by adoption, both to adopted adults and first/birth relatives.
The panel will provide an opportunity to learn about the lifelong impact of losing a child to adoption, to hear about the demands of the UK Movement for an Adoption Apology, and to highlight key issues for for social work practitioners, community workers, counsellors and therapists to consider in their direct work with this group of mothers.
Speaker: Helen Jeffreys
In 1966, at age 18, Helen Jeffreys lost her 2-month-old son to adoption in due to homelessness and a lack of practical support. She moved to London, married, and had another son. She also had three step-children. After being involved in voluntary work with single parents and benefit claimants and working for Social Services in an administrative capacity, she got a job as a social work assistant and went on to qualify as a social worker in 1982. She worked mainly with children and families in east London until taking early retirement due to ill-health. She later re-trained and for the past 15 years has worked as a counsellor. She is a practising Buddhist and, for many years, taught meditation and Buddhism classes.
Helen has been involved with both NPN (Natural Parents Network) and MAA (Movement for Adoption Apology). She sought out and was re-united with her first son in 1992. Helen has always been completely open about the loss of her first son, refusing to subscribe to the attitudes of shame and enforced secrecy that prevailed in the 1960s and successive decades. She has appeared in various newspaper articles and on national tv. She also gives talks to adoption preparation training groups.
Speaker: Jane Reid
Jane is a mother who lost a baby to adoption in the 1970s. She will be speaking about her experience of losing her baby and the long-term impact this has had on her life.
Speaker: Jean Milsted
Jean Milsted has been working with adults affected by adoption for over thirty years. Since 2013, Jean has been registered with Ofsted as Adoption Services for Adults, a registered Adoption Suport Agency that provides intermediary services for adults affected by adoption in both adopted adult-initiated and birth relative-initiated contact, and support services for adoptive parents of adult adoptees. Prior to this, Jean was CEO of Adults Affected by Adoption - NORCAP, after working for a number of years in several local authorities. Jean's professional background is in social work and she is a HCPC registered social worker. She has an MA in Applied Social Studies and Certificate of Qualification in Social Work (CQSW) from Brunel University, a BSc. in Psychlogy from Loughborough University and a Diploma in Voluntary Sector Managements from Cass Business School. Jean has personal experience of adoption in that she is a member of an adoptive family and a birth family. Further information about Adoption services for Adults can be found at: www.adoptionservicesforadults.org.uk
Jean will draw upon her work as an intermediary, to speak about what she has learned about the experience of mothers who lost a child to adoption in the 1960s and the long-term impact of that loss. In doing so, she will highlight key issues for social work practitioners, community workers, counsellors and therapists to consider in their direct work with this group of mothers and she will identify what best practice might look like.
Chair: Dr. Perlita Harris
Dr. Perlita Harris is Senior Lecturer in Social Work at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research interests include adoption, transracal adoption and child welfare, with a particular interest in Black and seldom heard voices. She is the editor, co-editor or co-author of 6 books: In Search of Belonging: Reflections by transracially adopted people (BAAF 2006), The Colours in Me: Writing and poetry by adopted children and young people (BAAF 2008), Something that never went away (Adults Affected by Adoption - NORCAP 2009), Pathways to Permanence for Black, Asian and Mixed Ethnicity Children (BAAF 2012), Chosen: Living with Adoption (BAAF 2012), and Safeguarding Black Children: Good Practice in Child Protection (JKP 2016).
Venue: room LG01 in the Professor Stuart Hall building at Goldsmiths, University of London.
This is the second of 3 events exploring critical perspectives on adoption. The first event (Tuesday 23 May 2017) is the author Hannah Pool reading from My Fathers' Daughter and a Q and A. The third event (date in October 2017 to be confirmed) is a screening of Adopted-ID by Haitian transnationally adopted adult Judith Craig Morency, followed by a Q and A with Judith Craig Morency.
This event is supported by the Goldsmiths Annual Fund.