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Bringing them Home - Graham story


I was adopted as
a baby by a white European couple. They were married at the time. They
couldn't have children and they'd seen the ads about adoption and were
keen to adopt children.

There were seven
of us altogether. They adopted four people and had two of their own. The
first adopted person was Alex. He was white. The next one down from that
is Murray who was American Indian. Next down from that was me, Graham.
The next person down from that was Ivan and they were the five who were
adopted into this white family. The next two after that were their own.

My adopted mother
loved children and that's why she wanted to do this so-called do-gooder
stuff and adopt all these children. After that, from what I can gather
is she did the dirty on my adopted white father and they broke up. He
walked out and started his own life, and she was left with seven children.
Alex was 10 years older than me and he had to take on many of the roles.

Then from there on
in, one by one we were kicked out at the ages of 13. It wasn't her own
family members [the two youngest] that were kicked out. It was the five
that were adopted. I must say Alex never got kicked out, although he suffered.
He had to look after us and he couldn't go out and do what a teenager
did and go roller skating or ... So he never got kicked out because she
needed him to look after us basically.

Twelve, thirteen
was the age at when she decided like we're uncontrollable, we've got this
wrong with us, we've got that wrong with us, we've got diseases, we're
ill all the time, we've got mental problems, we've got this, we've got
that. She used to say that to us, that we had all these things wrong with

Murray was the first
to go. When he turned 13 he got booted out because she made out that he
had this wrong with him again. He stole things, he did this, he did that.
He went to an institution. So seeing that we're Indigenous we all had
the double effect: one was adoption and one was institutionalisation.

They took Murray.
He went to [a Queensland boys' home]. Murray got caught up in the prison
scene because he started stealing and whatever. He was angry. He was in
the Home for two years. He got involved in a few stealings and he had
to go to Westbrook institution which is a lock-up.

There's a difference
between care and protection and care and control. Where Murray first went
into care and protection and then he had to go into care and control.

After that the next
person to go wasn't me. I wasn't quite 12, 13, the uncontrollable age.
Ivan, who was the one aged below me, wasn't adopted properly. He was sort
of fostered in a way. There was a legal technicality there. So because
he wasn't adopted properly, another family took him over and he's still
with them today [now an adult].

So I didn't realise
my time was coming, but basically when I hit the ages of 12 and 13 I was
next to go. She met this new fellow. She wouldn't marry him until I was
out of the scene. She basically said, 'Oh Graham is uncontrollable'. So
she got rid of me as best way she could without her feeling that she was
doing wrong.

Confidential evidence
441, New South Wales: Graham was placed in short term respite care but
his adoptive mother did not retrieve him. The court stepped in and an
order for care and protection was made in 1985. He was placed in the same
boys' home as his brother Murray. He was 13 years old. He remained in
the Home until he turned 18. Having failed almost every subject in secondary
school, Graham is now about to complete a university degree.
story appears on page 461 of Bringing them home.

Last updated 2 December 2001.