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Call for further understanding of adoption issues

September 8, 2005

Call for further understanding of adoption issues

New Zealand needs another major adoption conference next year, according to a survey of people who attended the national conference in Christchurch last month.

The survey of about 250 people from all over New Zealand found, of those who responded, 100 percent wanted another conference.

Julia Cantrell, chairman of the Canterbury Adoption Awareness and Education Trust which ran the August conference, said her group was staggered by the survey responses.

``The survey found that virtually everyone thought the conference was validating, enlightening, and absolutely worthwhile. There is a tremendous need for more education and discussion about the complexities of the adoption and reunion experience.

``We have our annual meeting this weekend and we will consider where to from here and also the possibility of staging a future New Zealand conference in Auckland or Wellington.’’

Ms Cantrell said many of the hundreds of people who attended the August conference found the experience overwhelmingly positive.

``People who had been adopted at birth or as young children said it was incredible to hear their experiences and emotions described, explained and validated.

``Several survey respondents said the conference had been a “turning point” in their lives and most spoke of their relief and appreciation at finally having a forum in which to explore these issues.
Virtually all those who attended, whether adopted persons, adoptive parents, birth parents or professionals, said they were impressed with the comments and advice given by the key speaker, Nancy Verrier, of the United States.

``Even though New Zealand has led the way in opening adoption records since 1985, there is much to be learned and understood about the complexities of the adoption and reunion process,” Ms Cantrell said.

``Viewing the initial separation of mother and child as a trauma for both, is challenging for some to accept, but a key to understanding and addressing some of the issues adopted people have to face throughout their lives.

``The overwhelming response from adopted people who attended was that of validation and relief at being understood and empowered to move forward in their adult lives.”


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