A memoir ‘#1302’
Note; facts as I know them deduced from hospital and DOCS social worker reports.
Baby ‘Camilleri ‘ presented to Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital. Admission report – ‘social problem’. ‘‘It’ has a bruised face; potential brain damage. Baby born at home with no medical assistance. Mother refuses hospitalization and says cannot care for child. Admit to Ward 8E for TLC.
I lived in Ward 8E for the next six weeks. Always referred to as ‘Baby Camilleri’. Described as a dainty baby, fair skin, grey eyes. Crying ..Always hungry ? Or just needing a cuddle from my lost mother? To this day I wonder and feel sad about that ‘dainty baby’ ; the many nurse faces that would feed me and hopefully be not too busy to cuddle, comfort me when I cried and cradle me to sleep.
I became a ‘Ward of the State ‘ – Case #1302. I had a name ‘Colleen’. Perhaps just an obligatory requirement to place on a birth certificate? My health was still questionable considered ‘unsuitable’ for immediate adoption and was subsequently fostered. A beautiful family who I adore to this day. After 6 months in their care, sadly they said goodbye to me and I was adopted into a family that my foster mother later described to me as ‘cold’ and ‘didn’t gush’ over their potential child. A social worker wrote ‘they were disappointed I was ‘so old’ and not the newborn they had wished for’. They met me once, maybe twice? and convinced social authorities that with work commitments and travel distance involved ‘to get to know me’ was unattainable. They were granted early access to take me ‘home’. My adoptive
parents paid $10 in court fees for them to ‘legally own me’. Hospital/Foster/Adoption records were sealed ‘never to be opened’, a new birth certificate was issued with my new name ‘Fiona Louise’. I was to never know my origins.
(Thankfully closed adoption rules were amended in 1984 and adoptees were granted access to their records) . At age 21 I finally knew my truths and did not hesitate to find my family. Very quickly I found my birth mother, dejectedly, the
possibility of a reunion wasn’t well received. Sadly my birth father was not listed on my original birth certificate. I had some sketchy non-identifying descriptions of him which I realized later were fabricated lies from my birth mother. I was to never know who my birth father was; he was to never know I existed.
My childhood birthdays were never to be celebrated ; in fact I was punished for being a ‘bastard child’ ‘illegitimate’ , ‘no one wanted you and you should be grateful we saved you’. I was to grow up hating my birthday. I never publicly told anyone when my birthday was . My today family knew and try hard every year to celebrate it. Deep down, what is meant to be a happy day, I was always incredibly heartbroken and triggered painful memories.
Today, another birthday . 54 years . This year it will be different; a happy day to celebrate me! It will be far from ordinary. Life changing in fact.
A lifetime of wondering who you were , where you come from and what you’re about, today is the day I’m very much looking forward to finding out and meeting and hugging you for the first time. See you in Paris….David Wright …my father
Short bio about the author:
I’m 54 years old and I live in Noosa, Australia. I’ve been happily married for 28 years and have two awesome daughters, age 23 and 26. I’d have to say this year (2022) has been an amazing one , being reunited with my bio father and as a photographer I’ve travelled to many interesting places including India and Nepal.”
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If you are an adoptee and would like to share your story. just like Fi and others have done here on This Adoptee Life, I would be honored to help you do that. There’s power in your story, and there are people who need to need to hear it. Please, reach out to me, and let’s connect to get your story out there.