Evanne Ní Chuilinn on Adoption“Some people thought it was OK to lie to adopted people because, you know, adopted people didn’t have any power.”

As heard on Today with Miriam

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Sports journalist and documentary maker Evanne Ní Chuilinn told Miriam O’Callaghan this morning about adoption and the unique way her adoptive dad reached out to her birth mother when she was growing up. Evanne was adopted at a time when there was little or no contact between adoptive parents and birth parents, let alone between birth parents and children.  But her dad took it upon himself to keep her birth mother informed about Evanne’s activities and important milestones by writing her regular letters. Evanne has spoken to a wide range of people impacted by adoption in Ireland for her documentary Uchtú. In an extract played today, her dad explains his thinking behind the letters he sent to her birth mother:

“I was thanking her throughout for the gift of you. Because now as a parent I know what it must mean for somebody to have to physically give their child over to somebody, you know. It was an amazing act of generosity.”

Evanne says hers is a positive story, but she wanted to hear from people with a range of experiences:

“I felt very strongly about doing the documentary. I have a story myself but to be honest, a lot of what I wanted to do was explore other people’s stories that aren’t as positive and I found out that there are a lot of harrowing stories out there.”

Evanne says her documentary shows that there has been a culture of secrecy surrounding adoption and that people have suffered by not having access to the information they are looking for about their own lives:

“Some people thought it was OK to lie to adopted people because, you know, adopted people didn’t have any power.”

As a documentary maker, her personal experience gave her unique access, as she told Miriam today:

“I think it helped them, I was the journalist, but I was also adopted. It’s not very easy to explain, but when you talk to someone who’s adopted you don’t need to explain it, they just get it. You understand that curiosity. ”

You can listen to Miriam O’Callaghan’s full interview with Evanne Ní Chuilinn here.

Evanne Ní Chuilinn’s feature-length documentary Uchtú about adoption in Ireland, will be broadcast on Wednesday November 13th at 9.30 pm on TG4.

Ruth Kennedy

© The Listener 2019

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