Wednesday 19 February 2020, The Muse, Glamorgan Street, Brecon, 7pm, £5 (Friends/Members £2)
LOST AND FOUND: Amanda Renwick, as an adopted person, shares her journey in search of her birth family, its ups and downs, joys and pain.
‘This talk,’ Amanda explains, ‘will be, in part, a personal story about my search for my birth mother, beginning with the decision to find her, recalling our first meetings and the reasons why they were painful for both of us and telling the story about how, over time, a stable and loving relationship developed over a period of fifteen years until her death. My birth mother, Jayne, left Cardiff to give birth to me in London so that she could have me adopted in secret, so to speak. I spent my first weeks in a mother and baby home and was then adopted by my parents, Lucy and John. I grew up in Essex and was told at a young age that I was adopted and I found papers when I was fourteen that told me I was Welsh.’
‘I came to Brecon in 2006, having taken a job at Cardiff Metropolitan University. I didn’t know how close I was to living relatives. After Jayne’s death, through pure coincidence, I discovered other members of my birth family, some living in Cardiff and others nearer to Brecon. It turned out that I hadn’t been the secret my mother Jayne had thought I was!’
‘In my talk I will touch on adoption stories. With changes in the 2002 Children’s Act, resulting in a sharp increase in the numbers of people trying to find their birth parents, the National Organisation for the Counselling of Adoptees and their Parents was founded. It has helped people in all parts of the adoption triangle to find their families and experience successful reunions that were approached with sensitivity and diplomacy. I was one of three women who created a local support group in Canterbury.’
‘I will be telling the anonymised stories of other people I have met and their experiences of loss, often mitigated through reunion but sometimes resulting in less happy experiences. Their stories illustrate issues such as guilt, grief, shame and rejection. At the centre of many of these is the question of identity. Adoption has often been described as ‘a primal wound’. This is a wound that can be partially healed through the reunion of a mother or father, or both, with a child, as well as the support and understanding of friends, family and, where necessary, professionals. Insights into what adoption means for all those affected is the key to being able to provide useful support and I hope to be able to offer some insights to this end.’
The Friends of Brecon and District Mind support the work of Brecon and District Mind and raise awareness of mental health issues in and around Brecon, Crickhowell, Talgarth and Hay-on-Wye. They holds talks, walks, social activities and fund-raising events.