In my dream, I happened to be sitting at a bar in a pub in London (when I worked in London 20 years ago, this was something we did rarely as it was so pricey) and I caught sight of an actor I had seen on the television the previous night.
He had played the ‘baddie’ in something or other. He was tall and slim, with a very stereotypical British-looking thin face. I told him I thought him very dashing in the programme, and he invited me to join the cast on their celebratory drink.
A little while later, I spotted an old friend and waved her over, but then I noticed her amazing resemblance to the man and so I introduced them. There was an immediate recognition.
As is the way in dreams, the pub had the facilities to carry out immediate genetic testing, and the two were able to ascertain not only that they were related but that they were in fact brother and sister.
That same evening, the woman rang her mother and said she would be coming home with a surprise, and took the man home to meet her.
The man was introduced to his mother, who gradually realised that this was her long-lost son that she had been forced to give up so many years before. The circumstances were not discussed at this meeting. It was a joyful, tearful reunion.
The next day, the man contacted me to thank me for helping to reunite him with his family, but he was clearly distressed.
He told me he had not known he was adopted, and during the night he had dreamed of memories of a life with that family, and with that sister, which suggested that he had not been given up at birth but later. Why?
He parked his car, and we arranged to meet there again later, but I did not get my answers as I woke up.
I wonder what prompted this particular dream? Adoption isn’t particularly on my mind at the moment. (Ditto London, genetic testing, or British baddies on television!)
Voluntary adoption (a mother giving up her baby or child) is very rare in the UK now, although this dream adoption might have taken place 40 years ago when the social pressures were quite different.
There are many aspects of adoption that seem cruel. The UK is alone in Europe in allowing involuntary adoption (where children are removed permanently from their parents on the grounds of abuse or neglect), most countries preferring to permanently foster such children without irrevocably severing ties.
Voluntary adoption is something else quite different that I feel unqualified to discuss as I have very little knowledge of it. I am sure there are many reasons why a mother would give up her child, but in most circumstances I think I would tend to be more in favour of supporting the birth mother to keep her child. Adoption in such cases seems to be a poor choice of kindness.
(Although if the only alternative is abortion of course I would always be in favour of adoption. The recent idea that abortion is ‘kinder’ than adoption is beyond bizarre. It is, in any case, a false and illogical dichotomy. If birth mothers were supported, fewer would face such a horrible choice.)
Overall, of course, I still support adoption, but the trauma of a child being divorced from its origins seems so severe that I suspect we ought to look at alternatives.