Adoptees from overseas to lose Government support for finding biological families

International adoption advocates are warning it will become much harder for people to track down their biological families as Government funding will soon run out.

The charity International Social Service helps reunite people adopted from overseas with their birth parents.

The organisation said over the past two years, money from the Coalition has helped hundreds of adoptees, but it will not be providing any more.

“It’s a really emotional journey, it’s an emotional rollercoaster and they need support and professional support to facilitate this process,” the charity’s Damon Martin said.

“If Australia is actually going to adopt children and facilitate adoptions from overseas they have a duty to also provide this post-adoption support.”

But he warned the charity may not be able to continue helping people adopted from other countries.

For the past two years, the organisation has received almost $1 million from the Federal Government to help adoptees trace their biological families.

That funding runs out at the end of next week and will not be extended.

Concerns finding international relatives not a priority

Sydney woman Sally Jane Bevan said without the International Social Service, she may have never had the chance to get to know her biological family.

“They located my bio family, which is major. I never, ever imagined that that would even be possible,” said Ms Bevan, who was adopted from South Korea in the late 1980s.

“It was very surreal, I can’t describe the feeling of not seeing anyone that looks like you for your whole life and then suddenly seeing five people that look like you in five hours.

“It was pretty full on but amazing, obviously.”

In a statement, Social Services Minister Dan Tehan said it was made clear the funding would not be extended.

“International Social Service Australia was provided non-ongoing funding in 2016-17 with a one-off extension in 2017-18,” the statement said.

“Under the grant agreement, it was ISS Australia’s responsibility to plan for its sustainability and the organisation was encouraged to find alternative revenue sources.”

Mr Martin said he is concerned helping people find their relatives overseas is not a big enough priority for the Government.

“For some, especially back in the original era of inter-country adoption, there was no education or promotion to the adoptive parents to connect the child to their country of origin,” he said.

“A lot of them have identity issues, a lot of them have no knowledge of their language or their culture, and no access to their records.”

Reproduced in entirety, full credit: