Mother And Son Sue Catholic Adoption Agency After They Were Wrongly Separated For 51 Years

Date July 11, 2018 15:11

Tressa Reeves and her son are seeking legal action against St. Patrick's Guild Adoption Society in Ireland that is accused of wrongfully separating them in the 1960s. Reeves gave birth to her son on March 13, 1961, at the Marie Clinic in Clontarf. According to her, her son was “wrongfully removed” and given to an older couple who was childless at the time.

The native of Surrey, England, said she tried searching for her son but was given the "the brush-off" by the adoption agency. They claimed that a family in America had adopted her son she named Andre Donnelly.

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However, Reeves discovered that a different family in Carlow actually adopted the boy and renamed him Patrick Farrell. After a long battle for information and seemingly endless searching, Reeves and her son were reunited in 2013, 51 years after he was born.

Counsel for the defendant Eanna Mulloy SC said the Catholic adoption agency hoodwinked Reeves into signing “false” adoption papers that did not conform to safeguards required for such situations. Also, the lawyer insists that a lot of the information about his client in the adoption forms were sketchy.

Reeves is also suing the Attorney General for damages and for denying her rights to her son and information regarding his whereabouts for 51 years. She also insists that her son’s constitutional rights were breached.

In addition, Reeves claimed that her son’s adoptive father subjected him to violent abuse for several years. Mr Justice Denis McDonald is still considering the case.

Commentators on Twitter believe that Reeves is in her rights and expect the court to answer her suit against the Catholic adoption agency.

This is not the first time that this particular agency has been in the news. According to Ireland Minister Katherine Zappone, over 126 false birth registrations have been credited to the agency between 1946 and 1969. Like the case of Reeves, the children were given new identities and placed with families.

A similar case happened to Galway woman Ann Crowe whose son was taken from her without ceremony in 1978. In an interview with Kitty Holland, the woman said a nun sent her on an errand to the laundry at Bessborough Mother and Baby Home only for her to return to find her baby gone.

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When she asked about her newborn, a nun told her it had died. And that was the last she heard of her baby.

58-year-old Paula has a similar story. She was illegally adopted from Ireland and moved to the United States with her new family in 1959. reported in 2017 that she is now looking for her real mother and hopes to find her someday.


It is usually a traumatic experience discovering that the people one assumed to be birth parents are in fact total strangers, especially in these kinds of circumstances. Governments around the world continue to work hard to ensure that perpetrators of these inhumane crimes are brought to justice in good time.

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