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In the past it was assumed that a healthy well-adjusted adopted person would have no desire to delve into his or her birth history Those who insisted that they needed this information and access to their birth records were considered to be ungrateful at the least and seriously disturbed at the worst However in the early 1990s after much research and debate the Australian federal government under prime minister Paul Keating passed legislation that all previously secretly and confidentially held adoption records from the 1940s 1950s and 1960s should be made available to the adopted public This effectively meant that all adoption certificates and information would be sent out to adoptees whether they were or were not aware that they held this status This report looks at the effect that this legislation had on those people who were unaware that they were adopted Many of these people are know middle aged and have only recently found out that they were adopted at an early age by their caring parents Often when people hear the word adoption they think of an infertile childless couple delightedly gazing into the eyes of their recently adopted newborn baby They are thrilled to finally be parents and are totally involved in meeting the immediate needs of the child Oskamp and Schultz 1998 But what about the years that follow Do the effects of adoption stop the moment that a child comes home to the new parents I hypothesise that the behavioural responses exhibited by adoptees when discovering this fact will be the same no matter the age I also believe that living your entire life with a group of people people you always thought were your biological family only to find out that they really are not would be a very traumatic experience for the individual The attempt to investigate this hypothesis will be based upon a wide variety research of past studies and expert
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