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Ireland ‘Irish nuns told me my birth mother was dead’ American man adopted from Ireland

15:10  02 june  2018
15:10  02 june  2018 Source:   extra.ie

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An American man who was adopted from a mother -and-baby home in Co Tipperary has Over the years he tried to find his birth mother but failed because of inaccurate records. At one point he was incorrectly told by the nuns who ran the abbey that his mother was dead .

a group of people posing for the camera © Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Limited, t/a dmg Media Ireland

An American man adopted from Ireland has said that nuns told both him and his biological mother that the other was dead.

Kevin Battle who spoke on RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland yesterday said that when she tried to find him, his birth mother was told he had died in a New York car crash — while he was told she was already dead.

His revelation comes only days after Minister Katherine Zappone made the shocking revelation that at least 126 babies were incorrectly registered and that 79 of those may have no idea they were adopted.

a man wearing a uniform © Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Limited, t/a dmg Media Ireland

Speaking to Extra.ie, Mr Battle, who is the Harbour Master in Portland, Maine in the northeast of the US, said that he had always known he was adopted from Ireland and began looking for his mother in high school.

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Mr Battle was born in July 1958 the Sean Ross Abbey mother and baby home in Roscrea, Co Tipperary, before being adopted by an American couple who had to donate $1,000 to the order.

Despite making efforts to contact authorities at the home over the decades, he had little success. ‘They told me over and over again that they didn’t know who my mother was or where she was from,’ he said.

a close up of text on a white background © Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Limited, t/a dmg Media Ireland

However, he said: ‘I spoke to a Sister Hildegard there and she said she knew my mom and gave me a description of my mom as being a very tall, very thin lady. Later on, I found out she was neither tall nor was she really thin.’

After college, he visited Roscrea but received a chilly reception when he said who he was. ‘The lady looked at me and she said: “you’re not welcome, go away don’t come back”, and slammed the door in my face,’ he explained.

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Knowing he was adopted , Battle had always searched for his birth mother , traveling to Ireland with his adopted mother in 1978 to visit the convent where he was born and meet with the nuns . Gardaí: Most Irish jihadis who fought in Iraq or Syria are dead .

Another call he made when he was an adult resulted in him being told his mother was dead. ‘At one point during the conversation, I was talking to somebody there and all of a sudden, she said: “Well, you know that your mother passed away”.

a group of people posing for the camera © Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Limited, t/a dmg Media Ireland

‘The tone — it changed and her wording had changed and I confronted her on that. I said: “I’m a police officer [Mr Battle previously worked as an officer]. I interview people all the time. And I can tell you’re lying”.’

Later, he was given a DNA kit as a present and when his results came back they gave him access to a list of people who shared his DNA. He contacted one relative who said she had never heard of him. Soon afterwards, he received a message from a second cousin, that they needed to talk and that ‘there was too much information to type’.

Eventually, Mr Battle made contact with his family who were living in Wales and discovered that he had two brothers and three sisters. He learned that his mother was told he had died in New York when she tried to find him.

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At least 200 people adopted from Ireland to the US in the 1940s-1960s fear for their future. Her adoptive mother was Irish , had a personal contact with a nun in Sean Ross Abbey, and had “My adoptive parents were dead by then, the record of my birth name was gone, because I had lost the

For many of the women the children were 2 or 3…[and] the nuns didn’t always tell the American adoptive parents that their mother was looking after them. While the Church stipulated that the adopted child be placed in a Catholic family, the family did not have to be Irish American .

‘When I finally found her at her graveside… I said my prayers for her and I said my thanks to her and then I proceeded to break down and cry. My saving grace… through this whole thing… is that I was too young to know what happened,’ he said.

He said he now knows that his mother left the home with him and returned to her family before nuns and authorities showed up at the house.

‘They forced their way into the home and physically took me from her, telling her it was because of the fact she was an unwed mother,’ he said.

Despite all he has been through, Mr Battle says he bears no ill-will towards the church and believes they were doing what they thought was right.

‘I’m a firm believer that life happens. I don’t hold any ill-will towards the church they were just doing what they felt was best. They just went about it the wrong way,’ he says.

He hopes to introduce his wife to his new family when she recovers from cancer on what the couple are referring to as her ‘victory tour’.

In a statement, the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary said: ‘We are working directly with the Commission of Investigations into Mother and Baby Homes on all related matters.’

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