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Documentary series on Irish children ‘sold into adoption’

A documentary series produced by the BBC looks into the lives of some Irish children who were ‘sold’ to American couples by the Catholic Church in the 1950s and 60s.

The documentary, called Ireland’s Lost Babies, is by Philomena author Martin Sixsmith.

Four-year-old Cathy Deasy - photo copyright BBC
Four-year-old Cathy Deasy – photo copyright BBC

Sixsmith meets people who were adopted by American parents in the 1950s and 60s. They were born out of wedlock in Ireland and given up for adoption by nuns who ran care homes.

The programme describes how many suffered abuse in their new homes as the Catholic Church did little to ensure the adoptive parents were suitable. Some parents had been turned down by the American adoption system.

The documentary has come about thanks to the huge success of the film adaption of Sixsmith’s book which starred Dame Judy Dench and Steve Coogan and won four Oscars in 2014.

The series reveals that thousands of children were taken from their mothers and ‘sold into adoption’.

While many found nice homes there were some who were abused and have carried emotional scars throughout their lives.

We also learn that the nuns currently working in the care homes have done little to the children when they grow up and try to track down their biological mothers.

The series sees Sixsmith try to reunite some of the people he meets with their mothers before it is too late.

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