I have written this for myself and in honour of all adopted people, and especially those in my community, who may need to feel seen today.

“Ring the bells that still can ring

Drawing on Brene Brown’s work, this piece briefly highlights points from two of her Ted talks on: vulnerability, vulnerability hangover, shame, courage & worthiness. As an adoptee, I struggle with all of these and I know that I am not an anomaly.


According to Brown’s…

Adoption related fervor is increasing in Australia, which arguably corresponds with the increasing influence of pro-adoption lobby groups. For example, a Minister in NSW introduced reforms into Parliament yesterday to introduce integrated birth certificates. This was undertaken without consultation with the peak body Adoptee Rights Australia.

Similarly, the Queensland Government announced that legislation will be introduced into Parliament to make adoption a ‘genuine’ option for children in out-of-home care.

Here are 10 reasons why plenary adoption should be abolished:

1. Birth Certificate — once adopted, our original birth certificates are null, and void and we are issued with a new birth certificate ‘as if born to’ our adopted parents. The…


A version of this article originally appeared on Angela Barra’s HuffPost platform and has been amended for Medium.

In 2016 The Queensland Government, announced that it would remove discrimination to allow same sex couples to adopt. This move would also see it align itself with other Australian States, Territories and broader contemporary views.

As an adoptee, I sat on the State Governments Post Adoption Stakeholders’ group and as such I participated in the review of the operation of the Adoption Act 2009. Furthermore, I submitted a personal submission in my capacity as an adoptee. In both instances, I supported the…


I will preface this piece by noting that I have not read Saroo Brierley’s book and I am simply basing my analysis on the film.

As an adoptee, I was initially looking forward to seeing this film. Finally, an adoptee would be the main protagonist in a movie. But after discussing this with many other adoptees I became hesitant. Why? Because we are sadly too used to seeing adoptees portrayed in stereotypical and polarizing ways (e.g., superheroes or Dickensian orphans). In truth, the complexity of the adoptee experience is largely ignored in…


This piece has been decades in the making but written hastily from my heart.

I am writing this in response to a recent twitter exchange between academics and adult adopted people. Rather than refer people to my thread, I decided to publish this.

During this recent twitter exchange, I saw academics (in the field of adoption) split hairs about adoption and trauma. That is, they questioned whether the maternal separation was the cause of trauma vs the legal act of adoption. Whilst these attempts at making distinctions seem innocuous, they were in fact in relation to an…


The bones of this article was written last year and was inspired by a thread I read, primarily involving two adoptee voices in Australia.

Please note this article is not endorsed by any organization but rather reflects my views cultivated from my experience as an adoptee coupled with working in human services and more recently education.

Over the past 9 years, I have been involved in numerous social media groups for adoptees (although lately I’ve had to step back). It follows, that passionate debates ensue and all too frequently we are tempted to end the conversation with the convenient…

An Open Letter To My Deceased Adoptive Mother (Fay) for Mother’s Day

This piece was originally published by Huffington Post in 2017.

Dear Mum,

I miss you. You battled so bravely to stay with Steven, dad and me but in the end you finally had enough of the grueling pain from scleroderma. I barely left your side those three days in hospital, I wanted to breathe in every last moment that I had with you. We didn’t know back then what we know now about adoption - especially the impact it can have on adoptees. All I knew was that…

This piece was authored by Sharyn — Vice President of Adoptee Rights Australia, and is published here with her consent.

When my 18 year old mother was illegally coerced by representatives of the State of South Australia into relinquishing her newborn child, that relinquishment placed me under the Guardianship of the Minister until I myself was to turn 18.

Subsequent to the removal of my mother, the State adopted me out to an infertile couple who had been offered my mother’s child before I was born.

My identity was changed, my parentage and my ancestry was replaced, and a second…

This open letter was written in 2016 and published (and promoted) on Huffington Post. There are some minor amendments and this was written and published before J. K. Rowling And The ‘TERF Wars’. I found this YouTube clip helpful in gaining a broader understanding: Responding to JK Rowlings Essay — Is It Anti-Trans.

You could never know how remarkable the timing was.

Dear Ms. Rowling,

I am unsure how to start this letter, nor am I sure how to adequately convey what your words have meant to me via your tweets. They have had such a positive and profound impact…

A new documentary by Waters Productions ‘You Should Be Grateful’ inspired me to write this piece. The voices of the adopted adults in this documentary echo what I have written about or said (and other adoptees) and it is important that people stop and listen. It punctuates what I believe and that is that adoption is the problem — not adoptees — yet we carry the burden of societal expectations and concomitant marginalization.

It’s Not Adoptees Job to Educate!

I am growing weary of people on social media who demand that we ‘educate’ them on the complex realities of being…

Angela Barra

I'm an adoptee & member of Adoptee Rights Australia. I'm passionate about adoptee equality, social justice & human rights:

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