An Account from the BAAF

Posted on September 11th, 2012 by Debbie

Debbie Cook, the founder member of UKHKAN, asked us if we would writes something for the website about our observations of it.

Way back in 2008 when we heard that we had funding for the British Chinese Adoption Study (BCAS), the challenge was to find the 100 girls whose adoption records we had access to who had been brought over from Hong Kong to the UK and adopted with British families.  From the records we had the girls’ Chinese and British names and sometimes a photo that had been taken either prior to or just after arriving at the UK, and of course the last known address of the adopters. As you know we were fortunate to locate 99 of the women we were looking for, either by making a direct approach or through a family member, and we did this with some trepidation. We were fully aware that contact out of the blue and after so many years would come as a shock for many of the women, and could raise a range of thoughts, feelings and anxieties about what this study was and if and how they should agree to participate.  Indeed it was not unusual for the women to question how we managed to locate them. We explained we had used public records and that it had taken many months to piece together the information. Unfortunately in some cases where we had approached a family member, they felt that it was not appropriate for them to inform their relative about BCAS and that we wanted to invite them to participate.  However, as you know 72 women agreed to participate, which we were delighted with! Some others did not wish to or felt unable to take part for a variety of reasons, although some asked to be kept in touch about the study’s progress and findings.

When we first approached the women some had not realised that there were other girls who had been brought over in the 1960s and placed for adoption. So one thing we decided to do was to find out if they would want to be put in touch with other women and many did. For us it has been fantastic to see how the network has grown and how much support you are able to gain from each other. We are aware it is very unusual for this to happen in a research study so it is special and only you can say what the network has done for you.

We know that the BAAF event (at Nuffield Foundation, London) on the 24th January 2012 that brought 50 of you together in person was a day that will always be remembered and it is the same for us. It was wonderful to watch how you all mingled and chatted and was for some the first day of forging strong friendships that will go on into the future. We continue to be so impressed with how the group has gone from strength to strength and all the things that you offer including the regular meetings you now have, your own logo and website. UKHKAN truly has its own identity!

We have really enjoyed meeting and getting to know you so will be sad when the study is finally finished – it feels like we have gathered a little or should we say a big family!

Nonetheless we look forward to the publication of the book which describes the range of experiences you shared with us. We thank you for your continued patience, particularly as the study has not been completed in the time scale we originally anticipated. However as you will appreciate the study has been complex and it is really important to report findings that are robust and can be accounted for.

The main part of the analysis will be completed in time for the conference we are holding in October when two other studies relating to orphanage care will also be reported.   However, the book that we are writing for a much wider audience will not be published until February – all being well.  The research team is keen to publish our results for different kinds of readers and so, in addition to the book, we will be submitting various articles to scientific psychology journals in due course.

We will continue to keep you updated about this and at the time the book is published we are intending to send you all a summary of the findings.

Meanwhile we want to thank you all for your interest and or participation in the study and for inviting us to your meetings.

Warmest wishes to you all


Julia and Margaret

1 Comment

  1. Kate Gordon -

    This is a nice article, thanks. I think everyone who has attended any of the gatherings has enjoyed themselves and taken something from it. We know people have different reasons for wanting to connect: we have no agenda as a group except to provide the opportunity for connections to be made – Kate.

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