“I am very grateful to Flinders University for giving me the opportunity to embark on the career that I felt was the right one for me.”
I am a Flinders University alumni having graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work in 1996.
I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1970. I studied in the Faculty of Arts, because I had no idea what profession I might follow. In my second year, I became interested in sociology, but was unable to change faculties.
I immigrated to Australia in 1982 and have lived in Adelaide since that time. In 1994 I discovered that Flinders University offered a two year post-graduate degree in Social Work and I was offered a place, commencing in 1995. I was a 45 year old single mother of four children and it was difficult to return to study after such a long break. However, I completed my degree and worked from that time on in social work and counselling positions until I retired in 2013.
In the second year of my degree in social work, I completed a subject called Bereavement and Loss. The paper which I submitted for this topic was entitled ‘Grief Associated with the Loss of Children to Adoption’. I presented this paper at the Sixth Australian Adoption Conference in Brisbane, June 1997. Members of the audience encouraged me to expand the paper into a book, which I did. My first book ‘Adoption and Loss – The Hidden Grief’ was published in 2000. At that time I created my web site: www.clovapublications.com. I published a revised edition of my first book in 2003 followed by three other books about adoption separation and reunion in 2004, 2009 and 2010. I was employed as a post-adoption counsellor from 1999 until 2004.
Since completing my social work degree, I have travelled extensively presenting conference papers, seminars and training sessions on adoption loss issues and have had many articles published in journals and newsletters, as well as many appearances in the media, via newspapers, magazines, radio and television interviews. I have also served on both state and federal advisory groups in relation to adoption issues and have made submissions to enquiries and reviews.
As a result of my contributions, I was recently introduced to former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, who delivered the National Apology for forced adoptions on the 21st of March, 2013.
I have been able to assist many people who have experienced adoption separation, and also contributed to educating professionals and increasing awareness in the community about adoption-related loss and grief. I am very grateful to Flinders University for giving me the opportunity to embark on the career that I felt was the right one for me.