19 July 2019
A woman who has helped adopted islanders trace their birth families has been presented with the British Empire Medal (BEM) in recognition of her charity work in the Channel Islands and Romania.
Patricia Holland, who lives in Guernsey, has worked with Jersey’s Fostering and Adoption team for nearly 30 years. She invited Sarah Michael, a senior social worker from Fostering and Adoption Jersey, to join her at Guernsey’s Government House for the award ceremony last week.
“We work with Patricia to reunite people with their families and support them in whatever capacity they require,’ said Mrs Michael. “Patricia has provided an excellent service for people affected by adoption. We have worked with Patricia for many years, and I was honoured that she invited me to the awards ceremony. Her intermediary services aren’t just for the Channel Islands – it’s for anyone affected by adoption.”
The Jersey Fostering and Adoption team supports islanders who wish to trace their families. Although she is based in Guernsey, Patricia links people with birth parents and children who live all over the world.
Mrs Holland said: “I work alongside Jersey and Guernsey’s post-adoption services to provide research and intermediary services. I have always felt it was essential to have this healthy co-operation in place to provide the best support to clients. Another reason for this team work being necessary in the Channel Islands is that many children have been born in one island and raised after adoption in the other.”
Tracing a family is just one of the post-adoption services available for islanders affected by adoption. The Fostering and Adoption team provide counselling sessions, help people access their birth records regardless of their place of birth and act as an intermediary between adopted adults and birth parents.
“We are proud of our after-care services,” said Mrs Michael. “Anyone thinking of adoption should come and speak to us because it is a very rewarding role.”
Mrs Holland was awarded the BEM in this year’s New Year Honours List for charitable service to Guernsey and Romania, helping to send food, clothing and other essentials to the town of Bistrita in northern Transylvania. For more than 40 years Mrs Holland has also been closely involved in Christian Aid Guernsey and has worked with adoption charity Norcap, reuniting families separated at birth. She continued this post-adoption support work independently after Norcap was disbanded.
Further information on post-adoption services can be found at gov.je.