Cornerstone: A True Story by Kerri Small
As a Senator in the Australian Parliament, I chaired Senate committee inquiries into Forced Adoptions, Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants. Through these inquiries and the subsequent national apologies, Australia learnt about these appalling practices that have significant, life-long impacts on the mothers, fathers, children and families involved, as well as the intergenerational family impacts of the trauma on their own sons, daughters, partners and families.
We heard heart-rending accounts of the ongoing search for answers, for connections and family, of the terrible impact of not knowing ones family roots, the sense of not knowing who you are, where you fit or why you have been subjected to these life-changing decisions.
Witnesses outlined their sense of government control over their lives, together with the effect on their mental health and well-being by being denied access to family history and their identity.
Here in this book, Kerri sets out the reality in her own words. Kerri shares her experiences, taking the reader on her life’s journey of learning about her family history, the deep connections she makes along the way, sharing with us the highs and lows of this journey.
Be prepared to shed tears of both sadness and joy and to be caught up in storyline worthy of a mystery novel, as you read about Kerri’s detective work to uncover and explore family secrets across state and country borders, accesses secret government files and connects the dots of her hidden history.
This book provides a unique and personal insight into the dark and hidden past of our National History.
Readers will gain a better understanding of some of the impacts on her life - like her fears for her own children, and her feeling even as an adult of still being treated as a second-class human being, of being a ‘lost alien’.
Bear in mind as you read that this, that while this is one person’s unique journey there were thousands and thousands of children affected by these practices that have had similar experiences and led similar lives of fear, loss and quiet desperation.
It is through Kerri’s work helping others and her advocacy that I came to know her. Kerri is very active in helping other adoptees to fight the system and find their own family connections and hidden histories. In the book, she talks about her 'light bulb' moment making a life-changing decision on how to help others. Her courage, tenuousness, generosity and compassion shine through.
This book provides a unique and personal insight into a dark and hidden part of our national history - a history that needs to be aired and understood so we can give recognition, justice and support to those who have suffered at the hands of ill-conceived government policies that tore families apart and in some cases continue to keep them apart.
Parliament of Australia