FORCED ADOPTION: WE’RE SORRY
UPDATE – 20/9/12.
The New South Wales Government has followed the South Australian and West Australian governments in apologising to those whose lives were ruined by the forced adoption policy.
Premier Barry O’Farrell issued the “long overdue” apology to a packed Parliament, saying: ”We apologise to the mothers who were not asked or listened to. We apologise for making you feel ashamed and unfit to care for your babies.
“We say sorry for treating you cruelly and insensitively when what you needed and deserved most was care and support.”
He apologised to the children who had been forcibly adopted and “who grew up never knowing the truth of your birth or how much you were wanted or loved by your mothers”
Here’s the Hoopla’s story from February, 2012 on forced adoption:
“(A nurse) started strapping up my right wrist. I was puzzled, I didn’t know what she was doing, and then she secured me to the side of the bed… I became unconscious. And I don’t know how long I was unconscious for, but when I eventually came to, my son was gone.”
* In latest news: A NATIONAL apology and financial reparation is owed to parents and children who were victims of forced adoption policies, a Senate committee has found.
The community affairs committee says the practice was wrong not just by today’s standards but by the laws of the time.
The committee has called for governments and institutions involved in forced adoption from the 1940s to the 70s to set up grievance processes and provide redress where wrongdoing is established.
And it says the states should provide financial reparation schemes for the victims.
Did you watch the Four Corners program Give or Taken? on forced adoption this week?
It was deeply affecting and, at times, harrowing to watch. No doubt many tears of sympathy were shed across the nation for the women bullied and coerced into giving up their babies.
The program was also a testament to the endurance of mother love – perhaps the most powerful of all human emotions.
Reporter Geoff Thompson talked to some of the women who lost their children. They told the truth about the way they were treated in the hours after they gave birth. Heartbreaking.
Until the 1970s, having a child out of wedlock was seen as a social disgrace and young women who fell pregnant were either sent away or actively encouraged to give up their babies for adoption. A ‘clean break’ it was called. Women were given sedatives and drugs to dry up their milk.
Something we forget when we talk about the ‘good old days’.
Authorities argued this was done with good intentions, but now a Senate Committee has heard evidence that tells a very different story. It will release its report tomorrow.
Many young, single mothers were never given the option of keeping their child.
Unmarried mothers automatically had their hospital records marked ready for adoption – even before giving birth.
There is evidence that some were sedated. Others were denied access to their babies as they were making crucial decisions about their future. As a result, these women have suffered terrible emotional distress throughout their lives.
One person who examined a variety of evidence said:
“I have no doubt that some illegal activity occurred, I have no doubt that women were subject to what nowadays… we would call abuse; that forged consents occurred.”
Over the past decade individual hospitals and the West Australian Government have offered an official apology to the women who lost their children.
“Given or Taken?” Reported by Geoff Thompson and presented by Kerry O’Brien will be replayed on Tuesday, February 28 at 11.35 pm on ABC 1 and can also be seen in ABC News 24 on Saturdays at 8pm, on iview or at abc.net.au/4corners.