I have tried to type this post several times over the past couple of weeks since the report from the Inquiry into past adoption practises was handed down. Following the media content, there have been many comments regarding this issue. And, to my horror, there have been many who feel it is an okay practise to take a mother’s child based on her age or marital status and some have even said they wish it was still happening.
Deep down, I understand this comes from ignorance and a choice to stick their head in the sand. However it is alarming and hurtful to know the attitudes that caused almost complete destruction to so many lives, is still around. But I also then questioned what people think about when they hear about apologies and holding governments ‘responsible’.
As humans, we all crave, at some point, acknowledgement for wrongs and injustices. It is in our nature. We want those who have perpetuated whatever wrongdoing to somehow accept their part and say sorry. It is in this we are able to find what we need to move on in whatever way that is for each one of us. When we are denied and invalidated by them and anyone else, the power of that injustice will hold something over us – whether large or small is to do with the individual.
Forced adoption is basically a form of kidnap. When a mother is subjected to any sort of bullying, coercion or threats which have the effect of separating her from her child against her will, it is more or less the same as if someone walked in and took her child.
For those out there who like to judge a woman who is pregnant without a band on her finger or appears young, there are a few things you should know.
First, and most importantly, it really is none of your business what is going on in her life. Her body, her decisions are hers and hers alone. You do not have the right to judge her, it really is that simple.
Secondly, no mother deserves to have her child taken from her just because she is young, unmarried or both. No one can predict how a person will parent. Being a good mother is not reliant on how old you are, where you come from, how much money you have in the bank, what car you drive, where you went to school, who you married, who you know, the college/university you went to, what house you own etc. There is plenty of abuse in homes with parents who look good on paper. And a gold band does not a good mother make. Abuse has also occurred in adoptive homes. Being adopted incidentally, does not guarantee a person a better life. It just offers a different life. I read stories where adopted adults talk about being grateful for being adopted because they find their natural families and don’t like them for whatever reason… how do they know though what their experience would have been? Because of adoption, they missed out on what that was. This is not meaning adopted persons shouldn’t love their adoptive families –just pointing out no one can ever know what their life might have been and therefore cannot dismiss it as being any good because in order to do that, they would have first had to live that life.
Thirdly, just because a mother may need to be on welfare for a certain period does not mean she will be there forever. And regardless, again it is not your business. There have been plenty of teen mothers who have made use of the welfare system and used that time to study, gain qualifications to start a career. I should also mention there are plenty of mothers out there who are on welfare because their marriages have broken up and they have had no choice. Because men do walk out on their families and marriages break up.
Finally, who died and made you judge, jury and executioner? Women do not become pregnant on their own. It takes two and sometimes, a woman becomes pregnant through rape or incest. Where is the heat on those males who have played a part? And where is the justice for those fathers who actually wanted to parent and were denied by the same government policies?
Forced adoption is wrong. And in many cases it was/is illegal.
So why do those who were/are victims of forced adoption want the government to apologise? It really isn’t rocket science. Anyone with a conscience and a heart could figure it out in under a second. Acknowledgement. Acceptance. To tell the world these women didn’t abandon their babies like many think and state – that they never “gave them up” as the saying so wrongly goes.
Why the government? Because despite many who like to blame “the mores of the time”, parents, society etc, there was only one department who could sign off on the adoptions and that was the government in the form of social workers. Not to mention the state run hospitals who were party to this. They knew it was wrong. Forcing separation of mother and baby has always been known as wrong. Just because something was practised on a large scale does not mean it was “just the times”. Wrong is always wrong.
Obviously I am aware this will not cover many criticisms people have of what mothers like me are asking for. And there will be those who choose to ignore the truth because it doesn’t suit them or, they don’t want to believe it. That’s okay though because we know what happened to us. And we know it was wrong. Those people choosing to ignore it or shut us down are telling us more about them and what they are like as a human being.
We live in a world where people are cruel and so women like me suffered. They were not just “trying to do what was best”. They were systematically destroying young women and treating them shamefully and outright, cruelly. They were punishing us and telling us we needed to suffer. There is no excuse for what was done then or since.