in Australia for decades. In recent years, official apologies for forced adoptions have been springing forth from that nation, and today came a fresh one, this time from the Catholic Church.
Catholic Health Australia, the largest nongovernment hospital operator in Australia, released an official apology to the women hurt by the draconian adoption practices that amounted to baby-snatching. "These practices of the past are no longer tolerated, nor allowed by today's law, and are deeply regrettable," read a statement from Catholic Health Australia chief executive Martin Laverty. The statement noted that taking illegitimate children--despite the wishes of the mother--to give to married couples was "regrettably common" from the 1950s to the 1970s. Damn straight.
The statement acknowledged the "pain of separation and loss felt" by affected families. "For this pain, we are genuinely sorry," it said. Laverty added that he hoped the apology would "speed up the federal government into action" to establish a national program to help mothers and children who were harmed by the forced separations.
All this is nice, I say to myself, but what gnaws at my heart is how much unnecessary pain and lifelong grief was inflicted not only on the birth mothers, but also the adopted children--now adults--who were forced to grow up in families where they did not fit. For some, it was not so traumatic or difficult, as some have come here to tell us; for others. we know it was. The apology is nice--that's the best word for it that comes to mind--but there is no real compensation for years lost, and lives ruined. In the video below, the reporter says that up for half of the (birth) mothers whose children were taken did not go on to have other children. Adoption is the pain that goes on giving.
In 2010, the Western Australia Parliament issued an apology to mothers; the federal government apologized for the whole taking of the aboriginal children in 2008. Will we ever see anything remotely like this in America? Don't hold your breath--lorraine
* Adoptees ask: "Why Was I Given Away?"
See also: Adoption: Aussies and US
On another note, you will notice today that we became part of the Blogher network and will be running ads in the sidebar. I am sure that our regular readers understand what a great deal of time goes into keeping First Mother Forum fresh and informative, and except for a generous gift from one of our readers, it so far has been a labor of love (and sometimes frustration)! So far, the Blogher ad community seems to have the kinds of ads that I find acceptable--for services and goods that appeal to all women. As an added plus, the iVillage community is able to showcase First Mother Forum and our message in ways we cannot do ourselves. And the point of the blog is to reach beyond a small group of activists and reach the wider world. I have sometimes noticed a Blogher blog on our issues in the search function at the bottom of the page.
The remuneration from the Amazon ads have not yet approached a hundred dollars and so, choosing to receive a check rather than a direct deposit, no money from those ads have yet crossed our threshold. Those ads may now appear in the comment section, as I think it is a service to point out books and movies that we like. We tried Google ads once, but they ended up being for adoption agencies and search firms. I am not against search firms per se, but I have heard from several unhappy customers of their services, as they may take clients who do not have enough real information to make an honest adoptee/birth mother/father search possible. So...do check out our ads.