' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Mothers of stolen babies demand more than an apology

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mothers of stolen babies demand more than an apology

More on the Catholic apology in Australia: women whose babies were taken and given to others want more than an apology, they want justice. But a few days later, Perth's Catholic Archbishop Barry Hickey told a television interviewer in Australia on The Morning Show he knew of little evidence of such practices.
However, a first mother whose child was whisked away from her called in and told of having labor induced and her child taken away when she said that she wanted to keep her child.

That's not all. Before the show was over, a one-time trainee midwife, Wendy Anne, at one of the hospitals called in and said that while she and the others cared for the young women they helped deliver, she realized how cruel the practice of forced adoption was.  From ABC Perth, by Geoff:

"Wendy confirmed that mothers were not allowed to see their babies after they were born - and that yes, sheets were pulled high to prevent any contact being made before the child was whisked away.
"What became clear to all of us today - and surely to the Archbishop, was that consent was often not given and that there is a mountain of evidence - not just anecdote that tells us young vulnerable women were coerced, emotionally blackmailed and lied to.

"Now, this is not just about the Catholic church - it is about societal norms of the time and state governments and welfare agencies which were complicit too - but I wonder what kind of evidence does Archbishop Hickey need to truly accept responsibility here?
"It is one thing to apologize - it is quite another to know why you should."
 Thank you, Geoff Hutchison, for understanding what so many do not.--lorraine

For more on this story, see previous post: Catholic church apologizes for forced adoptions in Australia


  1. Lorraine,

    Can't get video to work?

  2. Note how this report is all about mothers and not about adult adoptees.For a more balanced coverage see George Negus on 6.30 Report.

  3. Try this for something more balanced - http://ten.com.au/630pm-with-george-negus.htmd

  4. And Von:

    Nothing available at that site--says "Player cannot be used in your location."

  5. Thanks , Lorraine.
    I was on Facebook this morning still would like to
    see it. Am going to try something besides I phone.

    Am going upstairs to check regular computer. Want
    to see one posted on this blog.

  6. I wonder in this case who could be prosecuted? In the case of pedophiles there were individual perpetrators and a clear trail of Bishops who transferred them to to other parishes and covered up the crime.

    Agree that at this point an apology is cold comfort, but the mistreatment of unwed mothers was so systemic and kind of anonymous it would be hard to find anyone left to pin it on. Of course maybe the mothers could sue the orders of nuns that staffed the hospitals or Catholic Charities for monetary damages. I don't know how the legal system works in Australia, so do not know if that is even an option.

    The woman called "Margaret"on the video was heartbreaking, ageless, an archetype, worn away but still with a strange beauty. Mother's grief personified, come back to accuse and haunt.

  7. Shame Lorraine, a different Hemisphere problem! It was one of the best reports ever, a groundbreaker because it was the first time I remember an adult adoptee being interviewed.George referred to adult adoptees as a stolen generation and acknowledged us as equally the victims of forced adoption.That has never happened before and it is encouraging to think the tide is turning.
    Some mothers have rejected apology, most adoptees however will welcome it as a step forward.

  8. Time to take a few more cheap shots at the Catholic Church I went to a home run by nuns when I was pregnant Most of them were very kind They made sure we were well-fed, gave us pre-natal vitamins and kept us busy(crafts,etc) The one thing I did object to was having to see a shrink who treated me like I was mentally ill because I was pregnant and not married. He wrote down every word I said and when he was done I jumped up, grabbed his notes ran out of the room and flushed them down the toilet(got in some trouble with Sr Jean for that one) But for the most part the people who were cruelest to me were the local townspeople who yelled things at us when a group of us went out for a walk All of a sudden(guess it's that time of year again} I'm having flashbacks today.

  9. An apology doesn't change anything but it at least admits culpability.

    I am glad to hear that adoptees are finally being recognized as our lives were dramatically affected by these wrong doings.

  10. There's more news about the Catholic Church apology.
    Conviction of an apology: Adoption 'sorry' sparks debate

    Perth's Catholic Archbishop Barry Hickey told the Morning Show he knew of little evidence of such practices. So what is an apology worth?

    He told us, he'd checked with the sisters at the former St Anne's hospital in Mt Lawley - now Mercy - and they reassured him that over the years, there was no coercion on their behalf. Those young unwed mothers, gave their consent to giving up their newborn babies for adoption.

    He accepts their words without a hint of question.

    It wasn't how Judith remembered it. She told us she went to St Anne's in the early 1970's and that six weeks before she was due to give birth, she had a change of mind and wanted to keep her baby. She says the baby was induced immediately.

    Devastated that the decision was not hers, she says she was told by a sister - by way of reassurance no doubt - that the child would go to a good home - a doctor and his family.

    Years later, as Judith sought to find out where her child had gone, she says the same sister told her the child had been adopted by a public servant and his wife.

    "You told me it was a doctor," says Judith. She said the sister admitted "we always say that."

    When I put Judith's story to Archbishop Hickey, he made all the necessary sympathetic noises, but appeared to dismiss it as little more than an anecdote."

    Read more at the above link.

  11. And I've updated the blog too, with more information.

  12. Anonymous said:
    But for the most part the people who were cruelest to me were the local townspeople who yelled things at us when a group of us went out for a walk All of a sudden(guess it's that time of year again} I'm having flashbacks today.

    Oh wow - I remember that (flashback!!) - people on the street and in the neighborhood around St. Anne's - WOW, unbelieveable - of course we had "wedding rings" on, given to us by the nuns - but walking in a group as we did - neighbors knew!

    Gawd - I remember one house - this guy would sit on his porch, and throw out words that I didn't even knew existed!! We avoided that street!!

  13. re-posted per Lorraine!

    Robin said
    Of course, my fmother was fed the line that I would be taunted for being a bastard and wouldn't have any friends.

    Ah, yes - that word "bastard" was thrown out at me too at St. Anne's; here's one of my scenarios going on in my head before I went to sign the adoption papers - I'd just take here to another part of the US & say my "husband" died in Viet Nam (daughter born in 1969)! But like Janet - I can never except fully WHY I did what I did!!

    Robin said:
    Yes, I did have material advantages (for a time) but I don't see any advantage to losing my entire family on both sides, being raised in a family that I didn't fit into, having the wrong surname and growing up in the wrong city.

    BUT - we were told you/everyone is born a "blank slates" - you would remember nothing, would not remember us!!

    Von said:
    For the most part I'd guess from what I'm told and my own reunion, that what satisfies adoptees is a mother who is honest, truthful, has good intentions and has dealt with the past as best she can.

    Yes - I've been very honest & truthful - with good intentions with my own daughter, but...

    Janet - Good Luck in your reunion - and YES, as Lorraine said - keep us updated - I'll live thru you!! LOL! I'm still waiting for my own 42 year old to come around!

  14. 'Of course, my fmother was fed the line that I would be taunted for being a bastard and wouldn't have any friends'
    And it came to pass for many of us, these days we've reclaimed 'bastard'

  15. Thank you all for your positive energy. I'll let you know how it goes next week. I can only go into it as I have so far, with my eyes and heart open.
    The first time we met my daughters friends had a big bouquet of flowers waiting at her house when we got back from the airport. The card read..Happy Mothers Day!!!!

    I had a good feeling from the start that this was going to work.
    The hurt will always be there. We all know that. But being open and honest will hopefully keep us on the right track.

  16. Does anybody know if the Catholic Church ever issued an apology for what went on in the Magdalene Laundries, also known as the Magdalene Asylums? The movie by the same name focused on the institutions in Ireland, but the Magdalene Sisters ran asylums here in the United States, too. I think the last one was located in San Francisco...

  17. No apologies unless they are unavoidable it seems.

  18. I doubt the Church in Ireland has apologized for the Magdalenes, as they were too busy covering up their pedophile scandal with the help of the Vatican.

    But there is a statue in Galway (yayy Galway, my grandpop came from that county) that the authorities were trying to get removed. It is really powerful. Read about it here:



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