AFHP: The National Apology for Forced Adoption was a powerful, moving and important speech. The forced adoptions affected tens of thousands of people directly and many more beyond them. From the 1950’s to the 1970’s, an estimated 150,000 unwed mothers had their babies forcibly adopted by governments, churches, hospitals and charities. As the PM said “No collection of words alone can undo all this damage,’ but words have meaning. Below are some of the best ones written and spoken to undo at least some of the hurt.
21 March 2013
Source: PM Press Office
In just over an hour’s time, the following words of apology will be moved in the Senate and the House of Representatives:
Today, this Parliament, on behalf of the Australian people, takes responsibility and apologises for the policies and practices that forced the separation of mothers from their babies, which created a lifelong legacy of pain and suffering.
2. We acknowledge the profound effects of these policies and practices on fathers.
3. And we recognise the hurt these actions caused to brothers and sisters, grandparents, partners and extended family members.
4. We deplore the shameful practices that denied you, the mothers, your fundamental rights and responsibilities to love and care for your children. You were not legally or socially acknowledged as their mothers. And you were yourselves deprived of care and support.
5. To you, the mothers who were betrayed by a system that gave you no choice and subjected you to manipulation, mistreatment and malpractice, we apologise.
6. We say sorry to you, the mothers who were denied knowledge of your rights, which meant you could not provide informed consent. You were given false assurances. You were forced to endure the coercion and brutality of practices that were unethical, dishonest and in many cases illegal.
7. We know you have suffered enduring effects from these practices forced upon you by others. For the loss, the grief, the disempowerment, the stigmatisation and the guilt, we say sorry.
8. To each of you who were adopted or removed, who were led to believe your mother had rejected you and who were denied the opportunity to grow up with your family and community of origin and to connect with your culture, we say sorry. Read the rest of this entry »