Monday, 15 July 2013


The Apology for the past forced adoption practices that was given on 21 march 2013 will be the last apology given in relation to the past injustices from the era of Stolen generations, Child migrants, Forgotten Australian and Forced adoption,  for at least one or two generations . The Wonderful article by Dr Catherine Lynch in the Australian journal of Adoption gives many good reasons why there needs to be more but the political reality is that the nation has tired of such actions by governments. And as seen by the abortive coup attempt on the Gillard government on the day of the apology, so are the nations leaders. If they are tired of it because such happenings would have been unthinkable in the past, the cold shoulder from the powers to be  will be present for the next ten to twenty years.

There are many reasons why a further apology to adoptee's only will not get off the ground.  And that is all state and territory governments except the Northern Territory have give broad apologies to adoptee';s in varying degrees. In my travels I had found the apology fatigue had set in within the average community. There first view was it was another push for easy money, something i  was opposed to from day one of the senate inquiry, secondly whilst they had sympathy for the natural mothers, there was only limited sympathy for adoptee's because of the mistaken belief that in the ,long term it was the best for us. we may get angry about that belief, we may yell out at the top of the trees about how misleading and wrong it is, but that is the perception.  In fact many adoptee's if they were honest would realise that the lives many have led has been has been superior in a economic sense than it would have been with their mother who in the puritan climate of the day may have been left in relative poverty to raise her much loved child.  Physical comfort though will never replace that emotional loss that being removed has created.

We must remember that in the fifties and sixties many working class people lived in the conditions that today would be described as horrible, the high rise public housing, the tenements of redfern and fitzroy so to them and they are still the majority of voters in this country. Every time an adoptee talks about his hard and cruel life with their adoptive parents , which i do believe to be in the minority, ten people raised in a natural family environment can describe the same sort of cruelty. In fact I recently had described to me about a metal bar being knocked out of shape from a hiding this person had as a kid.

So it is very hard to the public and power to be to understand why we complain about our emotional suffering and pain.  They see the propaganda about how the parents were vetted, had a certain amount of savings, home security i.e owned their home, a high income level. this propaganda  has been exacerbated by the theory published and spoken about everywhere by those who claimed that the babies were taken from the poor and given to the rich, a form of reverse Robin Hood.  This may have been the case in the late 1960's but my humble past is evidence that this was not always the case.  in my instance i was taken from a poor girl, who came from a poor family and given to a farmhand who had never owned a house in his 53 years, savings were meagre and income for a farmhand (shepherd) was amongst the lowest in the land. i may be the exception considering the number of adoptee's i have been involved with who have tertiary  qualifications, or that may mean the higher educated tend to question their place in society far more.  I know i have met quite a few of older adoptee's like myself who also came from  humble background in relation to their adoptive parents.

To get back to the topic though, the simple fact is there is no underlying sympathy for adoptee's in relation to further action apart from the provision of support services to assist in dealing with ones emotions and trauma in relation to adoption. And, even that may be tenuous and subject to political whims.  The public are tired of this process and most of the illegalities did occur at the consent taking stage , not the separate act of adoption approval which was made under the laws of the land albeit many flawed laws that would be classified as abuse of legislation today.  The public only have to see a photo of a poor waif in a third world orphanage and they readily believe that adoption will cure what that child needs, the instant fix you may say. so how do you expect them to see us any different.

I would really like to see a decent inquiry into the pro's and con's of adoption, permanent guardianship and any other long term care option for children in this country at risk, but given the fact that the states themselves have a quick fix solution priority not the physical and emotional wellbeing of the child philosophy, i don't think that will happen. So all we as adoptee's can do is try to ensure the services we need are arranged with the duly qualified professionals who can assist us in accepting our past and allowing us to continue to lead fulfilling lives. Whether we agree or not most of us have had lives we can be proud of in our own way and whilst many will believe i an a quitter,  to rehash the past that has been now collected by the History of Adoption project, the AIFS study, The senate Inquiry and the National Archives project will not serve us well as individuals or as a while and may in effect hinder us in the task of ensuring we obtain the services many need and to be able to provide realistic information to  those contemplating loosening current adoption laws in this country

1 comment:

  1. I think this is fantastic Murray. Well thought out, objective and balanced. I love it!

    Cheers, Janice.