The State’s apology to unmarried mothers illegally separated from their babies under harsh adoption practices is set to happen within weeks.
WA is to become the first State or Federal government worldwide to admit hospital and welfare authorities were wrong to immediately separate mothers from their babies after giving birth out of wedlock. Mothers from around Australia keen to hear the apology have been told it will be delivered in Parliament on October 19.
Experts say tens of thousands of WA babies were adopted illegally when their unmarried mothers were prevented from seeing, touching, naming or bonding with their children immediately after birth between the 1940s and the early 1980s.
Health Minister Kim Hames said the exact format of the apology was still being finalised but it would be “to unmarried mothers of adopted children who were adversely affected by past adoption practices”.
Christine Cole, of the NSW-based Apology Alliance, said it was also important for the Government to say sorry to the children taken. “They were denied their family of origin and the culture of that family,” she said.
This first milestone needs to be recognized and honored. Follow-up by other governments should be in order and not just to the mothers and fathers who have lost their children to adoption, but the millions of former infants and children who were taken and assimilated into adoptive homes. Human-on-human cruelty on behalf of adoption must stop. Former children who have been adopted suffer as children and adults for the forced assimilation that adoption creates.
Children who desperately need homes and families can be readily placed into guardianship homes, or, best to find a way to keep families together.
A hearty salute to Western Australia to be the first governement to make an incredible leap forward in your social and governmental policies toward women and children. Adoptions have been phased out in Australia, meaning, adoption is not practiced, family preservation is preferred and honored. Progressive, realistic and humanist. Its about time.
~ ~ ~ Joan M Wheeler, BA, BSW, born Doris M Sippel, author of Forbidden Family, Trafford Publishing, Nov 2009.