Hundreds of British women demand formal apology for forced adoptions | Adoption


Hundreds of women who were forced to give up babies for adoption in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s are demanding an official apology from the government.

Many of the women were single teenagers when they got pregnant and gave birth in Church-run “mother and baby houses” in the UK.

It is estimated that a quarter of a million women were forced to adopt babies during this period. In recent years, some have reported feeling ashamed and guilty.

Three years ago, Jill Killington told The Observer, “I was never asked if I wanted to go ahead with adoption. It was a done deal.

She got pregnant in 1967 at the age of 16. Her baby Liam was taken from her nine days after giving birth. “I was expected to go on with my life as if nothing had happened… I’m sure it had an impact on my life. There is a cycle of grief and anger. A kind of melancholy is still there in the back of your mind.

Veronica Smith was sent to a hostel run by the Crusade of Rescue, a Catholic adoption society, when she became pregnant at the age of 24. She named her daughter Angela.

“No one ever said I could keep her… I was told to get on with my life. I never heard from her again… It ruined my life, ”she said.

Former Labor MP and government minister Ann Keen gave birth at 17 to a son, who was adopted. “It was coercion. The phrase they used was “it’s for the best” and “if you really love your baby you should give it up”, ” she told the bbc.

“I did not abandon my son or abandon him. An apology would erase my name and that of my son. A historic injustice is what happened. It’s time to say sorry.

Sue Armstrong Brown, Managing Director of Adoption UK, said: “What happened to these women is heartbreaking and untenable. Apologizing to them is the right thing for the government to do.

“Today, adoption is only used when it is not safe for a child to stay with his biological family due to abuse, violence or neglect… But we owe these women and their children to face the harm done to them. at different times. “

In 2017, the government rejected a request for a public inquiry, saying there was no “insufficient justification”.

Religious institutions operated 150 mother and baby homes in the UK in the postwar years before primary responsibility for handling adoptions was transferred from voluntary organizations to local authorities in 1976.

In 2016, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, apologized for his part in the “injury” caused to women who were forced to hand over their babies for adoption. “Unfortunately for single mothers, adoption was seen to be in the best interests of both mother and child,” he said.

The Church of England has also expressed regret. “What we thought was the right thing to do at the time caused a lot of damage.”

In 2018, MPs backed a motion calling on the prime minister to apologize to women on behalf of the nation. Labor MP Alison McGovern said at the time: ‘The young women were ashamed. They were deprived of their dignity and self-esteem even though they had done nothing wrong, and were horribly forced to separate from their children.

In 2018, then Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar apologized for illegal adoptions in Ireland, saying it was “another chapter in our country’s very dark history”.

Five years earlier, Australia apologized for the forced adoptions.

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