Dian Wellfare Adoption Rights Campaigner (1951-2008)

"A Sanctioned Evil" Part 4

Overview of Adoption
"A Sanctioned Evil" Adoption History in Australia
"A Sanctioned Evil" 2
"A Sanctioned Evil" 3
"A Sanctioned Evil" 4
"A Sanctioned Evil" 5
A Sanctioned Evil 6
Dian's Tribute Page
Civil Rights Crimes in Adoption
Wake up Little Suzie
Beyond Pain
Responses to the NSW Inquiry
A Judge Speaks
What they Knew
South Australian Vetos
Dian's Portrait at National Gallery
Origins INC NSW
Continuation  of Origins Submission to NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Adoption Practices
Written and researched by Dian Wellfare

Forbidding Bonding

Against Community Interest?


It was explained at a recent court hearing of `W' vs The State of New South Wales that hospital policy dictated that eye contact was forbidden between mother and child in order to prevent bonding between mother and child. It was also declared how this practice was under review in 1968 and ceased in 1969, although that was a blatant misrepresentation of the truth.


Apologists will now explain this inhumanity away as being a kindness but it was no such thing.


The cruelty with which the de-bonding procedure was carried out was done with such contempt and control as to render the mother helpless to resist.


Not only are we yet to hear of a mother who was advised prior to the birth that it would be best for her not to see her baby as a way of preparing her, but  that there own literature explains that the belief at the time was that if a mother saw her child she would be less likely to give it up.


The Health Commission policy warning sent to all hospitals in the state of NSW showed concern that this practice was still occurring in smaller provincial hospitals in 1982. By the early 1970's some hospitals allowed the mother to see her baby for a minute or two but only after she had signed the consent.


What greater inducement to sign a consent to adoption could there be? what more shocking trade-off could be imagined?, than to put a mother in a position where, in order to be permitted to see her own baby, she had to sign him away forever.


It was only after hospitals began treating unmarried mothers like human beings (and only after they were threatened with potential litigation), and began permitting them free access to their babies in the eighties that adoption numbers dropped dramatically.  


Perhaps the following comment found in a 1968 annual report by the Medical Social Work section at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne might additionally explain why forbidding a mother to see her baby had nothing to do with being a kindness to the mother:


          Forcing girls temporarily to hold medically deferred babies is

          a course which holds such dangers that - humanitarian reasons

          aside` - it would be against the community's interests to permit

          this to occur.


Abortion vs. Adoption?

Elspeth Brown

Australian Social Work Journal 1977


In responding to an article by Dr Kraus, in the Sydney Morning Herald at the time, where he blames the `crisis' in the drop in the availability of babies for adoption on the newly introduced abortion bill, Elspeth Brown lists other explanations and factors responsible for the `crisis'.


In the same article titled `Abortion and Adoption' in an  Australian Social Work Journal back in 1977 might shed some light on the adoption industry's own perception of adoption and their possible reasons for treating mothers as though they had had an abortion, instead of having given birth:


          If abortion is an absolute measure of `unwantedness', and

          if surrendering a baby for adoption is tantamount to abortion,

          or at least an alternative to abortion, then the availability

          of babies for adoption is also a measure of 'unwantedness', a

          rather doubtful proposition in psychodynamic terms.


In responding to Dr Kraus's concerns about the `crisis' the adoption field was beginning to experience, Brown not only addresses his concerns about the `crisis, but, by the very nature of her article and her choice of word usage, outlines very clearly how babies were seen and used as a commodity required by the adoption agency to meet the ferocious market demand.


A less savage society would consider the mass `abandonment of babies' as being the `crisis', whereas the Australian adoption industry considers the shortage of `abandoned babies' as a `crisis'.


    In the first place, the years 1968-72 were GOOD YEARS FOR BABIES

    compared with more recent years. Crude birth rates continued to exceed 20

    per thousand as they had consistently since 1946. The sudden drop in birth

    rates happened on 1973.....The maintenance of high birth rates up to the

    recent past has been accounted for by  demographers as the `ripple effect' of the post war baby boom, induced by the progeny of that period moving into reproductive years and by the increased propensity to marry rather than increased individual fertility. and


Commonwealth Marriage Act


    Add to this the influence of the Commonwealth Marriage Act which came into

    effect in 1963  and which virtually made it impossible for a girl under the

    age of sixteen to marry, pregnancy notwithstanding, and one has the

    makings of a potential small boom in the availability of babies for adoption.


The New 1971 Manual of Adoption Practice


Compiled by the Child Care Committee of The Australian Association of Social Workers of NSW in 1971, nowhere in the new Manual of Adoption Practice

is there any indication of the mothers rights and entitlements. But it was

made clear how the social worker should go about protecting herself in the consent taking procedure should the mother take legal action to reclaim her child.


Social workers in maternity hospitals began to feel that rules relating to unmarried mothers should become more flexible. Having given some thought to whether a girl should see her child it was decided that in some cases the girl adjusts to the situation afterwards more easily if she is allowed to see her child. But that's all she was entitled to.


The new Manual of Adoption Practice in New South Wales, Childcare Committee of NSW in accordance with the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) 1971:




     "Relinquishment of a child for adoption should be timed to take place when

      the natural parent is ready for it. For example some mothers may feel too

      emotionally disturbed after confinement to make a satisfactory decision.

      They would like a little more time to adjust to the fact that the baby has

      been born and that they now feel rather different - both physically and

      emotionally. Such time should be available to them in the form of

      accommodation and care for themselves and their baby while they readjust

      themselves. They should not be bound by problems of Maternity Hospital

      accommodation to make  their final decision within a few days of



It never happened.


The consent was almost always signed without fail on the day the mother was to leave the hospital, which was usually day five or six. She was not permitted access to her street clothes until after she had signed.




      In the past... it has been the practice for mothers whose babies were to be

      surrendered for adoption not to see their babies or certainly being

      discouraged from seeing their babies. In the last few years many social

      workers have been re-thinking this and feel that in some cases the girl adjusts to the situation afterwards much more easily if she is allowed to see the child.


They still did not recognise that it is illegal to control a mothers access to her own child.




     If subsequent to the parents signing a Form of Consent for Adoption, the

     agency discovers that the baby is unsuitable for adoption, it will, under the existing legal and departmental procedures, generally be necessary to

     re-involve the natural parents in a further decision  about the future of

     their baby, including the possibility of regaining guardianship, and

     financial arrangements. The possibility of this occurrence should be made

     clear to natural parents at or before the time of their signing a Form of

     Consent to Adoption.


What this means is that if the baby is not perfect and therefore unmarketable, the mother can have the child back.



     Adoption agencies and those people who actually witness the mothers

     consents should realise the importance of ensuring that the mother fully

     understands the meaning of giving consents to the adoption of her child,

     not only because of the social and psychological implications involved in the

     mother's decision, but also because of the legal consequences which may

     ensue if the consent is not properly taken.



     If the mother has not already read form 9, the request to make

     arrangements for the adoption of a child, and Form 7, the legal document of

     consent, for herself, she should be invited to do so. If she cannot, or does

     not wish to do this, both forms must be read to her - one or other of these

     things must be done without fail.


Both forms were always presented to the mother to be signed simultaneously, giving the mother no time to consider the consequences of signing form 7.

The regulation was rarely complied with.


     The mother should then be asked if she understands the wording and the

     meaning of what she proposes to sign, and the meaning of consent should

     be re-stated again in words as simple as is indicated for the maturity and

     intelligence of the particular mother, e.g. “You understand, don't you,

     that this paper you are signing means that you are giving up your baby for

     always? It means your baby will belong to strangers, for always, and you

     will never see him or hear of him again. He will, in fact become legally their

     child just as if he had been born to them and not to you."

   * The worker must be sure that the mother can answer with "yes".


This section is very damning as it explains how to form a question to ensure the appropriate response.




     Bearing in mind the startling nature of the possible legal consequences of a failure to comply with the Regulations, the following precautions are

     strongly recommended:

     1. The same person who previously informed the mother of her right to

     withdraw her consent within a limited time after signing should witness the

     consent, or if this is not possible, the previous explanation will,

     unfortunately, have to be made again by the person who is to witness the


     2. An explanation of the consent alone is not sufficient to comply with the

     Regulations; the worker must also satisfy herself (eg. by asking the

     mother if she understands the explanation) that the mother understands

     the effect of signing the consent.

     3. The witness should keep a notebook in which she should write,

     immediately after each interview a short note of the time and place of the

     interview and of any special features, eg. special questions asked by the

     mother and answers given. This notebook should be preserved, preferably

     at least until the child would be 12 years old, as it could be a most useful

     document for production if the validity of a consent were questioned in



Nowhere is the mothers legal right to alternatives mentioned nor the social workers duty to warn the mother of the psychological consequences of her action. However great care has been made to protect the social worker in the event of litigation by the mother.




     In planning for medical and surgical care, participation of parents of

     mothers who are minors, and their consent to certain medical or surgical

     procedures, may be necessary.

     It should not be assumed that conflicts are minimised and relinquishment

     made easier when the mother does not see her child. Guilt and later

     emotional disturbances may be intensified under such circumstances.

     Active participation in the whole process of giving up the child can make it

     easier for some mothers to face and deal realistically with their problems.



     "The validity of giving preferences to childless couples is currently being

      questioned....(This position may, in fact, stem from the original purpose

      of adoption - to provide children for the childless, persists as a way

      of favouring those considered to be most deserving of a child.)




     "these agencies will have the increased responsibility in arousing

      community interest in a good standard of adoption practice, and also in

      attempting to ensure that constructive and pertinent information is

      published rather than highly emotional articles and talks which put

      adoption on the wrong basis.

      Any education the agencies do attempt should pay great dividends in further increasing the community's acceptance of adoption as a very

      natural process for childless couples, and so greatly enhance an adopted child's chance of complete assimilation into its family and among it's  peers."


The manual went on to say how it was now known that:


      It was not helpful to the mother and can be destructive to the child, to

      require the unmarried mother to keep her child with her while she was in

      hospital. and


      present feeding knowledge and practice make it unnecessary to

      keep the child with the mother for the sake of breast feeding.

They rather forgot that that practice had been forbidden from the mid 1950's.


Hypocritically the adoption process was so focused on meeting the emotional needs of the infertile woman, adoption literature encourages adoptive mothers to take hormones and use breast pumps to try to breast feed the adopted child although there is no nutrients in their milk to give them a sense of the child

`being part of them' in an attempt to allow the adoptive mother to better `attach' and accept the child as hers.


Meanwhile, the mother whose breasts were full of milk created naturally by the birth of her child had been given carcinogenic hormones to suppress her lactation.


This restriction may also account for why many if not most adopted children reunited with their mothers, suffer from asthma or other bronchial problems.


It is also being noticed since reunions that many adopted children have spent their infancy being administered Phenurgen during infancy as a sedative to control breathing and get to sleep. The antibodies which can only be found in mothers milk (colostrum) to build up and protect the baby's immune system had been officially denied our little `b' grade babies - in their best interest no doubt.

Financial and other Assistance

It is also interesting to note that nowhere in the new manual does it explain to

the case worker the financial benefits and other assistance legally available which would allow the mother to keep her child, other than one line on the very last page which refers to pre birth sickness benefits, is reduced merely to:


 'Financial Assistance........as required.'



The Greatest Swindle of All Time


`The body has its own wisdom and its own truth.

If an illusion is presented to you and you

believe it, you can find out that the body does

not believe it. The body will tell you it is not

true. You listen to the order and the harmony of

the body as an integrated whole. Your body is a

truth detector. If you present a lie to the body

as fact, it will resist it.'


by Unknown


Many mothers were led to believe the sacrifice of their own needs and happiness was for the sake of their child's future wellbeing. That very love was the weapon used against them to separate their child from them.

After a life of regret, pain, and suffering, many have come to realise that they had been nailed onto their cross unnecessarily.


They struggle to come to terms with the realisation that they have been swindled out of their baby and out of their own happiness, not for their baby's sake afterall. but that they were used as breeders simply to produce the commodity needed to provide a `wonderful' community service of making families for infertile couples, which would not have otherwise existed.

As one woman put it:

"Their infertility was their own problem. It should not have become mine"


Additionally: The following passages from a meeting of adoption professionals is certain indication that the promotion of the adoption of newborns has been based on false advertising, misrepresentation, devious promotion and an outright lie. The perfect swindle.


Both the mothers fertility and her child have been deviously exploited in the industry's quest to obtain suitable babies to fulfil their ultimate objective of providing `biologically matched' infants to their primary clients - the childless couple.


Having nothing whatsoever to do with the child's best interest (as also established in adoption regulations and law), the horror of such human engineering is that our children were then expected to comply with the demands of the `created lie', at the expense of their own emotional well being their reality, and their own autonomy.


The resultant and well known mental health problems in many adopted children, being expected to live their life in pretence, is a result of the schizophrenic existence the construct of adoption demands of them.

The following paper addresses eloquently, the true purpose of adoption, giving us an understanding of the enormous anxiety levels created in the child

by his need to be perfect, and therefore acceptable, in order to protect himself from rejection. A huge responsibility for any child to meet.


No Child is Unadoptable

Address to General Meeting

Children's Welfare Association of Victoria

Friday October 27, 1972

by the Rev. Graeme Gregory, B.A.,Dip Soci. Stud.M.S.W.

director, Methodist Department of Child Care


    Traditional adoption practice has been based on certain assumptions

    regarding both the needs of the adoptive parents and the role of the

    adoption agency.

    For most of these adoptive parents and also for the community, adoption is

    the second best to having a family of their own. This is not meant to be an

    unkind judgement, but rather a realistic approach to adoption motivation.

    Not many adoptive parents consciously choose adoption as an alternative to

    having children of their own.


    This group of traditional adopters, then, inevitably seek in the adopted

    child a biological expression of themselves.

    They hope that the child will `fit into their family'.

    They do not want the child to be different.

    They find it difficult to accept the child of another nationality, particularly

    Southern European.

    They have difficulty in accepting a child who has anything more than a

    superficial disability.

    Unconsciously adoptive parents are seeking to have no break in their

    genealogical line.


    This view of adoption is related to our view of parenthood. If we seek

    children as a biological expression of ourselves, if parenthood is primarily a

    matter of begetting and conceiving, gestating and giving birth, then we will

    want to relate any alternative ways of becoming a parent to this primary


    One of our problems in adoption is that we have tried, both from the agency

    point of view, and from the adoptive parent point of view, to provide not

    only the nurturing function, but a function as near as possible related to

    the biological one. Thus often in the interests of the acceptance of the child,

    adoptive parents, specify narrowly, the sort of child they wish to adopt,

    and agencies bend over backwards to match child and adoptive family.

    "...an adoption agency has the responsibility not only of placement of

    children, but also toward, for instance the childless couple whose needs will

    no longer be met through adoption if there is a scarcity of infants without

    problems for adoption."



Tracy (Racheal)


                  I couldn't watch you as you grew from baby into child. 

                  I never felt you at my breast, or held you as you smiled.

                  Nor changed your tiny diapers, and wiped your little bum,

                  Others took away my right to ever be your mum.

                  But let me tell you darling, although we never met,

                  I loved you with a vengeance, and still I love you yet.


                  To just have held you once my love, would maybe make it right,

                  Then maybe I'd stop thinking of you morning, noon and night.

                  To touch your downy little head, and count those tiny toes,

                  To whisper in your shell like ear, and kiss your button nose.

                  Would somehow fill the emptiness and loss I feel inside,

                  Perhaps erase the aching, and all the nights I cried.


                  I'm wondering who's hugging you, puts bandaids on your knees

                  Who's teaching you your manners, the thank you's and the please?

                  Who's watching your first footy game (that's if you are a boy)?

                  Or sitting in your ballet class filled with pride and joy?

                  Are you brave when you fall down, or do you scream and shout?

                  Do you sleep with a night light, or insist they turn it out?

                  Have you got a dolly, or perhaps a ragged bear?

                  Do they tell you about me, or don't they really care?


                  The answers to these questions, are coming hard and fast

                  Because my precious daughter, I've discovered you at last.

                  Not within a family, as you were meant to be,

                  Not with a loving mummy, or on a daddy's knee,

                  With a grandma or a grandpa, a sister, maybe brothers,

                  No, that kind of happy life was only meant for others.


                  You were in an institution from the time that you were born.

                  You never had a family, no-one to care at all.

                  A group of perfect strangers said that you were not quite right,

                  `Not fit for adoption", so they hid you out of sight.

                  Who knows the life you've suffered, the childhood that you've had

                  The memories you harbour, of the good times and the bad.


                  These things we'll never know, because you cannot speak,

                  Your eyes are filled with knowing, but communication's weak.

                  Your gentle voice says `yes' and `no', `tea' and `go away'

                  And a brand new word you learned to say just the other day.

                  You looked at me with big brown eyes (you always knew I'd come)

                  Reached out a hand and touched my tears,

                  And softly whispered - `MUM'.


Racheal's mother and her aunty Sue had spent the following ten years after the adoption, contacting the agency asking for information about the child and if they could have the child back if the adoption placement broke down, only to be constantly told the child was happy and successfully adopted. Racheal is twenty five. 



Where it Began to Turn


The Australian

3rd Feb 1972

The Adoption Business

"Our babies Arrived"


                   "Western Australia lays claim to a dazzling waiting

                    time of four months. In both Queensland and New South

                    Wales adoptive parents have to be prepared for a wait

                    of anything between 9 and 15 months. In Victoria between

                    18 months and two years. In South Australia parents wait

                    up to 15 months for a boy and two years for a girl.

                    Tasmania, the waiting time  for a boy is 6 months and a

                    girl 9 months. In South Australia they may elect to know

                    the identity of the parents of their child. The child's

                  parents are not told of the identity of the adoptive  parents."


The Australian

12th June 1972


Streamlining adoption procedures John Boulton

(hospital doctor), Subiaco, re article -

The average couple's wait.


                   Perhaps data on the average time a baby languishes

                   in hospital before being adopted might be more

                   relevant than the average couple's wait, for the

                   first two months of a baby's existence represents

                   a large and most important part of his/her emotional

                   development in forming the mother-child relationship.

                   Although prospective parents in Western Australia might

                   have the shortest average wait, this possibility reflects

                   that the supply has exceeded the demand, as it is not

                   unusual for normal babies to be relegated to foster

                   homes at three or four months of age, with no

                   prospective parents in sight."


Daily Mirror

4th January 1972


3 Lovely Babies

(but too old for adoption)

by Bonneur D Mirror 4/1/72


                   In a Child Welfare Home three delightful baby girls wait hope

                   fully for parents who are prepared to adopt them. The babies

                   have been available for adoption for some time. Though there's

                   a waiting list of two years for baby girls for adoption, so far

                   there have been no takers for any one of this winsome trio.

                   Everyone it seems, wants to adopt newborns. Arlette and Bettina

                   are 12 months old and Josie six months, but they are already

                   "too old."

                   They are in this category because their mothers took some

                   months to make the decision to sign them over for adoption".


The Sun

27th November 1973


               The Girls Who Give Up Their Babies.

By Anne Dupre


                   "Many more single girls are keeping their babies. Since the

                    supporting mothers pension came in, this July, girls get $34

                    a week and are entitled to earn up to $26 a week without

             affecting their pension. After a girl has given birth at             Crown  Street, she is asked if she would like to see her baby.


Most  girls do. The Adoption Act... says that no undue influence may

                    be exerted on a mother to allow the adoption of her child. Said

                    Pam Roberts. It is a tremendous decision which nobody makes

                    without a great  deal of heart searching."

                    "Do we influence her? The answer is that we don’t persuade the

                    girl, but we are aware that a lot of people will influence her.

                    Her friends, and her father and her mother, to start with."       

                   "How soon does the heartbreak of giving up your child ease?" I

                    asked Pam Roberts. "The first six months are the worst", she



Well before 1971, the adoption of newborns had become well entrenched as a "wonderful community service," being in the child's best interest. But it was especially in the best interest of healthy white newborn babies.


With so many being harvested from their mothers during birth, no market was available for the not quite so perfect newborns, and by 1971, according to their new Manual of Adoption Practice, it was decided that all unwed mothers should be advised before birth, that if her baby was disabled or otherwise unadoptable, the mother may need to be recontacted and offered financial assistance to enable her to keep her unmarketable baby herself.

I suspect it was the first indication that something was going terribly wrong with the balancing of their social cleansing campaign.


Having taken so many babies, by 1972 the industry began trying to off load their surplus stock onto already created adoptive families, as institutions were becoming overcrowded with not perfect enough to be adopted ones, or babies slightly older than new, coloured or redheads - all unnecessarily traumatised by maternal deprivation - as well as the many older adopted children having been dumped back onto the system when the need for a child was no longer required, or the child didn't fix the marital problems after. It had become clear that only special adopters could cope with or attach to less than ideal children, with others having tried to return the child a year or so after placement when for example, the child was later discovered to be deaf, or cried too much.


This period saw TV news reports and media articles of adopting parents suing the Department for having been given a disabled child when they had been promised a perfect one.  Chilling headlines screamed how one neurotic adopter wanted to take action against the Department after having been accidentally given the wrong child and made to return "their child" after having had it for six hours. Although they had been immediately offered another one, it was refused, as "it wasn't their child."   


Something was going terribly wrong.  So in 1973 the Whitlam Government re-introduced the benefit to single mothers, gave it it's own name and brought it into line with CPI.


A Professional Opinion


The following `professional opinion' is a prime example of the conflicted thinking that has permeated the adoption and subsidiary fields.


What the good doctor has described has paralleled his example of the shattering effects on the chimpanzee newborn orphan with that of the adopted child - although he has failed to fully recognise it.


Instead he has damned the natural mother as insignificant (although she was important to the chimp for his survival) and idealised the substitute mother

(although the chimp still died when adopted by siblings), his paper suggests that the substitute mother has problems accepting a less than perfect infant

(rejection), and the acting out of the adopted child seems to parallel that of the chimpanzee.


Grunseit also mentions the need for more scientific research into the problems associated with adoption. But after fifty years of expecting adoptees to comply with the idealised myth of how they were supposed to adjust, how many more lives have to be lost or emotionally devastated before it is recognised that a newborn needs his own mother whose body is biologically and physically transferred by the act giving birth to accommodate his emotional and physical survival, irrespective of her marital status.    




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