L. Brown No 5 (1977):1
" Man has the capacity to pass on from generation to
generation the wrongs that he has suffered whether
they are overt or covert wrongs. And there is a whole
generation of people who have suffered from the
inhumanity of our social service system because they
were poor, because they were helpless, because they
young, because they had no advocates, because
they were treated unjustly, because they were treated
as though they had wronged people by having a child.
We now have to call those social service systems to task."
of the Second Australian Conference on Adoption
Melbourne May 1978
Rights of the Relinquishing Parents
Worker, Pregnancy Help, Brisbane
describes the animosity, disregard, and deceit the adoption worker holds toward the unmarried mother when she asks why this
woman is so castigated by those in the adoption field who see her merely as a `bad girl',
she needs to talk, no-one is prepared to listen to her:
" The adoption agencies only want her baby and `haven't time'
interviews _ the father of the child has usually disappeared
in a cloud of
dust ....or makes remarks such as "have an abortion" or "are
it's mine". Humiliation piled on humiliation. Put her away
somewhere _ the
worse the condition the better_ she has to realise `the consequences'
her action" _ don't put her with a family because that would
on her own family _ reinforcing their inability to cope.
of mothers sent letters and gifts to the agency for many years and sometimes decades, and being told they would either be
passed on to her child or kept at the agency until the child enquires personally, Mather further exposes that deceit and disregard
of the mother as she clarifies the contempt the agency worker holds towards her gifts of love:
She asks if she can pass on a gift _ an outfit that she has
crocheted _ she
asks if the child will be told she loves him _ we know gift
and letter goes
into the wastebasket _ we hear adoption workers telling us
that when they
give information to adoptive parents, one said "I don't want
to hear it _
from this day forward this child is "ours' _ we don't want
to know about its
only is the mother demonised by the adoption agent and the adoptive parents, but the construct of adoption can only function
successfully with the generation of a child's hatred or indifference towards his own mother. Should the child declare feelings
of love or need for his mother the adoption placement is indicated to have failed, as Mather explains:
Then we read or hear about the adoptee who wants to find its
caring who gets hurt
_ the adoptee who confronts her mother _ sees
perhaps a lower standard of "financial" circumstances and
God I was adopted".
And this is the ultimate _ the last stone _ in the long series
of stones which
have been thrown at her _ her child whom she has given over
in love _ to
be curious _ finds her _ then rejects her. How heartless can
the world be?
Who has to answer to this? The adoption agencies have revelled
experience of `playing God'_ taking children and giving them.
Adoptees are claiming their right to know their origins _ the mother has a
right to now that she has made the right decision _ she is
basing her trust
on the adoption agency to place her child in an environment
she feels she herself can provide. Why don't the adoption
her trust? _ why can't they tell her how and under what circumstances
child has been placed? Why don't they afford her some dignity?
don't they like her? _ why can't they accept her? and are all their
misapprehension’s, anxieties and fears passed onto the
who in turn pass on to the child this nebulous cloud of misapprehension?
the mother forms one third of the triangle - no-one wants to
First National American Adoption Congress
Washington D.C. May 4 1979
have encapsulated the need of the adoption industry to manufacture the demonisation of the natural mother as the most pivotal
and necessary requirement in the promotion of, and social acceptance of adoption
Lawrence when she states how:
In order to bring the issues surrounding the intermediary system into clear
focus, it is necessary to examine the myths and motives that surround the
adoption experience. Outsiders need to realise that social agencies not only
control adoption procedures, but also control the information about the
institution which is provided to the courts, the legislature and the public.
It is the child welfare establishment that has provided the picture of
birthmothers as indifferent - as mothers who abandon their unwanted
children with a wish to remain forever hidden from them. They know that
this is seldom true, but it helps to facilitate their work for the public to
believe this. Society does not dismiss the importance of the natural family
readily as the social planners, and so it is useful to portray relinquishing
parents as different from caring parents.
The birthmother must be different, an aberration; for if it were true that
she had the same degree of love for her child as all other mothers, the good
of adoption would be overwhelmed by the tragedy of it. Adoptive parents are
somewhat relieved of guilt if they can be assured that the birthparents truly
did not want their child; for, under those circumstances, it is possible to
feel entitled to claim the child of others.
Neither society nor the mother who
holds the child in her arms wants to confront the agony of the mother from
whose arms that same child was taken. But that agony is real, as we have
come to learn through our experience with reunions.'
were they of a constant supply of babies, the industry continued taking non-refundable application fees (deposits) on "unwanted
babies" who were yet to be conceived. And although the baby-well began drying up in 1976, by 1986, 2,000 applications had
been accepted, with only 155 babies
allotted. Apparently few were prepared to take older children.
saw a change in the treatment of the unwed mother, only insofar as no longer was the more overt hospital practice of coercion
as apparent as in the past. New, less obvious practices in at least one unmarried mothers home connected with Centacare commenced
a weekly routine of inviting a panel of adoptive parents to barrage young pregnant girls in St Anthony's unmarried mothers
home on the positive aspects of adoption.
they would be forced to endure the psychological torture of having to watch live videos of two types of abortions in action
to convince them that adoption was the better way to go. It is not known if this shocking abuse of young pregnant girls, already in trauma, and too young to psychologically cope with such visual images,
Commission of N.S.W.
abusive hospital practices began to change after 1982, when the Health Commission of NSW (having smelt a rat within the industry
some years earlier after one such case had already been heard in the Court), eventually distributed a warning to every hospital
within the State of New South Wales advising them to clean up their act, and get an adoption policy together as soon as possible
in relation to the treatment of unmarried mothers, as their practices were contravening the Adoption of Children Act 1965
on mental health and legal grounds, their staff and the hospital could be at risk of litigation should such mothers take action.
occurred the numbers of adoptions plummeted.
policy warning finally put the cat amongst the pigeons when it was realised that they may be at risk of litigation and made
to stand accountable for their crimes. It reads:
Friend circular No:82/297
September 1 1982.
Roderick McEwin Chairman.
"In the early 1960's the view was commonly held that it was in the
mother's interest that she not see the child she
was planning to
surrender for adoption, and policies were thus followed which
prevented her seeing the child. The hospitals themselves did not doubt
that they had a legal right to adopt such policies which were rarely
questioned by the staff and by the mothers themselves.
A single mother whatever her age is the sole legal guardian of her child
and remains so until a consent to adoption is signed. She therefore has
the rights of access to her child and cannot legally be denied this.
An adoption consent may be proved invalid under the terms of the
Adoption of Children Act, 1965 (section 31 (b) if the mother has been
subject to duress or undue influence. Refusing a mother permission
see or handle her child prior to signing a consent, or putting obstacles
in her way of exerting this right, may readily be interpreted as duress
if the validity of an adoption consent is being contested. One challenge
to the validity of a consent on these grounds has already been heard in
the New South Wales Supreme
Court. In the same context any comments
or actions by staff members which the mother could see as pressure to
persuade her to place her baby for adoption run the risk of later
bearing the legal interpretation of duress. Anyone found in these
circumstances to have exerted "undue pressure' is liable to prosecution
under section 51 of the Act.
"It is the experience of adoption workers that most women planning to
give up a child now see their child. The majority of these do sign a
consent and allow the adoption to proceed. Thus contrary to common
belief, EXPERIENCE SUGGESTS THAT THERE IS NO NEGATIVE
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN A MOTHER SEEING HER CHILD AND SIGNING
A CONSENT TO ADOPTION OR REVOKING SUCH CONSENT.
2.1 Need for a written policy
Each hospital should devise a written policy, easily accessible to all
hospital staff dealing with adopting mothers.(I think they meant
2.2 LEGAL ASPECTS
2.2.1 The legal rights under Common Law of the mother prior to signing
a consent to adoption must be recognised as being no less than those
possessed by any other mother.
2.2.2. Staff should be aware of the legal complications that may arise in
denying or interfering with these rights both in relation
to the security
of the child’s adoption and to their own vulnerability to prosecution.
2.2.3. A part of the mothers rights as guardian of her child is her
right to information concerning any medical problems or physical
deformity suffered by the child, or any fact which could influence the
decision to surrender the child.
3.1. Before the signing of the consent:
3.1.1. At delivery the relationship between the mother and the child is
clearly recognisable to staff. There should therefore be no bar to the
mother being shown and/or handling her child at this time, should she
wish to do so, providing this is medically feasible.
3.1.2. The usual practice is for the baby to be taken to a nursery away
from the mother, shortly after birth. While this seems to be in line with
the needs and desires of most mothers considering adoption, it should
not prevent the hospital agreeing to a mother's request to care for her
child in other ways, eg. rooming-in, breastfeeding.
3.1.3. When the baby is being cared for in a hospital nursery, the
mother should know where the baby is located and be informed of hospital
procedures for visiting the baby.
3.1.5 Where the baby has any abnormality, illness or other medical
problem, the mother must be informed. Otherwise there is a danger of
the mother's consent being invalid.
NATURE OF PROBLEM
A contributing factor in this was the identification by the Standing
Committee of a number of practices occurring in some public hospitals in
relation to adoption matters which are contra-indicated on either mental
health or legal grounds. These include:- * Undue pressure
being placed on
unmarried women to surrender their
infants for adoption (an offence under
section 31 of the Adoption of Children Act)
* Unwillingness on the part of hospital personnel to grant the same rights
of information and contact with their infants as women who are
considering surrendering their infants for adoption as are accorded
EXTENT OF THE PROBLEM
"Of the 356 infants of less than three months placed with adoptive parents
in 1979-80 ( a similar figure is expected for 1980-81) almost all were
surrendered while the biological mother was still in hospital. It is not
possible to estimate what percentage of these women had unhelpful
experiences while hospitalised: the problem is reported to be small but
In Defence of Adoption
NSW Department of
Youth and Community Services
Probation and Parole Services
Department of Corrective services
Catholic Adoption Agency
`Adoption and the Relinquishing Mother'
MacDonald and Co., claim two events of
the early 1980's informed the industry of the effects of adoption on the relinquishing mother. One being the establishment
of the Australian Relinquishing Mothers Society, founded at the 1982 National
Adoption Conference, and the publication in 1984 study by the Western Australian researchers Winkler and Van Keppel `Relinquishing
Mothers in Adoption'.
However, as is always the response of
those in the adoption field, the experts, once caught out, manage to justify
their position. The fact of the matter is that the everlasting grief of the mother has always been known, (it is the reason
she had to be warned of the psychological harm, and the risk of dire future regret if deciding upon adoption - as per their
own legislation). Their own social work records, now 20-40 years old, readily available under Freedom of Information, constantly
refer to mothers contacting the agency months and years after the adoption, still grieving for their babies and not being
able to get on with their lives. Using `divide and conquer' tactics, each and every one of the mothers were being told how
she was the only one who hasn't gotten on with her life, indicating there must be something wrong with her.
Their old adoption literature, eg. Adoption,
by Margaret Kornitzer 1958, describes how a mother grieves for, and shows concern for her child, for many years after separation.
Their own more recent literature, as described earlier in this submission by Berromeo, explains how a mother needs to mourn
the lost child, and equates adoption separation to a death experience because of the irreversible nature of adoption. The simple fact is that the adoption experts did not chose to acknowledge the mothers
grief prior to the 1980's as it suited their objectives to ignore it. Even once
it was formally acknowledged it made no difference. Little changed.
The only reason her grief was eventually
acknowledged was because the industry was unable to keep the mother isolated and silenced any longer. With the evolution of
the Australian Relinquishing Mothers Association (ARMS), the industry found she was no longer able to be controlled and oppressed,
and so, pretending to be surprised that anyone had actually suffered at their hand, and in their attempt to protect their
industry from charges of professional neglect, the industry justified itself by declaring how they had been totally oblivious
to the suffering adoption had imposed upon the mothers, until of course, the early 1980's.
The lack of professionalism in the adoption
field is indicated by the following attempt by the authors, to justify the effects of adoption on the mother with the continued use of antiquated and irrational theories by Leontine Young, although debunked
in the 1960's as nonsense, was still handy to use through the mid 1980's, in helping agents justifying their practice. That
anyone could even contemplate the concept of a mother losing her own baby forever as a "growing point", or that giving away
their own babies would resolve conflicts with ones mother shows the utter insanity of the industry as the following shows:
Nevertheless there is strong evidence
to suggest that, as with any major life crisis which is satisfactorily
resolved, the surrender of a child for adoption may represent a growing
point from which a woman may achieve greater self-awareness, often through
resolution of previously unexplored conflicts, most notably in her relationship
with her own parents.
The adoption experts so wanted to believe
that a mother was capable of making a rational decision to willingly give away her own baby, they lost sight of the female
human condition altogether in their need to promote adoption. Even their predecessors of earlier decades considered the separation
of a mother and baby as a tragic but necessary separation given the stigma of her illegitimate status. The new scientific
approach to adoption, allowed long term adoption workers to get lost in their own mythology and rather forget mother
nature altogether, as the following use
of Ericsons work shows:
about the inability of a woman ever to accept having given up a child tend to ignore what is known about personality development.
The work of Ericson, for example, emphasises the importance of the successful completion of life tasks, identifying the stage of generativity as that at which the individual has the capacity for proper parenting, the stage at which a child can be seen as a separate person with its own specific
needs for nurture rather than as an extension of the mothers own need for
And further: this next passage, while
acknowledging the wrongs of past practice, indicate their belief that if the mother is freely permitted to see her child it
will allow her to grieve and move on, rather than acknowledging that the cost of adoption, in human terms, has been just too
There are still some mothers whose way
of coping with an adoption
surrender is to attempt to block out the
experience. Agencies may find themselves working with women who are striving
painfully after a lapse of years to come to terms with a grief they were
unable to face at the time.
Theold practice of denying a mother access to a child she planned to surrender has died out. The right of the mother to see her child if she wishes to do so is now freely acknowledged, but her right to choose not to do so has also to be accepted, even when it runs contrary to our current professional nsights.
Additionally, the adoption industry has
continued to theorise and make it up as they go along, regarding any understanding of the mother, in such a way as to make
themselves feel comfortable in their profession.
They continue to contradict all previous
knowledge known to them by their own Departments as the need requires. eg. This paper also relies on the writers' explanation
that uses the many mothers who contact an agency years after the surrender, to let the agent know she `did the right thing'
as an indication of proof that there are mothers who have accepted the surrender of their child. Whereas in 1966, their own
literature on the issue of why mothers contact the agency, was known to be because the agency was the mothers last connection
with her lost baby. It was seen as an indication that she could not let go and get on with her life. (see The natural mothers
need after placement, V Nichols 1966). Logic would indicate that a mother who remains in contact with an agency, has not only not moved on, but that she is in continual need of being reassured that `she did the right thing'.
South Wales Parliament
Review of Adoption
Policy and Practice
`Options for Reform'
As a result of the Health Commission's
policy warning on adoption practice, a review of adoption policy and practice was commissioned by Frank Walker MP., then Minister
for Youth and Community Services in 1984 and reported on in Adoption: Options for Reform 1985, advised the
adoption industry that:
In future, before a consent is taken, relinquishing parents
should receive counselling and written information on the
implication of adoption, alternatives to adoption and
community support services which can assist them if they
choose to keep their child.
The provision of written information before a consent is
signed will provide the opportunity for relinquishing parents
to consider the issues at home with their family and friends,
and will reduce the likely-hood of a misunderstanding.
The written information, when it did arrive
many years later was inadequate,
inappropriate, uninformative and not in
keeping with the meaning of the Ministerial recommendations that were meant to ensure that no misunderstanding of the decision
At a Meeting of Approved Adoptive Applicants
Finally beginning to realise that the
child's needs should also matter, the
adoption industry eventually introduced `Accessed adoption'. This new concept was introduced to allow for an agency-controlled
information sharing to be passed between the natural mother and adoptive child.
Given to believe she would have contact
with her child, is what encouraged some young mothers to accept adoption as the only solution to her life crisis. Although
by the eighties she could select parents from a portfolio of three or four prospective adoptive applicants allowed her to
feel she had some control over the arrangements for her child. She would select the new parents on the promises the adoptive
parents made to her regarding ongoing contact.
However, she was usually not told by the
agency that there was no legislation passed to force adopting parents to honour their promises to her and it was usual for
any exchange of letter of photo's to cease as soon as the adoption was legally finalised through the Supreme Court. In end
effect, accessed adoption ended up no better than the closed system.
Extracts of the following paper presented
at a meeting to approved adoptive applicants, outline that adoption has seen the child's interests as always secondary to the needs of the prospective adopters.
"Access adoption is the final step in truly acknowledging and attempting
to meet your child's needs. It is the externalising of the inside truth
of adoption and that is the crux of the fear and threat that many adoptive
parents feel. The truth is that whether you embrace the truth openly or
not, the truth will remain, and the truth is that there are two sets of
parents and both in different ways are important to your child.
What has brought our community to the point of acknowledging this? Why
are we all being asked to confront the truth? I would suggest that as with
all change, it has occurred because the old ways haven't worked out the
way they were expected to.
What is scary is that unlike the past, we cannot construct simple answers
nor have neat black and white solutions. We have learned from the past
that those aren't the best answers and that the cost in human terms has
been very high.
So what are we dealing with in adoption? Firstly we are looking for a
family for a child who needs one. The implication of this is that there is
no longer a blurring of the lines between the child's needs and the needs
of the infertile couple. Up until very recently those were seen largely as
synonymous. Access adoption is perhaps the most sophisticated attempt our
community has made to meet what is now being acknowledged as the needs of
Human Rights Commission
Discussion Paper No,
Dr Cathy McDermott
"The emotional havoc wreaked
on natural mothers of
adopted children is frightening
and it reaches into
every other relationship
they have with subsequent
children and partners."
The Human Rights Commission identified
the coercive practices of the adoption industry back in 1984, when taking submission for the inquiry into the introduction
of the Adoption Information Act 1990 but perhaps because it was outside their terms of reference, none of it was made public.
While the Commission clearly determined adoption practices as being coercive and discriminating
against the unmarried mother, it fell short of telling the full story - that not only was such treatment discriminatory but
that it was also highly illegal on all counts.And while the level of grief had been fully acknowledged by the Commission,
by time the Adoption Information Act was passed in 1991, no grief counsellors had been set into place to help the mothers
cope with the pain they were in. Instead, the very same social workers who participated in past abusive practices, had been
employed to counsel their victims yet again - and yet again perpetuating another shocking professional conflict of interest
upon the mother.
These very counsellors, having no training
in grief and trauma issues, instead, mediated and controlled the reunions between mother and child. Needing to cover and protect
themselves, not only did they not advise mothers of their own participation in past practices, but diverted her need to speak
of her past experience by directing all counselling to the present day (for the comfort
of their own conscious no doubt), classifying mothers who dared to express the illegality of their treatment as not owning
up to, and taking responsibility for `their decision', negating and stifling the truth and
perpetuating further abuse and suffering. Post adoption counselling is the only area where so-called professionals
who should know better, have the audacity to deliberately use counselling procedures which themselves
accommodate the promotion of this myth
rather than dealing with known reality.
Additionally, one submission declared
`It was assumed that, because bearing a child outside
marriage was held to be shameful and immoral, the single
mother would not possess the normal emotions of a mother
towards her child.'
Reflecting how the adoption industry has
always conjured up irrational, unresearched concepts and theories about the mother to promote adoption, so did they then begin
conjuring up excuses for their actions once the mothers began to speak out about their inability to recover from the loss
of their baby.
Again logic tells us that if this shameless
industry really did believe that the unmarried mother did not possess normal emotions toward her child as quoted above, they
would not have bothered to introduce the practice of forbidding eye contact between mother and child to prevent bonding.
Additionally, the industry is more than
aware of the thousands of grieving mothers who regularly contacted the adoption agency wanting their babies back or asking for a modicum of help and a little information about their child. They got nothing
but lies. They would make up stories of having contacted the adopters and would tell the mother the child was fine and happy.
Many mothers sent gift annually to their child for decades. The child would never receive them. The agency would help themselves
to the gifts or throw them out.
Additionally, those who promised her she
would forget and get on with her life once she signed the consent, comfort themselves by believing this is actually possible.
Re hospital practice -
restricting access to the child;
`The unreasonableness of rules restricting access to children likely to be
put up for adoption is arguable on the grounds that such restrictions,
rather than helping the mother to make a responsible decision, are in
fact designed to make the decision for her.'
Report No. 23
Review of the A.C.T.
Adoption of Children Ordinance 1965
By and large the following passage from
the Commission's Report identifies what has been known in the industry all along, all except the mother herself.
While subsequent post adoption counseling
was allowing the mother to try to `forgive herself' (see Keys Young Report on
Post Adoption Resource Centre August 1994) for her adoption `decision', NEVER ONCE was any mother told that she had nothing
to forgive herself for. NEVER ONCE was any mother made to understand that the decision had actually been made for her. NEVER
ONCE was any mother advised of what her legal rights had been. NEVER ONCE was it explained to her that her treatment was illegal.
NEVER ONCE was she afforded any peace from her torture. NEVER ONCE was she exonerated of her `crime'. NEVER ONCE was she afforded
her dignity. NEVER ONCE was the searching child told how his/her mother had been routinely treated. NEVER ONCE has
the searching child been told how mothers
were never given a choice.
NEVER ONCE was the child's pain and anger
in having spent a life feeling unwanted been alleviated by being told the truth.
ONCE IN THE CORRUPT HISTORY OF THE ADOPTION EUGENICS PROGRAMME OR WITH ANY POST ADOPTION COUNSELLING HAS THE TRUTH EVEN BEEN
The Commission declared:
"Adoption procedures have also largely disregarded the rights of the
parent considering relinquishment to be made aware of her alternative
option to adoption, and to full and disinterested support in arriving at a
decision, The many submissions received from natural mothers who
relinquished children for adoption, describing their unresolved grief and
sense of loss, bear testimony to the failure of bureaucratic procedures to
protect their rights."
To have been fully aware of the crimes
committed against unmarried mothers, as per the Commission's report, and not advising the victims of such routine criminal
behaviour, I believe, constitutes a gross obstruction of Justice on the part of all concerned.
This contemptuous attitude in treating their severely traumatised clients like fools, instead of assisting their recovery,
is synonymous with the behaviour of the entire adoption industry and must be addressed.
Vol.144 Feb 3 1986
a Baby for Adoption.
by John T. Condon.
Department of Psychiatry
Flinders Medical Centre S.A.
"... existing evidence suggests that the experience of relinquishment
renders a woman at high risk of psychological and possible physical
disability. Moreover, very recent research indicates that actual disability
or vulnerability may not diminish even decades after the event. All women
who express the intention during pregnancy of relinquishing a baby should
be offered consultation with a psychiatrist or other professional person who
is experienced in this area......such a referral can be an important
preventative measure, since any such woman falls into a high risk group for
subsequent depressive or psychosomatic illness.
The medical profession cannot be considered entirely blameless for the
trauma which many of these women experienced in less enlightened times,
and should endeavour at least to understand, if not empathise with, the
sense of alienation which many of them experience towards doctors in
The medical profession was fully aware
of the severe implications of relinquishment, and continued to ignored it, the adoption industry also continued to ignore
their own duty of care toward their client and continued to promote adoption without warning of the known, severe nature of
the mental anguish she would live with for the rest of her life..
Irrespective of the illegal nature of
the adoption procedures conducted over the last fifty years, I question how any civilized Government could be legally allowed
to continue to promote and sanction a procedure which has been well known to
cause severe psychological harm upon its own citizens.
To continue the promotion of the separation
of mother and child and supplying a little follow up grief counseling, would be tantamount to continuing the use of the thalidomide
pill and merely providing calipers for the child.
Such professional negligence and breach
of duty of care toward anyone other than an unmarried mother would not be tolerated in any other field
Adoption in the 1990's
As the regulations determined by the Child
Welfare Act 1939 have never been repealed, and as the Child Welfare Act effectively made only certain alterations and additional
protection clauses in reference to the unmarried mother and her child, and as
no new legislation has as yet been enacted through an act of Parliament, the laws and regulation relating to the protection
of the unmarried mother in the 1990's remains the same as were in place fifty years ago.
She had to insist upon adoption before
her consent could be taken.
She was not to be persuaded or coerced
into sign an adoption consent.
She was to be
warned of the psychological harm such a course of action may cause her.
was to be provided with all available assistance to enable her to keep her
IN HER CHILD'S BEST INTEREST! etc.
And yet although the Department of Community
Services eventually provided the recommended written information booklet as per recommended in 1985 by the Committee reviewing
Policy and Practice, it is inappropriate, unhelpful, does not warn mothers of the very well known consequences of permanent
separation to either herself or her child. It implies that the grief the mother may experience will dissipate in time with
counselling, which is contrary to internationally respected Australian research by Winkler and Van Keppel which states categorically,
how mothers do not recover from the grief of losing a living child to adoption, that she will not get over her loss and that
if anything it only intensifies with time.
It does not warn mothers of the pain and
rage their child will endure through the stigma in being an adopted child. It does not warn mothers that there are no guarantees
for their child's future well being, physical safety or emotional health.
After all the known potential risk factors
for abuse, inherent in the non-biological relationship between step and foster parents - just as in the non-biological adoptive
relationship - the mother is not being warned of the risks and contra-indications inherent in passing the care of her child
over to strangers where there is also an absence of kinship.
It does not comply with the industry's
regulations in running an adoption agency, to protect the mental health and wellbeing of their clients. It does not focus
on the mothers right to keep her child. It does not outline all available assistance to enable a mother to keep her child.
It depicts adoption as being the `responsible decision'. It labels her as a `birthmother' before she has even surrendered
her child. It in no way ensures that there can be no misunderstanding on the part of the mother in regard to the consequences
of adoption as per recommended.
NB Comparing the indepth policies and
warnings involved in the counselling procedures surrounding all possible social and emotional consequences as outlined by
the Health Department, PRIOR to making a decision to have an A.I.D.S. test, as per the A.I.D.S. Council of N.S.W., (just in
case the verdict is positive) as against the biased promotion of adoption in light of all known mental health, and social
consequences of surrendering a child to adoption, is a scandalous breach of responsibility on the part of the State in allowing
the production of such literature, which contravenes legislation, to be given to biased and irresponsible staff.
WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?
NEVER has any mother been warned of the
very well known detrimental mental health and highly destructive emotional distress she would be inflicting upon her child
as a result of adoption. (see Origins Submission No.3 for examples)
This negligent abuse to the well being
of human beings would not be tolerated in any other licensed or legal field. Any adoption agency who continues to promote
adoption separation, in light of the known harmful effects to both the mother and her child, is setting itself up for major
The adoption industry has misrepresented
the use of the term `in the best interest of the child' to get away with the most severe forms of profession negligence and
destruction of human life without a side ways glance. To use the `best interest of the child' to separate a child from a perfectly
capable mother is contravening the law.
Negligent Adoption promotion
in the 1990's
Although the industry had officially conceded
ten years earlier that they acknowledge the longterm grief of the mother did not prevent them from seeking out alternative
measures of promoting adoption in the 1990's.
A promotional Video put out by the Committee
on Adoption and Permanent Care in 1993, called A Birthmothers Experience uses actors disguised as mothers to explain to prospective
adopters the reasons mothers relinquish their children. The background music has the singer chanting "I know I did the right
know I did the right thing etc.
In 1992 the same Committee endorsed an
adoption kit based on Edmond Mechs promotional propaganda, explaining how to encourage the young unsuspecting
girls to surrender their babies to adoption. It was removed from distribution when it was brought to their attention that
the promotion of adoption over the mother keeping her child contravenes the law.
The purpose of adoption seems no longer
apparent in the 1990's, when on the one hand, in a TV interview last year, the
head of the Catholic adoption agency, Centacare, described adoption as "a noble act" on the part of the mother, but when asked
in whose best interest adoption is, she was unable to answer the question.
The same agency regularly visits Catholic
schools in their promotion of adoption and their quest for babies.
Adoption is a Permanent
to a Temporary Problem
Although the adoption legislators have
acknowledged the disastrous emotional carnage left in the wake of the closed adoption system, once again, no form of research
has even been considered let alone conducted into the new open form of adoption.
Any rational thinking person who thought
for one minute how they would feel, having to spend the rest of their lives watching and hearing their own child, their own
flesh and blood, calling total strangers with no biological tie, mummy, because they had gone through a temporary life crisis
when they had been young, poor, and unsupported, when someone had recommended adoption as an option out of their situation,
would realise the mental anguish and distress such a situation would eventually create in both the mother and the child.
The natural mothers in these open adoption
situations are at the mercy of the goodwill of the adopting parents and end up becoming `the dancing bear', suppressing their
own grief and rage, dancing to the tune of the piper, accepting crumbs, an hour here , a letter there, a forced smile, jumping
through hoops, tolerating anything to avoid being put back in their cage, with no further contact to their child.
For others, the despair in having to see
their child being raised by strangers after their temporary crisis is over, forces them to avoid any
contact at all. And then they are accused of not being interested.
Just as the peak suicide rate in Australian
women coincided with the peak adoption period, suicide is not uncommon among mothers who are part of the new open adoption
practice. And according to Brother Alex McDonnell, of the 147 drug related suicides of homeless youth in the St Kilda area,
142 suicides were adoption related.
And still the legislators fail to acknowledge
that the new concept of open adoption is also fraught with extreme mental health problems to its consumers.
Adoptions in Victoria in the 1990's relies
on a lottery system consisting of a three step procedure where, after recruiting hundreds of potential adoptive parents (having
paid administrative fees according to their progress up the three tiered process) are culled down and eventually the successful
applicants are given a number. These numbers are placed into a box (to be fair to all applicants) and the numbers drawn from
the lottery system are the winners of the great baby prize, needing simply to then wait for an appropriate baby to be born.
For the paid up losers, and with so few babies now available, the industry had discovered a new money spinner in prolonging
and exploiting their loss and grief, by peddling false hope.
The best interest
of the child
Adoptions Australia 1991-92
Child Welfare Series
Introduction page 3.
Graham Angus/Katherine Wilkinson
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
"In recent years the emphasis in adoptions has changed from being a service for couples wishing to adopt a child, to being a service for children.;
the priority is now the welfare of the child (Stonehouse 1992)."
How could legislation have been contravened on such a massive scale?
To explain how adoption regulations and
the law were contravened on such a massive scale is, I believe, quite simple.
Firstly, because the unmarried mother
has been seen as being so insignificant as a human being, no-one bothered comply with the law, protect her rights, or even
stopped to consider that she might even have rights, and
Secondly, although the Australian Government
introduced regulations into the Child Welfare Act 17 based on English law designed to enable a mother to keep her child, it
simultaneously turned a blind eye, while the adoption industry followed the American code of adoption practice which consisted
of punishing the mother by taking her child at birth, thus effectively contravening its own legislation.
Blaming the Victim,
by Lillian Ryan.
A Division of Random House,
New York, 1971.
"it seems fair to say that unmarried motherhood is the mark, not of
deviancy and degeneracy, but of victimisation. It is the visible sign and
outcome of a total pattern of inequality in the distribution of, and access
to, significant resources, and reflects the intent of the dominant majority
to keep the poor in their place, insuring that the life of the poor is hard
and precarious.....illegitimacy is functionally useful to society.
eliminate it would be to eliminate the raw material of the adoption
process, whose products are sought after by childless middle class
couples. The great surplus of unadopted illegitimate children is, by
these standards, an untidy bi-product of the process,substandard
material that is to be thrown back onto the resources of the hopelessly inadequate Child Welfare and public assistance system.
Society encourages illegitimacy not, as is generally thought, by
encouraging premarital sex, but by discouraging responsible parenthood
through making it impossible for the black and the poor to make
responsible choices about parenthood. Until we make such responsible
choices as possible for the poor girl as for the middle class daughters,
we can only preserve our sense of righteousness by denying our own
acts of oppression and deprivation, and blaming the victim."
Realising too late that she had been a
victim of the ultimate betrayal, her shamed silence coming not from her out-of-wedlock pregnancy as is assumed, but from signing
a document that surrendered her own baby to be exploited by a system that had preyed upon her vulnerable state, and offered
her no option but adoption. It was that alone which resulted in a social stigma by far greater than becoming a sole parent
could have ever been.
Condemned by her community for her out-of
wedlock pregnancy, betrayed by her own family, and deceived by an industry that promoted adoption as being in her child's
best interest, society needed a scapegoat to justify the social raping of her womb during birth - and so the de-babied mother
(often little more than a child herself) conveniently became:
"the sort of mother who could give away her own flesh and blood".
Simultaneously, the child in whose interest
adoption was meant to be,
traumatised by having been snatched from
his mother's womb as if a living stillbirth, was to live with the pain in being
led to believe his own mother willingly gave him away, resulting in oppression and a social rage that comes with the stigma
of being labelled - an unwanted child.
"They told me my son would
live with the stigma of
illegitimacy if I kept him.
What they failed to tell
me about adoption is that
not only would he still have
the stigma of being a bastard - but also that his own
mother didn't want him."
by W. Jacobs