Dian Wellfare Adoption Rights Campaigner (1951-2008)

South Australian Vetos
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


Origins Submission to South Australian Government on Vetos




Our concern is predominately with the proposed introduction of lifetime vetoes against birthmothers - an outrageous discriminatory proposition in protection of other parties to the adoption process.


One would assume in this enlightened decade that birthmothers had suffered enough at the hands of this draconian, unnatural and inhumane process of separating a mother permanantly from her own child at birth because she had the misfortune of falling pregnant in a country such as Australia when she was young, victimised, unsupported and essentially helpless. 


How this type of discrimination can be allowed to continue in 1995 in light of the well acknowledged awareness of past practices is astounding.

Only the naive and uninformed are not yet aware of the criminality and illegality which permeated the entire adoption process Australia wide over the last 50 years,  and specifically over the period since the introduction of the 1965 Adoption of Children Act where laws were passed which were meant to protect the unwed mother and her child from separation through coercion and undue influence and which failed to do so.   


What we are dealing with in 1995 are women who are no longer those teenage unwed mothers who lost their babies to scandalous adoption practices after having been placed into the care of government employed and licenced adoption workers but who are now adult women seeking advice from legal professionals who, until recently, have had little or no involvement in adoption law, and are beginning to recognise that the Adoption Act has been almost entirely contravened through the system's practices and blatant misrepresentation of adoption law and policy guidelines.


In light of the readily available research which declares that:


    " birthmothers suffer chronic and irresolvable grief which only

      intensifies with time", (ref.JCondon, Winkler VanKeppell, G Rickarby)


allowing the introduction of lifetime vetoes against the birthmother as a dictum of law, could very well be seen as breaching a professional duty of care (where no-one is legally entitled to knowingly do harm to others - a principal of civil law for approximately 100 years). 


As lawyers we assume you would be aware of Australia's history of

scandalous adoption practices (not practiced in other nations) and would therefore assume that, in law, your committee would be seeking ways of making restitution by at least looking after the emotional needs of  birthmothers which has until now been grossly and negligently ignored, even though research and their own manuals of adoption practice indicate that adoption professionals have been aware of the long term consequences to the birthmother and were meant to, as part of their duty of care, warn the mother of the emotional consequences of separating from her child ie that she may "suffer greivous future regret" rather than encouraging the surrender of her child to adoption. (a guideline which has always been and continues to be ignored by adoption workers).


Shamefully, what has evolved as a result of the "lack of accountability" of adoption workers could very well be construed as mass kidnap of thousands of newborn babies by Government bodies - if contested in a court of law.

(see enclosed video and audietape - reaction of Justice Richard Chisholm - previous head of NSW Law Reform Commission Adoption Review Board).


As Adoption Reviews Australia wide seem to be concentrating on the superficialities of adoption reform rather than the legalities I have included extracts from a paper presented at the Australian National Adoption Conference held in Sydney on August 29-31 1994.


Although specifically aimed at NSW, this information may well pertain to all Australian states and was chaired by the NSW Law Reform Commissions now president, Mr Hennessy.


 " A seminar held in February 1967, to implement the Adoption of

  Children Act 1965, bringing together 314 representatives of

  every hospital, maternity home and family agency from around

  the State of N.S.W. outlining the procedures of the new

  Adoption Act has been the source of much of my information.  

  (The Act, refers to the Adoption of Children Act 1965)


  This new Act was primarily implemented to wipe out technical

  differences between the rights of adopted children between

  different States, and, with the prohibition of independent

  adoptions, other than private family arrangements, safeguards

  were implemented which would protect the unwed mother and her

  child from duress and undue influence by what was then known

  as black market agents profiteering in unscrupulous baby

  trading practices.


  Except in cases of abandonment or neglect, nowhere in the Adoption Act

  dictates that the interests of the child are best served by being removed

  from it's natural mother at birth.


  The responsibility of adoption workers was the placement and care of a

  child deprived of his natural family. It is not, and never has been the

  responsibility of the adoption worker to actually deprive the child of

  his family. And yet, adoption practices were implemented to do just that.


  What the law indicates is that only after a mother has surrendered her

  child for adoption by having signed a consent to adoption form, then and

  ONLY then, does the State take over the responsibility of looking after

  the childs best interests. 


  Needless to say, Adoption Workers misinterpreted their understanding of

  the law and somehow decided it was their duty to speak on behalf of the

  child (specifically the infant) inferring it was their responsibility to

  decide on the babies future. (Vol 20 Aust Journal of Social Work Feb 67-

  The Child).


  Their own words demonstrate that adoption workers merely used the child

  as a tool for adoptions true purpose, unexposed as it was.

  To quote Mary McLelland, spokeswoman for the Australian Association of

  Social Workers 1967;.... "The Social workers concern is with

  childlessness or infertility, but the particular area of competence is,

  not in it's treatment, but in assessment or resolution of the effects on

  the marital relationship of the couple"....She goes on further to say;

  "The ultimate objective  of Adoption is such a planned change, through

  helping to make a family where before one did not exist"....."But before

  the placement can be made there are other minor or contributory changes

  in the social functioning of various individuals where the social workers

  part is well defined".... and that is..."The natural parents must

  resolve,  if possible, conflicts about the surrender of the child". 


  Quite clearly, the success of securing marital harmony and healthy social

  functioning of white married society, was dependent on ensuring the

  availability of a continuous crop of desirable babies. Their destiny

  sealed, earmarked to fulfilling the needs of strangers, our babies were

  merely used as a means of providing a cure for the marital problems of

  the infertile.   


  Social Workers were delighted that the prohibition of independent

  adoptions would mean a greater number of unwed mothers being

  channelled  into the waiting claws of the new system via, by now, well

  rehearsed and  poorly trained adoption case workers, planted effectively

  within   hospitals, maternity homes and family agencies. These new

  arrangements would mean that practices would be implemented, which 

  could reap a crop large enough to satisfy the frenzied demand for babies.

  The following 6  years (1967-73) would be known in social work circles as 

  the bumper adoption era.


  The skyrocketing statistics of this period was no coincidence, but a

  direct result of the adoption industry systematically denying the

  unwed mother all options and alternatives available to her by law, and

  using methods of such inhumane, emotional violence, and physical abuse

  in   the labour ward - all designed to remove the mothers sense of

  entitlement  to her own child, and, being so outside the legal interpretation

  of the  law as to bring into question the validity of thousands of adoption

  consents as a consequence.


  Procedures in place negating the need for any legal representation of the

  unwed mother allowed a breeding ground for such abuses of the Act.


  It was a time of severe negligence and blatant disregard of the Adoption

  Act on the part of the entire Social Welfare system in collusion with the

  Medical Profession.

  That any Social Worker actually bothered to read the Adoption Act and its  

 offences, or for that matter, their very own journals and Manuals of        

Adoption Practices is severely questionable. (ref.vol 20 A.J.of S.W + Man

  of Adop Pracs 1971)


  It wasn’t until 1976 that the Health Dept of N.S.W. smelled a rat, but it

  took another 6 years to distribute a warning to every hospital within the

  state that they were contravening the Adoption Act on either mental

  health or legal grounds.


  It was also the first time anyone had bothered to question why almost all

  adoption consents in N.S.W. were being taken whilst the mother lay

  bleeding and sedated in her hospital bed, when by law she could have

  taken the baby home and given herself time to make alternative

  arrangements. This was but one option systematically denied the unwed



  Most significantly, Section 31b of the Adoption Act states; An adoption

  consent may prove invalid under the terms of the Adoption of Children act

  1965 if the mother has been subject to duress or undue influence.

  Refusing the mother permission to see or handle her child prior to

  signing the consent, or putting obstacles in her way of asserting this

  right, may readily be interpreted as duress if the validity of a consent

  is being contested...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 51 of the act.


  The law also states that a mother is the sole legal guardian of her baby

  and remains so until a consent to adoption is signed. She therefore has

  the rights of access to her child as any new mother would and cannot

  legally be denied this.


  How did thes law protect the unwed mother when most had pillows or sheets 

  To discover the massive case work studies on the effects of adoption on

  the child - available since 1943 and referenced in university social work

  literature is reprehensible and certainly smacks of negligence toward the

  emotional health of the child if not child abuse.


  Perhaps the most telling of all comments for the unwed mother was by the

  well known Leontine Young, whose unresearched theories about unwed

  mothers bought about the cruel and barbarous "Clean Break Theory" in

  adoption practice as we know it today, In her paper "Is Money our

  Trouble", Young stated her concerns in 1953 about:


      "The tendency growing out of the demand for babies to regard

       unwed mothers as breeding machines....by people intent upon

       securing babies for quick adoption".


  The sacred cow that adoption became, began at a time whereby the

  collective social conscience, in an effort to alleviate any guilt about

  sanctioning the permanent removal of a child from it's natural mother,

  colluded with the help of well designed social propaganda to believe that

  adoption was in the childs best interest as the mother, they deemed, did

  not want her child.


  The unwanted child theory was then introduced to help adoptive parents

  feel comfortable in taking another woman’s baby, as the belief was that

  the adoptive mother could not effectively parent the child without a

  sense of entitlement. 


  Once the baby had disappeared forever, the concept of relinquishment was

  so at odds with Mother Nature herself, that society had to condemn the

  de-babied mother as being less than human for doing what was socially

  expected of her, and so, in order to protect their collective guilt the

  mother was condemned into eternal silence.


  The collective amnesia of the unwed mother seemed to indicate that all

  was well with adoption and she had indeed forgotten what had been done to

  her. The truth in fact being that, she had not been silenced by stigma

  and guilt as was socially required of her, but rather, it is now being

  acknowledged in psychiatric circles that her silence has been the direct

  result of an attempted adaptation to an unbearable loss, being so outside

  the realms of normal human endurance, as to have caused her to suffer

  severe mental health  disorders such as psychic splitting, much the same

  way as the mind of the child incest abuse victim splits off from reality

  in order to survive her trauma, incorporating  post traumatic stress

  disorder, psychogenic amnesia, multiple personality disorder, severe

  dissociative disorders, long term pathogenic grief, learned helplessness

  disfunction and major depression, all this as a direct result of such

  severe trauma associated  with such a violent act.    


  Many mothers have stated how:


     " Argentina's political adoption process of putting a bullet

       through her head once the baby had been born, might have

       been kinder, instead of being condemned to the eternal hell

       in never knowing where her baby is".


  I question how any civilised Government could legally be allowed to

  sanction, promote and continue to implement such an inhumane policy as

  that of closed adoption, without having been legally obliged as part of

  their duty of care, to take into consideration the vast amounts of

  professional case work studies so readily available, which indicate that

  adoption causes severe mental health disorders in women who relinquish a

  child, and major psychological disturbances in many adopted children. 


  I also question why adoption workers have not, and are still not, as part

  of their duty of care, being made to acknowledge their professional

  responsibility in informing the mother of the possible risk of grievous

  harm to both her own and her child’s mental health, if adoption is being




I refer to clause    regarding vetoes.


The commissions proposal to recommend both information and contact vetoes against birth mothers further perpetuates the bias and fear held toward  mothers who were on the whole, little more than children at the time of relinquishment and who are still being held responsible and punished for societal and familial decisions made on their behalf by adults who are still unable to be honest about facing up to their involvement in this mass exploitation of young mothers' fertility.


Perhaps a little humanity needs to seep into the adoption concept.

What could be more natural and healing for a mother than to finally see her firstborn child and know that he/she is alive and well and to be able to finally be able to heal her child’s pain and anger by being able to let him

know that she did love him, thus helping to alleviate the child's sense of abandonment and loss.


And what could be more natural than wanting to know the woman who gave birth to you?


And how tragic and unnatural that the myths, lies and fears which are the foundation stones of the closed adoption system are still being perpetuated in the guise of lifetime vetoes as protection to people so emotionally damaged by a closed adoption system that knowledge of their very existence fill them with such fear.

Clearly, the emotional cost demanded by closed adoption is too high. 


But perhaps we are too ideal to have anticipated any level of equality in adoption reform when nothing has ever been equal in the adoption equation.

What we must remember, and what seems conveniently forgotten, is that the natural mother was often little more than a child herself at the time of surrender where adoptive parents were secure, mature adults who placed their orders for another woman’s child, complained when they had to wait too long to get their needs met, and were willing to benefit from a young mothers tragic situation at a time when she was caste out, deserted by both her family and the child’s father, coerced and bullied into believing it was in her babies best interest to be given to strangers she wasn't allowed to meet (do you know of any mother who would 'willingly' give her baby to a stranger for even an hour? ) and yet, because of her situation she had no choice but to accept such an inhumane arrangement which defies and contravenes the very fabric of motherhood and mother nature - which is revered in every other living species on earth.


It is little wonder that many birth mothers have suicided or are dying from illnesses caused as a result of irresolvable despair at an early age. 


How regretful it is that social workers made naive young mothers believe that infertile couples would be ever so grateful to finally receive a much desired child and it would be selfish to deprive such wonderful people of such happiness.


Where is that gratitude now?


Tragically, it is nowhere to be found.


Their gratitude is directed only toward the social workers who found a child for them, and to whom they again turn for protection against the mother through the insistence of the introduction of a dreadful veto system.


It must be blatantly clear that if a child had been raised with love and with a loving perception of his/her birthmother their bond would be so great, no-one, not even the birthmother could threaten their family unit and there would be no need for the placing of a veto. This in turn would help the birth mother find some peace and perhaps finally come to terms with her loss, in knowing that her child had been happy and had not suffered.


Logic would tell us that if the birthmother meant nothing to the child, meeting her would mean no more and be no frightening than being introduced to a stranger in the street.


What the placement of a veto indicates is that the child has been raised in a less than ideal manner which has instilled fear, anger and hatred into the child (such negative emotions could not possibly be seen as having been in any child’s best interest) and certainly indicates a family dynamic which should be viewed with suspicion.


In conclusion.


It is little wonder that society is now bearing witness to the catastrophic suffering left in the wake of the closed adoption era.

It's what happens when mankind interferes with Mother Nature - Gods Master Plan. 


Sincerely Yours


Dian Wellfare


Submitted on behalf of:

ORIGINS inc. Aust.



As the closed adoption system has drawn to a closed through the knowledge that it has caused such unnecessary suffering to those locked into its claws,

who is now responsible for those children under 18 year of age who are still in the system?


And is the govt who controls these policies prepared to take responsibility for their emotional health in light of the knowledge it now possesses and will those same children be given retrospective access to knowledge and contact with their natural families prior to turning 18. In other words will your government be making legislation on open adoption retrospective?



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