For our beloved Founder
Never doubt that a small
group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Meads quote was the beginning of the transformation of changing the thinking about adoption not only
here in Australia but throughout the western world
A small group of mothers headed by Dian Wellfare brought forth a voice to millions of women all over the world
who had lost their babies to the adoption machine.
Dian was a sixteen year old single mother when she lost her only and beloved baby to the evil practices that
were rampant throughout this country. Her baby swept away and hidden away from her without ever having looked into his face.
She had suffered the most mortal wound that could beset a mother….. the loss of her first-born infant.
It was a wound from which she would never recover, an invisible wound that would bleed for many years, until
she finally set eyes on her one and only child for the first time.
She referred to her awakening as finally coming out of the "fog" that clouded her mind. With the determination
of a Titan Dian started to deal with the catastrophic blow that had been dealt to her and her baby.
Reaching out to women in 1995 she found a few mothers who shared her experience, it was from this small group
of mothers that Dian founded a support group known today as Origins, it was to be the birth of her vision that has had a dynamic
impact exposing the damage of mother and child separation.
This small group grew and became an organisation that would research not only the mental health damage of
adoption but also the illegal practices that saw 150 000 women like Dian lose their babies.
Many long hours were spent trawling libraries and bookshops searching for books, papers and anything she could
find on adoption, her library on the one issue would be the envy of any agency that dealt with the subject.
And over a short period of time it became apparent to Dian, that young vulnerable women like her were used
as a "social experiments" to cure the problems of the infertile couples demanding children.
In her own words "the truth about the lies and crimes of the perpetrators came flying off the shelves at her.
Outraged and motivated to expose the truth of one of the greatest violations of women in this country Dian
set herself on a course that would take not only her voice not only across Australia but many lands and into the minds of
so many other mothers who were "asleep" or in a trauma blocked out by the catastrophic loss of their babies.
Like a sleeping giant finally waking, mothers across the world finally started to see the truth of the adoption
myth. I was one of those women.
As a student in 1997 it was one of my assignments to study the dynamics of a group. Never have dealt with
my adoption issues I decided to study a support group that focused on adoption.
I made my first phone call to Origins in April of that year and for the first time I spoke to Di. It was a
phone call that would not only change my life but would also bring about a friendship that spanned the past 11 years.
I went along to my first support group meeting, and for the very first time met a woman that not only inspired
me but the only one who finally gave me the courage to voice one of the greatest catastrophes of my life, the loss of my baby,
it was a secret so horrible I held in silence and shame for over three decades.
For the first time in my life I was finally given permission to talk not only about my loss but to finally
grieve openly for my child.
But this was not only my story, this was the story of many mothers like myself. Dian gave back the voices
to many, many, mothers to do the same, for once our lives we could openly talk of our pain and suffering, not as victims but
as any mother who had lost a child though any other circumstance.
By helping mothers to finally have a voice Dian gave us not only the confidence to speak up, but also gave
us the courage to demand accountability for the actions of those who had not only committed us to a life of misery and shame,
but also committed the most heinous crimes against motherhood known to mankind.
As Dr Geoffrey Rickarby quotes "the ultimate rape of the female condition".
Her energy was breathtaking and her determination and courage was dynamic she had the capacity to lead mothers
into battle to regain their dignity and reclaim their integrity
With a burning desire for justice, and to prove to her beloved son Andrew that he was loved and wanted, and
that he was stolen from her, Dian took the State of NSW to court in 1996.
She lost her action along with 2 appeals.
The blatant denial of justice would have been enough crush the most hardened of litigants but not for Dian
it to drove her on to demand a parliamentary inquiry into adoption practices on the ABC Lateline, program, with nerves of
steel she presented her arguments in such an articulate manner that she flustered a seasoned adoption expert into capitulation
From then on Dian was not to be silenced, and encouraged mothers to see their local politicians and lobby
them for an inquiry, and after two demonstrations outside parliament house we finally got our Inquiry into adoption practices.
I was with Origins when this event happened, and did my best to support my friend, no one saw Dian working
over her computer day and night putting together the submission that drew together and finally made sense of the history and
crimes of adoption,
Driven on by the loss of her court case and the quest for truth she finally presented a document of over 200
pages to the Inquiry, the basis of a book and all done over a period of a few short weeks.
She thought that finally the truth would be exposed, it was out there for the world to read
Two and a half years later after mountains of evidence and over 300 mothers stories we finally saw the report
handed down in the year 2000, the report finally acknowledging adoption practices committed against mothers like herself were
illegal, but what happened to that truth?
As fast as it came out it was swiftly buried once again by a government that cowered from dealing with it’s
Following the release of the report, Dian retreated from the world. Her thoughts only concerned looking after
and counselling mothers and the adoptees that rang her, she was their lifeline and they hers, her only contact with the outside
world was though those people that called and those she spoke to though the internet.
Mothers became her sisters, and young men and women adoptees saw her as their mother figure. Dian was known
as "Motherluv" on her forum she showed love and care, and also took much pride in her boys Matty, Charlie and Skelly
In the long hours of the night hers was the voice that calmed the broken, traumatised and the hopeless who
turned to her. She was the one that so many people turned to where they could not find anyone else to understand the level
of their pain.
She was the one could reach into their wounds and calm and heal their suffering, all this love and compassion
unselfishly given to others and never dwelling on her own pain.
Not only a rock that offered safety to so many, she had become a fountain of knowledge on adoption, and though
that knowledge changed the attitudes of people not only in Australia but also throughout the rest of the world.
Her statements were profound, on typing in her name on Google recently, I brought up many links to a quote
she made, this is one of many.
"In order for an adoption to be successful you must first destroy the mother". This quote led to people all
over the world debating adoption, from a 12year old’s essay to a students PHD thesis
Her analogies were famous and attracted much criticism, one of them questioning the art of parenthood, where
she says to an adoptive father
"Don't flatter yourself too much about parenting. It hardly takes intellect, just instinct. Even monkeys do
it hanging upside down in a tree, scratching their bums at the same time.
In case you still dont' get it, which you obviously won't, it means: dont' think you're superior because you
parent. Even monkeys do it.
...you sure you can't hang upside down in trees?......oh nevermind."
This one post that she put on an American forum attracted thousands of responses that led to debates for months,
a sure sign of "her" impact on adoption theories
Still believing that justice must prevail over evil, Dian, a woman of "superior intelligence" as Dr Geoffrey
Rickarby describes her took her case back into court again in December 2006.
She spent each waking hour, minute and second of the day for 2 solid years, to study the laws that were broken
to argue her case against the state for fraud.
Hidden in a deserted court building away from the view of the public and court reporters she single handedly
presented her legal arguments in The Supreme Court of NSW.
I was privileged to have sat with her that day, the two of us against the State.
Dian, Courageous, Magnificent, a Lioness, slayed the dragon and tore down the arguments of the State, and
they knew it. Once again their cowardly response was again to deny her justice.
Here is where things become hard to speak of
Over the past 2 years I have watched my friend suffering with her health, never really complaining about the
pain she was suffering, and though this pain and she still maintained the strength to counsel mothers and adoptees, and redecorate
her much loved home at Dulwich Hill. Still giving of herself to everyone and everything that needed her.
Her vision was to move into another chapter of her life where she could once more become active and enjoy
life again. But as we know now this was not to be, the pain that disguised it’s self as symptoms of other illnesses,
manifested to an illness that was to ultimately reveal itself as her most destructive adversary.
Over the past week I have had listened and read messages from people all over the world paying tribute to
her, each one of them acknowledging that she was unique, all agreeing that never again will anyone have the persona to attract
so much discussion on adoption as Dian. She was the catalyst that can never be replicated
Reflecting now as a friend to Dian, I would like to express my own feelings for her.
Someone told me recently after losing another dear friend that the greatest love stories were usually those
shared by friends, and in the case of Di and I this would be the case.
From our first meeting, she gave me the strength and courage to walk with her on a journey that would take
us into places where even the very bravest of people dared to venture.
She awoke my sleeping mind and gave me back a dignity that I had lost for so many years, she gave me the knowledge
to fight for and to find my stolen son and to have him back in my life again.
She gave me the courage fight at her side for justice for women like myself.
She gave me back myself, a person who was lost to herself so many years ago.
Never a hard word, or too busy not to chat we spent many hours discussing the directions of Origins our children,
our families and our problems, Dian always playing the devils advocate for difficult situations.
She always had a very special way of seeing the most difficult problems in a clear and simple light
These were the gifts that were not only given freely to me but also to other mothers she came into contact
with, here in this country, and far across the seas
Never ashamed of herself she challenged people’s values, beliefs, and minds and this brought her respect
from people with the most opinions.
She was insurmountable and declared her love for her son Andrew through her every deed, suffering and quest,
taken not for herself but firstly for him
She elevated mothers from being victims of a cruel and evil catastrophe. She inspired them to openly speak
of their grief as she has done, and not feel ashamed to declare their love for their lost children.
Dian has given Origins and those who have come into contact with her every thing a person could possible give,
she has given us the ultimate gift, her life, and we can never repay her for her love, devotion and compassion, and we thank
her for the strength she has given us.
We who have loved her can honour her by standing in the truth she left us and by staying strong and making
her life’s sacrifices count for something.
I believe that she is now watching over us, her wings wrapped tightly around us all, her family, her mothers,
their children and friends.
Her love and strength will keep us safe and one day we will have the justice that our beloved leader fought
so desperately hard for.
Finally we will not only remember Dian for her courage, strength and compassion but also for profound sense
Inside this legend lived a sixteen year old who had the capacity to remember how to enjoy life, she experienced
this joy on her reunion with her son Andrew.
She once reminisced to me that after spending a couple days with him on their first meeting, she felt as though
she was walking on air, and all that her mind could do was to sing the song that follows this eulogy.
The journey has come to end for Dian and we are blessed to have shared it with her.
Sleep well beloved daughter, sister, mother and friend