Tuesday, September 4, 2012
The Most Rev. Dr. Phillip Aspinall's Apology for forced Adoption
Anglican Diocese of Brisbane
Apology to survivors of historic forced adoption practices and policies
The Senate inquiry into the ‘Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced
Adoption Policies and Practices’ gathered many accounts of mothers, babies, now
adults, and other family members who courageously described their experiences of
forced adoption. Some of these involved Anglican homes and agencies.
The Anglican Diocese of Brisbane sincerely apologises to the mothers, fathers and
babies, now adults, who have experienced hurt, distress and harm as a result of past
forced adoption practices in homes which operated in the name of the Church. We
are aware that these practices occurred at St Mary’s Home at Toowong and the
Church of England Women’s Refuge in Spring Hill.
The inquiry heard that mothers’ consent to have their babies taken for adoption was
often coerced and, in some cases, was not obtained at all. Often fathers were
excluded completely from this process. It heard that mothers were denied access to
information about their babies, including birth records and information about their
child’s survival or well-being. Those adopted babies have often not had access to
accurate records of their birth and parentage.
With deep sadness and regret, this Diocese acknowledges that mothers suffered
emotional trauma and abuse in these adoption processes. We apologise that they
were subjected to shame, isolation and humiliation while in the care of homes
operated by the Anglican Church. The Church acknowledges that the resulting grief
and loss for both parents and children is ongoing and significant.
We deeply regret that they were not always provided the care, information,
protection and support which these mothers, fathers and children should have
received. We apologise for those failings.
We now constantly review our practices to extend the best possible care and
protection to all whom we serve. We continue to assist those who suffered harm
while in our care in the past. We encourage and support families to thrive and
The Church is committed to providing appropriate assistance, counselling and
support to those who have suffered as a result of its involvement in past forced
Those affected by forced adoptions are encouraged to contact the Brisbane
Diocese’s Director of Professional Standards, Ms Sheleagh White, by phoning
38352266 or emailing SHWhite@anglicanbrisbane.org.au
Dated: 31 August 2012