Monday, October 25, 2010

Letter from Andrew who was at Parliament to hear the Apology.

The initial reading by the premier was pretty wet. If anything, it
failed to even meet even my pre-lowered expectations. "I understand
some of you have hurt feelings. We're sorry your feelings got hurt."

But after that it was excellent. If you have listened to the full
speeches I don't need to repeat stuff, but I felt all the important
ground was covered. I especially liked that it was bipartisan, with
speakers from both parties acknowledging that great wrong was done.
Sitting in the gallery you didn't even really know (or care) which
party a speaker was from, which is as it should be.

As you can imagine there was a lot of crying, but with only a couple
of exceptions I was surprised at how little anger was expressed. Birth
mums have more right than anyone to be furious, and I feel very much
for those who were there with us who had to leave when their anger
became too much to bear. But for me and my mum, and I think for most
who were there, it was an incredibly powerful experience not so much
of 'healing' (I hate that word - it has too many echoes of 'getting
over it' and 'moving on') as of opening up, of a weight being lifted
and shared, of what had previously been a private burden being taken
up by a whole community.

I can say that it was far more significant and moving than either my
my mum or I were expecting. Actually being there, in a parliament,
listening to politicians you normally see on television acknowledging
the wrong and the hurt that was done is something everyone touched by
adoption has a right to experience. For those in other states and
countries it is absolutely something worth working for.

I do recommend, however, that you make plans for a bigger than
expected turn out! There was a moment I witnessed where an usher was
physically blocking a mum from getting into the gallery due to a 'lack
of seating' and 'house rules about not standing', and indeed many were
not allowed in and had to listen from an adjacent room. To be invited
to hear an apology and then be stopped at the door is farcical, but
when the apology is for having been treated like you don't matter and
have no rights it becomes deeply and painfully wrong. To be fair, the
usher was just doing his job and more than a little flustered,
everyone was caught unprepared by the number who attended, and a real
effort was made to accommodate everyone as well as possible on short
notice. But I hope it will be handled better next time.

There was one point where a Member who had (I think) been a Pastor
spoke from a religious perspective about forgiveness that generated a
degree of anger, with at least one mum leaving. While I absolutely
respect the importance of religion in many people's lives, and can
understand and even agree with the essence of what this man was
saying, I think religious people need to be very, very circumspect in
speaking to communities that have been directly hurt by individuals
and organisations acting in the name of their religion. Acknowledging
past wrongs is worthwhile, but they should leave it at that and accept
that on these subjects and to these people they need to display a
degree of shame and remorse and not offer 'advice', however good and

The after-effects have been difficult. The simple fact is that most
people in the community aren't even close to getting it. Even close
friends and family go '"I see that that was important to you, but why
does it matter? What did it achieve?". I think it is unrealistic to
think of this apology as having any direct effect on the public, but
it can still be a bit surreal sometimes when people who know you don't
even mention it - what, do parliamentary apologies happen every day?

Personally, as an adoptee, it had one very difficult emotional result.
While I had long ago accepted the fact that I was not in any sense
'relinquished' or 'given up' or 'unwanted' - my mum and me have been
in contact for five years now - I had compartmentalised that from
thinking of myself as 'stolen'. It is not at all comfortable to think
of my adoptive parents as having raised a child that was stolen. I
suspect many adoptees and adoptive parents will find that a difficult,
if not impossible, thing to face.

Anyway, love and support to you all.

Thank you Andrew for taking the time to share your personal experience with us.

Read Speeches from Western Australian Apology

I've been told that the transcript of the apology is now available on line, which is
great. You can read all the speeches if you want to. Go to the Western Australian
Government web site, Hansard, Daily transcripts:

and click on the Legislative Assembly for Tuesday the 19th of October. Enjoy!

Thanks Evelyn for the link.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Link to WA Parliament to see the Historic Apology to Unwed Mothers.

If you look down the list on the right hand side of the page 19.10.2010
Afternoon session 1 - then if you use the scroll button and move it almost
to the half way mark at the bottom of the screen you will be at the
beginning of the apology. It was deeply moving.

Thanks Chris for the link.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The left over babies!

This is the link to an interview in WA. Some of the hospital footage from the past adoption practices is inhuman!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

From Origins USA

Welcome to

Western Australia will extend a Parliamentary apology to women and their children affected by its past adoption practices on Tuesday, October 19, 2010, at 3:00 p.m. Western Standard Time. Origins-USA applauds Western Australia's recognition of its part in separating mothers and their children, and its acknowledgement of the lifetime adverse affects of adoption.

Comment on our post; "West Australia to apologise to unwed mothers"

The NSW Inquiry concluded over 10 years ago. Still no apology. Only a
few have read the Final Report of that Inquiry, so the majority of
Australians remain oblivious to want happened to mothers and their
newborns. Many of those making comments rejecting an apology played no
part in obtaining the NSW Inquiry. They were not in the gallery day
after day being re-traumatised by listening to the harrowing accounts
of other mothers, including having to speak out about one’s own
dreadful ordeal – and for what – there was no real acknowledgment at
the end – there was no apology. And if you had been there you would
know the hundreds of women that took the time to go to the Inquiry, and
they came from all over Australia, where very hurt and disillusioned
when no apology was forthcoming. The forthcoming WA apology has opened
up the way for a light to be shined on our issue, for the media to
start taking an interest, for society and our adult children to be
educated. No one is stopping you from campaigning for a national
inquiry – heaven knows gaining this apology may be the impetus for that
occurring. There are many forces working out there against us receiving
any sort of an apology, those that benefited from receiving our
children and those that made financial gains. The National Adoption
Lobby wants to stop any apology because gaining one would be a rallying
call for mothers overseas fighting for their rights. Instead of
fighting against the very people you say you want to help you are
actually working with the forces that want us kept silent. You have no
idea what is going to be said on the day, or who is going to say it.
You have no idea that the illegal practices of the past are not going
to exposed. You don’t have to accept an apology but you insult other
women who do. All of your posts and remarks that you have put all over
the net are being kept – so after the apology – which is usually your
way – you will not be able to take credit for the work of others.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Join With Us On Our Special Day19th October to Commemorate the Western Australian Apology to Mothers and Their Children Separated by Past Adoption.

We invite you to join with ALAS at the Royal Brisbane Women's Hospital to view the permanent display of our framed Historic Apology.

Please bring along a flower which we will then place in the garden in the front of the hospital,under the flags.

We will listen to words by a guest speaker to commemorate this special day.

We will then have one minutes silence to remember all mothers separated from their children by forced adoption practices.

Lunch will be at a convenient place to be decided on the day.

We will meet at the front of the Royal Brisbane Women's Hospital under the flags.

11.45 am for a 12 O'clock start.

RSVP; Trish;0417 077 159.
Marg; 0402 336 480.

If you are continuing on to PASQ, (see previous post)for the live broadcast, you will need to RSVP PASQ by,12th October,1300 914 819.