Sunday, March 11, 2012

Time of morality delivers sorrow for unmarried mothers

PASSING JUDGMENT: Laws that whipped babies away from single mothers were nothing more than moral and religious zealotry. Source: The Sunday Mail (Qld)
HOW many of those who wallow in the warm illusions of their youth and yearn for the certainties of not so long ago, have been following the revelations of the appalling treatment of unmarried mothers in the 1960s and 1970s?

More to the point, how many knew what happened but tucked the truth away behind a wall of smug denial and now selectively decry the degeneracy of youth and the complicity of government?

Last week's report into forced adoption tabled in Federal Parliament stripped the humbug from brutal and heartless policies that permanently separated single mothers from their children.
And, sometimes, they denied young men the joy of fatherhood.

Savage and judgmental laws and regulations were exacerbated by deceit and thuggery built on moral and religious zealotry.
It was the climate of the times, we are told, although those of us born after the war chafed under its obvious injustice.

MOTHERS forced to give up their babies want the Federal Government to apologise for past adoption practices.

It too often piled helplessness upon shame, a burden sometimes shared but often carried by the woman alone.
Some men - boys, sometimes - ducked their responsibilities but there were young couples who were willing to shoulder their burden and were dissuaded or disenfranchised by families and institutions who thought they were unworthy or incapable of parenthood.

Informed consent? You're kidding.

A little more pride wouldn't go astray in 2012, but who would want to return to a world where fear of shame could make families partners to official policies that ripped the very hearts out of their daughters?
I saw it happen.
This was a time when false pride and the pretensions of good name sometimes counted more than love in even the otherwise best of families.
The role of authority and hospital functionaries drew most attention last week, but the family strictures of an unforgiving moral code seemed to go understated.
I knew of one young man who, when he made contact with his natural mother comparatively recently, was still sworn never to reveal the family disgrace.
Our self-appointed moral guardians crushed young women trapped at their most vulnerable, but there were some who were able to defy them.

A contemporary of mine invented a husband who was purportedly serving in Vietnam and stuck with her fabrication through thick and thin so that she could keep the child who has grown into a fine woman and her joy for life.
Others didn't have the support, the maturity, the confidence, the opportunity or even the luck to demonstrate that love or even experience it for more than a fleeting second.

That is a cause for unending sorrow. It's a terrible episode in our collective past but it will never be over for those who lost children or who never knew parents. It has left wounds so deep that the inquiry found there is even anger over the terms "natural" and "adopted" when referring to adoption.
What was it all about except an arrogant exercise of power, of age over youth, in a society strangled by moral absolutism and the enforcement of cruel behavioural codes on others?

Still, there are those who decry our supporting mothers' mechanisms, who belittle the nurturing capacity of young women and would, if they could, steal their children and leave them with nothing to nurse but sorrow and guilt.
I grew up in a world that couldn't find it in its collective heart to understand, support or forgive those who through exuberance, accident or error leapt the prevailing social boundaries.
Still there are those who think it was a better place.
They must be kidding.
By Terry Sweetman
Sunday Mail 111/3/2012.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

10th March,2012. Our next Meeting.

Our next meeting will be held at a private home.
We will be showing the full coverage from the Senate 29th February 2012 for the, Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption policies and Practices.
Seven senators spoke and from all sides of the house and they ALL recommended a full national apology.

There are 20 recommendations.

Time;12 o'clock onwards.
For details and address contact; Trish Mob 0417 077 159
Marg Mob; 0402 336 480.
rsvp; by 9th March 2012.
Please bring a plate to share.
All welcome to come along to help us celebrate this victory.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

First formal acknowledgement of the work that had happened and the horror that had occurred was made by the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital

Senator MOORE (Queensland) (16:04): Thank you, Mr Deputy President. To the people in the gallery, to the people who are listening to this and to the people who have given us their lives, this is your report. Take it, read it and be proud, because none of this would have happened without each of you who have given us the incredible honour and the responsibility of putting on paper and putting into the community knowledge your histories.

Five years ago in my office in Brisbane, three women came to see me. They brought some pictures and a couple of books that they had written, and they brought their pain and their anger and their disgust, because no-one had believed what had happened to them. I was sitting listening to them at that time and I personally could not believe that in my country, in places that I knew, to people with whom I had worked, the experiences that they told me about had happened. In some ways, I was a bit fortunate because I live in Brisbane, and the first formal acknowledgement of the work that had happened and the horror that had occurred was made by the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, a hospital I knew well. I think it is important that we recognise here that a number of people over the last five years have begun to formally acknowledge the horrors that occurred in our community.
From Senator Claire Moore's speech.

These three women were, Jan Kashin, Margaret Oakhill-Hamilton and Therese Hawken from ALAS. Thank you for pointing us out in the press conference that followered.
The First official Apology was given to ALAS Members.
Thank you for recognising us in your speech.

Parliamentary inquiry calls for Australian governments to apologise over forced adoptions

Parliamentary inquiry calls for Australian governments to apologise over forced adoptions
AUSTRALIAN governments must formally apologise to mothers and children who were victims of past forced adoption practices, a parliamentary inquiry has recommended.
Between the 1950s and 1970s, about 150,000 Australian unwed mothers had their babies taken against their will by churches and adoption agencies.

The report by a Senate inquiry investigating the Commonwealth government's involvement in past forced adoption practices was tabled in the upper house on Wednesday with 20 recommendations.

The committee recommended a formal Commonwealth government apology, as well as similar statements from state and territory governments and non-government institutions involved.

Australian Greens senator Rachel Siewert, who chaired the inquiry, broke down as she tabled the report.

"This was a really hard, emotional inquiry,'' she s
Mums want apology on adoptions
"You couldn't help but take the stories to heart.''
The senator recalled a mother telling her about the joy of feeling her baby inside her body but the pain of knowing he or she would immediately be taken away at birth.

Labor senator Claire Moore told the chamber people had to consider in retrospect whether the adoptions had been in the best interests of children and parents.
"In many cases, the parents were threatened with the law of the day,'' she said.
The inquiry report's release was only the first step.
"The history ... will now be known and acknowledged,'' she said.
Senator Moore said one of the most poignant moments of the inquiry was a woman telling senators all she wanted was for her son to know she loved him and had not given him away.
"To the people caught up in the horror of this history, we can now call it a horror and not pretend it didn't happen,'' Senator Moore said.
Liberal senator Sue Boyce said the inquiry took 18 months because of the sheer volume of information and people wanting to tell their stories.

She shared the story of a woman searching for her son. When the woman was 17 and pregnant, her mother had told her to "come home without that 'thing' or don't come home at all''.
In other cases women were drugged or smacked across the face, and their partners threatened with prosecution for carnal knowledge.
"We can't claim we didn't know what was going on,'' Senator Boyce said.
The Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne was heavily criticised in an ABC TV Four Corners report on Monday. The hospital, in a submission to the inquiry, said it had no evidence of illegal practices.
Senator Boyce said the hospital should take note of eyewitness accounts from nurses who gave evidence about the brutality of forced adoptions undertaken there.

Labor senator Carol Brown said women had been tricked into signing adoption papers and physically shackled to hospital beds.
She said the pain of women affected was "unimaginable''.
"Doctors, nurses and midwives showed no respect to these woman. They were taunted about their unwed status.''
Single-parent women were pushed toward adoption as their only legitimate choice, she said.
"Once babies were born the clean-break theory was implemented.''

Senator Brown said women were not allowed to hold their babies, not told the gender of their child, and given drugs to dry up their breast milk.
She quoted testimony from a Tasmanian mother, who said: "They created an unbalance of power... they did not hear or see me. I was nothing or no one. I was guilty of nothing, but made to feel ashamed.''
Many nurses and social workers now looked back on the practices with anxiety.
Catholic Health Australia admitted being involved in past forced adoptions and apologised to victims in July last year.
Chief executive Martin Laverty encouraged other organisations to apologise and supported the recommendations.
"We think they are concrete steps that can help those affected by past adoption practices move towards healing,'' he said.
"This report that is many years in the making must now not sit on the shelf.''
About 100 victims of past forced adoption practices were in the Senate public gallery. Many cried out and clapped during speeches.
The Courier Mail online, posted 29/02/2012 at 3.53pm.