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Thread: Forced Adoptions.

  1. #1

    Default Forced Adoptions.

    Today was the final presentation of the Senate Committees Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices which has been some shock waves through parts here. Heartbreaking. Will any one really be called to account for these human rights crimes and the cover up?

    View the report as a single document - (PDF 1482KB)
    View the report as separate downloadable parts:
    Recommendations (PDF 22KB)
    Chapter 1 - Introduction (PDF 236KB)
    The language of adoption
    The scope of this inquiry
    Adoption in Australia
    Previous relevant inquiries
    Other current inquiries into adoption
    Examination of records by this committee
    Evidence given by submitters
    Chapter 2 - Attitudes towards adoption (PDF 53KB)
    Early twentieth century: adoption as an alternative to institutionalisation
    Post-war period: clean break theory
    Post-war period: adoption practices
    Chapter 3 - The experience of forced adoption (PDF 202KB)
    Mothers' experiences of pregnancy in maternity homes
    Mothers' experiences of pregnancy at home and in the community
    Mothers' experiences of birth and hospitals
    Chapter 4 - Effects of forced adoption (PDF 113KB)
    The experience of adopted people
    Chapter 5 - Commonwealth role: social security and benefits system (PDF 91KB)
    Commonwealth constitutional head of power (s 51(xxiiiA))
    Commonwealth social security legislation
    Availability of information on Commonwealth social security benefits
    Analysis of the benefits available
    Chapter 6 - Commonwealth role: development of model legislation (PDF 132KB)
    Initial adoption legislation in Australia
    Model adoption legislation
    Commonwealth Role
    Chapter 7 - Model adoption legislation: social welfare considerations (PDF 167KB)
    Preparation for the initial meeting of child welfare officers
    Child Welfare Ministers' goals for model adoption legislation
    Public debate about adoption law reform
    Adoption legislation
    Consent provisions
    Adoptive parents
    Private adoption agencies
    Record keeping and privacy
    Offences and Penalties
    Chapter 8 - The need for a national framework (PDF 68KB)
    Changes to adoption across Australia
    Why a national framework?
    Suggested content of a national framework
    Chapter 9 - A national framework: apologising for past wrongs (PDF 101KB)
    The need for an apology
    What constitutes an effective apology
    Apologies to date
    What should be apologised for?
    Taking responsibility
    Reparation through concrete measures
    Chapter 10 - A national framework: counselling and support services (PDF 86KB)
    Need for counselling and mental health support services
    Support services
    Chapter 11 - Redress for former forced adoption policies and practices (PDF 65KB)
    Formal grievance and complaint mechanisms
    Legal avenues for redress
    Chapter 12 - A national framework: access to information (PDF 149KB)
    Registering births
    Access to documentation and information management systems
    Chapter 13 - Where to from here? (PDF 25KB)
    Public acknowledgement and awareness
    Intercountry adoption in Australia
    National Principles of Adoption
    Learning from the past
    APPENDIX 1 - Submissions received by the Committee (PDF 26KB)
    APPENDIX 2 - Public Hearings (PDF 18KB)
    APPENDIX 3 - Additional information, correspondence and answers to questions taken on notice received by the Committee (PDF 16KB)
    Additional information
    Answers to Questions on Notice
    APPENDIX 4 - Australian Adoption Statistics 1950–2010 (PDF 5KB)
    Table: Australian Adoption Statistics 1950–2010*
    *PDF format only
    (PDF 11KB)
    For further information, contact:

    Committee Secretary
    Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs
    PO Box 6100
    Parliament House
    Canberra ACT 2600

    Phone: +61 2 6277 3515
    Fax: +61 2 6277 5829

    Was a Government Plan Behind Former Forced Adoption Practices?

    It was common practice to separte unmarried mothers and their infants last century - Canwest News ServiceWe've heard the stories of mothers whose babies were stolen for adoption last century. Was this simply social mores or was something more sinister at work?
    Groundbreaking research by Origins NSW (Australia) is suggesting the existence of a Government population and social cleansing plan that separated unmarried mothers and their infants, last century. This research, which debunks the existence of a “bumper adoption era” circa 1966-72, comes as the Senate Inquiry into the Commonwealth contribution to former forced adoption policies and practices prepares to hand down its final report on the 29th of February.
    The Margaret Thornhill Link

    Influential Fullbright Scholar Margaret Thornhill visited Australia from America in 1953. Following seminars of the Association of Australian Social Workers during which Thornhill promoted the adoption of ‘illegitimate’ babies the AASW set up a committee for the purpose of studying the unmarried mother according to Thornhill’s ideas. At this time, a series of articles aimed at ‘educating’ the public on the “problem of the unwed mother” (Thornhill’s special area of research) appeared in Australian newspapers and magazines, under such titles as ‘Should Unwed Mother Give up Her Child?’ What followed was an almost exponential rise in ex-nuptial adoptions. Was this a coincidence?
    The aim, it seems, was to transfer the children of one group (ie. unmarried mothers, particularly the youngest mothers) to married infertile couples, as research centred on the theory that a newborn baby would affect hormonal changes and cause a pregnancy, according to numerous articles at Trove. This was during a world population crisis.
    The saying that comes to mind here is “adopt a baby and you’ll have one of your own”, which no doubt has its origins in this research.
    Was it any surprise then that other media articles such as ‘These children need parents (but adoption’s a slow business)’ appeared at the same time, as if to garner interest in adoption and to put the word out that babies were ‘available’ for adoption?
    So 1953 Is a Significant Year?
    Concurrent with the publication of these articles, a Gallup Poll asked Australians if foster children should be taken for adoption against their mother’s will. Significantly, the Royal Women’s Hospital submission to the current Inquiry into the Commonwealth contribution to former forced adoption policies and practices notes an exponential rise in hospital arranged adoptions from 1953. Elizabeth Brew of Origins NSW has discovered a similar trend in the use of comparative data circa 1953 (NSW statistics). So, in short,1953 at least seems to be a significant year. Chronologically speaking, Brew believes that circa 1953 is the second peak era of adoption in Australia (the first circa 1945): “There is no ‘bumper adoption era’ circa 1960-72 but only a desperate attempt to explain away the sudden collapse of the adoption industry in Australia.” In fact, she maintains that these were fairly ordinary years proportionally, according to the data that is available.

    Social Eugenics and Forced Adoption

    The involvement of the churches and the medical profession, in addition to the Government and social workers, in a “social cleansing campaign” aimed at unmarried mothers is being more substantially proven in the research.
    For one, in 1950 the morality council of the Church of England examined the prospect of sterilising “women habitually bearing illegitimate children”. Australia's national archive carries an article titled ‘Sterility for Illegitimacy’, noting enactment for legislation for the sterilisation of unwed mothers in the USA. The Senate Inquiry has also heard reports that Australian unmarried mothers were forcibly sterilised, although this information is yet to be backed up with documentation.
    As shocking as the above facts may seem, social engineering was occurring in many parts of the world at this time (for example, there was the British Eugenics Society – now known as the Galton Institute) so it should not come as a surprise that Australia was also involved in experimental eugenics.
    Biological Eugenics and Forced Adoption

    The construction of a “socially fitter” society was only one side of the coin that was a eugenics plan. Alarmingly, eugenicists also targeted ‘illegitimate’ babies in what appears to be an attempt to create a physically and racially ‘superior’ nation. In an adoption ‘industry’ where the infants of unwed mothers were the ‘commodity’, it hardly seems surprising that they too were the targets of organisations with a eugenics mindset. An excerpt from the Australian Journal of Social Work from February 1967 details the reasons for deferring babies for adoption, which included “mental and/or physical handicap,”, “mixed racial background resulting in markedly coloured pigmentation”, and “hereditary background”.
    And this: in 1940 the Methodist Babies Home reassured prospective adoptive parents that “no baby is allowed to be adopted until the medical experts pronounce it as A1 class ‘for adoption’." In hindsight, it’s bizarre how babies were commodified in this way, graded as though they were cattle. However, in a ‘White Australia’ this Hitlerian influence does not seem that farfetched.
    In the US where forced adoption practices also occurred, one State is currently being sued for the forced sterilisation of mostly African-American women who gave birth outside of wedlock during the second half of last century. Interestingly, a 1955 article from The Tuscaloosa News notes: “[s]ome 150,000 children are born out of wedlock each year. Of this number 95,000 are non-white, predominantly Negro”. Of course, the demand was for white, healthy newborns, as the article also notes (September 26).
    Some historical context is important here: Elizabeth Brew said that before the 1940s, adoption was “slow business” but as the ‘nature vs nurture’ theory shifted to ‘nurture vs nature’, the time was right for eugenicists to begin to influence adoption practice:
    “Eugenics was transferred to adoption in practice through the removal of illegitimate offspring of the ‘feeble-minded’ for raising in ‘socially fitter’ families.”
    Of course the Government was also concerned about the financial burden of ‘illegitimate’ children: “…there are in excess of 90,000 endowed children in the Commonwealth, representing an annual liability of 11,828,011 pounds”. No surprises there!
    Forced Adoption Plan Backfires

    By 1972, the Government’s adoption plan had well and truly backfired as ex-nuptial births produced a mini ex-nuptial baby boom. The rise in ex-nuptial births in the 1970s, lead to an excess of infants available for adoption, many of whom were institutionalised and identify as ‘Forgotten Australians’ today. But why were forced adoptions still occurring? Well, perhaps the pool of available prospective adoptive parents was just as impossible to quickly increase as ingrained, illegal hospital practices were to decrease.
    Notably, at this time the Whitlam Government finally began to advertise single mothers’ benefits (which had been around since 1944!).
    How Many Women Were Affected By Former Forced Adoption Practices?
    While research is beginning to provide some answers to questions about why former forced adoption policies and practices occurred, the extent of the crimes is still unknown. Despite the fact that the Inquiry into the Commmonwealth contirbution to former forced adoption policies and practices will conclude at the end of this month, nationwide adoption statistics remain inadequately accessible – only NSW and Victorian adoption statistics are available.
    Origins NSW is calling for the opening of adoption statistics to the scrutiny of a Royal Commission so as to commence the process of comparative, historical and statistical analysis across all areas of data collection.
    Elizabeth Brew is currently working on guidelines for researchers undertaking projects into former forced adoption policies and practices in collaboration with Miriam Stevenson, an affiliate lecturer at the University of Sydney who believes that “members of marginalised groups have much to teach professionals because they have direct experiential knowledge when it comes to asking the right questions and interpreting the facts”.
    Elizabeth Brew is planning to introduce a new way to interpret comparative statistical data contextualised by historical facts, by those who belong to the targeted, marginalised groups
    She believes that if Australia is to move forward it must accurately understand its own history. Governments must be transparent at least in regards to statistical data: “A non-comparative approach to the study of statistical data is not transparent but a means to construct theories which often portray Governments in a favourable light and can lead to the burying of human rights abuses and the subversion of the rule of law.”
    As mothers anxiously await the handing down of the final report on the 29th of February, they hope to finally get some answers - but many are afraid that it will take a Royal Commission before the record is set straight.

    Read more at Suite101: Was a Government Plan Behind Former Forced Adoption Practices? |
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  2. #2


    There are plenty of right wingers who would love to reintroduce such a policy.
    "It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
    "Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
    "They are in Love. Fuck the War."

    Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

    "Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
    The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war

  3. #3


    Excised Mothers

    Excised from the Governments’ Purse,

    when they hunted us down,
    like animals,
    and secretly marked our records with “BFA;”
    Excised from our Families,
    who were lied to,
    about the Agenda;
    Excised from the Community,
    when we were incarcerated,
    in what the church called,
    “a home away from home;”
    Excised of our Fundamental Human Rights,
    when we were subjected to pelvic exams,
    with no consent,
    while under lock and key;
    Excised from being a Mother,
    when our precious babies,
    were harvested from our wombs;
    Excised from Consciousness,
    when they drugged us,
    into oblivion;
    Excised from the Maternity Ward,
    so we were blind to the,
    Sanctioned Mothers,
    loving their blessed babies;
    Excised from Humanity,
    when they said,
    “this is for your own good;”
    Excised from our Motherhood,
    when they use profanities,
    to describe us;
    Excised from our children,
    when they were transferred,
    to government vetted couples,
    Tell me again, how this is not Genocide?
    Written by Hanne Andersen December 7, 2012
    Convention on the Prevention and Punishmentof the Crime of Genocide
    "Article 1
    The Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish.
    Article 2
    In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
    • (a) Killing members of the group;
    • (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
    • (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
    • (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
    • (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."
    Web. 7, Dec. 2012:

    “BFA” Baby for adoption.

    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

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