National Apology for Forced Adoptions
21st March, 2019
Organising committee and distinguished guests, including guest speaker, Evelyn Robinson (far left).
On Thursday, 21 March we commemorated the 6th Anniversary of the National Apology for Forced Adoptions at Riverside Reception Centre, New Farm. The event was organised by the Forced Adoption Support Service, in association with the Association for Adoptees, Origins Qld, Jigsaw Qld and ALAS Australia.
The event also included a moving exhibition titled, "My Adoption Experience: Words that have helped me". Contributions were made by people affected by forced adoption.
Attendees were invited to reflect on the apology during a one-minute silence, providing a space to acknowledge the ongoing impact of these past injustices and recognise those who have been agents of significant change for a better future for all. There was an opportunity to write down these reflections on paper and place them on tree as the ceremony closed. Highlights from these reflections can be found below.
Thank you to Jo Sparrow who MC'd the event and the courageous people who were in attendance. It was a moving, supportive and enjoyable morning shared with special people.
The historic apology was made by the Australian Government in the Great Hal at Parliament House, Canberra in 2013 in front of hundreds of affected men and women, with the hope it would ease some of the resulting pain and raise awareness of the long-term impacts of past forced adoption practices.
Jigsaw President, Trevor Jordan said the apology gave people who were affected an opportunity to speak abut their experiences and to be heard.
"For many, rebuilding relationships and identities shattered by the forced adoption experience is emotionally and practically difficult," he said.
"They may need help accessing records from government agencies who were formally responsible for past adoption. They may also need both peer support from someone who shares their experience and support from professionals who are fully informed about forced adoption and its impacts.
"Jigsaw Queensland provides such peer and professional support to Queenslanders affected trough its Forced Adoption Support Service on 1800 21 03 13."
Reflection Tree Highlights
"Finally we're righting the wrongs."
"We have come a long way, but we still have a long way to come. I will always fight while I have breath in my body."
"The anniversary is so important for all victims of forced adoption and for the public to understand the lifelong trauma. Thank you for remembering."
"Thank you for truth and encouragement and remembrance within a safe environment with friends. A space to natter and a space to listen and know the depth of a few words. Thank you, thank you."
"Our children are irreplaceable."
"A wonderful day of reflecting on a great achievement recognising the pain of adoption. It's been a long journey helped by Jigsaw and th wonderful fellow travellers."
"A surprisingly moving ceremony for me, almost 30 years after reunion with my daughter. Thank you."
"Thank you. Today provided the usual validation but more; the hope that change for better is ever a potential."
"I'm so grateful my daughter is in my life and her children are my grandchildren. It has been a long and difficult journey and many empty years but we are now a family. But the original loss remains a deep cut in my heart. My daughter should have had her mother and I should have mothered her."
"So much pain for so many years that should not have happened. Thank you fo the apology that has helped in some small way."
"I am overjoyed to know that Australia is leading the way in reform."