"Consents obtained from unmarried mothers who were not fully informed of alternatives to adoption, were unaware of the consequences of adoption, or were influenced or manipulated by authority figures including their parents, doctors, social workers and church figures, cannot be said to be informed consent." National Forced Adoption Exhibition, 2012
Am I A Forced Adoption?
Adoptees applying for information and instigating a search for their original parents may not know about forced adoption. Adoption was so prevalent up to the 1980’s, the common narrative was that it was a fairly `normal’ process and that they were lovingly `given’ away. The truth was a different story and this can be confronting for adopted people.
Since the findings of the senate inquiry, what we do know about adoptions until the 1980’s is that many were forced. Women had very few options. Welfare systems for single parents weren’t introduced until the late 1970’s and the inquiry confirms that past adoption practices and policies were unethical, immoral and dehumanizing. While many mothers and fathers that lost their children are aware of forced adoption, adoptees are much less aware.
Adoptees may contact numerous adoption support agencies and Adoption Services Queensland purely looking for medical or identifying information with no idea they were part of a forced adoption, until contact is made with their parents and the circumstances of their birth are revealed.
This makes it challenging when an adoptee approaches a forced adoption service, unsure of whether they fit the category of a `forced adoption’. Jigsaw Queensland’s position is that because of the prevalence of forced adoption until the 1980’s, it is safe to assume that most adoptions that occurred during this period were forced until proven otherwise.
Making this assumption prepares the adoptee for contact with their parent and some of the complex issues that may arise during initial contact due to forced adoption. It also allows the adoptee to challenge some of their conceptions about their adoption and consider the societal, legislative and practice issues prevalent at the time of their birth so they may have a fuller understanding of the context of separation from their parents. It also assists in the understanding and interpretation of adoption information and documents from the department.
Those affected by adoption can contact our Forced Adoption Support Service on 1800 21 03 13.