Queenslander's Reflect on Forced Adoption Apology
30 Nov 2015
Jigsaw Queensland hosted a morning tea on 27 November to acknowledge
the 3rd anniversary of the Queensland apology for past forced adoption
policies and practices at Memorial Corner in the Roma Street Parklands.
The historic apology was made in the Queensland parliament in 2012 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 these
common practices during the 1950s to 1970s.
The 2012 Commonwealth Senate Committee Inquiry found that forced
adoptions which compelled or forced women to give up their children to
adoption were widespread in Australia during this period and the emotional
damage caused by the practice remains prevalent to this day.
Between 1951 and 1975 an estimated 140,000 to 150,000 adoptions took place in Australia, but it is unknown how many of these were forced adoptions. The apology acknowledged the shame, guilt and secrecy carried for too long in silence.
Jigsaw President, Dr Trevor Jordan said the theme of the morning tea was reflection.
“I attended the 2012 apology as both a representative of Jigsaw and as an adoptee with my birth sister,” Dr Jordan said.
“Overall, I would say the experience was very positive for the vast majority attending. Certainly, there were tears, many of sadness and some of relief, if not joy, that an apology had finally been delivered.
“We are now three years on and it is an appropriate time to reflect and ask ourselves how we feel about the apology now, and examine the progress made in our individual understanding and healing.”
Dr Jordan said Jigsaw had asked people affected by past forced adoption practices for their reflections in the lead up to the anniversary and the result was mixed.
“While most said the apology had offered them a sense of validation, peace and closure at the time, there are many who still feel little has changed in their lives since then and recognise there is more that needs to be done,” he said.
“One thing the apology did give to those people affected, was an opportunity to speak about their experiences and feel believed. For many, rebuilding relationships and identities shattered by the forced adoption experience is emotionally and practically difficult.
“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 through its Forced Adoption Support Service on 1800 27 03 13.”
Media contact: Dr Jo-Ann Sparrow – 0438 309 096
Flowers placed on the Qld Forced Adoption Apology Memorial in Roma St Parklands.