Gransnet forums

Chat

Forced adoptions

(58 Posts)
Smurf52 Sat 19-Jun-21 22:00:59

It's been in the news recently about an investigation into unmarried women being forced to give up their babies in the 50s, 60s and 70s. I think forced abortions should be included to.

I was 3 months pregnant in 1970 at age 17 by my ex husband, then my boyfriend. I had pressure put on me to abort the baby. My GP was also his doctor. She told me he had his whole future ahead of him by going to university etc. Nobody seemed to be concerned about my feelings.

I wanted to keep my baby and had started knitting a little matinee jacket. Sadly in those days you didn't get council accommodation and benefits for being a single mum. My mum, a divorced single parent, made it clear there was no room in the house for a new baby as she had my three younger siblings to care for.

Having recently watched Long Lost Family where mums were reunited with their adopted babies many years later, I wish I too had pressed for adoption then at least I would have had the chance of possibly being reunited with my son or daughter, not the empty feeling of having lost my baby 50 years ago. sad

greenlady102 Sat 19-Jun-21 22:04:43

that's really sad I am sorry for your loss.

Luckygirl Sat 19-Jun-21 22:22:20

So sad - girls were put under such pressure; it sounds like emotional blackmail to me; and the effect on the man's future taking precedence. What a burden for you to have to bear. I am so sorry that you went through this trauma and have had to live with it for your whole life.

I worked as a hospital social worker in a maternity hospital in the early 70s and I often look back and hope that I was able to try and find choices for these young women and girls - some as young as 11. All in the context of a different moral culture. For all the swinging 60s that we hear so much about, there was still a sense of premarital sex and pregnancy being frowned upon. We faced having to hide girls from some cultures from their fathers for their own safety. And finding accommodation and financial support for girls who wished to keep their babies and go it alone was very hard indeed.

I watch these programmes like Long Lost Family and hope that nothing I ever did felt like a forced adoption. But who knows? - I too was young and part of the general culture around me. I just have to hope that I got it right.

Shelflife Sat 19-Jun-21 23:01:57

Smurf 52 , my heart goes out to you and you were in a desperate situation. As were so many young women in the 60s and 70s. You were only 17 and in impossible situation. The pressure from everyone around you must have been very great. It was indeed a forced abortion and your emotions and needs were ignored. You had no amunition to fight your corner. Watching Long Lost Family will have stirred your feelings , I really hope you are ok as I recognize this experience is always with you. There was nothing you could do , and pressing for adoption was not an option - the expectations from others were too strong for you at 17 to fight. Be happy and kind to yourself. 🌼🌻

maddyone Sun 20-Jun-21 00:13:00

Smurfflowers

nanna8 Sun 20-Jun-21 02:37:55

It was a cruel time then. I contrast that with my granddaughter who had a baby in her final year of school aged 17. She is now 27, has a beautiful son and has just bought a house with her partner, the same young man she was with all those years ago. She works as a nurse in one of our major city hospitals and is a beautiful, happy young woman. What were we thinking all those years ago? I say ‘we’ because all of us were complicit, we let it happen when we should have taken to the streets like the suffragettes did !

Kandinsky Sun 20-Jun-21 07:59:20

So so sorry 😞
As women it’s always us left to deal with the pain & grief when things go wrong in situations like this. Pain that lasts a lifetime.
There’s nothing anyone can say to ease that pain, I just hope you went on to have children, but if you didn’t, that you managed to find some kind of peace.
Can I just add, forced adoption happened to my sister in the 70’s. Her beautiful son was taken from her at one week old. She never saw him again despite trying to get in touch many years later. He wasn’t interested, which just added to her pain.
So adoption doesn’t always have the ‘happy ending’ you see on long lost family.
Also, even now, many women are forced into having an abortion they don’t want.
Just take a look at mumsnet.

Take care, none of this was your fault x

Lin52 Sun 20-Jun-21 08:05:12

The forced adoptions are an horrific stain on any nations history, the Child migration scheme even worse, what were they thinking of, the damage to mental health of those poor women and children must have been horrendous. I was one of the lucky ones, pregnant at 17, in the 60s, even my strict father was supportive, and I was able to keep my child and raise him with their help. My heart goes out to those that weren’t so lucky.

Newatthis Sun 20-Jun-21 08:20:30

Very sad for you. i remember living down the road from a girl who was my age at the time (17) and she had a 2 year old. Even though she was so young she was a very good mother. She was a virgin when she got pregnant and had had only one boyfriend who dumped her when he found out she was pregnant. She was very much stigmatised by this and called various derogatory names by the local people (Slag, whore, slapper etc) whereas he just got on with his life. It was so bad in those days.

sodapop Sun 20-Jun-21 09:38:46

That's really sad Smurf52 You will never forget your pregnancy of course. Attitudes were so different then.

I agree Kandinsky real life is not like Long Lost Family in the main. It's a programme which irritates me beyond reason.

Baggs Sun 20-Jun-21 10:33:30

smurf52, flowers.

I have some Mormon friends. Attitudes about teenage pregnancies outside of marriage are still fairly old-fashioned in their society. However, my friend and her husband took in a pregnant teenager whose Mormon family threw her out (Mormons abhor abortion, in fact I think it would be difficult to become a Mormon – supposing one wanted to! – if one had had an abortion). My friends' eldest daughter and her husband adopted the baby and the child's birth mother was allowed back into her family.

While this is not ideal from the teenager's point of view perhaps, it does have the advantage of the girl knowing which family her baby has been adopted into. I don't know is she had any contact with the adoptive parents but my friend did visit her after the baby was taken and prayed with her.

It's a different world!

sodapop Sun 20-Jun-21 12:54:54

That's interesting Baggs I'm all for openness about adoption within the family. I've seen too many unhappy people when secrets have been revealed later.

GillT57 Sun 20-Jun-21 13:40:33

An interesting thread, especially with so many who have experienced this, and from the 'other side' too, such as Luckygirl. Two of my cousins were adopted, and I remember my Mother being shocked that my aunt was able to pick the children, almost like shopping. First a son, and then three years later, a daughter to make the 'perfect family'. My aunt started knitting for a daughter before she was born, in the certainty that there would be one available. Chilling really.

lavenderzen Sun 20-Jun-21 14:15:12

So sorry to read your post Smurf flowers These cruel things that happened and forced adoptions, also, live with you for ever.

wicklowwinnie Sun 20-Jun-21 15:36:28

I was 'forced' to give up a baby. When a law was passed in the 70s adopted children could see their original birth certificate, this was only right and proper, but it had a downside in that they were given all the paperwork as well.
My son was furious to find I had got on with my life, got married and was very happy.
Though he was made very welcome by all the family, including the wider family. He caused a great deal of trouble.
The TV stories are only the successes. There are great deal of tragedies as well. It was a terrible time for everyone. Very cruel days.

sodapop Sun 20-Jun-21 16:31:04

Not quite sure what your point is there GillT57 why would your Aunt not be able to choose from the children available for adoption.

DiscoDancer1975 Sun 20-Jun-21 18:07:47

I’m so sad for you Smurf52. I was adopted, and ‘thank’ my mum every day, that she didn’t have me aborted. She was forced to give me up, but by my grandfather, not the Church.
I never met her, by the time I found her, she had died 3 years earlier, but I did meet some of my family.

My friend was like you. She was 14, and became pregnant. Her parents forced her to have an abortion. This would have been 1980. Her boyfriend ( now her husband), was 16 I think. Her parents hated him. She’s had three more children with him, and he had four with another woman, going back and forth between them for years, after her parents told him to leave their daughter alone.
It’s so sad, they really had four, and but for the parents interfering, he may never have had the other four. It’s been so much stress for them, but they’re very much in love.
My friend has so much memory loss from her early life. I’m sure she’s traumatised.

Thistlelass Sun 20-Jun-21 18:26:49

I married in 1977. My sister was 17 and pregnant. She had an abortion a few days before the wedding. She tries to blame my mother for 'forcing' her to go through with the procedure but to me this is just passing the buck. Had that been me all.of Hell's horses could not have dragged me to a point where I would have terminated the pregnancy. I am a strong minded woman though.

welbeck Sun 20-Jun-21 20:14:11

but did you offer any of your strong-mindedness to support her at the time ?

Floradora9 Mon 21-Jun-21 18:20:24

So many parents were behind the girl not getting to keep their baby. In our family one dad just laid down th law that his daughter would go off to relatives many miles away until the child was adopted and so the family would not have the shame of an unmarried mother. Well done to the parents who stood by their daughters as there was no other safety net for them in these days.

Fernbergien Mon 21-Jun-21 19:09:13

My mother was seventeen and unmarried when she had my older sister. The family stood by her. I then discovered this year that my mothers mother had her while married by another man. So that is why they stood by her. This was early1930s when sister born. Mum was lucky.

Beswitched Mon 21-Jun-21 20:34:03

I think this thread is about women being pressurised to have an abortion rather than having their child adopted and being able to meet up with them in later life.
I agree that is a terribly sad situation. No one should be made to feel guilty for giving life to their baby and then making a decision (and it should be their decision) that they're not in a position to bring up a baby and would rather allow loving adoptive parents have that privilege.

Beswitched Mon 21-Jun-21 20:41:05

sodapop

Not quite sure what your point is there GillT57 why would your Aunt not be able to choose from the children available for adoption.

Because they're not sweets in a shop. Just as birth parents accept and love the child they're given, most adoptive parents are told there's a little boy/girl whose mother wants them adopted and they have been chosen to be the adoptive parents. They don't get to select a baby from a selection.

sodapop Mon 21-Jun-21 21:23:10

But at times there were several children to choose from Bewitched there were even events arranged where prospective parents could meet the children. I'm not saying that it was right or wrong. At least the children were adopted.

Smurf52 Tue 22-Jun-21 00:33:49

Thank you all for your kind posts. I do wish I had been stronger and insisted on my wishes more. Sadly my childhood wasn’t that happy, with me being passed from pillar to post which affected my confidence in life.

Kandinsky - the father of the baby went to uni and we got married after he graduated in 1974. I would have loved a baby straightaway but he made it clear he wasn’t ready. In 1979 after him surrendering to my wish to have a baby because my younger sister had had one, I had twin boys. He proceeded to have affairs from the time I was pregnant. When I found a letter to someone he had had an affair with for 2 years, I wanted out of the marriage.

I married again in 1988 and had two more sons in 1990 and 1993. Sadly, my younger son committed suicide in 2018 aged 25. That marriage too came to an end after 25 years because my husband was a Narcissist and I couldn’t stand his mind games any more.

I now have a lovely partner, a widower, 10 years younger than me. By my own choice I live on my own with my dog but he stays every second weekend. We have lovely holidays together, days out to the beach, eating at restaurants etc.

I could have regrets for what has happened in my life but I had four lovely sons out of it and a granddaughter and grandson.