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Should there be apologies made for adoptions

(110 Posts)
maddyone Wed 26-May-21 19:02:22

I’m just wondering what other Gransnetters think about this. It has been on BBC news for two consecutive days about the government apologising to the mothers of children who were adopted in the past, and apologising to the children who were adopted. I’m feeling a bit puzzled about this because it seems to me that a government of today apologising about this would be somewhat meaningless since no one in government today is responsible for the attitudes of yesterday which were widespread across society. Maybe apologies by the adoption societies would be more fitting, or from the organisers of Mother and Baby Homes, or even from the parents themselves who frequently forced their daughters to give up their babies.
What do others think?

Sago Wed 26-May-21 19:20:25

My husband was adopted in the mid 50’s.
He thinks it is ridiculous.

The Catholic Church probably should apologise, they were still running the Magdalene laundries until 1996 which says a lot about their attitude.

A girl I knew became pregnant to a priest, she was 16, it was all hushed up, my parents told me to stay away from her! She was trouble.

The priest was moved to another parish.

My father told me the laundries would have sorted her out and couldn’t understand why we didn’t have such a facility in England.

Ilovecheese Wed 26-May-21 19:24:05

I think that the girls parents should be the ones to apologise if any of them are still alive.
However if an apology from the Government would in any small way help to ameliorate the grief of those poor women then why not? Where would be the harm?

M0nica Wed 26-May-21 19:27:46

Ilovecheese that is exactly what I was thinking. It would be the parents first and foremost putting on the adoption pressure the other authorities would have seen themselves as supporting the parents decision.

Shinamae Wed 26-May-21 19:29:39

I was in an unmarried mothers home run by the church and had my baby girl adopted in March 1972 when I was 19 and she was 10 weeks old... I had to sign papers and was told I would never see or hear about her once the papers were signed and the only thing I was told was that her new father and mother were teachers and that she would have an older brother... I can well remember the day the matron told me to dress her nicely and leave her in the crib in the nursery and not to go in there for next half hour and, of course when I did eventually go in she was gone.... can’t really think what got an apology would do...

Kali2 Wed 26-May-21 19:30:44

You mean the women whose babies were taken away without their consent. Really?

maddyone Wed 26-May-21 19:30:58

Wel, actually I think that too. There’s certainly no harm in government apologising, I just wonder if it would do any good, since government now isn’t responsible for prevailing attitudes in the 50s and 60s when a lot of these adoptions appear to have happened.

Whitewavemark2 Wed 26-May-21 19:31:00

When I was in hospital having my daughter, I was in a ward of six new mothers. One was a young woman who gave birth to the most beautiful girl, but the young woman was unmarried.

From the time of the babies birth for 5 days, the young woman spent the time holding the baby and crying. On the fifth day two women came and took the baby. I don’t think that there was another young mother in that ward who wasn’t traumatised by this outrage, and something I doubt any of us ever forgot.

That was in 1971.

theworriedwell Wed 26-May-21 19:33:13

I lived near a mother and baby home in 1970 and 1971. I was a teenage mum myself but I was married but I used to get dirty looks on the bus as I had to get off right at the gate to the home. I didn't have a phone, not unusual then, so would phone my mum from the phone box. While waiting for my turn I would often hear girls begging their mothers to come and see the baby, "You won't want me to give him away if you only see him." It was heartbreaking.

I remember one little girl being dropped off. She must have been 13 or 14 and was wearing Clark's school sandals, her little brothers (I assume that's who they were) were waving to her as her dad marched her off. Her mother didn't even turn her head to say goodbye. It has always stuck in my mind.

Girls did keep babies but they needed their parents support. I think the parents have more to answer for than the government.

luluaugust Wed 26-May-21 19:34:52

As it was the universal attitude of society at that time maybe "society" should apologise. I had a couple of friends pushed into shot gun weddings at 17 who only went through with it to enable them to keep the baby. Their parents had said otherwise it was adoption as what they had done was shameful. They considered themselves lucky the boy stayed around for them. The past is a different country I don't see how a present day Government can really apologise for the past although I agree with Ilovecheese if it helps in some way.

Doodledog Wed 26-May-21 19:35:48

I'm so sorry to hear that, Shinamae. It must have been heartbreaking.

It's not for me to say, as I have no experience on either side of this, but I'm not sure that an apology will make any difference either. The young women who had their babies taken from them may be entitled to compensation, but knowing how these things go they would probably have the cost of rearing the babies deducted from any award, and the trauma of the claim would make any payment insignificant.

The babies themselves will have had mixed fortunes, just as those born to natural parents. Some will have had loving parents and good lives, whilst others will not.

Smileless2012 Wed 26-May-21 19:37:48

The parents of these young women who were forced to give up their babies are the ones who needed to apologise.

Alegrias1 Wed 26-May-21 19:38:41

There was an incredibly moving segment on Call Kaye on Radio Scotland this morning, where 2 mothers talked about their experiences. One was a former MP. What she described was harrowing. She wasn't even given pain relief during an episiotomy (sp?) because the medical staff said to her that she needed to suffer the pain so that she wouldn't get herself into this situation again.

Before I heard it, I would have agreed with the posters here who said that apologies weren't necessary, or even appropriate, but the MP said that that a proper apology, on behalf of the country, I suppose, would help her feel that the world had moved on and acknowledged that what happened to them was wrong.

Shinamae I am sorry to read your post, that must have been terrible for you.

supergirlsnan Wed 26-May-21 19:39:03

Shinamae

I was in an unmarried mothers home run by the church and had my baby girl adopted in March 1972 when I was 19 and she was 10 weeks old... I had to sign papers and was told I would never see or hear about her once the papers were signed and the only thing I was told was that her new father and mother were teachers and that she would have an older brother... I can well remember the day the matron told me to dress her nicely and leave her in the crib in the nursery and not to go in there for next half hour and, of course when I did eventually go in she was gone.... can’t really think what got an apology would do...

I am so sad to read this. I hope you find some peace. x

greenlady102 Wed 26-May-21 19:41:46

I think if folk will feel comforted by an apology then it should be made.

M0nica Wed 26-May-21 19:48:36

Who should apologise for all the women burnt as witches hundreds of years ago?

How far does this apologising for everything go?

It is not that I do not have the utmost sympathy for these mothers - and their children, but to quote a desperately hackneyed saying (because it is so true) ^ the past is another country, they do things differently there.^

I oftn wonder what we are doing now, that we find completely acceptable , even commendable that someone will not want an apology for in 50 years time.

Anniebach Wed 26-May-21 19:55:37

I can’t agree with the government apologising , who will they be apologising for ? It is so sad , so much heartache

GrannyLaine Wed 26-May-21 19:57:23

maddyone I'm glad you started this thread as I too can't understand what any action from today's government would achieve or why they should be held accountable. Of course the whole situation was an outrage, thank goodness we live in kinder times and societal norms have changed. My mother gave birth to my brother in an institution for unmarried mothers in the 1940s; her own mother had had her 12th baby just eighteen months earlier. But my lovely granddad went and fetched them both home and my brother was raised along with all the others.

Galaxy Wed 26-May-21 20:00:24

I think it's a recognition that something terrible was done by society to the women and children. It was a societal issue and I dont thinkn the government are saying they are responsible but that society was responsible. Responsible might even be the wrong word, its acknowledging a terrible wrong. I think that's the right thing to do.

varian Wed 26-May-21 20:02:08

The only people who should apologise should be those who were instrumental in inflicting this injury - the churches, institutions, perhaps the families but not the government who happen to be in office many years after these dreadful things occurred.

Elusivebutterfly Wed 26-May-21 20:10:19

Irish and Australian governments have apologised for past wrongs in adoption practice and Gordon Brown's government apologised for child migration (which affected a lot less people). I think the government should apologise.
Equally, the Catholic church in England apologised but the Church of England hasn't and I think they should. The Church ran most mother and baby homes and employed the moral welfare officers/social workers.

tickingbird Wed 26-May-21 20:11:32

Shinamae So sorry to read your story. How heartbreaking for you flowers

Iam64 Wed 26-May-21 20:14:57

Shinamae, so sorry to read your experience.

I’m unsure about a government apology. It wasn’t government policy, it was societal belief systems and prejudice that led to the adoptions. The lack of practical and financial support along with their families shame were part of this. I don’t recall if the young mothers were asked to give written consent, it seems more likely they were just told their baby would ge adopted and ‘have a better life’

It’s rare for a healthy baby to be relinquished for adoption these days. Infants and children are more likely to be adopted against their parents wishes because of neglect or abuse. Whilst I agree this sometimes needs to happen for the protection of the child, inevitably mothers are bereft. As are the father and sometimes other family members, especially siblings.

Grammaretto Wed 26-May-21 20:23:38

I feel an apology is a sign that we, society are ashamed of our past behaviour and never want young women/girls to have to be put through the pain , humiliation and grief ever again.

I can well remember my DM warning us girls that having sex before marriage would ruin our lives.
We knew one girl who had a baby who she kept and was supported by her parents. "No nice man will ever marry her now! " was the threat.
Ofcourse she met a very nice man and had more children. A happy ending for her.
.

Nightsky2 Wed 26-May-21 20:26:50

Shinamae

I was in an unmarried mothers home run by the church and had my baby girl adopted in March 1972 when I was 19 and she was 10 weeks old... I had to sign papers and was told I would never see or hear about her once the papers were signed and the only thing I was told was that her new father and mother were teachers and that she would have an older brother... I can well remember the day the matron told me to dress her nicely and leave her in the crib in the nursery and not to go in there for next half hour and, of course when I did eventually go in she was gone.... can’t really think what got an apology would do...

Shinamae, this is so sad. 💔💐