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Should there be apologies made for adoptions

(111 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?

Doodledog Wed 26-May-21 20:34:12

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.
This is a very good point. I didn't see the point of an apology, but if it gets that message across it can do no harm.

EllanVannin Wed 26-May-21 20:36:55

Some things don't change in this century either !

Elusivebutterfly Wed 26-May-21 20:51:10

Grammaretto - you expressed very well what I wanted to say.

Alegrias1 Wed 26-May-21 20:53:39

Part of Julia Gillard's speech on the same subject in Australia.

kittylester Wed 26-May-21 21:08:44

My friend had an illegitimate baby in 1970 and her mother made arrangements for him to be adopted. At the last moment her father went and brought them both home. My friend's mother was quite a battle axe and ruled with a rod of iron but her father stood up to her when it counted.

My friends son was born with severe learning difficulties and died aged 45 but he was loved by all her family and friends even her mum. I wonder what would have happened if he had been adopted.

sodapop Wed 26-May-21 21:24:37

I agree with varian can't see why the Government should apologise now. It was a different time and religious leaders have a lot to answer for. My own birth mother and her family belonged to a very strict religious sect and she never told them she had a child. I understand the pain of mothers forced to give up their children but I don't see how a meaningless Government apology will make things any better.
What about all the women who spent decades in psychiatric hospitals classed as "moral defectives" because they had children out of wedlock. They had no lives at all.

25Avalon Wed 26-May-21 21:33:36

Perhaps rather than apology somebody needs to say that we recognise how awful and wrong it was. If nothing is said are we not complicit?

Savvy Wed 26-May-21 22:01:22

If it had been a government policy then I can see why a government apology would be appropriate, but it wasn't, its the people who ran the institutions who need to apologise before the government does. Or at least acknowledge that it was wrong.

I had a friend who was bought up believing that they had been adopted, as an adult they decided to trace their birth mother, only to find out that they hadn't been adopted, they'd been sold by the church. The church has a lot of damage to acknowledge and apologise for. Im

Calendargirl Wed 26-May-21 22:08:58

I see no point in the present government apologising for things that happened in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s.

It wasn’t the then governments who made the women have their babies adopted.

Saying ‘sorry’ resolves nothing.

‘Fine words butter no parsnips’.

M0nica Wed 26-May-21 22:23:48

I just thnk all this apologising for the past ispointless. Other times other customs. Every generation since time began has done something its successors did not approve of

The underlying point of progress is believing we can do better than those that went before. What about all those 19th century illegitimate children taken by baby farmers who probably killed lot of the children, well, starved them to death. At least in more recent times they went to homes and probably survived to adulthood.

theworriedwell Wed 26-May-21 22:27:01


If it had been a government policy then I can see why a government apology would be appropriate, but it wasn't, its the people who ran the institutions who need to apologise before the government does. Or at least acknowledge that it was wrong.

I had a friend who was bought up believing that they had been adopted, as an adult they decided to trace their birth mother, only to find out that they hadn't been adopted, they'd been sold by the church. The church has a lot of damage to acknowledge and apologise for. Im

The people running the institutions weren't going out kidnapping pregnant girls. From every case I know or the ones I've heard of it was the parents who put them there and refused to take the girl back with the baby. Lots of the girls were young so without family backing what could they do.

Gannygangan Wed 26-May-21 22:28:56

Can't see the point in an apology. Different times. Different attitudes.

The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.

Happiyogi Wed 26-May-21 22:52:11

I wasn’t personally involved in this very sad situation, but if I was I don’t believe an apology from the government would ease my pain. The PM showed crass insensitivity in his recent handling of belated apologies to families bereaved in 1970s NI.

A major injustice is how only the women and babies were punished. Did no one in authority or wider society ever wonder how the women became pregnant?

silverlining48 Wed 26-May-21 23:02:47

Spoke to an old friend today about an illegal abortion she had in the 60’s. She knew her parents would throw her out and disown her if she had a baby while unmarried and I knew
that was true.
She has never told another soul, not even the man she has been married to for over 40 years.
These were harsh times for young women who fell pregnant, they carried the stigma while fathers were never castigated . Parents sent their daughters away to family or mother and baby homes because of embarrassment and they encouraged them to let the baby, Their grandchild, be adopted.
Shame and ‘family name and what would the neighbours say’ ruled those not so swinging 60s days. Different times and heartbreak all round.

Not sure government should apologise though an acknowledgment of the pain suffered might be appropriate,

Mollygo Wed 26-May-21 23:05:25

As some have said, there are other groups who need/needed to apologise, the parents, the mother and baby homes and the churches who ran them.
My adopted cousin, was told by his birth mother that she wasn’t allowed to keep him because her parents wouldn’t support her so she would have lost her job.
It’s incredibly sad and the mothers have had to live with the memory for their whole life. I’m not sure how a government apology would help if they weren’t responsible for the enforced adoptions.

CafeAuLait Wed 26-May-21 23:09:35

People who were affected by this are still alive and an apology from somewhere, to acknowledge the wrongs that were done to the people involved, is good. The acknowledgement can be helpful. It should really be the institutions involved that should apologise but a government acknowledgement is something. The way society responded to unwed mothers was wrong on the whole.

I'm sorry to Shinamae and anyone else who was affected by this sad history. What happened was so wrong.

Hetty58 Wed 26-May-21 23:29:38

I think an apology really is needed - as public recognition of the cruelty of the past.

Three girls (at least) in my year group got pregnant aged 15. There were only two classes, and it was supposed to be hushed up and never talked about, so probably more.

One had her baby girl adopted. She was never the same again, often found in floods of tears in the toilets or sitting sadly by herself at lunchtime.

Another had her daughter brought up as a younger sister.

The third girl came from a very well off family - and actually kept her baby - but left school. The way she was talked about was absolutely dreadful.

Meanwhile, the boys, of course, got called 'Jack the lads' and faced no criticism at all. Many more girls (including the most vicious gossipers) were sexually active at 14 - but lucky enough to avoid pregnancy!

Nana49 Wed 26-May-21 23:39:10

When you challenge any organisation whether it big or small you never get the apology from the people who caused you harm. I've had terrible experiences with a large government organisation twice, both times the ombudsman forced apologies from them, but it was never from the individuals who were responsible, it was the ceo's who did the apologising. That's how it always is. I think if the apology is meaningful & recognises how wrong the people who oversaw these adoptions were & even if it helps one person then it's worth it.
I doubt that someone who has been exposed to this terrible ordeal will ever really recover so as much recognition of how wrong it was could aid healing

Hithere Thu 27-May-21 02:20:17

I agree with hetty58, an apology is very much needed.

Granted not much may be done now, but recognizing policies were wrong and many women and children were hurt because of it - it is moving forward and learning from the past.

It is very insulting not to acknowledge the damage done - as if those victims have to get over it and move on, as if mentioning the pink elephant in the room makes everybody uncomfortable and awkward so hiding it is better.

Shinamae, I am so sorry. How heartbreaking.

EilaRose Thu 27-May-21 02:21:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Calendargirl Thu 27-May-21 07:01:54

an apology is very much needed

But not by the government, absolutely pointless.

BigBertha1 Thu 27-May-21 07:10:37

Shinamaethe same thing happened to me. I would rather not keep hearing about it raking this up is more painful to me. Still trying to come to terms with it and it's at the root of my general sadness about my life.

silverlining48 Thu 27-May-21 07:14:03

Eilarose flowers

Anniebach Thu 27-May-21 07:49:07

If the parents didn’t want their daughters to keep their babies and there were no mother and baby homes where would the girls go ?

sodapop Thu 27-May-21 08:13:52

Not sure what your point is Anniebach