Senate Inquiry into "Forced Adoption"

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Senate Inquiry into

“Commonwealth contribution to former forced adoption policies and practices.”

After 13 years of calling and lobbying for a Senate Inquiry, and giving evidence and making submissions into 10 Senate Inquiries  Origins successfully gains a Senate Inquiry into Forced Adoption instrumented by the Greens Party, see below on how to contribute to this historic event
Senate Inquiry into
“Commonwealth contribution to former forced adoption policies and practices.”

Preamble to Submission
I ………Your Name……………… a citizen of the Commonwealth of Australia resident in …State…….
 As a citizen of the Commonwealth of Australia I have an inalienable right to protection under the Australian Constitution and the Common Law of this country
As an Australian citizen, the Commonwealth affords me protection from the unlawful and harmful actions that threaten my right to life, liberty and justice from those who would deny me these rights, within and without, the borders of Australia

Follow this Preamble with your submission
Urgent notice to Those affected by “Forced Adoption”
Senate Inquiry into
“Commonwealth contribution to former forced adoption policies and practices.” 
This is an historical occasion. Never in the history of adoption world-wide has any Federal Government been interested in or ever given consideration to the natural mothers of children surrendered for adoption - UNTIL NOW. This will be the only chance we will have in our lifetime to speak and be heard. We will never get this opportunity again.

We are asking every parent, support groups and adoption related organisations Australia-wide if they would pass on the following information as they may not yet be aware of the inquiry.

Every mother, father, adoptee and family member has a legal right to this knowledge - irrespective of how/if they wish to personally deal with it.
To keep this information from any mother and those affected is to further perpetuate abuse and suffering.

And whether or not those affected wish to participate in the inquiry as part of their own personal healing process is entirely their own business, but it is imperative they must have this information otherwise we are no better than the industry that denied us our rights and took our choices away in the first place.
Senate of Australia Parliamentary Inquiry

“Commonwealth contribution to former forced adoption policies and practices.”
Terms of Reference
That the following matters be referred to the Community
Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report
by 30 April 2011:
(a) the role, if any, of the Commonwealth Government,
its policies and practices in contributing to forced
adoptions; and
(b) the potential role of the Commonwealth in developing
a national framework to assist states and territories
to address the consequences for the mothers,
their families and children who were subject to forced adoption policies
We are asking that before each submission that you put the Preamble we have included on the front page of your submission

Put simply, the inquiry will be looking into and reporting on whether the Federal Government is in any way responsible for past adoption practices and policies, we have to prove that the Commonwealth allowed the States to breach the Constitution and the Common Law   
There are provisions for details such as was you baby taken out of the country before any adoption order was made or were you an overseas child who was trafficked and brought into this country
We are asking that in your submission you detail what options you as mothers, or fathers were being offered ie. Whether unmarried and unsupported mothers or fathers  were being provided with information prior to signing a consent, about financial provisions, foster care, state child minding facilities, and information about applying through the courts for maintenance from the child's father that were available under the Child Welfare Act to enable unmarried and unsupported mothers to keep their babies.

Also if mothers were being warned of the permanency of adoption and the lifelong implications and emotional risks of dire future regret if adoption is being considered ie. eg. "Are you sure you will not later deeply regret your decision to surrender your baby as once the adoption goes through you will never see him/her or hear of him/her again. You will have surrendered all parental rights and he/she will be as if born to strangers and not to you?"

You had to answer with the word "yes" before your signature could legally be taken from you. To ensure that you were not coerced into adoption, the inquiry will need to know if you had personally asked to sign the adoption consent and if you were unsure, were you offered more time to get your life together before making such an enormous decision.

The inquiry will want to know what you remember about your adoption experience e.g. Were you offered the above options, what was said if you asked for your baby back within the 30 days and were refused, and if you knew of the 30 day revocation period, what sedation had been administered to you if you know that, if you gave permission for the drug Diethylstilboestrol to be given to you as a lactation suppressant, if you were forbidden to see your baby, or forbidden to see your baby until after you had signed a consent

If you were made to breast feed other babies but not your own, if you had full access to you child while in hospital or if it had been hidden from you, if you were told what sex your baby was, if you were shown the right baby if you did get to see your child, if you were told your baby had died etc.

The inquiry will also be reporting on how mothers were being treated and what was being said in unmarried mothers homes, in hospitals by doctors, nurses, social workers (called hospital almoners until 1969), and any other person involved in the adoption process, and of course how you have been affected by your experience.

The following two documents will help you to identify what legal rights you were entitled to. Read them thoroughly to determine whether your consent was legally taken and if it was a valid consent based on your options.

The following regulations of the Child Welfare Act 17, 1939 evolved in the early 1950's to explain that:

"A mother giving an adoption consent must be fully aware of the import of her action and, must be emotionally and mentally able to appreciate all the implications of such consent. A consent should not be taken if there is any suggestion of indecisiveness or that she has not given sufficient consideration to the matter".

"To avoid any misunderstanding or any suggestion that the mother was misled or uninformed, District Officers are instructed to explain fully to the mother, before taking the consent, the facilities which are available to help her keep the child. These include homes licensed under the Child Welfare Act for the private care of children apart from natural parents, financial assistance to unmarried mothers under section 27 of the Child Welfare Act, admission to State control until the mother is in a position to care for her child, and assistance to affiliate the child and obtain a maintenance order against the putative father, when all of these aids have been rejected, the officer is expected to explain to the mother the full implications of the act of surrendering her child. (this included warning her of the risk of dire future regret if she considers adoption). Only when a mother has considered these, and still wishes to proceed with the surrender for adoption, should the consent be accepted."

The law was very clear in stating how a mother had to insist upon adoption before it could proceed.

Was your experience based on these regulations?

The new Australia wide  Adoption of Children Acts 1965 then added offences clauses into legislation against coercion, duress, undue influence to prevent exploitation of mother and child.

Given your experience do you believe you were coerced into signing an adoption consent?

Under the Child Welfare Act 17 under Unmarried Mothers - Allowances for Children. Dept Social Welfare, 27 aid Maternity Allowance (report taken from 1968 benefit states.)

"Not all unmarried mothers wish to have their child adopted and in many cases have no family at hand to help with the care of the child. This embryo family group has an important mother-child relationship that needs both support and nurture and the Department assists the mother by acting for her in affiliation proceedings and by the granting of regular allowances once the mother's eligibility has been established. (this meant naming the father if possible).

The services of the social aid branch are also used in special cases to supply a layette, special foods and milk. Many unmarried mothers call upon the services of the Dept to act for them in court to obtain an affiliation order. There is no charge for this service."

Were you provided with such information?

If you had your baby in more recent times and were not warned of the known psychological harm that adoption would have on you or your child but were promised an open adoption arrangement - and the adoptive parents of your child cut you off as soon as the adoption order went through the Supreme Court, and you were not officially warned that there is no legislation for adoptive parents to stand by their promise to you, it is important that you let that be known. Please understand we will not be on trial. We are being asked to give details about our adoption experience as we remember it.

Why have we "bothered" to demand an inquiry into adoption?

Over the years the phenomenon of traditional adoptions i.e. The adoption of healthy newborns, has always been written about through the eyes of writers who have been long-term adoption workers.

However - they have persistently failed to explain that the adoption of newborns as we know it, has only been around since the late 1940's early 1950's and only after the "bad blood" theory about "illegitimate" children was debunked by the nature versus nurture debate during the post war period which decided that the quality of an illegitimate child is not determined by who gives birth to it but by whom and how it is raised.

These so-called experts have conveniently failed to explain why comparatively few babies were being surrendered for adoption prior to the 1950's when theirs was greater stigma, but while abandoned mothers were being offered help in the way of shelter and support from organizations such as the Benevolent Society of N.S.W and the Salvation Army.

And how even that modicum of humanity automatically ceased when social workers took over the control of unmarried mothers in the early 1950's and began their ferocious campaign of promoting adoption to society as a "wonderful community service for childless couples", while labeling our babies as being "unwanted children" and that simultaneously childless couples began demanding only newborns, so much so that by 1972 six month old babies were being advertised in the Daily Mirror (4/1/72) as being "too old" for adoption.

After delving into the adoption industries archives we realised that we had done what the adoption experts have never bothered to do for over forty years.
We read the rules. It says they broke the law. When a law is broken it becomes a crime. Consequently Origins has called for a Senate inquiry to find out why such unlawful practices and such unethical cruelty perpetrated upon mothers and their babies by the States went unchallenged by the Federal Government for almost half a century.

By exposing how the sole purpose of the adoption industry (according to their own documentation) was to bring about the separation of babies from their mothers as the first stage in carrying out their true and only purpose as adoption agencies (their only concern being to find ways of curing the emotional distress of infertility within marriage by finding enough babies to meet the growing demand for adoptable infants). We intend to expose how that demand could only be met by failing to provide us with our legal rights under Common Law  to alternatives which had been reduced to nil once a market had been found for our babies.

In doing so we hope to take back our dignity as mothers and as human beings.
The question that will be answered by the inquiry is why the decades between the 1940's and the 1980's has gone down as being the only period in the history of human-kind where unsupported young mothers defied nature itself and "willingly" gave away their own newborns en masse to strangers.

What can you do?

This inquiry will be the only opportunity in our lifetime to have the history books re-written about adoption. It will be our only chance to help our children understand that they were not quite as easily "given away" as people would like to think they were. Australia is setting a world precedent by leading the way under humanitarian grounds with the anticipation countries world wide will follow.
As all mothers will know, as a consequence of adoption separation we're either in denial or in pain. Don't let those once involved in adoption continue to get away with their propaganda that other than a "small" number of aggrieved mothers, all others were happy with their "decision" willingly surrendered their babies and happily got on with their lives to make themselves feel comfortable- when we know that not to be the case.

With the inquiry about to begin we now all have the opportunity to do something for ourselves, our children and each other so please write you story and send it in to the Senate Committee

We also ask that you contact your local newspapers, media etc and inform them of the inquiry and ask them to advertise the inquiry as a community service.
How Does the Inquiry work?

Don't be put off by the word "submission" - it is just a formal way of saying "tell us what happened to you".

Although it will be imperative that you use your correct name (anonymous submissions and phone submissions will not be accepted) please be assured that your submission will be treated with the utmost respect and in the strictest of confidence. Your submission will be given a file number and will be referred to only by that file number.

Please understand that you are not on trial. You do not have to defend yourself. And do not have to personally attend the inquiry for an interview, although you may do so if you wish. That decision is entirely up to you. If you do choose to be interviewed personally your attendance will be "in camera" if you wish, which means no media is permitted to attend and the room is cleared.

You can present your submission in writing, on cassette, on video or in person, or a bit of each.

Some mothers will have their records and others won't. Don't worry. If you don't have records just write down what you remember of your experience in a letter. Reminder: only send in copies of your original records as nothing will be returned.
We fully understand how difficult it will be to go back and recall painful events of the time when we lost our babies, but at the same time it is, believe it or not, also a healing experience. For when we journey back through time to the home we were in, the hospital in which we gave birth we are then able to realise just how little power over the situation we had, and are able to begin forgiving ourselves for not knowing how to fight the system that separated us from our children.

If you find it just too difficult putting pen to paper, but you are now able to speak of your experience, you might find it easier to ask a close friend, daughter, relative or someone you trust within your support group to help you put it in writing. Then all you have to do is sign it once you have checked that it is correct.

Please don't listen to that voice which is telling you that "I can't do this" or "someone else will do it better" or "I don't know how to make a submission" or "my submission won't make any difference" - it will. Your submission is as important as every other submission sent in. If one mother, father, adoptee,  family member tells of their experience and it is similar to your own, your experience will also corroborate hers etc. It will be our opportunity of saying "How dare you have expected this of me!"

QUESTIONS ". . But I signed a consent!!"

Yes many did also , and because no alternative option was being offered and we weren't usually allowed to leave the hospital unless we signed, so did the vast majority of us. But many it turns out didn't sign, and yet unless they had parental support they didn't get to keep their babies either.

Their signatures were either forged, were hounded day and night for their signature for years after leaving the hospital, or their babies were hidden at places like Scarba House until the mother could be charged with abandonment and her signature dispensed with any way.

Although we respect the decision of those who chose to surrender their babies, it is clear by all evidence that taking our signatures without proper counseling was simply a formality to make the transaction look legal, but it did not necessarily mean we agreed to the adoption. Because we were unmarried and unsupported our babies were considered to be at risk, our fate it seems was sealed.

Blaming yourself for having given your baby up and/or surrendered because you were led to believe adoption was in your child’s best interest would be like blaming the Jews for not putting up a fight as they walked straight into the gas chambers - conned into thinking they were being de-loused - they too accepted their fate without a struggle.

..But I'm afraid of upsetting people"

There are mothers who feel concern about upsetting their child’s adoptive parents and think if they make waves it will upset the apple cart and they will risk losing their child for the second time.

But please be assured that the inquiry has nothing to do with adoptive parents. We are not accusing them of taking our children. We are blaming the system for breaking the law. It is an issue solely between the mothers and the state and Federal government. It is about the way in which the system railroaded unsuspecting young mothers into signing consents which then enabled the system to make our children available for adoption.

Those adoptive parents who knew nothing of the ways in which the babies they raised had been acquired until now, will probably be sufficiently horrified.
Who can submit to the inquiry?

The inquiry is for anyone who has been separated by adoption in Australia and has been affected by that separation, also professionals who are aware of the effects of adoption.

Edited and Copyright Dian Wellfare, Origins Inc, 1995- 2010
If you cant put in a submission and need to at least contribute you may find the following draft helpful    
Department of the Senate,
P.O. Box 6100
Parliament House,Canberra, ACT 2600




Postal address

Phone number





Dear Senators,


Commonwealth of Australia Inquiry into Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices.


As a citizen of the Commonwealth of Australia I had and still do have an inalienable right to protection under the Australian Constitution, rule of law and the Common Law of this nation.


As an Australian citizen, the Commonwealth should have afforded us all protection from the unlawful and harmful actions that threatened our right to life, liberty and justice from those who denied us all these rights, within and without, the borders of Australia.


We must live by the Australian Constitution, Rule of Law, and the Common Law of this country and Commonwealth politicians are elected to uphold Commonwealth Law meaning they will prevail over federal legislation, and by operation of section 109 of the Constitution, will override inconsistent state laws (whether past or future.)


I am a natural mother who would like to register my interest in this Committee’s inquiry and acknowledge that it is an important step in addressing the issues of forced adoptions in the 1950’s to the 1970’s.


As a direct consequence of the inhumane treatment I have received, I have suffered a lifetime of living grief and pain and as a result I am unable to prepare/write my personal story for presentation to the Inquiry.


I believe the evidence into the Commonwealth Government’s involvement in forced adoptions will change not only your understanding of this dark period of this countries history but will increase your determination for the truth to be recorded so that the past is never repeated.


Please accept my letter and signature as a submission by registering my name as a participant in this Inquiry.


I thank you for this opportunity and join my sisters in standing as one, as we eagerly await our great Nation to hear and see the truth unfold. I would appreciate you adding my name and address to your mailing list that I can receive future correspondence and documents on the progress of this Inquiry.


Yours faithfully,


  • I would like this submission to be published on the internet.
  • would not like this submission to be published on the internet.


Where to send you submission
Senate Inquiry into
“Commonwealth contribution to former forced adoption policies and practices
Department of the Senate
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
Phone 02 6277 3515  Fax 0262775829