A Daughter So Precious.
My defacto husband and I aged 21 and 18 respectively had planned to keep our child. The year was 1966,
our baby born Feb '67. I'd sworn I'd never be in this situation, but as fate would have it, the cards fell the wrong way and
here I was, totally alone in this strange country, Australia, with no family at all. When I met him, it was love at first
sight. He had been separated for 3 months from his wife, whom he'd married to "do the right thing". The marriage hadn't worked
out and as was the law at the time we had to wait 5 years for his divorce to come through. We had nothing but each other when
I found myself with child. We prayed that the child I was carrying would be a daughter.
I could have had an abortion at 2 months but we decided not to. We would keep our child. Because of
our lack of finances, when I booked into the Hospital, Crown St, the Social Worker raised the issue of adoption. SHE talked
of adoption, but I was keeping my baby. I already had a lovely chrome and white bassinet with mattress and pillow with sheets
and covers I had made. I had already purchased and was given baby clothes. As the pregnancy progressed I became very sick
with kidney trouble and toxemia. Finally our special daughter arrived on Feb 8th '67. I knew from birth that there was something
seriously wrong with her as she was born blue black.
A pillow had been shoved in front of my face so I couldn't see her. Then, because of the previous
talk of adoption with a Social Worker I was simply shunted off to a convalescent home annexed to the hospital within hours
of her birth. I had been given no choice or warning - I was by now across town and far away from my precious baby. I thought
I'd go mad - out of my mind, but my husbands sad reactions made me be strong for his sake. I didn't know what to do. I was
right, our daughter had a hole in her heart that wouldn't close and it was viewed as very serious. (They couldn't tell me
if she would live or die). She had other complications. The next two days were a nightmare. I was being advised that in order
for my daughter to receive the appropriate treatment I would have to sign wardship papers along with adoption papers in order
to cover medical costs which we were unable to afford ourselves. I couldn't eat for days - it was a nightmare.
I agreed to wardship papers to cover the costs of bringing her back to health and was told I would
have to sign adoption papers as well or it would be considered that I'd be abandoning my child. So to save her life I had
to give her up. I was numb, I felt as if I was dying. I kept saying "this isn't real - please don't let this be real". Signing
myself out of hospital after the 2 days, the Matron began threatening me with police action of I didn't return on the 5th
day to sign those wretched adoption papers. It all happened within 2 days, all the time my arms ached for my daughter - they
I walked down the street in a daze, with a girlfriend, looking behind me, wondering if the police
would come and get me. That weekend was a daze of grief. I wept till there were no more tears and "V" cried with me, I kept
asking 'How could all this be happening? ". The bassinet was still up, ready for the baby and I kept making the bed up and
remaking it as if she was in it. In the end "V" took it downstairs and put it out of sight. I am unable to recall much of
that weekend except the empty disbelief and the questions screaming themselves out - "How could this be - it's not real".
I looked at people and my head was pleading with them to "help me get my baby back". I cried until my pillow was soaking.
"Please! Please! No! No! No! - I Want my baby! Please someone, Anyone help me! Someone! Anyone! - Somehow!"
But too soon that Monday came around. The 5th day. The day I had agreed under pressure to sign the
adoption papers. We went to the hospital and saw our "special daughter". I looked at her as if I couldn't see enough of her
and tried to imprint the memory of her beautiful face into my mind. Then we turned to leave. The Social Worker and "V" had
to drag me out. I was so numb and in shock I just kept walking the wrong way - wrong turns -. It was all so unreal, like being
down a funnel. It still is.
"V" had to get to work while I had to find my way back to Wakehurst at Waverley to sign the adoption
papers. I got off the bus. The walk to the office was like walking to the gallows. In this daze - haze - I sat while the Social
Worker went over respective details of the adoption papers. All the words like a death sentence - yet without meaning. I was
losing my baby. There was no choice or chance, no option available. There was nothing else we could do. I had to sign her
away because of her medical condition, it was the only way she would get the treatment she needed. I had to, otherwise I'd
be in trouble with the police, as the Matron threatened. A part of me died then. Every fibre of my body was screaming out
to me No! No! Don't sign, You mustn't sign! But I had to, or so I was led to believe. The world was spinning and nothing was
real anymore. I couldn't even fill in the religion or other particulars. The Social Worker crossed it for me. Then my hand
I had 30 days to win the lottery or come up with some other miracle to pay her medical costs which
would allow me to get her back, and I walked out of there in the same trance in which I had entered. I wanted to die - "Why
don't I die? - I am dead" But my traitorous heart kept beating so I went on living. My precious little girl was gone - GONE!
. No-one who knew me tried to help me or seemed to even care. My baby was gone! "No, not like this please" as I begged the
empty streets, the empty air, but I kept on living.
How can I tell you how, if it were physically possible my heart would have bled, or burst with the
strain and so much pain and with no-one to turn to.
No-one - Too much for a young 18 year old to endure alone in a big country. And as I found out over
these miserable years, it could have all been avoided. All I needed to be able to keep my precious daughter, was to know my
rights. To have been offered assistance. To have been given a choice instead of nothings and threats and lies and withholding
of my rights to the knowledge that could have helped me.
May God protect those who have done or contributed toward any of this.
Footnote; The woman in this article discovered her rights within the following year and took the State
of N.S.W. to court to regain possession of her child. The case took 5 years and she and "V" in 1973, were awarded her child
to be returned as the adoption was deemed illegal and, it was also deemed to be in the childs best interest to be returned
to its real mother. The adoptive mother who was by now a widow with 3 other adopted children appealed the decision and the
Appeals Court allowed the child to remain with her adopter as the child had established a rapport with this person.
Copyright © Dian Wellfare, Origins Inc, 1995