As you may be aware, yesterday was an historic day for us Aussie adoptees, most of us genuine Aussie bastards! I am reminded of the quote I had on the sidebar of my former Blog “I was born a bastard, what’s your excuse?”
Yesterday in an emotional event in the Senate, the Report into the Inquiry into forced adoption was handed down. Senators spoke and instead of becoming a closed topic, which is usual, it was left open for others to be able to have their say in coming weeks. All spoke of what a difficult Inquiry it had been with so much callousness, cruelty and bad practice during the years of forced adoptions.
There are twenty recommendations, all useful and holding institutions to making genuine apologies for which the rules of what makes an effective apology have been laid down. States and Nation are expected to apologise, with adoptees mentioned separately, recognised, validated and thanked for our involvement. There will be changes to Birth Certificates, with fathers’ names being required. Counselling services have been recommended, specialist services, special training and all we asked for and need.
Those who were present report that the Senators gave a standing ovation to the Gallery where some of those who had contributed were sitting. It was a very moving event, a landmark in our adoption history and adoptees have finally been officiallly recognised, our suffering acknowledged and recommendations made for what to do about it. We have been validated. Some of the Senators apologised with the promise of further Apologies to come.
There will be those who grumble, are not happy and will make heavy weather of it. That is their right. However, this adoptee still can’t quite believe she lived to see the day and was able to use her experience in a positive way to contribute in a tiny way to this time. It has always been her belief that painful things are dealt with best in the end by using the experience in some positive way to support others, promote change in some way and avoid the introspection which can produce bitterness and prolong feelings of being a victim.
It has been a huge step forward for adoptees, one which we will be coming to terms with for a time, as we let the realisation sink in that we are no longer invisible, unacknowledged and forgotten. We will need to avoid being used, commodified by those who want to make capital out of our existence and expect compensation for our loss. We will need to keep speaking up, telling our stories and making ourselves known to others, raising our profile and making sure others do not try to speak for us, define us and categorise us. We have a long way to go, it will be hard and no doubt frustrating at times, but we have at last the backing of our Government, the certainty of solid recommendations which we will need to pursue and hold successive Governments to and most productive of all we have each other, fellow adoptees who will be supporting each other and working towards common goals.
To those of you, primarily in America who supported us, believed in us and encouraged us – thank you. You showed us how important it is to persevere, to keep the eye on the ball and to know it’s a long struggle but do-able. To adoptees everywhere, take heart, this is a step forward for us all.
Here’s the link to the report in case you want to read it: – http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate_Committees?url=clac_ctte/comm_contrib_former_forced_adoption/report/index.htm