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Forced adoptions: Welsh government to apologise

  • By David Deans & Teleri Glyn Jones
  • BBC Wales

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A Welsh woman forcibly adopted, she feels “robbed” of her culture

The Welsh government officially apologized to mothers forced to give away their children.

Thousands of unmarried women were forced into adoption in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s.

Speaking in Senedd, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Social Services Julie Morgan will say sorry for the setbacks in society that have led to the practice.

The move was welcomed by campaigners, who say the UK government should follow suit.

A Welsh woman forced into adoption says she feels “robbed” of her culture after being separated from her Welsh-speaking mother.

It is likely that thousands of children in Wales have been forced into adoption, with an investigation by the UK Parliament An estimated 185,000 babies are affected across England and Wales.

The Joint Commission on Human Rights of Parliamentarians and Colleagues found that many women feel ashamed and forced to give up their children.

The Welsh government’s decision comes a month after an apology from former Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon over the same matter, and 10 years after Australia apologized for the behaviour.

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Ann Keen – who later became an MP – was forced to give her child up for adoption at the age of 17.

Ann Keen, is a campaigner and former MP who was sent to a mother and infant home in Swansea and forced to put her child up for adoption at the age of 17.

She was told she could be with her son 10 days after his birth in January 1967, but she said that on the eighth day the boy was taken away because she had become “too close”. necessary” and she never had to say goodbye.

She told Radio Wales Breakfast on Tuesday: “Today people [in charge] unrelated, but the consequences of it happening will always be with us and that’s not right. I am very proud that the Welsh Labor government will apologize for this and I really urge the UK to do the same. Because why not?”

Ms Keen will travel to Cardiff on Tuesday to hear Julie Morgan’s direct apology.

She added that she feels overwhelmed, adding that she and other women have been told about giving up their children, when in fact they have been taken.

“In a way, it shines a light on both of us and for thousands of other mothers who may not be on this campaign because they keep quiet, because you’re supposed to be real. shameful, that you don’t say it. People and you never get to talk about it,” she added.

“I highly commend the Welsh government. They didn’t participate, but they understand the trauma I went through at Swansea. I’m shaking now, I don’t know how I’ll feel, but I know I’ll feel the same way. sense of fear.” some kind of justice for all of us.”

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Anne Jones was adopted in the 1950s.

Anne Jones, from Glan Conwy, was adopted by a family in Llandudno in the 1950s. Her biological mother, Katie Green, from Caernarfon, had her out of marriage at the age of 36.

She said her adoptive family made her feel “out of wedlock and therefore not good enough”.

Although she did find her brother, who was with his mother, she was only able to find out who her mother was many years after her death.

‘You don’t know who you are’

Ms Jones, 71, was among those campaigning for an official apology from the British government.

She welcomed the Welsh government’s decision but was disappointed it was not happening at UK level.

“One of the things that every adopted person will tell you is this: you feel like you don’t know who you are.

“You don’t know if there’s anyone else in the world who looks like you.”

Ms Jones, who grew up in Llandudno, said she was “robbed” of her culture.

“My mother is Welsh, and because she lived, was born and raised in Caernarfon, she speaks Welsh. That’s what I missed.”

She added: “I feel sorry for the people in the UK who still haven’t had an apology because I feel they are being discriminated against.”

“[The apology] problem because it’s institutional prejudice, institutional shame.”

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Ann Keen – who later became an MP – was forced to give her child up for adoption at the age of 17.

“I begged to see him, finally I was able to. It was said that I could be with him for ten days, but not longer, and not get too close – of course. That’s impossible for any mother.” will tell you.”

“Some people taking responsibility aren’t bad, but some are intentionally bad because it makes you feel like you don’t have any rights.

“Actually, we’ve been told we don’t have any rights, which isn’t true. Society treats us badly, but so does the government. We now have academic research on it. that, to prove it.”

While those responsible today are not involved, she said “the consequences of how it happens will always be with us and that is not true”.

“I’m very proud of the Welsh Labor government coming to apologize for this and I really urge the UK to do the same. Why not?”

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Anne Jones, pictured here as a baby, said forced adoption was a “stigmatization”

The mothers told the joint commission investigation that they felt the treatment during and after childbirth was intentional punishment for their unmarried pregnancy.

Young women are sent away from home to hide their pregnancy and spend weeks in a home devoted to mothers and babies.

Many women said they were abused by social workers, nurses and other staff and did not receive pain relief.

The Welsh and Senedd governments did not exist at the time mandatory adoption was taking place.

The UK government, which ruled Wales entirely until 1999, rejected the committee’s call for a formal apology in response to its findings.

While saying the treatment of women and children is wrong and should not have happened, the ministers said an apology would be inappropriate “because the state does not actively support these behaviours”. .

However, they said they were “apologizing on behalf of society to all those affected”.

‘The state got involved’

Veronica Smith, founder of the Adoption Apology Movement, welcomed the announcement.

She said the UK government “should now follow the example of the Welsh and Scottish governments”.

“They assume the state is not involved but we have a lot of academic research that the state is involved,” she said.

Family acceptance is still an issue, she said.

“Very few people in Wales have come forward but we expect many more to show up there. It’s still a very painful thing and involves shame.” more.

Julie Morgan issued an apology personally in January.

The deputy minister said that while forced adoptions predate decentralization in Wales, “they leave a lasting legacy for all those who have gone through them – for both parents and children.” “.

“We can’t change what happened, but I can guarantee that adoption laws and practices have been significantly strengthened since then and we will try to support as much as we can.”

Ms Morgan will make her statement in the Welsh Parliament late on Tuesday afternoon.

The UK government said: “We apologize to all those affected by historical adoption practices. We apologize on behalf of society for what has happened.

“While we cannot erase the past, the lessons of time have been learned and have resulted in significant changes to the law and practice.”

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