Forced adoptions for 30 years prompt Catholic apology

Forced adoptions in England and Wales saw more than half a million women forced lose their babies in the 30 years following World War II.

Similar experiences have been recorded in other parts of the world, including Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

The Catholic Church was not alone in its zeal to remove babies from their (mostly unmarried) mothers.

Others, including the Church of England and Salvation Army did the same.

Several decades later, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales has apologized for its role in the adoptions.

Many of the women whose babies were adopted say they were coerced.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said the practices of adoption agencies at the time were “sometimes lacking in care and sensitivity.

“We apologize for the hurt caused by agencies acting in the name of the Catholic Church,”

In a new ITV documentary women are breaking their code of silence about this injustice.

About 60 women were interviewed for the documentary.

Many said they thought they did not have much of a choice at the time as they were considered to be unfit as mothers.

Some were told “if you love your baby, you will give it up”. Others described the shame and guilt they had to face.

In New Zealand during the 30 years from the 1950s to the 1980s thousands of young women were forced to give up their children.

There was a huge social stigma attached to being a single mother.

In recent years, women and advocates in the UK have called for an official apology on behalf of Parliament for the pain and grief caused by the adoption practices over the 30-year period.

Australian and New Zealand women are also looking for apologies from their governments and churches.

As one English mother now aged 75 said: “I feel angry with my mother, the church, myself for being so compliant.

“I was on this conveyor belt, you know. Once the decision was made, you couldn’t get off.”



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News category: World.