Forced adoption enquiry

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights is calling for evidence from single mothers whose children were taken from them and adopted during the 1950s-70s. This enquiry was won by the Movement for an Adoption Apology which has campaigned for many years on behalf of thousands of mothers affected. Details of how to give evidence is on the Joint Committee’s website and the deadline is Thursday 28 October 2021.

We have written to the Joint Committee urging them not to stop at the ‘70s as this will not give an accurate picture of the injustices mothers are still facing.  Thousands of mothers are still having their children forcibly adopted right now and their evidence must also be heard.  We should not have to wait another 50 years for these continuing tragedies happening today to be looked into.  We must take this opportunity to hear and stop them now. 

Publicity about historic adoptions give the misleading impression that forced adoptions are a thing of the past, but we know from mothers and birth families who contact us every day that they are not.  Most adoptions in the 50s, 60s and 70s did not go through the family courts as they do now.  But the family courts do not protect children and their mothers from forced adoptions – 90% of today’s adoptions are without the consent of the birth family.  The secrecy of the courts, the lack of support for single mothers, especially if we are living in poverty, are Black and/or immigrant, young and/or have been in care, have a disability, weighs the adoption process against working-class mothers and birth families and in favour of middle class families who, they claim, can offer “a better life” to our children.  A grieving grandmother who fought forced adoption denounced it as “social engineering”.

If you have been affected by forced adoption after the cut-off date of 1976, we suggest you write in to the Joint Committee anyway, giving your experience. Send a copy to us sns@legalactionforwomen.net and we will compile them when we submit our evidence.

See BBC report here.