Adoption policy forced Wollongong mother to give up child at 2 years old
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- Catholic Church says sorry to mothers
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- Torn from their mothers' arms
By Emily Laurence
September 22, 2012 / abc.net.au
A Wollongong woman who was a victim of the forced adoption policy has revealed that a church group kept encouraging her to give-up her baby until she finally succumbed when he was 2 years old.
The woman, who wants to be known only as Gwen, gave birth to the boy in Sydney in 1972 when she was 17 years old and married the father.
But the marriage did not last and she ended up living with the baby in a group home, where the minister insisted she was an unsuitable mother.
She says she was placed under immense pressure to give her son up for adoption, and continually told he was not thriving, a claim she denies.
"There was the you know 'you can't support him', 'you can see that you know he is emotionally disturbed'...of course he's not, he's an extremely bright adult, he wasn't developing as he should, that we weren't nurturing him," Gwen said.
She says she feels this week's apology delivered by Premier Barry O'Farrell in the NSW State Parliament did not resonate with her personally because she still accepts some responsibility for her son's adoption.
But she says it is an important step.
"It's a mark of a mature and tolerant society to be able to get up and express regret for practices that may may have been done on some level with all the best intention but but were flawed practices," she said.
"The whole system, the whole social order of the time was based on shaming people.
"It's just not how we think today."