Adopted People – Invisible Australians.
Response by Adoptee Rights Australia (ARA) Inc. to the Government Response to the Recommendations of the Inquiry into Historical Forced Adoption in Victoria.
We congratulate the mothers who have fought long and hard for recognition of their trauma and the illegal acts to which they were subjected when their babies (now adults) were forcibly removed.
However, we are gravely concerned that adopted people have been left out yet again in this government response.
We are an aging population in need of support and recognition.
Throughout the Government response, we are referred to as “adopted children”. We are adults who were severed from our mothers, fathers, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, sisters and brothers and the right to our familial, social and cultural identities, along with our vital medical histories. Our children and grandchildren are also affected by these intergenerational losses.
Adopted people are over-represented in suicide, suicide attempts, alcoholism, substance abuse, homelessness, and incarceration, yet the funding of mental health services for victim-survivors does not appear to have been prioritised, and funding amounts are not anywhere near adequate, nor are they even comparable to support for other vulnerable groups.
Recommendation 22 was that the government ‘consider establishing a redress scheme for people who were forcibly adopted, especially those who were placed in institutions or adopted into unsuitable families.’ This is a significant and harmful division of the adoptee community – something that was carefully avoided in the consideration of redress for mothers.
Throughout the report there was recognition of the grief, trauma, and loss experienced by adopted people – not just from the further abuse experienced by many, but from the maternal separation and adoption itself. To consider redress only to some further invalidates adoptees, and also contradicts the findings of the inquiry.
At the very least, an inquiry into adoption itself could have been supported. But the government response at Recommendation 15 is very confusing. It refers to research, not an inquiry. While there is a glaring data gap when it comes to research on adopted people, ‘research’ was the subject of Recommendation 14. So the recommendation that there be an inquiry for adopted people has, effectively, not been responded to at all.
While we congratulate the Victorian government on their recognition of the suffering of mothers, this is not the whole picture. Adopted people remain invisible.
For further information, please contact Adoptee Rights Australia (ARA) Inc at email@example.com and for phone contacts for media.