A long overdue apology requested by victims of forced adoption

Over recent years, many women have publicly come forward with devastating stories of forced adoption in Scotland; a formal apology has not yet been issued by the Scottish government despite this.

It is estimated that up to 250,000 mothers across the UK were made to give up their babies in the 1950s to the 1970s after being made to feel ashamed for falling pregnant whilst unmarried. Women in this situation were told when expecting that they would not be provided access to child support and other social benefits which would help them to keep and raise their baby.

One woman who has spoken publicly about her experience is Lisa Rolland. She told the BBC that when she went to her GP about her pregnancy at the age of 16, she was told that she was “a silly girl” and that adoption was the option available to her. It was just three days after the birth of her son that he was taken away from her, which left her with a feeling of “massive pain and hole and grief.” Lisa was reunited with her son 10 years later however many other women have not been able to re-establish a relationship with the children taken from them.

An online questionnaire has been launched to investigate the history of forced adoption in Scotland and to obtain the views and insights of those affected. This comes following Labour MP Monica Lennon’s motion on the issue, in which she called on the Scottish government to apologise on behalf of the nation and to declare what work would be done in support of this apology.

This action however is arguably long overdue with Australia issuing the world’s first government apology relating to forced adoption in 2013 and Canada addressing the same in 2018. It is believed the Scottish government will review the responses and complete their own inquiry before deciding how they intend to “work together and to explore next steps.”

A helpline has also been set up with Health in Mind to enable sufferers to speak with staff who have experience in this kind of trauma, and the UK Parliament have launched their own separate inquiry.

The Joint Human Rights Committee have also been investigating historical forced adoptions with a report due to be published later in 2022.

The questionnaire can be completed HERE.

Written by Nicole Clough at BLM (nicole.clough@blmlaw.com)

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