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Call for UK to apologise for forced adoptions

The British government should apologise for its history of forced adoptions, according to a recently published letter.

Signed by several prominent public figures including Members of Parliament, academics, authors and campaigners, the letter was published in The Times. It says that “thousands of babies were adopted by British married couples because their mothers were unmarried” between the 1950s and 1970s.

It alleges that help was available for single mothers during this time but that information about such help was withheld. As a result, it continues, the mothers who gave up their children “did not give informed consent”.

The letter claims that the mothers were “coerced” into giving up their children and had “never recovered” from the experience. Many of those mothers “do not even know if their lost children are alive”, it alleges. This is because there is no mechanism in the law to notify the biological parent of their child’s death after they have been adopted.

In 2013, the sitting Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard issued a national apology to mothers in her country who had experienced forced adoptions. The Times letter cited this incident and demanded that the British government follow suit by giving women “an acknowledgement that adoption practices were unethical”.

Earlier this month, the Baltic country of Latvia alleged that the UK still practiced forced adoption. This was prompted by the case of a Latvian mother living in Britain who had her child taken into care.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Winston Smith says:

    The British government apologising for Forced Adoption is about as likely as the devil going to church.

    It regards Forced Adoption as marvellous and providing wonderful homes for the victims.

    The Latvian government is rightly complaining about this very nasty case.

    The letter refers to the previous practice of coercing and bullying Unmarried Mothers who hah had Illegitimate Children to give them up for adoption ,, now the practise is Forced Adoption, forcing mothers and couples by the court to have their children compulsorily adopted. after they have been taken into Care.

    Only the other day I was hearing the Minister of Children enthusing about the practice and how to boost the numbers.

    • Winston Smith says:

      As said, the British government apologising for Forced Adoption is about as likely as the Devil going to church, they thinkits marvellous and provides the victimchildren with wonderful homes.

      However it is trafficking and Trafficking in Children. Perjury and Conspiracy t oPervert the Course of Justice are the names for the methods used to manufacture the evidence. There need to be criminal prosecutions. We have repeatedly dealt with these cases, as parents make desperate efforts to stop the Forced Adoption. Often the children were taken into Care for minor reasons, but are seen as attractive Forced Adoption material by the Forced Adoption lobby.

      It’s not just Latvia. There have been demonstrations outside our embassies in Eastern Europe, signals arrive to the distraught mandarins of the FCO from our ambassadors that the demonstrators are on their way. In one case with supreme arrogance the British judge issued an injunction against the press of the country concerned. He then added to it by sending a copy to their ambassador.

      Now money,at a time of shortage, is being sunk into”post adoption suppor” as Forced Adoptions have a high failure rate.

  2. Maggie Wilkinson says:

    It is more than time that NZ made an official apology and acknowledgement to the harm done by ‘forced adoptions.’

  3. Paul D Manning says:

    The Australian government has already made its meaningless apology for their part in the crime of child stealing from thousands of innocent mothers. We only need to see the film “Oranges and Sunshine” to realise the full heart rending story and the sheer cruelty, of the then UK Social Services, in league with that which operates down-under. The film tells of total cover up’s and corruption of social workers, of the brutality inflicted on innocent lost children who were ripped from their mothers arms, along with many older kids that were frightened out of their lives at what they later came to face in a far off country not knowing where the hell they were. Many ended up in orphanages and institutions where they were treated harshly and in many instances physically and sexually abused. Some were told they were orphans, the cruellest of fictions, since often their parents were still alive. Many parents were informed by officials that their children had been adopted by British families, when they had actually been shipped abroad – becoming castaways of the empire. The real hero of the story was the one that later exposed the hell that these thousands of children had gone through and that was Margaret Humphreys, the Nottingham social worker who first became aware of the problem when a child migrant contacted her from Sydney in the hope of retracing her British parents. Yes the OZ government have made some sort of pointless ‘Pontius Pilate’ gesture in washing its hands clean of this affair, as if it could, because it never will no matter how hypocritically it tries to. Yet how could one not be angered by the treatment of more than 150,000 children way back then? But even more terribly tragic is that the British Social services have still not learnt any lessons from the past, because they still practice the wrong and unjust removal of children from their innocent parents today, yes TODAY! Nothing has changed. Evidence is accumulating on all sides to show that far too many children are now being removed from their parents wholly unnecessarily, often for laughably inadequate, even absurd, reasons. No one could object if the rise in the number of families being torn apart was simply due to the increased determination of our social workers to intervene in situations likely to lead to another Baby P tragedy. But the fact is, happy children are today being snatched from loving parents for reasons they cannot begin to fathom, leaving all concerned in a state of utter misery. And this can constitute a tragedy in its own way scarcely less heart-rending than those where a child has been genuinely abused. Having been involved in scores of such cases over the past four years, I do not hesitate to describe this as one of the most disturbing scandals in Britain today. Any apology by our government today, over their past policy of wrongful child removal, will be a slap in the face for the thousands of parents today that live in constant misery having experienced the same horrors themselves of losing those they love, their own flesh and blood, their children who have been forcibly adopted. Do not talk to me about our government making apologies over this issue, it will make me utterly sick!

    • Maggie Wilkinson says:

      You re so correct, the apologies are simply ‘mouth music’ to appease the thousands that have been hurt by the process of adoption, perhaps in the hope that it will silence us? And then the posers that voters elected continue with the abuse, or step it up a bit. The neo-liberal politicians and corporations that seemed to rule the planet support the concept of adoption as it suits their philosophy of the small, elite, ruling class that holds the financial purse strings which in turn controls our lives with their judgements. NZ is in the grip of such a political party that has both ignored and refused us an acknowledgement/apology. Perhaps with view to ramp up adoptions? (as Australia is trying to do, even after The Apology)?
      The big adoption agencies in America are supported by religious/belief systems, Republicans and large corporations, they are not open to change. It is in essence a replay of the 1950s -1970s forced adoption scenario. Consent which is not given freely is NOT consent.

      • Jan says:

        I totally agree with you, today forced adoption happens, I am a grandparent of 7 children , 4 have been forcibly adopted even though me and my husband put in the correct paperwork and paid for it in time for the final court case, we were devastated when the judge ruled it was TOO LATE and that she needed this paperwork earlier, why, we needed to get things in place such as schools, flexible working arrangements we were being thorough because if we had not you can bet the social worker would have picked up on that. Now the children are waiting for a new family when they already have a decent loving one already.
        children services do lie, I was lucky enough be party to the proceedings and seen for myself the perjury that happens in the family court, also both the older children were 10 yrs old and I asked for them to be able to talk to the judge to give their side of things and they were clearly unhappy where they were, but the guardian was not in favour and that was that.
        they changed the judge on the final hearing that did not know anything about us and although we had been there every step of the way to support our daughter the new judge was openly hostile. so what I would like is for the whole process be taken to the criminal court where there is a judge and jury and real evidence is looked at and not chronologies being used as evidence without real solid evidence.
        opening up the family court will not happen. there is simply to many miscarriages of justice and to open the family court up to the public will expose this.

        • Maggie Wilkinson says:

          Jan this is terrible, what on earth does the ‘court’ think that it is doing? This is kidnap! Is there no higher court that you can go to? Can Stowe Family Law not do something to help?

          • julie Boylan says:

            Forced adoptions are happening everyday & everywhere in UK in closed courts where Judges simply except the opinions of lying SW,caffass & incompetent biased phycologists. SW,farovrite reason for removable of children is “fear of future emotional harm”.. Unbelievable & how the hell can they say what is going to happen in the future in their own lives let alone their clients.? All cases where a family risk loosing children to forced adoptions should be held in a criminal court with a jury,closed courts is bad justice & open to cocorruption of which in my opinion appears to be rife..this hidden court has to go immediately for everyone’s sake.. but especially the children.

  4. anonymous says:

    You think an apologie is ok when now Today you all take babies from innocent parents accusing all us parents taking our beautiful babies and force adopting our babies breaching our human rights don’t you dare apologise give our baby’s back stop forced adoption today or us parents will make your life hell day and night taking matters further naming and shaming you all your all nothing but a low life scum bags do you understand what I’m saying or you still got coins signs in your eyes from all our babies you are taking EH!!!!!

  5. Maggie Wilkinson says:

    I cannot find the letter sent to the Times, may I have a copy please

    • Cameron Paterson says:

      You can see it online here:

      • Maggie Wilkinson says:

        Thank you, I am unable to read the names of the people who signed it, may I have their names please. The Times only gave a taster (the beginning of the letter). Also, a friend and I wrote a piece for the NZ government (a bit long) would you like to read it?

  6. Bolchedik says:

    It’s good that there should be more discussion about this. History is always repeating itself, and the violence of the state toward children, mothers and fathers (who have lower incomes or think differently) is more likely to increase in proportion to our forgetfulness about such tragedies.

    The total inability of the government to accept the overwhelmingly popular demand for a presumption of shared parenting is part of this ongoing violence. The state is manufacturing generations of fatherless children whose chances for a balanced upbringing are ruined. Instead of moving toward a more equitable society, men are expected to be employment slaves that transfer their earnings to domestic slaves so that the financial privileges of the elite can be assured.

  7. Jo brooks says:

    They trying to do it me not seen one child since 3/3/2015 and the other from the 10/4/15 , I now how they do it !

  8. P.F. Smith says:

    Until the 1970s adoption seems to be based on the socially-constructed stigma and secrecy of illegitimacy. For reasons given above, (information about support was withheld) some mothers were exploited.

    The government itself is not entirely responsible for those attitudes: the social stigma of single motherhood, and people wanting to have a baby they could make into their ‘own’. The emotional effect this had on the mother, and on the child, was completely ignored. The primary aim of adoption was to meet the needs of ‘nice’ middle class couples, using the stigma of single motherhood as a means to this end. Why would they think that what they were doing might be harmful?

    This stigma and secrecy is, imo, covering up the abuse adopted children experience: at the hands of the social workers and people who adopt them. Being an adopted child was not something I was made to feel proud of: instead ashamed and at the same time grateful. (Grateful for what the couple, who adopted me, then did.)

    The court hearing was flawed: social workers had had their doubts about the couple who wanted to adopt. A guardian ad litem was appointed. But at the hearing the judge seemed to see the whole thing as a joke! He laughed when I burst into tears. What had happened to the doubts the SWs had? And the guardian ad litem lied. He’d made no ‘home visits’ at all, but described three visits. I think the hearing was before lunch and the judge might have been in a hurry. In any other context, surely this would be a miscarriage of justice.

    • Maggie Wilkinson says:

      The so-called protections of the 1955 Act were instead prisons for the parties subject to them (they did protect adoption enablers however). The “protections” functioned to confine truth behind the secrets and lies told by the parties involved in “making the child available for adoption”. The people and institutions involved, in a range of corrupt practices to provide adopters with a ready supply of children often portrayed themselves as paragons of selfless service and upholders of moral goodness. State collusion was an essential factor in allowing corrupt private agencies to operate as they did. The state itself did have a profound role in influencing mothers to “choose” adoption, by dismissing other choices, occasionally reinforced with threats, and by applying the routine emotional manipulation, which involved them portraying “the adoption choice” as proof of love for the child, so that mothers were placed in an isolated, no-win situation. This is why these adoptions are termed “forced”.

      It is a legal axiom that consent not freely given in not consent at all, and the history of the adoption corruption in New Zealand relied upon invalid consents, obtained by political pressure, manipulation, threats, illegal practices, emotional blackmail and standover tactics. The state and its officials colluded with institutions and intending adopters in maintaining these abuses of power. These practices were systematic, not sporadic, events.

  9. Sonia says:

    Everyone responsible at that time should be held accountable for their actions!! You would be arrested for kidnapping but if you were working with anything to do with the government then it’s okay to do what you want as it’s in their rules !! Nobody has a right to violate anyone else’s rights and taken to the right court, I am sure this is against human rights but I am also sure there will be a legal excuse for these people to get away with it but no one ever mentions or offer any kind of help!! These people must be so proud of the destruction and dismay of the families involved! Totally disgusting human beings who shouldn’t be able to sleep at night!! Their parents must be so proud of their baby snatching children in turn!!

  10. Sandra Barnes-seers says:

    I think all parents should stand up and be counted as all us parents who had our children taken I think it is legal kidnapping will never give up the fight for my children and I hope all the parents will stand up the same as a lot of us are doing and trying to get justice for our little ones

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