‘It was so painful’: Forced-adoptions conference calls for federal inquiry
Since the National Post launched an investigation this spring into historic coerced and forced adoptions that targeted unwed mothers, dozens of Canadian mothers, fathers and adoptees have spoken out about what happened to them. They told of church-run maternity homes that would take in young pregnant women only if the child was put up for adoption, of social workers withholding information about a mother’s social assistance options and of women signing adoption consent forms while recovering from childbirth or on powerful drugs. The United Church recently announced it will strike a task force to look into these practices, and a church representative at the conference said a 35-page archival report on the church’s role is now complete.
“I think for us coming together this way, from across the whole country … this makes a statement that we’re starting to talk, we’re starting to come together and we want that national inquiry,” said Valerie Andrews, the executive director of Origins Canada, which organized the conference. “We want a national inquiry, we want the answers and we want the federal government to acknowledge and validate the illegal, unethical and human-rights abuses that happened to women post-World War Two and continuing after that through their adoption policies and practices.”
Between 1945 and 1975, 1.5 million women in the United States lost babies to coerced or forced adoption, according to documentarian Ann Fessler, who showed her new film A Girl Like Her at the conference.