Monday, September 20, 2010

Origins SPSA, Inc. Rejects Australia's Apology

Claiming to represent all Australian mothers who relinquished, Origins NSW rejects the government's apology.

When I announced the upcoming apology on Facebook, Some commented praising Dian Welfare in this regard. I never knew Dian, but judging from the many "followers" she accumulated, I have no doubt that she was a devoted well-meaning a person and zealous activist who gave her all for what she believed in.  However, it is my understanding that Dian and Origins, Inc. have always opposed to the apology as they still do.  It this seems somewhat incongruous to applaud her for Australia reaching this milestone that she opposed.

Further, it is my understanding from many within Australia, that Origins, Inc. no more represents all mothers there than CUB or Origins-USA or any other US group represents all US mothers, or BN represents all US adoptees' opinion regarding access legislation.  These issues are complicated and people have different feelings, views and opinions as to how far is far enough, how much is enough, what can we logically expect and accept as a victory.

Evelyn Robinson, a reunited mother and author who has lived and worked for adoption reform in Australia for decades, for one, welcomes the apology and will be present when it is made and part of the ceremony. Many consider it a huge victory, others apparently are less than pleased. There is a divide. Neither opinion is totally universal.

This is how it is in a democracy.  And this is how it is in movements that are non-homogeneous. We have our adoption experience/loss in common but come to it from varying religious, educational and social backgrounds and different degrees and lengths of "denial" before dealing with our adoption issues, and finally, different reunion outcomes. Some of us are more aware of and lived through or researched more of the history of adoption reform efforts, wile other get their entire views from the one group they joined when 'waking up" and coming out of their cocoons - groups which others accused of being cut-like and serving up kool-aid dogmas. (A micro recreation of disagreements about religious and political beliefs in the bigger world).

All of which shapes and colors the lens through which  we view the issues. We thus come to different conclusions, which often create discord.

I share here the view of Origins, Inc. for the purpose of clearing up misconceptions of who is for, supported and responsible for and deserves credit for the apology and who is against it.

See also my previous posts on the adpology here, here, and here.

UPDATE  9/21: PLEASE SEE REPLY BY EVELYN ROBINSON HERE for a view from on the ground in Australia on the issue.

And here is a statement by Lily Arthur, Origins NSW:

Lily Arthur

In response to the forthcoming apology to mothers who have lost children to adoption in Western Australia, Origins would like to make the following observations:

Having admitted that past adoption practices in WA were unlawful, the West Australian government has usurped the notion that those responsible for serious crimes committed under Common Law can be rectified by a few chosen words, instead of facing the justice system, thus absolving the perpetrators of premeditated breaches of various statutory Crimes Acts

This (adoption crimes) would be the only instance where the law would absolve perpetrators of serious crimes to face accountability by the legal system. How a dismissal of crimes such as kidnapping, willful intent, Fraud, false imprisonment, assault, and a litany of other such breaches of law can be casually ignored by apologists who have the audacity to think that this attempt of contrition at will placate the victims of such crimes that have remained denied for decades, not only undermines basic human rights but also erodes the criminal justice system

An “apology” without exposure, redress or accountably for criminal behavior is not only an insult to an established legal system but also opens the opportunity for other types of criminal actively to occur on a grand scale, such as past adoption practices. Crimes can be perpetrated on victims with the knowledge that if you can hide your crimes long enough then you can get away with it.

Such mentality would not appease any other family who has had a child forcibly taken away and hidden from them, and yet mothers affected by the theft of their child for the adoption market are seen as an exception to those protected by Common Law, they are not deemed to have the same avenue to the legal system as any other victim of crime

The forthcoming apology may assist those mothers who felt they may have played some part in the surrender of their child, but will not placate those who know they have been treated unlawfully, and Origins Inc will continue to pursue accountability for those mothers who have been affected by these past unlawful practices either through the criminal justice system or though the Civil Law. (Lily Arthur, Origins, NSW)


Von said...

No group or person has the right to speak for all whatever the issue.
I personally am glad the apology is coming next month and wish my mother was here to see it and for us to stand together at the ceremony.Nothing will ever compensate either of us but it is a step forward.
I'm hoping one of my half-sisters will be there to represent us, thereby neatly closing a circle in family life.

Mirah Riben said...

"No group or person has the right to speak for all whatever the issue."

Absolutely. Another example is the survivors of the 9-11 victims who are divided on the building of the community center and mosque. Some are opposed and some not. But some (e.e. FOX News) speak about the issue as if ALL of the survivor families are opposed.

Anonymous said...

Governments are finding apologies a very convenient method of absolving them of the responsibilty of past government policies that are unsavory; examples in Canada being the treatment of our First Nations peoples, the Chinese Head Tax, the Japanese Internment, the Home Children etc.
There are mothers who will find acknowledgement and healing from the Australian apology, and those mothers embrace the apology. There are other positive factors to be found ...the media attention on past adoption practices brought about by the apology is a positive for Canadian mothers. Also, the fact that the Australian Government has made the apology may prompt provincial governments to question their liability for past practices in their own jurisdictions; this could be a catalyst for dialogue which may serve to shed light on the issues.
Having acknowledged the positives of such a move, it must be stated however, that as an organization advocating for Canada's 400,000 mothers, Origins Canada cannot allow this apology to distract us from the fact that crimes were committed. Can one commit an armed robbery and say sorry? The law does not allow for crimes to be wiped away with sorries, and crimes were committed in past adoption practices in Canada. We must keep our eye on the ball. To embrace a sorry for crimes committed because "the practices of the time were seen as appropriate" undermines the access to justice for victims and erodes the criminal justice system of our society. So sorry, this sorry just doesn't go far enough. Valerie Andrews, Executive Director, Origins Canada

Mirah Riben said...

Here in the US there is no apology and never will be. There is no acknowledgement of any wrong-doing whatsoever, save lone renegades like Annette Baran who apologized for her role in it as a social worker and worked to change adoption practice. Despite those few whistle blowers and courageous activists,things here continue along only WORSE! New lies (open adoption), more pressure (aps in the delivery room and paying mothers' expenses, creating indebtedness)... and the US is the largest importer of babies stolen from indigent mothers around the world to meet a demand. it is disgusting and continues on, business as usual. No apology...just keep trudging ahead, ruining more and more lives for profit...

RussiaToday Apr 29, 2010 on Russian Adoption Freeze

Russi Today: America television Interview 4/16/10 Regarding the Return of Artyem, 7, to Russia alone

RT: Russia-America TV Interview 3/10

Korean Birthmothers Protest to End Adoption

Motherhood, Adoption, Surrender, & Loss

Who Am I?

Bitter Winds

Adoption and Truth Video

Adoption Truth

Birthparents Never Forget