Past Adoption Practices and the Politics of Apology

Journal article


Quirk, Christin. (2013). Past Adoption Practices and the Politics of Apology. Australian Policy and History.
AuthorsQuirk, Christin
Abstract

Although much has been written on the topic of adoption, particularly in the last fifty years, until quite recently little attention has been paid to the experiences of the relinquishing mother. In late 2009, the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) commissioned the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) to review the research literature on past adoption practices in Australia in order to build an appropriate policy response. The AIFS’s subsequent report, Summary of Key Issues from Australian Research, released in March 2010, addressed the impact of past adoption practices in relation to the experiences of the birth mother. Although the report identified ‘a wealth of material’ on this topic, and despite the recognition of consistent themes such as silence, invisibility, guilt and shame across the existing literature, much of it was overlooked or dismissed as ‘anecdotal’. As such, the report highlighted the need to expand the evidence base, specifically with regard to the impact, variability and extent of past adoption practices—and particularly if the government was going to respond to the allegations of mothers who lost a child to adoption. The result was two major government initiatives: the Senate Inquiry Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices (initiated in November 2010) and the AIFS National Research Study on the Service Response to Past Adoption Experiences (initiated in 2011). At the same time, a host of other academic historical projects were investigating this under-researched area. This paper considers the Senate Inquiry and two such historical projects in the light of recent apologies to women who have lost a child to adoption while also reflecting on the way this research has informed these policy responses.

Year2013
JournalAustralian Policy and History
PublisherAustralian Policy and History
Web address (URL)https://aph.org.au/2017/11/past-adoption-practices-and-the-politics-of-apology/
Page range1 - 6
Research GroupSchool of Arts
Publisher's version
File Access Level
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