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Anti-vaccine high priests poisoning a generation: An ex-nurse who backs show trials of medics, an ex-sports presenter who says Royals are lizard people and Jeremy Corbyn's brother all campaigning to stop millions of youngsters getting Covid jab

    Nearly one third of young adults in England are yet to get a first dose of Covid jab
    Professor Angus Dalgleish warned against 'bogus information on social media'
    Piers Corbyn has led anti-vaxxers in Brighton and called those giving jabs 'scum'
    While David Icke's social media were deleted as he posted Covid misinformation

By Richard Pendlebury for the Daily Mail

Published: 22:02, 30 July 2021 | Updated: 10:58, 31 July 2021

There is a worrying Zeitgeist among twentysomethings in the Essex seaside town of Clacton.  Abby Brady, a bar worker, tells the Mail: 'I don't plan to have the vaccine.  If you're going to get Covid, you're going to get it. It's about human rights.'

The 25-year-old has been following the news and social media on the subject. 'Kate Shemirani, is brilliant,' she says.

'She's a nurse in the NHS. And David Icke, he's a scientist. And Piers Corbyn, he's Jeremy Corbyn's brother.'

We will examine the 'credentials' of the undeniably influential Shemirani, Icke and Corbyn later.  But what of Abby's younger sister, Chloe?

She too has a job which brings her into contact with hundreds of people every day in a busy fish and chip shop but says she's not going to get a Covid-19 vaccination either.  'A lot of people have had bad side-effects,' she explains. 'I'm following this person on Instagram. She had her second vaccine on June 29 and now she's learning to walk again.  They say there's a 90 odd per cent survival rate [with Covid] so if you're going to catch it you're probably going to be all right. My mother-in-law is listening to a lot of podcasts and she's given me a lot of information. There's just not enough long-term evidence [about potential side-effects].

'In five years what are we going to be looking like if we've all been vaccinated?'

This so-called 'anti-vaxxer' scepticism is not confined to the Brady family.  Nor even to Clacton. Alarmingly, it is to be found across the United Kingdom and in the very age group that is largely fuelling the transmission of the virus.  The vaccination roll-out in the UK has been a resounding success. The percentages for inoculation among the elderly and middle-aged are among the highest in the world.  But the latest NHS figures suggest there is a significant minority of a section of the population which is reluctant to protect itself and by extension the rest of us against the pandemic.  After a brisk start, the demand for a first vaccination among young adults has, in some areas, 'plummeted'. This is in contrast to countries such as France, where rates in the same age group are rising.  Nearly one third of young adults in England have yet to receive a first dose that has been available to them since June 18. NHS England estimates that approximately 2.7 million adults under the age of 30 have yet to get a jab.  Young men are more likely to go unvaccinated than women. Only 62.2 per cent of males in the 18-24 age group have received at least one vaccination.  And there are, reportedly, nine local authorities in England in which less than half of 18 to 24-year-olds are estimated to have received a first dose of vaccine.  This reluctance to be vaccinated threatens the UK's achievement of herd immunity against the virus, according to Covid-modelling expert Professor Karl Friston of University College London.  One could understand the phenomenon if the Oxford/AstraZeneca was the only vaccine on offer.  After all, it was found that in a minutely small number of cases 242 out of 28.5 million doses administered in the UK by late spring the vaccine was linked to potentially fatal blood clots in younger people.  But since early May, under-40s have been offered alternatives such as Pfizer and Moderna. The risk of the blood clot side-effect is no longer a reason to forgo protection against Covid. The causes lie elsewhere. And they have to be addressed, fast.  On these pages last week, Professor Angus Dalgleish gave this warning: 'The backlash against Covid vaccines among young people is the most dangerous medical misunderstanding of our times.  'Fuelled by bogus information on social media, it is not only putting hundreds of thousands of young lives at risk but threatening the entire country's recovery from the pandemic.'

He added: 'Half the country think it's no longer necessary to spend seven years at medical school to become an expert. People use the jargon of epidemiology and genetics as easily as they used to discuss last night's new TikTok sensation.'

So where is this bogus information coming from?

A good place to start looking was in Trafalgar Square last weekend.  Thousands of anti-vaxxers and anti-lockdown protesters gathered there for what organisers called the Worldwide Rally For Freedom.  The headline speakers confirmed that those who have made long, if not distinguished, careers from promoting various outlandish conspiracy theories have now joined together on the anti-vax bandwagon.  This coalition of diverse conspiracy theorists is being described as 'fusion paranoia'.  So it was that David Icke shared a platform with Piers Corbyn. Former TV sports presenter Icke has, of course, become a byword for lunatic and bizarre beliefs.  He is a self-proclaimed 'Son of the Godhead', a Holocaust and climate change denier who believes the Royal Family are lizards, 9/11 was an 'inside job' and that a secret Babylonian Brotherhood is trying to take over the world and turn it into one 'fascist state'.  Last year Icke's YouTube and Facebook pages and Twitter account were deleted because he repeatedly posted dangerous misinformation about the pandemic, which he describes as a 'nonsense' perpetrated by government to enslave the people.  He has repeatedly claimed Covid-19 is linked to the 5G mobile phone network. Corbyn is a fellow climate change sceptic, who also believes the pandemic is a 'hoax' and claims the Government wants to impose a 'new world order' through lockdown. This will include injecting people with microchips.  Last summer he became one of the first people to receive a £10,000 fixed penalty under new coronavirus laws restricting public gatherings of more than 30 people.  He has been at the forefront of protests outside hospitals where, at the height of the second wave, exhausted doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff had to run the gauntlet of anti-vax protesters even as they battled to save lives.  This month, Corbyn led a crowd of anti-vaxxers in Brighton who forced a vaccination centre to suspend operations. He called those administering the jabs 'scum'.  Icke and Corbyn were joined by several other prominent Covid-deniers including GP Dr Vernon Coleman, 75, who once reportedly called Aids 'the hoax of the century'; 'the Poo Lady' and 'nutritional expert', TV presenter Gillian McKeith (who was forced by the Advertising Standards Authority to stop calling herself 'Dr McKeith'), and Right-wing provocateur and ex-Apprentice 'star' Katie Hopkins, who had just been deported from Australia after threatening to break Covid rules.  But the speaker who grabbed most headlines and by doing so attracted police attention was the aforementioned Shemirani.  She was indeed, briefly, an NHS nurse. But last month she was struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council for spreading Covid misinformation.  In Trafalgar Square she took her anti-vax rhetoric to a new level, instructing the crowd to email to her the names of her former colleagues involved in the vaccination programme.  'With a group of lawyers, we are collecting all that,' she said. 'At the Nuremburg Trials the doctors and nurses stood trial and they hung. If you are a doctor or a nurse, now is the time to get off that bus and stand with us the people.'

A barely disguised threat. And a suggestion that NHS workers on the Covid frontline were no better than Nazis. (Her estranged son, Sebastian Shemirani, later roundly condemned his mother's actions in an interview on Radio 4's Today programme).  But who were the people who had come to hear this nonsense?

The flags and banners displayed by the crowd were both instructive and perplexing.  One said 'Trump 2024' a reminder that anti-vax is not solely a British phenomenon but also a position of the QAnon conspiracy theorists and others in the American 'alt right' whose adherents stormed the Capitol in Washington earlier this year.  Despite a Covid death toll of more than 600,000, there are 19 U.S. states with a vaccination rate of only 45 per cent or below. Only 34 per cent of Mississippi has been dosed.  Another placard proclaimed 'Free Palestine' an example of the conflation of polarising causes. There was even the flag of L'Manburg, a 'country' which only exists in video game Minecraft.  Bearing his own placard with an anti-vax slogan was the rapper and club promoter Remeece. He could be described as the musical wing of the movement. One of his tracks, which can be bought online, is called Don't Tek Di Vaccine.  Its second verse proclaims: 'Pfizer, Moderna you tools, you fools/My body my temple, my choice, my rules/Parents start removing your kids from school/Satanic race dem waah create from youz/Only vaccine a vegetables and fruits/Fresh air, fresh ginger, fresh orange, fresh roots.'

The chorus goes: 'Mama, mama, don't tek di vaccine/Papa, papa don't tek di vaccine.' The message is clear. Remeece has a website on which you can read his views on how global governments are in conspiracy over the pandemic and the number of deaths caused by vaccination has been suppressed.  As the leading figure in a group calling itself Footsoldiers4Freedom the name of another of his tracks Remeece has been involved in more dubious activities aimed at indoctrinating schoolchildren.  Earlier this summer the group was present outside schools in London and Greater Manchester, handing out leaflets instructing children to 'discard your mask' and playing anti-vax songs.  In one film on social media, Remeece is reportedly seen approaching children as they leave a Covid test centre, to tell them that the test kits contain chemicals linked to cancer.  Piers Corbyn has appeared in two of his music videos; an unlikely alliance, but then the anti-vax movement is a broad church of eccentrics and radicals. And it is having some success.  On Thursday the Mail conducted vox pops among young adults in towns and cities across England. The majority had been vaccinated but there was a significant minority of refuseniks.  Clacton is in the Tendring local authority district, where a third of young adults have yet to be jabbed. One of the town's wards, Jaywick, has been measured on a number of occasions to be one of the most deprived in England.  Olivia Buckland, a 20-year-old support worker, said: 'I just don't want to be forced into having the jab because of my job. If it comes to it, I will leave my job [rather than have the vaccine]. I am too young to have it.  I know quite a few people who have been ill from it [the vaccine]. One of my friends lost the sense in her legs and had to learn to walk again. Her Snapchat video went viral. Her blood vessels burst and she couldn't walk. There are so many videos on the internet of people shaking after the vax.'

Funfair worker Ellie Young, 18, told the Mail: 'There's not a lot of research [around the vaccine].  It's scary. My mum is one of those paranoid people. She's told me I might not be able to get pregnant if I have the vaccine. A lot of it comes from there TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat. On Snapchat everyone is seeing things like people with seizures and arms falling off but you get all the fake news.  People on TikTok who've had the vaccine are foaming at the mouth. People are putting magnets on their arms [to show] the jabs have made them magnetic. I don't believe it but it's still a bit scary.'

Chris Warren, 28, who works as a caterer in Bristol, said he believed the pandemic was part of a 'global reset' where those with power and wealth are trying to concentrate even more of it in their hands as a means of controlling the masses.  He added: 'When all this started I wasn't sure. I wasn't convinced this was the killer we were being told it was. As time went on I began to find a voice which matches mine on social media. Look at the data. The average age of a Covid victim is 80.  So why do I need to worry? Why do I need a jab? It is shameful the way I am being vilified as utterly irresponsible and selfish [an accusation made by Michael Gove] for thinking that though.'

He added: 'Goebbels would never have believed how easy it is to manipulate the mainstream news agenda the way it has been by this government over Covid.'

In Newcastle, local authority attempts to reach the unvaccinated have been met with hostility. Vaccine coordinator Marina Melrose told BBC Radio 4 this week that there was a big problem with the uptake of 25 to 30-year-olds.  'It's a lot to do with peer pressure, social media,' she said. 'They think we're trying to poison them. We have people walking past saying we are murdering people. I've been called a psychopath.'

Certainly, social media is able to bypass the traditional sources of teaching and expertise.  An influencer who might have left school at 16 without academic qualifications can use Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to 'tutor' their followers in matters of far more consequence to society than music, fashion or holiday destinations.  Or at least to retweet Icke, Corbyn or Shemirani. And there is no doubt that a significant section of the young are vulnerable to such guff.  A poll last year conducted among young Australians found that one in five believed Microsoft founder Bill Gates had played a role in the creation and spread of Covid, and that 5G was involved in the transmission of the virus.  Chloe Colliver, head of digital policy at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, has been researching why young people are drawn to anti-lockdown and anti-vax beliefs.  'It seems to be for the same reasons any of us buy in to a conspiracy,' she says. 'We want answers and certainty in a climate where there isn't necessarily any.  There is also the attraction of thinking you are in on a secret.  Sadly those who were just curious and unsure have been led down a rabbit hole where they are exposed to far more sinister and extremist material.  It is only a short step from being opposed to a vaccination thanks to disinformation on social media to being drawn to white supremacist or Islamic fundamentalist propaganda.'

Mother and baby homes adoptee Clodagh Finn lived “around the corner” from birth mother

Clodagh Finn was adopted at six weeks old by a “loving” family but later in her life, she had the unique opportunity to meet both her birth mother and birth father.

By Shauna Ward

13:42, 30 JUL 2021 Updated 15:31, 30 JUL 2021

Clodagh Finn was only six weeks old when she was adopted from St Patrick’s Mother and Baby Home in Dublin.  The now 53-year-old luckily found a “loving” family but says like many adopted people she had a question mark about her origins.  The journalist doesn’t remember her time at the mother and baby home and felt as though she “had a question mark at the centre of my being”.

Speaking to RSVP Live, Clodagh said she was “one of the lucky ones” and called her parents “open and understanding”.  She says that growing up she never felt “strange” because one of her closest friends was also adopted but admits “There were always questions though.”

Clodagh said: “As an adopted person, I felt as if I had a question mark at the centre of my being. It is beyond the scope of language to describe the missing bit at your core.”

The author said that she has heard it be described as living a “double life”, she explained: “That resonates with me; I have my happy, fulfilled adopted life and what I think of as my ‘ghost’ life, the one that all adopted people in Ireland struggle to uncover.”

Being born in Dublin meant that she wasn’t entitled to her original birth certificate and only had access to her adopted version, Clodagh said: “If I was born up the road in Belfast, I would be entitled to get my original birth cert when I turned 18.”

In a mission to find some information on her origins, she contacted the HSE when she was only 19 years old.  Surprisingly, they did respond to her seven years later.  The letter she received started by saying: “We apologise for the delay in responding”, which Clodagh says she rolled her eyes at.

She went on to meet her birth mother and was surprised to find out that she lived “around the corner” from her: “We used the same bus stop, but I can’t say if we ever stood there at the same time.”

She also met her natural father, which is unique for children born in mother and baby homes.  Clodagh says the meetings “demanded a lot of generosity” on everyone’s part: “As an adopted person, you feel a little bit like the piggy in the middle; you don’t what to upset your adopted parents and you don’t want to intrude on the lives of your natural or birth parents, yet you are the product of both and need to reconcile the two.”

While she doesn’t have all her birth documents yet, Clodagh finally received her birth certificate earlier this summer.
Politics / Re: Families across England to receive better support to adopt
« Last post by In Gods Hands on July 29, 2021, 06:41:19 PM »
Shame they're not doing more to keep families together which, incidentally, is much cheaper than adopton and fostering.

Murdered girl's harrowing diary entry about stepdad's 'sex abuse' and death threat

Scott Walker murdered 17-year-old Bernadette Walker who was last seen alive on July 18 last year when he picked her up from her grandparents' home in Peterborough

By Lorraine King

22:28, 26 Jul 2021

A teenage girl who was murdered by her evil stepdad wrote a chilling diary entry that she feared would be killed after accusing him of sexual abuse.  Scott Walker was today found guilty of killing Bernadette Walker who was last seen alive on July 18 last year when he picked her up from her grandparents' home.  Warped Walker has spun a web of lies to dupe police and the body of the 17-year-old has never been found.  Tragically the teenager's body has never been found after Walker spun a web of lies to dupe police.  In a sickening twist the 51-year-old formed an "unholy alliance" with Bernadette's mum Sarah Walker to make it look she ran away and was still alive.  The couple from Peterborough, reported Bernadette as missing before sending messages from her phone and social media accounts.  The court heard Walker cooked up the "devious, wicked" plot to silence Bernadette after she confided in her mum he had been sexually abusing her.  Following his conviction police have released the harrowing diary entry by the tragic teenager.  The undated entry seen by jurors reads: "Told my mum about my dad and the abuse. She called me a liar and threatened to kill me if I told the police.  "She said that the other kids matter more. I love feeling unwanted. I feel nothing right now cause I always thought mum would deal with [sic] and it would all go away.  But no, he's still here telling me I made it up.  What kind of parent wouldn't believe their daughter?  But it's fine, I'm going to pretend it's okay till I leave home then I will block them out of my life.  I'd rather say I'm an orphan than say I have abusive parents who couldn't give a sh*t about me or what happens to me.  If I was brave enough I probably would have already left, or just killed myself."

Walker was also found guilty of two counts of perverting the course of justice.  Sarah Walker was found guilty of two counts of perverting the course of justice.  The prosecution said Bernadette told her mother, 38-year-old Sarah Walker, on July 16 that Scott Walker had sexually abused her "over a number of years", but that the woman did not believe her daughter's allegations.  Bernadette had called Walker 'Dad' and also told her mum he spied on her undressing using cameras hidden in the bathroom and touched her inappropriately in a games room.  The prosecution said that Bernadette was sent to stay with Scott Walker's parents overnight in Peterborough on July 17 "while things calmed down a little", with Scott Walker collecting her on July 18, when she was last seen alive.  Sarah Walker was not married to Scott Walker but had changed her surname to Walker by deed poll.  At the time of Bernadette's disappearance, Scott and Sarah Walker were living at the same address but Sarah Walker was in a relationship with another man.  Scott Walker said in evidence that he considered the possibility that Bernadette's allegations and disappearance may have been a "plan" to get him "out of the house".  Sarah Walker did not give evidence.  A sentencing date has been set for September 10.
Politics / Families across England to receive better support to adopt
« Last post by Philippa on July 29, 2021, 04:53:47 PM »

Press release
Families across England to receive better support to adopt

Government’s National Adoption Strategy to improve experience for children and families in the adoption system

From:  Department for Education and The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP
Published 26 July 2021

Thousands of families are to receive better support when adopting children through a new strategy to tackle the postcode lottery and break down barriers to creating permanent, stable and loving homes as quickly as possible. 

Backed by a £48 million investment, the new National Adoption Strategy launched today (Monday 26 July) is set to improve adoption services in England by putting in place better recruitment across the country and removing any unnecessary delays, through more training for front line staff, improving approval process and funding for targeted recruitment campaigns.

Recruitment will focus on matching prospective adopters, from any community, with children and young people and to ensuring adopters are not deterred from pursuing adoption because of their background.

As part of the Government’s commitment to level up opportunities for vulnerable children in care, a new framework of national standards will be introduced to end the ‘postcode lottery’ that too often means the quality of adoption services depend on where a child or adopter lives and ensure support can be delivered swiftly and effectively to improve outcomes for these children.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

*  There is no substitute for a loving, permanent family. A stable family unit is key to boosting life chances and there are so many adoptive parents across the country who have opened their homes and hearts to some of our most vulnerable children, often with very challenging backgrounds.

*  We are committed to improving adoption services, as well as breaking down barriers so that parents from all walks of life can adopt and to ensure they are not deterred from adopting simply because of their background.

*  We have taken steps to ensure these children and young people can be matched with the families that are right for them, but we know there is more to do and this strategy sets out our vision for radically improving systems so that we can be confident that every adoptive family in England is receiving the same high quality service no matter where they live.

Waiting times for children to be adopted has improved over the last eight years, with the average time between a child going into care and being placed with their new family, cut from 22 months in 2012 to 15 months by 2020.

However, there is more to do, and waiting times still remain a challenge - especially children with special educational needs and disabilities, siblings, older children and those from ethnic minority groups.

The strategy clarifies that adopters should never be deterred from pursuing an opportunity to adopt because of their social background, ethnicity, sexuality, or age, building on advice for councils published by the Department for Education last year, which encouraged councils to prioritise adopters’ ability to provide a stable, loving home and whether they would provide the best environment for a young person to grow up.

It brings together the Government’s efforts over the past year to level up outcomes for children in care and improve the inclusivity of the adoption system, such as recruitment work by the National Adopter Recruitment Steering Group and its campaign to encourage adopters of all backgrounds to come forward for children waiting.

This campaign has since helped increase the number of approved adopters as well as reaching out to new communities to raise awareness of adoption, with the Black adopters triage service seeing an increase over 100 enquiries following the launch of the Black adopters’ campaign.

Chair of the Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board, Krish Kandiah, said:

*  Both as an adoptive Dad and as the Chair of the Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board I am excited by the government’s new adoption strategy. I wholeheartedly support the emphasis on seeking families for children rather than children for families.

*  There is a huge need for people from a wide variety of backgrounds to step up and be the parents that children in care need. Every child has the right to a family. Most will be able to stay with their birth family, or be raised by a kinship carer. But when neither is possible, adoption is a wonderful way to give children the love and security of a family. This new strategy gives us an opportunity as a nation to make sure every child, whatever their colour, age, abilities or gender, knows the love of a forever family.

The new adoption strategy will be supported by £48 million for 2021-22, building on an investment of over £200 million to date for adoptive families. This includes £46 million to continue post adoption help for families through the Adoption Support Fund to provide family support sessions, cognitive therapy, and activities to help children recover from earlier traumas, helping them settle into their new families and homes.

An additional £1 million will also go to Regional Adoption Agency (RAA) leaders to improve recruitment and the adopter approval process alongside additional funding for early arrangements where a child is placed with foster carers who are also their prospective adopters when first removed from their birth family so bonding can begin straight away.

RAAs in England, which set the adoption practices for families in that area, will also be supported by a newly appointed adoption strategic leader, Sarah Johal, who will bring her experience and expertise from leading one of the first RAAs set up, One Adoption West Yorkshire, to bring together best practice from across high-performing adoption agencies and boost collaborative working so that adopted children and their families can access the support and services they need - whatever their background or where they live. Sarah will empower, enable and motivate the RAA Leaders Group to have high ambitions for the sector embedding a culture of shared accountability and continuous improvement.

The new National Adoption Framework will mean services are delivered to the same high quality across England and that best practice becomes the norm across all areas of recruitment, matching and support.

National RAA Strategic Leader Sarah Johal said:

*  I’m delighted to be taking on the new role of strategic leader for the Regional Adoption Agencies Leaders Group. Adoption can make a positive difference to children’s lives and we in local government want to ensure we have the best adoption system we can. One that is driven forward by excellence and innovation in practice and which uses evidenced based practice in achieving best possible outcomes for children.

Dr Carol Homden, CEO of Coram, said:

*  As the only voluntary sector leader of one of the country’s largest regional adoption agencies, Coram welcomes the government’s commitment to ensuring that children and adopters from all walks of life who come forward to provide the loving homes they need have consistent high quality services no matter where they live in England.

*  Too many children are waiting too long and all parts of the sector – local authorities, voluntary and regional adoption agencies – need to work across boundaries to tackle barriers to adoption whether they lie in practice approaches, decision-making process and public perceptions or in challenges of housing, financial pressures or access to support.

Like adopters kinship carers play a vital role in caring for vulnerable children. The Government is therefore also prioritising improved support for children looked after by their family members or close relatives. This includes £1 million in new funding for 2020/21 to increase the number of local kinship carers support groups, increasing funding to the Family Rights Group kinship carers helpline and including children in kinship care arrangements in the priority groups which local authorities must include in their school admissions.

Lucy Peake, CEO of Kinship, said:

    Kinship carers have stepped up to raise 150,000 children in England, keeping them within family networks and out of the care system. It is life-changing and often challenging. We warmly welcome this funding which will mean that many more kinship carers will be able to access advice and peer support when they need it, helping them provide stable and loving care for vulnerable children.

Cathy Ashley, Chief Executive of Family Rights Group, said:

    Research demonstrates the benefits to children of being able to live with family and friends who know and love them, when they cannot live at home. But navigating the child welfare and family justice system can feel overwhelming for families. Getting accurate, independent legal advice can make the difference between whether a child is able to safely remain within their family network or not. It can impact upon the child and kinship carers’ entitlement to support and the child’s wellbeing.

    Last year the charity’s advice line last year received more calls than at any time in its history. We are delighted that the additional monies will enable Family Rights to advise 1300 more callers this year about their rights and options.

This new strategy builds on improved support for adopted children and their families over the last decade. This includes the Adoption Support Fund, introduced in 2015, to help children who have experienced abuse and neglect to get the therapeutic support they need – over 36,000 children have been supported so far and had their lives transformed.

The Government has also developed over 30 Regional Adoption Agencies that are creating a system where children are matched with adopters as quickly as possible and are helping to ensure that there are a range of high-quality support services available nationwide.

These reforms have helped to remove organisational barriers and led to improved services and better support for children and their families. Delivering on our target set out for every local council to be part of an RAA, nearly all local authorities are now in an RAA, with 145 out of 151 having made the transition and the remainder planning to this year.

Government’s National Adoption Strategy to improve experience for children and families in the adoption system
These stories are a moral crime and should have been raised within her tribe but I am pleased she found her roots.

Posted on August 26, 2018   
Williams Story Adoption it’s about truth, understanding and the right of choice. To find your inner peace.

Adoption Search

by  William  Hammersley – Ellis.

I have, as long as I can remember, known I was adopted and had always been an extremely angry person. As a child, I would question my adopters on why  my mother didn’t want me. The answers were always, that she was too young to bring me up, could not afford to keep me and that my father was a no hoper, who would not stand by her.  Of which proves to be a very different situation that finally surfaces many years later.

“That I was special and they chose me”.

I would overhear discussions about me when my adoptive mother had neighbours over for afternoon tea, about how they could ‘not give up a child’ and ‘what sort of woman she must be to do that?’

My adoptive father to discipline me, which was often, would take to me with a razor strap and lose control. He would grit his teeth and perspiration would run from his brow, as he lashed at my legs until I bled, he could not stop until he was exhausted.  At school and in the neighbourhood I was seen as the bad kid, the adopted kid, not that I gave them any other reason not to, in fact I reinforced their opinion.  When my adoptive couple sent me to participate  in the Sunday school at the church when I was around 6/7 years of age and later on in grade three or four around nine or ten years old, my adoptive couple also sent me to participate in the youth club at the local Church of England. The adopters needed me to be a part of the church so they could get friendly with the parish priest in order for him to be a character reference so they could adopt a girl child.  It was this experience that placed me in extreme danger of sexual abuse. The youth club leader had taken a fancy to me and was also the older person who lived in the local milk bar. He spent time with me and made me feel wanted and important, instead of being the bad kid on the block.  I was his mate.  I thought I had a friend.   However his true motive soon showed its ugly head.  The first time it happened, was the night when we  were last to leave the youth club meeting. He coaxed  me into the old cement toilet block behind the church hall where he started to fondle me,  sat me down on the concrete floor then removed my pants and then started masturbating me. Of course I had no idea what it all meant except it was naughty and I was too young to even ejaculate to his disappointment  and  he was my friend, therefore he was not hurting me. I remember it all so clearly and I kept saying to him, ”Stop, I need a piss, I need a piss.”

He got more excited saying “No you don’t,” then he went faster.

He should have listened to me. I let go and pissed everywhere all over him and me. We stayed friends after that and he took advantage of my innocence often over the following years.  I was a lonely angry child who needed a friend but as we grow older we start to realise why some people want to be our friend. Obviously these experience’s contributed significantly to my trauma as a child and through into adulthood along with my mistrust and unexplained anger.  Over the coming years into my teens and young adulthood I became a victim again.  These events led me into long periods of sexual confusion, thinking I was gay and not really knowing who or what I was.  During one of my return stints back to the adoptive home and while living in the local community between jobs, I recall one particular occasion at around 18 years of age when I had a drunken destructive rage.

One Saturday afternoon I drunk a lot of grog, smoked dope,and went into an extreme  rage and  destroyed the flat that I was living in. Crying and angry I smashed the glass that I was drinking out of throwing it at the wall, then smashed the empty bottles and swept of all the knickknacks of the sideboard and smashed all the furniture. Then drove my car a Volkswagen bug strait into the front door of the priest’s house.  I had gone to the priest, a few days prior to seek his help with my confusion.  The priest had convinced me that I was gay and that I should accept it, but I felt he also had an ulterior motive he was grooming me into his web.  Straight away  he helped me move the car from his front porch before anyone spotted it there, and then took me inside the rectory, where he took advantage of my vulnerability and my drunken, tender disparate and Innocent state.  When he moved up close to me I could feel him breathing and I felt a sandpaper type of scratching on my face from a five o’clock shadow, as he attempted to kiss me. It made me cringe with a sickly feeling. I did not like the feelings he was giving me but felt empty and confused and It did not feel right. That night he took full advantage of me (I needed my mothers arms, I felt empty inside) and we slept together in one of his bedrooms, this was hell. I needed to get out. I was confused and in despair heavily depressed and not knowing who  I was and where to head next.  I did not know why I was angry, I just was. As I grew older, this anger always kept me down.  I had left the adoptive home when I was a young teenager, working and returning in-between jobs, leaving again and I survived in the bohemian world of Carlton, working in a display company, putting my natural artistic skills to work.  I felt empty inside, “a nobody”.  I was self-destructive, expelled from secondary school in form two (Year 8 in today’s language), always getting into fights, often being found bleeding lying in the gutter. I was in and out of jobs, drank a lot and numbed my feelings with drugs, marijuana mainly.  For many years. I was stoned from morning to late at night.   The self-destruction stage continued into my 20s to late 30s.  I never identified my behaviour with my abuse as a child or adoption but hated my mother for deserting me.  It wasn’t all bad though. I had some great jobs and mixed with some very interesting people, some of whom are still my dear friends today but I did not stay in one place for long. It was not until my 40s that I decided to search for my mum and family. My adopted sister had found her family and pushed me to get my papers, but I did not search for a couple of years after I received them, wanting to but not wanting to, it’s hard to explain.  My anger was in the way. 

“I thought”

I wanted to hurt her like I believed she had hurt me.
She gave me away so she did not want me, so why should I want her?
She did not bother to look for me, so why should I bother to look for her?

It was not until much later, I found out that she was not allowed to.  That the truth was very different to what I believed.  I was in a relationship at this stage with kay and the birth of our son came along. This was the first time I felt responsibility and love, it was fantastic, my own family.I felt the one sided homosexual experiences that had taken place earlier yon in my life had moved past and entered into the unexplained history books of the past, yes leaving scars and onward unexplained trauma but now i knew that Kay was my true partner.  During the pregnancy I had  an overwhelming urge to find my mother, to give our child and partner a family and a true heritage.  My adoptive sister came back on the scene. We joined forces, along with my partner and searched through phone books, the electoral roll, made phone calls. Weeks went by with no leads.  One day I was with my adopted sister. She had spotted a phone number that was near her house. We rang it, asked for Gloria (my mother’s name), the person that answered the phone turned out to be my half-sister and she passed the phone to my mother’s husband (her father). I told him who I was and asked if I could speak to Gloria, that I may be her son.  He paused for a moment and said, “I know about you”

“YES, it was them”

I was overcome with a strange emotion, not knowing how I felt, and then he told me that my mother had died 12 months previously. He said they were going to a memorial service for her, but would stay home so we could come around.  I remember walking into my half-sister’s house, looking around thinking that they did not look too poor to me, but comfortable, conservative, middle class, inspirational, suburban people and me being bought up in a poor working class dysfunctional, adoptive family who survived a hand to mouth existence with two other adopted children, the three of us from different families.  Here we were.  My mother had married an Austrian gentleman and they had two children and a good life, not long after I was born. It was not without its tragedies and ups and downs of suburban family life, but things had worked out for her until she died of heart disease, at sixty years of age.  It was obvious that she was not the type of person that I was lead to believe. Another little white lie by my adopting couple and society. Or was it?

A lie is a lie.   

“Why did my mother desert me and who was my father became my questions”

Over the next few months I met the rest of the family, an older half-brother who was from her first marriage and there was once a sister who may have been adopted by mum or was hers, but not the first husband’s child. I found out later in an article in the Canberra Times on Trove that she had been the victim of a paedophile neighbour who strangled her and then hung himself in a barn on his farm. A half-sister and two half-brothers. Both brothers were very sceptical and standoffish. I asked questions, made cynical remarks and always felt they knew more than what they were letting on.  My anger got in the way again over the months.  I found I had nothing in common with them apart from looking a bit like me. They were middle class, conservative, well off in my eyes with all the normal suburban family traits and I was angry, cynical, left wing and street wise, with a very untrustworthy mind and jealous of what they had and have and what I did not have. I spent time working with my mother’s husband building a house in the country and living in the caravan with him on site but I walked out on him. We went to meet my mother’s best friend, and attended a family wedding. My half-sister tried to form a relationship with me, but I was just a strange and difficult person for her to cope with. After her coming to a party at our house and her walking into a room where we were passing the bong around, it just got too much for her and we drifted apart. 

“So that was the end of that”

I continued hating my mother for abandoning me and in some ways for leaving me a second time, by passing away before I found her, my attitude was ‘the bitch she got out of facing me”.

I felt I was the sacrificial offering, to save her two children. She was not a young teenager when she gave birth to me. She was 27 years old (another so called little white lie by my adoptive couple and society). She was going through a divorce and custody of her children.  She would have lost them to her first husband who had taken them from her, at one stage and refused to return them and they stayed with his mother. If he had found out that I existed because of the divorce laws at the time of fault divorce, and community attitudes she would have been branded an adulteress and found it near on impossible to find work and be ostracised by the general community.  I convinced myself that they did not matter and got on with my life, with my new family, but always in the back of my mind,
I wanted to know the truth I needed the truth.  Twenty years pass.  Life is going good, we have our own business, we own our house, our son is in university and my partner is my best friend and our relationship is solid but I am still an angry person under the surface.  Except for questions that constantly pop up in my mind.

Why did my mother abandon me?
Why didn’t she come for me?
Who is my father?
What is the truth about my adoption?

I got no satisfactory answers to these questions from my mother’s family twenty years ago.  One day I am at work and I hear on the wireless that there is going to be an apology to the mothers and people affected by forced adoption, at Parliament House  Victoria in Melbourne. I had no idea what this was about, but that night before, I said to my partner, I am going to that.  If anyone can tell me what the circumstances of my adoption were, it would be other mothers.  On the day of the apology, my son and I jumped a tram and went to Victoria’s Parliament House. As we approached, I noticed on the steps, all the children’s shoes. 

“It seemed like hundreds of them”

As I looked at the shoes, tears just started to stream out, uncontrollable tears.  “I cried all day that day.”

“Talk about emotion, I could not stop”.

I met some wonderful people there, one of whom was Elizabeth Edwards, coordinator of Origins Victoria, who gave me her card and told me to ring her; along with Brian and Helen, seen in the picture on the Parliament House steps, who have become good colleagues and friends. If I had not have followed my gut instinct or by chance missed it and not gone to this event, I may never have found out the truth to my story.  I may never have met Elizabeth Edwards.  I was so proud to have my son by my side that day.  What a day it was!  A couple of days later.  My partner and I went to see Elizabeth Edwards at the Origins Victoria’s office. When she was going through my papers she said that I sound like a ‘fifty pound baby’. She showed me a speech by John Cremean, who was a member of Federal parliament in 1950, that said that babies were being sold from private hospitals in major capital cities in Australia. 

 “I was born in Avonhurst a private hospital in South Melbourne.”

Well that was it, I had to know.  I wanted the answers.  Was I a trafficked child?

How could my adopters do this?

What part did my mother play?

Did that bitch sell me?

Is that what my mother’s family was keeping from me?

All of these questions going over and over in my head.  My anger with my mother at this stage was boiling over.  First I phoned FIND and ordered another set of my adoption papers as my original set was over twenty years old. The new set proved to be of extra interest this time as these papers included some extra information.  My partner and I started to research.  She went to the computer, searched TROVE and traced the doctors. Our good friend, Rosemary, got in on the search and found out information on my family and is still helping me look for my father through DNA today.  On Facebook I started to call for other adoptees that may have been born at Avonhurst and found one who worked with us through emails.  Her experience was so similar to mine and she contributed so much vital information.  Then I headed off to the State archives, the National archives and State library.  For two years I searched.  People around me were very supportive, but were concerned that I had become obsessed and that my mental health could become affected.  My mental health was already affected and it was this search that I hoped would resolve it for me.  I could not let go.  Day after day I persisted, two or three days per week sometimes, getting a little bit closer to the truth. I came to a dead end, as the file I thought would have the answer, was full of 1950s pornography underwear ads, not much by today’s standard but shocking back then.  What to do next?

Elizabeth Edwards, Origins Victoria coordinator suggested I should place a Freedom of Information request and see what.  Well, from that I attracted the attention of “the man”.  The man in the State archives who knew everything.  Yes everything.  What took me two years of searching and not finding what I was looking for, he found in ten minutes.  It was the mother lode, six boxes of the government adoption files, and four bound bundles of the State Law Revision files (not our personal ones) from 1916 to 1964.  Every document from memos, policy papers, judge’s opinions, memorandums, confidential letters, conference papers, police reports, and recommendations to the development and changing of the policies and the Adoption Act.  It takes days running into weeks, reading and photographing the files.  One day, I find a confidential letter from John Cremean to the Chief Secretary of Victoria, naming the doctor that my adoptive couple had told me about in their fairy tale stories about ‘how special I was’ and who they went to see in order to get a child to adopt. It was a Doctor Hart. My partner had also found many newspaper articles about him, linking him to the illegal abortion trade. It also named the co-proprietor of Avonhurst Private Hospital, Mr. Allen, as being Harts co-conspirator, that he had reliable information about them being involved in baby trafficking and requested the secretary make some discreet inquiries. It was not Dr Hart, that was my final evidence as he had been named In news clippings,  It was Mr Allen. Only John Cremean knew his name.  This was the final piece of proof I needed.

“I was stunned”.

I had feelings of joy, sadness, anger and relief. As I was driving home that night, tears flowed again.  My joy was that I was not mad, Elizabeth Edwards from Origins Vic was not wrong, My partner and our friend rosemary did not waste their time and yes, I had finally found out the truth of the circumstances of my birth and subsequent adoption.  The nurse that assisted my delivery, Sister Allen, was Mr. Allen’s wife who were the proprietors of Avonhurst Private Hospital and Doctor Bretherton, the doctor that delivered me, was in cahoots with Doctor Hart, in the illegal abortion trade. Mr. Allen and Doctor Hart were using Avonhurst for the trafficking of babies for further personal financial gain.  The selling of babies was a byproduct, an adjunct to the abortion business.  The doctors were involved in selling babies for adoption to queue jumping adoptive couples.  They were also paying protection money to some members of the Victorian police. The paying of grafts to police by these doctors was alleged in the Kay Inquiry, into the involvement of police corruption and the abortion rackets in the 1970s where some police did jail time for their part in it, but the majority walked free and furthered their careers and the illegal baby trade was never officially uncovered.  The federal government received reports from the state governments, all denying it ever happened, but newspapers were reporting it and John Cremean was saying it in federal parliament. Adoption agencies would not deny it was happening and they made references to it happening along, with the Secretary of the Children’s Welfare Department, F, J Pittard agreeing that it was happening and the chief secretary Mr Leggatt agreeing with him.

“It may have been years ago but the newspaper headlines have a familiar ring. They tell of high-ranking police masterminding an abortion protection racket, demanding and receiving massive bribes from prominent Collins Street specialists and engaging in an extensive conspiracy to pervert justice”

“An Age editorial at the time concluded: “It would have been naive to suppose that responsible ministers and officials, and successive police chiefs, had no inkling of what was going on.”

Doctor Hart did not attend the Kay inquiry of 1970s as he had died earlier but the doctor who delivered me at Avonhurst Private Hospital was among those named.  However, Doctor Hart was mentioned in evidence given by Mrs Margret Berman who was the person that paid the protection money from the doctors to the police, “that cash was held in Doctor Hart’s Mansion in the basement at Albert Park.  Dr Hart one of the first GP’s to systematically arrange referrals for abortions.  For me,I believe I have proof beyond reasonable doubt.  I have the original receipt that shows my adoptive couple paid, for my mother’s hospital fees which was illegal at the time. I found out that they had borrowed the money from a close family friend and worked for him on weekends doing furniture removals, until he had paid the debt of. His wife who was a teacher was recommended by the adoptive couple and appointed by the court as my guardian, ad litem; who is meant to represent the adoptee and reported to the court that the adopting couple were fit and proper people to adopt.  Talk about a conflict of interest!  A few months later, I was given the opportunity to sit amongst a group of mothers who lost their children to adoption. They talked about how they felt when they left the hospital, empty handed, being told to forget what happened and start a new life. One at a time, they reflected on that moment, standing and telling their stories. I cried again that day as I realised so many mothers, all with the same feelings, that this was the truth, this is how my mother must have felt.  Another little white lie.  My half-sister and half- brother find it a bit difficult to deal with the fact that I know more about my mother and our families heritage than they do, or did, and that I don’t hide the negative parts under the carpet or keep them safely locked away in the closet. I tread slowly, but surely in the hope that we can achieve a long and lasting relationship but they are making no moves for that to happen at the moment in fact my older half-brother has told me to stop digging but they do not understand the plight of an adopted person with the need to know the Truth.  Through all our research, I have finally gained a full understanding of why my mother had no other choice.

* I had come to understand the horror for women, who had to prove fault, to get a divorce and how she could have lost her two children, along with being stigmatised and facing hardship.
*  I came also to understand the lengths a woman could go to keep her children.
*  I now understand how some people, unfortunately suffering infertility,who seek to adopt other people’s children would go to great lengths to obtain a child and why they seek to fulfil their needs for a child as their last resort after all other efforts had failed to give birth to their own. Along with the damage PTSD caused to my adoptive father by war.
*  I also came to an understanding of how privileged, greedy, unscrupulous people take advantage of other people’s misfortune innocence and vulnerability.
*  Along with it, bringing me to an understanding that governments need to not only set polices, but should also accept the responsibility of the policy failures, as well as enforcing policies that are not adhered to in practice and not simply to sweep them under the carpet.  Governments should listen to the people who try to inform them of its failings.  I point the finger of blame clearly where it belongs, with the privileged greedy doctors, the bad inefficient government policy, their lack of enforcing some of their own policies, along with the greed of some police, as well as predators who take advantage of children and young peoples innocence and vulnerability along with my adopter’s underhanded way of obtaining a child.  I am now at peace with my mother and the adoptive couple. We have forgiven each other in spirit, for things that do not need forgiving. I no longer carry any hatred towards my mother, her family or my adoptive couple.  I tell you this, entire story, so people can understand the lengths, that I as an adopted person, had to go to get to the truth, but should not have had to spend nearly a life time getting there.

‘Yes, I hated my mother for 60 years, but now I don’t.  I know the truth now mum’.

Do I have regrets? Yes.
Do I wish she was alive? Yes.
Do I want to know my father or at least his name and my heritage? Yes.

Would I like the choice of a No Fault, No fee, No Fuss Discharge from my adoption, to live and leave this world with the legal identity and heritage that I was Born to with the name my mother named me, the family name of my father, not the Legal name and heritage that was given to me by the government and people who bought me and not have to die “AS IF BORN TO” but “AS BORN TO”.  However this may not ever happen because my mother passed away before I was ready to find her and had taken the name of my father with her.  Unless DNA is successful in finding a recent relative on my father’s side with the ‘Y’ test and so far after 3 years and 2 different DNA tests this has not come to fruition.  Then the Just recently: The unbelievable happened.  DNA tests come to light thanks to our friend Rosemary’s tenacious and tireless efforts, and refusal to give in, we finally received a positive match from a first cousin Christine, who turns out to be a cousin on my father’s side. Christine’s mother, my aunt and my father’s sister, is still alive at 91 years old and living in a nursing home in Canberra, but unfortunately my father had passed away he had lived in Tuross Head NSW a small coastal town, for many years’ William George ELLIS age 75yrs was buried at Moruya in 1999. Date of Funeral 29/01/1999.  Dad never had any children it turns out that I’m dad’s only child. In Canberra Dad married Doris and parented three children a step daughter and two step son’s. (Very different to being a no hoper that was betrayed to me) It is believed the daughter and a son have passed away and that the remaining son Anthony, is still alive. Did Bill adopt them and if this is so, Anthony would be a legal heir to the Ellis name?

This is so important to me to be able to carry the Ellis family name into the future as it would have stopped when dad passed away if he had not adopted the 3 step children. I have been looking for many years for my heritage and bloodline and I was denied the opportunity of meeting him, when he was alive, by members of my mothers family. I would have had a maximum of ten years to find him and get to know him but this was not to be so. Now I have the opportunity to know my auntie’s, cousins and extended family who have welcomed me from both sides of my parents family’s Gloria’s and Bill’s. This is why my chosen name is William Hammersley-Ellis.  I want nothing more than to be recognised and accepted as Bill & Gloria’s son and this is a grand moment to look at the family trees and see me included.  Thank you.  We are planning a family road trip to Tuross and  Canberra soon.  Looking so forward to finding out all about him and the type of person he was. He came to Australia landed in Melbourne as a British migrant. He had to pay 10 pounds to come to Australia under a Commonwealth Government scheme. There was much work in Australia, post second World War for tradesmen and being a qualified painter he was highly sought after. He was not a man with significant resources so when asked the question of how much money  he would bring with him to Australia, he mentioned 20 pounds (Immigration papers).  When filling out his application he was living with his mother and her 3rd husband William John Henry at 445 Barlow Moor Road, CCH, M/C21. Aged 26 years Born around 1925.  1951- Ship SS New Australia. Left from Southhampton, 15th of February, 1951 for Australia, and the ship record indicates that William George Ellis was aboard and disembarked in Melbourne.  At this time, Gloria ( my Mother) ran a guest house at 34 Coles Crescent, Coburg East (1951/52).  Wally (Gloria’s 2nd husband) arrives in Australia in October 1951 about three months after my conception.  I was born as “William Langdon” (name of my mothers first husband) at the “Avonhurst” Private Hospital, Queens Road, South Melbourne on the 26th of February, 1952, two years later to be declared illegitimate.  I would have been conceived around May 1951. William George Ellis arrived into Melbourne in March 1951 indicating the conception would have been within three months of his landing in Australia.  On the 12th of July 2019 we set of on our road trip to Canberra and NSW to have a meeting with my fathers family. It was a great success, I had invited them to a luncheon at the accommodation we had hired in Canberra to meet me and my family and friend Rosemary it was an amazing feeling my aim was not to be looking for the  “long lost family” but instead it felt like I had found “A SENSE OF PLACE” I have always felt like the odd person out the bad kid on the block the one that did not belong but this day I felt calm and at peace sounds a bit mushy but that’s how it was hard to explain. We met my fathers sister my aunt her two daughters my cousins, partners, nieces and nephews and they met us what a day it was. The next meeting was to visit auntie Sylvia and uncle Bob Sylvia is a half blood but has similar features to me as well.  Now relationships are open to kindle by choice if that is how it pans out, if not there are no preconceived expectations.  Am I still angry about anything, it is with me for allowing my anger from stopping me contacting them earlier.  But would I have been ready then?

‘I don’t know, probably not’

To discharge his adoption.  Connecting the dispersed pieces of Williams personal life he reminded the judge of his past history, of his rights under the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities, under various articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by Australia in 1989.  He drew attention to the wording in the Victorian Apology for Forced Adoption delivered on 25 October 2012 and the Federal Apology publicly addressed on 21 March 2013.  He emphasised how adoptees do not have a level playing field when it comes to their own identity. Discrimination prevents them from being able to make a choice about their true identity and to obtain a birth certificate that would reinstate their original identity.  He noted, “We (adoptees) are subject to a contract for life and beyond death to which we did not agree. For me, to exercise a choice to reclaim my identity and my ancestry I’ve lost (whether or not I have a social relationship with those of my family who are living) is of extreme importance to me and my children and my children’s children and generations to follow.  As an adoptee, I am no equal before the law and am discriminated against because I cannot use my original birth certificates like everyone else.  As an adoptee, I am legally prevented from identifying as the person I was when I was born, as is the right of every non-adopted person.”

He expressed his choice for a no fault, no fee, no fuss discharge of his adoption.  Judge Hampel granted his wish on 1 August 2019.  It is a momentous and significant legal decision. Adoption discharges are rare in Australia.  Not every adopted person will move to discharge their adoption but William’s case opens the door to ease the burden and simplify reasons for cause for those that do.  To Get help with applying for a discharge,

OR contact  Adoptee Rights Australia Group Inc. (ARA), an organisation began in 2015 to stand for equal rights in law and policy for adopted people.  Victorious he acknowledges and appreciates the support and assistance many individuals have given him over recent years.  For William death is no more welcome than it ever was.  Dying, however, has shifted to a more peaceful pathway.  Now, there is comfort with the knowledge he can leave with his original identity intact.  His sense of place and of kin restored, offering continuity and dignity to him and his family. 


Victorian Adoption act 1928 that was current in 1952

11. (1) It, shall not be lawful for any adopter or for any Restriction on Payments. Comp. 16 & 17 Parent or guardian except with the sanction of the court GEO. V. c. 29 to receive any payment or other reward in consideration of the adoption of any infant under this Act or for any person to make or give or agree to make or give to any adopter or to any parent or guardian any such payment or reward.
(2) Any person who acts in contravention of or fails to comply with any of the provisions of this section shall be guilty of an offence and liable for every such offence to a penalty of’ not more than Fifty pounds.  Department of Human Services stating in a letter that the court records to my adoption make no reference to court sanctioned payments to my natural mother either direct or indirect.

'I was with my child for eight days when I gave birth at 17 and they made me give him up'

Hundreds of women forced to give up their babies are fighting for an apology

By Cathy Owen Breaking News Editor

18:48, 26 MAY 2021

When Ann Keen became pregnant aged 17 in 1966 she was "absolutely terrified" because she knew how society at the time viewed teenage pregnancies.  And her fears came true when she was sent away from her home in Flintshire in shame to have her baby. Eight days after giving birth to her son, he was taken away from her because she was bonding too much with him.  Today, she and other mothers are telling their stories of how they forced into giving up their babies for adoption in the 1950s, 60s and 70s in a bid to gain a government apology.  In those decades up to 250,000 women in Britain were made to hand over their babies because they were unmarried.  Many of the women never had more children and say the loss caused them to lead a lifetime of grief. They want the UK to follow Australia, which in 2013 was the first country to apologise for forced adoptions.  Telling her story, Ann, who went on to become a Labour MP, said she was scared about telling her family when she became pregnant.  "I was terrified to tell them. Absolutely terrified because I knew that they would be ashamed of me, they would be concerned, worried but ashamed because that was the way it was viewed in that time," she told BBC Radio Wales.

"I knew that I would be really in trouble because the word that was used was 'don't you bring any trouble here'. That was sex education at the time."

Ann was told there was no way she would be able to keep her baby.  "It wasn't a discussion, it was a command," she said. "It was discussed outside of my ears, I didn't have any say. The age of majority was 21 at the time.  It was something that had to be cleared up and I had to be sent away. It was all about shame, real big shame and I felt burdened with that and therefore went along with whatever was asked of me. I was told what was going to happen."

She was sent to Swansea and Brecon Moral Welfare to have her baby and she remembers how cruel the staff were to her while she gave birth without any form of pain relief.  "The midwife said 'you'll remember this, so you won't be wicked again'.  I was a bad person, a bad girl and you should be ashamed of yourself and you were treated in that way. It was so clinical, not like today. They were very strict and I was told that I couldn't have any for the pain, so I was to stop making a fuss and get on with it."

After her son was born she was initially not going to be allowed to see him at all, but a midwife took pity on her.  "I caught the eye of midwife who looked at me to be kind and I took a big deep breath and said please, please can I see him and have him with me", she recalls. "She came back to say yes. She said he was going to be adopted but I could have him for 10 days.  I knew every hour of those days, but on day eight I went to the nursery and he wasn't there and a midwife who had been in the labour room said he had gone because we were getting too close.  She told me he was in that building across the way and that is where he will stay until his new mum comes. I went into the bathroom and she expressed the milk out of my breast and said you will have no need for this. It was humiliating. There was no dignity, no rights. I was 17 and forced to go along."

Ann said her case was typical of the time. Lawyers examining the birth mothers' cases have focused on the period between 1945 and 1975 before a change in adoption law when around 500,000 babies were adopted in Britain, mostly from mothers who were under 24 and unmarried.  Their research suggests about half of those women faced sustained pressure to give up their babies from professionals, including doctors, midwives, workers in mother and baby homes and adoption staff in religious and council-run homes.  Ann, who has since been reunited with her 28-year-old son after he tracked her down, said she has gained huge strength from speaking to other mothers.  "Apology is exceptionally important," she said. "I want my name cleared I didn't give my baby away. I chose to love the lovely people who adopted by son because they did nothing wrong. It is about who gave them that permission. How was it done and the affect on all of us and families and the children."

Speaking about being reunited with her son, Ann said: "It was total infatuation at the beginning. I wanted to take him around and show my baby to everybody. That feeling was the same.  I only had a short period of time when I heard he had found me. Less than an hour. I couldn't believe it. Every emotion was racing through my body, excited nervous. My lovely husband who supported me, was so, so thrilled. He knew something was missing and couldn't do anything about it."

Adopted Brit woman reunited with long-lost Native American family after 51 years apart

EXCLUSIVE: Paula Stillie, 51, had a happy upbringing in Scotland after parents Joyce and Jim adopted her as a baby. Her journey to being reunited with her Native American family will feature on ITV's Long Lost Family.

By Mark Jefferies Showbiz Editor

20:34, 23 JUL 2021Updated20:53, 23 JUL 2021

An adopted woman who put talcum powder on her face in a bid to try and lighten her skin has discovered she is Native American.  Paula Stillie, 51, had a happy upbringing in Scotland after parents Joyce and Jim adopted her as a baby.  She always wondered where she was from, but never suspected she was a descendent of the Comanche tribe in Oklahoma, US, and that her father had visited the UK with the US Navy.  Paula said: “I’ve always felt different. My mum and dad were lovely and very supportive and open about me being adopted.  Being adopted, you are different and mixed race makes you even more different. Why did I have a different skin colour to my mum and dad?  I can remember an incident in the bathroom when I covered myself in talcum powder from head to toe.  I must have been four or five, and I said, ‘I am the same colour as you now, Mum. I am white’. I think that broke her heart. I just wanted to be the same.”

Paula, who lives in the village of Cullen in Moray, Scotland, said she was “very aware of being different in a small town” and that made her even more determined to find out her background.  She did some digging and eventually traced her birth mother in England but she did not want any contact with her.  Paula said: “I don’t feel like I have an anchor in life. Where am I from? What are my roots? It is important to know where you come from. There is still that part of me missing. I could come from anywhere, I just don’t know.”

After her search hit a brick wall, Paula turned to ITV’s Long Lost Family, and researchers discovered her father was US sailor Larry Smith.  However, they did not have enough information to track him down so turned to DNA testing.  It brought up a distant match with someone who had their entire family tree online. It revealed Paula’s family are Native American and included a man called Lawrence known to his family as John who was Paula’s birth father.  He died in 1982 but the team managed to trace Lawrence’s younger brother, Joe, who lives in Montana.  The Smith family have since welcomed Paula with open arms.  In the ITV show, Joe shows Paula a photo of her birth father in his youth and he is the spitting image of Paula’s son Kyle, 26. He also has photos of Paula’s grandfather, a Comanche tribe elder.  Joe and his siblings, Mary Louise, Nancy and Richard, had no idea about Paula. But he says his brother “would have tried to make an effort to find her himself, if he was aware of her”.

Paula speaks to the family via a video call in the show and makes plans to visit them in the US.  She says: “It’s life-changing, this. That means the world to me in my heart.  I belong somewhere. It’s the start of a new chapter and it’s going to be incredible”.
I haven't watched Long Lost Family for a few years now as it stigmatizes women by refering to them as birth mothers.  It's bad enough that the perspective of mothers as single, poor, too young, unable to look after their babies and and / or didn't want to raise their babies.  The reality is so many had their babies taken against their will but society doesn't want to know the truth as it's too painful to accept.  It's far easier to belief they wanted to give their babies away than believe that these mothers weren't given a chance.
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