Sorry seems to be the sweetest word – a year on from the Forced Adoption Apology

Here’s what I wrote at the end of this week last year, I spent the week in Canberra, a trip planned around attending the National Apology for Forced Adoptions ceremony at Parliament house on 21 March 2013.


Last day in Canberra today (Saturday 23/3/13), it has been a great break.

Being at Thursday’s national apology for forced adoptions was something really special.

I don’t know that I can deftly describe the feeling of being with a large group of people who have a variation of your own journey written on their souls… it was amazing. At home amongst all those sister strangers. There were tears, snatches of conversations about unique lives all somehow marked by the same wounds murmuring all around, a few jeers (nice work Tone), heartfelt applause, and lots of moments of relief and maybe even a few heavy, heavy loads being laid down as people were told by the PM, we finally hear you, we see you, we are sorry we abandoned you in your most vulnerable moment, we will help you to gain some semblance of healing… breathtaking stuff.

And Canberra may have more than the usual population of power-hungry loons, but the city is beautiful, elegantly laid out and offers more than you could possibly imbibe, enjoy and marvel at in five days.

I’ll definitely be back.

And Julia, when history records your time as Prime Minister, Thursday 21/3/13 won’t be remembered by those present in the Great Hall as the attempted spilling of political power – but as a day when we came together, spilled tears and stories over a shameful past, tears over losses unknown, tears with the power to heal as they fall, and that makes it a day I will never forget.

Bringing things into the light… never too late, and so powerful.

For Andrea.


3 thoughts on “Sorry seems to be the sweetest word – a year on from the Forced Adoption Apology

  1. So thought provoking Annette. I’m unaware of this “forced adoption” that you are speaking of. I’m thinking it was some sort of law that your country had in the past. America is full if shameful memories too but thankfully it sounds like things are healing. Thank you for sharing your perspective. It is powerful.


    • Hi Jeanette, it was a social policy of the 50s – 70s here, and in the UK and other places – quite possibly in the US too – where thousands and thousands of women were denied the opportunity to parent their babies, simply because their age, and marital status (or lack therefore) made them ‘unsuitable’ according to those in power. Very shameful, and only very recently acknowledged. We’ve got a long way to go, but the last couple of years have been very significant in bringing things into the light. There’s no way to undo it, we can only hope the mistakes of the past shine a light on current practices and the falsehood that adoption is this ‘beautiful thing’ that creates families, when in actual fact it tears families apart. There’s no easy solution, that’s for sure.
      Thank you so much for commenting!


  2. Well written Annette. Can I suggest that when you do return to Canberra it’s not in the winter months? We had a year 10 school trip there in May…all I remember was how freezing cold it was 🙂


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