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Ongoing legacy of historic adoption practices revealed in evidence published by Parliamentary Committee

The Joint Committee on Human Rights has published the first tranche of written evidence it has received as part of its inquiry into the adoption of children of unmarried women between 1949 and 1976. The submissions include a large number of personal testimonies from mothers who were separated from their children, and people who were separated from their mothers as babies.

The testimonies reveal the societal and institutional pressures that led to unmarried mothers feeling they had no choice but for their baby to be adopted, and in many cases being given no option at all. They reveal a pervasive sense of shame and judgement towards unmarried mothers that led to pregnant women and girls being hidden or sent away and an air of secrecy for many years afterwards. This extended to the standard of treatment experienced during and after the birth, and has left a lasting impact. People who were adopted described the legacy of not knowing their family history, particularly for health issues.

A central aim of the inquiry is to listen to those affected by adoption practices during this time. As part of this the Joint Committee is holding a round-table event where members of the public can relate their experiences. For further information about how to take part, click here.

For the published written evidence can be found on the Committee's website, click here. For excerpts of the submissions giving an overview of some the key issues raised, click here.