New children’s minister to meet campaigners calling for apology for forced adoption

Scotland’s new children’s minister has said she will meet with campaigners calling for the Government to apologise to women who were forced to give up their babies for adoption.

Clare Haughey said she was “deeply saddened that in the past” some mothers had felt “forced to give their children up”.

With campaigners calling on the Government to follow on from the example of countries such as Australia, Canada and Ireland, and apologise for the state’s role in this, Ms Haughey (pictured) said she would meet members of the Movement for an Adoption Apology next week.

She added that she was also “working to establish meetings with others affected by these historical practices”.

The minister said: “It is right that we look at this issue properly and, for me, that means listening to the voices of women, children and wider families whose lives have been profoundly changed by the experience. By doing that, we can work in partnership on next steps.”

Her comments came after Labour’s Monica Lennon raised the issue in Holyrood, urging ministers to “find the compassion and the courage to do the right thing”.

She pleaded with the Government to “deliver this long overdue apology and finally given the women, and all the families affected, the recognition and support that they deserve”.

In her speech at Holyrood, Ms Lennon read out a statement from Marion McMillan, whose son was taken from her back in 1967.

Despite being terminally-ill, Ms McMillan is campaigning for an apology for those affected by forced adoption and she said Scotland could “lead the way in the UK” by doing so.

Ms McMillan said: “Those simple three words ‘we are sorry’ seem to have been the hardest of all and we cannot understand why.”

She stated: “I sincerely hope Scotland will finally take the opportunity to make an official apology to the 60,000 vulnerable mothers who had their babies taken from them simply because they were not married.

“What happened to all of us was a dreadful abuse of our human rights and set in motion lifelong pain and psychological damage to the women and the children.

“Mothers spend their lifetime searching for the babies they were forced to hand over. I remember crying and telling the authorities that my baby already had a mummy, but they simply took my son from my arms and left me weeping.”

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2021, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Fraser Bremner / Scottish Daily Mail / PA.