Welsh Government formally apologises for heartbreak caused by forced adoptions

The Welsh Government has formally apologised for the heartbreak caused by forced adoptions during the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

Deputy social services minister Julie Morgan made the apology in the Senedd in front of some of those who were subjected to the practice.

Around 185,000 children were taken from unmarried mothers and adopted between 1949 and 1976 in England and Wales, according to last year’s UK Parliament Joint Committee on Human Rights report.

Last month Nicola Sturgeon, then first minister, apologised on behalf of the Scottish Government for forced adoptions in Scotland.

Mrs Morgan (pictured), who later met with those affected by forced adoption, said: “I know the effects of forced adoption and forced family separation are still very much part of the lives of the many people involved.

“The impacts are diverse and long-lasting, not only for the women separated from a child by adoption, but also for the adult sons and daughters who were adopted as babies, and their extended family members.

“I want to acknowledge the fathers’ experiences when it comes to these historical practices too.

“Many still find it extremely difficult to open up and talk about the life-long heartbreak they have bottled up for fear of still being judged.

“The feelings of loss, grief, anger and pain remain.

“Regardless of the societal pressures or social norms of the day, such cruelty should never be an acceptable part of our society in Wales.

“I would like to convey my deepest sympathy and regret to all affected, that due to society failing you, you had to endure such appalling historical practices in Wales – for this the whole of the Welsh Government is truly sorry.”

Labour former UK Government health minister Ann Lloyd Keen was forced to give up her son for adoption.

“Today is so important to me and my son. I was always told his adoption was ‘for the best’. Sadly, this was not the case,” she said.

“It was horrible, shameful, and left me grieving and feeling unable to talk to anyone. I was forced to live a life that remained a secret.

“I made the decision to become a registered nurse to provide the sort of dignity and social justice to patients that was denied to me when I was at my most vulnerable.

“I later had the privilege of being elected a Labour MP and a health minister, but the feeling of deep shame has stayed with me. I later experiences so much joy when I was reunited with my wonderful son.

“Today, as a Welsh woman sitting in the Welsh Parliament, not far from where my son was born in Swansea, I feel empowered and that my name has been cleared. I did not ‘give him up’. He was taken from me.”

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