Sowing the seeds for future apologies? Looking at practice in ICA in light of Australian government apologies related to forced child removal.
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In the wake of two national apologies in 2008 and 2009 centred on the forced removal of children from their families and communities, and on the eve of a possible third national apology to families separated through past forced adoption practices in Australian states and territories, it seems an appropriate time to ask: do any of the considerations which apply in the cases of the Stolen Children, Forgotten Australians, Lost Innocents, and mothers and children separated by domestic forced adoption practices apply to intercountry adoption? In other words, has Australian policy and practice in ICA created grounds for affected groups and individuals to seek redress for wrongs, and to demand of the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments an apology for injustices committed against them? Drawing on the national apologies delivered to date, and written submissions and transcripts associated with the HR&EOC inquiry into the Stolen Generations (1995-97), Senate inquiries into forced imperial child migration (2001) and the Forgotten Australians (2004), and the Senate inquiry into past forced adoption practices (2012), this paper identifies parallels between the now publically acknowledged wrongs for which apologies have been made and the experiences of many intercountry adoptees and their birth families. This is corroborated by a small but growing body of research into the separation of children from their families in ICA, and by emerging mothers’ activism in significant ICA sending countries.
10th Australian Adoption Conference
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