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Welsh Government formally apologises for heartbreak caused by forced adoptions

25 Apr 2023 3 minute read
Julie Morgan AM. Picture: National Assembly

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.

Life-long heartbreak

Mrs Morgan, 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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Jonathan Edwards
Jonathan Edwards
10 months ago

Forced adoption didn’t stop in 1976. What does the Welsh Government propose for adoptions now, which still happen far too often? We wouldn’t want adoption and fostering run on a commercial basis by quangos and Councils in a one-party (Labour) state, now would we? I would certainly support Julie Morgan and others if they are serious about a sea-change in Wales.

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
10 months ago

Shouldn’t it be the English government apologising about this seeing as we didn’t have a government at that time?

hdavies15
hdavies15
10 months ago
Reply to  GW Atkinson

Exactly. There was no “Welsh Government” when most of these atrocities took place. There is no purpose in apologising on behalf of a series of UK regimes other than to claim pole position on the virtue signaling table, again. There would be real virtue in ensuring that mothers and babies get a decent start to their lives together but that would involve getting the funding and other resources marshalled to do a good job. Too much like hard work for this posturing lot.

NOT Grayham Jones
NOT Grayham Jones
10 months ago
Reply to  GW Atkinson

English Govt-?? I think it was the UK Govt of which Wales is part of.

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
10 months ago

An apology is a waste of space, It needs to be made free and much easier for people to register on the government site.

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