Activity update, November 15, 2012

International update: posted December 19

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has set a date for a formal apology to those affected by forced adoption practices from the 1950s to the 1970s in that country – March 21, 2013. More information

The MAA group has continued lobbying MPs with a letter delivered to 586 MPs who have not yet signed the EDM. We already have seventy-seven signatures but we need more. We request everyone interested in our cause to write to their own MPs about this, as most MPs will pay much more attention to their constituents’ voices than to anyone else.

In September we had a get-together for our supporters in Covent Garden, and in October we attended a second meeting called by John Leech MP , where the main speakers were an Australian birth mother and an Australian civil servant, about the forced adoption practices there. They spoke about the years of campaigning for more openness in adoption information, and how they are now achieving apologies. This meeting was chaired by two members of the UMAA group (they are separate from us, although they call themselves ‘the Umbrella Movement for an Adoption Apology’). As we had not been involved in planning this meeting we were not able to have a big input from MAA.

There was a debate in the Commons on Hillsborough while we were meeting, but nevertheless two or three MPs managed to attend for a short time, including John Hemming, Mark Durkan and of course John Leech, who had tabled the EDM. We were delighted that Sue Elliott (see below) was able to be with us.

The general conclusion of the meeting was that we should probably think carefully about launching a campaign for an Enquiry, not just an Apology, into all the bad adoption practices of the past which many people today are scarcely aware of.

Two of our members have had a meeting with the Catholic Children’s Society recently as we are also asking them to think about the need for an apology.

Interest in publicising our campaign has recently been expressed by three writers, including Sue Elliott –author of ‘Love Child’. A new edition of ‘Love Child’ has just come out, in which the MAA group gets a mention. There was also an article about Sue and her sisters in the Guardian family page, with an extra piece in it about MAA, by Sarah Cope, freelancer and Green Party campaigner on womens’ issues.

Sue is looking for stories about the lives of women who have lost a child to adoption for a possible documentary film.

Also we are delighted to have had good contact recently with Lisa Nandy MP, who is Shadow Minister for Children and Families, including adoption. Our MAA committee went to meet her at the House of Commons and had a useful discussion about ways forward.

Please write to your MPs about the campaign, write again if you have already written, and write also to friends who may be happy to help. We know there are thousands of women out there who have unfairly lost children to adoption. Let your voices be heard!