MAA Scotland

Scotland’s Formal Apology

22 March 2023

Today, the outgoing First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, delivered a heartfelt Formal Apology for historic forced adoption practices in Scotland.

Her statement emphasised that this Apology includes everyone affected by these practices, mothers, sons and daughters, fathers and wider family whose lives have been impacted as a result of what they experienced.

Watch the full Statement, which is followed by questions from SMPs, below.

Campaigners travelled to Scotland from far and wide, including Australia, to witness this historic event.
The Apology is accompanied by many measures to ensure that those affected will receive the trauma-informed support they need and access to the information they have previously been denied, one example being family medical history and records.

A huge day for Scottish first families and Adult Adoptees.
Congratulations on this first step towards a better future.

Download a transcript of the Formal Apology.

BBC News – Apology for forced adoption “would heal” Scottish women’s shame

BBC News – Forced adoption: “My baby was taken’

Scotland Newsletter February 2023

Our February newsletter is available by clicking the link below. We plan to add links to our previous newsletters soon.

Click to access maa-scotland-newsletter-feb-2023.pdf

A glimmer of hope…..

Scottish Government – New Questionnaire on Historical Adoption Experiences 

Following months of consultation between Scottish government officials and representatives of those impacted by historical forced adoption a questionnaire has been published to the Scottish Government website. We encourage all mothers and family members to submit evidence of their experiences and/or needs either using the questionnaire or directly using the contact details.

Historical adoption – (

The Scottish Government acknowledge on their webpage: 

“Sadly, we know that there were practices in place in Scotland around the time of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s which resulted in new-born babies being unnecessarily taken away from unmarried mothers and placed for adoption, without any regard to the mothers and children’s own needs or wishes. People who experienced this have reported the long-lasting impacts on their health and wellbeing.” 

While it’s taken far too long for the Scottish Government to begin to acknowledge the issues, we are feeling cautiously optimistic of a useful outcome.    


The combined efforts of our small, determined group appear to have been worthwhile.  This time last year neither of us could even have dreamed that we would be working together, attending meetings with Scottish Government officials, receiving support from some of our regional MSPs and increasing press awareness of the quest for an apology and our recommendations for support.   

We presented a total of 15 recommendations to the Scottish Government; the four main recommendations are: 

A National Scottish Apology 

A National framework to enable every council to provide standardised, appropriate, trauma-based therapy or counselling services 

A National strategy for the harmonisation of all birth record access and reunion services across all local authorities 

A National Record of Historic Forced Adoption Experiences 


So many in Scotland and the rest of the UK have contributed to this outcome and we are grateful to them all.

JCHR Historic Adoption inquiry 

Although the criteria of survey which was launched last year invited responses only from people in England and Wales, we felt strongly that we wanted to support our southern friends with this inquiry.   We made a submission but haven’t heard yet if our submission was accepted.   We listened with interest to evidence from the academics and look forward to the next stages which include oral evidence from mothers and children.

Next Steps 

Having been contacted by others impacted we would like to explore the possibility of getting a peer support group started.  We will continue as well to try and engage with Scottish Government staff, MSPs and anyone else who would like to be involved.    

Elspeth, Jeannot, Lisa and Sharon

Sunday Post – Monica Lennon calls for an Apology in Scotland

Forced Adoption – Apology Meeting 24 June 2021

In connection with the Historical Forced Adoption Debate which took place on 16th June in the Scottish Parliament, Movement for Adoption Apology accepted an invitation to meet with The Minister for Children and Young People, Clare Haughey. 

Jeannot Farmer, who lives in Scotland, was nominated to attend the meeting with the Minister on Thursday 24 June.  Jeannot prepared for the meeting by researching recommendations for the Australian Adoption Apology. Also, by seeking the views of mothers, adoptees and family members who suffered due to forced adoption practices between the 50s and early 80s.  

Most of the hour-long meeting was taken up with Jeannot presenting recommendations for an apology in Scotland which take into account a range of factors including: ongoing trauma and shame caused by forced adoption practices, the involvement of institutions including health and social care, the woefully inadequate current level of support and the need for new specialised support which is not linked to established post adoption agencies. 

The meeting concluded with the Minister, Clare Haughey, confirming she will respond soon after she has met with others who have been affected.  

We trust that the Minister and the government are giving wise, extensive, and inclusive consideration to all those providing relevant evidence and look forward to hearing about next steps within a reasonable time frame.


We would like to sincerely thank and acknowledge the courage of all those in Scotland and beyond who have been sharing their stories with the media. 

Two members of Scottish MAA, Elspeth Ross and Jeannot Farmer, participated in a follow up to Duncan Kennedy’s documentary, If You Love Your Baby.  This was followed by further involvement on BBC TV and Radio.  These interviews have been very widely shared across both print and social media, in ways that they had not initially anticipated, but that have resulted in a thorough communication of the stories of those two mothers and the bid for an apology.

Contact Us

Our group in Scotland would love to hear from mothers, adoptees or any other family members who have been impacted by historical adoption practices.  

We are here if you would like someone to chat with, also if you would like to consider participating in our group. The more voices the better our chance of being heard and securing our goal of a useful apology response.

MAA Scotland email address: