Sunday, July 18, 2010

Forms From Child Safety, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital and St Mary's Home for Unmarried Mothers, Toowong Brisbane Available to Me In 1991.

Full name;
Married or Single;
Is she living in a defacto association?
Usual occupation;
Education standard;
Hair; Eyes; Complexion;
Height; Build; Nationality;
Address;Previous Address;
When and where is she to be confined;
Name if devulged; Married or single;
Age; Occupation;
Hair; Eyes; Complexion;
Height; Build; Nationality;
Any known hereditary traits;
Any previous children;
Special interests;

Name; Date of Birth;
Birthweight; Colouring;

On My Questionare; My Remarks said "Nice Girl"
On My Child's Remarks; said,Heavy Physio to feed, dated 5 days after his birth.
My Child's custody was 12 days after he was born.

On the top Left hand side of my form was marked, M11 (I believe this was a grading of my child. Top of the range babies was blue eyed blond, M1, The M was for Male)


This is addressed to The Director, State Childrens Department.
Date; (Mine was one day after birth)
Name in full; Age;
single or married; Religion;
Address prior to birth; Nationality;
Address in future; COLOURING AND BUILD Hair; Eyes; Complexion; Height; Usual weight;
Known as;
Parents Names;
Name; Sex;
Born at; Date; Hospital;
Condition of Health;
Particulars of any other children if any;

Name; Address; Age; Nationality;
Occupation; Married or single; COLOURING AMND BUILD; Eyes; Hair; Complexion; Height; Build;
Employed by;
Financial standing;
Will he support child.
(the consent taker wrote her own remarks)

(This is from my own form;)
Baby for adoption.
M15 Room 8 by window on right hand side. Baby born on .....1966 at 8 20am.

The 3rd Form;

I will try to copy this form and will post it on the blog soon.

From the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital I was able to receive only limited paperwork.
Index Card from baby cot;
Line of Entry of Birth;
Registration of Birth/Death/ illegitimate child.

I was at St Mary's Home Toowong Brisbane.

The only record from there was my admission form.
It was signed by Assistant Matron; M.Roby.
I would be interested to hear if there are any more forms that I am entitled to have now.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Evolution of Adoption Practices in Australia since 1896

As recorded in the Hansard Records of Parliament Debates of both Victorian and W.A. Parliaments.

Original Reasons For Adoption Laws.

The original reason for adoption laws was to place "deserted" children in "good" homes rather than life in institutions:this was seen as a great saving to the State and one to be encouraged.
Legislation was thought necessary so that when children were adopted they could not be taken from the adopters by the natural parents.
The child retained the right to its own name, the name of the adopted father being added "in addition to the proper name of the child."The child was also not deprived of its property rights and continued to be able to inherit from its natural parents.

In 1896 Western Australian Adoption of Children Act was contained in only four pages and it was not untill 1921 that secrecy provisions were introduced at the request of adoptive parents.
They objected strongly to the child retaining its own name and were even refusing to adopt unless the child bore "their name and their name only." (p.811 Hansard. 20thSept.1921) that "the past should be wiped out completely."(p.809) and that the child "shall be bought up as their own child, unemcumbered by any other name whatever." (p.693 Hansard. 8th Sept1921.)The child's right to its Surname was removed in 1921 and to its christian name in 1949.
The State wanted "by every means to encourage the adoption of children" as it was considered "for the benifit of the children themselves as well as for the State." (p.852 Hansard. 21st Sept.1921,)
Amounts were quoted in both States of savings in costs to the State through adoption.In Victoria, in 1928 Mr. Slater quoted from a 1927 report of the State of the N.S.W. Minister for Education (Vol.176.pp.674 of 7th August 1928)that
"As each child would have cost the State for its maintenance 26 pounds per annum, the saving effected to the State for the children adopted is nearly 300,000pounds for 14 years." which he put forward as a reason in favour of the Adoption of Children Act which he was introducing to parlaiment.
A Mr. McFarlane in the Victorian Legislative Assembly on 26th Sept.1928said (Vol.177.pp.1869 Hansard)
The whole object of the bill is to get the adopted child from its natural parents and prevent it from ever going back to them."
In 1921 the W.A. Parliament, again request of the adoptive parents began the closing of the records by proventing the adopted child from obtaining a copy of its own Birth Certificate.This was so the ADULT/CHILD might not find out that it was illegitimate or adopted, if it had not been informed by its adoptive parents.
The Government of the day considered that (pp.811 Hansard.20th Sept.1921.)

"People should be afforded an opportunity to protect the secrecy of the child's origins and to let it appear before the world as though it were their own."

Apart from wishing the child to appear before the world as their own, adoptive parents and politicians also desired to prevent "sticky-beaks" and "busybodies" from searching the records for "malicious purposes." It was for those reasons that provisions were made to close the records.
Prospective in-laws however, were not considered "inquisitive people" comments of the Hon.A.J.H.Saw reflects the attitudes and values of the time (pp.811 Hansard W.A. 20th Sept.1921)

"I maintain that a parent whose son or daughter is engaged to marry one of these people is entitled to know something of that person and whose son or daughter that person happens to be. A child born of vicious, drunken or criminal parents may have been taken into a respectable family and been given the name of the family. In the course of time that child may perhaps want to get married. I do not think anyone of us here would allow a daughter or son to marry such a child if we inquire into the heredity of the child and found out the conditions under which it was born."

One might reasonably ask what about the adoptees right to privacy, no-one spoke about the "paramount importance" of the child in this instance.
So the original reasons for closing the records was secrecy from illegitimacy and from the world and as a consequence the child was eventually deprived of its rightful name and heritage.