At the beginning of the Nine Network’s Love Child series, we called out for your own Love Child stories about the reality of forced adoption in Australia, and we received an overwhelming response.
Tonight is the final episode of season one, airing at 8:50pm AEST.
As the series is drawing to a close, we thought we would revisit your stories and share them once more. What many of you lived through was grossly unjust, but you have risen above your challenging past and have reconnected with your children or have gone on to help other women facing the same reality.
No one will love you like a mother loves you, and for so many people, they never had a chance to live with this love.
So here are your real Love Child stories, as you have shared them with the Starts at Sixty community over the past eight weeks…
I was 16 and my boyfriend was in the army. We lived out of town on a property owned by friends of my parents. When I realised I was pregnant, I was terrified. I didn’t tell my mother for ages.
When I did eventually confront her, mum took me to our family doctor and Dad went to talk to my boyfriend and his parents asking him to marry me.
They refused to allow us to marry so Dad decided to was best to send me to Sydney to stay there and work throughout the pregnancy. I remember him screaming not to come home ever, especially with a baby. I had no support, no love and was discarded like a dog.
The treatment by the doctors and the rest of society was appalling back then. If you were under 21 you were still under your parents responsibility and control so you had no rights especially in this situation. The saddest part was that when I went to Sydney my parents signed my baby away. I carried out the pregnancy and after going into labour at St Margaret’s Hospital I saw a little red screaming face, dark hair and a dimpled chin. Shortly after my glimpse of the baby, I had a pillow pushed on my face and was told not to look at the baby because “he has nothing to do with you.
My heart was broken and I was in so much shock. At the time of writing this I have tears blurring my eyes even years after it happened… It is still too painful.
My father took me on a holiday to a Butlins holiday camp. Whilst he was out with his female friends I was raped. Lucky or not lucky, I knew who he was and what his first name was as I had heard his friends calling him this. I may have been flirty but I did not deserve what I got.
My father beat me half senseless, probably trying to get rid of the baby. My mother found out much later, but she would never have stood up to my father. They were separated and she was afraid of his violence.
The baby’s father admitted what he’d done. Probably because raping a minor was let off by the courts with just a warning.
My father told me we were going to see specialist to confirm the pregnancy and the next week he told me I was going into hospital for a test, as I was 18 weeks, just to be sure the baby was okay, and I was okay to carry it. That afternoon they drew fluid from my stomach, “just for a test,” and replaced it with what I know now was salt water, but they told me, “If we take some out we have to replace it don’t we…”
All seemed well until the middle of the night. I wet the bed and was so embarrassed. I still didn’t get it. The next morning the pain started and went on for around 36 hours, I still didn’t get it, I just thought I was sick. I felt ill and asked for a bedpan, before I knew it something came out into my hands and that’s when I knew. I just screamed and vomited.
The aftermath of what happened was awful. Two months later I had been living on my own away from my father and I attempted to commit suicide. Fortunately I failed but I was living with no respect for my own health or safety. I had the mindset that I was worthless and just wanted to die.
I eventually was able to recollect and refocus myself. I thought that the only way to get over this was to replace what I’d lost. I went on a holiday far away. I met a very nice man and fell pregnant to him. He was my saviour and we married two months from the day we met.
We were married for 41 years before he passed away from cancer. We have five lovely daughters and 15 beautiful grandchildren. He never really understood my compulsion with the one I lost, no one does. Only I bear the grief.
Since watching “Love Child”,” Philomena” and reading the heartache of other women who were forced to give up their babies for adoption in the 1960s and 1970s, I believe the decision I made at the age of 18, was the right one for me, despite being very difficult.
It was 1971 and I missed my period twice. The weeks that followed put me on an emotional rollercoaster.
I made an appointment at the Queen Victoria Hospital in Melbourne to be checked. I was very frightened as this was my first pelvic examination. The examination revealed I was eight weeks pregnant and god forbid an unwed mother. I was forced to see a Social Worker that day, who advised me to go home, tell my parents and that I would give the baby up for adoption. I was terrified and ashamed of what my parents would think, plus my family and friends. I did not want to bring more shame to the family as my older sister “had to get married”. This was not what I wanted.
I left the hospital fearful and in tears and told my boyfriend it was confirmed, I was pregnant. I couldn’t stop sobbing. I sobbed at work, I sobbed on the train. I sobbed in my sleep. Even going for a leisurely drive. Even if the Holly’s hit song, “Too Young to be Married”, would come on the radio. I couldn’t get away from it. I was running scared and ashamed.
A month later I attended my routine check up at the Queen Vic and was forced to speak to the Social Worker again. I came out of the room in tears. This time a nurse who had attended to me earlier said, “You know there is another way ” and she handed me a piece of paper with the name and telephone of a private Specialist obstetrician and gyaenacologist. I believe this nurse did me the greatest justice. She had given me the name of a doctor who could help me so I didn’t have to go through with the unwanted pregnancy and give up my baby. The doctor’s private rooms were on St.Kilda Road in Melbourne. They were very clean and sterile with nurses and an anesthetist onboard. I was advised I needed to visit two GP’s to get reports of my mental condition. I paid $20.00 to each GP (this was quite a lot at the time). The cost of the procedure was $450.00 paid in cash. The Specialist gave me a six month prescription for the pill as he didn’t want to see me in this predicament again.
I went home relieved, I had taken control of my life. I did not have to give up my unborn baby to a stranger and I never had to go through the anguish for the rest of my life and wonder, “where is my baby”?
I was married in 1977 and was blessed with the birth of Identical twin boys in 1980.
When I first started watching Love Child it has caused all kinds of emotions to come up because I have kept them hidden for so many years. The first episode was very harrowing to watch and have now been seeing a counsellor. They have encouraged me to tell my story to help my recovery…
The funny thing is about the show is that it has evoked such vivid memories, Russell Morris and the songs, protesting against Vietnam it even brings back smells of the era.
When I was 16 I was raped. I can’t actually remember the incident and have blocked the pain out of my mind.
Then seven months later I went and saw a doctor because I was not getting my periods and found out I was pregnant. I just remember mum saying “what are we going to do”. I was sent me away to live with my aunt and uncle. We lived in a close community and mum was ashamed.
When the time came to have the baby my Aunt and Uncle took me to the hospital. Mum came too and just stood beside me and just looked at me. I recall when the baby was delivered the nurse put her hand over my eyes so I could not see my baby and said, “it is better not to look dear”. I was sent home two days later.
Twelve years on I tried to find my child, but found nothing. Then I tried again when she would have been fifteen. I was lucky to go through Jigsaw, which is an agency that helps find adopted children in Hobart, and had a particularly wonderful woman who helped me. I wrote a letter to my daughter’s adopted mother and received a message back that my daughter wanted to meet me. So on her 15thbirthday we met and had high tea.
It was an incredibly emotional day and had so many presents to give her from over the years. For 15 years, every year I went through hell for her birthday. I didn’t know if she was alive, or in a happy and stable home, or what had happened to her, and I didn’t know if she was a boy or a girl.
Today, it is wonderful. We have remained close and my daughter calls me mum and I am a grandmother to her son. I am sick of being a victim and refuse to be so anymore. I am so happy that my daughter is now part of my life and I am a big part of hers, as well as my grandson’s. It has been a rocky journey to get here but so blessed and I am working every day to get stronger and stronger.
I was actually a love child baby. I found out when I was 11 that I was adopted. Then when I was around 35 I thought I would like to find out who my parents were. I was interested to find out who she was, let her know I was okay, that I had a wonderful upbringing and great opportunities in life.
I found my mother and discovered that she had had four other children after me. They had a very different upbringing and were not as fortunate. I never called my birth mother, mum and did not have any real feelings for her. When I found her she was in her 60s and more of an old lady and we did not have any real connection.
I was lucky to have a really good relationship with my adopted parents. I was brought up well and had a much better life than my natural mother’s children did. My birth mother had a hard life and ended up being an alcoholic, smoked too much and died of emphysema. I know that some adoptions don’t work out but I feel very fortunate to have been adopted into a good home.
I was born in 1948 in those days it was a definite no-no to have a baby out of wedlock. I was told I was adopted when I was around six and remember all the neighbourhood kids giving me grief about it.
I found my mother in 1999 as I always told my adopted parents I would never get serious about it while they were still alive out of respect for them. When they passed they had a safety deposit box for me with all the adoption papers.
To start my search I went through Vanish (Victorian adoption agency) I had my mothers name and just started searching. I finally found an address and was told by the agency to write a letter first. I didn’t and called. On the phone I said my birthdate and asked if it meant anything and we both broke down. After that I called ever Saturday night for a couple of months. Then finally we decided to meet.
A kind neighbour who had heard the story bought her a plane ticket to Sydney to meet me. We kept chatting every Saturday night then met up again a couple of years later when she spent Christmas with us. I found out my mother actually ended up marrying my father after all. She had a daughter and two sons but she never told them I existed.
Unfortunately, as things go I said something I shouldn’t have and my mum and I stopped talking. After we went our separate ways and never got the chance to say sorry. She passed away a couple of years later. I am sure that she knows that I am sorry and really feel for the heartache she must of felt.
Do you have a Love Child story? Do you have a message to give to the past, present and future women who face this reality? Share it with us today…