Coercion

17th January 2012

The Baby Scoop Era is hardly a period of social history that will be remembered in a good light. So many mothers lost their babies to adoption for no better reason that society wouldn’t accept young, single mothers could be good mothers. It was something to be ashamed off, brushed under the carpet and for these young mothers to get on with their lives as if nothing had happened.

It started after World War II and ended in the 1970′s with Roe v Wade being a part of this. Millions of mothers in Canada and the USA alone were separated from their babies. In Australia and the UK thousands of mothers were also separated from their babies.


Illegitimacy was frowned upon and society influenced by social work thought the large majority of unmarried mothers were made better off being separated by adoption from their new born babies. Mothers were made to feel that adoption was the only option, that they didn’t have a choice.

Social pressures that led to unmarried pregnant white girls and women believing the main chance for attaining home and marriage rested on their acknowledging their shame and guilt. This included required relinquishing of their children.

There was a decline in infant adoptions beginning in the early 1970s, which also partially resulted from social and legal changes that enabled mothers to choose single motherhood.

In the UK mothers started getting more support from their families and were told what their rights were. Abortions have been legal since 1967 in the UK but it wasn’t until the early 1970′s that attitudes started to change. However ways of coercing mothers into surrendering their babies changed. From my own experience I was told I would be selfish to raise my son. I was also threatened with being made homeless, that I wouldn’t be able to rent a home, I would lose my job because I was homeless. Constantly I was told I wouldn’t receive benefits because I intentionally lost my job and I wouldn’t be able to get social housing. I believed everything I was told because this was coming from people I trusted. It never occurred to me they could be lying.

Coercion still goes on with adoption being made out to be so wonderful for everybody involved.

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About Philippa

I am married to Rick and we live in a small town in County Durham. We have two dogs, a cat and two budgies. I am also an adoption survivor. In 1981 my son was born and I was then forced to surrender him. It took 23 years and reunion for my to find out that my son's adoption was legally known as a forced adoption and illegal but social workers got away with it because mothers didn't know their rights.
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