12th February 2012
Coerce, coerced, coercing, coerces:
1. To force to act or think in a certain way by use of pressure, threats, or intimidation; compel.
2. To dominate, restrain, or control forcibly: coerced the strikers into compliance.
3. To bring about by force or threat: efforts to coerce agreement.
Relinquish, relinquished, relinquishing, relinquishes:
1. To retire from; give up or abandon.
2. To put aside or desist from (something practiced, professed, or intended).
3. To let go; surrender.
4. To cease holding physically; release
People find it hard to belief coerced adoption ever happened and that surrendering mothers use it as an excuse. Unless someone has experienced coercion first hand it is very difficult to understand how it could happen. It is widely thought that if a mother says she was coerced into surrendering then she must have really wanted to surrender then blames everybody else as a way of dealing with guilt and regret.
In reality mothers didn’t have a say particularly from the 1940’s through to the 1970’s. Coercion still happens today but not to the extent it did then and the tactics are more subtle. I have heard of some awful stories of mothers who were drugged during and after childbirth then signing the necessary paperwork whilst still drugged. Other stories I have heard the mothers were told their babies had died then being found many years later by their adult children. I was blatantly bullied and lied to and I have got to know other mothers who weren’t given a choice either. We are all intelligent women which is one of the reasons why people find it hard to believe us.
I have often wondered what the statistics are for coerced adoption in the UK alone. It would be hard to get an accurate figure as many mothers aren’t willing to talk about their experiences especially older mothers.