From the 1930s until the early 1980s, Australia practiced forced adoption for unwed mothers, a period referred to as the white stolen generation. Due to the stigma during the time for children born out of wedlock, some Australian hospitals believed that these children would be better off being placed with married couples. Single women were often drugged to force their signatures on adoption agreements or were deceived and told that their babies had died. The exact number of forced adoptions for unwed mothers during this time is not known, but there are estimates of as many as 250,000. In 2010, the first government apology was given by West Australian officials, and in 2013, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard issued an apology on behalf of the country as a whole.
More about adoption in Australia:
- The number of annual adoptions in Australia reached its peak at almost 10,000 in 1972.
- In the 1960s, 60% of all unwed mothers in Australia are estimated to have given their children up for adoption.
- The Australian government pledged the equivalent of $11.5 million US Dollars for the victims of forced adoption.