‘Room went black, she was gone’: Canadian forced adoption mom tells RT how her baby was taken
Over 300,000 mothers are believed to have been impacted by Canada’s draconian adoption laws between the 1940s and 1970s. They saw unwed women being forced to give their babies up for adoption to traditional families. Some were told to “get a puppy to cuddle” instead.
Hanne Andersen told RT she was impregnated at the age of 15 after being allegedly raped. Yet authorities failed to assess her case thoroughly.
“There was no conversation with me about how I got pregnant, all they cared about was the fact that I got pregnant and that I had a baby that they could take,” Andersen told RT.
She said her parents were induced to sign over her daughter’s custody as they were immigrants from Europe who “believed they would get deported if they didn’t follow what the government wanted.”
Unmarried women were housed in government-funded “maternity homes” managed by mainstream religious orders in the three decades following the Second World War. Most of them left the houses without their babies as the adoption rate was 96 percent at the time, compared to a mere two percent today.
Andersen said she had to ask three times before they allowed her to see her baby girl once she was born.
“I had to yell ‘bring me my baby now’.
“And then the nurse stopped, looked at the doctor for permission and I was quite surprised the nurse had to ask for permission for me to hold my own daughter since I’m her legal guardian, ” Andersen recalls.
She claims she was drugged up and given lactation suppressants when they took her daughter from her.
“I had my daughter in my arms and then the room went black and I started to pass out and then they took her away from me,” she said.
Monica Byrne, mother and director of Parent Finders described the sort of rhetoric forced adoption victims were fed.
“’You will forget the child. Go home, get married and have other children, or, if not get a puppy to cuddle.’
“That is what I was told. ‘Get a puppy.’”
Andersen did not see her child again for 23 years. It was thanks to her daughter reaching out to her that the two met again. But Andersen said it took them six months to build a relationship.
“She needed to feel safe because our children were told there was something wrong with us. They were told an alternate story that we were drug addicts, prostitutes,” she explained.
A report in July authored by the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs calls for the government to issue apologies and reparations over a policy that “may have been a product of the times, but was cruel, nonetheless, from any perspective.”
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