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A Daughter so Precious

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Origins Inc.

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A Daughter So Precious.

My defacto husband and I aged 21 and 18 respectively had planned to keep our child. The year was 1966, our baby born Feb '67. I'd sworn I'd never be in this situation, but as fate would have it, the cards fell the wrong way and here I was, totally alone in this strange country, Australia, with no family at all. When I met him, it was love at first sight. He had been separated for 3 months from his wife, whom he'd married to "do the right thing". The marriage hadn't worked out and as was the law at the time we had to wait 5 years for his divorce to come through. We had nothing but each other when I found myself with child. We prayed that the child I was carrying would be a daughter.

I could have had an abortion at 2 months but we decided not to. We would keep our child. Because of our lack of finances, when I booked into the Hospital, Crown St, the Social Worker raised the issue of adoption. SHE talked of adoption, but I was keeping my baby. I already had a lovely chrome and white bassinet with mattress and pillow with sheets and covers I had made. I had already purchased and was given baby clothes. As the pregnancy progressed I became very sick with kidney trouble and toxemia. Finally our special daughter arrived on Feb 8th '67. I knew from birth that there was something seriously wrong with her as she was born blue black.

A pillow had been shoved in front of my face so I couldn't see her. Then, because of the previous talk of adoption with a Social Worker I was simply shunted off to a convalescent home annexed to the hospital within hours of her birth. I had been given no choice or warning - I was by now across town and far away from my precious baby. I thought I'd go mad - out of my mind, but my husbands sad reactions made me be strong for his sake. I didn't know what to do. I was right, our daughter had a hole in her heart that wouldn't close and it was viewed as very serious. (They couldn't tell me if she would live or die). She had other complications. The next two days were a nightmare. I was being advised that in order for my daughter to receive the appropriate treatment I would have to sign wardship papers along with adoption papers in order to cover medical costs which we were unable to afford ourselves. I couldn't eat for days - it was a nightmare.

I agreed to wardship papers to cover the costs of bringing her back to health and was told I would have to sign adoption papers as well or it would be considered that I'd be abandoning my child. So to save her life I had to give her up. I was numb, I felt as if I was dying. I kept saying "this isn't real - please don't let this be real". Signing myself out of hospital after the 2 days, the Matron began threatening me with police action of I didn't return on the 5th day to sign those wretched adoption papers. It all happened within 2 days, all the time my arms ached for my daughter - they physically ached.

I walked down the street in a daze, with a girlfriend, looking behind me, wondering if the police would come and get me. That weekend was a daze of grief. I wept till there were no more tears and "V" cried with me, I kept asking 'How could all this be happening? ". The bassinet was still up, ready for the baby and I kept making the bed up and remaking it as if she was in it. In the end "V" took it downstairs and put it out of sight. I am unable to recall much of that weekend except the empty disbelief and the questions screaming themselves out - "How could this be - it's not real". I looked at people and my head was pleading with them to "help me get my baby back". I cried until my pillow was soaking. "Please! Please! No! No! No! - I Want my baby! Please someone, Anyone help me! Someone! Anyone! - Somehow!"

But too soon that Monday came around. The 5th day. The day I had agreed under pressure to sign the adoption papers. We went to the hospital and saw our "special daughter". I looked at her as if I couldn't see enough of her and tried to imprint the memory of her beautiful face into my mind. Then we turned to leave. The Social Worker and "V" had to drag me out. I was so numb and in shock I just kept walking the wrong way - wrong turns -. It was all so unreal, like being down a funnel. It still is.

"V" had to get to work while I had to find my way back to Wakehurst at Waverley to sign the adoption papers. I got off the bus. The walk to the office was like walking to the gallows. In this daze - haze - I sat while the Social Worker went over respective details of the adoption papers. All the words like a death sentence - yet without meaning. I was losing my baby. There was no choice or chance, no option available. There was nothing else we could do. I had to sign her away because of her medical condition, it was the only way she would get the treatment she needed. I had to, otherwise I'd be in trouble with the police, as the Matron threatened. A part of me died then. Every fibre of my body was screaming out to me No! No! Don't sign, You mustn't sign! But I had to, or so I was led to believe. The world was spinning and nothing was real anymore. I couldn't even fill in the religion or other particulars. The Social Worker crossed it for me. Then my hand signed.

I had 30 days to win the lottery or come up with some other miracle to pay her medical costs which would allow me to get her back, and I walked out of there in the same trance in which I had entered. I wanted to die - "Why don't I die? - I am dead" But my traitorous heart kept beating so I went on living. My precious little girl was gone - GONE! . No-one who knew me tried to help me or seemed to even care. My baby was gone! "No, not like this please" as I begged the empty streets, the empty air, but I kept on living.

How can I tell you how, if it were physically possible my heart would have bled, or burst with the strain and so much pain and with no-one to turn to.

No-one - Too much for a young 18 year old to endure alone in a big country. And as I found out over these miserable years, it could have all been avoided. All I needed to be able to keep my precious daughter, was to know my rights. To have been offered assistance. To have been given a choice instead of nothings and threats and lies and withholding of my rights to the knowledge that could have helped me.

May God protect those who have done or contributed toward any of this.

Footnote; The woman in this article discovered her rights within the following year and took the State of N.S.W. to court to regain possession of her child. The case took 5 years and she and "V" in 1973, were awarded her child to be returned as the adoption was deemed illegal and, it was also deemed to be in the childs best interest to be returned to its real mother. The adoptive mother who was by now a widow with 3 other adopted children appealed the decision and the Appeals Court allowed the child to remain with her adopter as the child had established a rapport with this person.  

Email:   Lily


Copyright Dian Wellfare, Origins Inc, 1995