A BALLARAT man whose mother was forced to give him up at just six weeks of age has welcomed the Victorian government’s decision to apologise to those affected by past adoption practices.
The apology will be made in the State Parliament on October 25 and will be aimed in particular at women affected between 1950s to 1970s.
Murray Legro, who only found out his true identity when he was 34-years-old, said he was happy to receive the apology.
Yesterday, Mr Legro told The Courier the government’s apology was a validation for all the mothers, fathers and children involved.
“I will be thinking of my mother,” Mr Legro said. “All apologies to me are vindicating that our parents paid a terrible price for the actions of the past.”
Forced adoption is defined as the situation where mothers were compelled to relinquish their babies for adoption.
A Commonwealth Senate Committee inquiry tabled in February this year found that as many as 250,000 babies were relinquished in Australia from the 1950s to the 1970s, and that the emotional damage has been substantial
Mr Legro said the government should also not ignore women in the 1920s who were forced to adopt.
He said the apology should be followed up by adequate support services for those affected.
Mr Legro is a member of the Melbourne-based organisation VANISH, a state government funded organisation for those with a personal experience of separation from their original families.
The 62-year-old is also behind a push to start a Ballarat support group for those affected by adoption.
“We need to find funding – about $1200 for 12 months – for a professional counsellor to facilitate the Ballarat Post Adoption and Donor Conceived Group,” Mr Legro said.
“I come across at least one person a week who is adopted.
“There are a lot more people in the Ballarat area who are adopted than what you think.”
A Victorian government spokesperson said the formal apology was still under development and it will respond to the other committee recommendations in association with the formal apology.
For information visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ballarat-Post-Adoption-Donor-Conceived-Group/475969655763240 or call Murray Legro on 0417 573 941.