Two sculptures were unveiled in Victoria Park to acknowledge the people whose lives have been affected by forced adoption in Australia.
The memorial sculptures have been donated to the Town of Victoria Park by the Association Representing Mother’s Separated from their children by adoption (ARMS), and were funded by the Department of Social Services, through grants from Forced Adoption Support Service (FASS) at Relationships Australia WA.
The unveiling date was also the sixth anniversary of the National Apology for Forced Adoptions.
The sculptures, titled Empty Arms – Broken Lives, will provide a central place in Victoria Park for those who have been affected by Forced Adoptions to visit, reflect and remember.
Manager of FASS Reg Casley said the memorial is an important gift to the community from ARMS, as it stands permanently as a reminder of past adoption practices.
"It makes a statement, asking us as a community to think carefully and to be mindful of the past when considering future laws and practices as a just and compassionate society," Mr Casley said.
ARMS Coordinator Lynne Devine said the unveiling marked an important milestone for those people whose lives were impacted by past practices and policies.
“These sculptures symbolise an acknowledgement of the pain and trauma suffered by all people separated by forced adoption.
“The memorial will provide a central place for them to visit and hopefully to gain comfort, knowing their lifetime of suffering has been recognised and acknowledged,” Ms Devine said.
The Hon. David Templeman MLA, Minister for Local Government, Heritage, Culture and the Arts joined Town of Victoria Park Mayor Trevor Vaughan in unveiling the sculptures at Read Park.
“These sculptures are a poignant reminder and acknowledgement of a deeply traumatic and sad time in our history,” Mr Templeman said.
About the National Apology for Forced Adoption
On 21 March 2013 in the Great Hall at Parliament House Canberra, then Prime Minister Hon Julia Gillard delivered a National Apology to those affected by Forced Adoption and/ or removal practices and policies within Australia. Acknowledging the unjust and often illegal acts used in coercing Mothers to give up babies for adoption (now referred to as “Forced Adoption”) and recognising the ongoing mental suffering and life-long effects on all impacted by adoption.
Validation of past injustices is of great importance to many affected by these adoption practices including Children, Mothers, Fathers, Grandparents, other family members and friends. The full transcript of the speech is available online here.