51:23 | News and current affairs
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Insight

SBS

What happened to the fathers who had no say in forced adoption? The father's voice has often been ignored in the adoption process. Before the 1980s it was even common practise to omit the father's name from the birth certificate, leaving the father and his biological children on an uphill battle if they ever wanted to make contact. Although practises have changed, the scars remain and the ramifications are still being felt for many fathers and their children today. Gary Boyce's girlfriend, Jane, fell pregnant unexpectedly in 1972 when he was just 18 and she was 17. Jane's parents took matters into their own hands, preventing Gary from seeing her and making Jane give the child up for adoption. Gary was completely cut out of the process and had no say in what happened. The weight of it all caused Gary and Jane to split, and Gary has carried the guilt of what happened throughout his life. Paul Jennings was only 14 when his girlfriend became pregnant. Far too young to appreciate what was going on, he felt as though the whole situation wasn't real. He kept the news from his parents and his girlfriend was sent away to have the baby. Eight years ago Paul reached out to a post adoption support agency to find his son. We rightly hear a good deal about the mothers' experience in these situations, but what about the fathers? Attitudes and policies have changed over the years to incorporate the father's voices, but scars remain from the years in which they were left disempowered and disenfranchised. Even reunification today does not always heal them.

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