Adoption similar to a death
After their babies were taken mothers were left to get on with their lives as best they could, though it was known, at least as early as 1961 (Gough), that they would need to mourn their babies just as though they had lost them by death. This was acknowledged by Sister Borromeo in the Australian Journal of Social Work in 1968, and others wrote about the need for mothers to have support after their babies had been adopted, but this didn’t happen.
At the Fifth Australian Adoption Conference in Sydney in 1994, the former director of the Catholic Adoption Agency stated that their understanding of adoption was based on available research knowledge, in what she described as sacred texts written by a small number of people including Jane Rowe. Apparently they neglected to read what Rowe wrote in 1966: “Always, after physical separation and legal formalities are complete, there has to be a period of mourning and adjustment. Separation must always be unnatural and painful and the pain must be recognized, accepted and expressed.” Rowe also wrote that it would certainly seem very poor general practice to have women giving up babies they have never seen, perhaps being haunted for years by fears that the child was abnormal or deformed, denied the full experience of motherhood, feeling cheated and guilty.”