Nun’s Habits in Spain
It started with a whisper in Spain. A Catholic nun was charged for the first time with abducting a baby from an unwed mother which was sold to a childless couple. Sister Maria Gomez Valbuena told the mother that the baby had died at first, later admitting that it had been adopted. There had been whispers before in Quebec in the 1930-1970s with thousands of French Canadian babies being taken from their single mothers who were coerced into signing releases, often while still under the effects of anesthetics or immediately after childbirth. Many young girls were told that their baby had died but that they couldn’t see the body. When it happened in Quebec, over half a century ago, the power of the church swept the atrocity under the carpet. In this day and age, it’s much harder to hide such shocking news.
The UK Daily News reports that the case in Italy is strong.
Mr Moreno’s ‘father’ confessed on his deathbed to having bought him as a baby from a priest in Zaragoza in northern Spain.
He told his son he had been accompanied on the trip by Mr Barroso’s parents, who bought Antonio at the same time for 200,000 pesetas – a huge sum at the time.
During the investigation, some of the babies’ graves were exhumed. Some graves were empty but others had animal or even adult bones. One wonders who’s grave was desicrated to obtain the human bones.
Australia, Quebec and Beyond
The mother and child in this case were very lucky. According to the Herald Sun out of Australia, they were reunited a decade ago when her daughter was ten years old. Many parents are afraid or ashamed to look. Many adoptees don’t even know they are adopted. Others spend a lifetime looking and never find their birth parents. Whether an adoptive family was a good match or a bad one, whether the child got the best of everything or scrabbled in the dirt playing with sticks, everyone deserves to know where they came from. And they should have the right to look in the faces of relatives and know that they belong.
Now Dan Rather has sent journalist investigators to look into the story. In a hard hitting news story titled, “Adopted or abducted?” Mr. Rathers reports:
From Australia to Spain, Ireland to America, and as recent as 1987, young mothers say they were “coerced”, “manipulated”, and “duped” into handing over their babies for adoption. These women say sometimes their parents forged consent documents, but more often they say these forced adoptions were coordinated by the people their families trusted most…priests, nuns, social workers, nurses or doctors.
In February of 2012 the Australian Parliment released the results of an 18 month investigation into charges of child abduction in immoral and illicit practices in the child adoption business. The parliments report revealed:
.. illegal and unethical tactics used to convince young, unmarried mothers to surrender their babies to adoptive homes from the late 1940s to the 1980s.
The story reveals that Australian Senator Rachel Siewert who headed the government investigation claimed that there was mostly testimony from people ‘associated’ with Catholic institutions.Siewert stated that:
In some cases, mothers in Australia were drugged and forced to sign papers relinquishing custody. In others, women were told their children had died. Single mothers also did not have access to the financial support given to widows or abandoned wives, and many were told by doctors, nurses, and social workers that they were unfit to raise a child.
Siewert went on to point out that these practices were worldwide. I can only speculate that they heard a lot of evidence from the nuns and priests that indicated this was a standard practice around the world but especially in the UK, Ireland, US and Canada. Siewert said:
It wouldn’t surprise me to hear the same thing happened elsewhere,” continues Siewert, “…the U.K., the U.S., Canada and Ireland. So you could, I think, expect that those countries also had these sorts of practices.”
In Australia, the practice wes called ‘rapid adoption’ and if a married woman had a baby who was stillborn she would be offered a baby taken from a single mother. When paperwork was actually obtained, it was often passed off as permission to baptise the supposedly dead infant. Often the signature was just forged with no attempt at obtaining a legal signature. One woman, Valerie Linlow, thought her son was stillborn until he knocked at her door 30 years later.
The whispers heard round the world are now coming back to implicate those in Quebec whose rotting pile of lies that lay moldering under those rugs for the last seven decades are finally starting to stink enough that they can’t be ignored. Tony Merchant, a high profile Quebec Lawyer, told the Montreal Gazette
“The beliefs the Catholic Church (in Quebec) had about premarital sex and the judgmental approach the church had, made it particularly aggressive in pressuring women into putting their children up for adoption.”
Mr Merchant’s law firm, is bringing a class action lawsuit against the Catholic Church charging them with kidnapping, fraud and coercion. Unwed mother’s were often coerced to sign release forms without being informed they had the right to keep their newborn babies. Over 200 women have joined in the lawsuit before the lawsuit even came to the public’s attention. The National Post published the first of a series of articles on the systemic corruption behind the kidnapping ring on March 24th, 2012. According to their reporter, Kathryn Blaze Carlson, in an article titled, Your baby is dead: Mothers say their supposedly stillborn babies were stolen from them. :
Valerie Andrews, who was forced to give up her child as a teenager, studied Statistics Canada data on illegitimate births from 1945 to 1973 and estimates 350,000 unmarried Canadian mothers were persuaded or forced into adoption.
Profiting from Loss
The mothers were told their babies were dead to stop them from looking for their children. If you know that you have to tell that kind of horrendous lie to stop a mother from looking for her child, how can you hide behind the idea that you thought you were doing what was best? Especially in light of the fact that there was always an exchange of money for the baby, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars in 1950s money that went into the church’s coffers. Any institution which doesn’t have to declare where it’s income is from can get away with anything.
In her 2011 book, The Traffic in Babies: Cross Border Adoption and Baby-Selling Between the United States and Canada, 1930-1972, McMaster University professor Karen Balcom wrote that in Nova Scotia there were “numerous examples of birth mothers who were falsely told that their children were dead so they would not interfere in adoption placements.”
And it’s not just mothers whose rights were violated. The fathers were rarely, if ever contacted for consent. The church wouldn’t want to embarrass it’s male patrons nor run the risk that they would want their child and refuse the lucrative adoption.
In addition, in Quebec children were often adopted across to Jewish couples in the US with paperwork claiming the child was born of Jews. Just another lucrative lie. And, of course, no one ever talks about the rights of the children to know who they are. The rights of siblings to know each other. The harsh handicap of having no family medical history. The half century of child abduction by the church and others has caused even legitimate adoptions to be questioned. How can an adoptee not wonder if their parent is out there looking for them, or out there mourning them. Everyone who ever had a stillborn baby must now wonder if their child is out there somewhere, looking for a way to come home.
Finding the Way Home–DNA
Much of the paperwork was destroyed and even more of it was manufactured. Often the only way to find out who you really are is DNA testing and even at that, the testing companies are lagging far behind the science and even further behind the need and desires of their customers. Both 23andMe and FTDNA have a ways to go to meet the needs of those seeking to find their families. But in light of these tales of horror that finally being exposed, they simply must step up their efforts to help those that have been lied to, abducted and sold. In my view, the governments of these countries needs to offer free DNA testing for anyone seeking to find their family and to work with the top genetics companies out there to develop a network of interwoven databases comparing adoptees and birth parents across companies and borders. It’s simply the right thing to do.
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