Anguish remains despite apology

FRAMED memories of family moments adorn the walls of Lily Arthur's home in Fairfield West.

The pictures follow her children's lives from birth to adulthood.

But at the other end of her house there's an unfamiliar face.

It's the photo of Ms Arthur's son, whom she met for the first time 30 years after giving birth in 1967.

That was 30 years of lost memories due to forced adoption practices.

She was a 17-year-old single mother when giving birth.

Since becoming a victim of these "breaches of basic human rights", Ms Arthur has been fighting for justice.

So why did she reject the apology?

As the co-ordinator of adoption support group Origins Australia, Ms Arthur questioned the apology's sincerity.

"They [state government] had a two-hour consultation on this 'historic moment'," she said.

To rub salt into the wound, the government granted $900,000 to an organisation associated with forced adoptions.

The Post Adoption Resource Centre (PARC) is government funded and run by the Benevolent Society, which has apologised for its role in forced adoptions.

"That was another slap across the face," Ms Arthur said.

"It's like going back to your abuser for support. It's like going back to your rapist for a pap-smear test."

Pru Goward, the Minister for Family, Community Services and Women, defended the decision.

"PARC was established several years ago and with robust systems and infrastructure in place, as well as qualified staff, is best placed to expand its counselling, information and support services for adoptees, birth parents and adoptive parents," Ms Goward said.

"The apology was overwhelmingly embraced by hundreds of people."

But the apology has left victims like Ms Arthur "retraumatised".

"If an apology was going to be given, it had to be done properly," she said.

Ms Arthur is consulting the federal government and said a "proper" apology would take place early next year.

To join the Origins NSW support group: 9604 9352.

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