On Behalf of Mothers in Scotland
Australian Senate Inquiry into “Commonwealth contribution to former forced adoption
policies and practices.”
Marion McMillian: My Story
The world was my oyster in 1963, I was about to leave school and walk into full time employment, courtesy of my beloved cousin, who was manageress of this business, and believe me, full time employment was extremely rare in the small seaside town Stranraer in Dumfries and Galloway, that was my abode then. I was introduced to the company accountant, (my son’s father) who explained the mundane business of tax and national insurance contributions, which I protested at a little. Being so green in the work place, working the long ours proposed for £2 pounds 10/-shillings imperial money, I grumped, the money belonged to me, I worked for it. From that first introduction, greenest as green to forming relationships with the opposite sex, I truly was at that time. I never realised I was being woo’d, by my son’s father. The last thing on my mind was LOVE, I was so full of being independent, wanting to save for all sorts of adventures, and BUYING MY OWN CLOTHES was a real priority, as hand me downs was a country wide practice.
After a period of 5/6 months I finally went out on my first date. I challenge anybody to tell me, falling in love for the first time in life, is not the most wonderful experience, yes the world was beautiful with my rose tinted glasses.
It is now 1966,I am pregnant, on a train, leaving Scotland for this country they call England, I only new through geography at school – banished, broken, terrified — all because I fell in love, in the wrong era, with the wrong man, who was the wrong coluor, and religion. I never saw my son’s father as coloured, I just saw him as this lovely person I had fallen in love with.
I now don the mantle of FUGITIVE, for my sins.
The mother and baby home is far enough away, only means of contact is by letter.
I conjure up in my mind “caring Christians” as it is a Salvation Army Home I am heading for in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, ‘Hopedene’.
Austere is an understatement, you were in a high anxiety state continually. You were never greeted with kindness, indeed if I had been, I would have needed resuscitation, just to hear, “How are you today Marion, and how is YOUR BABY?” Indeed, more times than I care to remember it was, “Are your chores complete, Where are you next working, girl?”. I was addressed as “the scotch girl with the half-caste.”
The bedrooms up in the attic, were freezing, and you got one bath per week, the rest of the time, we all topped and tailed in a communal wash room. No pre-natal care or instruction, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, the food was atrocious, NEVER HAD FRESH FRUIT, vegetables consisted of a spoonful of cabbage or a spoonful of carrot, once or twice a week only, the rest was not fit for human consumption.
We were marched to the Salvation Army temple every Sunday like children, we were made to sit in the penitence forms, where the whole congregation could see us, you would often here the whispers, ‘that poor baby, it does not know what is coming to it’ ‘she looks as if she could drop that baby right know’ yes we were the goldfish in the bowl of GOSSIP.
The full onslaught of labor, not a single painkiller, “OU SUFFER FOR YOUR SIN,” by suffering the whole labour without medication, I was screamed at for coming of the bed when told not to, then caught again and SLAPPED HARD for not doing as I was told. Made to wipe up the mess I had created when the enema decided to evacuate at the bedside instead of the loo, yes nearing delivery wiping up my own mess, with the help of another girl who came to my aid, when the witch from Endor was out of the room.
The two officers at my delivery were as I believe qualified midwives, yet i never received proper aftercare, no before care or aftercare, we only learned from each other. Bearing in mind we never got sex education at school, and believe me, there were NO prenatal classes preparing us for motherhood.
Because of their negligence, I have attended gynecologists, and urologists from 1967 to this very day, with a number of unsuccessful operations, different treatments, medication, but to no avail.
Topping it all, when we young mothers attending local hospital for injections, we were separated from the ordinary patients, I WAS CALLED OUT AS THE SCOTCH GIRL WITH THE ILLEGITIMATE HALF-CASTE, THIS TREATMENT IS INDELIBLE, IT IS THERE CONTINUALLY, in my flashbacks, in my dreams, a never ending abyss of fear and sorrow.
My beautiful baby son was born at 9pm, but the evil two took him from me immediately, and told me I would not see him till tomorrow, I was not even allowed to touch or hold him, It was the longest darkest night of pinning and pain, yet in my soul, i wanted to tell the world I had this beautiful baby, I remember hoping his dad would hear my soul crying for him to come and rescue us from this nightmare, I was trapped in this hell-hole of a place, with no means of escape.
I was removed to a ward for new mum’s, and boy oh boy did my hell begin, I have inverted nipples, and there was no way my son could feed, this sister, did everything in her power to log him onto my breast, resulting in cracked areola, nipples, I was in agony, after a week, I was fed a horrendous amount of a drug named Stilboestrol, 16 per day, for my milk to dry up and start bottle feeding, I became very sick, but you could not be sick there, there as no one to care for you, because of my weak state and not much milk this was resulting in my baby loosing weight, this evil woman, threatened me with exposure to the world’s media, as she believed I was deliberately trying to starve my son, I was just so unwell, I cant write about it anymore.
Babies from 1 week old were fed a teaspoonful of custard or semolina, with the 6pm feed to fatten them up for adoption.
Life continued in this vein, incarceration under a penal servitude regime. My son was three months old, when I was told they had adopters for him and he would be going soon, that struck such fear in me, I just could not believe it, then some days later I was told they would not be taking my son as they wanted a perfect baby and they noticed he had an eye defect.
THIS IS ABSOLUTELY CRIMINAL, all because I fell in love, I can’t get my head round the CRUELTY OF THIS EVIL EXCHANGE THEY CALL ADOPTION.
My baby was getting older, policy only allowed us to be with our babies at feeding time, the rest of the time they were under the care of staff, yet often I heard him crying, he was separated from the newborns, and in a room entirely on his own, with absolutely NO STIMULATION, dark drab grey, and the most awful cot and high chair, torn bed sheets and blankets were his lot, with similar in his pram for when he was put outside. No toys, so I started to knit some, and I knitted three pram sets for him with matinee coasts boots and mitts and hats. I did extra chores for the girls and they paid me 6d, so I bought wool. During my year incarcerated I received 1 letter from my father, I never received 1 single letter from my mother.
Breaking the rules, brought heavy punishment, I broke them often, by sneaking into my babies room to cuddle him and play with him, I had verbal warnings, when I heard the footsteps coming I hid under his cot, I was just 18, still quite green to life, didn’t realise my feet were protruding, caught again,—–BANISHMENT TO THE DOSS HOUSE FOR YOU GIRL. and so I was sent to the doss house they call NORTH ASHFIELD, how can I forget that. You will leave after 8pm, every night, and you will be t up in the nursery for 6pm in the morning, and you will be there till adoption takes place. OH HOW I HATE EVEN SAYING THAT WORD LET ALONE WRITE IT.
Well, well, well girl you will be glad to know we are having a Xmas fare, and there will be potential adopters coming to buy at the fare, so for the few days and nights it takes place, you will take your working clothes of, you dress yourself nicely, and the baby nicely, and look smart.
I was dressed and my son was dressed like a Xmas turkey for the buyers. hey bingo, my son’s adopters saw us, made inquiries, so the ball started rolling, they had a teenage daughter, she came and saw him, and I was told she wanted him for Xmas, but it was explained to her that procedures had to be put in place, meantime you can name “OUR new baby” — which she did: Christopher for he was got for Christ, and Andrew, because his soon to be obsolete mother, was Scottish. How that impacted, seared, affected my whole life: I bloody hate Xmas with a perfect hatred, because when I read the bible, true Christianity shines forth, i never once experienced biblical Christianity the whole time i was there.
Since learning that Pope Gregory the fourth (394 A.D.) chose Christ’s birthday, to be on the 25th December, marrying up with all the pagan festivals (Saturnalia) in Rome at that time, it gives me leverage to show the parallels with Xmas and adoption, THE GREAT BIG LIE, BEARING FALSE WITNESS, that’s what adoption is, my son has a false name, and a false history. As does the birthday of te Lord Jesus Christ, and according to present day Hebrew hstory, they believe Jesus was born around late September early October.
Most people living in the central belt of Scotland and the lowlands are reared in our Bard’s History and poetry, the Bard being “Rabbie Burns.”
”Your baby will be taken for adoption on WEDNESDAY 25th January.” That is Burn Supper Day – How could I ever forget adoption day.
Wee Ode to my son:
”Till awe the seas gang dry,
and the rocks melt way the sun,
you’ll always be my precious wee lamb,
and I will always be your mum’.
Cool, cold ,and calculated: “Now no tears, you are the luckiest girl, your baby is going to a family that has businesses, he will NEVER WANT, HE WILL HAVE A REAL MUM AND DAD TO CARE FOR HIM, and he has a teenage sister to spoil him, you are SO LUCKY GIRL, now go and do your chores with a glad heart.”
I can tell you, to this day, these words ringing in my ears at that time,—–I had a physical pain in the area of my heart, and instantly I had a sickness, I could not eat, they noticed this, and had me shadowed, but even tea was hard to keep down.
I was ushered into this room, and given this new layette to put on my son, it was far away from the main area, so no one could see or hear. THIS WAS ALL BOUGHT CLOTHES FOR MY SON, please let me put these beautiful knitted clothes on, I had a pram set, and a lovely cardigan, DONT BE SO SILLY, HIS PARENTS WANT HIM IN THESE.
My wee lamb, ‘I will love you till awe the seas gang dry, an the rocks melt wae the sun, mummy loves you’ cant let him go.
THE ZOMBIE MODE HAS KICKED IN, I am dying on my feet, I am shaking uncontrollably, my beautiful baby is anxious, what’s up mummy, is what his wee face saying to me please mummy don’t cry, OH GOD, PLEASE GOD, HELP ME, I CANT GO THRU WITH THIS, my baby is nine months old, HE IS MY LIFE,, PLEASE COME AND GET ME HUSSAIN, OUR BABY NEEDS US. I pick up these
leather shoes they have brought for him, I am reduced to my knees, the shoes are made in my home town, BABY DEER SHOES, STRANRAER SCOTLAND. My strength is gone, an angel appears, in the form of any officer, she is from Bonnie Briggs near Edinburgh, and is with me, a real Christian, she weeps with me, she sees my baby so so, so upset at me crying, she holds me, and we weep together, and that’s all I can remember accept I Felt a real physical pain thrust through my heart, and I can tell you it was real, I still could not eat. You need sustenance girl, here’ tea and a biscuit, I don’t want tea and a biscuit, I WANT MY BABY.
I could not sleep, I was shadowed for the next week, then told I could go home after another week, this was to make sure the adopters were happy with MY baby.
HOW BLOODY CRUEL IS THAT. That week, weak though, I am, their policy to keep me busy, then I would not think about recent events. You see to them we were these teenage girls with no feelings no soul, and our babies being taken from us, we would get over it, get on with life, just at the drop of a hat, as if we were programmed to be like a block of ice.
I had to wash down walls, and paintwork throughout the officer’ quarters, and I can tell you, every moment I could hear my baby cry, I new all his little idiosyncrasy’s I could feel him, smell him, and throughout the separated years, my nightmares were my baby standing up in the cot, his arms outstretched for me to pick him up, and when I reach for him, he disappears, they are as vivid today as they were 44 years ago.
This is Scotland and the U.K. 44 years ago, a heartless place for unmarried mothers,
— he so called Church has failed us miserably, yet they made great profit from selling our babies, when I look at the story of David and Bathsheba, I look at the woman
taken in adultery, I look at the two mothers before King Solomon, and I read Psalm 51, and Psalm147 verse 3, (I will heal your broken heart, and bind up your wounded soul) I see what true forgiveness, and what real caring is, in these verses.
I return home, to be told by my mother, “Don’t unpack your suitcase, you will be off in a day or so. YOU CAN NEVER LIVE AT HOME EVER AGAIN.” “You make your own way in life now, go as far away from here as possible, you take this secret to the grave, YOU NEVER TELL A LIVING SOUL ABOUT THIS.”
I am beyond pain now, beyond feeling, death would be such a comfort, my father walks with me to the bus station, I head for the first bus to Glasgow, I am there within five hours, I end up in a woman’ hostel, Is this really happening, all this punishment, because I fell in love? All because i fell in love. How can this be, how could no one take me and my baby? Where were our legal rights? Where was our welfare rights? Where was our human rights? Never once did i see a solicitor, who would tell me what my entitlements were.
Never in the history of the human race, has a act as cruel as adoption, been truly scrutinized, adoption, to me is the worst transaction in the history of the human race, and it should be banished to the annuls of history.
Suicidal, sacked from my first two jobs in Glasgow, for crying at work, I locked myself away in my room in the hostel, I attended the doctors for stomach pains, he told me I was wound up like a cork screw, and gave me antidepressants, I suffered all my life with ulcers, and now have a cluster of polyps, also severe IBS, and nervous anxiety, with a few real anxiety attacks, i become anorexic, lost quite a bit of weight, but am brought back from that dark abyss. Mogadon and Valium have become my friends to help me make it thru, another day.
The doctors don’t want to know. PTSD is eternal with mothers of loss to adoption. But here in Scotland there is no help for mothers unless you pay to go private.
I live daily with A LIVING BEREAVMENT, it truly is a bottomless abyss of sorrow.