Compass forced adoption services

Relationships Australia Victoria’s Compass Forced Adoption Support Services provide free and confidential emotional and practical support, including with adoption-related issues and how they have affected you, record searching and reuniting with family members.

Our services are available to anyone affected by forced adoption, including mothers, fathers, adopted individuals and other family members. You don’t have to know what kind of help you need when you contact us – we’ll work with you to help you decide what can best support you.

If you’re unsure whether you’re affected by forced adoption or are part of the Stolen Generations, we encourage you to contact us. If our service is not appropriate for you, we’ll support you by providing a referral to other relevant services.

We know that it can often be difficult to talk about your experience of forced adoption, and it’s common for people affected by forced adoption to feel that they cannot speak about what happened to them. Compass is a confidential service and it will always be your decision as to what you want to share.

Compass Coordinator, Emily Hanscamp, said that the service has supported many people to talk about what’s happened to them, often for the first time in decades, and decide how to move forward.

“One of our clients, Elaine, age 71, came to us in 2016 seeking information and support with her decision to reunite with her son, who was forcibly adopted after Elaine became pregnant at the age of 22,” Emily said.

“Elaine was sent to a Catholic-run home for unwed mothers in New South Wales by her mother, and when her son, Trevor Junior, was born, nurses covered Elaine’s face so she couldn’t see him and he was quickly taken away.

“Before and after the birth, Elaine tried to talk to staff about keeping or seeing Trevor Junior, and expressed that she didn’t want to adopt her baby out.

“However, she felt as though that she wasn’t listened to, and she says her GP responded angrily, talking about her low moral standards and foolishness. She says she never recovered from that last attempt to be heard.

“Throughout her adult life, Elaine often wondered about Trevor Junior - where he was and how he was.

“She felt ashamed and entirely responsible for letting Trevor Junior go, and was unsure if she had a right to find him. Elaine didn’t want to disrupt his life, but she did want to meet him and find answers to some of her questions.

“When Elaine contacted us at Compass, we were able to assist her with practical and emotional support to share and process her experiences and make her ultimate decision to try and find Trevor Junior.

“Elaine told us that the service was a great support to her, saying that after keeping her secret for so long it was a relief to share it with her Compass worker, who understood what had happened to her and took the time to listen to her story.

“She said that although she will never forget her past or what has happened, she now feels able to move forward with confidence, knowing that support is available if she needs it.”

If you live in Victoria and would like to access this service,  you can call this dedicated number - 1800 21 03 13 - between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday to find out more, talk about how our services can help you or to make an appointment.

Read more and download our brochure.

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