Deborra-lee Furness child saver or child trafficker?


The Hon. Justice Peter McClellan sounded as if he’d had his fill of the child savers

Deborra-lee Furness has been nominated as NSW’s Australian of the Year.  I am outraged! Furness an adoptive mother who has pushed her own agenda and used her power and media prestige to do so – in my opinion has done nothing to promote the real interests of the most vulnerable children in either Australia or  overseas.  I focus on the children because that is Furness’ ploy. Furness wants to be known as an “orphan saver” – last century she would have been called a “child saver”,  but  what about the families, the mothers of the children she is supposedly “saving” – what about their exploitation?  In fact they are rendered invisible –  how many in the main stream media,  know or care about what happened to her adopted son’s mother?  She committed suicide.  But I never hear any discussion of the terrible outcomes for the mothers whose baby’s are saved by the Furness’ of the world –

Just like the 250,000 babies stolen from their white unwed mothers over last century – only they were labelled “unwanted” and the Furness’s of the time their saviours. How many of the child savers of last century were rewarded for their services to children.  Those that run institutions were children were routinely brutalised, those like Dr. Barnardo that shipped children to the back blocks of Canada where they were supposedly adopted and where many just disappeared – unable to be traced. They were the children of the poor rounded up off the streets of London,  labelled orphans and sent overseas  to be “saved”. How much money changed hands in the adoption trade? According to one British Report I read one privately run adoption agency made over 100,000 pound – in today’s money that equates to  many millions of dollars.

In the last month we have had some powerful documentaries exposing the very ugly side of adoption.  For instance how adopting  orphans, who turn out not to be orphans,  from orphanages in developing countries not only causes black markets in children to develop but another phenomena  called “orphan shopping” and “orphan tourism” to emerge –  where strangers are given unsupervised access to young children in these institutions.   The unfortunate reality of saving orphans  are that in many cases the people that  Furness represent are actually making the problem worse.  Wealthy foreigners going into developing countries with weak laws and corrupt officials  is having the unintended consequence of  creating more orphanages so unscrupulous middle men can take advantage of  an expanding economic market – a market in children. Hence more orphanages are springing up –  some describe them as “child supermarkets” –  and these middle men make millions from  “stocking” these institutions with borrowed or stolen children. They use the children as fund raising tools or in some cases make large profits by selling children to wealthy westerners.

Just this week ABC 4 Corners exposed the barbarity of the unwed mother and baby homes and the cruelty inflicted on the thousands of babies stolen from their Irish mums  – many being sold to wealthy Americans – these children were sent to America as Irish orphans  – how many Furness’ received awards for saving these stolen children?

The history of Forced Adoption in Australia is in essence a history of the development and implementation of modern day slavery.  A newborn treated as if a commodity is transferred via a dubiously acquired or fraudulent contract  from their mother to a more powerful class of strangers who want/need are desirous of children. The newly acquired human beings have their identities changed and ownership confirmed through   a certificate of entitlement given to the adopters. It is not a birth certificate but a certificate of entitlement because it does not reflect the true birth details of the baby – the real parents are obliterated and the adopters are referred to as the only parents – and misrepresents the birth by inferring that they were the ones who gave birth.  The original name is changed and the newly acquired infant must take on the name of the adopters. So as this document in no way reflects the reality of the birth it cannot be called a birth certificate.  It merely reflects a legal transaction whereby the person so transferred has taking on a new identity and now belongs to its  new owners. No longer allowed  knowledge of  or any access or contact with any member of his or her original family.  The child had absolutely no rights in this transaction and if anyone thinks that the mothers’ did they are deluding themselves. The mothers were treated as unpaid surrogates and were expected to carry their infant for the benefit of a white, middle class married couple.   And just like slavery of old these children are expected to be grateful to the strangers who have acquired them.

Please read the following short history of the failure of the state to care for children – whether via institutionalisation, foster care or adoption – they are all failed social experiments that have served a number of highly dubious purposes  –  providing babies for the infertile powerful;  saving the state money;  assimilating children considered inferior to a “class above their own”; the “whitening of Australia” and a tool of social control. It is a sad fact that Australia has acknowledged that the removal or threat of removal of one’s child has been  a most effective form of social control since at least the late 1800s.  Abbott’s recent reference to the quick removal of children from “ineffective parents” is certainly a veiled threat to parents on welfare that they best become “effective” very quickly or risk the removal of their child/ren –

A short excerpt

Australian Inquiries// <!– apparently unsupported –> // //

At the time that Justice McClellan was making his opening remarks, barely three weeks had passed since Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard delivered her historic apology to an estimated 250,000 mothers for the coerced adoptions they had endured at the hands of social workers, hospitals, and the clergy.

“Friends, as the time for birth came, these babies would be snatched away before they had even held them in their arms,” Prime Minister Gillard said during her apology.

“Sometimes, consent was achieved by forgery or fraud. Sometimes women signed adoption papers whilst under the influence of medication.

“Most common of all was the bullying arrogance of a society that presumed to know what was best.

“The hurt did not simply last for a few days or weeks. This was a wound that would not heal.”


Veteran journalist Dan Rather conducted an extensive investigation into coerced adoptions, finding them to be a phenomenon with global reach. In a recent article on the subject, Rather explains: “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.”

With respect to coerced adoptions in the United States, Rather explains: “We have interviewed numerous women in the U.S. who told us that they were sent to maternity homes, denied contact with their families and friends, forced to endure labor with purposely painful procedures and return home without their babies. Single, American mothers were also denied financial support and told that their children would be better off without them.” According to some estimates, Rather explains, approximately 1.5 million women in the United States may have been pressured or coerced into relinquishing their babies shortly after birth.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s apology followed the recommendations of a Committee established to investigate the Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices. The Committee’s report provided a stunning indictment of practices that were frequently engaged in by social workers, maternity homes, hospitals, and religious institutions. These practices had gone largely unchallenged for decades.

The Committee noted that while there may have been a difference of opinions between professionals regarding the issue, at least one prominent professional had a specific view. In 1959, Dr D. F. Lawson of the Royal Women’s Hospital gave the R.D. Fetherston Memorial Lecture. In his address, the Committee notes that he “made some startling remarks that carry particular significance when viewed through the lens of the experience of the women who gave evidence” to the inquiry:

The prospect of the unmarried girl or of her family adequately caring for a child and giving it a normal environment and upbringing is so small that I believe for practical purposes it can be ignored. I believe that in all such cases the obstetrician should urge that the child be adopted… The last thing that the obstetrician might concern himself with is the law in regard to adoption.

Laws were broken and Australian mothers, just like their Irish counterparts had their babies stolen for adoption because of their unwed status.  Yet how many Australians know that this happened in Australia?  How many Australians are aware that we were even apologised to by the former Prime  Minister Julia Gillard for having our children brutally torn from us?

The media has given more focus to the cruelty to animals in the live export trade than to the theft of a quarter of million babies from their mothers.   There was such a public outcry after 4 Corners exposed  the cruelty to cows shipped to Indonesia the trade stopped – until provisions were put in place to protect the animals.  Maybe people care more about cruelly to animals that the barbarity of tearing a newborn from its mother?  Abbott and those that wish to reward Furness for continuing this trade in children and exploitation of mothers and their families have learnt nothing from the past. The mainstream Australia media is clearly on the side of Furness and Abbott.  If the Australian government had been serious about our apology it would have abolished the institution of adoption and would not be rewarding a woman who wants to continue to promote the tearing apart of families.

So our apology has come and gone and still so few Australians know of this very dark, and shameful history of Forced Adoption.   If they did I doubt if Furness, a modern day child saver,  would be receiving a reward for promoting an institution like adoption that has caused so many mothers their children and other family members such enormous pain and inflicted so much physical and mental health damage. Not just here in Australia but globally.

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For Bio info click on - About - tab and 'A bit about me' Dr. Christine A. Cole Convenor Apology Alliance Australia
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15 Responses to Deborra-lee Furness child saver or child trafficker?

  1. barbaramaison says:

    why didn’t Deborrah-Lee choose to adopt one of those many millions of poor little orphaned children, instead of hovering over the end of the birthing bed of Oscar’s mother jsut waiting for her to pop him out and then snatch him?

    See the Enough Rope 2004 Episode 35

    Andrew Denton: Oscar’s adopted and you were there at his birth, what’s your relationship with his birth mum?

    Deborra-Lee Furness: Well, we broke all the rules. There, there’s a way of going about it and we did it in Los Angeles and the birth mother comes from, she was from Iowa, and she comes to Los Angeles about two weeks before the baby’s expected and you put them up in a hotel and you, you have you know obviously see them, but you keep it at a distance. Well she was a young girl from Iowa and she was scared of being in Los Angeles, so she stayed with us, with her 14 month old. So we were like this crazy family, we’d be going, my mother was there and we were all there, so. We, we had her with us. And I sort of, you know there are rules but every situation is unique, and here is this woman going to give me the greatest gift of my life and I want to look after her. And so you know we were told not to do certain things but for us it worked.

    “”Hugh and I were there in the room when he was being born, the doctor said you know here he comes and I’m like with the camera taking photos, and there was like tears and photos and Hugh cut the cord and he was put straight into my arms,””

    and I, I had kept in touch with the birth mother, which again is not necessarily the way it is, but I think people don’t stay in touch because of fear. And I had nothing to be scared of. What, there’s no fear, he’s my son, and so I, I you know I don’t call her every week, I mean but once a year I’ll sort of be in touch and see how she’s doing and this is a young girl who at 22 this was her fourth baby.

    • Because there are not millions of orphans available for adoption (never were) – and because of the exposure of black markets, trafficking and kidnapping of babies and toddlers to satisfy demand by wealthy westerners many countries have closed down their intercountry adoption programs. Hence since 2006 there has been a global decline in the trafficking of children from the developing to the developed world so the number of intercountry adoptions last year was less than domestic adoptions. Hence now we have a situation where there is a huge push to boost the number of babies and toddlers to be made available for Furness and her followers: the pro-adoption lobby – So once again young, poor, usually single mothers are being targeted to provide babies. So laws have been enacted to make it legal to remove newborns from their mothers at the birth if they are poor, young, homeless and/or have a mental health problem – so the rhetoric has changed and adoption is no longer made palatable by being touted as being in the best interests of the child to be forcibly taken from his or her unmarried mother but now is being turned into a child protection issue. So instead of providing facilities to support vulnerable mothers stay with their babies the onus once again is to forcibly remove the child – as Dr. Jeremy Sammut is fond of saying – fewer adoptions equates with more child abuse. We are watching another stolen generation in the making..

  2. says:

    Hi Christine, I am emailing the Australia Day Awards people with my response to DLF’s award, and wondered if you would mind if I use a couple of the points you make in this post?    AAAGGGHHH! cheers, Jo

  3. Mignon says:

    I’ll be doing the same as Jo. Taking a child (adoption) away from it’s mother/family is not in the best interests of anyone involved. Why can’t we give support? Food/clothing/furniture/counselling/money? No just take the baby away…… As an adopted child/adult/meant to be a human being. Yet I don’t have any rights. Just nice

  4. Rob Taylor says:

    It is barely 18 months since the Apology for Past Forced Adoptions.
    This was when, after over 50 years, my family was made aware of the crime that was committed and the government cover up that followed to protect all of those involved in that crime ( the kidnapping of a newborn baby from his mother and father)
    This revelation has caused unimaginable pain to our family knowing of the appalling way a young woman, her partner and their baby were treated.
    The lie that their baby was “unwanted”.
    The lie that the mother did not know who the father was when she had been in a relationship with him for 12 months.
    The lie that the adoptive “parents” saved this baby.
    The lie that the baby would have a better life with total strangers.
    The lie of the original birth certificate which DELIBERATELY omitted the father’s name to keep him out of the adoption process.
    The lie of the amended “birth certificate”.
    The truth is this baby was kidnapped from his parents at birth and most likely sold to an infertile couple.
    A couple who were owed eternal gratitude for “saving” him.
    I am DISGUSTED that an advocate for kidnapping babies at birth and then trafficking them is the NSW Australian of the Year.
    DLF is a the very epitome of selfish.
    All of those who support and encourage her are just as disgusting as she is.
    She actually stood at the end of a bed and watched as a woman gave birth and then felt ENTITLED to take that woman’s flesh and blood and claim another human being as her property.
    She justifies her kidnapping of a baby because the mother was 22 and this was her 4th baby.
    And of course she is “saving the baby and giving it a much better life”. What rubbish !!!!
    DLF is a pathetic excuse for a human being.
    I pity those two poor children who she and her despicable husband took.
    There is something very odd to me about both DLF and Jackman.

  5. trish says:

    Hi Chris its Trish from ALAS, Its disgusting to think that DLF is to get an award, when she herself is a baby stealer, I can’t work out how in this day & age the award givers haven’t educated themselves on Forced Adoption. In 12 days we get the unveiling of our plaque at The Roma Street parklands these uneducated people should visit us on the day & talk to us Adoption survivors, then reality would surely hit home.

  6. Rob Taylor says:

    I have emailed the Australia Day awards committee to express my disgust at DLF being named NSW Australian of the Year as well.
    Great to read so many comments at Mammamia against DLF and her selfish campaign.

  7. Jo says:

    Several of the committee members of ARMS (Vic) have also written to the Australia Day Awards committee expressing our horror and asking if they were unaware of the recent Apologies? I was impressed that I received a reply within 24 hours, but not so impressed when the second committee member received a reply with exactly the same wording! The others are still waiting.

  8. Pingback: Adoption needs overhaul or abandoning say people adopted as children | Apology Alliance Australia

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