Bridgwater woman speaks out after mother forced to give her up for adoption just days after birth

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A woman from Bridgwater says she wants a full apology from the government after her mother was forced to give her up for adoption when she was just seven days old.

Vik Fielder, 52, is one of an estimated 250,000 people affected by the forced adoption policies widely practiced in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

Speaking of the circumstances surrounding her adoption, Vik said: "My birth mother was 18, so she wasn't very old, and my birth father was 26 and married.

"She went home for Christmas and found out she was pregnant, and when she came back, he didn't want anything to do with the pregnancy.

"Initially she thought she might be able to keep me and she looked for places to live, and she tried to work things out but it was never going to happen.

"The fact that I'm a bi-racial baby made it more difficult for her because her family wouldn't allow her to come home with a child of colour, so that avenue was closed to her as well."

Vik Fielder wants the government to take responsibility for the role the state played in forced adoptions

For decades, Vik did not know the full extent of her family history, beyond what was on her birth certificate.

It was having a child of her own that really made her want to know more. Finally in 2004, Vik traced her mother, only to find that she had died when she was just 38.

It was not until 2019 that she traced her father using DNA, after a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis meant it was important for her to know more about her family's medical history.

Vik now wants a formal apology from the government for the state's role in forced adoptions.

She said "Last year, there was a Joint Committee on Human Rights enquiry into forced adoptions.

"I took part, I submitted some evidence, and at the end of it all the Joint Committee recommended that the government apologise for their part in forced adoptions.

"The government took the JCHR enquiry, read it...and responded without the apology that the committee, the birth mothers and the adoptees all asked for."

The government did issue a response to the enquiry, in which they said they were "sorry on behalf of society" but stopped short of a full, formal apology of the type offered by Nicola Sturgeon earlier this month.

They said "The adoption practices of this time caused suffering to many women and their children, and had a profound impact on the family lives of all those involved.

"We are sorry to all those affected by historic adoption practices. We are sorry on behalf of society for what happened. Whilst we cannot undo the past, lessons of the time have been learned and have led to significant changes to legislation and practice."

Vik has reached out to other adoptees to form the Adult Adoptee Movement, and is hoping to bring together others to create a support network and to encourage others to speak out about their experience.