Forced Adoptions: Over 150 women say kids were taken away through mid-1980s

A hotline for mothers in the Netherlands who were pressured to give up their children for adoption received over 150 reports since it launched on October 1st. The Ministry of Justice and Security, which launched the hotline as part of a major investigation into abuses in domestic adoption from 1956 to 1984, is surprised by the number of reports, RTL Nieuws reports. 

Between 1956 and 1984 around 15 thousand children were given up for adoption in the Netherlands, according to research by Radboud University. While the birth parents were not formally forced to do so, there were cases in which mothers were put under great pressure, for example because they were not married, the researchers concluded.

Minister Sander Dekker for Legal Protection therefore launched this hotline, to collect as many personal stories as possible to form the basis for an investigation into whether government agencies are liable in any forced adoptions. 

"In this short time we received more than 150 reports. Every day new cases are reported. We did not expect so many", Miral Scheffer, a spokesperson for the Ministry said to RTL Nieuws. "A special team handles the phone calls and records stories. The people who respond can also be referred to authorities so that they can get professional help."

According to Scheffer, the stories told to the hotline workers are often heartbreaking. "Some mothers tell their story for the first time. They haven't dared to talk all these years, but now they break the silence We hope more women will do that."

The callers are mainly women who were pressured to give up their children, but the hotline also receives calls from adopted children. "They are looking for their biological mother, for example."