MARSFIELD mother Robin Shingles tearfully accepts the apology from the NSW Parliament for having been forced to give up three new-born babies for adoption.
Acknowledgement that the forced adoption practises of the past were wrong has eased some of the self-guilt and shame Ms Shingles has harboured for decades.
"When they were born I couldn't even speak or hold my babies. I was drugged with sedatives," said Ms Shingles, who is now 68.
Like thousands of other single and unmarried Australian women in the mid-1900s, she was forced to forced to give up three daughters at birth.
Speaking to the Northern District Times, Ms Shingles recalled the pain and horror of a young woman being raped twice, falling pregnant each time, in 1963 and 1965. Her third daughter was born two years later and was also taken from her at birth.
"I didn't have a choice in any part of my motherhood."
Feeling compelled to attend the public apology on September 20, Ms Shingles said it was a "step in the right direction".
"What it left me with was validation somebody else took responsibility, instead of me having to carry it for the rest of my life."
"This has not only affected me but also my son, Daniel, who also has to deal with the pain and loss of not knowing his sisters,"' she said.
Speaking on behalf of Parliament on September 20, Premier Barry O'Farrell acknowledged the "traumatic effects" of forced adoption practices of the past and made an apology to those still affected by the "ongoing grief and pain".
He said fees incurred by a parent or adopted person when obtaining adoption information would be waived.
For Ms Shingles, healing has been an ongoing process.
She credits her personal faith in Jesus for saving her from a life dependent on drugs and alcohol. She also regularly attends a counselling group run by the government-funded Benevolent Society Post Adoption Resource Centre, which serves mothers dealing with trauma and pain of forced adoption practices.
Benevolent Society CEO Anne Hollonds congratulated the state government.
"Public acknowledgement of past wrongs and an apology can play a powerful role in helping people heal," Ms Hollonds said.