Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick has welcomed the Scottish Government’s official apology to those affected by historic forced adoption practices, in one of Nicola Sturgeon’s final acts as First Minister. 

The SNP MSP, along with Monica Lennon, Miles Briggs, Maggie Chapman, and Alex Cole-Hamilton, was a signatory of a 2022 cross-party letter to the Scottish Government calling for such an apology to be made.

The apology comes after an estimated 60,000 unmarried women were forced into giving up their babies for adoption between the 1950s and 1970s in Scotland. Many of those adopted were never told the truth about their birth or provided with any assistance in contacting their birth parents. The practice of forced adoption has been consistently condemned by numerous international human rights organisations and apologies have already been seen in countries such as Australia, Canada and Ireland. 

 Following the First Minister’s statement, Ms Roddick commented: 

“It was an extremely emotional moment to hear the First Minister offer a sincere and heartfelt apology on behalf of the Scottish Government to all those who have suffered as a result of historic forced adoption. It was also heartening to be joined in the gallery by so many tireless campaigners on this issue, including the inspirational Marion McMillan. 

“Addressing historic injustices such as forced adoption practices is incredibly important. It sends a powerful message to those impacted by such a shameful chapter in Scotland’s collective past and I hope that this apology will provide them with some level of comfort. 

“For the tens of thousands of parents and children affected by forced adoption practices, an apology from their First Minister and Scottish Government is a momentous moment. Although we cannot right the wrongs of the past, it is vital that we recognise the heartbreak experienced by so many Scottish parents and children, and try to set the record straight by condemning such a cruel breach of their most basic human rights.

“I was pleased to have been able to ask the First Minister for an assurance that the Scottish Government will continue to place lived experience at the heart of its approach to helping those impacted by historic adoption practices and was reassured by her response that this will always be the case, no matter who succeeds her.”