Note: This book was originally published under the title “Empty Cradles” in 1994.
Before reading this book, I had never heard of child migration. It was a practice started in Britain back in 1618. Exploration of the New World had begun, and it was thought to be a good idea to send over some of their poor children to help populate the Virginia Colony. Later children were shipped to Canada, New Zealand, Rhodesia, and Australia. The children varied in age from three to fourteen. Some were actually orphaned, while many had relatives that had temporarily placed them in children’s homes or poor houses.
The kids were asked if they’d like to go on holiday, then sent to places from which they never returned. The children with parents were told that they had died. Likewise, parents were told that their children had died. Dates and places of birth on their paperwork were changed, so that even when the children were grown and seeking information about their roots, there was no information that matched up. Shockingly, the child migration continued up until 1970, when it was finally stopped. But the coverup continued, until a social worker got a letter from a former child migrant in Australia begging for help finding her roots. The more she investigated, the deeper the deception became.
How could a civilized society do something like this to their young – and continue for hundred of years? Basically, they were poor and they were powerless, and their country took advantage of them. Children were made to be cared for and loved, not made into free labor in a distant land. How any country could delude themselves into thinking they were helping these kids is beyond comprehension.