A mother who was forced to give up her child for adoption in the Netherlands is suing the state for emotional damage.
The lawsuit claims that a policy which allowed the state to forcibly remove her child from her care was in breach of Dutch and international law.
Trudy Scheele-Gertsen, who is now 73, is one of over 10,000 women in the Netherlands who gave up their children at birth in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. She was also the first woman to take the Netherlands government to court over the legality of forced adoption at the time the policy was enacted.
The lawsuit cites several procedural irregularities, which it says led to Scheele-Gertsen’s son languishing in care for the first three years of his life.
Speaking to Dutch newspaper, Trouw, yesterday, Ms Scheele-Gertsen said, “What was done to me and my son is disgraceful, that is the main reason I am going to court.’
The legal claim also hopes to shed light on why state institutions promoted the idea that unmarried mothers could not care for their children.
The lawsuit comes as the Netherlands launches its own inquiry into why single mothers gave their children up for adoption.
The Netherlands Association of Separated Mothers told Dutch News that the forced adoption process was riddled with procedural errors, which were either consciously or unconsciously a result of deliberate policy which prejudiced unmarried women.