A long time waiting has been a long time coming.
It is based on not one but many true stories that began their genesis soon after the second World War.
The United Kingdom struggled to overcome the devastation caused by bombing when thousands of families lost their homes. Children lost parents, and all lost some part of their identity.
During the next fifteen years it is estimated that nearly 150,000 children aged 4 to 14 were rounded up as part of the child migrant scheme. Over 7,000 orphans and children from disadvantaged homes were sent to Australia in order to enjoy a “better life.” In other cases, the parents – many of them single mothers were forced to give up their child for adoption. This was due to poverty or social stigma, with the assumption of neglect. Parents and children were encouraged to believe they were going to better life. Parents were told their children had a better chance in life. Yet few had details of where their offspring were sent.
The reality, for some of those children, was a childhood of servitude and hard labor. They were sent to foster homes: on remote farms, at state-run orphanages and church-run institutions. They were often separated from siblings. Some were subjected to physical and sexual abuse.
Oranges and Sunshine
In 1987 the English social social worker Margaret Humphreys learnt of the truth of this program and let the world know. In 2010 the film Oranges and Sunshine starring Emily Watson was released, and became a triumph in the box office. However it is only now that the children, all now in their seventies and eighties are being recognized as victims and compensation considered.
A long time waiting is a complex story which sits comfortably in the CrimeWithoutGrime, MakesYouThink and even TheSpousetTrap series.
National Apology Day, 22nd October.
Today is the Australian National Apology Day for all those young children, mostly between 6- 14 years, who were shipped out from England after WW2 on the premise they would have a better life. While a good many were orphans, there were also a good many who were simply disadvantaged by having a single working mother whose care was automatically questioned. At best the children were losing possibly their only living relative, at worst they were used as child labour, and possibly physical and mental abuse.
Not only was this a cruel project, it was insidious in its cover of being a kindly act. The parents and children alike had their lives ruined, and these wasted lives have long been forgotten. So, as our story A Long Time Waiting infers, this National Apology Day has been A Long Time Coming.
While this story is one of fiction, it is based on first hand knowledge of true events. And so, while it may not be a story you Enjoy, we hope it Makes You Think.
While we cannot go back into the past, we can ensure that we do not take those mistakes into the future.