Arms Convenors Annual Report 2017


Dec 4, 2017 - 11:46am

Page Views


Thumbs Up


Hello everyone and welcome once again to our 2017 Annual General Meeting, and to those of you who have not been before welcome to your first ARMS AGM. Thank you all for making the effort to come along at this busy time of year. We hope that you find it worth your while.

2017 saw a new website for ARMS, with a new look. We try to keep some up to date news articles and video in the News section and also events and meeting times as a handy reference for members. We also hope that new people find our articles informative. Hopefully mothers who have had no contact with adoption support can find the website and find something to relate to. If you find an interesting and relevant news item or video please send it to me to make available on
our website. 

We now also have a Facebook page, so those who are on Facebook can find us and read some of the articles and are welcome to comment and share ideas. We may in the future develop this further into a group. We do realise that it is not always simple to find our Facebook Page and hope to gradually rectify this and make it easy to find via Mr Google. If you are not on Facebook but are interested in joining please see a committee member for assistance. The website update and the Facebook page were made possible through a small grant from RAV and FASS.

Earlier in 2017 we saw the official unveiling of the lovely Monument, to mothers and our experience, at Victoria Park in Sale, Gippsland. The beautiful statue was organised by Independent Regional Mothers and some of our Committee and other ARMS members attended the unveiling along with adoptees, family members, members of the public, church ministers and representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services, VANISH, RAV, past and present Members of Parliament and the media. In her speech Brenda Coughlin from IRM described the statue “as a timely reminder of the injustices of the past and a reflection of what should have been.”

The Without Consent Exhibition still does not have a schedule for its Victorian visit. One of our members even did some research to help them find a venue and passed on the information. We do not know why NAA are finding it so difficult to bring the Exhibition to Victoria. Many of us are waiting to see it. This project was one of the outcomes from the National Apology. When we do get some information about the Exhibition coming here we will most certainly let members know. It is four years since the National Apology for Forced Adoptions and it is important to keep it in the minds of those who lived it and the public in general.

In May we held our annual Mothers’ Day meeting. It is important for us to acknowledge that we still have the physical and emotional attachments of a mother to the child or children we have lost to adoption. This is a safe place for us to explore those feelings.

The Victorian Law Reform Commission began reviewing the Adoption Laws of 1984 earlier this year. ARMS had a meeting with the panel to discuss the aspects that we felt were the most relevant to mothers, as there was not time to discuss everything on the table. ARMS also made a written submission to the Commission, which can be read on our Website.The Commission compiled its report which can also be read online. You can find the link to it on our website. On the whole, the recommendations put forward by the Commission are very positive, and the committee was very pleased that they obviously  heard what we had to say about the negative effects of adoption and how we should go forward. Jo and Lily also had a meeting to discuss some of the Commission’s recommendations with Jenny Mikakos’ office.

Last year I reported that we had two RAV grant applications pending at the time of the AGM. We were successful in both applications, for which we thank RAV. We have recently submitted an application doe a grant to extend  Ballarat and Traralgon regional support groups. The Arms 30th Anniversary Booklet was reprinted earlier this years and the ARMS Brochure update is almost completed. The committee has decided to hold anextraordinary committee meeting to complete the update so that we can get it printed and outinto the world as time runs out very quickly at our monthly committee meetings. We have asked RAV for an extension of the Grant timeframe.

The twenty third of September was a day of Healing for ARMS members. We held a soothing andmollifying Event at the Treacey Centre in Parkville. There was a lot of very effective discussion ledby Liz and some wonderful Art therapy followed by amazing Tibetan singing bowls thanks toTabitha. The feedback from those who attended has been extremely positive.

On October 28th we held a commemoration of the 5th Anniversary of the Victorian GovernmentApology for Forced Adoptions, in conjunction with VANISH. It was held in Parliament Reserve,next to Parliament House on a beautiful Melbourne Spring afternoon. The speeches by Tricia Lester, Penny Mackieson and Marie Meggitt were touching and poignant - Marie’s speech can be read on our website. The afternoon also included entertainment by The Thornberries, a three piece ukulele band, who sang some beautifully reflective songs to an entranced audience.

Our Outreach continues into the rural sector. Mildura, Traralgon and Ballarat groups are still running, although at this stage numbers are small. We hope to increase them with advertising.The Geelong Group is going well with Thelma still at the helm. We are fortunate to have somemembers of ARMS from those groups present today.

Now we will all be witness to another exciting development today: the discussion and vote on the renaming of ARMS. We will still be known as ARMS( Vic) but instead of it standing for the Association of Relinquishing Mothers ourname will become the Association Representing Mothers Separated by adoption. We have been unhappy with the word relinquishing for some time as it does not adequately explain our experience. We have discussed many substitutes as we wanted to retain our acronym but they seemed to not be quite right. So we are following West Australia and South Australia’s example in taking for our proposal. As you are aware language is extremely important in the adoption sphere.

Later in the day we will be calling for nominations for the Committee of ARMS. We would like toencourage you to step forward if you have some interest and time to offer.

Thank you for listening/reading. We all look forward to 2018 as we reach out to support all womenwho have lost a child or children to adoption. I know some of you have travelled far to attend today and we want you to know that we appreciate your effort. ARMS is by members for members; it is your group so please offer any contribution that you are able. We all offer eachother support and that is why I feel very privileged and grateful to be a member of ARMS.

Faye Burnham

Dec 6, 2017 - 8:08am

Gail Cuddihy - Glasl: Well done Faye. I am only sorry I could not join you at the AGM on the day. Thank you committee for your dedication to us "all"

Your email will not be displayed.


Please feel free to contact us


Get the latest developments


Stay in the loop
Scroll To Top
Thumbs Up