Ronald Nelson, family lawyer in Lenexa, Kansas brought to our attention this week an Iowa case in which an adult sought access to court files related to her adoption. Her married parents had given her up for adoption 50 years earlier. Knowing she had married parents who gave her away is a tough and deep rejection for anyone. Perhaps her parents believed that their poverty caused by the Great Depression was a reason to give her a chance at "a better life." But she will never know because the court turned down her request to identify her parents. She, like so many other adoptees whose parents did not register with the state registry giving permission to be identified if an adult adoptee came looking for him or her, is left with the question whether her birth-mother "chose" to give her up for adoption, made the adoption decision on her own, or had other choices available to her. She’s left with a sense of rejection—believing that her mother and father rejected her. She has no closure. Appointment of a GAL would have at least allowed a neutral contact (and notice of hearing) so that the birth parents could decide whether they wanted to be identified. (They had not registered with the State's Adoption Registry, and it probably did not exist 50 years ago). The Iowa case, In Re R.D. Download In Re R.D.
Ann Fessler, a professor of photography at Rhode Island School of Design, wrote a most important book published in 2006 that should be required reading for all of those people who work in the field of adoption and also those who oppose Planned Parenthood and who believe that Planned Parenthood’s services—most of which involve health care and birth control—not abortion should be de-funded. Fessler’s book is titled: The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade.
Between 2002 and 2005, Fessler interviewed 100 women who lost children to adoption during the 28 years that followed WWII. Her book The Girls Who Went Away is a moving book telling her own story—her search for her birth mother—and telling the stories of many of the women she interviewed. Almost all of them told stories like those of Philomena . . . of not wanting to give up her baby for adoption, but of being coerced, tricked, lied to and compelled to leave their babies behind after the babies were born.
Fessler has now produced and directed a documentary film A Girl Like Her. You can see the trailer here. http://www.annfessler.com/documentary-film/a-girl-like-her/
The Girls Who Went Away was recently released as a Audible book. https://www.facebook.com/ann.fessler.7?fref=ts