My mom learned about Denny Glad when 60 Minutes did an expose in the early 1990s on the baby stealing and selling scandal related to the activities of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society’s (TCHS) Memphis Branch under the control of Georgia Tann. My mom was adopted through that agency in 1937.
Denny was able to give my mom a tiny bit of personal information and suggested she request her adoption records from the state of Tennessee, who rejected her because the living or dead status of her original father could not be determined (who by the way had been dead for 30 years). They didn’t try very hard.
It is thanks to the efforts of Denny Glad and her Right to Know organization in Tennessee that I now possess an extensive adoption file for my mom, with notes and letters from both her original mother and her adoptive mother as well as lots of insight into the operations of the TCHS in her particular situation.
Only about half of our 50 states allow any kind of access to once sealed records even today. I have bumped up against solid obstacles in Arizona, California and Virginia. Thankfully, inexpensive DNA testing and the matching sites – Ancestry and 23 and Me – have filled in the blanks, where the practices in half our 50 states would have prevented me from achieving success.
I would have thought, with both of my adoptee parents deceased and all of the grandparents (original and adoptive) also deceased, there would be no harm in myself as a descendant finally knowing the truth of my own origins. A fact many people simply take for granted.