In my mom’s attempt to receive her adoption file, which was denied her, she said to me – “As a mother, I would want to know what became of my child.” She also believed she had been stolen and I believe she wanted to determine if that was true or if there was some other explanation (there was another explanation). I now possess her file thanks to the baby stealing and selling scandal of Georgia Tann in Tennessee.
Before relinquishment, it is clear to me that my maternal grandmother wanted to keep my mom. She worked very hard to make that happen but her timing and the situation around her were not kind. It was deep into the Great Depression and Memphis had just experienced a superflood that began the month my mom was born in Virginia. My grandmother arrived in Memphis with my mom in the midst of charity fatigue because thousands of refugees had poured into the city from Arkansas.
My mom’s father was in Arkansas shoring up levees and doing other flood related work for the WPA. Therefore, when the Juvenile Court wrote him about my grandmother and her baby’s needs he didn’t respond. I’ll never know why he left her with her father 4 months pregnant but I do have some kind theories that I prefer over any kind of brutal one. He didn’t divorce her for 3 years but then how could she face him having lost their child ?
My grandmother never had any more children. I believe she hoped throughout her lifetime that my mom would find her. When my mom tried, she was told her mother was already dead and that devastated her. My grandmother was clearly pressured and exploited by Georgia Tann with a no win choice. She even tried to undo the damage but with a paying customer on the train coming from Arizona to pick my mom up, Miss Tann was not about to give her back.