The Shift

Adoption shifted the focus of charitable organizations from providing homes for truly homeless and orphaned children to the profit motivated supply of infants to childless couples with the financial resources to afford it.

A number of reasons were used to justify separating mothers and their infants.  Not because it was profitable – of course.

Punishing unmarried mothers, preventing a reliance on public assistance which might raise the cost to taxpayers – the planned removal of white infants from white unmarried mothers who were  deemed unfit for whatever reason – including a perception the mother was neurotic for wanting to keep her baby – was perpetrated by adoption social workers.

Unmarried mothers were sometimes viewed as breeding machines when the demand for these infants exceeded supply.  A high demand coupled with low supply increased the pressure on unmarried mothers to surrender their babies.

It isn’t difficult to see how this created serious abuses around a mother’s relinquishment of her child.  Georgia Tann opportunistically profited from the shift.

Where There Is Demand

In the decades after World War II, there was a huge demand for “adoptable” babies.

If the demand for adoptable babies continues to exceed the supply . . . if the laws and courts continue to emphasize that the “rights of the child” supersede the “rights of the parents”, then it is quite possible that, in the near future, unwed mothers will be “punished” by having their children taken from them right after birth. A policy like this would not be executed nor labelled explicitly as “punishment”. Rather, it would be implemented by such pressures and labels as “scientific findings”, “the best interest of the child” and “rehabilitation of the unwed mother”.

~ The Baby Scoop Era

Once unwed mothers in the United States began to chose to keep their children, international adoptions became all the rage.  Without strong familial support, it was generally not possible for a single mother to really support herself and her child because the self-reliant tradition in the United States does not believe in financially supporting such mothers.  I was such a single mother after divorce who was not supported by my child’s father.

Back in the 1970s, growing up, I knew a girl who kept her child but mostly it was the grandmother who raised it.  Even more recently in the early 2000s, I know of a similar case.

But in my own family, where both of my parents were adopted, there was no familial support for their daughters keeping a child if they were not married.  Adoption was suggested as the solution.  The results speak for themselves.