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The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia…
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The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby Seller Who Corrupted Adoption (original 2007; edição 2007)

por Barbara Bisantz Raymond (Autor)

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18914147,018 (3.6)7
History. Nonfiction. HTML:

The story, first told by Barbara Raymond in a magazine article that inspired a 60 Minutes feature, was shocking. Georgia Tann, nationally lauded for arranging adoptions out of her children's home in Memphis, Tennessee, was actually a baby seller who terrorized poor, often unwed mothers by stealing their children and selling them to wealthy clients like actors Joan Crawford and Dick Powell. Parents would keep toddlers indoors, and the mother superior of a local orphanage hid babies in attics, but, protected by political boss Ed Crump, Tann sold over 5,000 children, and did much worse. So many died through neglect that Memphis's infant mortality rate soared to the highest in the country. Tann abused some of her charges, and placed others with pedophiles. During her twenty-six years of operation from 1924 to 1950, Tann also virtually invented modern American adoption, popularizing it, commercializing it, and corrupting it with secrecy. To cover her crimes, Tann falsified adoptees' birth certificates, sealing their true ones and issuing new ones that portrayed adoptive parents as birth parents. This practice was approved by legislators across the country who believed it would spare adoptees the onus of illegitimacy.

An adoptive mother and award-winning journalist who interviewed hundreds of Georgia Tann victims, Barbara Raymond has written a riveting account of a little known and dark chapter in American history. Its themes continue to reverberate, with most states still denying adult adoptees their original birth certificates and harboring other remnants of Tann's corrupt practices.

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Membro:MiniMarg95
Título:The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby Seller Who Corrupted Adoption
Autores:Barbara Bisantz Raymond (Autor)
Informação:Da Capo Press (2007), 320 pages
Coleções:A sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:Signed, Personalized, New

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The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby Seller Who Corrupted Adoption por Barbara Bisantz Raymond (2007)

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Prior to the 1920s, adoption in America seldom represented the acceptance of a child into an established non-biological family with the intent of seamlessly forming a new family unit. Children tended to be “adopted” as a matter of convenience, frequently for the purpose of providing labor to the adoptive family, as in the infamous “orphan trains” of the mid-to-late 1800s. In those instances, abandoned and neglected, as well as genuinely orphaned children from urban centers were loaded onto trains and sent through frontier areas of the Midwest, where they would be offloaded onto a platform so local families could choose likely candidates for fosterage while the unchosen were put back on the train to repeat the process at the next stop.

Children whose birth parents were not able to care for them were not socially acceptable as additions to prosperous, upper- and middle-class families. Eugenics theories popular around the turn of the 20th century led to assumptions that children from poor or immigrant families were somehow genetically inferior, although it was perfectly acceptable to foster a few as servants or laborers. Children too young for these roles were often sent to “baby farms” where foster parents received small payments for their care, but many of the placements were done with little true concern for the well-being of the children.

A Tennessee woman named Georgia Tann set that system on its ear, beginning in the mid-1920s, and for a time was nationally lauded for her work at her private children’s homes, where as many as 5,000 infants and children were adopted. The reality behind Tann’s work, however, was much darker, and led to countless cases where desperate parents were pressured into surrendering their children with lies about the process, where single mothers were falsely told that their infants had been stillborn, and where children from poor families were at risk of being literally kidnapped and placed for adoption without appropriate screening of the adoptive parents, as long as they had deep pockets and a willingness to not look too closely at the process.

The truth behind Georgia Tann’s lucrative and pernicious activities forms the basis of Barbara Bisantz Raymond’s The Baby Thief, but it goes far beyond the tawdry acts of baby-snatching. It was born out of the regional economic hardships of the Depression, supported by Tann’s political connections in a corrupt and wide-ranging cabal, and eventually influenced legislation that continues to thwart adoptees’ searches for their birth families even today.

It's a story of evil so blatant and so apparently ignored by courts that readers may frequently step back in disbelief that it could have continued for so long, with so little repercussions for those who fed children into the system and profited from their evil acts. It also raises thorny questions about current laws keeping adoption records sealed in some states, and about the balance between the needs of birth parents, adoptive parents, and adoptees, and takes a cautionary look at today’s international adoptions.

Readers may have divided opinions on Raymond’s inclusion of her personal family history into the story, some feeling it’s inappropriate in a general social history, while others think it brings a more relatable note to it. This reader tends to lean toward the former. Raymond’s adopted daughter was not one of Tann’s direct victims, although her search for her birth mother was complicated by the secrecy restrictions largely imposed through Tann’s influence on the industry. The information often feels intrusive, and that feeling is re-emphasized by the author’s frequent descriptions of her personal revulsion at the details of Tann’s activities.

Wherever one comes down on Raymond’s choice to personalize large portions of the story, The Baby Thief remains a compelling read. ( )
  LyndaInOregon | May 4, 2023 |
I read "Before We Were Yours" last year and wanted to read the facts behind the fictionalized version. Georgia Tann was just plain evil, as were the people who helped her carry out these kidnappings of children from their parents and the subsequent selling of those children to wealthy patrons. I only gave it three stars because, although it was non-fiction, the book was rather dry reading and seemed to jump around quite a bit. Several times I started to get into a storyline, and the author would jump backwards or forwards to something else and never seemed to get back to the original line. I would have preferred a more linear retelling of the facts. ( )
  Jen-Lynn | Aug 1, 2022 |
Georgia Tann reminded me so much of the stories I read about Amelia Dyer. Sadly, most of Georgia's "kids" had a "happier" ending, unfortunately. ( )
  BookLeafs | May 26, 2022 |
After reading Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate, I had to learn more about Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Home Children's Society. Georgia was pure evil and did not care about the welfare of the children, just about making money for herself. ( )
  dara85 | Aug 5, 2018 |
While the subject matter was difficult (sometimes nearly painful to read), I found this book kept my interest. One one hand, I feel that an author's personal opinion should be avoided when writing non-fiction, on the other, I can understand how the author (an adoptive mother herself) would be effected by the subject. However, I think I'd like to have seen that in two separate books: a memoir and a non-fiction relaying the travesty Georgia Tann inflicted upon the adoption industry and her victims, living and passed on. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ( )
  TLVZ721 | May 22, 2018 |
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I learned of Georgia Tann in 1990 from Alma Sipple who met her decades earlier.
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History. Nonfiction. HTML:

The story, first told by Barbara Raymond in a magazine article that inspired a 60 Minutes feature, was shocking. Georgia Tann, nationally lauded for arranging adoptions out of her children's home in Memphis, Tennessee, was actually a baby seller who terrorized poor, often unwed mothers by stealing their children and selling them to wealthy clients like actors Joan Crawford and Dick Powell. Parents would keep toddlers indoors, and the mother superior of a local orphanage hid babies in attics, but, protected by political boss Ed Crump, Tann sold over 5,000 children, and did much worse. So many died through neglect that Memphis's infant mortality rate soared to the highest in the country. Tann abused some of her charges, and placed others with pedophiles. During her twenty-six years of operation from 1924 to 1950, Tann also virtually invented modern American adoption, popularizing it, commercializing it, and corrupting it with secrecy. To cover her crimes, Tann falsified adoptees' birth certificates, sealing their true ones and issuing new ones that portrayed adoptive parents as birth parents. This practice was approved by legislators across the country who believed it would spare adoptees the onus of illegitimacy.

An adoptive mother and award-winning journalist who interviewed hundreds of Georgia Tann victims, Barbara Raymond has written a riveting account of a little known and dark chapter in American history. Its themes continue to reverberate, with most states still denying adult adoptees their original birth certificates and harboring other remnants of Tann's corrupt practices.

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