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A New Book Examines The Shadowy History Of Adoption In The United States




Children and their adoptive parents at Welcome House, Green Hills Farm, near Perkasie, Pennsylvania, USA, 1962.
Children and their adoptive parents at Welcome House, Green Hills Farm, near Perkasie, Pennsylvania, USA, 1962.
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In 2007, when a feel-good story passed journalist Gabrielle Glaser’s desk about an adopted man receiving a kidney donation, she could hardly imagine that it would one day lead her to investigate the American adoption system’s shadowy, unethical roots.

In her new book “American Baby: A Mother, a Child, and the Shadow History of Adoption,” Glaser focuses on the story of David Rosenberg (the adopted man she’d first read about so many years ago) and his biological mother, who spent years trying to find him and warn him about the medical issues that plagued their family. The book explores the social framework that allowed children to be taken from unwed mothers under vagrancy laws that outlawed sex out of wedlock, and which then helped supply the huge demand for babies in post-war America. The process was facilitated by adoption agencies that kept shoddy records or intentionally obscured birth histories, often creating huge roadblocks for adoptees and traumatizing biological mothers, who could face jail time if they refused to give up their baby.

Today on AirTalk, we’re discussing Gabrielle Glaser’s new book and the legacy of unethical adoptions today. Questions? Give us a call at 866-893-5722.

Guest:

Gabrielle Glaser, journalist and author of numerous books including her latest, “American Baby: A Mother, a Child, and the Shadow History of Adoption” (Viking, 2021)