‘As If Born To ‘ and ‘The Stain of Illegitimacy’

These two concepts were prevalent in Adoption in the 1930’s, 1940’s, 1950’s and even in the 1960’s.

Adoption agencies sought to place children with parents who resembled them in order to minimize the fact of adoption. So, if a child was blond and blue-eyed and had German or Scandanavian [or any other] biological parentage, the agency would seek out families with similar characteristics. Although adoption agencies ‘told’ adoptive parents that they should tell their children that they were adopted, many adoptive parents did not tell their children.

Birth mothers, commonly called ‘unwed mothers’ were sent away from home in order to hide the pregnancy and the shame / stain of pregnancy outside of marriage and the child was considered and commonly called illegitimate.

What a horrific legacy and terrible way to begin life. For the birth mother [birth father too, if he was named or acknowledged paternity], for the adoptive parents and for the child. The parents, both biological and adoptive were consumed by the need, as they saw it, for secrecy; the child often grew up feeling out of place and not knowing why. And if he or she did know about the adoption, it was still often couched with stigma.

The following story:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/30/world/europe/ireland-illegal-adoptions-apology.html

shows what lengths the ‘authorities’ went to to hide the fact of pregnancy and what was called illegitimacy.

by Michaele-Sue Goldblatt, MSW, RSW of Milestonesandtransitions.com
posted on June 11, 2018