Saturday, December 1, 2007

New Organization to Probe Adoption Abuses

An organization has been formed to investigate what is known as the “Baby Scoop Era.” This was the period between 1945 – 1972, when unprecedented numbers of unmarried mothers surrendered babies for adoption, often against their will.

The Baby Scoop Era Research Initiative, also known as BSERI, was founded in October 2007 by two mothers, Karen Wilson-Buterbaugh and Barbara Franks-Morra. Both lost newborns to adoption during this period.

Franks-Morra explained that maternity homes radically changed after 1945. As social workers took over management from altruistic religious organizations, homes that had once sheltered single mothers and prepared them to raise their children began instead to promote closed, stranger adoption.

Wilson-Buterbaugh stated, “The social work profession brought a psychological bias to their work with single mothers. They introduced the untested notion that single mothers were ‘neurotic’ and could be cured by taking their babies. This idea radically altered the outcomes for single mothers during this period. These practices persisted through 1972, when the number of domestic adoptions began to drop dramatically.”

“These homes, which were sometimes little more than reformatories, often used coercive practices such as shaming, blaming, and removing or withholding babies from new mothers to force adoptions. Mothers were then told to ‘go on with their lives’ as if nothing had happened. Obviously this was impossible for most of them.”

Franks-Morra said, “We demand acknowledgement of the historical truth surrounding past adoption practices in the United States. We demand recognition for the millions of women who were systematically denied their inalienable right to raise their infant sons and daughters.”

“The Baby Scoop Era has become a footnote in American social history, except to the mothers who survived these practices. These women have carried into their adult lives burdens of worry, grief, pain and a corrosive secret. The lifelong consequences of these forced adoptions are still operating in the lives of millions of American women.”

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