The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby Seller who Corrupted Adoption
Random House Australia
, 2007 - Adoption
- 307 pages
This is the shocking story of Georgia Tann, a notorious dealer in black-market babies, whose actions shaped adoption as we know it today.THE BABY THIEF tells the story of infamous baby seller Georgia Tann, who, between 1924 and 1950, operated out of Tennessee selling children to wealthy clients nationwide.Many were neglected and abused, and untold numbers died.Drawing on extensive interviews and correspondence with Tann's victims, Barbara Bisantz Raymond gets to the bottom of this extraordinary story, showing how Tann not only popularized adoption - which until then had been feared and discouraged but also commercialised and corrupted it.She tells how Tann abducted babies or coerced women to leave their children in her care and then sold them. To cover her kidnapping crimes she falsified birth certificates, a practice that was approved by legislators who believed it would spare adoptees the onus of illegitimacy and one that still holds in all states today.Uncovering many life shattering stories along the way, Raymond recounts how Georgia openly sold over 5000 children, and killed so many through neglect that the city's infant mortality rate soared to the highest in the country. She explores how Tann's operation was able to thrive in a Memphis governed by 'Boss' Ed Crump and the political network that allowed her to operate with impunity. She also portrays the paucity of options available to women, affecting not only the birth mothers Georgia robbed, but Georgia herself, who turned to social work after having been barred from a 'masculine profession' law.Part social history, part detective story, part exposeacute;, THE BABY THIEF is a riveting investigative narrative that explores themes that continue to reverberate today baby stealing, baby selling, secrecy in adoption, and the need of adoptees to know their birth families.