The Girls Who Went Away : The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade.
375 Hudson St.
New York, NY 10014
This book presents findings from an oral history project that explored the experiences of women who surrendered a newborn for adoption between the end of World War II, in 1945, and the 1973 passage of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the United States. It highlights the family and social pressure faced by the young women who were pregnant, including shunning by family members, eviction from school, and banishment to maternity homes to have their children alone. The majority of the women who were interviewed for the book were given no option but to surrender and have been haunted by the loss of their children. The stories of the women are grouped into chapters that address: breaking the silence of having surrendered a baby, social attitudes about good girls and bad girls, discovery of a pregnancy and shame, fears of the families, going away to maternity homes, birth and surrender, coping with the emotional aftermath of surrendering a baby, searching for surrendered children and reunions, birthmothers' views about adoption terminology and the continuing stigma of single pregnancy, and the author's own reunion with her birthmother.
adoption; birth mothers; historical perspective