In the sunshine of the morning loft, I thought about borrowed babies
November 22, 2019 10:56 AM   Subscribe

Borrowed Babies Five months into her first pregnancy, one writer pursues a research project about the history of home economics, as she struggles with her own concerns about motherhood. [Longreads, by Jill Christman, Iron Horse Literary Review Spring 2013] posted by readinghippo (4 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
" Most entered the program as unwanted, neglected babies."

While the story unfolds that at least one mother wanted her child- the lack of looking into how cruel it is that many if not most of these children were in deed wanted and were treated this way is viscerally horrifying to me as both an adoptee and a woman who has lost a child to the monster that is US infant adoption.

"I think so. I hope so. But that’s foolish, too. Why wouldn’t I want Dickey to go to the financially established, older, childless couple desperate to adopt? Why would I imagine Dickey to be better off in the arms of his young, abandoned mother? “I love hm and am very lonesome for him,” Dickey’s mother said in her note."

Why would any of us believe that poor or struggling people deserve their children? Why shouldn't we remove all children from lower income parents and place them at the wealthy- or at least shame the poor into realizing if they loved their children this is what they should do?

I have my own answer. I think she's trying to tease out how horrifying it is, this assumption our culture has about how to solve inequality between families by taking the children of the poor and putting them with the wealthy, but the way she phrases the question leaves me unsure to what degree she get it. Isn't that we love our children enough, for it to be an act of cruelty for society to solve poverty and lack of support/resources this way?
posted by xarnop at 11:23 AM on November 22, 2019 [6 favorites]

Thank you for that, xarnop. I was unsettled by those questions in the piece also.
posted by readinghippo at 11:27 AM on November 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

A few months ago I first listened to Robert Evans' Behind the Bastards podcast, and once I had listened to all the recent ones I started going through the archive. A few days ago I reached the ones on Georgia Tann, who is described as the primary inventor of modern adoption practices.

I had no idea about any of this. It was at the same time interesting, informative, and incredibly horrifying. All episodes of this podcast contain just monstrous acts of inhumanity but the Georgia Tann episode sits with, like, the Leopold II episode is terms just sheer horror. The scale isn't the same but... lots and lots of dead and sadistically mistreated kids. The podcast even mentions the babies given to home ec departments mentioned in this post. Anyway, if you are curious to know more about how the kids ended up there and if you have a high tolerance for horror, I recommend it.

Behind the Bastards: Georgia Tann, Part One
Behind the Bastards: Georgia Tann, Part Two
posted by kprincehouse at 12:14 PM on November 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

Previously re: Georgia Tann. The book that Evans cites in the episode notes on that is very well done, incidentally.
posted by sciatrix at 12:56 PM on November 22, 2019

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