Monday, November 30, 2015

Interesting 1917 Adoption Story in Newspaper

I kind of have adoption on the brain at the moment, because I'm still working to help my aunt try to find the son she gave up for adoption 70 years ago.  (Progress has been made!  Cumberland County has said that there is a record!)  So this story about a woman who seems to have adopted a baby boy in 1917 caught my eye when I was reading this newspaper for another article.  I wonder if this child's adoption file is traceable based on the small amount of information in the article.  I wonder if the boy was ever told this story.

I also found it surprising that someone would call the police department to inquire about where to get a baby.  I somehow don't think that was the standard procedure for adoption, even in 1917.

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Atlanta Constitution, March 22, 1917, page 13

Recalls Promise and Now Baby Boy Has a Fine Home

When Woman Brings Homeless Child to Police Station Secretary Morris Remembers Telephone Request of Months Ago.

If it had not been for the fact that William T. Morris, secretary to the chief of police, made a rash promise some four months ago, and for the further fact that a good-hearted woman of Atlanta is anxious for a baby in her home, one 18-month-old boy would still be homeless.

At the time above mentioned, the telephone on Morris’ desk rang.

“Hello,” he answered.  “Chief’s office; secretary talking; something I can do for you?”

The voice was a timid feminine one.

“Yes,” it said.  “I want to know if you can tell me where I can get a baby?”

Morris took the lady’s telephone number and promised to help her if he could.

Wednesday afternoon a woman carrying a pretty child of 18 months came to the station.  She told the chief that the child had been left with her by its mother and that she was to receive $5 per week for caring for it, but that the mother had left the city, also leaving about five weeks’ wages due.

“I can’t afford to care for the boy,” she cried.  “But he’s such a fine little fellow that I hate to give him up.  If only I could get some good home for him—”

She was telling her story to other officials, but Morris had heard enough to recall the telephone conversation with a certain pretty little woman of Atlanta.

He fumbled in his desk through many memoranda and finally dug up a telephone number.

“Is this Mrs. ——?” he asked.

“Yes,” came the answer.

“Have you found that baby yet?”

“No, I haven’t; but I’m still looking.”

“Well,” said Morris, clearing his throat in his most impressive manner, “if you want a boy, now is your chance.”  Then directions were given and the lady in question called at the place where the baby is now staying Wednesday afternoon, and then she decided that Thursday she would take what steps were necessary to legally adopt it.

Her name?

She requested that it be withheld until the papers were properly executed.

“You see,” she said, “I want the child; but I’m afraid that if anything is published now some one else will get him.”

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