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The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade
     

The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade

4.7 37
by Ann Fessler
 

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In this deeply moving and myth-shattering work, Ann Fessler brings out into the open for the first time the astonishing untold history of the million and a half women who surrendered children for adoption due to enormous family and social pressure in the decades before Roe v. Wade. An adoptee who was herself surrendered during those years and recently made contact

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The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades before Roe v. Wade 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
Channah_Miriam More than 1 year ago
The adoptee sister to my son suggested I read The Adoption Triangle, I couldn't find the book, but took out three others on adoption to read. As a birth mother from 1972 who 'went away', I was totally un-educated to modern day reunion practices to which present times has us in as adoptee to birth mothers. Then "The girls that went away" - was suggested to me by another birth mother. What an educational book! The stories were personal,heart felt, and Real. The book helped me realize my family was just like most of the rest of that era. I was no longer standing on an island by myself. Ann Fessler did a wonderful job of pulling together facts of an era where shame and guilt was placed on the platter of every single girl who found herself in trouble. There was so much healing that took place as I turned each page. I have ordered a copy for each one in my first family to receive in order to really know their sibling and daughter's struggle during that nine month's and years afterwards. This is a five star book for anyone in the adoption triangle, birth mother, adopted mother, and adoptee. All parties will understand each other better when they close the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a suburban male coming of age in the late 1960s, I can remember the snickering about the "girls who got into trouble," though I never knew any. Ms. Fessler's book is at its best when she lets those girls (now women) tell their story in their own words. I was reminded that paternity testing did not exist then but the double-standard did, so the fathers in almost all cases walked away unburdened by any responsibility for the children they fathered. The first-person accounts of the pressure to relinquish, the shame place on them by the "grown-ups," the lack of counseling, the isolation and sorrow and lingering sense of loss are heartbreaking. I felt, though, that the book was unbalanced. While my personal belief (as an adoptee from the era examined in the book) is that mothers and their children fare best when kept together, surely there are cases when a mother who relinquishes a child finds the resilience to move on to a fulfilling life post-relinquishment. That's a minor complaint, though, for a book that personalizes the damage done to so many young women by post-WWII culture in America.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book is a very intense read....could not read it in just a couple of sittings as it definitly pulls many emotions from the reader. Having grown up in the era that the author is writing about probably made it more so. I would recommend this book to all women of all ages.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm 47 years old. While I recall hearing my older siblings talk about 'girls who went away', I didn't personally know anyone who did. I came 'of age' just as birth control became more readily available and I was 15 at the time of Roe v. Wade. There were certainly girls during my early teens who 'messed around' and we all knew who they were, but none of them became pregnant (at least they never 'went away'). When I would hear my siblings and their friends talk about the girls of their generation who did suddenly disappear, I assumed these girls were glad to give their babies up so they could get on with their lives. I also assumed they had been careless about birth control never imagining that they were never told about it or how difficult it was to acquire. I also assumed that as they aged, they probably had moments of fleeting curiosity about their baby. Simple things like 'I wonder what he/she looks like'. I never imagined the depth and intensity of their loss. I was mesmerized and heart broken by each story in this book. I'm so glad Ann Fessler took the time to gather their stories and that the women were willing to share them with the rest of us. Bless their hearts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very moving. Imagine being a young single girl and going into labor without your mom to talk to you - being alone - feeling rejected by Society and the man you thought you loved. Feel the torment of having to give up the child because you can't afford to take care of him/her and not having any choice. Being afraid to tell future boyfriends or others about your illegitimate child for fear of rejection again. I was quite horrified that the Catholics seemed to be the worst!!! How dare they charge the girl for her care, making her work hard while pregnant, ignoring the needs of this young woman and treating her like dirt and yet freely giving her child away like they were doing her a favor. They even lied about some information making it near-impossible or impossible for the mother and child to ever be reunited at a future time. That whole time society never seemed to kick the butts of the men who contributed to this condition and their attitude that, "It's not my problem" as they moved on to their next conquest. I know there were a few young men that married the girl after her child was given up and it is sad that they didn't do the right thing in time to keep the child.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am an adoptee born in the time that girls were sent away. My birthmother went to a maternity home and I was placed for adoption thru that same agency. Thanks to their falsification of legal records I will most likely never meet her which of course was their intent. I picked up this book on a Sat afternoon and by Sun morning I had finished it, I don't think I read it, I inhaled and absorbed it into my soul. Other than an email correspondance with one of the girls that was at the same home as my birthmother I had never had an idea of what it was like for her. Thank you Ann for this gift of a look into the world she endured, I was forever changed from my fantasy world of what I had imagined. If you are any part of the triad and know someone whose life was shaped by this time period this is a must read.
USMC_WIFEY More than 1 year ago
this is such a great book that openly talks about a subject that was so taboo at the time! being born in the 80's, it's mind boggling to me to see how we treated young women and their unexpected children just a few decades ago. a great read!
Emily23 More than 1 year ago
"The Girls Who Went Away" was a required reading book in a history class in college. I decided to start reading it just as the deadline approached before a quiz. The minute I opened the first page, I couldn't stop reading. I never realized the heartbreak so many un-wed women had to endure. It keeps your interest with heart wrenching stories. The only problem is realizing these are TRUE tales of women in a time in America where things seemed to be sugar coated.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was born in 1961, so my interest in this topic stemmed from becoming close with several adults who are adoptees. I became even more interested after I mentioned something in passing to my 16 year old niece and made reference to the time before abortion was available, and she had no idea what I was talking about. I found this book dispelled many myths about the feelings and intentions of birth mothers. I found it alternately very sad (stories of girls being forced to do something they didn't want to do) and very inspiring (stories of joyous, healing reunions). I'd recommend it to anyone who's life has been touched by this issue.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My Mother gave me up for adoption and I always wondered how she felt. This book gave me alot of insight. What a brave courageous woman she was. I just found birth family, but regrettfully my Mother had already passed away. One day I hope to meet her and tell her how much I love her and thought about her everyday!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am also one of the children who was placed for adoption during the time period that Ann Fessler describes. I have gained so much from reading this book. It was not easy for me to get through it. I had to put it down between the emotional highs and lows that I experienced as I kept reading. I cried at the losses and rejoiced in the reunions and times of family acceptance of past wrongs done to the women in the book. This book gives a voice to women who struggled with one of the most difficult, life-altering events in their lives. Thank you Ann, for honoring these women. As an adopted child, I had a wonderful family. As an adult, I wished to know my birthfamily especially the woman who gave me my life in so many ways. Through this book, I have learned to appreciate her and her courage even more than I did before. I believe in adoption now as it has changed so much and become so much more sensitive to all involved in the process. I only hope that this book helps more families deal with the loss and to forgive each other. To that end and as I work in a bookstore myself, this has become my personal recommendation to customers. The stories of these women needed to be told and this book does an excellent job in allowing them to be heard.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read the book and it is a very depressing and harrowing account of what adoption CAN be, but not necessarily what adoption always is. I am adopted and have two great parents who did not attempt to exploit my birth mother--who decided to give me up voluntarily. My adoption was facilitated professionally and I was in good health the entire time. I know this because Holt International adoption agency is very respected throughout the world and does a great service by facilitating adoptions from poor nations. However, from my own experience and research I must corroborate that many adoptions that occurred several decades ago, before societal acceptance and regulations, were susceptible to greed and manipulation, as this book asserts. It certainly highlights a part of what adoption was and can be still. However, to attribute these accounts to the overall culture of adoption would be a mistake. Hopefully, this book can bring some awareness that adoption has come a long way but that there are still negative remnants from the past.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: Sparrow&star <br> Her pelt is a mix of brown giving it a soft feathery look. Like a sparrow! &#9786 <br> golden-yellow eyes <br> Loyal. Caring. Fierce. Strong. <br> Kin: Whispfeather and Nightfury (loners) <br> Sp&alpha<_>rro&omega<_>&star
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is incredibly enlightening it changed my entire perspective on adoption. I LOVE this novel & all that it offers. Not only do you get statistical figures, but also real heart wrenching stories from women forced to give their children away. I read this for my sociology class in college & I could not put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book reveals truths never discussed in the open.
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Caedwyn More than 1 year ago
As an adoptee, I found this book to be very helpful in understanding the culture surrounding my birth mother's decision. Growing up as I did in an era where being unmarried & pregnant is not as big a deal, it's difficult for me to really understand the condemnation and stigma these women faced, how REAL the punishment was for being unmarried & pregnant. I understand her a little better now, and I'm sending her my copy so that maybe she can understand herself a little better, too.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful book that kept my attention from start to finish. As a girl born in the 70's, I had no idea young ladies were treated so unfairly. It really makes me look around at women that may have been affected by it (and are still affected by it). This books provides both real life stories and historical background into the issue.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great insite into a taboo subject. The interject of statistics and facts between the real life stories is both fasinating and heart breaking. Kudos to Ann Fessler for bring these women's untold stories to the printed page.