Banished Babies: The Secret History of Ireland's Baby Exportby Mike Milotte
At least 2,200 present American citizens born out of wedlock in Ireland from 1949 to 1973 had been shipped off to the U.S. for adoption so that they would not live as outcasts in their homeland. How could such a thing come about? Ireland after World War II was a desolate and gloomy country Having remained neutral during the war, the country was cut off from progressive postwar developments, and its rigid Catholicism still controlled the lives of many, especially young women. Birth control was not available and out of wedlock children were frowned upon.
As Michael Milotte shows in his carefully documented expose, Banished Babies, numerous pregnant, unmarried young women lived in secret Catholic charity homes where the children were born and then, with the assistance of the Church and Irish government, the children were sent to the U.S. without their mothers' approval. In some cases, women stayed in the homes as long as two years, breast-feeding and bonding until their children were taken from them. Women who escaped were caught and brought back. Milotte reveals that many nuns received substantial sums of money, and a black market existed outside the main export scheme. He also includes a number of case histories, along with many stories from the mothers themselves, telling of the heartbreak of giving up their children so that they might be able to go back into Irish society. Michael Milotte, a senior RTE current affairs reporter, first broke this story in a TV documentary he did last year.
- New Island Books
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.50(w) x 8.49(h) x 0.72(d)
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I first picked up this book with great anticipation and a just a little dread. As I started to read the clinical descriptions of the politics of the time, I became a little bit bored but then...familiar names and places jumped from the pages and I was transported back in time.The turmoil of so many mixed emotions was unnerving.As one of those children that came to the states in the early 1950s to a family that could not adopt through the channels in this country, many unanswered questions now had an explanation. Much of what I read was 'disturbing' yet,in some strange way,comforting.A very powerful book, indeed.