New Book Exposes Dark Side of Adoption History

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Richmond, VA, September 14, 2017 —- Adoption activist and author Karen-Wilson Buterbaugh, Director of the Baby Scoop Era Research Initiative, documents the darkest corners of infant adoption in her new book “The Baby Scoop Era: Unwed Mothers, Infant Adoption and Forced Surrender.” In her timely expose, Wilson-Buterbaugh illustrates how little the general public knows about the treatment of women by adoption authorities in the years between 1945 and 1973.

“The Baby Scoop Era: Unwed Mothers, Infant Adoption and Forced Surrender” builds on the author’s personal experiences to provide a scathing and factual picture of the behind-the-scenes dynamics of infant adoption during this era. The book covers the impact of infertility, economic conditions, racism, and social status on adoptions during that time.

Wilson-Buterbaugh lays open the painful truth behind even the most benign of adoption stories through an effective use of actual quotes about the situation from social caseworkers, maternity home personnel, attorneys and judges, and medical and mental health practitioners. She makes the case that these “professionals” knowingly applied methods and fostered attitudes that ensured “unwed mothers” would surrender their babies to strangers. Over 1.5 million vulnerable new mothers were permanently separated from the children they might have parented if they had been treated more fairly and humanely and been informed of their legal, constitutional and human rights.

Packed with factual information, statistics and an extensive list of references, “The Baby Scoop Era’s” 400-plus pages bring a scholarly yet accessible experience for readers by offering several real-life stories of natural mothers in their own words, along with chapters bearing titles like “The God Players,” “The Indu$try,” and “In Whose Best Interest?”

In the words of Leslie Pate MacKinnon, LCSW, “This book ought to included in Women’s Studies Programs across the nation… This book is the non-fictionalized version of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Author Information

Karen Wilson-Buterbaugh is an exiled mother whose personal experience of surrendering a newborn to adoption during the Baby Scoop Era of the 1960s was audio-taped for “Everlasting,” a multimedia sound and video installation by Ann Fessler. Karen’s story is included in Fessler’s book “The Girls Who Went Away” and in her film “A Girl Like Her.” The stories collected by Fessler showcase the voices of mothers of adoption loss from the 1960s to mid-1970s. They are a part of the women’s oral history collection at the Schlesinger Library. Karen’s experience and research were used in the Dan Rather Reports “Adoption or Abduction?” (2012) news program.

Karen is co-author of “Adoption Healing, a path to recovery for mothers who lost children to adoption” (2003); the author of several articles: “Setting the Record Straight” (2001), “Not By Choice” (2002), “Adoption Induced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Mothers of the Baby Scoop Era” (2010), and “White Washing Adoption: a Critique of Respectful Adoption Language” (2013). Karen is Executive Director of the Baby Scoop Era Research Initiative, Executive Director of Origins International, co-founder of Origins America and a founding member of Mothers Exploited By Adoption.

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