Growing in the Dark
Growing in the Dark
Adoption Secrecy and its Consequences
Casebound Hardcover
Print Type:

Generations of adults who were adopted as children have been kept in the dark about their original identities. The law sealing birth records, passed in 1935 in California during the Great Depression, swept adoption�s emotional complexities under the rug and made it possible to keep adoption itself a secret.

Reflecting extensive archival research and written for general audiences as well as professionals, Growing in the Dark: Adoption Secrecy and Its Consequences takes you through California�s early adoption laws, the sealing of records in the era of baby seller Georgia Tann, and the various consequences of this policy as they unfolded throughout the 20th century.


"...articulate, easy to read, and filled with real facts concerning sealed records."
�����- Jean Brown, adoptee

"...full of fascinating won�t be able to put it down."
����- Anita Field, Bastard Nation

"Janine Baer, who was adopted in California, focuses on the California law enacted in 1935 sealing original birth certificates. Contrary to the popular perception, the intent of this law was not to protect the privacy of birthmothers.
����Rather, these records were sealed to protect children from the stigma of illegitimacy, to protect adoptive parents from intrusions by birthparents, to allow adoptive parents to keep the child�s adoptive status a secret, to create the illusion that the birthparents did not exist, and to prevent adoptees from finding their birthfamilies.
����...This is an excellent book for birthparents, adoptees, and adoptive parents who want to know how we got to where we are."

���� - Jane Edwards, Portland, Oregon

"Growing in the Dark, by virtue of its modest length and accessibility, can be used to educate people both within and outside of the adoption reform movement about the effects of sealed records and the faulty premises used to support them."
���� - Barbara Busharis, American Adoption Congress "Decree"

"Extensive notes and bibliographic information make it an excellent resource for those arguing for open records." ���
���� - Sandra Falconer Pace, Canadian Council of Natural Mothers

Note on price: Nonprofit organizations and resellers get 40% off. Call Xlibris for these orders: 1-888-795-4274.

Preview coming soon.

Janine Baer is an adoptee and long-time proponent of honest, compassionate adoption policies. From 1989 to 1997 she published the Chain of Life newsletter, a forum for progressive feminists -- including adoptees, parents and professionals -- to discuss adoption policies, share personal experiences, and advocate for reform.

The book�s title refers to the frequent experience of adoptees, including those of the baby boomer generation like herself, who grew up "in the dark" about what being adopted meant, in a society that was equally in the dark in its understanding of adoption and the harm of secrecy.

Today, as the book concludes,

"Scientists have discovered what adoptees instinctively know: nature and nurture -- genetic traits and life experiences -- work together in an individual and not in opposition ... in adoptees as in everyone else. It is time for laws and social mores governing adoption to catch up with that reality."

As of 2011, Janine lives near Berkeley, California, and works as a copy editor.


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