Ann Evans's Reviews > 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 by Ann Fessler
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Jun 14, 2010

really liked it
Read in June, 2010

Oh my! When I had an abortion at 19, a friend who was pregnant at the same time surrendered her child for adoption. Thirty years later I got a letter from her telling me of her anguish and agony looking for her daughter, whom she finally found, after 15 years of searching, in The Netherlands. The daughter didn't want to have a relationship with her, though you never know what might happen some day.

This book told dozens of stories of ruined lives, untold anguish, unfathomable and unexplainable regret, of the young women who were shepherded, without information or counselling mostly, through the adoption process in the 1950's, 1960's, etc.

I must admit that since then I have looked at every adopted child and thought about his or her mother. Not that I thought they shouldn't have been adopted -- just that the mother should be honored. The worst thing in the world is to lose a child, and when you surrender a child, you lose it, at least in those days you did.

This was an important book, interesting, heartbreaking, informative.
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03/09/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Joy (new)

Joy So to be clear, are you saying that it was worse that these children were born and adopted than if they had been aborted?


message 2: by Petra Eggs (new)

Petra Eggs I would have chosen abortion over adoption too. I had never looked at it quite this way, but it is something to consider. Unless you are a pro-lifer of course.


message 3: by Candy (new)

Candy Joy, I had the same question. This was in my recommended reads, and I haven't read it and probably won't. The whole premise of an abortion would be so much better really doesn't sit well with me.


Olylaura Either adoption or abortion both are traumatic life events for women and they deserve our compassion.


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