Monday, May 24, 2010

Orphanage, Pt. 9: The End

I thought I would have a dramatic finish to the two series of posts (Adoption and Orphanage) that have taken up so much of this last year. But truth be told, I've been sitting here staring at the screen for several days and can't seem to find that big finish. What started out as a mention of Lake Bluff Orphanage in a post a year ago has turned into the most incredible journey, and mere words really can't do justice to the experience and the feelings involved (though I did try!).

I've told you everything from my conception thru my birth mother Lillian's relinquishment of me for adoption, thru my time at the orphanage to my adoptive parents, my upbringing, my search for my birth mother, my reunion with my siblings, my wistful yearning every birthday and Mother's Day to know all the what/when/why/wherefores of my history. You probably know more about me and mine than you do about you and yours! There just is nothing left to tell.

Some of you have said you hope I found peace at the end of this journey, in finding out so many details about my birth mother, the adoption, my time in the orphanage. And I have to honestly say that it was never about finding 'peace'. It was about finding those details, facts, documentation, good or bad. It was about filling in the blanks. And, because of Kraig, almost all of those blanks have been filled in.

I've always said that what I missed most in my life was knowing the pure love that a mother has for her child, the kind I've only experienced thru my love for my own daughter. I know now that even though she never even held me, despite taking over two months to sign the relinquishment for adoption papers, she did want something better for me than she could provide, and that is love. I think that knowing this will soften the image I have of her as the alcoholic who eventually lost her other four children due to alcoholism and neglect, at least in regard to her relationship to me and my life. My conception may have been an accident, but the decision to give birth to me and to give me up to the hope of that better life was from love.

I've always wondered how an orphanage could not have known about my adoptive mother's instability. And I know now that they did recognize it...just too late! I'm not sure exactly what she did to get noticed other than appearing flighty, or why they let it pass, but it was what it was. I certainly never expected to find so many written details about her in the orphanage records, though I had always said that there surely must have been records somewhere about the process. I think I expected generalizations, not detailed descriptions of visits.

Something about my whole story that still surprises me is this: (1) My birth mother named me Linda Irene. My adoptive parents named me Linda, not knowing that was my birth name. (2) My adoptive mother's name was Irene. (3) My birth mother became an alcoholic and neglectful mother who lost her other four children. My adoptive mother was an alcoholic and neglectful mother who lost me. I don't believe in destiny or fate, but...seriously? What are the chances?

Truly, the most amazing part of this whole journey of the last year is how it happened. The lady who flagged Lake Bluff Orphanage, who put my original adoption post in the Lake Bluff Gazette? She knew that Kraig was doing research on Lake Bluff Orphanage because her daughter had him as a coach. What are the chances of that happening? And this random alignment of events brought this awesome man into my life. I cannot say enough about him without totally embarrassing him (which I already did by saying he was cute as the dickens), so let me just say that he is honestly one of the most interesting, kind, and empathetic people I have ever met. He not only went over and above in finding out all this information for me, but he did the research and took the journey with his heart.

I can't begin to tell you how much it has meant to me to have you share the written part of this journey with me, much of it while it was happening or shortly thereafter. It was a lot of reading, but it was clear from your comments that you really read it, instead of just skimming through it as sometimes happens when a post is too long. Often, your comments helped me sort thru my own feelings about what I had just written.

My main goal was to get all this written down for my grandkids to be able to read someday, but I hope one of the side perks will be that someone will read my story and see that anything is possible, at any age! Whether you're 16, 26, or 62, being adopted comes with built-in frustration of not knowing facts and faces. If they are interested in looking, in finding out more about their beginnings, then I would say to at least give it a try. I've had several people contact me by email with their story of being adopted, or knowing someone who was adopted, and I tell them that every story has a paper trail. Sometimes all it takes is one person to give one little tidbit of info that will lead to those dusty boxes of records hidden away somewhere. Mentioning names and places in a blog doesn't hurt either, because you just never know who will be reading!

I'd like to end this with an email that Kraig sent after he had been here with his treasure chest of information (or, in this case, a pink birthday bag):

"As I read your blog, you stated about the information that "most was good" (news). So I wanted to share with you what I took from your story.

Your birth mother, Lillian, to me, made the ultimate sacrifice. You had put in one of your blogs that it was a "no brainer", based on her home situation, to give you up. I hope after reading what you now have, you realize how untrue that was. Despite her situation, she was severely conflicted, so much that it took her 2 1/2 months to finally decide what to do about you. In a world where babies are sometimes found abandoned in dumpsters or on the door steps of fire or police departments ... I hope you realize how much she cared about you. I've seen many adults who put themselves first before their kids. Teenagers are even more self-centered because they're not emotionally developed, nor do they think about things in the same way an adult would. The fact that this teenager was able to process her decision, more rationally than some adults, I find pretty amazing.

And based on what I brought to you, I hope you know how much the people at the Lake Bluff Orphanage, in particular Katy Patterson and her staff, cared for you. I'm sure based on the fact that Katy's daughter said "you couldn't help to get attached to the babies, especially the ones that were there for a month or longer." When she said that, IKNEW that you were well received and probably talked about on a daily basis by them in trying to find the right home for you. And it was obvious the case worker, Miss Fox, truly cared about your mother, and you too.

It's easy for us to think of our parents as what they "became", because often this is only what we were able to witness first-hand. Sometimes this is a depressed middle-aged person, or a drug or alcohol dependent person. And this is obviously what your mom became along her life path along with some other problems as she grew older. But as I read the report, I didn't see her as that person, because she hadn't become that person yet. All I saw was a naive teenager who made the right choice to better the life of her daughter.

The line that get's me each time is when she said she wanted to know the information on the adoptive grandparents. She herself had little home-life or any kind of contact with grandparents. And that she stated several times that she never had a place to bring her friends. Had she brought you home to Texas, and the unstable life that awaited you there, it is in my opinion you NEVER would've become the person you are today. I feel the main difference on this was your adoptive father. It was obvious to me from the reports about Tom Ecklund that he cared enough about you at the time of your adoption to gain custody of you later. I can't necessarily say any parent figure on Lillian's side was going to provide that for you.

So, in summary, because of Lillian's mature, unselfish and rather visionary decision, you now today are able to have the relationship with Lillian's great-grandchildren, Conner and Garrett, that she hoped someone would have for you. And I think THAT is what's the best thing to come out of all this. Kraig

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Orphanage, Pt. 8: The Adoptive Parents

I have often expressed a wish to know what my months at the orphanage were like. From the information that Kraig had found in his research about the orphanage and shared with me, plus the interviews he did specifically with the daughter of a nurse and their time there during the time period I was there, and the daughter of another woman who was the night Baby Fold (as it was called) attendant, I was able to learn enough to know that it wasn't something out of Oliver Twist or Little Orphan Annie. In fact, there were rarely more than six babies in the Baby Fold at any given time, and most were only there for a matter of weeks. Since I was there for almost three months, it would suffice to say that a bond of sorts was formed by the caretakers. Although they obviously wouldn't remember me personally after 62 years, I was left with no doubt as to the tender loving care I would have received from them. While I was being cared for in the nursery of the orphanage, this was happening behind the scenes:

(FYI, there were many entries that I didn't thanks necessary!)

8-10-48: In conference with Superintendent and CW supervisor, we are considering this baby for the Ecklunds.

8-13-48: Phoned the Ecklunds today and talked with both Mr. and Mrs. Ecklund. The background of baby girl Crawley was explained to them and both are interested and feel that the background is a match for them. They did hesitate on considering a girl, but it is not a matter of great importance to them as this is their first baby and they were not too set on their decision. Plans were made for them to come for baby Crawley at 3:00 P.M. today. Mrs. E said they would have to buy some clothes because of getting the baby so soon, but feel there is no need for delay as her husband is on vacation and it is convenient to get the baby.

(Later) The Ecklunds came to LBO today for their baby and it was easy to tell they were interested and excited because of things happening so quickly. A thorough picture of the baby's background was given to the Ecklunds and they were accepting of it, though they expressed their disappointment about not knowing more about the alleged father. It was emphasized that the baby was given for adoption because the mother loved her and not because she did not want her. This and other points will be given to the Ecklunds again during our period of supervision and before legal adoption. The Ecklunds do not know what they will call the baby yet, but will send an announcement to the agency. They brought along a lovely 'going home' outfit, and after she was dressed the baby was indeed lovely. During the presentation ceremony by Mrs. Brooks the child 'talked' aloud, but when Mrs. Brooks began to pray she began to cry. As she was placed in Mrs. Ecklund's arms, both Mr. and Mrs. Ecklund expressed their appreciation to the agency. Mr. Ecklund took pictures of his wife and baby as they left the agency and this will be the basis of their explanation to the child of how she came to them.

8-20-48: Received today birth announcement from the Ecklunds. Baby was named Linda Jean.

8-23-48: Phone call from Mrs. Fox who explained that Lillian would like to know the reaction of the adoptive parents to her baby. Mrs. Fox believes her request is a genuine one and a natural one. She wishes to know if they really like her baby and what their response was.

CW wished Mrs. Fox to assure Lillian that the adoptive parents were not only thrilled but most eager to give a home to Lillian's little girl. They unknowingly retained the name 'Linda' which Lillian had given her. Also the adoptive parents have written in explaining how much the baby resembles her and that they have expressed their appreciation to the mother for releasing such a lovely baby for them. Mrs. Fox believes this information will be of reassurance to Lillian. (Note: The first of several coincidences, Lillian had named me Linda Irene, after her mother Rhoda Irene. My adoptive mother's name was Irene. Also, they had not been told that the birth mother had named me Linda, and yet had chosen that name).

9-8-48: Phone call to Mrs. Ecklund to ask about the baby. She admitted that they are very fond of her and have found her to be a real joy to them. .. (misc. notes)... She has been a very easily managed child, eats well and is lots of company for them. The Ecklund's family and friends are all very glad they have the baby and have given her many gifts.

Although CW believes the E's are genuinely happy to have a baby, it was difficult to obtain even the above information from Mrs. E. She was not at all spontaneous in giving the information and CW had to question her on each point. She seemed to lack the usual enthusiasm that most adoptive parents have.

10-17-48: Mr. and Mrs. Ecklund came to LBO today to show their baby girl. The baby spent most of her time on her father's lap, and it could be plainly seen how much enjoyment he has in being a father. Both parents talked with freedom and ease about the baby's adjustment to their home and their love for her. ...(other misc. notes)...

10-19-48: Stopped by at the Ecklund home today and talked with Mrs. Ecklund for the first time since the placement of their baby . The CW had phoned about an hour before, and when she came the baby was neatly dressed and lying in bed. Most of the visit was held in the child's bedroom, at which time the CW observed the child. ...(misc. notes)... Mrs. Ecklund was obviously delighted to show off her baby, but her attitude was still rather reserved. Not once during the interview did she make an attempt to go over and pick up the baby and fondle or cuddle her or to hold her in her lap. ...(more misc. notes)...

3-3-49: CW visited the Ecklund home today. As soon as worker came into the bedroom where the baby was standing in her bed, the child began to shake all over. It lasted for about half a minute. Mrs. E went over to get the baby and picked her up. She brought her into the living room and held her while she told the worker she has noticed the baby having such shaking spells only during the past six weeks. They usually occur when a stranger enters. ...however, they have occasionally occurred when the child suddenly wakens from a nap. They believe such to occur because of shyness and fear rather than any emotional or nervous disorder. She has told their pediatrition about it and he believes there is little cause for concern because of the child's healthy condition. ...(several more paragraphs of notes)...

4-26-49: Worker visited the home today by appointment. Worker ws surprised to find Mr. Ecklund at home and he said he was sorry to be at home but that he was unemployed. He had been laid off about three weeks ago and has been unsuccessful in finding steady employment since. ...(misc. notes)... The couple are seriously considering moving to Fort Worth (Texas) and taking a job opportunity. It is plainly seen the Ecklunds are still young in their marriage and are one of the many young couples facing several changes before settling into an established position. Because of these temporary situations, Mr. and Mrs. Ecklund wish to proceed with adoption as most likely they will go on to Fort Worth within the next month or two.

They told that Linda's quivering spells are now almost terminated. They seldom occur and they believe she is becoming more adjusted to strangers. They have not found her unusually sensitive in other areas and believe now the doctor will give a recommendation that adoption be started.

Worker observed the child to be a happy, alert little girl. She was eager about being into the bookcase and the what-not shelves. Her mother took most of the responsibility for guidance during such investigations. Mrs. Ecklund seemed to be at ease and patient during such investigations, but worker wonders how long her patience will last. Mrs. Ecklund seems to be rather limited and flighty and a person who may not wear well. (In fact, she was an alcoholic who had a history of instability in her youth, and at one point some years later, after I had been removed from her custody, she was described by a hospital where she was committed for evaluation as having the social conscience of a fifteen year old. How strange to me that the worker picked up on this in her!) Mr Ecklund took no or little initiative in assisting his wife during such moments of curiousity. Yet on the other hand, he was affectionate and demonstrative with the child....On the whole, worker would not recommend a second placemement with this couple even though they were financially secure unless the adjustment of Linda proved to be a wholesome, happy one.

5-4-49: Mrs. Ecklund phoned to say they have now definitely considered going to Fort Worth.

5-9-49: Phone call from Mr. Hutchins who explained that the Ecklunds have engaged him as their attorney.

5-13-49: Phone call from Mrs. Ecklund explaining they are planning definitely to go to Texas. The Consolidated Aircraft Company is holding her husband's job open until they can arrive. The only thing holding them now are the adoption proceedings. (Under normal circumstances, adoptions were not finalized until after an entire year of supervision - they were asking for that to be cut short due to the move.)

6-28-49: Letter from Mr. Hutchins, attorney, advising that decree of adoption was entered in the County Court of Cook County on June 22, 1949, whereby Linda Irene Crawley was legally adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Tom Ecklund, and the child's name changed to Linda Jean Ecklund.

8-31-49: Case closed. Child legally adopted.

It's fitting that by coincidence I've finished this post on my birthday weekend. It was on my birthday a year ago that this whole journey of discovery began, the post that told about how I always asked questions on Mother's Day and my birthday, the post which found it's way to Kraig. But it hasn't just been my story, or Lillian's, or Tom and Irene's. It's about all those mother's who have given up their babies for whatever reason, all those hopeful adoptive parents, the children of adoption who long to know who they look like, and about all those boxes with information pertaining to those stories gathering dust somewhere.

Although I've finished going thru the papers Kraig uncovered, and finished with my 'search' for answers, I reserve the right to do one more post on what this has all meant to me, on what my reaction is to some of what I've found out, and most especially on what meeting a man like Kraig has meant to me. So: (to be more time)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Orphanage, Pt. 7: Relinquishment

I was stunned when I read the last paragraph of the report from the United Charities of Chicago to the orphange . The hospital in which I was born was given instructions that Lillian 'is not to be given the baby at any time'. Of course, I know that that's not an uncommon practice, especially in 1948, but had hoped that in my case it would be different. I was hoping for a mother to child soliloquy along the lines of "I'm so sorry, baby! I want better for you than what I can provide. I will always remember the feel of you in my arms and your sweet little face". That was not the case, but I did find out that she didn't take the decision to give me up lightly.

"5-20-48: Worker visited Lillian at IRH (the hospital) today. Lillian stated her delivery was not difficult but she was looking forward to being discharged from the hospital as soon as possible. Her plans are to return to the Sara Hackett Home where she will stay until she can find other living arrangements. She stated that Mrs. Fox, her CW (case worker), was going to help her find a place to stay and also help her get employment. Lillian signed her paper surrendering her child to the agency."

After signing papers releasing me to the orphanage (not to be confused with relinquishment papers to be adopted), I was released to Lake Bluff Orpanage at almost two weeks old. I might have been released sooner, but there was a question of my being of low weight and of the orphanage being not quite ready for me. So, on May 26, 1948, eleven days old, I was picked up at the hospital by a case worker and taken to my temporary home, which noted that I was "a lovely little girl, well formed". And thus began those few months that have been shrouded in mystery, both in regard to myself and to what my mother was doing during that time period.

While I was beginning my new life in the orphanage, Lillian had gone back to the unwed mother's home. She took a job as a counter girl in a cafeteria at WMH (don't know what that was) while trying to decide what to do next with her life.

"7-6-48: Went to WMH today and was given permission to talk with Lillain......(misc. remarks)... It was apparent from the beginning that Lillian was not ready to sign final consent. She wanted to know more about our adoption program and the type of home the baby would go into. CW (caseworker) gave all assurance she could as to family we have and why it was best for the baby. Lillian then said 'I am afraid to adopt my baby out'. She knows she has no other plan as she is only able to support herself. She also knows a boarding home plan is unsatisfactory in the long run. She asked about her baby and CW described her. Lillian related easily to the worker, but tears came to her eyes during the interview. She definitely is perplexed in making her decision."

"There was a noticed change and a sigh of relief when the CW suggested that she would be glad to return in about 2 weeks. This would give Lillian time to rethink her decision and perhaps talk it over with Mrs. Fox (who was on vacation). She was given the CW's card and told to write her if there was any change in her plans. She said she did not think there would be any change but 'wanted a little time to think'".

"7-8-48: Phone call asking us to go along with Lillian until 8-5. They feel that Lillian is feeling the insecurity of not having Mrs. Fox on hand and has no one to turn to. If the worker could become acquainted with Lillian and perhaps visit her once more, they feel she will be willing to sign as soon as Mrs. Fox returns."

"7-29-48: Lillian is now employed in the Dixon Grill which is a small soda fountain...(misc. notes)...she was glad to see the worker and we talked together in one of the social service department offices."

"We had no sooner been seated when Lillian explained that 'I guess I am ready to sign final consent..........'. She explained that after she talked with the worker she had thought definitely in terms of keeping the baby. But the more she thought of how her baby would not have a stable home life nor two sets of grandparents, the more she realized that that was too much for her baby to miss. She was interested in knowing what kind of family the baby would have, but was especially interested in the grandparents. She herself has had little home life of any kind or contact with grandparents. She repeated that fact several times during the conversation and usually added the statement 'I never had a place to bring my friends.' " (Remember, she had already stated that she left home initially at age 16 because her maternal grandfather had moved into their home, was very strict, and they did not get along well at all.)

"Lillian ws composed and relaxed during the interview. She is more settled in her job and enjoys living in the girls' club (I'm thinking this is something like the YWCA that she lived in when she first left home). She expressed being glad that she was not living at Sarah Hackett and that she did not want to return there with her baby. She seems quite ready to sign final papers and will look forward to seeing the worker at that time."

"8-9-48: CW met Lillian today at the FSB office where she signed final consent. As Lillian had already reviewed the paper with CW, she had few questions regarding it. CW did take time to explain some of the details of the paper once again because she felt Lillian was trying hard to keep her emotions under control. Some time was also taken to explain some of the background of the prospective adoptive parents, the Ecklunds. Here again, Lillian was accepting of the information. She signed final consent and thanked the CW for being so interested in her and her baby."(I believe she's referring to Mrs. Fox, the case worker from United Charities.)

"CW then offered to drive Lillian to work as she was driving in that direction. As we went down in the elevator, Lillian gave the CW the copy of the final consent which CW had given her to read as she explained the details of the paper. She said she did not wish to keep the paper as it only served as a reminder. The girl was told that the baby would go into it's adoptive home within the next three or four days. She again expressed her gratefulness to the CW for finding such a fine home for the baby."

This ended Lillian's part in the 'story' of my birth and relinquishment for adoption. I had always wondered if she had a hard time giving me up - and I now know that she did. I had never blamed her for 'giving me away' or anything like that, or felt bitter towards her...just curious. To read the account of her struggle was very touching for me. Although I was disappointed that she had never seen or held me, I know now that I had been in her heart, and that has made all the difference. It erased the picture I had of her in my head the last thirty years that was taken from the later accounts of the alcoholic and neglectful mother who eventually lost her other four children. I now can see her as a teenage girl who found herself in a position that even an adult would have trouble with, pregnant with no means of taking care of a baby. She did the best she could, made the only decision that made sense at that time.

Lillian would eventually return to Galveston. Family lore has it that she called the orphanage and was told that I had died in a fire. I now don't think that's what happened. The records kept by United Charities and especially by the orphanage were very detailed, and I think that the thought was that if the baby turned adult came looking, the information would be there, that the story would come full circle. Kraig thinks, and I agree, that Lillian, perhaps, made the story up to stop the family from asking about it, to put an end to the story.

Next, the papers tell about the investigation of the adoptive family before my time at the orphanage ends. ( be continued)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Orphanage, Part 6: Lillian's Story

Last May 2009, I did a post giving a brief history of having been adopted, and how every year on my birthday I wonder anew what it was like for my mother to give up a baby, and what those three months I spent in the orphanage were like.

Here it is almost a year later, and I'm once again talking about Lake Bluff Orphanage. Only this time I have answers to many of the questions I've asked myself over the years. Thanks to that original post, a door was opened, and a kind man named Kraig xxx walked thru with a map of sorts, of the journey my mother took toward my birth and relinquishment to the orphanage, a record of the mysterious three months I was in the orphanage, and the beginning of my journey with the new adoptive parents. A greater gift has never been received.

Coming to Georgia from Lake Bluff, Illinois to interview me for a documentary he's doing on the orphanage, Kraig sweetened the deal with the delivery of two sets of records: (1) four typewritten pages of a letter written by Women's Service Division, Family Service Bureau, United Charities of Chicago in April 1948 to Lake Bluff Orphanage, and (2) twelve typewritten pages of records kept by Lake Bluff Orphanage beginning April 1948 and ending in August 1949.

The information in this post is taken from the letter from United Charities, who were acting as a liason between the unwed mother's home and the orphanage. It's waaay too long to tell every word, so I'm going to chose only those areas that were the most important or interesting, though it's still long. Seriously, both sets of records are so detailed, stating every occasion and what was said or done. I could paraphrase certain areas, but really - these are 61 year old records, and I think it's kind of cool to see what was said and done back then! Also, I think you could replace Lillian's name with any unwed mother's name, and it could be their story.

Remember the version of the story I've had for over 30 years? That Lillian hitchhiked to Chicago to find Don Miner, my supposed dad who was from there, and she either couldn't find him or was rejected by him, ended up living with a policewoman until the neighbors complained about an unwed mother in the neighborhood? And she was putting me up for adoption because her dad said if she brought the baby home he would kill the both of them? True and False. Here's a summary of what is reported in their records: (In the reprint of the original records, all names are blacked out with marker, but some can be assumed as I already knew many of the names I was dealing with. Every 'Miss Crawley was marked out!)

"Miss Crawley was referred to us through the Municipal Court, Court of Domestic Relations, when they learned that one of their policewomen had taken her into her home. This policewoman had met Miss Crawley when she walked into the police station, and rather than reporting her request to her supervisor, with whom there have been frequent quarrels, the policewoman extended her hospitality, and Miss Crawley went home with her. During her ten days stay, the policewoman telephoned Miss Crawley's parents in order to identify her, and at the same time gave them the information that Miss Crawley was pregnant. Miss Crawley had not wanted to notify her parents of her condition and claims that she ran away from Texas in order to prevent them from learning of her pregnancy."

"When the police department learned of the policewoman's action, they sent two policewomen out to the home to pick Miss Crawley up, and, unfortunately, kept her overnight in a police lockup, referring her the following morning to us for help in planning. By this time, Miss Crawley was thoroughly confused, wondering why the police were in on the situation at all. Also, the policewoman who had taken her in had arranged for private medical care, and Miss Crawley was perfectly content to continue with these arrangements. It was not until after we explained to her that the policewoman who befriended her had violated the rules of her job, and therefore had gotten both of them into trouble, was Miss Crawley able to express her desire to live with other girls where she would be free from interference."

"Once Miss Crawley was moved into Sarah Hackett Stevenson Memorial Home, she was quite relieved and was willing to break off the private medical arrangements planned for her by the policewoman. We talked to the doctor at one point when we needed the results for the Wasserman and Kahn tests so that Miss Crawley could be admitted to Sarah Hackett Stevenson Memorial Home. Our own impression of the doctor was that he had been too willing to offer her free medical care, so that we suspected that he might have been interested in the adoption of Miss Crawley's baby. Arangements were made for Miss Crawley to be delivered at Illinois Research Hospital and she has kept her appointments regularly." (In case you haven't figured it out yourself, the assumption is that the doctor and the policewoman were probably in cahoots in 'private' child adoptions.)

"Miss Crawley impresses us as being an extremely naive and unsophisticated girl who is quite gullible. She was extremely bewildered by the amount of controversy she stirred up in the police department when she hadn't done anything wrong. In our planning with her, she has assumed responsibility for appointments, and has been very adequate in finding her way around Chicago, and in carrying through her responsibilities. She also has a very good sense of reality and her common sense usually produces good judgement on her part."

(Next is a long listing of family information regarding her mother, father, grandparents, family history, etc., some of which I knew, some not, but very detailed about her family and the various relationships. Apparently her maternal grandfather lived with them and was very strict, and they did not get along, and that is why she left home at sixteen to live in the YWCA.)

"Miss Crawley could give very little information about the putative father. The name he gave her was (name blacked out), and he was twenty-three years old. Because she observed that he wore a high school graduation ring, she assumed that he had finished high school. He talked of being the only child and said that he was spoiled because of this."

"Last July, Miss Crawley met the putative father at a roller skating rink in Houston, Texas, and claims that on August first had intercourse with him at a hotel in Houston. In the morning he left saying that he would return and that they would go to Galveston to be married. When he did not show up, she began to wonder, and soon learned that he was not returning to her. She made several return trips to Houston to find him, and finally decided to hitch hike to Chicago with the hope of finding a cousin here who could take care of her." (So, not there to look for my father, as I had been told by Aunt Helen, who would have been eleven at the time.)

"The putative father's complexion was quite a contrast to her family. He had black hair, dark eyes, and an olive tan skin. She thinks that he was about five feet eleven inches tall, and weighed about one-hundred and seventy-five pounds. She said that he was built very well and had wide, broad shoulders."

"As we considered how Miss Crawley got into this pregnancy at this time, she felt it was because she was completely overwhelmed by his attention, and very unprotected being away from home in a strange hotel."

"We have arranged with Illinois Research Hospital that Miss Crawley is not to be given her baby at any time. We will let you know as soon as we hear that she is in the hospital so that you can begin planning to move the baby to your nursery." (Not to be given her baby at any time? Then how could she make an informed decision about what to do? Of course I know that they were trying to take the 'sentiment' out of the equation and have her make the decision with her 'brain', but this also means that my romanticized version of her having held me lovingly and having a mother to child soliliquy before making the decision was not a reality.)

Next post, the difficult decision by Lillian to relinquish her baby for adoption. Most babies at the orphanage were adopted within the first two weeks, a month at the most. I was there for almost three months before Lillian signed the final papers to relinguish for adoption. (to be continued...)