It’s Advent and we’re all thinking of what we can either give or receive for Christmas Presents. These below will not necessarily make good presents to give or receive as anyone with a secret history of a baby given away or being adopted or of adopting a child might prefer her memories to remain private.
However, I do have several books on my shelves on the subject of adoption or unforseen pregnancies which I’d like to record here just in case there’s someone out there who is looking for answers which these books might provide.
I’ve already talked about A History of Adoption in England and Wales 1850-1961. Published by Pen and Sword, it’s also available, either new or used on Amazon. This is a history book with some personal recollections and a useful final chapter on further research into adoption. http://janehayward.blog Adoption Matters
sinners? scroungers? saints? pub. Oxford University Press, is the result of thorough research carried out by Pat Thane and Tanya Evans. Much of the evidence comes from the records of the National Council for the Unmarried Mother and her Child. It is a book to select from, flag up relevant issues and keep notes on. It is expensive to buy but might be held by libraries.
The final non-fiction book is In the Family Way by Jane Robinson, who looks at illegitimacy between the Great War and the Swinging Sixties, covering a decade later than Gill Rossini. The narrative is informal and easy to read. I have more stickers indicating places of interest in this book than the other two.
Finally two memoirs: Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson charts the writer’s relationship with the woman who adopted her and her own search for information about her birth. It’s compelling, amusing and sad.
The second one, Bad Blood by Lorna Sage, is a straightforward account of her life with her parents and her grandparents during the 1950s. By November 1959, not yet 18, Lorna was applying for a university place and pregnant. Soon she was married as well. Lorna died in January 2001.