Georgia Tann

About 60 years ago, my father was adopted to my grandparents through a Memphis, TN adoption agency. My grandparents had nothing but praise for the “good, Christian woman who was doing God’s work putting babies where they belong”. The agency was The TN Children’s Society Home and it was run by Georgia Tann. Ms. Tann has been the subject of several books and made-for-tv movies. She took babies from desperate families looking for temporary assistance and had them sign away their rights without them even knowing it. Ms. Tann lied to large numbers of the birth parents and told them their babies died. Couples who had large quantities of money ($5,000 or more was a lot in the 40s) were given the babies. Exchanges were made in empty fields and other places that would allow no witnesses. Growing old and physically as well as emotionally very ill, Ms. Tann destroyed most of her records. My brother and I have tried in vain to find out something about my father’s birth family but despite numerous letters, fees and phone calls, we have almost nothing. I’m certain that my father’s birth mother is dead, but it would be nice to know what her occupation was, how long she lived, her medical profile, etc. We have a possible name for a birth father, but who knows what is right and what is wrong in the tangled mess of lies left behind since most of the people involved are long gone and all that is left are the now adult children who will never know if they were “stolen babies”.

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