The Baby Thief, by Barbara Bisantz Raymond
For almost three decades Georgia Tann was lauded for her work at her children’s home.
In reality she was selling many of her charges – often neglected, abused and stolen from their birth parents – to wealthy clients across America.
Barbara Raymond, herself an adoptive mother, has drawn on extensive interviews and correspondence with many of Tann’s surviving victims to show how Tann not only popularised adoption – which until then had been feared and discouraged – but also commercialised and corrupted it.
Babies were abducted or mothers were coerced into leaving children in her care and then Tann sold the babies, more than 5,000 children in total. Tragically so many children died of neglect in her care that Memphis’s infant mortality rate soared to the highest in the country.
The Baby Thief is part social history, part detective story and part expose. It raises questions which are particularly relevant at this time in the UK, amidst national debate over controversial adoption targets.