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Closure From Norma Tillman -- Private Investigator - Author
From:
Norma Tillman -- Private Investigator - Author Norma Tillman -- Private Investigator - Author
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Nashville , TN
Saturday, July 18, 2020

 
One of the meanings of closure is "a feeling that an emotional or traumatic experience has been resolved."

It took me many years of helping people find a missing family member or old friend to realize that the search was not always for a relationship but was primarily for closure.  Especially adoptees who were searching for their biological family.  I would tell them not to have any unrealistic expectations because I could not guarantee what I would find.  I learned after many such searches that what I found was not as important as the closure, or knowing the truth.  "The truth would set them free."  I  understood that living with the unknown about one's identity creates a void in their life and that even though that void may be suppressed, that void can eat at them like a cancer.   

People who know their identity, their medical history, and their heritage can probably not begin to relate to what it is like to not know these things.

After many years of searching for biological families for adoptees I understood their pain and sometimes their anger.  They never had a choice of who would raise them or who would be their adopted family.  They had no choice of the environment they would be raised in.  Even though adoption was intended to be "in the best interest of the child" this was not always the case.   I learned that adoptees were often victims of laws that were not always in their best interest. 

Before 1950 there were no adoption laws or regulations in Tennessee.  A mother could hand over her baby to anyone she wanted to.  In one case the mother paid the landlord the rent with giving the landlord one of her babies.  

ABANDONED

During and after the depression it was not uncommon for mothers to leave their babies on a doorstep or on a church pew in hopes that a good family would raise the child.  Unfortunately the abandoned babies had no identity, no date of birth, no record of their existence so they were assigned the date they were found as their birth date.  There were foundling hospitals set up to take care of the abandoned babies.  In one room there might be as many as 50 babies with only one nurse to feed them and take care of them.  As the babies grew and were able to sit up in their cribs they would rock back and forth as if someone was rocking them.  It was a horrible experience for these babies.   They never had anyone to bond with and they eventually were put in foster homes.  The older kids were loaded on to a train and as the train made stops the children stepped off the train and people would pick the child they wanted and that's how those children were adopted.  Farmers would pick the biggest boys that could work in the fields.  The kids were used for labor, and were not necessarily treated like a member of the family.  

TCHS

Prior to 1950, the Memphis branch of the Tennessee Children's Home Society was accused of being a "Black Market Baby Selling Racket".  There are many stories about the children that were "sold" thru that organization.  I was hired to research this home for an author who wanted to write a book about it.  I went to Memphis and researched the TCHS - Memphis Branch.  I followed the trails and uncovered some of the secrets.  The book was published and a movie was made based on the book.

 Adoptees were denied the right to know their own identity, their medical history, and their heritage.

As a result of doing so much research and also of learning the adoption process and where all the records were located in various court clerk's offices, archives, archive libraries, and other places I wrote a book to help adoptees and biological families know how and where to search for information.  I also became a lobbyist at the Tennessee Legislature and was successful in having some changes made to the Tennessee Adoption Laws.  Several years later some other lobbyists were successful in having the Tennessee Adoption Laws changed to "Open Records" that allowed people to request and open their records.  It was one of only six states that had "Open Records".  The other states would not allow anyone to obtain information. I believe that adoptees should have the right to know their own identity and that to deny them of this was a form of victimizing them.

OPEN ADOPTIONS

After many years of helping adoptees and biological families become reunited and understanding the fears and frustrations and heartaches they endured, I believed that Open Adoptions were in the best interest of all parties involved.  No more secrets, no more living with the unknown, no more fears by the adoptive parents that the biological family would take their child from them, no more feelings of guilt and regret by the birth mother.  The biological family and the adopted family were allowed to meet and know each other and in many cases they became more of a team that had only the best interest of the child at heart.  In some cases they merged into one big happy family.  I believe that Open Adoptions are healthy for all involved.  I cannot imagine how it must have been for a birth mother to never know who was raising her child, or whether the child was being abused, or all the other things a birth mother might think about.  No doubt most birth mothers lived with guilt and regret and their reason for searching for their child was for peace of mind to know that she made a decision that was in the best interest of her child.  To know the child had a good loving home was very comforting.  But to actually know how the child is doing, and visiting with the child, seeing photos of the child, hearing how the child is growing up, being able to answer any questions the child may have or that the adoptive parents may need is priceless.  I am so glad for all involved that they have a choice of an Open Adoption.




Norma Tillman

PI License #686

PI Co. License #846

NT-007@hotmail.com

 

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