BackgroundTwenty years ago, before Facebook and other social media, the Internet was a-buzz with email groups of common interest; naturally, adoption-related groups flourished. On one of those groups, I learned of the horrendous practice of drugging mothers to obtain the relinquishment of their babies for adoption. I was mortified. The account of one of the mothers rattled me beyond words. Nancy Safsten and I began corresponding privately, and as her story unfolded, I learned that the individuals, the adoption agency, and the hospital involved all had come away virtually unscathed. Even in light of an obvious conspiracy. Even after a lawsuit that exposed their nasty deeds.
I put out a call on my email group for accounts by any other mothers who had been incapacitated by drugs at the time they signed relinquishment papers. Here is one response:
"Your request for information from birthmothers who were drugged has been forwarded to me. I recently received my medical records and discovered that from the time my son was born until I signed papers, I was given Ritalin, used as an anti-depressant in the 60's. Before I signed the papers, still in the hospital, I was given codeine. Although not as dramatic as the drugs you mentioned, my mental state was clearly being manipulated without my knowledge. This was an agency adoption. The doctor did not work for the agency, but was an adoptive father with strong ties to the agency. This was never disclosed to me, I came about this knowledge by accident."
Linda (last name withheld)
I asked Linda two follow-up questions, which she answered:
>1. What was the name and location of the agency? (It may not even be one that I'm targeting for my purposes, but in case it is.....)
The Cradle Society in Evanston, Illinois. Not a large agency so I doubt that they are who you are looking for.>2. What were the exact amounts and frequency of administration of each drug used, according to your records?
According to my medical records I was being administered 10 mg. of Ritalin twice a day (10:00 am and 4:00 pm) from the morning of April 29th (my son was born just before midnight on April 28th) to the morning of May 4 (the day I signed papers..around noon?...and was released from the hospital.) At 9:40 am on May 4 I was also administered codeine.So the timeline:
April 28th, just before midnight - Linda's baby is born
April 29th, 30th, May 1st, 2nd, 3rd - 10 mg. of Ritalin at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
May 4th - 9:40 a.m. - codeine (dosage not known)
10:00 a.m. - Ritalin
Approximately noon - Linda is given relinquishment document to sign
Released from the hospital.
Another Response to my Query - This One From the Lion's DenI've concealed the name of this respondent, but as you'll see from a separate email, she gave me permission to publish her account. (Copied and pasted from original.)
Here's the follow-up - Screen capture of original email:
- If an agency has to drug a mother to obtain her signature on a Termination of Parental Rights (TPR), it is not a 'volunteer surrender.'
- A mother who discovers, after the fact, that her TPR was signed while she was under the influence of mind-altering drugs apparently has no recourse. Her child is still missing from her life and in most cases the statute of limitations has run out on any possible legal action.
- As far as I can tell, states that allow TPRs to be signed while the mother is still in the hospital is under no obligation, by law, to withhold possibly mind-altering meds from her for at least 12 hours prior to the signing.