This is a
sample of publicity material used by the Baltimore City Department
of Public Welfare in the mid-1950s to encourage African-American
couples to adopt African-American children.
Take a minute or so to listen to this story—a children’s
story that needs an ending.
It began in the Adoption Department of this agency when an applicant
for adoption for Charles Allan M. was made before he was born. That
was two years ago.
Charles Allen at age eight days was placed directly from the hospital
in an agency foster home. For the first six months of his life he
was studied closely to see how well he could use adoption. His social
worker took him for monthly clinic check-ups. He got his shots;
he had his psychological tests. And even on the first day he performed
way above average. At seven months, Charles Allan was a bouncing,
chubby baby trying to take his first steps. Legally he had been
released for adoption and would have been ready to go; except that
there wasn’t anybody to adopt him.
He is only one of the 42 Negro babies in the agency’s pre-adoptive
foster care program faced with the same fate. None of these children
has a family. What they need is a permanent home, a mother and father
for keeps. All that the future holds for them now is life in a foster
home or homes, not really belonging to anybody. This story could
go on and on—3 year old Allison who has had as many homes
as birthdays; a bundle of 18-month old energy named “lou”
full of get up and go; dainty, 6-month old Pat, wide-eyed and adorable.
Infants, crawlers, toddlers, self-sufficient 5 year olds. Each has
that one big need and so much to give.
Could you stop by the Adoption Department on the third floor? Talk
to the workers. Get a first-hand account of the real plight of these
forgotten babies. Could you spread the word among your friends and
church groups or club meetings? Talk it up and don’t let requirements
for adoptive parents loom so overpowering. Children have been placed
with college professors, clerks and laborers. Let the interested
party know all that’s necessary to begin is a phone call to
the Adoption Department here (Extension 346).
The only ending for this story is the timeless one, “and
they lived happily ever after”. That means adoption for these
babies—the right to the secure sound feel of “my mother”
and “my father”. Children have a way of crawling up
under your heart. They can’t be shut out. Would you help?