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Banished Babies: The Secret History of Ireland's Baby Export Business Paperback – January 1, 1997
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Top Customer Reviews
My only complaint with the book is that it contains no happy endings. My twin brother and I (we were kept together) came to the US in January of 1958. We have had at least a normal life. I would call it a great life. We both have good marriages (I have two beautiful children) and rewarding careers. Both of us are college educated and I have a graduate degree.
Had I not known I was adopted, it would have made no difference. I never felt different or that I was not part of my family. I knew I was adopted and thought I was special. I didn't know all the details until later.
I now know that my mother suffered very much and I am sad and angry--but I did not suffer. 'Banished Babies' doesn't include any success stories. While the Church and the Irish government were guilty of lying and then compounding the lies by refusing to cooperate with the children searching for their mothers, neither institution has a patent on such behavior. Recent scandals in Washington demonstrate that for all to see.
I do not excuse the Church or the Irish government, but chronicling only the negative of the story doesn't make it more compelling; only less balanced. The atmosphere of intolerance towards sex and unwed mothers in Ireland in the fifties (the US wasn't that much different) also contributed to the scandal.
In spite of the shortcomings, Banished Babies helped expose the scandal and may have inspired people to find each other. My brother and I have sent copies to our birth mother and friends and family. The book will help in the healing process.
I started the book and finished it within 48hrs of starting. At times while reading I felt as if I was reading a text book, but still could not put it down. If you are interested in the workings of the Catholic Church and or in the treatment of unwed mothers in Ireland during the 50's and 60's this is the book for you.
fgor anyone looking for advice, support or trace assistance, please visit [...] or feel free to join the Adoption Rights Alliance or Banished Babies groups on Facebook. There are also groups for Sean Ross Abbey and Castlepollard 'alumni'.
I have read all of his books plus some things written by his brother… Also tons of books about Irish orphanages, Magdalene laundries and now this big adoption swindle…
Seems to me if you have the grave misfortune to be female or a child… And… Pour on top of it… Then your life in Ireland for a good long while was nothing but tormented misery
If you're a woman who found yourself in an interesting condition without the benefit of marriage or a woman who had suffered interference by say a male family member or random guy or boyfriend or whatever and found yourself in an interesting condition then you were absolute trashy gutters come and were treated like garbage… By your family by your church by the people at the unwed mothers home/orphanage and the offspring of these so called trashy mothers or no better… It's absolutely sad and sickening that so much secrecy and lying and ass covering has taken place by a religion that purports itself to be charitable, holy and good…. It seems like much else elsewhere in the world if you did not or do not fit the prevailing idea of what is proper then you are nothing.Read more ›
Mike Milotte has put together a meticulously researched piece of work and while at times the density of the information made reading more like studying than just a leisure read, I couldn't leave the book down. The personal stories really brought tears to my eyes and a close person to me who is adopted, shared the reading of the book with me - open-mouthed.
While the scandal of the secrecy and fraudulent nature of the adoptions is beyond shocking and needed to be exposed, attitudes generally to single motherhood, the birth mothers' own families included and not just the Catholic Church, allowed the trafficking to flourish and Milotte sums up the driver of the scandal in the words:"it(the enforced adoptions) could be seen as a device that enabled Irish society at large to sustain the myth of pre-marital chastity, so important in denying women control over their own sexuality."
The words "Irish society at large" is key, in that, the birth mothers' own families and friends obviously did not support them either - pregnancy outside of marriage was taboo.
Also, I would like that Milotte gave some time to the happier outcomes of the adopted people, as I'm sure there were many, like one of the previous reviewers here.
More comprehensive reference to Irish attitudes at the time eg. where were the mothers of the birth mothers when their daughter was in need of support???
as well as some interviews from successful adoptions would have added balance to an otherwise excellent piece of writing.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fascinating account of modern Irish history; one I imagine they would have been quite happy to never be revealed. Another sad chapter of the Catholic Church laid to bare.Published 10 months ago by Gill Peacey
I appreciate what the book set out to tell but the information was too dry , it read more like a case study or law manual than a novel or book.Published on June 29, 2014 by Heather
It was a very interesting subject matter of babies given up for adoption because their mothers were not married.
But a lot of it was boring and repetitive in my opinion.
Having been aware that 1000's of Irish children were exported to the USA in the 40's to the 70's, (my oldest first cousin included), I re-read this book once again and was not... Read morePublished on April 5, 2012 by Jim Jackman
A pattern is emerging within the sacred walls of the Catholic Church. It seems that if you have sinned, no one ever need know about your sin. Read morePublished on December 8, 2008 by Leah