The Baby Thief

Local reader dishes on her latest read

Author: Venessa Rinaldi
Posted: Friday, October 31, 2008

 By Barbara Bisantz Raymond (Da Capo Press, 2007)


The full title of this book is The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby Seller who Corrupted Adoption. Tann was a ruthless infant thief who arranged 5,000 “adoptions” of children she kidnapped or obtained through other illegal means with the full knowledge of the courts, social workers, and politicians.


The book depicts the pain of Tann’s indirect victims: single mothers who never knew Tann but because of her popularization of adoption were forced to relinquish their children; and adoptees who, because of the institutionalization of Georgia’s practice of falsifying adoptees’ birth certificates, to this day cannot find their families. The Baby Thief also tells the stories of the people who tried to stop Tann and of the poor Southern families she tore apart.


The Baby Thief is a fascinating introduction to the history of American adoption and how Tann plays an enormous role even today. It is a searing depiction of a long-buried piece of American history.


Reviewed by Venessa Rinaldi

Categories: Page Turners

Tags: book review,The Baby Thief

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