Cyn Bird grabbed a torn piece of notebook paper to scribble the secrets spilling from her mother's mouth as she neared death: The mysterious Miami doctor named Katherine Cole who delivered and supposedly sold babies to couples. The phone call on Jan. 12, 1962, that a baby girl with sky blue eyes was available. The $2,500 cash price tag.More than 1,000 babies illegally adopted. Wow.
After 46 years, Bird had learned the stunning truth about her birth from her mother. Bird was adopted. Illegally.
"How do you wake up at my age and realize you have no idea who you really are?'' asks Bird, a New Jersey wife, mother and artist who discovered her adoption in March 2008, four months before her mother's death. "I am still trying to wrap my head around this.''
She turned to the Internet and found others like her. The people of this new community even had a name for themselves: Cole babies.
In what authorities call one of the most haunting, widespread cases of illegal adoptions in Florida history, Cole reportedly placed more than 1,000 babies, most without legal documentation, out of her two-story Southwest Eighth Street clinic from the 1930s to the 1960s. She died in 1981, leaving no records and without ever admitting the full scale of the shadowy operation that created three generations of Cole babies struggling to piece together their identities. For most, the discovery was triggered by a revelation and a birth certificate on which Cole listed the adoptive parents as the birth parents.
Monday, November 8, 2010
The Cole Babies
See what I mean about raising awareness? There are these bits of adoption history in the U.S. we've never heard about. I knew about Georgia Tann, but Katherine Cole is news to me: