Sunday, July 17, 2011

Abandoned as a baby, 62-year-old looks for birth relatives

From the Chattanooga Times Free Press:
Elevator operator Ruth Thomas found him.

The baby, covered by a pink blanket, was left on a chair in the women’s restroom at Chattanooga City Hall, according to an article in the Sept. 29, 1948, Chattanooga Times.

Whose baby was it?

That was the question then, and it’s still the question today for 62-year-old James Alfred “Al” Graham.

“I am that baby,” the Norman, Okla., equipment salesman said when he called the Times Free Press recently.

Graham, who said he grew up under the care of loving adoptive parents, has lived a good life and has raised a family of his own. He just wants to find out more about his biological family.

“I don’t want anything out of anybody,” he said. “This is something for my kids.”

Graham said his adoptive parents, Jess and Cile Graham, never hid from him the fact he was adopted. They adopted him from the Tennessee Children’s Home Society of Memphis, which employed a friend of his grandparents who alerted them to his availability. He’s not sure if his parents even knew he was a Chattanooga City Hall foundling.

“I was legally adopted, as far as I know,” Graham said.

That’s not the case for all children who were adopted from the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. A 1950 state investigation revealed that operator Georgia Tann had arranged for thousands of adoptions under questionable means and that the Society was a front for a black-market adoption ring.

“Was [the quick placement] a set-up or legitimate?” Graham said, “I don’t know.”

Read the whole thing -- interesting DNA matching info, and an unfortunately typical reference to the fact that he didn't search until both his adoptive parents had died.

1 comment:

birthmothertalks said...

Thanks for the story. I read it all and I find it sad that he was waited so long in life to search. I understand wanting to protect his adoptive parents which gave him a great life and he loved but he might have let time tick for too long. I would think there is a great chance that his birthmother never told anyone about his birth and leaving him. She may havent't even told her husband either. So, let's assume she is about 20 years older than him and that makes her pretty darn old. I hope he gets the answers from the latest of DNA tests he has had done.