By J. Keating
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Extra info for A Child for Keeps: The History of Adoption in England, 1918-45
By the end of October, it was reported that over 800 persons had been provided for in the neighbourhood. 18 Developments in the Voluntary Sector 45 The experience of Miss Andrew’s war work led her to believe that there was a need for a form of broker between unwanted children and would-be parents. Adoption work would also have offered her new challenges and interests at a time when she was facing the end of her busy wartime career which had absorbed her energy, organising skills and charitable urges.
97 On the other hand, an interviewee who was illegitimate said that she never felt any stigma at all: ‘It’s never weighed upon me that I am what you would call illegitimate at all. ’98 In 1986 the National Council for One Parent Families (formerly the National Council for the Unmarried Mother and Her Child [NCUMC] and now renamed One Parent Families) invited unmarried mothers and their children to write about their experiences of illegitimacy. The booklet the Council compiled showed feelings of humiliation which persisted even into the 1980s.
57 ‘Baby farming’, or ‘professional adoption’, was the practice whereby the parents (generally unmarried mothers) of children whom they could not afford or manage to look after, paid someone, usually a middle-aged woman, a lump sum to look after the child. There was a tacit assumption that the mother would not be returning to reclaim the child and that the baby farmer would not overly strive to keep it alive. Probably some of those looking after the babies did their best to care for them but naturally the cases which hit the headlines were the scandals, such as the one in Brixton in 1870.