"I wasn't informed about any other option really except adoption. 'Only selfish mothers keep their babies.' I was told that, and ... if I really loved her, I would do what's best for her."
— Faye Nyssen
"A nurse came and sat down beside me and smiled. And I thought, 'Oh thank God there's a smiling face!' Anyway, she settles herself down beside me and pulled up a chair, and proceeded to take a leather shackle from her uniform. And she started strapping up my right wrist ... I didn't know what she was doing, and then she secured me to the side of the bed. So I became unconscious. And I don't know how long I was unconscious for, but when I eventually came to, my son was gone."
— Jan Kishin
"I woke up in the corridor in the early hours of the morning, and I had blood all over me — that was all I remember. I don't remember anything else. I don't remember signing any papers, I don't remember people coming to see me or anything like that … It was a form of punishment. We were naughty girls, and we didn't deserve to have our babies. And that's the way I've lived since I was 22. I have lived with that shame — that I was a naughty girl — and I had to be punished."
— Monica Jones
"I was always wondering what was wrong with me. I was traumatised most of my life and didn't know it. I had no insight into what drove me. I didn't become conscious of the adoptions until the late '90s, when I heard another mother's story."
— Patsy Gall
"We've been carrying the blame wrongfully for all these years — 37 years for me. You know, I've lost contact with a lot of family through the shame. People think that you're a bad person 'cause you gave your baby away. Yeah, they need to know that we didn't give our babies away. We weren't given our babies in the first place. Can't give away something you didn't get."
— Margaret Freeman
Jessica Testa is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Jessica Testa at email@example.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.