During that decade—before Roe v. Wade legalized abortion across the U.S., before the Pill was fully mainstream, and before the societal stigma for single mothers greatly diminished—adoption rates were unsurprisingly much higher:
The number of adoptions rose from 91,000 in 1957 to 175,000 in 1970, then fell to 130,000 by 1975; the decline of the early 1970s coincided with the legalization of abortion.
In that context, when adoption was at a historic peak, here are several stories from readers adopted in the 1960s:
My own experiences don’t jive much with those discussed by other adoptees in your reader series. Not a surprise—every adoption story is different. My parents were neither wealthy nor particularly well-educated. My childhood was a happy one, and although I suffered my share of bullying (and doled it out, as most kids will), adoption was never the target for other kid’s attacks.
But then, my adoption took place in the 1960s. I was born pre Griswold v. Connecticut , pre Roe v. Wade . There were quite a few of us adoptees around town. I knew of probably two dozen, including the president of my high school senior class. Some of us were below average, some were stars (like the class president), but most of us were somewhere in between.
Another reader experienced a far less happy childhood:
I was adopted in the early 1960s. At the time, white babies were in high demand and there were plenty to go around, since reliable birth control did not exist. While there were screening processes for adoptive parents in place, the act of adoption was seen as benevolent, as these parents were rescuing these “unwanted” babies.
While the criteria for these screenings is unknown to me, I have a good amount of anger and frustration, since I was placed in a family where abuses, both substance and sexual, were prevalent. There were also the traumatic childhood experiences in school with children torturing me with taunts of my adoptive status.