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This book should be preserved as a key exhibit in the permanent national historic record. Jean Patton, mother of the modern American adoption reform movement, had significant influence over the American social and political debate over adoption. She was opposed to closed records, and she worked tirelessly to transform the legal system in the United States to allow open records. Jean Patton encouraged adoption reunions as healthy for orphaned, fostered, and adopted children during a time when the majority of states maintained strict closed adoption records. She was an energetic visionary, a search activist, and legendary figure famous for her social and political influence on the national scene. In this book, she discusses her rationale for doing adoption searches: "...the equality of all citizens, the self-determination of individuals, and adoptees' emotional need for a curative and breakthrough reality that would finally make sense out of their disrupted life stories." Her vision of an independent, voluntary adoption registry through which natal relatives might be reunited dates to an article she wrote in 1949, making it the earliest such suggestion in the documentary record. Mutual consent registries proliferated after 1975. Late in life, Jean Patton was a supporter and mentor to Judith Romano during her quest to discover her birth family in the book Adoption Detective: Memoir of an Adopted Child (page 276).
Judith Land, Author
Adoption Detective: Memoir of an Adopted Child