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StoryCorps in Oklahoma: "Because They Picked Me Out." (ENCORE) (Dec 09, 2011)

60 years ago, adopting a child carried a certain stigma that doesn’t exist today. Today, Glenda Radigonda tells her son how she almost wasn’t adopted in 1950.

"It was different how adoptions were done then. It was often through a private doctor. And Grandma Hazel, my adoptive mom, wasn’t able to have babies, so she tried to arrange an adoption with my adoptive father. It was arranged through a doctor, they had it all set up, and about two months before, they changed their mind.

And Mom told me the story; I was basically a war baby. My birth mother and birth father were not married. He was in the military, and her mother had convinced them the best thing for the baby would be to give it up for adoption. They didn’t know where he was going to be shipped out. They were very poor. They didn’t have money to raise me, but at the last minute, my birth parents decided ‘No, we’re going to keep her.’

So Mom, Grandma Hazel, was really disappointed. I used to kid her about how they saw me and didn’t want me. And of course she said that wasn’t the case, and I knew that wasn’t the case, but once again my birth grandmother, my birth mother’s mom, convinced them it was still the right thing to do. Apparently my birth father was being shipped out. They didn’t have money or a place to raise me. It really wasn’t the right thing to do, so she convinced them.

So the doctor called Mom, and said ‘Guess what? It’s back on.’ So when Grandma Hazel picked me up at the hospital, she didn’t have a diaper, she didn’t have a bottle. I rode home on a pillow in the front seat. Nobody did seat belts or car seats in the 1950s. She then went to get formula, bottles, and brought me home.

Apparently when I was adopted, there was actually a paper that told all of my background. It told who my mother was, who my father was, any illnesses, siblings, those important things. But my father destroyed it, because he didn’t want me to know I was adopted. My mom, Grandma Hazel, told me when I was young, and I can remember bragging to other kids, and saying, ‘Well, I’m special. My mom told me I’m special because they picked me out.’ So it was always neat that I had a positive feeling that I was special because I was adopted.”

Produced for KGOU by Brian Hardzinski, with interviews recorded by
StoryCorps, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to recording and collecting stories of everyday people. The Senior Producer for StoryCorps is Michael Garofalo.

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