“I was going to get this little boy an adoptive home before Christmas.”
Sister Mary DeSalles Collins, who worked at New York Foundling for over 50 years, remembers one adoption just after World War II.
Recorded in Yonkers,
Click here for the transcript.
I had an adoption of a little baby boy. It was an extramarital relationship. Her husband was off at war and she became pregnant by someone else. And the law says the husband is presumed to be the father. So he has to sign a surrender. So I went out to the tenement house on a Saturday morning, it was not a good section of Manhattan. Rang the doorbell, no answer, rang it a second time, still no answer. Third time, a voice comes out and said "who is it?", I said, "I have an appointment with Mr. So-and-so", "oh that's my father", I said "well is he there?", "no, he's gone to work, he's working over at this bar and grill". Well I say, "what do I do?", I'm in a full habit, down to the ground, we wore a little black hat with a cape and I was only 98 pounds, but this was December 21st and I was going to get this little boy a place in this adoptive home before Christmas. So we went over to this bar and grill. And the bartender, he got so nervous, he said, "and what kind of a drink would you like this morning miss?", I said, "no thank you, I don't drink". Well the poor man nearly dropped the whiskey in front of me. So I went to the back and Mr. So-and-so was there. Well he was a little surprised I guess, but he said, "alright, I'll sign it", then I had to get somebody to witness it and the only one there was the bartender. So he came and signed five copies. I went out to the corner and I looked up and down because I didn't want anyone to see me coming out of a bar and grill at nine in the morning. But I felt that it was my vocation in life, to place a child with a good home, knowing that these children would get what they really need and deserve.
Convent of Mary the Queen