Many of these mothers were never told about government programs nor were they advised about child support. They did not receive psychological counseling or legal advice. They were not directed to read surrender documents nor asked if they understood them. These mothers never spoke to a lawyer. Instead, they signed legal papers drafted by adoption agency attorneys. Many mothers now question the ethics of this arrangement and raise issues of signing under duress, lack of informed consent, and conflicts of interest.
Marriage was discouraged by maternity homes. Maternity home “inmates” were forbidden communication with the fathers. Most homes censored mail according to “approved lists.” Were these restrictions designed to ensure that fathers could not propose a marriage that would allow them to keep their babies?
Many mothers were forbidden to see their newborns. Some were told to sign surrender papers before giving birth. Others were told to sign while heavily drugged or still recuperating. Some were drugged to unconsciousness during the birth while others were given no medications at all. These mothers now raise issues of coercion, pressure tactics, and abuse.