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Non Fiction

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The Market in Babies

Marian Quartly


The Market in Babies (2013) by Marian Quartly, Shurlee Swain & Denise Cuthbert tells the history of adoption in Australia and is the result of a 5 year-long research project.
As the authors point out in the introduction, 50 years ago (from the time of writing) the generally accepted view in Australia was that adoption was a permissible way to form a family, and it was a means of providing for orphans. It was also a secret within many families.
That view is now contested as support groups formed from the 1980s and exposed the pain of separation felt by mothers and children. The number of adoptions per year has declined significantly.
The Market in Babies includes excerpts from the stories people contributed to the project website.

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