In search for her biological parents, a woman uncovered a dark truth – she was one of the hundreds of babies sold on the black market in the 50s and 60s from a Georgia clinic.
One sunny day in 1971, when she was six years old, Jane Blasio was playing in her garden when her father, Jim, asked her to come inside because he wanted to tell her something.
“We have something to tell you and it may be hard for you to understand,” he said to Jane and her sister Michelle, 11, who was sitting in the kitchen.
In search of the right words, Joan, their mother, told them:
“You two were adopted. Do you know what that means?”
At the time, Jane didn’t know the meaning of the word ‘adopted’, but that day put a lasting mark in her brain that eventually turned her life upside down.
“It’s like that moment was burned into me,” the 56-year-old federal law enforcement officer told PEOPLE magazine.
Jane’s exhausting search for her biological parents ended up uncovering the truth about how an abortion doctor in Georgia named Thomas Hicks made tons of money by selling babies in the 1950s and 1960s.
Jane not only found out that she was one of 200 children sold in the back of the clinic, but she eventually decided to start helping many of the now-adult infants – they call the “Hicks babies” – find their real parents and other family members.
“My father knew [that Hicks’ actions were illegal], but my mother just wanted a baby and didn’t want to know anything, so my dad was going to do whatever would make her happy,” said Jane, who writes about her search to uncover her past in her memoir called Taken At Birth.
While she was still a teenager, Jane spent a lot of time at the local library to find out more about Hicks and his clinic after seeing the info on her birth certificate, which listed her adoptors as legal parents.
In 1988, when she was 23, Jane traveled to McCaysville for the first time after her mother died of cancer.
Before she passed away, Joan made Jim promise to give their daughter the whole truth. And what she learned from her late adoptive dad and the Hicks clinic investigation shocked her to the core…
“My parents bought a child in a way that gave me no option but to search and possibly find no answers,” Jane said. “That’s not love, that’s desperation.”
It was found that Hicks charged anywhere from $100 to $1,000 for a child and forged birth certificates that didn’t include the names of the biological parents.
He was forced to give up his medical license in 1964 after being charged with performing illegal abortions, but his human trafficking scheme remained a mystery.
He died in 1972 at 83 years of age – 25 years before any light was shed on the truth.
Jane’s investigation has turned her into an expert on black market adoptions, and she has talked about her journey on numerous news networks over years.
She is still working to help others find their biological families through her web page and McCaysville Lost and Found, a group for people connected to the Hicks Clinic.
“Hearts heal when truth is revealed and restored to those who have lost medical and historical ties through illegal and legal adoption,” she writes on her website.
“As [a] researcher and “adoptee” searching my entire life for family, I want you to know to keep digging and moving forward and you’re not alone.”
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