Woman illegally sold to couple by doctor as newborn speaks out with new book: “It’s not just about me”
Jane Blasio spent much of her adult life trying to find her birth parents after finding out she had been trafficked as a newborn baby by a doctor who operated an illegal abortion clinic in Georgia.
Dr Thomas J. Hicks of the Hicks Clinic – located in McCaysville, along the Tennessee border – sold dozens of babies between the 1940s and 1960s, authorities have determined.
One of those peddled babies was Blasio, author of the new book “Taken at Birth,” released earlier this week.
The fraudulent adoptions were carried out behind closed doors and without any official documentation, leading Blasio to question his birth certificate as a teenager.
Why didn’t she learn anything about the adoption process or about her birth parents?
“It was cathartic,” Blasio said of his research. “It’s funny because you think – I’m 56 – you got it all figured out, and what this book did for me… and the writing of this one was: it made me go back and really look at some aspect of my life. “
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Writing the book gave her a “better understanding” not only of herself but of her adoptive parents.
“I had a hard time with them growing up, and I love them like crazy like all children love their parents, but … there [were] a lot of the things I was feeling were endless in my heart, ”she said.
Blasio’s father was a policeman who “knew right from wrong”, although he ultimately committed his first crime.
“He knew what he was doing,” said the author of his father’s decision to buy a baby from the clinic. “It was a point of contention from when I was old enough to understand what he had done.”
Law enforcement turned a blind eye to what Hicks was doing at the time, letting him get away with trafficking newborns for years, said Blasio, now a federal law enforcement officer. . Hicks eventually lost his medical license in 1964 for performing illegal abortions, according to People magazine. He died in 1972 at the age of 83.
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The author found out that she was adopted when she was 6 but began to wonder how when she was a young teenager.
On her journey to uncover the truth about her adoptive and biological parents, “the facade” of her life has remained more complicated, she said.
The first story exposing the Hicks Clinic erupted in 1997. Blasio was introduced as the lead in TLC’s 2019 docuseries investigation into the scandal, also titled “Taken at Birth.”
Since then, Blasio has helped others sold as newborns by Hicks to learn more about their youth. The author has spent the past 20 years investigating the clinic and its impact on the so-called “Baby Hicks”.
She also helped those sold to the clinic – “many of whom did not know they had been adopted” – to get in touch with their biological families. TLC’s program emphasized history, reinforcing these efforts.
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Blasio discovered that some of the biological fathers had remained in the dark for decades. Some thought their babies died at birth; others didn’t even know they existed.
DNA sampling is much more accessible today than it was in 1997 when history first broke, allowing more baby Hicks to come in contact with their family.
“It’s definitely a gift for people looking for family members,” Blasio said of take-out sampling kits such as 23andMe and AncestryDNA.
The current meetings “don’t get old,” she said, calling the experience of uniting adult children with biological parents “one of the best things of my life.”
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Blasio hopes his book will bring Hicks’ babies closer to the truth. It is not known exactly how many newborns were sold out of the clinic between the 1940s and 1960s, although investigators estimated there were more than 200.
“This story is not just about me. This story is about the clinic and all the people who have been crushed by it,” she said. “… I used to say to people, ‘Buckle up, because whether we find something or not, it will be the adventure of a lifetime.'”