The Girls Who Went Away

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The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade is a 2006 book by Ann Fessler which describes and recounts the experiences of women in the United States who relinquished babies for adoption between 1950 and the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.

The book examines the pressures placed on the birth mother by family, adoption agencies, and society at large to give up the child for adoption, and the long-term psychological consequences for this event on her. It presents the birthmothers' often harsh accounts of life in the Florence Crittenton Homes.

Finally, the book recounts reunion stories between mothers and adopted children and discusses the emotional effects of reunion for birth mothers.

In 2007, the book was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.


  • Hardcover, Penguin Press, 2006. ISBN 1-59420-094-7
  • Paperback, Penguin Press, 2007. ISBN 0-14-303897-4

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