The Adopted Black Baby, And The White One Who Replaced Her

His wife protested vigorously. She cried. She called on a pastor at the Unitarian church they attended to try to convince him to change his mind. Mr. Sandberg would not budge.

“I thought, ‘My God, how are you going to raise a child in this neighborhood with the way people are feeling about this thing?’” said Mr. Sandberg, the owner of a prosperous manufacturing company. “It just wouldn’t have been great for her.”

WNYC’s Snap Judgment

The Sandbergs returned the child. A few months later, they adopted a newborn white girl and named her Amy.

Even as the Sandbergs moved on, the impact of what they did lingered. Ms. Sandberg, who died of cancer in 1997, kept journal entries saying she thought about the girl every April, the month she was born. The Sandbergs eventually separated and divorced. The family almost never talked about what had happened.

But the white daughter they kept, Amy, who is now married and goes by the last name Roost, began thinking about the family secret again in 2012, after Trayvon Martin, a black teenager, was killed by a neighborhood watchman in Florida, setting off a national conversation about racial disparities in America. Ms. Roost wondered if the girl her parents had sent back had ended up on the short end of the country’s racial divide.

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Ms. Roost, now 55, had graduated from George Washington University with a degree in political science, and worked as a press aide on Capitol Hill, as a university administrator, and as a grant writer for nonprofit organizations. She became a freelance journalist, and, using her reporting skills, set out to find the woman her parents had given up. Ms. Roost documented this search for a story that will air on WNYC’s Snap Judgment podcast.

Ms. Roost dug through Illinois adoption and birth records and searched the internet, eventually finding the woman: Angelle Kimberly Smith. It was 2015, and Ms. Roost called Ms. Smith, nervous about what she might say.

The conversation did not go as Ms. Roost had imagined.

“She was really, really cool about it,” Ms. Roost said.

WNYC’s Snap Judgment

That’s because after the Sandbergs had given her up, Ms. Smith had landed with a loving couple, Harry and Ruth Smith, who were black. Her father ran a stationery store. He also was heavily involved in an underground lottery, with tentacles that extended into the city’s political and organized crime worlds, she said. Her mother was a homemaker. Her upbringing, Ms. Smith said, was comfortable and loving in a solid, black middle-class neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. She attended a private grammar school.

But tragedy struck when Harry Smith died of a heart attack when his daughter was just 8.

Ms. Smith and her mother endured. Her mother ran the stationery store, she said, and neighbors treated them like family.

“I was raised by people that really loved me and really wanted me,” said Ms. Smith, now 55.

As she entered adulthood, Ms. Smith moved to Los Angeles, lured by the prospect of a glamorous life. Instead, she found trouble.

In spite of her stable home life, Ms. Smith said she was sucked into freewheeling circles in which drugs were common. She became addicted to cocaine, she said, and became homeless and was incarcerated for burglary. She had four children, two of them while living on the streets, and lost custody of all of them.

Ms. Smith eventually pulled her life back together. She earned an associate degree, started working on bachelor’s and master’s degrees online and worked as a counselor. By 2007, all of her children were back in her life. She wanted to learn more about who she was, so she searched for her biological parents, listed as Neal Gordon and Juanita Green on her birth certificate, but never found them.

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But life had taken so many twists and turns that by the time she heard from Ms. Roost, she felt she could handle anything. She greeted the news that she had been given up by a white family by telling Ms. Roost that she held no hard feelings, and would not have wanted to be raised by white parents in a white neighborhood.

Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/07/us/the-adopted-black-baby-and-the-white-one-who-replaced-her.html

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The Adopted Black Baby, And The White One Who Replaced Her

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The Adopted Black Baby, And The White One Who Replaced Her

The Adopted Black Baby, And The White One Who Replaced Her

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The Adopted Black Baby, And The White One Who Replaced Her

The Adopted Black Baby, And The White One Who Replaced Her

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The Adopted Black Baby, And The White One Who Replaced Her