MEDFORD, Ore. – A heartwarming moment decades overdue.
“Now, she’s coming out here and this is going to be their first time ever meeting. She’s 84 and he’s 87.”
Grants Pass man Jack Sanders says he was one of the thousands of children adopted out by the infamous Georgia Tann.
“My brother’s wife called them (my family) and he happened to have a letter and a phone number for Shirley in Detroit,” Sanders said.
According to the Washington Post, Georgia Tann was responsible for placing 5-thousand children into adopted homes out of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society.
Unsolved Mysteries says Tann used to take children from playgrounds, public parks, and hospitals where she either convinced parents or the state to sign custody to the non-profit.
Sanders’ daughter Cherie Craddock says his mother was coerced into signing away her rights while still in the hospital post childbirth.
“We found out that his mother really didn’t want to give him up,” Craddock explained. “She was forced into giving Georgia Tann the baby.”
in 1950, Tennessee prosecutor Robert Taylor began investigating the children home’s adoptions at the request of the governor.
He found out Tann received more than $1 million for adoptions – nearly $10 million in today’s money.
Taylor says most of the money came from interstate adoptions to high profile individuals, including Joan Crawford.
Three days after the findings of Taylor’s investigation were brought to the governor, Tann died of ovarian cancer.
Craddock says through DNA testing, the family was able to track down other members of the family as well.
“We did Ancestry DNA and we found his biological father’s side to start with.”
Though other siblings have passed before ever meeting, Sanders says it’s great to finally be meeting after all these years.
“We knew he was out there somewhere we were hoping but we just didn’t know how to get in touch or even find him or had no clue,” explained Bridget, the daughter of Sanders’ long lost sister. “They found us.”
The family says none of this would be possible without the help of DNA testing.
They are excited to show their new family members all the sights of Southern Oregon, including Crater Lake and the Redwoods.
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