Unwed mother says home took away her baby

Date: 1984-03-15

Daily Breeze

FORT WORTH, Texas -- A teen-ager refusing to leave a home for unwed mothers without her baby says she should have been allowed a "cooling-off period" after signing papers giving the infant up for adoption.

But officials of the Edna Gladney Home for unwed mothers say 19-year-old Barbara Landry made the decision voluntarily, and deny her claim that she was brainwashed into giving up her daughter.

Landry, 19, gave birth Feb. 10. "I didn't want it," she said Wednesday. "It was just a belly there. But after she was born it hit me.

". . . You know, with anything you buy, there's still a cooling-off period . . . a piece of land, a piece of meat you buy at the supermarket. But this is a baby, a life, and I signed my life away."

Officials at the home asked State District Judge Brian A. Carper to evict Landry, but he refused Tuesday to hear the case, saying it was a matter for a justice of the peace.

William Schur, an attorney representing the home, declined Wednesday night to comment on the case, but said no further actions had been filed "that I know of."

"I can't believe they want to evict me," Landry said. "It's all screwed up because I signed those stupid papers. They pressure you. They tell you how good adoption is for you and the baby and then you can make a new life for yourself."

Landry said she left New York in the fall when she learned she was pregnant, making up a story for her parents about being transferred from her job at a race track to another track in Florida.

She said she finally told her parents Feb. 8 that she was having a baby, and they agreed -- after the initial shock -- to help her raise the child.

She first saw the baby Feb. 14, four days after giving birth.

"I was crying the whole time I was with her," she said. "I was so confused. I wanted her, but I couldn't afford it.

"I don't know why, but I signed (the papers) and then went to my room and cried all day. But they told me it was the best thing for the child and for me."

Eleanor Tuck, executive director of the home, said the papers Landry signed are irrevocable. She said Landry was fully advised of alternatives to adoption, and denied using pressure tactics.

Landry's attorney, Michael Berg, said the home may drop the eviction request and allow her to stay for several more weeks.

Searchline of Texas, a group that helps reunite adoptees and natural parents, is planning to picket at the home Saturday, said Pat Palmer, president of the group.

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