The miraculous inflammability of adoption records/documents

Over the years, I have heard so many stories of adoptees whose adoption records/documents have been lost in a fire, I have come to wonder if there is some inherent quality to adoption records that make them ignite more easily than other documents.

Last night while surfing the internet, I ran into a Wikipedia article about audio-engineer and journalist J. Gordon Holt, whose biography contains the following statement:

Justin Gordon Holt was born on April 19, 1930 in Charlotte, North Carolina, and adopted when he was two years of age by Justin Gordon Holt (Sr.) and his wife Katherine (née Hart). His biological parents are unknown, as the records of his birth and adoption were lost in a fire. The only thing he was ever told about his biological parents was that they were "Irish musicians."

It immediately reminded me of the many stories from other adoptees related to the inflammability of their adoption records. Apart from the stories I have been told over the years, there are several references on the internet too about self-combusting adoption records:

My mother was said to be born to a young German girl , who was 17 at the time of her birth. The father was a young Indian boy , who was not liked, and was not married to the mother. Eileen ( I’m not sure of the spelling of her name), was the daughter of German immigrants who were land owners somewhere outside of Ft. Worth. All the information I have was given to my mother by the EGH. My mother had her original birth certificate, with her birth-mothers name on it until 1978, when we lost everything in a house fire. When she tried to obtain another one, she was told that all birth records were lost in a fire so she was sent a certified letter stating her birth info, minus birth-mother name. My mother passed away in 1990, but always wanted to find her mom. If it is too late, being that she is 92 or so, I would like to know as much as possible.


I know that my adopted mother was an RN at the hospital where I was born in Orange, Texas, and she agreed to train new nurses in exchange for being at the top of the list to adopt a baby. I was told that all of the records of that particular hospital were destroyed in a fire. I was also told that my birth family is of Italian decent, and that I was the eighth child born to my birth mother.


I know my birth mother lived in North Carolina and was sent to SC to give birth.  I think she stayed at the Greenville Rescue Mission before giving birth, however, they had a fire and all records were lost. 


She wanted to search, but was told (by her family I think) that all of her records were lost when the adoption agency burned down.


I am searching for my birth mother/father... She was at DC Florence Crittenton and gave birth to me Aug. 10, 1965. If anyone has any suggestions on how to possibly obtain birth records, being the FC says they were lost to fire...


I am interested in how one would be able to find records for births at the Beulah Home in Alberta...I have tried most avenues available in Edmonton and was told all records were lost in a fire.


Many of the records in babies' homes such as McBrides were made this way. We have access to some of these records, although many were destroyed when the homes closed. For example, it is believed that the records from Kate Cocks Babies' Home at Brighton were destroyed in a fire.


We are not sure of my grand fathers last name before his adoption.  He told us that all the adoption records were distroyed in a fire when the orphange burnt down.


Janette contacted an attorney who tried to get the adoption records but was unsuccessful because of a fire at the Courthouse...


It would be interesting to learn more about the miraculous inflammability of adoption/birth records, especially since some of the buildings that are claimed to have been burned down, still inexplicably seem to appear on Google Earth.


Belgium: burned adoption files

Carine Hutsebaut wrote about this in her book Little sinners – The Church and Child Trafficking (only available in Dutch)
In the below article the nun tells how the adoption records were burned.

Belgium: Nun who took babies from pregnant girls speak out

Non die baby’s van ongewenst zwangere meisjes wegnam spreekt voor het eerst

Ik moet mij niet excuseren.

Sinds 1950 zijn zo’n dertigduizend Vlaamse meisjes en vrouwen anoniem bevallen in het noorden van Frankrijk. Op de geboorteakte van hun kind staat als moeder enkel een ‘X” vermeld. Omdat ze ongewenst zwanger waren, stopte hun familie hen vaak weg in tehuizen voor ongehuwde moeders die her en der in Vlaanderen werden geopend. Tamar in Lommel was zo’n tehuis. “Het werd tot in de jaren ’80 gerund door strenge nonnen die de meisjes onder druk zetten om hun kinderen af te staan”, zegt Marleen Adriaens, die onlangs een zelfhulpgroep startte voor vrouwen die er verbleven. “Meestal hadden ze nog voor het meisje beviel al een adoptiegezin geregeld. De nonnen verbraken bewust de band tussen moeder en baby. De dossiers werden verbrand, waardoor tientallen vrouwen vandaag nog steeds wanhopig zoeken naar hun bloedeigen kinderen. Slechts één zuster kan nog navertellen hoe het er destijds aan toeging. Alice Ballet (86), die de ‘gevallen’ meisjes naar Frankrijk reed om er te bevallen, leeft nog. Ze woont in een klooster van de zusters Kindsheid Jesu in Lommel. Eén keer wil ze spreken over ‘de roddels’ die haar achtervolgen. “Ik vind niet dat wij ons moeten excuseren. Wij deden wat de ouders wilden. Dat ging zo in die tijd.”


Since 1950, some thirty thousand Flemish girls and women gave birth anonymously in northern France. On their child's birth a single "X" indicated the name of the mother. Because these were unwanted pregnancies, these girl's families were often put them away in homes for unmarried mothers, that popped up here and in Flanders. Tamar had a home in Lommel. "Untill the 80's it was run by strict nuns who put pressure on the girls to give up their children to," says Marleen Adriaens, who recently started a support group for women who stayed there. "Usually they had the arranged for an adoptive family, before the girl gave birth. The nuns deliberately broke the bond between mother and baby. The files were burned.  Dozens of women today are still desperately searching for their very own children. Only one sister is still alive to retell how it went. Alice Ballet (86), the 'fallen' girls went to France to give birth there. She lives in a convent of the Sisters Childhood of Jesus in Lommel. For once she wants to talk about "rumors" that haunt her. "I do not think we should apologize. We did what the parents wanted. Those were the times. "

Preet Mandir burning the evidence

Date: 2006-06-25
Ruksh Chatterji

Pune: The Maharashtra government has not taken any action even a week after CNN-IBN exposed the adoption racket being run out of Preet Mandir in Pune. And that has given ample time to the alleged culprits to burn some of the evidence.

This is perhaps the most damning indictment of the Maharashtra government. Embers and ash is all that remains of the possibly crucial evidence of the activities of Preet Mandir.

“I saw a man in a striped shirt come and set all these files on fire at about 1130 hours IST,” an eyewitness, Anjali Sreedhar said.

When this CNN-IBN correspondent reached the spot, the ashes were still hot and it's only after an alarm was raised that policemen rushed into Preet Mandir but only to reluctantly take note of what of the goings on.
“Yes, yes, we are observing everything. Our officers have taken the burnt papers to the police station,” a constable said.

First came fires...

I myself was a 'victim' of flame engulfed adoption records.  Yet, amazingly, I was told by my friendly SW,  if I paid the required $400 "Finder's Fee", I would be given a 90% chance of finding correct first-parent information. 

Go figure the miracles, and increased odds, money can bring... especially in an international adoption story! 

The claim "agency fire" seems quite common, especially for us older adult adoptees looking into Search and Reunion.  Another story I hear from other adoptees is the story of flood.  Apparently many adoption agencies are built in flood zones, and as luck would have it, adoption records and files from any requested year will have been stored and kept in the lowest portion of said flood-prone building(s).  Gee... fires, floods... sure sounds like there's all sorts of scary natural disasters taking place when doing God's Work.  <cough, sputter, choke> 


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