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Edna Gladney
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    (January 22, 1886-October 2, 1961)
    Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    Early children's rights advocate
    Influential board member of the Texas Children’s Home and Aid Society
    Instrumental in the founding of the West Texas Maternity Hospital, later known as the Edna Gladney Home, or The Gladney Center for Adoption
    Placed over 10,000 babies with adoptive parents during her career
    She left her fiancée for a man who had courted her over the summer.
    She ironically never had any children of her own.
    Her second husband died on Valentine's Day.
    The account of her life in the widely publicized biopic, 'Blossoms in the Dust,' was heavily fictionalized (ex. having her sister commit suicide after her illegitimate background is revealed).
    The film also ironically conceals the fact that she, herself, was born out of wedlock.
    Some have complained that she gets sole credit for establishing the Gladney House when it was a joint effort by the Texas Children's Home and Aid Society.
    The fact that she has been largely forgotten today has fanned the flames of the abortion rights' debate, with many pro-Life advocates claiming that she would be lionized if she were a birth control champion (like Margaret Sanger) instead of an adoption advocate.
    The Fort Worth orphans' nickname for her was 'The Lullaby Lady.'
    She successfully lobbied the Texas legislature to keep the word 'illegitimate' off of children's birth records (then a controversial issue), making Texas the first state in the southwest to do so (1936).
    She successfully lobbied for a bill to be passed, giving adopted children the same inheritance rights as biological children (1951).
    Her advocacy also led to the possibility of 'legal adoption' over 'long term guardianship,' and drastically improved the efficiency of the adoption process.
    Before the Gladney Home was established, unwanted poor, insane, or handicapped children were basically abandoned to fend for themselves in an ill-furnished 'poor farm.'
    When she drew attention to the farm's poor living conditions, the county took its sweet time handling the problem, leading her and her colleagues to manually clean/white-wash the farm and transfer the children to the Texas Children's Home.
    The Facebook page, 'Where is Edna Going?' helps adopted children connect with other adoptees by taking pictures with a cutout of Gladney and their new families.
    'Blossoms in the Dust' was made out of the gratitude of an MGM Publicist, whom she helped to adopt a baby girl (all of the film's royalties were donated to the Texas Children's Home).
    She personally selected Greer Garson to portray her, who would receive an Oscar Nomination for her performance in 1942.
    She continued correspondence with adopted children long after they had left her care.
    She was instrumental in giving orphaned children and, in some cases, their birth mothers a place to stay and a hospital where they could receive treatment.
    She coined the phrase 'there are no illegitimate children, only illegitimate parents.'

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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