Cole Baby Saga
I learned I was adopted, my world was turned upside-down.
It was a few months before my fortieth birthday.
A "long-lost" relative found me through the
Internet and shared the truth about my birth.
My parents, the people that raised me, had both been dead
for many years.
didn't believe it at first and made several phone calls to other
surviving relatives and they confirmed, that yes, I was adopted.
My aunt wanted to know what that meant to me.
I told her that I already had a family and I wasn't
looking for a new "mommy."
I did wonder if perhaps someone was looking for me.
Maybe I had siblings.
And medical history was very important.
I told her I wanted to search.
My emotions were in turmoil as I looked at baby pictures
of myself. They
didn't look the same as they always did.
I looked into the eyes of the couple that raised me and
wondered, " What were they thinking?"
Family told me my parents were unable to have children.
I knew my mother had a miscarriage.
They had tried to adopt for years but were turned down
again and again.
uncles and cousins helped me piece together all the information
they had. The
Internet provided the rest.
I very quickly found out I could search but chances were
slim that I would find anything. I was a black market adoptee, a
Cole baby, born in Coral Gables Florida in 1961. My mother found out about Dr. Katherine Cole from a family
friend, an insurance broker, who had gotten a son through her.
Cole corresponded with my mother for a period of time.
Apparently she matched pregnant girls with childless
couples who agreed to her terms.
Cole called my adoptive parents 2 weeks before I was
born. They flew to
Miami from Brooklyn New York and waited for my birth mother to
deliver me. My
adoptive parents paid naturopathic doctor Cole $10,000 for me.
My birth certificate lists my adoptive parents as my
birth parents. No
records exist on my birth mother.
Family members said my birth parents were college
students from wealthy families and my birth mother might have
been a pre-med student. No
one knew any names. This
information may or may not be true because it came from Cole.
delivered thousands of babies between 1927 and 1963 in her
clinic in Coral Gables. She
housed pregnant girls, delivered their babies and basically sold
those babies to couples who were desperate enough to pay her
price. She stole
the pasts of all those babies by falsifying the information on
the birth certificates she signed.
Not only did she list adopting parents as birth parents
but also changed dates, even the sex of the babies to prevent
her work from being traced. She practiced for decades.
Cole was arrested 7 times on charges ranging from
attempted manslaughter to illegal adoption.
In 1955 she was questioned in Washington, D.C. in the
Kefauver hearings, which focused on black market adoptions.
She admitted to "placing" 32 babies.
(No records on her placements exist.
My adoptive parents did not have adoption papers.)
Authorities had to know what was happening. Newspapers wrote
about her during that time.
Her name on a birth certificate coming through the
Florida Department of Vital Statistics should have been a red
flag. How did Cole
manage to get by with this for all those years?
I asked myself this as I searched the first few months
after my discovery.
turned 40 on April 11, 2001.
My wonderful husband and family threw me a huge surprise
birthday party, a welcome distraction from the past few months
of searching for non-existent answers.
I put my seemingly futile search aside and concentrated
on my family. I
still visited the adoption websites, looking for my date of
birth. It quickly
became very depressing. There
were so many adoptees searching for their birth parents.
There didn't seem to be nearly as many birth mothers
searching. I joined
online adoptee support groups and registries and hoped that
maybe someday she would come looking for me.
life has gone on. I
work, have friends, take care of my family, and stay involved in
my church. Most of my close friends know my story. I don't talk about it too much now but it's always there, in
the back of my mind. A
day doesn't go by that I don't think about my birth mother.
I wonder if she is still alive, if she thinks about me.
Other birth mothers I have met in my online support
groups assure me that she does think of me often.
I look at my own daughter and remember my pregnancy with
her. It was a time
of so much joy and wonder at the little person growing inside
me, excitement and impatience too!
What did my birth mother feel?
Society in the 60's did not condone unwed pregnant girls.
I'm sure her pregnancy made her life very difficult.
Did she feel any joy? Did she wonder if I was a girl or a
boy? Did she even
get to see me when I was born?
Did anyone comfort her after my adoptive parents took me
away to live in another state?
I've been told my adoptive parents were in Cole's clinic
when I was born but did not
have any contact with my birth mother. My dad always told me he held me the minute I was born.
One of my aunts said "they cut the cord and took you
parents took me home to Brooklyn when I was 3 days old. My heart goes out to my birthmother. I could not imagine having to go through 9 months of
pregnancy and to then let someone else have that life.
She made a sacrifice of love so I could have a better
life. I'd like her
to know I am ok. My
adoptive parents took care of me and loved me very much.
I don't blame her for what she did.
Giving me up was the only thing she could have done.
My daughter wants to know about her too.
She wonders about her grandmother.
almost three years since I learned I was adopted. I drive along listening to the radio, and suddenly it hits
me. Emptiness, sadness, a yearning I can't describe. It doesn't
take much to trigger it. My
daughter looks across at me.
the matter Mom?"
can sense something is wrong.
I fight the tears welling up inside and struggle to speak
just tired, sweetie," I answer, and change the subject,
talking about the weather, what we're going to do tomorrow,
anything but the pain and sadness.
try to push the feelings and the questions back in my mind once
husband and I have talked about this search.
It seems so useless.
He sees me sit at the computer for hours, searching
message boards and databases for a clue.
I read about others' reunions, poems and stories written
about adoption by birth mothers and adoptees.
I cry often.
are you still putting yourself through this?
You have a family that loves you.
What are you looking for?
You know, I never knew my real father." he says.
husband grew up not really knowing his birth father. His parents divorced when he was very young.
He saw his father only once in many years.
His mother remarried and his stepfather adopted him and
his 2 sisters. His
stepfather was his dad, his father, the one he loved and cared
about. I know all
this. I tell him,
know your birth father's name.
If you wanted to, you could probably get on the phone
right now and talk to one of his relatives.
You have his picture and everyone can see the
you have your mom and your sisters.
You can look at them and see yourself.
I don't have that. My
daughter is my only genetic link in the world and she doesn't
even look like me. I
have no idea of my medical history.
I'm not even sure I even want to do this searching.
It's tedious, time consuming and has been very
unproductive. But I
am driven to search, to do something, to find out who I am, my
heritage, who I look like, the things about me I can't
he hugs me and holds me and asks what he can do to help.
am not sure what anyone can do to help.
Searching adoption websites have not been useful.
I had a feeling a while back about the University of
Miami. It is
located in Coral Gables, the suburb of Miami where Cole's clinic
was located. I
thought about looking though old annuals to see if there was
anyone who looked like me.
A huge long shot, but it was something.
I sent pictures of myself to a search angel who had
copies of old yearbooks. She
spent some time looking and comparing pictures but didn't find
anything. I had another search angel familiar with the whole Cole baby
story suggest filing a lawsuit against the state of Florida for
allowing Cole to get away with this for all those years.
The purpose would not be to get monetary damages from
Florida but to get publicity for the story, not only for myself
but for the other Cole babies.
I never pursued that but I thought gaining publicity for
us would probably be a good idea. Maybe some Cole birth mothers
would see it and come forward.
The television show Million Dollar Mysteries did do a
segment on Dr. Cole and the Cole baby story about 2 years ago.
It featured 2 other Cole babies but no new information surfaced.
I have written to talk shows, magazines, and newspapers
since then. I even
spoke to a reporter and thought our story would be featured in
an article in a major Miami newspaper.
So far, there has not been any more interest.
I will not give up, though.
I'll continue to tell this story. Maybe someone will
listen and tell it to someone else. Maybe someone knows
something about a girl who had to "go away" for a
while in 1961. Maybe
that girl will read this story and want to know more about the
little girl she had to give up in 1961.
this story is familiar to anyone please contact me at