Donation of Jean Paton Book Royalties to the AAC and CUB

The University of Michigan Press, publisher of the book, is currently offering a 30% discount. Here is a message from Professor Carp regarding the discount::

I am donating 10 percent of the royalties of my book, Jean Paton and the Struggle to Reform American Adoption, to the American Adoption Congress and another 10 percent to Concerned United Birthparents. Jean was instrumental in creating both organization and consequently it made sense that I donate to them. But even more important, as you will read in my book, Jean hated for people to make money off the backs of adopted people and birthmothers, and it is that sentiment that fueled my decision. Continue Reading →

2014 ASAC Conference: Our presentation on Jean Paton anounced

I am happy to announce that I’ll presenting at the 2014 Alliance for the Study of Adoption and Culture (ASAC). conference, Crossing Boundaries  at Florida State University in Tallahassee.early next year..  I’ll be part of a Book Session  panel headed by E. Wayne Carp author of the upcoming biography  Jean Paton and the Struggle to Reform American Adoption (University of Michigan Press, 2014).  A permanent title for the presentation will be announced in a few days, but for current informational purposes, we will be discussing the Jean Paton’s work and the book.. With me will be Elizabeth Samuels and Marianne Novy. I don’t know what their critique topics will be, but mine is “A Radical Looks at a Radical.”  Jean Paton is the mother of us all.:\ the  Mother of US adoption reform and the adopee rights movement.. As  Dr. Carp noted in the proposal: Paton gave adult adoptees a voice and provided them with a healthy self-image; facilitated thousands of meetings between adult adoptees and their families of origin; fought tirelessly to open sealed adoption records… Patron’s struggle to reform American adoption was never easy; she faced resistance at every turn. This, then, is Jean Paton’s story: one courageous woman’s struggle to overcome Continue Reading →

Jean Paton, The biography of the mother of the adoption reform movement to be published this fall

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but when in the mid-1990s when I first got seriously involved in adoptee rights, I had never heard of Jean Paton. My ignorance was disabused at the Seattle AAC conference (I think it was 2000) E. Wayne Carp, who had just released his pioneering work Family Matters: Secrecy and Disclosure in the History of Adoption was  first day keynoter.  Among the special guests that day was  Jean Paton. As I remember it, some of us Bastard Nationals were running around with little homemade “nametags” with Bastards are Beautiful” handprinted on them with a magic marker–mainly as a dig at the goody-2-shoes AAC crowd and, of couse, to advertise ourselves.  Someone, and I don’t remember who, (maybe it was Jean) pointed out that this phrase  was not original with Bastard Nation. It was an original Jean Patonism. Well, who was Jean Paton?  Only the mother of the adoptee rights movement in America! That’s who! It was almost like opening your OBC and learning that you had a name and a history.  As a trained historian I was shocked to learn that I hadn’t done my homework. I knew about Joanne Wolf Small,   B J Lifton, Continue Reading →


Jean Paton, the mother of the adoptee rights movement, is the forgotten woman of our movement. Even though Jean was alive, well, and kicking in the 1990s, when Bastard Nation started the Second Wave of the Adoptee Rights , I’d never heard of her until I attended the 1998 Seattle AAC. She was a featured speaker–and what a revelation she was! Who knew that the Bastards are Beautiful slogan we were so clever to invent, was actually coined by Jean 40 years earlier! So much for re-inventing the wheel. Why Jean was excised from our history, I don’t know, other than the history of our movement, even as late as 10 years ago, was as secret as our birth certificates. As bastards, we sprung from the head of Zeus, each generation starting anew. Unless you were an old oldtimer, you didn’t know who Jean Paton was. Much has changed since then, and adoption studies is now cutting edge. Though there is still much to dig out, research, and write, we are no longer a shameful secret except in the eyes of legislatures of 44 states who insist we are. When Jean died in 2002, veteran firstmom/bastard reform activist and writer Continue Reading →