Child Abducted in 1987 Meets Her Family

This is one of those stories where the headline really says it all.   Or a lot of it, anyway.   It’s from the New York Times and the headline is “Woman Abducted as Infant in 1987 Meets Her Family.”   

Carlina White’s parents, Joy White and Carl Tyson, brought her to Harlem Hospital in August, 1987 because she had a fever.   Two hours later someone carried her out of the hospital.   She was 19 days old.    Though the police investigated the kidnapping, it was never solved.  No one knew where the baby ended up.

Carlina was raised by a woman who, according to the paper, “treated her poorly.”   (There’s no information about how she ended up in this woman’s custody, nor is there a suggestion that the woman is connected with her original disappearance.)  

She didn’t feel she belonged in the family where she was being raised.  As she got older, her suspicions grew.   Sometime after her 16th birthday she started to investigate and eventually she actually located and called her mother.  The police took DNA swabs from Carlina and Joy White as well as Carl Tyson.   It all matched up.   So at the age of 23 she was reunited with her parents. 

It’s a pretty amazing story.  I realize  that many will see this as proof that DNA is all important, of course.   Even though I’m not prepared to say this, I’ll concede this is an amazing tale.   And for the moment, I’ll just leave it there.


7 responses to “Child Abducted in 1987 Meets Her Family

  1. I’ll say it! DNA is important! 🙂

  2. I don’t think this story is about DNA at all.

  3. Katherine Franke

    Julie – yes, it’s amazing. But the story triggered other thoughts: who was the “nurse” that “stole” her? Might there have been a back story about the bio parents that justified (in the mind of the “nurse”) her being taken? How did she end up with poor (presumably black) people in the South? (You do raise this question in your post.) One could imagine a different story of “baby trafficking”: healthy black baby is snatched from a Harlem hospital and sold to a black couple that couldn’t have kids. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. The story in the Times left me with a kind of sick feeling about the market for black baby girls: there wasn’t even a loving, wealthier family that “got” her after her snatching.
    One last thought: apart from the fuller story of why she was taken, how is this story different from kids who find their bio “parents” later in life? The article played largely to the sentimentality of the “reunion” story – but that underlies so many of the “find the donor” situations of adult children raised by lesbians born through donor insemination. How is this different from that – at least from the perspective of the young woman who now has a relationship with her “real,” meaning biological, parents? Of course it is different, but maybe not as much so as we might think.

  4. Difference is she was kidnapped from her parents and a lesbian woman pays a clinic to facilitate human reproduction between herself and the male parent who has been paid to abandon his responsibilities to their offspring and stay out of their lives forever….for a fee.

    Both have a bit of a nasty aftertaste, but ultimately the child is looking for only one of its parents when a woman has a child with an anonymous man. Not knowing who both your parents are would be twice as much of a mystery to solve. If mysteries are the kind of thing that intrigues you. Now I know not everyone cares.

  5. Woah are you saying that the kidnapping would have been more acceptable had the child been taken by a wealthy family? Are you saying you think the child was taken by a distant relative who thought the child was being abused by the parents?

    You may be right, I’d kind of like to think that rich and poor women are pretty similarly situated when they are infertile and desperately wanting a child – look at the lengths infertile women will go to to get themselves a foundling so that they will be “only mother” “I’m her REAL mother” all glassy eyed like stepford wives. They travel to China and Guatemala and bring home children with very contrived sounding stories (all their mother’s died in child birth, they were abandoned on the side of the road with a red note pined to their basinete) or egg buying and surogate using – honestly I think maybe poor women just walk in to hospitals and pick one out. I am in healthcare design and construction – abduction is a serious problem security in pediatric and maternity floors. Very serious. Happens more than we know, I just think they usually get caught.

  6. Katherine Franke

    Marilynn – thanks for picking up the thread. Of course my speculations were not to infer that kidnapping by wealthly people is better, but instead to remind us that whether it’s sperm donation, adoption, surrogacy, the use of a range of repro technologies, or theft, there’s a commodification angle worth considering. But, of course, others have had much more to say than I on the commodification question.

  7. Your right about commodification. I do think its fascinating that the industries driving the commodification have twisted language so much to play to the target market. Nobody is “using donor gametes” to have children. There is no artificial reproduction. All children born are the result of plain old human reproduction between a male father and a female mother. Reproductive freedom and choice is not being exercised by people “purchasing gametes”, people are not “building their families” by adopting children. Reproductive freedom is being exercised by people that can reproduce and they’re choosing to have a 3rd party assist them in reproducing with people they do not know and may never meet, they may also be excercising their reproductive freedom by allowing someone else to gestate and deliver their offspring, There is no legal protection against abandoning your offspring so I can’t call it much of a right, there is just a big loophole when one does it prior to the child’s birth because its essentially undocumented, like black market adoption, anyone can claim to have given birth to a baby at home if they have witnesses.
    I know for the most part people just want to have babies, they don’t want to own them. Their hearts are in the right place looking for unwanted children. The idea that the commissioning couple in Art is actually creating anything themselves is so twisted its someone else is willing to create their child and is willing to not want it for a fee.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s