Deeply disturbing and surprisingly redemptive, author Jane Blasio’s memoir plumbs the depths of human depravity and the mystery of God’s mercy. Born in 1965 at a clinic operated by Thomas Jugarthy Hicks in a small town in northern Georgia, Jane, a prematurely born baby, was sold, not legally adopted, and passed through the back door of the clinic to the couple whom she grew up believing were her birth parents.
When Blasio was 6-years-old, she discovered that she and her older sister were adopted. Worse still, rumors that they were black market babies further disoriented their lives. Though Blasio didn’t understand the full meaning of the circumstances surrounding her birth, she had a sense that something was off.
Years later, Blasio began to search for her birth parents. To her horror, she discovered that she was a Hicks Baby—as the children trafficked by Hicks came to be called---one of possibly 200 children sold by the “monster” who started operating his clinic in the 1940s and carried on his business for almost 30 years.
In 1997, Blasio went public with her story and soon connected with many other people who were also Hicks Babies. By 2017, the story had “grown and fermented,” and was featured in a documentary unveiling the horrors of Hicks’ actions: abortions; induced labor to meet his schedule so he would have a newborn for prospective paying parents; the risk faced by premature babies; the ways women’s bodies were butchered so they could no longer conceive or bear a child; adults on lifelong searches for their birth families; and secrets kept for a lifetime by people in the know who thought Hicks was an amazing doctor.
As Blasio shares her quest for her biological family, she relates how God was always seeking her, even though, in the depths of her emotional pain, she tried to run from him. Concluding on a note of mercy for all those who were affected by Hicks’ actions, including Hicks himself, Blasio says, “Belonging is where unconditional love is, where you want to be.”
Warning: graphic, though not gratuitous, scenes relating Hicks’ crimes against women and babies make for perturbing, troubling reading. (Revell)