More Voices of The Willows
Fascinating look into the early 20th century world of adoption in Kansas City, Missouri. “More Voices of The Willows” is a follow up to “Mansion on a Hill: The Story of The Willows Maternity Sanitarium and the Adoption Hub of America.” Adoptees and birth mothers share heartwarming and sometimes heart wrenching reunion stories. Ranging from 1908 until 1969, these twenty-two voices express the common threads of needing to know who am I, what is my family background and medical history, fear of hurting adoptive parents’ feelings, and guilt for being forced to give up a baby under difficult circumstances.
One voice is a past Kansas governor who was a Willows baby and wrote about his being chosen by his adoptive parents. Another is an adoptee finding her ninety-year-old biological parents and learning they had eloped after finding out the young woman was pregnant. Upon telling their parents, the young bride was forced to go to The Willows and give up their baby for adoption. Readers will be amazed at the incredible story of a man who was born at The Willows, adopted multiple times, lived at Boys Town, was homeless, and eventually became a merchant marine at sixteen. These are just three of the amazing stories. Additionally, newly discovered information is given about The Willows and other maternity homes that were located in Kansas City in the early to mid-1900s.
Mansion on a Hill
For the readers of Orphan Train comes the true story of a second wave of humanity that traveled to the Midwest by train. Not well documented in American history, over 100,000 pregnant, unwed young women traveled mostly by train to Kansas City – known as the Adoption Hub of America – in the early- to med-1900s. They would live in one of several maternity facilities before giving birth, signing their babies over for adoption and returning home empty handed and heartbroken. This is the first definitive work written about this piece of history.
The Willows Maternity Sanitarium was known as the “Ritz” or “Waldorf” of the maternity hospitals. It was truly a Mansion on a Hill and one of the largest of such facilities in America. this is the incredible, true story of The Willows and the compassionate, yet savvy business family, who started and operated the seclusion “home” from 1905 until its closing in 1969. With over 35,000 girls passing through its doorway, tales abound of Willows’ children questioning the “who” and “why” as they search for answers to their separation. Changed laws and DNA testing are sparking reunions more and more every day. The second part of the book “Voices of The Willows” includes moving stories of those whose lives were touched and changed forever by The Willows.
I hope you enjoy!
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Send Me a Photo on Facebook or Instagram
Thank you to all who sent me selfies with My Little Valentine. Would love to have your pics with Mansion on a Hill, too. You can add to www.facebook.com/kellee.parr or Instagram @kelleeparr
My Little Valentine
This book is the true story of my mother and grandmother’s journey to find one another. The story is factual and based on my personal experiences, information shared by family members, and hundreds of letters between mother and daughter. Some of the details and storyline are fictional, as I filled in the blanks as best I remembered or expected they happened. By the time I got around to writing their story, both my beloved mother and grandmother were passed on. A few names have been changed to provide anonymity for certain characters and their families.
Please join the MLV facebook page created by my niece Elizabeth if you would like to follow our journey. Thanks! https://www.facebook.com/groups/1213585672004749/
Wanda June Keller (born February 14, 1925)
Wanda and Leona found each other in 1991 when Wanda was 66 and Leona was 83.
Check out more photos on my blog and don’t miss those in the archives section. Enjoy!
Thank you Trista Bierberle for your beautiful covers for My Little Valentine and Mansion on a Hill!
http://www.tstormproductions.com/ and to Skip Keller for colorizing the photo of The Willows for Mansion on a Hill.
My Teaching Memories
Over the years of my teaching career, so many funny things happened in my classroom that I thought I would never forget. I realized too late that I should have jotted down these memories. Years start to run together and memories begin to fade. This booklet My Teaching Memories I hope will give you a simple way to record your students, events, gifts, and funny little anecdotes that you will want to remember and reflect upon years from now. May God bless you for being a teacher, one of the best and most difficult professions there is, while probably the least understood or appreciated. Thank you!