It is 1856. You are poor, your husband has just died; or perhaps your wife has died, leaving you with many children. What do you do? Well, you put one or two of the kids up for adoption in the local newspaper's Want Ads!
Here are two actual want ads for little children from 1856--read and weep.
-- [someone] to ADOPT a lovely and interesting female INFANT, five
months old. The mother is left a widow, and not able to support it.
Apply at the Employment Society, No. 13 Bible House, for a week. Ask for
WHO WANTS TO ADOPT A LITTLE BOY -- A Widower, with six children, has a
LITTLE BOY, 8 years old, that he would like some respectable person to
ADOPT. Inquire of Mrs. Michell, No. 471 Houston-st, corner of the
Would you like to write a story to go with any of these want ads? If you do write a story about one (or both) of them, I'll post it. Give the child a name, and in your story make sure you tell what happens to the little boy or the little girl. How did he feel? Was the little boy scared? What's his name? Who adopted him? Was his new family kind? Or, what happened to the mother of the baby girl? Did she try to get her baby back when she found a job? Oh, there are so many possibilities!
If you do write a story, e-mail it to me so I can post it.