Dr. Thomas J. Hicks of the Hicks Clinic — located in McCaysville, along the border of Tennessee — sold scores of babies between the 1940s and 1960s, authorities have determined.
One of those peddled babies was Blasio, author of the new book “Taken at Birth,” released earlier this week.
Writing the book gave her a “better understanding” of not only herself but her adoptive parents.
“I had struggled with them growing up a bit, and I love them like crazy like all children love their parents, but … there [were] a lot of things I felt were unended in my heart,” she said.
Blasio’s father was a police officer who “knew right from wrong,” though he eventually got his first felony.
Since then, Blasio has helped other people sold as newborns by Hicks find out more about their early lives. The author has spent the past 20 years investigating the clinic and its impact on the so-called “Hicks babies.”
She’s also been helping those sold out of the clinic — “a lot of whom didn’t know they were adopted” — get in touch with their birth families. TLC’s program put a spotlight on the story, boosting those efforts.
Blasio found that some of the birth fathers had been kept in the dark for decades. Some thought their babies died at birth; others had no idea they even existed.
DNA sampling is much more accessible today than it was in 1997 when the story first broke, which has given more Hicks babies the opportunity to get in touch with family.
“It’s definitely a gift to people who are searching for their family members,” Blasio said of take-home sampling kits such as 23andMe and AncestryDNA.