Dr Else is a writer, researcher and editor, and wrote the first comprehensive history of post-war adoption in New Zealand from 1944-1974. Dr Else will give evidence about the growth of adoption and the State’s involvement in closed stranger adoption since the 1955 Adoption Act. She will discuss the practice of “matching for marginality”, where the ‘best’ children were placed with the ‘best’ couples and hard-to-place children were placed with couples that social workers perceived as marginal.
Dr Else will also discuss how ex-nuptial children could enter State care. In the 1960s, the number of babies available for adoption outnumbered those wanting to adopt. It became more difficult to find homes for babies who were ‘different’ from the norm in some way, such as being of ‘mixed race’. If no adopters could be found or an adoption placement broke down, the baby was not returned to the birth mother but was placed in the care of the State.