Friday, May 14, 2010

A Strange Tale of Intergenerational Adoption Ripples...

Do you remember the story of Diane Downs - the woman about whom the book and movie Small Sacrifices, starring Farrah Fawcett was about; a sociopath who killed one of her hcidlren and maimed two others.

Tonight ABC's 20/20 told the story of the child Diane was pregnant with during her trial 26 years ago - the child whisked away from her after she was imprisoned.

Now, the oddities of adoption come into this already bizarre story. The infant girl is handed to parents who had already adopted another child and they are immediately told that they are being given an opportunity to adopt the child of notorious baby killer, Diane Downs. They accept the baby and watch her carefully for signs of mental illness he may have inherited from her mother - the postal worker so in love with a married co-worker she tried to eliminate her children to pursue the unrequited romance.

Diane's bay girl, is named Rebecca and told at age eight that she is adopted and her mother is in prison. By 11 she tricks a babysitter into revealing her mother's name: Diane Downs and later watches the movie Small Sacrifices.

She speaks of then becoming involved with inappropriately promiscuous sex and and drugs, a son at 17, and kicked out of her adoptive home. More drugs and another pregnancy that results in a child placed for adoption, completing the repetition of her early life.

Today, her son is seven, she is attending college and has mended her relationship with her adoptive parents. She calls Diane Downs a monster who she did contact via mail and then stopped after receiving insane rambling letters and no answer to her question about her father she was hoping to get to know.

What she does not mention is any interest in contacting her tow half siblings, the children who survived Downs' shootings and were adopted by the prosecutor. They are repoprtedly both doing well,
and Becky's son has a cousin. I hope her half brother and sister contact her. Also interesting was that Ann Rule, author of Small Sacrifices, was part of the 20/20 episode and said that she knows who Becky's father is.  One gets the impression that finding him is no longer a goal.

Becky - who wants to pursue a career in medicine -  is on a mission to help others who are conceived of "bad blood" and has told her story on 20/20 and in this month's Glamor Magazine.

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