Books by Robby DeBoer

Released: Aug. 2, 1994

A sincere but tedious rehashing of the ``Baby Jessica'' saga by former adoptive mother DeBoer. In the summer of 1993, Baby Jessica, now known as Anna Schmidt, was returned to her biological parents after a two-year court battle that captured worldwide attention. Shortly after relinquishing her baby for adoption, birth mother Cara Schmidt began to mourn deeply. To cope with her pain, according to DeBoer, Cara attended a meeting of Concerned United Birthparents (CUB), whose philosophy is that ``short of kidnapping and murder, this [separation from her baby] is the most horrible, unnatural loss a mother can endure.'' And so Cara Schmidt began her efforts to regain the baby she had hastily and conveniently surrendered. It is DeBoer's contention that had Cara not connected with CUB, Baby Jessica would be living a secure life with her adoptive parents. DeBoer strives for objectivity, but generally fails. Just as Cara and Dan Schmidt appear never see the DeBoers as anything more than temporary caretakers who have made a media circus out of their tragedy, the DeBoers see the Schmidts as mere ``baby machines'' who created a product that they initially abandoned. The result is ugly. Dan Schmidt is portrayed as a violent and negligent father whose court papers show that ``he has previously failed to raise or support his other two children.'' On the other side, DeBoer writes, a handful of criminal dirt committed by her husband, Jan, as a teenager is dug up and slung. While Jan considered fleeing the country with Jessica—a rare revelation here—Robby leapt to the media to publicize her plea that ``the bias of the courts towards biology'' would jeopardize her daughter's well-being. A sometimes absorbing, often superficial memoir that is far less meaty than the New Yorker's treatment of a year ago. (Two eight-page inserts of b&w photos, not seen) (First printing of 100,000; first serial to Redbook; author tour) Read full book review >