Adoption procedures in 1912

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Deb Boyken

I have another question for you erudite folks. I'm writing a story about a fictional woman who, when climbing into her lifeboat on the Titanic, was handed a child and entreated to safe his life. She did of course, but--let me ask you, since there seem to be so many legally-informed people here--how difficult would adopting this child be for her? His father handed him to her care on board, the child has no family to handed over to. How messy would the legalities be for my main character to formally adopt him? The child's father was wealthy and he will be inheriting quite a bundle, but would that get in the way. (My main character is upper middle class, but nowhere in financial range of a 1912 millionaire.)

I appreciate your help. I've been doing as much research as I can to make this story as true to life as it can be, but am not sure how much of a battle this issue should be.

And . . . was it a rumor, or did something similar to this actually happen? I could swear I had read about a woman who tried to step aside from a lifeboat, saying "It's a sin for a single woman to be saved when men with families are dying," and a nearby man handed her a child and more or less forced her into the boat. I know I read the anecdote, and I'm pretty sure it was in a fairly recent picture-book kind of Titanic extravaganza. Do you folks know if it was true? And if so, who the woman was and what happened to the child?

Thanks again!


Alexis N. Marlow

Deb, the person you are thinking of is second class passenger, Edwina "Winnie" Troutt. She believed that she should be resigned to dying, because she was primed at an early age that she would not live a full life. She declared if she ruled the sea 'it would be married men and women first, then single men and women.' Third class passenger Charles Thomas managed to break through the crowd of people at Lifeboat 16(presumably). Barred from entering the boat himself, Charles begged someone to save his five month old nephew, Assad, who had been seperated from his mother. Winnie took on the job, and entered the boat with a toothbrush in her pocket, and the baby clutched to the cork of her lifebelt. Winnie, Assad, and Assad's mother were saved, while Charles perished. The only other information about Assad, is that he died on June 12th 1931. Winnie Troutt died in 1984.

Hope this helps!
Alexis Marlow
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