TLC’s shocking limited series Taken At Birth examines the infamous Hicks babies mystery up close. Babies were sold out the back door of doctor Thomas J. Hicks’ clinic for decades. Hicks told the baby’s mothers their little one died in childbirth. The story gets even worse.
To bring this story to light, TLC brought in Lisa Joyner and Chris Jacobs from another TV show. The Taken At Birth hosts also share the emotional journeys of biological family members reconnecting on the popular TLC series Long Lost Family.
On Taken At Birth, they work with Jane Blasio, the lead Hicks’ Investigator for the Hicks babies expose docuseries.
Blasio is the youngest of the known Hicks Babies, who dedicated her life to finding out the truth. After 20 years of hard work and dead ends, Blasio gets some answers.
Interestingly, Jacobs and Joyner are also adoptees themselves, and they were the natural choice to help TLC recreate and tell this profound story of loss and reunion on Taken At Birth.
At the Television Critics’ Association (TCA) summer panel, Joyner and Jacobs talked about how they traced the evidence to find the right people.
Joyner said: “Well, it’s a lot of good, old-fashioned detective work…In these cases, we had a lot of falsified records or no records at all. So Chris actually had to go knock on doors and do a little bit of investigative work. All three of us did. So, DNA will play a part, for sure, and that’s why we’re doing the show now is because we do have the ability to get so much more from the DNA than we did, say, back in 1997 when the story first broke with Jane.”
Adding to that, Jacobs said: “It’s a great jumping-off point to have the DNA from a family member of the Hicks, and that’s kind of one point that connections can be made off of.”
He also noted the work on their other TLC show was an invaluable background tool to use.
He said: “Obviously, you’ve seen Long Lost Family, so you know that we use DNA a lot to locate family members there. So, again, it’s a way to confirm 100 percent whether people are biologically connected, and what we’re going after is the same thing that we were going after in Taken At Birth, and that is getting to the truth…”
The show reveals what it is like to discover as an adult that you were stolen at birth from your biological family, your real identity erased.
The pain of hanging onto the hope that you could find your birth mother or a member of your biological family when no record of your birth exists plays a role in the show, as well.
What is Taken At Birth about?
The story is true and happened in the ’50s and ’60s when a doctor sold hundreds of newborns taken from a small-town Georgia clinic on the black market.
It took decades for these adopted children to find the truth about where they came from. Since then, many began a quest to find their birth parents — a journey chronicled in TLC’s Taken at Birth.
Over 50 years ago, a doctor named Thomas Hicks, illegally sold over 200 newborn babies from the back door of his small-town Georgia clinic.
They are known as the Hicks babies, searching to find their real identities, their birth parents, and learn how Dr. Hicks upended their lives.
Searching too is lead investigator Jane Blasio, a Hicks baby herself. She dedicated her life to unpacking the truth as she joins Chris and Lisa to unravel a decades-old mystery, reunite those stolen babies with their real birth families, and help them find closure, acceptance, and peace.
At the TCA summer press tour, Monsters and Critics was part of the panel of critics and asked the hosts directly about how this could have happened.
Monsters and Critics: In small southern town, how does this even happen unless there were complicit personnel in the clinic? Was it a web of people? Did more than one person, more than Dr. Hicks, profit from these baby sales?
Jane Blasio: “That’s a great question. We’re talking about the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s. Where was the accountability? And so that does come up in the show. You’ll have to see as we go through the story. I’ll just say that Dr. Hicks was very industrious in what he did.
M&C: Was he paying people off to keep quiet? Is this a spoiler?
Blasio: “Yes. Yes, it is.”
Lisa Joyner: “I think it’s safe to say that it was a small town, and people knew. People knew this was happening. It’s safe to say that. He owned the town, basically. I mean, he was a very successful businessman in that town. And they looked after each other.
Chris Jacobs: “But you are correct, though. Dr. Hicks was not completely solitary. There were other people in the town who probably knew what was going on and maybe looked the other way in positions of power.
You can imagine what a small town in the ’50s was like, and a doctor having a lot of influence knew most of the people in town, and they knew him as being in a position of authority.
So the dynamics of what that might have meant back then, you can imagine that he was someone that people probably feared.”
Taken At Birth is a three-night special that airs Wednesday, October 9 through Friday, October 11, from 9 PM-11 PM (ET/PT) on TLC.