Two months before Appleton was to give birth, the Lauers and Fenichel paid for her to fly from Florida to New York. Appleton stayed with the Lauers at their home along with another pregnant woman named Kim, she said.
Appleton said she was treated well, but that Kim was not.
"I definitely wanted to give the baby to a wonderful home, that was the only intention that I had," Appleton said. "I didn't really realize at the time that he [Fenichel] was shady and the practices that were going on."
Now 43, she still remembers the October day she gave birth.
"When I was done and ready to leave the hospital, they told me there would be a third party that would come into the main lobby. I went to sign the birth certificate," she said. "They placed the baby in my arms. I walked to the elevator, the elevator doors opened....[The third party] looked at me mean and took the baby... I turned around the corner and started bawling."
Fenichel had a car pick up Appleton and an envelope with $8,000 was there for her to take. She returned to Florida. Though she would marry and get divorced, Appleton kept her maiden name hoping that she might find her daughter.
Other birth moms and adoptees hope to have the same luck as Appleton.
"It's kind of like a Pandora's box. Every time you find one piece of information, it can be overwhelming to put that all together. It can be frightening sometimes…like frighteningly exciting. You feel so close, but yet so far," Teri Beeler, a birth mother, said.
Beeler's only glimpse of her daughter was at a Miami hospital in 1975 as she gave birth at 16 years old.
"The lights were so bright in the OR, I could see her reflection in the doctor's glasses," Beeler said. "It's a sacrifice…what better gift to give somebody than to give them life and to give them love, even if it means to give them away."
Beeler's maiden name was Hays.
"In my heart, I've always thought of her as Baby Girl Hays," she said.
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