“I exist on the whim of an 1869 Comanche raiding party in Central Texas”. Thus begins Hope Baby Jerry Cline’s book Born and Raised: An American Story of Adoption.
Jerry was adopted from Hope Cottage in 1939 by King and Bertha Cline. His parents never kept his adoption a secret from him. As was the custom at the time, his adoption was closed meaning neither he nor his parents had any information about his birthparents, but Jerry says he always felt special because he was chosen by his parents out of all the little babies at Hope Cottage. In 1985, Jerry started his quest to find out more about his birthparents. His search started where his story all began – at Hope Cottage. Because all adoption records were sealed at the time of his birth, the information that Hope Cottage could release at that time was brief without any specific names or places that could identify his birthparents. Most surprising of all is 1) he learned his birthfather was 72 when Jerry was born and 2) nurses at Hope Cottage originally named him Monte. Jerry put the information aside for 16 years.
|Jerry’s Parents – 1946
King (back row, right) and Bertha (front row, right)
Prompted by a friend, Jerry picked up again his search in 2000. At this point both his parents had passed away . He says “However sad, their passing removed a psychological barrier. I think subconsciously that while they were alive, I had not wanted to do anything that they might interpret as undermining to their position as my real parents.” In April 2001, a Dallas judge opened Jerry’s adoption records and the search was on.
Without giving away too much of the story, Jerry learned that his birthmother was Pearl A. Tullis (1901-1992) and his birthfather was Daniel “Dee” Harkey (1866-1958). Harkey was a famous lawman in the Old West and had even written a book entitled Mean as Hell – The Life of New Mexico Lawman. During his career as a Marshall, Dee Harkey rubbed shoulders with Billy the Kid, the Dalton Gang and Pat Garrett. What progressed in Jerry’s search and the family history he discovered provides an absolutely fascinating glimpse into life on the Texas frontier post Civil War. How did a lawman from Carlsbad, New Mexico meet up with a genteel Southern school teacher from Louisiana 35 years his junior? You will just have to read the book!
|The Cline Family