Three Mothers, Two Babies, and a Scandal

Three Mothers, Two Babies, and a Scandal

Amazon Series
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It was an event that rocked the world, when in the 1990s two different women, in two different countries, adopted the same babies...the story of Three Mothers, Two Babies, and a Scandal

That’s an attention-grabbing title, isn’t it? And one that presumably will spark memories of those of an age to have been there at the time, and intrigue for those that weren’t (I fit into the latter).

Three Mothers, Two Babies, and a Scandal is a documentary that tells the story of infant twins ‘sold twice’ internationally on the (then relatively new) internet in the late 1990s, and the resultant legal and moral battles to fight for their best interests.

Such a story can descend into voyeuristic tabloid-ism, much as it did at the time as newspapers and talk shows fell over themselves to get a slice.

Thankfully, this documentary takes a slow and methodical approach, splitting its three episodes into telling the story of each individual mother.

What Is Three Mothers, Two Babies, and a Scandal About?

First is Judith, Wales resident and adoptive mother. Second is Vickie, US resident and original adoptive mother. Last is Tranda, US resident and birth mother accused of ‘selling’ her babies.

Such confusion over the ‘sale’ lies with an unregulated internet and the ‘commission’ collected from the prospective families by online adoption agency, Caring Heart.

That the second family, Judith and Alan, paid more than Vickie and Richard, only added fuel to the fire. Throw in an apparent ‘midnight flit’ – where Judith and Alan secured a ‘quickie’ adoption in a different state and effectively whisked the babies out of the country to their home in Wales – and clearly everyone has a very different opinion on what actions were just.

By splitting the documentary into a focus on each mother individually, the show ensures that it spends enough time with each subject to record their point of view.

Judith was tabloid fodder at the time for her ragged way with words, and her recollections are laid out as she wishes to present them. Threaded through her story is what it is like to be the centre of a media furore.

These days the storm may rage on social media more than front page news, but the effect of being the ‘main character’ of discussion is laid out plainly for us to witness.

By contrast, Vickie and Richard’s story is full of different heartbreak. The twins had been placed with them for weeks before Tranda took them for a weekend and didn’t return them. Again, by spending a whole episode focussed on their perspective, the show presents Vickie’s conflicting opinions for your own judgement.

This is particularly evident with the frequently used clips of their co-interviews with their UK based ‘opponents’, culminating in a live Oprah Winfrey confrontation.

Lastly, Tranda’s story has the most grey areas. Even though each episode gives primary focus to one mother, the other parties still get moments to talk. Therefore by the time we get to Tranda there has been plenty of doubt about her intentions levelled at her from the adoptive mothers.

Tranda, who was a single mother with three previous children, insists she never received a penny for her twins. Her revelations may challenge the notions you arrived at in the previous episodes.

Is Three Mothers, Two Babies, and a Scandal Worth Watching?

Notwithstanding the sheer shocking nature of the whole story – in which the internet, commerce, and loose laws cause a perfect storm – Three Mothers, Two Babies, and a Scandal keeps a level head.

It never loses sight of the very real human cost to all parties in this ordeal, not least of which the twins themselves.

As the late novelist Terry Pratchett once said, sin is when you treat people as things.

Laws in the UK were changed as a result of the scandal to prevent it ever happening again, but not so in the US.

Media frenzies bury real human sadness under self-painted caricatures: listen to their own words and assess for yourself.

Words by Mike Record

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  • Measured Approach
  • Structure Of Concentrating On One Person At A Time
  • Avoids Tabloid-ism


  • A Few Key Missing People (for obvious reasons)
  • Lack Of Legal Points In Court Cases


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