The Price of 8 Pounds of Flesh

"If people only understand money, then they have lost sight of the larger project of Humanity" – Unknown

Many adoptive parents I know greatly object to referring to their adopted children as having been bought or sold.  I struggle with their struggle because, in my case and the case of anyone who obtained a child through the Kurtz network of agencies, the children were indeed sold by the agencies.

The definition of to sell, is to agree to transfer goods or provide services in exchange for money.  How hard is that to grasp?  The goods are the children. You give money to the baby broker in exchange for the child.  In some cases, services are provided to the expectant mother thereby implying a purchase arrangement. We give you this, you give us that.

Sold and  often to the highest bidder.

The network of agencies I lost my daughter to would discount babies. Children of color cost less. Boys cost less. Adopters could turn down a placement and wait for a better model much like you could a new car. Don’t want this year’s male model?  Okeedokee. Just wait a little longer a girl will come down the assembly line soon. Adopters who could not afford the purchase price could negotiate. Cannot afford the white female baby from the Midwest?  How about a Mexican child? They come with the added benefit of having records that are even HARDER to find in the future.  Oh, no, no charge for that extra feature. Parents in NY were charged one price for a baby girl while parents in NJ were charged a different price. Why the price gauging? Did the NJ parents have more money to spend and were therfeore charged more?

How is that not selling?

My own daughter refers to herself as a purchased child. It’s ugly, yes, but its reality.

I know adoptive parents who came into some money before they adopted and told their child that as a result they were able to “buy a house and buy a baby”. 

Buy sell arrangement.


Now there is that technicality that the majority, if not all of adopters who worked with the agencies that sold my daughter had no idea what was going on. They were lied to. They were manipulated and used. I get that. I really do.

I know adopters who mortgaged their homes, took out high interest loans, to pay for their children. But even still, if you are obtaining funds to obtain a child – that is a sale. No?

The adopters who obtained their children via Kurtz were told their funds were going to “help” the natural mother and that they were paying for housing, medical bills, counseling and job skills training. This can make me laugh so hard I can sometimes wet my pants.

The adoptive parents were lied to.  They were handing their funds over to a FOR PROFIT agency that was putting the money in their own pockets. I can line up over twenty women who lost their children to these agencies. Promises like semi-open and open adoptions were made to the mothers as kickers.  Promises of pictures and updates and contact were made.

Guess what? There was no post relinquishment counseling. There was no job skills’ training. There were no funds to help them get on their feet.   

There were however police escorts to county lines, air tickets out of the state, and a whole bunch of unanswered letters and phone calls. All promises were broken.


Why all the ranting?

Because I despise our children being sold.

I despise money in adoption. It objectifies and commoditizes our children.

When, oh when, will this billion dollar industry be regulated?

When will we stop separating mothers and children in the name of the almighty dollar?

Who do you hold reponsible? Those selling or those buying?

10 Thoughts.

  1. Adriana – Completely agree. I do what I can locally and with IL legislation, with the many searches and reunions I have done with the support I have given to others (and received in return). It will take for more than me however.

  2. If it were only just flesh. But it’s the heart and the soul of not only an infant but then a toddler, then a child and then the adult that infant becomes.
    I asked my parents why they didn’t adopt any more children and they quoted me the price, hence the reason they didn’t adopt again. They said they couldn’t justify it again. In my 12 or 13 year old mind at that time, I thought I must not have been worth my purchase price. Now I realize that they didn’t want to raise children who needed a home, they just bought a healthy white newborn that they thought would be a clear, new slate.
    Maybe this is far fetched. But it’s all I can wrap my head around recently. I’m not generally a stupid person, but I can’t make sense of it any other way.

  3. Hey at lleast my amom has no qualms about saying ” i got what I paid for and I don’t care…” Others would say I paid for adoption services to obtain a child but if the services are the goods then why have a child at the end. It’s clear we adoptee’s were purchased and money was not the only price for us or our real parents, money was the only price for the adoptive parents.

  4. I lost count of how many people asked me how much money I received for my baby??? Idiots, I did not see, or want a dime. get your facts straight; before asking me that.

  5. When people asked how much we paid for our baby, I answered, “Get back with me after she’s done with college.”

  6. Interesting response. Disturbing people even ask. No one asks me how much my hospital bills were for the children I delivered and was allowed to parent.

  7. If adoption costs were only about processing paperwork, then all adoptions would cost exactly the same for all children of all ages, races, genders, and physical abilities. It’s the fact that economics is ever allowed to play into this that causes the prices to go up for certain children. Prospective adoptive parents happily pay to get what they want, so they have forfeited any right to complain about it when others call them out of it. You participated in it, you need to own up to it.

  8. ETA – Oops, I meant “they have forfeited the right to complain about it when others call them out ON it,” not “call them out OF it.” Sorry.

    And for Kelly, most mothers are not aware of how much $$ exchanges hands over the transfer of their baby because adoption agencies and lawyers do not share that info with the mothers. The going rate for healthy, white newborns is $30,000 – $40,000 and much more. Someone will always get money for every newborn adopted. Simple supply & demand principles when humans are allowed to be made into commodities.

  9. Pingback: Not Seeing Birth Parents as Victims | Parents of Color Seek Newborn to Adopt

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