Taking Advantage – gotta get it off my chest!

I got a random message on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/HannahandEthanadoption) yesterday from the Adoption Center in Utah that was on Birthmom’s (A show on TLC). The message read about them having 8 birthmoms and needing adoptive families. He left me a phone number and said please call.

So, on my lunch break I called. As the phone rang I was somewhat hopeful that they would be a great place since they are only a state away but felt this feeling of uncertainty.

As I spoke with him he explained their set up and then he jumped to the fees. Without taking a breath he said our fees are 33-55 THOUSAND!!! Then as his run on sentence continued he said “of course that doesn’t include medical and your fee that you pay directly to the marketing firm.” He then explained that the fees vary depending on the length of their stay, includes money for them to buy groceries each week, go out to the show (isn’t that old speak for the movies?) and then sending money with them as they go home so they don’t have to work for a few months after the adoption.

Okay, so I was soaking this all in and I was okay with it. Then I asked about the cost of the marketing $9800!!!! yes, you read right. I couldn’t believe it.

So, I definitely knew this wasn’t the place for us but he was still explaining things and then he put it over the top. He was telling me that there is a woman who is due in early September, a girl. As he told me that this baby is black and if we sign up for ______, I missed that part we will get a discount and the charge will only be $28,000 (plus medical and marketing, etc.) Disregard the money I was SHOCKED at the idea that a baby could be “discounted”. I could not believe the way he was speaking to me.

I asked about the show Birthmom’s and he said yes, they were the agency from the show. I then asked about them living there and said not most agencies have that situation. Once I heard the next statistical sentence I had to work extremely hard not to hang up.

I was told that they bring them to Utah to live at the agency because there is a better chance they will place if not in their home state. He then goes on to explain the stats something like 35% more than if they stay home place their infants for adoption. All I could think was COERCION.

I just felt like whatever was happening down there was morally wrong. How could I be okay with adopting a baby from a place that felt that way? My hope is that this isn’t the standard but just this person but in my heart I just don’t feel like it is.

It was hard to bring up A New Beginning – a wonderful local agency here in Boise that truly cares for their birthmoms and adoptive parents. When I said they charge only 10,000 he came back with that if a birthmom doesn’t place then we can apply the 30-50 K to another adoption. I couldn’t resist asking if it meant that the adoption has to go through them and he said yes. A New Beginning (http://www.adoptanewbeginning.org/) has never, EVER given me that feeling and hands down I would recommend them to anyone.

We clearly cannot afford such a large sum for an adoption but I just would not feel right about adopting from them. I’m sure there are others who feel differently but I just felt like there was racism and a sense of selling in his voice and I am not okay with that.

So, I let him know that I have some concerns after watching the show and so I don’t think we will be using their agency. Before saying goodbye he made sure I was aware that other agencies would like to be in their position with too many birthmom’s and not enough families.

My heart breaks to see that this isn’t about helping expectant mothers through to make the decision that is right for them and their baby, I just don’t think that is what adoption is all about and even though my wait may be longer than others, I am okay with the decision we made to pass on this opportunity and wait because we know that ~ Our Day Will Come ~

12 thoughts on “Taking Advantage – gotta get it off my chest!

  1. Wow that is so not right. We used A-loving-choice.com. And I recommended them. If u want more info please email me. Good luck with your adoption plan

  2. I’m shocked by some much here. I can’t believe how much they want to charge, when they say they are low on families to place with. And they to say one was discounted due to their race! That’s wrong! (I’m sure to sign up with what ever program they had to get the discount would cost you money to join!)

    And the whole thing to bring them to live there has wrong all over it!

    But I just can’t believe that there are a bunch of agency out there with too many birthmoms and not enough families! Then why are their so many couples waiting?

  3. They should be shut down! This is VERY wrong in all aspects. This is coercion at it’s best. These people should be ashamed of themselves. I am appalled at this. I will be sharing. I will share this with everyone. They will get seen for this. This is WRONG! This is ILLEGAL. I hope they shut them down. Thanks for sharing this… it’s going to be viral!

  4. Why does this surprise you? This is the ‘norm’ more often than not. Nothing in the world of adoption shocks me anymore. I’m living it. No one In the industry cares about morals, it’s about the money. No agency or adoption professional has proved me wrong about that. Until the money has been taken out of the equation, this will continue in the good ole U S of A, after all, we were built on capitalism, and this is it at its finest. Have you considered foster???? You know you can foster from other states also. It would be difficult to have an open adoption with the geographic distance, but the children who have no contact with the natural families really need a home. Not babies who are not even born whose mothers are feeling as if they have no other choice, because really, one option means there truly is no choice.

    • I think we are all struggling with this agency but WS, would you please consider what you are saying? NO ONE and No Agency or adoption professional. I urge you to open your heart and mind to more. I have NOT found this is the norm that is why it struck me so badly. And yes, we’ve considered foster. I think it would be hard to find someone who goes into adoption without considering all of their options. We have had 5 years of doctors, tears, heartache, research, discussion, saving, hit after hit and after much discussion and research we chose to do a private adoption, domestically because it is what we can do right now. But I thank you for asking, although I disagree with the statement about babies and mother’s not having any other choice. While I agree there are some out there, I don’t agree that we as HAPS and they as expectant mothers shouldn’t have the right to connect and decide whether we are a good fit for parenting the baby. And the idea that every HAP is out coercing expectant mothers and all expectant mothers are uneducated and can’t make a decision for themselves is putting us as women back a few generations. Women are more than capable of making tough choices. The information is at our fingertips, it is about getting out there to be able to make an informed decision. Odon’If take advantage of all the

      • Hannie – first, let me clarify – no agency or adoption professional “that I have come across” has proven me wrong about adoption being nothing more than about the money, and the APs obtaining the child. The natural mothers are left in the aftermath, to deal. Also, yes, I feel that ‘matching’ before the mother has even met her child, is coercion. Obligation is created. They know how badly you (or any other HAP/PAP) desire a child. When there is an obligation created that is coercion, plain and simple, and unless the HAPs/PAPs try to do everything to help that mother find the resources to parent her child will she truly have made a ‘choice’, because there are no obstacles ‘keeping her from parenting’ her child. Look at Southern Austraila’s laws and how they support single, unwed mothers. Adoption there is ‘nil’, because there are resources available. But there are no resources “readily” available here in the US, much less by any kind of laws. Poverty in the US can and is considered ‘neglect’. That is sad. A choice, is when there are ‘multiple’ options, not only one. When someone is feeling overwhelmed, reaching out is difficult to do. Women who are in an unplanned pregnancy, also may have other stressors in their lives (children, jobs, and not to mention the fact that they are exhausted due to being pregnant and still having to maintain every aspect of their lives regardless). Please, I understand your side and your struggles. Try to put yourselves in the shoes of a woman who is feeling like they are up against the clock. The baby is coming, and time to find those resources seems to run out. Because it takes time to find them, they aren’t readily available, and the clock keeps on ticking. If they don’t find the resources, they don’t have the ability to make a ‘choice’. Please just consider what I’m saying. I’m not saying all HAPs/PAPs/APs are bad, just that there are many laws that need to be changed to give women enough time to really make an informed decision. I wish you luck on your journey, and I hope you will ‘hear’ what I’m saying and consider it. What do you have to lose? Nothing, if anything you will only gain….the trust of the woman whose child you will be blessed with, that you truly had her and her child’s best interests at heart, and she will support and love you unconditionally for that. Would that be so bad? Take care.

      • WSbirthmom, thank you for the clarification and stating that it is people you have come across. I am sorry for your difficulty and that you have been treated that way. I want you to know that I completely hear what you are saying and I appreciate your views. I am out on the world wide web to learn and share my experience in the hopes that others can learn from me. I’m not asking for you or anyone else to change their mind because of what I’m saying, just to consider it, just like you are. Sounds to me like you are in favor of having the expectant mother try to parent, which I am supportive of. Not as a requirement as a suggestion. I believe this because I believe everyone should have the right to make the choice for themselves and for some that may not be possible. We were actually talking with a girl who contacted us back in the fall. She had her baby in spring and wanted try parenting. We encouraged her to make the decision that she is most comfortable with and that is what she chose. In fact, she decided to raise her baby and we have become friends. I feel fortunate to have her in our lives and we do our best to support her as a friend.

        I have put myself in their shoes and I think that is a wonderful suggestion for everyone to do. I not only have considered this for expectant mother’s I have connected with over the past year but helping friends and loved ones through it. Also, in a previous job I have helped a few women find resources and I’ve worked with health and welfare in the past. I do think that is something that is hard to do but at the same time we all do what we have to in order to get by. I too feel our resources should be more readily available and that is something we as a society should be working towards. Are you currently in contact with any political figures or organizations that can spread your message?

        I am curious your thoughts on “Laws” that are in effect that need to be changed, like what may I ask? I too have my thoughts on laws and the system and would love to hear more. Maybe it’s time to start a group/petition/etc. to make a change.

        I too wish you the best in your journey and appreciate you taking the time to voice your opinion and also read what I’ve posted.

  5. If we don’t take advantage of that knowledge then we have made that choice. I think of it a lot like infertility. We take all this knowledge and our first instinct is to speak with our doctor and take his or her word for it. Well, we can easily find out a TON more information that what the doctor can give us in a matter of an hour and what we decide from there is our own. If we go through IVF and it fails we cannot blame the doctor – we chose to try it knowing the risks because we educated ourselves. I wanted to feel good about my decision, sure I was sad that we were going through another loss but I felt good that we had made informed decisions.

    I wish you luck in your journey.

  6. I have to agree with Ws about this. I am pregnant and was considering adoption until after mountains of paperwork sent from these “loving and supportive” agencies I realized they really didn’t give a damn about anything or anyone except how much money they got. I tell them at length that I am only open to an open adoption and that I don’t want a couple that is fixing to hit menopause. They after much prodding from me send me 5 profiles which were only for closed adoptions or wanting a girl or well past the age of should be having children. I had already told the agency I was having a boy. i tell them I am in desperate need of maternity clothes (something they swore they would help with before I picked a family) and they responded with pick a family from the ones we sent you because we can’t help you because you won’t come live in our housing and even then you have to pick a family ASAP. I checked into private adoption and met with just the samething. This isn’t the first time I have run into this issue because I reached out to several different agencies accross the US

    • True27 – I am sad that you have not had a good experience when considering adoption. It sounds like they were not listening to anything you’ve said, which is so sad to me. I actually chose to do a private adoption – connecting with an expectant mother on our own – even though we had found a wonderful agency here in town. They are honest, ethical and do all they can to help counsel women and find the resources they need. For me hearing from the Utah agency where the women live was a shock and clearly I have some MAJOR issues with them. I am sorry you were not given the best treatment. This is a good example of a few bad tarnish the name of all.

      I wish you luck – my thoughts are with you.

  7. It must be hard to have your eyes opening up. You sound like a warm compasionate person. Your desire to parent overcomes your ability to see the forest through the trees. Adoption is the legal buying of infants. You want a commodity and they have a product. It’s true dark skinned children have less demand and cost less.
    I’m sure the adoption agency you are using isn’t as coercive as the Utah firm. But they still want the same thing, to deliver a baby to you and your husband. That is why adoption agencies are in business. Well also to make a profit, or at the least a handsome living, separating mothers and their children.
    There are instances where a mother can’t parent her child (she is a safety hazard or simply doesn’t want to). But those instances are few and far between. Most often she is being told that she doesn’t have enough to offer her child. Yep she is coerced. Agencies go through training on how to influence a mother to “choose” adoption. The National Council For Adoption (NCFA) paid a marketing firm to do market research on women post placement (these women didn’t know what the study was for) to figure out the best approach to use to get young women to surrender. This Blog post explains it much better than me. http://www.musingsofthelame.com/2007/11/national-council-for-adoption.html?m=1
    Instead of focusing on your want, try looking at what adoption does to the child (Primal Wound by Nancy Verrier. (http://nancyverrier.com/the-primal-wound/). If you do this you may be able to adopt a child that actually needs a home. Or you may be able to fulfill your desires by being a foster mom or a help to children in the community. Finally if you care a hoot about the mother of the child you covet, read http://www.firstmotherforum.com. You see I can tell you first hand. Lose your oldest (or any) child and your like is forever damaged. I’m 53 years old and I will never recover from losing my infant daughter.

    • Barbara Thavis – I’m sorry this took so long. I am way behind on my blog. Since your comment we have adopted and it opened up a whole new world for me. Being a mother is as amazing as I imagined and I could not be happier. That said I’d like to respond to your post.

      I actually don’t believe that my desire to parent was preventing me from seeing anything. Going through this process in an informed manor was very important to me and my husband. We did a great deal of research and I have actually read the first mother forum and parts of the Primal Wound. Thank you for the website of the Nation Council for Adoption I’ll definitely read through that.

      We actually chose not to use any agency, unfortunately we have to use them for the home study. I think we need to remember that all places are different and we got lucky to meet an agency who is doing this right. They do what is best for the expectant mothers and if that means getting them on their feet in order to help them keep their baby then that is what they do. While there are other agencies that are on the level of the Utah one I don’t believe that this one is so I think of it like when I meet a new person. I trust that they are good until they show me otherwise.

      I find it interesting that you say “try adopting a child that actually needs a home” or suggesting that fostercare or helping the in the community would be a better option for me. I feel like if you are telling me this (or anyone else) then you are underestimating and putting assumptions on me. We did not enter into adoption lightly. We realize that this can be a challenge for all involved, especially the child. I hope you can consider that each family is different and their needs are different. Being a foster parent we considered but it isn’t for us at this time. We didn’t feel that we could commit to me being home which for a child who is in the system we feel that is the right thing to do instead of sending him or her to childcare daily. As for helping children in the community – I worked in childcare for many years and volunteer when I can but that just isn’t enough for me. Loving them and handing them to their mother is just not enough. Being Mom is so much more than a volunteer. If that is enough for others great, but it isn’t for me.

      I also would like to address your comment of a child that actually needs a home. Well, we have done that and I don’t believe that just because a child is placed with an adoptive family that that child didn’t “need” a home. She needed a home because her birth parents chose adoption for her. They chose us, and so their journey that brought them to this decision had them reach the point that this newborn baby needed a home. I have heard others say this same thing and I think we view it differently. Granted I realize that not all situations are the same, but we all make decisions at different places in our lives and later may feel differently about them. So while I respect your opinion I ask you to keep in mind that your statement can be hurtful.

      I am sorry to hear about your daughter and I don’t think you realize how similar we are. I too have lost in a different way but still lost. I have dealt with pregnancy loss and think of those sweet babies and who they may have become if things were different and the struggle to become a mother prepared me for adoption and being ready for whatever may come our way.

      I realize now as a mother that I am stronger and more appreciative of each moment because of those losses and will be forever grateful to the two people who chose us to parent this sweet baby girl. At the beginning of my reply I said that this adoption has opened a whole new world for me. By that I mean that all my research didn’t prepare me for the people who entered our lives. They chose us, they embraced us and thanked us for adopting her and then we said goodbye because they chose a closed adoption. Surprises come around everyday and while this isn’t the adoption we prepared for we couldn’t be happier because we love them from afar and love her up close.

      Happy Holidays to you!

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