It would be wrong of me to pretend that I wasn’t having fun with these little sallies between me, Aunt B. and Sarah Moore. Because I am. Even though for some reason (i.e. my own big mouth) I have been turned into the Great Demon Mennonite who favours the random deaths of children and the selling of babies.
About that. Let’s talk about that, shall we? Maybe we could even get Ned or my dad or brother to pitch in, seeing as they’re all attorneys who have handled private adoptions. (Or maybe my brother, Conservative Monkey Boy hasn’t yet handled a p.a. But I thought he had.)
Anyway, here’s what I don’t get. According to a story referenced by Sarah Moore, three Mexican nationals (more on that later) were arrested for trading a baby for $1,500 in cash and prizes.
There is apparently a charge out there called “felony trafficking in children” which means that it’s illegal to sell babies. Yeah, I get that. Selling babies is wrongbad. But let’s imagine for a minute that you’re three poor people who are already here in the country under possibly illegal circumstances. One of you has a baby she doesn’t want. The others have a small amount of cash. Because you are all trying to fly under the radar you can’t seek the services of an adoption attorney for a private adoption. So what do you do? Apparently you trade the baby for a car.
From what I’ve picked up around the dinner table in my childhood, private adoption is a big, hairy expensive deal. It can cost anywhere between $10K and $15K. Now, granted, that money doesn’t go for downpayments on Dodge Intrepids. But it does get filed into neat little piles with names like “medical expenses”, “travel costs” and “related expenses”.
I’ve personally known many families who’ve engaged in private adoption. They NEVER say “I will trade you a car for your baby.” But they do say “fly here from Iowa and I will put you up in a fancy hotel, take you shopping for clothes, buy you an iPod, take you to dinner and stuff while we get to know each other.” Sure, the lawyers call that “…and related expenses.”
I call it the adoption equivalent of Al Gore’s energy shell game. It seems to me from where I sit that this may just be another instance of the haves being different from the have-nots. If you can afford a lawyer who can make it all sound pretty and nice and legal you can buy yourself a baby. If, on the other hand, you’re just flat broke and have no way to care for your child–that child we didn’t want you to kill when it was in your belly–then you are just up the creek, my dear. And you’ll have to find a way to get back down that creek without a new car.