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Putting a price on a child...


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  #1  
July 14th, 2006, 07:41 PM
MommieinNC's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I was doing some research tonight for a friend of mine on different agencies here in the US and their costs for caucasian and african american adoptions... I would like to post what I found for you ladies... So you can see (and hopefully agree) that SOMETHING needs to be done about this!

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this... and even experiences if you have them... When do you think too far is too far in situations like this?

Quote:
What price would you put on the smile of a child? How much would you pay for the pitter-patter of little feet? What about the singular sensation of a baby instinctively squeezing your finger or the exquisite pleasure of a newborn nuzzling sleepily into your neck — what are those warm fuzzies worth, exactly, in real cash dollars and cents?

Luckily, most folks never have to calculate the cost, because they conceive children the fun, free way. But couples who can’t, or anyone seeking to adopt a baby, will probably run into this barbaric math problem: How much are you willing to pay for a child?

Further complicating that question is race. No matter how fervently Americans vow that all men are created equal, the adoption industry seems to suggest otherwise. Many well-established, respected, licensed agencies openly charge significantly higher fees for white infants than for children of any other race, making African-American babies available at a fraction of the fees charged for the adoption of white babies.

Illinois’ largest infant-adoption agency, the Cradle, charges $9,200 to handle the placement of an African-American infant but $25,000 for the adoption of a white baby. Another prominent Illinois agency, Sunny Ridge Family Center, based in Wheaton, charges $7,250 for an African-American newborn and $19,750 for a white child.

American Adoptions, based in Overland Park, Kan., with licenses in five other states, has an online application form that requires prospective parents to choose either an “agency-assisted” adoption, for $12,000 to $19,000, or a “traditional” adoption, for $20,000 to $35,000. The “traditional” program is defined as “all non-African-American healthy newborns and infants,” while the cheaper program is for “African-American (or any race combined with African-American heritage) healthy newborns and infants.”

The Web site of Heaven Sent Adoption Services, based in Fulton, Mich., features Bible verses and pictures of Jesus along with a catalog of birth mothers looking for adoptive families. The fees vary by situation, but most of the African-American babies listed fall into the $6,500 to $14,000 range, with white babies listed at $15,000 to $27,000.

Because agencies aren’t required to publish their fee structures, it’s hard to know how many agencies factor race into their fees. But anecdotal evidence shows that it’s common and accepted practice.

“It just bothered me and bothered me,” she says. “It seemed to me that these children were considered blue-light specials, and I just couldn’t stand that. I just thought it was so denigrating.”

Still, she understands why other agencies think a discount is necessary: “It’s just hard to find couples who will accept African-American children,” she says. The new laws also affected private adoption agencies, and suddenly little brown babies found themselves competing against blue-eyed blonds in the adoption market.

Most agencies explain their fees as the cost of services — overhead, keeping the lights on, paying staff. But the only real constraint on what they charge is what the market will bear.

Linda Mur, who worked at a nonprofit Pennsylvania adoption agency for a year, says that adoptive families were shown tables itemizing all fees, but that the tolls were necessarily related to costs.

“It was broken out in a way that made it look fee-based, but it was way more arbitrary than they made it sound,” she says.

Compare this credit to the fees charged for minority babies — $9,200 at the Cradle, $7,500 at Sunny Ridge. Thanks to the tax credit, these little brown bundles of joy come with full rebates.

Shelia Davis, founder of Heaven Sent Adoption Services, freely admits that the adoption industry bases fees on race and says that couples looking to adopt have learned to expect a discounted rate for a black baby. Her agency charges a flat $6,000 administrative fee for each adoption. But another part of her business involves “networking” for 26 different agencies and attorneys to help find homes for hard-to-place babies — that is, medically fragile or minority infants. Davis’ fee for placing these babies is a flat $1,000 per match, but that’s on top of the fee charged by the original agency or attorney, and those fees are based on race.

As a veteran of the adoption industry, Davis justifies this system by saying it’s the only way to find homes for minority children. As the adoptive mom of two white girls and one black boy, though, Davis chokes up as she talks about how “society” has “devalued people based on pigmentation.”

“The worst thing that can happen to a kid is to have a price put on his head. That’s like slavery,” she says.

“Their argument is that all families’ adoption fees contribute to the agency’s goal of placing children of all colors in a speedy manner,” Jones says. “So in other words, families adopting Caucasian children are subsidizing families adopting African-Americans, and that’s OK, because it’s a form of affirmative action.”

Jennifer Montgomery, director of special projects at the Cradle — an 82-year-old Chicago institution whose list of famous adoptive parents includes Bob Hope, Donna Reed, Al Jolson, and Pearl Buck — says that her agency gets a state subsidy under the “black infant adoption contract” that makes up some of the nearly $16,000 difference in fees between African-American and white babies.

For now, though, most minority babies placed through private adoptions will end up with white parents — some of whom opted for a black or biracial child simply because of the lower fee and the shorter waiting period. It’s up to agencies to try to educate these adoptive parents about the unique challenges that come with raising a kid of a different color.

He is, however, outraged by the price tags pinned to babies by adoption agencies. Five years ago, Hutcherson launched a series of billboards in metropolitan Seattle using photos of babies — black, brown, and white — asking this question: “Why Aren’t All Adoptions Created Equal?” Above each baby was a dollar amount: $4,000 for the black infant, $10,000 for the brown one, and $35,000 for the classic Gerber model.

Read full article here: http://www.illinoistimes.com/gyrobas...oid=oid%3A3990[/b]
Quote:
You'll usually find that the costs involved in adopting a healthy Caucasian newborn/infant are higher that in adopting a child of other races, children with special needs, or children from other countries. The total cost of a healthy U.S. born infant has a wide range varying from almost nothing to $60,000 and $70,000.

Special needs children and other "hard to place" children can often be adopted through special county, state, and local private child adoption agencies where state or federal subsidies help reduce costs. If you are interested in such a child adoption, I suggest you contact your state's child adoption contact, your state’s child welfare agency, and or your state child adoption exchange. There is often little or no cost to the adopting family in a child adoption involving a special needs or hard-to-place child.
http://www.adoptionservices.org/adop...tion_costs.htm[/b]
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  #2  
July 14th, 2006, 07:48 PM
mrobinson
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Dh just said we could like three blacks for one white.. ((horror))
  #3  
July 14th, 2006, 08:58 PM
kadydid
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Quote:
$4,000 for the black infant, $10,000 for the brown one, and $35,000 for the classic Gerber model.[/b]
That is just so wrong, I don't even know where to begin.
  #4  
July 14th, 2006, 09:01 PM
mrobinson
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It's heartbreaking.
  #5  
July 14th, 2006, 09:50 PM
Deena's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I want to go adopt a whole bunch of those little beautiful black children and let them know they're just as special as those white ones.. When I was younger, I always wanted to have a little black baby.. I think that black people are so beautiful!!!! Well, children of any race, but .. I've just .. *sigh* That's just insane..
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  #6  
July 14th, 2006, 10:20 PM
irishxrose
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I need to cool down... that just pissed me off.
  #7  
July 15th, 2006, 01:57 AM
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That is just so sad to see. I have a friend who is white and her and her DH have adopted children, all with special needs and one of whom is AA. They are getting ready to foster more children again and said they don't care what race they are. The world needs more people like them.

On the other hand, I know someone with 2 sons and got their tubes tied, saying there are so many children who need good homes. I was later appalled when she told me they will only adopt caucasian children only.
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  #8  
July 15th, 2006, 06:53 AM
Ashes78
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I can't believe that. I would adopt a child of any race. They are all children who need loving homes, no matter what color they are. I just simply don't understand it.
  #10  
July 15th, 2006, 09:24 AM
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Quote:
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE
Quote:
$4,000 for the black infant, $10,000 for the brown one, and $35,000 for the classic Gerber model.[/b]
That is just so wrong, I don't even know where to begin.
[/b][/quote]

I agree that is so wrong.

I would adopt a black baby in a heartbeat. I do want to adopt but now is not feisbale. In the future I would like to. I was thinking of adopting from Haiti.
  #11  
July 15th, 2006, 10:09 AM
Momo's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Wow, it sure is horrible to read that. But You have to look into why they do it. I'm guessing that in the US the majority of couples adopting are caucasion. Many people worry about adopting kids that don't look like their mom and dad/brothers and sisters. They worry that the adopted kid will feel even more out of place if they have some major racial differences.
If less black babies are adopted than white ones just because of the people that are doing the adopting than why wouldn't they try to entice people to adopt them? Those babies need homes too and for many people cost alone is what stands in the way of adopting.
I don't know. On the one hand I cringe at having to ever put a price on a child. But I know that special needs kids are a lot cheaper to adopt than healthy ones as well.... Again, this is because not as many people adopt special needs kids.
If it helps them to be adopted then I guess I don't have a problem with it because better they get adopted then sit in foster homes and all that.
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  #12  
July 15th, 2006, 06:24 PM
Tanya G's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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momo has a good point. Perhaps they are priced in this way becuase of a higher demand for white babies and they somehow the pricing guarnatees that not so many non white babies end up as orphans?

All I have to say is that I had no idea it was that expensive to adopt. I find all the prices absurd! What upsets me the most is that if you cant conceive, you can only adopt if you are rich? I consider myself lower middle class and I could never afford these prices. What I think is sick is that these adoption companies gain so much. I think in a perfect world this should all be governement regulated, there should be no price at all for adoption, and they just help match ppl up. no one should gain from this, thats ridiculous. I would never want to be in that market.
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  #13  
July 15th, 2006, 06:29 PM
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I have been told that sadly, most people want a white baby, so agencies charge less for the african babies hoping that these will get adopted as well. If people stopped being so racist then they wouldnt need to do this.
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  #14  
July 15th, 2006, 08:01 PM
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Well, I have a couple points to make here. First off, I think the price of adoption is completely ridiculous!! DH and I have talked and talked about it and looked into it, but at this point and time we have decided to wait a while soley because of the price. I do think it is silly to put one price on a white baby and another on a black. But, like Momo said, maybe there is a reason behind it that is really trying to benefit the babies that are not white. Who knows really.

My other thought is this...........just because a white couple wants to adopt a white baby does not make them racist. DH and I are white, if we have kids of our own they would be white. Now, I am not saying that I wouldnt love a black, brown, PURPLE, or GREEN baby just as my own if I were to adopt it and give it just the same care as I would my own child. HOWEVER, what is so wrong with us wanting to have a baby that WE FEEL we could care for better??? I mean, who is to say that this child will not be made to feel ostrasized by its peers at school when they find out that their parents are a different race? I dont think this happens very often, at least not as much as it may have in the past, but who's to say? Also, what if we decide to wait until the child is older to tell them that they are adopted? HOW are we supposed to do that if they can see that they are different? And, what if the child starts to wonder and feel bad about looking different than mommy and daddy? I personally have no problem whatsoever adopting a baby of a different race. I have no problem adopting out of the country or adopting a special needs child. BUT, how does me wanting to adopt a white baby make me racist? Have you ever actually LOOKED at adoption site? There is one that I go to often at work and there are listings of birthmothers and what they would like to see in an adoptive family. Some say they would like constant contact, or no contact at all. Some would like the adoption to be out of state and some want the family to be of a certain religion. And ALOT of mothers would like their children to be adopted by a family with at least one member of that child's race. Does that also make that mother racist? If a black mother says that she would prefer her child be raised by a black family, is she racist? Or is she just thinking of the best possible life for her child, no matter how wrong others may think it is? I just find it really offensive to be labeled a racist because of the child I may choose to adopt later in life. Does it not matter AT ALL that we want to provide for a child that might otherwise not have a home? Does it matter that we are willing to open our home and jump through the hoops and do more than some women do when they have their own children, just so we can love and raise another woman's child?!?!


Oh, I dont think I could be any more frustrated tonight!


casey
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  #15  
July 15th, 2006, 08:12 PM
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mommywannabe you couldnt have said it better. I completely agree. I started to type similar things earlier and just couldn word it right so I deleted it. I have never really considered adopting, but the few times that SO and I have simply talked about it, I also would have wanted a white baby. I do not consider myself racist in the least, but for the same reasons you posted, I feel it would have been best. I dont know at what age I would feel was right to explain that my child was adopted, and I wouldnt want to deal with the looks from strangers, and from the schools etc.

There is a woman on JM who is white and her hubby is black and she said she often gets comments when she is out in public, ppl whispering to eachother that she should go see maury becuase her baby is white. Perhaps this is selfish on my part, but I guess I wouldnt want to deal with ignorant ppl like that. Anyway you obviously said it better than I can.
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  #16  
July 15th, 2006, 08:30 PM
MommieinNC's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Well my main problem is... shouldn't ALL children be the same "price" so to speak?

I don't think it's right that agencies make MORE money off a child simply because it's race is something "more sought" or "more in demand"...
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  #17  
July 15th, 2006, 09:01 PM
mommywannabe's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Oh I totally agree with you on that!!! I think the price of adoption is ridiculous!!! Yes, all children should be the same "price" (ugh I hate that word in this context!!) and the fact that agencies are making money off of children at all is just wrong to me! I cant stand the thought of these poor kids having a price put on them like they are on a store shelf and it all being determined by their race .





casey
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  #18  
July 15th, 2006, 10:47 PM
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Just a thought, I really don't think adoption agencies are getting rich off the process.....
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  #19  
July 15th, 2006, 11:09 PM
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I think it's completely screwed up, but it's a supply & demand sort of thing...reminds me of the, "Shouldn't every child be a wanted child???" thread on the Abortion Debate board...

Jen
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  #20  
July 16th, 2006, 08:17 AM
MommieinNC's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Momo- They may not be millionares... But you have several adoption attornies living in Beverly Hills mansions with their offices in the same area... and all they do is adoptions... Sorry... but last time I looked, a mansion (or even a house) and office space in BH, CA isn't cheap...
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