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I was asked an interesting q ...

Posted Jan 27 2009 7:45pm

    I was asked an interesting question the other day that I have been thinking about since, one that has me perplexed even more considering the current state of adoptions and the questions swirling in the Vietnam adoption world. So what was the question you ask? Here it is “What expenses of the birth mother are you paying with the fee you pay to Vietnam?” I thought wow, I wonder do we pay any of this or none? Why this question, well the person asking the question has two domestically adopted daughters and they were required to pay some expenses for the birth mother to complete these adoptions. So I was thinking, does any of our fee or any of the agencies fees go to pay some of the expenses of the birth mother in the countries we adopt from? What exactly can parents who adopt domestically pay for without being accused by the court system of essentially buying their baby from the birth parents? So I did some research, and here is what I found:

    Approximately 45 States, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands have statutes that specify the type of birth parent expenses a prospective adoptive family is allowed to pay. The actual dollar amount is usually limited by the standard of “reasonable and customary.” The types of expenses most commonly allowed by statute include: (1) Maternity-related medical and hospital costs (2) Temporary living expenses of the mother during pregnancy (3) Counseling fees (4) Attorney and legal fees; guardian ad litem fees (5) Travel costs, meals, and lodging when necessary for court appearances; or accessing services and (6) Foster care for the child, when necessary. At least eight States specify expenses that the adoptive parent is not permitted to pay. Certain costs such as educational expenses, vehicles, vacations, permanent housing, or any other payment for the monetary gain of the birth parent often are excluded. Approximately 17 States specify that payments for the birth mother’s living expenses or psychological counseling may not extend beyond a set time period, which can range from as little as 30 days to as long as 6 weeks after the child’s birth. In a few States, the payment of expenses may not exceed a set dollar amount unless the court grants an exception. Iowa allows post placement counseling for 60 days but limits payment of living expenses to 30 days. New York limits payment of living expenses to 60 days prior to the child’s birth and 30 days after. Oklahoma allows payments for post placement counseling for up to 6 months but limits other expenses to 2 months beyond placement. In other States, the statutes do not specify the types of expenses that are not allowed but do include language indicating that any expense not expressly permitted by law or considered by the court to be unreasonable cannot be paid by the adoptive parents. Idaho, in addition to its other restrictions, is the only State that requires reimbursement of expenses to prospective adoptive parents should the birth parent decide not to place the child for adoption.

    This is how domestic adoptions have become just as expensive as international adoptions in many cases, it is more expensive to live in the U.S. than most other countries, especially third world countries and a domestic adoptive parent is required to pay some of those expenses. So before I make my next statement I still stand for absolutely ethical adoptions, I refuse to support people who knowingly purchase babies just to go to the highest bidder, I think women in the U.S. who try to play parents against each other to get more money, etc… should be jailed, and fathers who hawk their babies on the internet need their children taken away from them. I am not saying this to start the next battle in the Vietnam adoption world or any for that matter, but I wonder if any of these same payments are made to adoptive mothers in any of the countries that people adopt babies from? In our developed country it is ok to pay these costs and it is not considered buying a baby, they are expected costs of adoption, so why can we not expect to pay some of these costs in an underdeveloped country? Do we expect that these mothers have none of these costs? Do we think that they don’t miss work, for at least a day? Do we think that they do not deserve help as well because they don’t miss their babies, even if they feel they did the right thing for their child, as many American women do?

    I know that until I started researching this, every time I heard about payments to birth mothers in underdeveloped countries, I assumed that there was baby buying going on, that the intent was ALWAYS just to get a baby and give a family money; but now I am not sure. I am pretty sure that there are people buying babies in those countries for the wrong reasons, but how many of the payments to the birth mother or birth family are for the same things we pay for in the U.S.? Unlike in the U.S. there is no contract and there is no way to know for sure as nothing is in writing.

    (This is just a post to invoke some thought and not to say that I believe that all money paid to birth parents can be construed as payment for expenses.)

    I was asked an interesting question the other day that I have been thinking about since, one that has me perplexed even more considering the current state of adoptions and the questions swirling in the Vietnam adoption world. So what was the question you ask? Here it is “What expenses of the birth mother are you paying with the fee you pay to Vietnam?” I thought wow, I wonder do we pay any of this or none? Why this question, well the person asking the question has two domestically adopted daughters and they were required to pay some expenses for the birth mother to complete these adoptions. So I was thinking, does any of our fee or any of the agencies fees go to pay some of the expenses of the birth mother in the countries we adopt from? What exactly can parents who adopt domestically pay for without being accused by the court system of essentially buying their baby from the birth parents? So I did some research, and here is what I found:

    Approximately 45 States, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands have statutes that specify the type of birth parent expenses a prospective adoptive family is allowed to pay. The actual dollar amount is usually limited by the standard of “reasonable and customary.” The types of expenses most commonly allowed by statute include: (1) Maternity-related medical and hospital costs (2) Temporary living expenses of the mother during pregnancy (3) Counseling fees (4) Attorney and legal fees; guardian ad litem fees (5) Travel costs, meals, and lodging when necessary for court appearances; or accessing services and (6) Foster care for the child, when necessary. At least eight States specify expenses that the adoptive parent is not permitted to pay. Certain costs such as educational expenses, vehicles, vacations, permanent housing, or any other payment for the monetary gain of the birth parent often are excluded. Approximately 17 States specify that payments for the birth mother’s living expenses or psychological counseling may not extend beyond a set time period, which can range from as little as 30 days to as long as 6 weeks after the child’s birth. In a few States, the payment of expenses may not exceed a set dollar amount unless the court grants an exception. Iowa allows post placement counseling for 60 days but limits payment of living expenses to 30 days. New York limits payment of living expenses to 60 days prior to the child’s birth and 30 days after. Oklahoma allows payments for post placement counseling for up to 6 months but limits other expenses to 2 months beyond placement. In other States, the statutes do not specify the types of expenses that are not allowed but do include language indicating that any expense not expressly permitted by law or considered by the court to be unreasonable cannot be paid by the adoptive parents. Idaho, in addition to its other restrictions, is the only State that requires reimbursement of expenses to prospective adoptive parents should the birth parent decide not to place the child for adoption.

    This is how domestic adoptions have become just as expensive as international adoptions in many cases, it is more expensive to live in the U.S. than most other countries, especially third world countries and a domestic adoptive parent is required to pay some of those expenses. So before I make my next statement I still stand for absolutely ethical adoptions, I refuse to support people who knowingly purchase babies just to go to the highest bidder, I think women in the U.S. who try to play parents against each other to get more money, etc… should be jailed, and fathers who hawk their babies on the internet need their children taken away from them. I am not saying this to start the next battle in the Vietnam adoption world or any for that matter, but I wonder if any of these same payments are made to adoptive mothers in any of the countries that people adopt babies from? In our developed country it is ok to pay these costs and it is not considered buying a baby, they are expected costs of adoption, so why can we not expect to pay some of these costs in an underdeveloped country? Do we expect that these mothers have none of these costs? Do we think that they don’t miss work, for at least a day? Do we think that they do not deserve help as well because they don’t miss their babies, even if they feel they did the right thing for their child, as many American women do?

    I know that until I started researching this, every time I heard about payments to birth mothers in underdeveloped countries, I assumed that there was baby buying going on, that the intent was ALWAYS just to get a baby and give a family money; but now I am not sure. I am pretty sure that there are people buying babies in those countries for the wrong reasons, but how many of the payments to the birth mother or birth family are for the same things we pay for in the U.S.? Unlike in the U.S. there is no contract and there is no way to know for sure as nothing is in writing.

    (This is just a post to invoke some thought and not to say that I believe that all money paid to birth parents can be construed as payment for expenses.)

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