Adoption Fundraisers: Is it Right?

Fundraisers are everywhere these days.  I have 2 children in school now and I probably get at least 2 fundraisers come home every month.  Usually these fundraisers are to raise money for their school or to raise money for a specific cause like breast cancer or juvenile diabetes.  Add girl scout cookie fundraisers and boy scout troop popcorn sales and we’re pretty much always being asked to contribute to something.  None of these things rub me the wrong way because they are causes I can get behind.

Fundraising for Adoptions: Who is Worthy?

For awhile now I have been seeing more and more fundraisers for adoptions.  I have seen individual blogs asking for donations for their domestic infant adoption funds.  I have seen blogs asking for money towards their international adoptions.  I have seen people selling trinkets or tshirts to help fund their adoptions.  I have seen garage sales for raising funds for adoption.  I couldn’t put my finger on it, but every time I saw one advertised on a website my first thought was ew.

The “ew” face

 

So last night, I really tried to explore why exactly all these fundraisers and donations for adoption made me cringe.

Domestic infant adoptions and international adoptions are two very different animals.  When I see people asking for donations for their domestic adoptions I know exactly why my stomach turns.  My personal reasons for giving my son up were money related.  So, seeing these fundraisers hits home for me.  Especially when I see people fundraising for friends or family who want to adopt.  If you can raise funds for other people to adopt a baby, why the hell is no one raising funds for women who would love to keep their own baby?  Money is pretty much the #1 concern for women who choose adoption so all that fundraising really makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.  Why isn’t the woman who is actually giving birth worthy of fundraisers?  Why isn’t the baby who is about to lose everything they know worthy?

On a more personal note, when I was choosing my son’s parents from the profiles at the agency I wanted to make certain that they were stable financially. I assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that anyone that was given the OK to adopt would have money.  Not wealthy, but upper middle class at least.  It wasn’t because I thought people with money were inherently better than those without, it was just that I thought I couldn’t keep my son because I wasn’t stable financially.  If I had found out the parents were asking for donations or needing to fundraise for the adoption costs I would have been very upset.  In my mind, it would have meant that they were more worthy because people liked them enough to contribute to them, but not to me.

Adoption is seen by the majority of our society as a positive thing.  Most people only see adoption from the point of view of the people who can not have children biologically and want more than anything to raise a child.  It is acceptable to help a couple in need who just want to have a family of their own.  It is less acceptable to help a woman in need raise her own child.

Adoption Fundraising for International Adoption : Who is it Really Helping?

As far as international adoption fundraisers are concerned it just doesn’t seem like the right thing to do.  Adopting one child from another country is so expensive, wouldn’t that money do so much more good by donating it to a community or an orphanage?  I get it, really I do.  These people want to grow their family.  It just kills me that this needs to be done by removing a child from their country of origin.

Children in our country that are in foster care are much cheaper to adopt.  I have read that the process is much lengthier for foster care adoptions and much more involved.  But these children are just as worthy as those in other countries.  If someone needs to fundraise to adopt overseas, isn’t foster care adoption a much more feasible option?

Raising Money for Child/Baby Purchase

In my idea of a perfect adoption system, no money would change hands at all.  Usually people who are adopting say that they have the means to take care of the child once they’re home, but it’s getting them home that they need help with.  If that’s true, it just sounds like people are buying babies and children.  So in that light, fundraising is the means to buy a child.  That is not right.

I understand that with the extremely high cost of domestic infant adoptions and international adoptions, most people just don’t have that kind of money saved up.  But does that mean it’s ethical to ask others to help with the cost, thereby reinforcing the extreme financial costs of the adoption industry?  What are your thoughts?

I would love to hear from adoptive parents who have gone this route.  No, this isn’t some kind of trick.  I really want to understand the thought process behind fundraising.  What kind of adoption would you/did you fundraise for?  If you agree with fundraising for IA would you/do you support fundraising for domestic infant adoptions?

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37 comments

  1. Suz

    Understand your objection. Most people I know find it disturbing. I turn the tables and through my jewelry sales donate proceeds to HELP mothers KEEP and raise their children.

    • leenilee

      The more I step out of the fog the more I see how much needs to be changed about adoption. It is just so strange to me that our society is perfectly okay with taking babies from “poor” women without a second thought and than turning around and helping people raise funds to do so. I have yet to see a church fundraiser to help Jane Doe keep her baby…so sad.

  2. Don't We Look Alike?

    Your post is very well articulated and I can see a lot of sense behind a lot of it. I have my own opinions and quandaries as an adoptive parent. My kids were international adoptions because that was the only way we could adopt babies in the 80s. But we didn’t ask for money from anyone else and in the days before the internet only knew what we were told by the adoption agencies. However, adoptive parents get slammed for HAVING the money to pay the adoption fees themselves. They are accused of buying babies because they can afford to pay the fees. In many countries children, whether they are orphans or not, living in orphanages that offer far from ideal situations for children to grow up in. Everybody has their own opinions based on their own logic and, even more often, their own emotional situation. There are abuses in everything in this world, and no process or institution should IMO be written off because of bad apples, but we can all try to do better and with more knowledge that’s a first step. And, as you know, every adoption is not based on a woman not being able to afford to keep her baby. Welfare was set up for that purpose, and I don’t think it’s doing a very good job. I’ll bet you have some great ideas on what would work well to allow women to keep their babies.

    • leenilee

      Thanks for commenting. The more I think about it the clearer it becomes that the excessive fees involved in adoption need to be wiped out. Fundraising just adds insult to injury for me.
      When I gave my son up, I was completely unaware of the fees involved for the parents. I naively believed that because I did not ask for nor receive any financial assistance from them that the fees involved would be very low. Boy was that wrong!
      I was also very ill informed of my state’s programs and how they could help me to keep my baby. I truly feel that all mothers should be required to figure out a real world parenting plan with all information provided. The mother shouldn’t have to ask, it should be standard procedure.
      I just added a resource page here for programs available in my state (CT) in the hopes that it can help an expecting mother make a real life parenting plan.

      • Luanne

        It’s shocking that there isn’t a parenting plan in situations such as yours. Maybe the money is too tempting to the hands in the middle.

      • leenilee

        I do take my fair share of the blame in not seeking out ways to keep my child. I have to own that. I was naive enough to believe that my adoption counselor was presenting me with all options. I thought that if there was a way and if it was the right thing to do, that my counselor would have told me. This was less than 15 years ago, I hope that this has changed but sadly I don’t think it has.

  3. Clint

    This is an outsider’s view on adoption fundraising… I’m a single guy with no kids and never plan to adopt.

    It’s weird for me to see people so worked up and passionate about others fundraising for a generally good thing. If you are giving a child (ANY CHILD) a home, then to me your doing a good thing. Sure, you could adopt domestically, but still isn’t giving an orphan from anywhere in the world a home a good thing? Why is there so much beef over people fundraising for a good cause? Is it jealousy?

    You said, “Adopting one child from another country is so expensive, wouldn’t that money do so much more good by donating it to a community or an orphanage?” Well I’ll turn the tables: Instead of spending your time writing this post, wouldn’t that time do so much more good by voluteering in your community? Why make others choose between two goods? Aren’t they both good?

    If you don’t like adoption fundraising then simply don’t participate. However, I don’t see the point in making others feel bad for it. I don’t know why there is so much hate in this world. I wish everyone could just be happy for each other.

    • leenilee

      Oh Clint. I absolutely volunteer in my community, I just don’t devote every waking minute to it.
      If you read any other post here I think it would answer why I care.
      Thanks for visiting.

      • Clint

        There are THOUSANDS of families who have plenty of money to take care of a child, but can’t afford the upfront cost of adoption. So, they take out loans or find creative ways to raise funds. Some fundraise by either accepting donations (for those that want to help) or by doing side jobs like photography or selling useful products. These people are busting their ass and getting out of their comfort zone to fundraise to help give an orphan a home. You should be applauding them, instead of buidling an arguement to put them down.

        Also, are you against families getting tax credits for their adoption since that wasn’t available to you when you had to give up your baby?

        Finally, why do you get an “ew” face when people are trying to raise funds to give orphans homes? That’s weird. I’ve read many of your other blog posts and I still don’t get it.

      • leenilee

        First of all, we are not talking about orphans. An orphan is a child whose parents are deceased. In the vast majority of adoptions, there are no orphans. No one is “busting their ass” to give an orphan a home out of the goodness of their heart. People adopt because they want children, not to save them. This is most certainly true with domestic infant adoption. And that is the problem, adoption is supposed to be about finding a good home for a child, not about finding a child for person who wants one. There is a difference.

        I believe first and foremost in family preservation. Let me ask you this, when is the last time you saw a pregnant woman holding a fundraiser for herself so that she didn’t have to give her baby away? I’m guessing not a whole lot of people would donate to that “cause”. The number one reason women end up surrendering their babies is money. In a country as wealthy and stable as the US, that is unacceptable.

        Adoption in the US has become a billion dollar industry. A billion dollar industry without enough regulation and it is frought with corruption. Because of changing social norms, abortion, and birth control, the supply of babies available for adoption has plummeted, but the demand for babies has skyrocketed. Adoption agencies are in the business of making money, yes even the so called nonprofits. They have to figure out ways to persuade women to give their babies up for adoption. Here is a good link to a post explaining coercion in modern adoption practices http://www.adoption-truth.com/2012/03/coercion-not-choice.html

        I’m not sure what you mean about a tax credit being available. If you are referring to the adoption tax credit, yes I am against it but unfortunately it was made permanent this year. That credit was put in place to encourage people to adopt from foster care in the US (which I fully support), but has now morphed into something completely different. Here is a great post about why I’m against it http://www.adoptionbirthmothers.com/whats-wrong-with-the-adoption-tax-credit-2/

        I would like to see the US handle adoptions like Australia does. Here is a great post explaining why. http://www.adoptionbirthmothers.com/adoption-relinquishments-by-the-numbers/

        Why do I get an “ew” face. Well that’s pretty easy. People are raising money to buy a baby/child. That is called human trafficking.

    • Buck Wheat

      Oh Clint, why can’t you see that having to raise money is buying a baby? You have no idea the coercion used on women so they lose their babies. Its about supply and demand. Infertiles demand babies and adoption agencies do everything they can to provide them. Babies have become a very lucrative commodity.

  4. Clint

    First, of all there are two definitions of an orphan: 1. A child whose parents are dead. and 2. A child who has been deprived of parental care and has not been adopted.

    Second, “People adopt because they want children, not to save them.” Why must you generalize everyone adoptive family on the planet? I get an “ew face” when people like you do that. Are you telling me that there is absolutely NO family in the whole entire planet who adopts so they can give an orphan a home? Please Please Please do some research and stop spreading this propaganda. I’ve known many people who have adopted kids selfishly to give them a home. (I came across this on several occasions working at a large youth sports organization) Yes, I do understand their are some people who do adopt to build their families. Which I think is wonderful.

    Third, Myself and MANY others would be happy to donate to a fundraiser so a pregnant mom could keep her baby. What is stopping these moms from setting up a youcaring.com or gofundme.com page? Or setting up a PayPal account and sending out donations letters. Or, selling useful products to raise funds on the side? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. The fact is, some moms whom are willing to give up their baby aren’t willing to go through the struggle, be creative, and/or bust their ass to earn more money anyway possible to keep them. My mom worked two jobs, did side jobs (basically fundraising), and very creative budgetting to financially support my bother and I as a single mom. NO ONE can tell a pregnant mom she can’t fundraise. (However, if they did I guarantee someone would write a damn blog post letting everyone know how it gives them an ew face to see her do it. I like call these people “jealous” or “haters”). Maybe you should take action and set up a fundraising platform for these moms…

    Fourth, “People are raising money to buy a baby/child. That is called human trafficking.” Really? Ummmm… really??? So you are telling me every time a family pays adoption fees for domestic or international adoption they are considered human traffickers and are buying kids? So, when you gave up your baby, someone bought it? Why would you give your baby up to human traffickers? Or… Oh wait.. That’s right, they weren’t buying kids they were just paying adoption fees? Fees like: Attorneys and home studies fees. Which can be expensive right? This is exactly why people come up with cool creative fundraisers to pay for attorney, home study, and other fees. Why not spend your time being an advocate and helping the families go against corrupt agencies (which would lower the cost of adoption) instead of talking negatively about them.

    Basically, it seems like this is your solution: “Only let the wealthy (who can afford the high initial fees cost) adopt kids. Don’t let other families who are perfectly financially capable of taking care of kids (but can’t afford a large sum upfront fee) adopt. Please don’t let families be creative and fundraise to help pay for these fees. Instead let these remaining orphans rot without homes.”

    From my point of view, it appears that your past experience gave you a lot of resentment and jealousy towards adoptive families. 😦

    • leenilee

      It seems as if you cherry picked your definition of orphan out of the free dictionary online. I’ll take the merriam webster definition which I’m sure you can google search. In either case, an orphan does not refer to those babies given up through domestic infant adoption.

      People like me eh? People adopt children because they want to “build a family”. While it might help a child that does not have a home, in our society and culture that reason is secondary to finding a child to adopt. Nope, not adoption propaganda, have done plenty of research.

      I think that is wonderful that you would donate to fundraisers for pregnant women. Here is one you can help out: http://writingmywrongs.com/about-2/baubles-for-babes/ just click “shop now”

      The fact is that most mothers considering adoption are coerced into doing so. From the moment a woman considering her options contacts an agency or “pregnancy crisis center” for information, the coercion begins. It’s brainwashing at its finest. I have already provided a link to a post about coercion, but you can also do a simple google search for adoption coercion. Here is yet another link (which I’m sure you won’t bother to read) http://open.salon.com/blog/jessica_delbalzo/2012/03/31/the_5_most_coercive_aspects_of_modern_adoption

      Side jobs are not fundraising. No one was donating anything to your mother. Nonsense.

      Yes, buying babies, or paying fees if that makes you sleep better at night, is human trafficking. You are really fooling yourself if you believe that no one turns a profit from adoption, whether international or domestic. And if people truly only had children’s best interests at heart, instead of paying exorbitant fees to purchase a baby or a child they would adopt out of our very own foster care system. The fees for doing that are miniscule and these children truly need homes. Of course, those children don’t come with that baby fresh scent.

      I would never, nor will I ever be an advocate for adoptive parents. You must be joking. The amount of corruption international adoption is overflowing with is disgusting. The parents know that, albeit mostly abstractly, and continue to participate because they feel entitled to what they want. Sometimes, they even get what they want, decide it’s just too dang hard, and give the child back. Never heard of that? Go look up “Second Chance Adoptions” on facebook. Lots of kids that were internationally adopted, and are now being “re-homed”. Nice, huh?

      Obviously, 14 years ago when my son was adopted, I had no idea about any of the corruption or coercion that goes around. I was a young woman, scared out of her mind, being told what to do. Back then, in 1998, I did not have internet access like everyone does today. I did not know to look for answers. In fact, I didn’t even know I should be asking questions. I assumed that the Catholic agency I used was being truthful, would never deliberately withhold information, and would tell me if there was a way, financially, I could manage raising my child. I was dead wrong on all accounts.

      Do I hate all adoptive parents? Absolutely not. I hate the industry they participate in. Adoption should be an absolute last resort both for mother and child. If the US would end it money making, unethical practices like Australia did (did you read that link? Guessing not)the number of infants available for adoption would plummet, which would mean more families staying together.

      I doubt you will take anything I wrote to heart. I have no idea why a man with no ties to adoption would be commenting on a first mother blog. If you truly are interested in learning about adoption, I hope you will do so. I don’t think you are though. I think you just want to spout off uneducated drivel because you resent what I wrote. Let me be clear, Clint. I do not give a single, solitary shit what you think. I doubt most people do.

    • gp

      I think this is extremely well said- but I do understand both sides of the issue. I am a soon to be adoptive mom, struggling with the issue of fundraising, wondering if it is the right thing to do, and what people will think. It isn’t something that adoptive parents do lightly. And though I agree that the system is completely ridiculous, and the fees associated with it are astronomical, I feel there will be no reform until people start looking at it from the child’s point of view. For me, wanting to have a baby, and wanting to give a baby (or child, because we are open to whichever) is the same thing. I respect birth mothers tremendously. I am in awe of anyone who would allow their own body to be sacrificed for 9 months so that another could live. That is the highest form of love that there is. I wouldn’t think twice about donating to a birth mom that wanted to keep their baby. My husband makes plenty of money for us to have a stable home, college education, good, healthy food — all of those things this mother wanted for her baby. But we don’t have 20,000+ unaccounted for dollars, that we can just call up at a moments notice. The problem is that once you make the VERY PERSONAL decision to adopt, you suddenly have to become very public, whether you want to or not- whether that makes you say “ew” or not. Everyone has the right to tell you how they feel about it. There are a million politically correct faux pas that you will make (even the woman who was our class instructor for part of the home study said that as an adoptee and a birth mom, she objected to the term “birth mom”. Ok… well what would you like them to be called? How do we distinguish the mom who gives life, and the mom who will give them a life? ) You have to struggle with your own sensibilities and feelings about “buying” a baby, because that is what it feels like, and it’s sickening. It is because of agency greed. If all we had to do was pay the attorney fees for the baby, the birth mother, and us, and the $4000 home study, we would be fine. That is what we saved and what we have to spend. But we didn’t know that even though we aren’t working with an agency, that an out of state agency can contact our home study social worker and offer them opportunities from another state. Suddenly, the fee of $25,000 just got added. Adopting from foster care is much more reasonable. But this isn’t magic, You don’t just plug in what you want and it is available. You wait for an opportunity to be “presented”. And you may not get chosen. (How’s that for your self esteem?)
      In our state, it is very difficult for a birthmother to get paid ‘living expenses’ for the time that their pregnant. It will pay to maintain the circumstances that you are in when you become pregnant. But we’ve been told that it is legal in other states to ‘improve’ your living conditions by demanding those expenses get paid by the adoptive family. It is wrapped up into the agency’s fee. So, like in our case, a birth mom who is due in 6 weeks has requested a couple in our state, with other criteria that we meet, specifically. She is eligible for $850 per month– not for the month that we’ve known about her, which would be April, but for all of the months of her pregnancy. Because of this, many mothers (sadly) are repeat birth moms, because for a time they can eat well, and live safely and receive a different level of assistance. This breaks my heart. But I also don’t think it is fair.
      So we deal within the system we have- broken though it is. And we all- birth mom, adoptive parents and family, agency workers who know the system sucks– try to make peace with it the best we can and remember that at the end of the day, a child who didn’t have a home before, will get one.

      • leenilee

        I apologize for the late response to your comment, life got in the way.

        Of course there will always be first mothers who truly have no interest in parenting their child. But, that is the minority. Most of us, given a bit of support both financially and emotionally, would have raised our children.

        Yes, we do need to approach adoption reform from the child’s best interests. The child’s best interest, barring any abusive situation, is to be raised by their natural family. If you look at it from that standpoint, everything else falls into place. All of that money that goes into purchasing a baby (and that is exactly what it is) would be better spent on keeping the first family together in a stable environment.

        I absolutely sympathize with anyone who wants a family of their own and is unable to conceive. However, participating in a corrupt system only fuels that corruption. It seems like your comment is a rationalization of what you want. You want a child, you can not have one, and so you want to adopt.

        If you are truly interested in giving a child a home that does not have one, foster adoption is the best option. These children are waiting for a family that they truly do not have. As an added bonus, foster adoption is much easier on the wallet than domestic infant adoption.

  5. B

    As a mother of 3. One domestic infant adoption, one international adoption, and one biological child I have much to say, but my intentions here are not to argue. I will say though that as a mother who can have biological children I want nothing more than to give children a home who truly need one.
    My son, who was adopted here in the U.S. as an infant, is a very happy little boy who has heard and been bombarded by pictures of his biological mother since day 1. His biological mom chose adoption for him. Not because she couldn’t afford it..because she could… But for other reasons I won’t go into here because that’s personal. We have a semi open adoption where i send her pictures and updates. She also knows that i woukd love it if she wanted more of a relationship with our son, but that is her decision to make. Not mine. I did a tshirt fundraiser to help pay for the attorney fees…$5,500. My sons adoption totaled a little over $25,000. Do you know how much we raised for the fundraiser? $160 total. Thankfully with my husbands second job we were able to pay for the rest of the fees.
    My daughter was adopted internationally from Africa and she was far from being a baby. Hers was an older child adoption. I was able to spend 5 weeks with her in her birth country before taking her home. I learned a lot in those five weeks. 1. My daughter was severely malnourished. 2. My daughter was sexually abused at her orphanage. 3. Her life in an orphanage was what I call a living hell. You see, in her birth country you can’t get any lower than orphan/abandoned child. You are the lowest of lows there. My daughter was put in an orphanage by her biological mother because she couldn’t keep her safe. Her biological mom sacrificed everything to give our daughter a life that doesn’t consist of abuse and starvation. 4. When food runs out at my daughters orphanage the girls there…as young as age 3… Are forced to prostitute themselves to feed the 200+ kids in the orphanage or they are kicked out on the streets where they will be end up as prostitutes anyway. And as far as giving an orphanage money to provide for the kids… Sounds nice, but its really stupid. Let me tell you why… When we visited her orphanage we brought enough food and supplies with us to feed all of the children and caretakers for weeks…until the next group of families bringing their kiddos home could come and buy more food. We realized on our first visit that there were not enough chairs for the children to sit at the tables during meals. We went back 2 weeks later only to find caretakers selling the food we bought for the children to eat and they pocketed the money. If you give them money then the children will never get food, but if you bring tons of supplies then the children will get some food before its all sold (they only eat once a day if there’s enough).

    • leenilee

      @B Ok, so you attempted to raise money for your $5500 attorneys fees and only ended up raising $160. So instead, your husband got a second job to pay for the fees. That is how it should be, no? If someone can not afford the fees, then perhaps adoption is not the way to go. Or maybe, foster adoption would be the better way to go since it is much less expensive. As I said, personally if I had found out that my son’s adoptive parents had to raise money for the adoption, that would be a huge red flag for me. At the time, I had been told over and over that money equals stability, stability that I did not have. Of course, you say that financial concerns were not a part of the equation for you son’s mother, so I guess that did not matter to her. I should tell you that my personal stance is that domestic infant adoptions in the US are insanely priced and were it not for the ridiculous amount of money that changes hands much of the corruption that exists would be eradicated. My point being that I don’t believe that money should be involved in adoption at all.

      Moving on to international adoption. Of course I am well aware of some deplorable conditions that exist for children all over the world. International adoption does nothing to fix those issues. I do not believe that adopting and thereby stripping a child of their country of origin does anything but exacerbate the problem for the children who remain. I agree, donating money to an orphanage is obviously not the answer. But perhaps if you are someone who is honestly concerned about the future of all the children languishing in that orphanage, your money and fundraising efforts would be better spent advocating for a change to the system, in what ever way you can. Furthermore, if adoptive parents can not afford international adoption and need to fundraise to adopt from overseas, than perhaps they should be taking a closer look at our own country and the foster children who actually need homes right here.

  6. B

    As a mother of 3. One domestic infant adoption, one older child international adoption, and one biological child I have much to say, but my intentions here are not to argue. I will say though that as a mother who can have biological children I want nothing more than to give children a home who truly needs one.
    My son, who was adopted here in the U.S. as an infant, is a very happy little boy who has heard and been bombarded by pictures of his biological mother since day 1. His biological mom chose adoption for him. Not because she couldn’t afford it..because she could… But for other reasons I won’t go into here because that’s personal. We have a semi open adoption where i send her pictures and updates. She also knows that i woukd love it if she wanted more of a relationship with our son, but that is her decision to make. Not mine. I did a tshirt fundraiser to help pay for the attorney fees…$5,500. My sons adoption totaled a little over $25,000. Do you know how much we raised for the fundraiser? $160 total. Thankfully with my husbands second job we were able to pay for the rest of the fees.
    My daughter was adopted internationally from Africa and she was not a baby. Hers was an older child adoption. I was able to spend 5 weeks with her in her birth country before taking her home. I learned a lot in those five weeks. 1. My daughter was severely malnourished. 2. My daughter was sexually abused at her orphanage. 3. Her life in an orphanage was what I call a living hell. You see, in her birth country you can’t get any lower than orphan/abandoned child. You are the lowest of lows there. My daughter was put in an orphanage by her biological mother because she couldn’t keep her safe. Her biological mom sacrificed everything to give our daughter a life that doesn’t consist of abuse and starvation. 4. When food runs out at my daughters orphanage the girls there…as young as age 3… Are forced to prostitute themselves to feed the 200+ kids in the orphanage or they are kicked out on the streets where they will be end up as prostitutes anyway. And as far as giving an orphanage money to provide for the kids… Sounds nice, but its really stupid. Let me tell you why… When we visited her orphanage we brought enough food and supplies with us to feed all of the children and caretakers for weeks…until the next group of families bringing their kiddos home could come and buy more food. We realized on our first visit that there were not enough chairs for the children to sit at the tables during meals. We went back 2 weeks later only to find caretakers selling the food we bought for the children to eat and they pocketed the money. If you give them money then the children will never get food, but if you bring tons of supplies then the children will get some food before its all sold (they only eat once a day if there’s enough). 4. Money isn’t wasted on medicine. There is a small room at my daughters orphanage where children who are dying are sent. No one stays with them while they die. They die ALONE. I realized very quickly that even though I was taking my daughter out of her birth country I was also ensuring that her life has meaning. No child deserves to live the way she did and yet I left 200 other children in that orphanage (not all are adoptable) to the same fate my daughter had. Those are just a few things I learned about international adoption and as long as things are done ethically I have no problems with international adoption.
    Adoption is only as corrupt as someone allows it to be. As an adoptive parent I did everything I possibly could to make sure the facilitator we used with our sons adoption and the non profit organization who helped us with our independent international adoption would help us bring our kids home LEGALLY and ETHICALLY. I called agencies and question them extensively and if there was something that even hinted at corruption I ditched them. I am a firm believer in making sure children stay with their biological families if that is the best situation for the child. The facilitator we chose for our sons adoption process has an incredible program for the biological moms. If they want to keep their children then they help them keep their children. My sons biological mom wasn’t talked into giving her son up for adoption. It was her choice to make fully. My daughter would’ve lived her life in a living hell..if she survived…if we wouldn’t have chosen to adopt internationally. And just adding….my daughters international adoption was a lot less financially than my sons domestic adoption and me and my husband stayed in country for 5 weeks. I did do another tshirt fundraiser…also a tutu fundraiser… to help pay for our daughters plane ticket home which was $1,500. We raised $800 towards our goal. As far as the adoption tax refund goes… The refund we received from our sons adoption paid for almost half of my daughters adoption and the refund we received for our daughters adoption paid for the other half of her adoption. Without that refund my daughter would still be sitting in that hell hole orphanage because we couldn’t afford to take out another mortgage so I am quite thankful for that refund.
    I admit that I resent the fact that you seem to think I purchased my kids. I’m sorry if you feel that way. I wanted my adoptions done ethically and legally and at this point in the adoption world I couldn’t do that without paying attorney fees, home study fees, facilitator fees (for my sons adoption because I was tired of being scammed), other fees related to a legal and ethical international adoption, etc. I did my “homework” first and didn’t let people talk me into anything I didn’t want to or felt like was wrong to do. I was 21 when I adopted my son and 23 when I brought my daughter home. My kids biological mothers are older than me. And yes if more people knew about helping biological mothers keep their children then they would donate to that cause! I didn’t know about the links above until i read them on your post. I think it’s great! I honestly thought I was helping women keep their babies by giving to crisis pregnancy centers. I know they helped a couple of my friends with diapers and necessities for their babies.
    Fundraisers really didn’t help me bring my kids home, but I do support adoptive families who do them because I know how difficult it is to have enough money to adopt. You may think foster care is the best option and that we should just go through the foster care system. I took those classes. I almost did it, but watching my friends struggle with the corruption in our own foster care system turned me away from it. Doesn’t mean I won’t ever become a foster parent, but that’s for me to decide. I would love to adopt older children aging out of the system because I think every child no matter where they are from deserves the love and stability of a family…whether that family is biological or not.

    • leenilee

      “Adoption is only as corrupt as someone allows it to be.”

      I wholly disagree with this statement. Most adoptive parents engage in corrupt, coercive practices in domestic infant adoption regularly. Naively, I believe that most of them just do not realize it. Pre-birth matching is inherently coercive and therefore corrupt and yet it is common practice in this country. Agencies who market open adoption without disclosing that the adoptive parents can close it at any time are corrupt. Agencies which encourage hopeful adoptive parents to attend the birth of another woman’s baby are corrupt. I could go on, but I’m sensing that you do not agree that these practices are corrupt.

      “The refund we received from our sons adoption paid for almost half of my daughters adoption and the refund we received for our daughters adoption paid for the other half of her adoption. ”

      The adoption tax credit was created to encourage families to adopt from foster care, to adopt children who truly need homes in the US. I am fully opposed to the adoption tax credit being used to help offset the cost of adopting internationally, which only serves to allow more American children to remain without a loving family. Our tax dollars, first and foremost, should be used to help the people of the United States.

      “I admit that I resent the fact that you seem to think I purchased my kids. I’m sorry if you feel that way. I wanted my adoptions done ethically and legally and at this point in the adoption world I couldn’t do that without paying attorney fees, home study fees, facilitator fees (for my sons adoption because I was tired of being scammed), other fees related to a legal and ethical international adoption, etc. ”

      Why do you resent that? Did you not pay an agency so that you could adopt a child? You say you wanted your adoptions done ethically and legally and couldn’t do that without paying fees. You are really living in a fantasy land if you think that no one profited from you adopting, in both instances. I don’t care if the agency claims a non-profit status, someone is earning a living based on people adopting. When you look up the salaries that some of these agency CEO’s earn, you would be able to see my point. You chose to participate in the adoption industry. You chose to pay exorbitant fees to someone in order for you to adopt. Whether or not it was the right thing for the adoptee, it doesn’t make exchanging ludicrous sums of money so that you can build your family alright. You also say you were tired of being scammed. I’m not sure how someone can be scammed if they did not, in some way, choose to participate in an unethical system. Are you referring to a pregnant mother wanting money from you? Did an agency not deliver?

      You contradict yourself by first saying you did, indeed, fundraise for your adoption/adoptions and then you claim that these “Fundraisers really didn’t help me bring my kids home”.

      Bottom line, the number one reason mothers relinquish their babies for adoption in the US is money-related. When I think about hopeful adoptive parents fundraising to adopt domestically it smacks of entitlement. International adoption may help one child, but does nothing to help, and may possibly hurt, the other children left behind. International adoption also does a disservice to the children in our own system. If someone can not afford to adopt internationally and needs to fundraise to achieve their goal, perhaps they have the wrong goal in mind.

      • B

        It’s quite obvious you are a very angry and bitter woman. I won’t continue arguing with you because its obviously pointless but I will clarify a few things because in your anger and bitterness you misunderstood.

        Yes adoptive parents are scammed all the time! You live in a fantasy world if you think otherwise. We used a facilitator because I was tired of “birth moms” contacting me to get money even though they were not even pregnant. I was tired of having friends of friends of friends lie to me about a sad story of needing a family to take a baby when there was no baby to begin with.

        I know others profited off of our adoption. People who work for a living profit off of others for the services they provide. That’s life. Reality. The non profit organization that helped us bring our child home actually processes very little adoptions. They prefer helping children in country, but sometimes helping children means adoption because that’s the only option available that will truly help some children. Yes I paid our government so I can process my adoption legally so that my daughter would come home legally! That’s not wrong!!! At all!!! I also paid an attorney in my daughters birth country for her adoption process. It’s sort of necessary when adopting. The non profit organization never saw a single penny of my money. The money exchanged hands between me and those who helped legally process the adoption. Why? Because its their freakin job! God forbid I pay someone to do their job!!! Sounds preposterous and absolutely evil to you I’m sure.
        The adoption tax credit should not be in place to promote foster care adoptions. Foster care adoptions cost NOTHING in my state. Not a single dime!!! The adoptive parent pays for NOTHING during that process. Idk where you got the idea that the credit was meant to help promote foster care adoptions, but it was really intended to promote adoption simply because its expensive! If you pay nothing in fees for foster care then why have that credit? If money is the incentive to get families to adopt children through the state then I’m sorry but that sounds corrupt and unethical to me. That’s profiting off of children in the system. That’s wrong!
        FYI… You may not like that your tax dollars helped pay for my daughters adoption, but I don’t like that my tax dollars support a corrupt government who believes in funding abortions…but I’m not complaining about it and attacking people over it. Geez.

      • leenilee

        And there it is, B…I must be angry and bitter if I disagree with your choices, right? Let me get this straight, you ended up on my blog, felt the need to comment, and yet somehow, I am attacking you? Holy shit, woman.

        Adoptive, or let’s call a spade a spade, prospective adoptive parents are scammed because they seek to engage in pre birth matching. Let’s connect the dots. Pre birth matching is specifically designed to pressure a woman into giving you their baby all under the guise of getting to know each other. So you engage in this because you want a baby and then have the gall to be shocked and shaken when someone tries to scam you? And your idea of getting rid of that is to throw more money at the industry? For someone who claims to be a pillar of ethical and legal behavior in her adoptions, that sounds iffy to me.

        You seem very defensive about the prospect of you buying a child. I really don’t know why. You paid someone a fee to procure you a child. End of story.

        At what point did I call you evil? Lady, you came here to engage in a discussion with me. I don’t think you evil, I think you naive and ill-informed. It was my hope that you came here seeking a different point of view, but it is quite apparent you only came here to explain how you are perfect and I don’t know what I’m talking about. Awesome.

        Here is a great piece about why I’m against the adoption tax credit, and why it hurts those children in foster care. The adoption tax credit only makes adoption less affordable. http://www.adoptionbirthmothers.com/whats-wrong-with-the-adoption-tax-credit-2/ U

        You actually just did complain about funding abortions. I’m not about to get into that debate with you, but nice try.

        It’s funny, I actually just wrote a blog post last week about being called angry and bitter, so you are right on the mark with that one. Here’s another one you could use, “I’m sorry you had such a bad experience” or the old standby, “not all adoptions are bad”. You are a walking cliche. Good luck with that.

  7. TAO

    Funny how TIM who commented on both my post and Shadows post on fundraising had the same opening line of his first comment that your CLINT has…

    Comment from TIM on blog: “This is from an outsiders view point since I have no kids and have no intentions on adopting.”

    From CLINTS first comment above: “This is an outsider’s view on adoption fundraising… I’m a single guy with no kids and never plan to adopt.”

    I just put him back on moderation once he started being nasty to previous commentors.

    Do you guys think perhaps TIM and CLINT are identical twins who think so much alike as to say almost the same thing on their first comment on a blog? 🙂

    • leenilee

      Nah, there are scads of single men with no plans to adopt who make it a point to comment on adoption issues. It’s right up there with fantasy football leagues and porn sites. 😉

  8. AD

    I am an adoptive mom, and I do think it is ridiculous what it costs most people to adopt. I can totally see the “baby buying” angle because of this. I wish more agencies ran things like ours does. Fees are on a sliding scale based on a reasonable percentage of the adoptive couple’s annual income, and the maximum fee is set well below the limit for the adoption tax credit (which is $12,970 for 2013).

    Truly, it would seem that all our agency gets is roughly the amount necessary to pay their employees to do their job (travel for home visits, process paper work, be available for counseling, etc both for the prospective adoptive parents and the prospective birth parents). The agency fees for our two adoption combined cost between 1/3 and 1/2 of what one adoption cost for any of our friends through other agencies. I’d love to confront a representative from each these other agencies about where the other thousands of dollars went.

    I do think that many things need to be reformed in adoption, and the inflated cost of adoption is one of them. I don’t really fault people for doing fundraisers, but I do fault a system that has created an environment in which people of average (and sometimes not-so-average) means are left with few options other than fundraisers.

    • leenilee

      I agree, the cost of adoption is ludicrous. I certainly don’t believe that only wealthy people should adopt.

      When I look at a country like Australia who has essentially taken all the $$ and unethical practice out of adoption, and subsequently the number of infant adoptions has plummeted, I have to come to the conclusion that money is driving unethical practices and causing women who would not otherwise relinquish their babies to choose adoption.

      How does that relate to fundraising? I understand wanting a baby, but by agreeing to pay these fees by any means necessary, adoptive parents are also agreeing to fund a corrupt industry. This is an industry that has a vested interest in convincing women to choose adoption. From pre birth matching, to open adoption marketing, it is all designed to “get that baby”.

      Adoption should be about finding homes for children who need them. But instead, it has become about finding babies for adults who want them. Fundraising aside, most people should not be adopting infants but adopting foster children since they truly need homes. This especially holds true for people who need to fundraiser to afford infant adoption.

      Yes, the cost of infant adoption plainly sucks, but whether it is due to infertility or age or any other number of factors, wanting a baby and having a right to a baby are not the same thing. It is no one’s god given right to have babies. No one is forcing people to adopt infants.

  9. KayKay

    Ugh, I stumbled upon this terrible blog by accident and after reading it, my blood is boiling (Help me Jesus). How can someone say that people who are adopting are “taking away babies from the poor” just because they want children. It seems there is some regret mixed with jealousy. Is the system ridiculous? Yes. Are there 3rd parties that benefit? Yes. Either way, the fact of the matter is that when a couple’s hearts are absolutely crushed because they’ve been faced with infertility, and adoption is the light in their darkness, they will jump through the hoops and do what it takes. Leenili, you’re living in a fantasy land if you think birth mothers mostly give up their babies due to money problems. On this journey thus far, I’ve spoken with many birth mothers who tell their story. Most of them are something along the lines of…. “I knew I never wanted kids so I decided to give a loving couple a special gift.” and some have been “I really just didn’t want kids so young, I needed to go to college and I wanted to live some more before being tied down.” It’s crazy how much assistance there is for families. If a mother really wants to keep her baby, there is lots of help out there. My best friend is a single mom with a very low income and 3 children. She’s doing just fine. She works very hard. So, in the meantime, I am praising and thanking Jesus for the beautiful birthmother who will choose us to take care of her precious gift. And I thank the Lord that He can move mountains and provide a means for us to recieve the desires of our hearts. Amen!
    Oh!!! BTW. I myself was adopted or “bought” as you say. I have an incredible life!!!!!! I’m very thankful for my parents for “buying” me. And, I am thankful to my birthmother who chose to give me to them. I was meant to be with them. I pray God’s blessing on those who read this, agreeing with me or not. 🙂

    • leenilee

      Hmmmm I have a great many thoughts but will reply tomorrow…but I should point out quickly that I am an atheist so I shall try to ignore your ridiculous fairy tale bs.

    • leenilee

      First and foremost, as I’ve stated time and time again, I have tremendous sympathy for anyone who can not have biological children of their own. However, that does not entitle anyone to children. There are many single women out there who deserve and desperately want a husband of their own, but that does not entitle them them to someone else’s husband, correct?

      Monetary concerns are the number one reason mothers choose to give up their children for adoption. To believe differently is complete naivety. Are there women who choose adoption for other reasons? Of course, but they are not the majority.

      Children are not gifts to be given away. To think of them in this way is truly twisted. The best thing for a child, or any human being is to be raised by their biological family (unless of course there is abuse involved).

      It is in fact, not crazy that there is so much assistance for families to raise their children. What is most definitely crazy is how many adoption agencies neglect to inform mothers of all the programs and assistance available for them.

      I appreciate the fact that you are an adoptee. I do not pretend to know the circumstances under which your adoption took place. I can tell you, that the vast majority of adoptees would have had an equally incredible life being raised in their biological families.

      In the future, when attempting to make a valid argument for your stance, refrain from the god speak, you sound like a lunatic.

  10. Zerita

    I have an adopted son whose birth mother didn’t choose to make an adoption plan due to her finances. She had other reasons. Our domestic adoption fees were approximately $15,000, and we are adopting again for another $15,000. Those fees coupled with a lifetime of financial demands: diapers, formula, food, clothes, bedding, music classes, trips to the zoo, school fees, yearbooks, sports, college, insurance, etc. can quickly multiply for a middle class family. That is ONE reason we chose to fundraise. We only raised about $3,000 of our fees the first time, but it allowed our friends and family to be a part of the adoption experience where we hoped to reveal to them the beauty of adoption, let them see how we love our birth mother and our son, and they felt like they could care for us in a practical way, too. I am infertile and had multiple miscarriages, but I also had a desire to adopt since I was young regardless of my fertility. Through our open, ongoing relationship with our birth mother I am able to share the love of Christ with her, care for her, and love her for the rest of her life. I sing her praises to everyone I can. My son even looks like her for which I am very grateful because it reminds me daily of her sacrificial love for him. I will never be able to thank her enough. Adoption isn’t for every birth mother and/or birth father, but for ours it was God’s perfect plan. He has knit us together in a beautiful relationship.

    • Dolly

      Ok, I know my response is a year later, and so will likely never be read, but I just have to say that I have the hugest problem with this comment (and the attitude I feel it indicates towards having kids):

      “Those fees coupled with a lifetime of financial demands: diapers, formula, food, clothes, bedding, music classes, trips to the zoo, school fees, yearbooks, sports, college, insurance, etc. can quickly multiply for a middle class family” – seriously???

      My best friend just had a baby. I would consider her and her husband a middle class family. Their baby had to stay in the hospital for a week after birth because of pneumonia. Their *after* insurance costs were close to $18,000. So should they have had a fundraiser? I think most people would not look so fondly on that. Of course having children is expensive- whatever route you take to have them. BUT when *you* decide to have a baby- whether by birthing it yourself, or procuring it from adoption/etc., *YOU* decide to take on the financial responsibilities for that child. Fundraising for YOUR personal life decisions pisses me off. No one else should have to foot the bill of your life choice, in this case, a baby. I am 100% with the author that *no one* is entitled to a baby just because they want one. You may have extremely noble reasons for wanting one, but that does not *entitle* you to have one, and DEFINITELY does not excuse you trying to push your costs off on to other people who had no involvement with the decision.

      • Dolly

        Oh, and not that it is at all relevant, but I am also a Christian, but do not find the author to be angry/bitter/whatever. In fact, she seems perfectly rational and reasonable to me, and I agree with the majority of what she has to say in this blog post.

  11. E. Werling

    I have an acquaintance who has been holding garage sales to fund raise for an adoption. I didn’t think much about it until they posted that they had raised $12,000 of the $25,000 they need for the adoption. My stomach turned. Isn’t this akin to buying children….child trafficking? Adoption should be a nonprofit thing where, yes, prospective parents are very well-screened, at NO COST, to make sure they have the means to well care for a child. But the prospective parents shouldn’t be shelling out $25,000 for what amounts to buying a child. Maybe I’m missing something here, but I find it kinda sick. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with adoption. Not at all. It’s this process that charges this ridiculously high fee. It’s a baby buying business. Plain and simple

  12. Denise

    Just came across your blog. I will lift you up in prayer. It is my hope that you will find healing for your anger and hurt regarding the adoption of your child.

    • leenilee

      What a waste of time on your part. Praying is just a way for people like you to feel like you’re contributing and helping someone in need without actually having to do anything. I can’t think of anything less Christian.

      It’s pretty easy to label me angry instead of actually looking at the issues involved in adoption. It is interesting that the only thing you internalized from my blog is that I am angry without considering why that might be so.

      You have contributed nothing to the debate, discussion, or conversation about adoption issues. Thanks for stopping by.

  13. Kristi

    Would you tell someone who was spending money on IVF or another fertility treatment that they should instead adopt from foster care? Where and how a person chooses to build their family is their business. To suggest that they should do it a cheaper way is disgustingly offensive. I am not a fan of adoption fundraisers either but not for any of the insulting reasons you have listed.

    • leenilee

      Fertility procedures which use the biological parents’ genetic materials do not promote the separation of biological families. So it’s an entirely different concept than adoption and I don’t equate the two things remotely.

      I am not attacking people who have issues conceiving. Not all infertile people go on to adopt, nor do all infertile people who choose to adopt also fundraise their adoptions.

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