My original maternal grandmother and mom were exploited by the Tennessee Children’s Home Society branch at Memphis. Though no actual records exist to show that any money changed hands, I believe it did based upon the history of that organization and the fact that my adoptive maternal grandmother had actually “specified” the characteristics that she wanted in the baby sister she was adopting to go with the little boy she had adopted from the same agency a couple of years earlier.
The TCHS warned my adoptive grandmother that “rarely do they have a baby so desirable” and therefore my adoptive maternal grandmother must act quickly and she did. Georgia Tann’s story teaches everyone about the importance of ridding adoption of lies and secrets. That is the purpose of pushing for open adoption records.
There needs to be a law making the sale of, or traffic in, children for the purpose of adoption illegal because while it isn’t known for certain to be happening in the United States, there is every indication that American adoptive parents who are looking overseas because they are unable to adopt quickly enough here in the United States, may be victims of inappropriate adoptions originating in other countries.
In 2006, a reporter wrote that 23,000 children – born in other countries – had been adopted by Americans. China is the most common go-to country with nearly 8,000 orphan visas granted from there. Russia comes in second, followed by Guatemala, South Korea, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. And Americans are increasingly turning an eye to African countries including the celebrities Angelina Jolie and Madonna.
When The Baby Thief was written by Barbara Bisantz Raymond in (published in 2007) an international adoption by an American parents cost as much as $40,000 and she noted that can like seem an enormous sum to brokers in countries where the average annual income is $1,800.