I am short on time today and if things go as planned, there won’t be another blog here until Friday. This is an important issue and so I want to give it some space. Very often money in adoption causes problems. It is not only the direct expenses related to adopting a baby that cause the problem, it is money passing from hopeful adoptive parents to expectant mothers that causes many problems. Sometimes, it is the hopeful adoptive parents that have been scammed by a woman pretending to be pregnant who then goes silent and disappears about the time the baby is due to be born. Of greater concern to me and many people within the adoption community is the coercive effect adoptive parents giving money directly to a pregnant woman who may be in difficult circumstances to make her obligated to turn her baby over to the hopeful adoptive parents.
This is becoming an issue in the awareness of legislators in some states. In my example here today – Louisiana House Bill 568. Present law provides for the crime of adoption deception and defines the crime as being committed by any person who is a birth mother, or who holds herself out to be a birth mother, who is interested in making an adoption plan and who knowingly or intentionally benefits from payment of adoption-related expenses in connection with that adoption plan if any of the following occur:
(1) The person knows or should have known that she is not pregnant at the time the payments were requested or received.
(2) The person accepts assistance for living expenses from a prospective adoptive parent or adoption entity without disclosing that she is receiving such assistance from another prospective adoptive parent or adoption entity at the same time in an effort to adopt the same child.
Proposed law amends present law to include when a person has the specific intent to make false
representations to induce the payment of living expenses or other benefits in connection with a
purported adoption placement.
Proposed law does not apply to a person who agrees to an adoption plan agreement and
subsequently, in good faith, declines to proceed with the prospective adoption in favor of parenting the child.
Amendments Adopted by House –
1. Specify that the person needs specific intent to make false representations to induce the payment of living expenses or other benefits in connection with a purported adoption placement.
2. Provide an exception for persons who do not agree to an adoption plan agreement and
subsequently, in good faith, decline to proceed with the prospective adoption in favor of parenting the child.
A women concerned with the reform of Ethics in Adoption is proposing this – eliminate direct payments from hopeful adoptive parents to expectant mothers. Vulnerable women/parents should be able to change their minds at ANY point without penalty. Exchange of money and threat of prosecution should not be leveraged against vulnerable women/parents who want to parent their own children and change their minds. The proposal would move all payments for medical, etc… to social services instead of “direct payments” from hopeful adoptive parents, and make such transfers of money, “direct payments,” illegal.
You can read that proposal here – Louisiana HB 568 is Misguided.