In 2018, the federal poverty guidelines for a family of two placed the federal poverty level at $16,460. It would be hard for one person to live on that much, but in Arkansas you can earn that much just by being pregnant and willing to give up your child for adoption. Why? For several reasons.
First, some adoptive parents are understandably desperate. They want nothing more than to have a family and just can't do so by natural means.
Second, some biological parents are also understandably desperate. They have no job and no means of raising a child, but find themselves pregnant. Some don't speak the language and or have any marketable job skills. They make a difficult choice that's in the best interests of their child and make a plan for adoption.
Third, some people have noticed the desperation and learned how to make a living doing good helping desperate people.
Fourth, some of those people have made not only a living, but a very good one.
Fifth, they see the same biological mothers a second time, then a third, then a fourth. It doesn't take long until the biological mothers are more valuable to them desperate and pregnant than employed and thriving or the desperate adoptive parents so excited to have a baby of their own that they'll all but give the person their online banking passwords. When that's the case, they'll pay these biological mothers almost whatever they want to keep them happy, in the adoption plan, and with any luck back three months after giving birth to place another child.
Which leads to sixth - some biological mothers become dependent upon the money, gifts, and support offered by adoptive parents misled to believe they are doing the world a favor and growing their family at the same time. The most I've seen for any one adoption is $18,500, but there could be others who've earned more. I've heard of bail money for friends, video games, cash under the table, and in once case one person even got a car.
This does not happen in all adoptions. And helping biological mothers out during the pregnancy isn't in and of itself a bad thing. But there must be limits. Adoption was never meant to be a means of paying a person the equivalent of a year's worth of full time work at $7.92/hour during a five or six month adoption plan out of a nine month pregnancy. House Bill 1488 would fix that. It places a cap on expenses adoptive parents can pay to biological mothers at $10,000 unless the health of the child or mother warrants a judge raising that amount. That places Arkansas as one of a handful of states that have taken a similar approach to dealing with this problem. Massachusetts allows $980 per month during the adoption plan, while Wisconsin has a $5,000.00 cap. Other states have lower caps, but higher abortion rates.
Arkansans, call your representatives and senators and ask them to support HB 1488!
I've talked to nurses and doctors who've helped deliver babies in an adoption plan. They talk of times when they were all but certain a biological mother wanted to keep her baby. They tell of shady people who loiter around as if they are making sure a mom doesn't change her mind. But these mothers signed a document authorizing the hospital to turn the child over to a set of adoptive parents. Authorized is a bit of a misnomer. The document only uses the word "authorized" or something similar. It never says the hospital or nurse is required to turn the child over to the adoptive parents despite knowing a biological mother is being coerced. But that is what the law says. "A hospital or birthing center shall comply with the terms a release executed..." (Ark. Code Ann. 9-9-101(c)(c)). They know something is fishy. They know this particular adoption doesn't pass the smell test. But they have no choice. They take the child away from the mother and give him or her to adoptive parents who is so happy to have started or grown a family that they can't pick up on what's going on.
House Bill 1488 would give doctors, nurses, social workers, hospitals, and birthing centers a conscience in the matter. If after due diligence they cannot obtain reasonable assurances from the biological family that placing the minor child up for adoption is what they want to do and that their decision is free from coercion, intimidation, fraud, or physical force, they can refuse to approve the release. Arkansans, support your health care professionals and return to them the ability to exercise their conscience in a forced adoption plan. Tell your representatives and senators to support HB 1488!
Did you know it's perfectly legal to go up to a pregnant woman and offer her cash for her unborn child? At least it is for now. But Arkansas House Bill 1488 will put an end to that. If a person offers that woman anything of value in exchange for her child, it will be a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail. If a person does that and uses coercive, intimidating, fraudulent, or forceful tactics to get the woman to consent, it will be a class D felony punishable by up to 6 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections. If a person offers a pregnant woman anything of value so that the person can place that child up for adoption to another person (and make money in the process), it will be a class C felony punishable by 3-10 years in the Department of Corrections.
If that person uses coercive, intimidating, fraudulent, or forceful tactics to get the woman to consent to the person placing her child up for adoption, it will be a class A felony punishable by 10-40 years in the Department of Corrections.
These things are going on in Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and across the country. Arkansas is going to do something to stop it. Arkansanas - call your representatives and senators and ask them to support HB 1488 because human life is priceless!
I follow Christ. I have a beautiful wife Megan and three wonderful children, Harrisen, Rebekah, and Carter. I am a candidate for a Ph.D. in ethics from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, have an M.Div. from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and a JD from the University of Arkansas, am licensed to practice law in several state and federal courts, and live in Rogers, Arkansas. I write a blog and produce a podcast. And I do it all that others may know Christ.