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!
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I follow Christ. I have a beautiful wife Megan and three wonderful children, Harrisen, Rebekah, and Carter. I have an M.Div. from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, 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.