Can I Sell My Child?
Google the question “can I sell my child?” and you may be horrified to learn how often this gets asked. (Along with “is it illegal to sell your child?”, “child selling in america”, “buy my baby”, “black market baby adoption”, “child laundering”, “how much do babies sell for?” and “baby buyers.”)
Obviously, folks, this is going on in 21st century America, no matter how illegal it is.
And yes, it IS illegal to buy or sell a child in all 50 states. (But still, whoever even knew that “child laundering” was a thing?!?)
In Corpus Christi, Texas, 29-year-old Esmeralda Garza is accused of having allegedly sold her 7-year-old son for $2500 to pay down a drug debt. She was reportedly in the process of selling her two and three-year-old daughters, as well, when she was arrested during a drug search. Garza is currently in jail; her children are in protective custody, and the relatives are saying they had no idea any of this was going on. There is no word, yet, as to whether the child’s buyer will face charges as well.
It’s not just an American problem, either. In India, a nun and a worker at an orphanage founded by Mother Theresa have also been charged with the selling of children.
A satirical site called Landover Baptist Church makes a joke out of evangelical baby buying, but the truth is that the purchase or sale of any child is no a laughing matter. It’s a felony offense, for one thing.
For all those who search online to find out “is it illegal to sell your child?”: yes, it is illegal to sell your child.
For all who call adoption agencies asking “how much money do you get for giving your baby up for adoption?” the correct answer is that no person can legally pay another for giving a baby or child up for adoption.
For those who wonder “how much is adoption compensation for birthmothers?” there is no such thing as “adoption compensation” in any legal adoption.
What makes an adoption legal or illegal?
Here’s the Texas penal code statute on buying or selling a child… just in case you’re curious?
A legal adoption is rarely an easy nor simple procedure, but it is the only kind of adoption that makes all the associated sacrifices worthwhile. A legal adoption, one done ethically and in accordance with all the laws, allows you to live with your conscience afterwards. It won’t land you in prison nor land your child in state custody if the details ever get out. Any adoption worth doing is worth doing the right way, for the right reasons. And “personal profit” should never enter into that equation.
We all know someone who knows someone who says they were given cash a car or a Rolex or some other gift of value in exchange for having given someone a child to adopt, and every one of those instances could constitute a felony offense in nearly any state in America. Does this go on, in real life? Certainly… more often than any adoption professional wants to think. Is it ever justifiable? We believe not. (N-E-V-E-R.)
In a legal adoption in Texas, state-licensed adoption agencies like Abrazo are legally permitted to assist placing parents with what’s called “maternity needs” during pregnancy and for a brief post-partum period. This is known as “maternity support,” and it is only allowed to cover certain “pregnancy related expenses” such as housing, food, clothing, etc. It is charitable assistance for which receipts are required, so Texas agencies can pass these expenses along to prospective adopters, but cannot require birthparent repayment should a prospective birthparent change their mind about placing.
However, the amount of any such assistance provided by Texas adoption agencies should never (ever) be substantial enough to influence a parent’s decision to place nor to not parent. This is all that the birthparents can legally “get” in the adoption process in Texas, and it does not come directly from the adopting parents nor constitute payment or compensation of any kind.(Any mother who is only considering adoptive placement out of financial desperation should contact Saving Our Sisters for assistance, instead.)
Who is the real victim when children get sold?
Obviously, people have to have suffered to be the kind of folks desperate enough to buy or sell a child. But even worse than that is what it does to a child who gets bought and sold.
Think about what the legacy of having been a bought or sold child means to the person to whom it happens. To have been bought or sold is to have been reduced to human merchandise, and it means you grow up unable to trust that you are loved for just being who you are. It also means that there’s no telling what price the parents willing to pay any price to get you might exact if you don’t live up to their expectations.
Whenever you see news reports like this one, ask yourself: how will this child ever make sense of what these parents that should’ve put his best interests first did to him?
Don’t take our word for it, though. Here’s a real-life account from one black market adoptee: Bought and Sold by a Child Trafficker. Here’s another: A Hollywood Mystery. And here’s one more A Montreal Black Market Baby Speaks.
It’s easy to condemn parents who seek to sell their children. (We know what a visceral response such inquiries can evoke, because we feel this, too, whenever folks call us to ask “what can I get if I do this?”) However, it’s essential to remember that at the end of the day, it’s the children about whom we must be most concerned.
So to mothers like Esmeralda, caught up in addiction, we say “if you need help to get clean and parent effectively, call us for referrals, and if you know you can’t be the parent your child needs and you want to place, you can reach us day or night (1-800-454-5683) and we’ll help find a loving, permanent home for your child through an open adoption.”
And for those who are seeking an offer in response to the question “can I sell my child?” we’ll gladly help put you in touch with law enforcement or child protective services, for your child’s safety.