Why Rent When You Can Own?

Spotted on a phone pole right here in my very own town:


What caught my attention is that it was placed directly outside the local thrift shop that caters to in-need women and children. The underlying message: A well-off married couple is “better” at raising children than a single, in-need mother.

There is a crass elitism in the way adoption takes children from the less fortunate and sells them to the more fortunate. What a heartwarming holiday tale:

“Mommy, Daddy, how did you adopt me?”
“We put a sign on a phone pole.”

Maybe I should put up a sign of my own.


The sign came down after only a day or two, removed by whom, I don’t know. What’s really depressing, there is undoubtedly some desperate, pregnant woman out there who will take them up on their offer, with all the unspoken hardships that entails for herself, her child, and the rest of their family–for eternity. Does anyone think a mother who winds up with these people will be objectively counseled on ALL her options? Or that an adoptee in this situation, if he or she is even told about being adopted, will have access to his/her records?

There is an infant adoption agency here in town, and no lack of adoption services in the adjoining area. Which means the people who posted this sign:

a) don’t have enough money for the preferred Healthy White Infant,
b) don’t have the connections for a gray- or black-market adoption,
c) have been rejected from the agencies (with or without cause),
d) all of the above.

So they’re going to take it into their own hands and get a baby by any means necessary. I know this tale because it happened to me. My adoptive parents tried to adopt at a time when Healthy White Infants like yours truly were at a premium. Rejected by the agencies, they went with the Good Ol’ Boy Network, adopting me via my adoptive father’s old college buddy, the delivery doctor. They had the money and influence these people presumably don’t, otherwise maybe the phone-pole tale would have been my “Chosen Child” story.

While I have nothing but sympathy for those who are not blessed with children, parenting is a privilege, not a right. Just because you want a baby doesn’t mean you are entitled to one. And this is why prospective adopters have a reputation in the adoption community for having an entitlement mentality. The scariest part of all is that many people would view these sign-posters as trying to HELP. When are folks going to realize that the way to help is to provide support to mothers, not take their children?

There are plenty of needy kids in this area who would love a mentor or friend. But that doesn’t convey the ownership of adoption, and you could end up with some disgruntled teen straight out of the Nebraska dumping grounds. Why rent when you can own?


  1. This reminds me of the couple who left their ‘We want a baby’ card as a tip for the pregnant waitress.

    Same mindset: you’re just a poor waitress.

  2. I know this does not describe all adoptive parents but it does describe some. Even one set with this mentality is too much. Maybe we should adopt the slogan of the “safe-haven” pushers: “If we can save one child (from being sold to the highest bidder).

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  5. Triona, you held your temper better than I would have. I know that I would have taken the sign down and torn it up. The couple posting this sign were preying upon the less fortunate. It was like saying, “if you can’t find clothes at the thrift shop, we will take your child”. There is certainly nothing wrong with parents shopping at thrift stores for themselves and for their children. There is a nice 2nd hand shop near me that sells like new clothing. I’ve been in it and bought some clothes for my youngest grandchild for next to nothing. My son has a very good income and is a very good parent. I’ve seen others in this 2nd hand shop who don’t look so poor that they can’t care for their children.

    When I see ads in the newspaper by couples looking for a child to adopt, I just cringe. For years now there has been an adoption market. There probably always will be but I will never like it.

    Years ago my mother gave me a letter that was sent to them by a nun at Misericordia Hospital in Chicago where I was born. In the letter she says that they have a baby girn that she thinks that they will like. My mother told me how they immediately fell in love with me. But that letter still makes me feel like I was on display and has never set quite right with me.

  6. I felt nauseous thinking about that sign. Then I got mad.

    Then I got to thinking about the “Will work for food” signs that are often held at street corners. I came up with a sign for Triona to hold at her own e-corner:

    —-Will WRITE—-
    for Truth/Justice

    Thx for speaking out,
    Lisa Kay

  7. While some congratulate themselves on this “open forum”, it has become clear that Christian bashing is okay. I need neither an innoculation nor insults for my Faith.

  8. Holly – I try to be respectful of others’ beliefs, even those that differ from my own (I am a non-Christian). That being said, I understand why people are very angry at what has been done in the name of Christianity, and (as relevant to this forum) in the name of adoption. Some Christian organizations (notably Catholic Charities) actively perpetuate the lies, myths and stereotypes of adoption.

    Mary Lynn – I was driving in an ice storm with my two-year-old, otherwise I probably would have stopped. And I couldn’t help thinking, there but for the grace of God/dess… if my circumstances were only slightly different, it might be me scrambling to support my kids. The thrift shop is run by a charity that supports in-need women and children, so double whammy against mothers as far as I’m concerned. As ULB said, it’s that mindset that people who are less fortunate don’t “deserve” their own children. And you mentioned the letter and it not sitting right… that’s how I felt the first time I saw a receipt for myself, that I was nothing more than an object.

  9. As a first mother, hell, as a mother who surrendered her child, I get just as nauseated as adoptees do when I see these signs in the weirdest places. Actually, I get upset when I see them anyplace. I have one found on the paper placemat at the Corner Bar here in my small town. You can’t even have a hamburger without being reminded that there is a bull market in babies, and they want yours!

    Yesterday I found myself explaining to rather well-off corporate lawyer that giving up a child wasn’t the way it was in Juno. Only when I used the word…compassion…did I think I made a dent because…he had no compassion for birth mothers–they gave the child up! They gave up any right to that child! Well, bull, I might not have had legal rights but Jane and I were connected in a way that could only be broken by death. And even then…she’s still my daughter. She’s just not among the living anymore.
    lorraine of firstmotherforum.com

  10. re: Lorraine’s comment – I wish I could hem up that lawyer and give him a dressing down. I imagine that in more than a few cases the birth mother’s “decision” resulted from the birth father being unwilling or unable to take responsibility for his actions.

    Lisa Kay
    FL Adoptee b. 1963
    ISO bMom Sandra Strickland age 65-66

  11. When my son was 10 years old, I took him to the Emergency Room. While registering him, I noticed a small stack of cards on the side of the computer, facing out toward anyone registering. I picked up a card and read it: “Pregnant? Scared? We can help! We’ll provide a loving home for your baby…house in the suburbs, with a built in pool, safe school district, we’ll pay all your expenses, you don’t need to talk about the father…”

    Yes, this was, and is, a Catholic hospital.

    I got very angry. Took the card home and wrote a letter to the hospital administrator, not to the people on the card. I said that it was wrong for a Catholic Hospital to advertise for pregnant women to give up their babies. I asked that the cards be removed from display at the Registration Desk immediately and that the hospital re-think what it means to be Catholic.

    The hospital administrator, a nun, wrote back. She apologized, saying that she hadn’t thought about adoption from an adoptee’s point of view before. She said that she would see to it that no other cards, or signs, advertising for pregnant women to give up their babies, would be on display in that hospital again.

    It’s been well over 14 years and I’m happy to report that I’ve not seen any sign soliciting for pregnant women to give up their babies since then. At that time (mid-1990s) it was a popular trend that pre-adopting parents install an 800-number phone line in their home and post signs with that phone number, baiting pregnant teens and women to fall for the best ad.

    Cel phones make it easier to ring up those wealthy pre-adoptive parents with the built-in pool, horses in the barn, and the whitey-tighty safer school district free from any shade of tarnished goods.

    Holly, if I went to a Jewish hospital and saw a card targeted at pregnant women to give up their babies, I wouldn’t hesitate to complain about it. Faith-based initiatives (food pantries, thrift stores) usually are Christian.

    Triona, keep up the good work!