As someone hoping to adopt a child, this has been a very frustrating week. First, we had the story of the Kewaskum couple accused of selling their baby. The couple got six-thousand dollars for the child from a Missouri woman--who is also facing criminal charges for unauthorized adoption. Then we had the story of the newborn girl found dead in a garbage bag, abandoned in the woods in Dodge County.
In both of these cases, legal and less deadly options were available to the parents. In the case of the Kewaskum couple, I think that just plain old greed was their motivating factor. I don't know of any adoption agencies that pay parents to give up children. Adoptive parents can help an expectant birth mother with medical and legal expenses during the pregnancy--but no cash changes hands for the baby. Perhaps that's why the couple didn't go to an agency.
A quick search of the internet finds thousands of couples (and single women) desperate to be parents. They make any and all offers to birth parents--including financial guarantees that adoption agencies do not make. There are swindlers out there who like to prey upon those parents--promising to give up a child at birth, then "changing their minds" at the last minute--after the other couple has paid for thousands of dollars in expenses. I'm guessing the Missouri woman is one of those wannabe parents--driven by desperation and not really the right reasons to adopt.
The Dodge County case is even more heartbreaking. Wisconsin makes it so easy for women to find safe, loving homes for their kids. In addition to dozens of adoption agencies and charities there is the Safe Haven Law, that allows parents to leave a newborn child at any number of secure places (hospital, police or fire station) no questions asked. Instead of placing her child in a blanket--or even a cardboard box--and leaving her at the hospital, this mother chose to put her in a garbage bag and leave her along the side of the road.
I can't ever know what was going through that mother's mind. In a way I think she too was being greedy. Maybe that baby would have been an embarrassment to her--or it was going to keep her from living her "dream life". Either way, that little girl didn't deserve to die like that--alone and cold in a plastic bag.
Obviously, I can't think that one of those infants could have been "our child"--but as I said, there are thousands of other families that would gladly take them in and give them all the love they deserve. If you know someone who is dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, please steer them in that direction.