Is High Cost a Guarantee?
Friedmutter said she draws a distinction between facilitators or agencies that charge prospective parents more or less depending on the race or ethnicity of the baby that they want to adopt, and those who charge on a sliding scale based on the family's income.
She said charging people according to what they can afford is a way for agencies to make adoption a viable choice for more families, and still let them balance the books.
But she rejected the argument put forward by some facilitators that charging higher fees for healthy white babies — who are in short supply and high demand — allows them to charge less for youngsters who are not in such high demand.
She said that practice could create a sense in parents who spend more money on an adoption that they are buying a product with an implicit guarantee — that this child will be everything they want in a child.
"The thing that is scary to me is that children aren't perfect," she said. "People who are willing to pay high fees for healthy kids don't always get perfect children. If you pay $50,000, it doesn't mean that child is going to be healthy, gorgeous and smart."
According to Hutcherson, the answer is to take money out of the equation. The adoption agency he started at his church is run by volunteers and funded by contributions, and that is the model he would ultimately like to see adopted nationwide.
"When it comes to adoption, America needs an enema and I'm hoping God made me the chocolate laxative," Hutcherson said.