May 24, 2008— -- A pregnant waitress working outside Seattle expected to find a tip left on the table after serving drinks to a large party but instead found an offer to adopt her baby.
"We wish to adopt a baby. We are a caring, happily married, financially secure and loving couple. We want to share our joy and love with a child," read a calling card left with the bill and picked up by waitress Julie Moore Monday.
Moore and her husband, J.D. Ross, called the number for the couple's lawyer found on the card not to give him their baby but to give him a piece of their mind.
"I was just shocked, because they didn't say a word to me about being pregnant, ask me how my pregnancy is going, or ask me if I was pregnant or anything," Moore told local television station KING 5.
"I don't wear a wedding ring at work. For them to assume I'm not married or that because I'm working in a service industry that I maybe couldn't afford to have a child, I don't know, I felt there were too many assumptions there," said Moore, who is reportedly five months pregnant.
Albert Lirhus, a lawyer for the adoptive couple whose names have not been made public, said the card was not intended for Moore personally. He said leaving such cards was a common practice in Washington state among parents looking to adopt.
"People trying to pursue independent adoptions often leave cards and letters, or buy classified ads. The husband, in this case, left the card on a bill holder but did not intend it for anyone in particular," said Lirhus, an adoption lawyer in Seattle.
Lirhus said the husband was not the one who paid the bill and did not know Moore was pregnant when he left the card.
"He didn't know anyone in the restaurant was expecting a child. He just left the card in a public place."
The lawyer said his clients were "distraught over this and absolutely understand why someone would be upset about this."
Lirhus said his number was on the card with instructions to ask for "Joan." He said "Joan" was not a real person, but a code that indicated to whoever answered the phone that the call was a priority.
He said his office had received several calls from people who had found the card. Though none have come with offers of babies, all were positive and some offered encouragement.
ABC News was unable to reach Julie Moore for comment.Laws about if and how people looking to adopt can advertise vary from state to state. In some states adoptive parents are prohibited from advertising and must work exclusively through agencies.
In other states it is common practice for prospective parents to place classified ads in newspapers, said Karen Greenberg, president of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and an adoption lawyer in Boston.
"It is different in every state. In Massachusetts, individuals can't just go out and begin a search for baby. Adoptive parents need to go through a state-licensed agency," she said. "In Washington, apparently, they rely much more on word of mouth."
Couples desperate to adopt have used all manner of media to find a child. In 2007, a Michigan couple, Sherry and Karl Dittmar, used the social networking site MySpace to advertise for a pregnant birth mother willing to give up her child for adoption.
Within weeks of posting their ad, the couple received more than 30,000 page views and ultimately found a woman who was willing to let the Dittmars adopt her baby, according to the Detroit News.
People using advertising to find a child to adopt need to be sensitive to the rights and concerns of the birth parent, said Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, an adoption policy think tank.
"Generally, people should not go up to someone on the street who happens to be pregnant and ask her if they can adopt her baby. There are many good books and professionals who can instruct parents on how to best find and adopt a child. None would recommend going into a coffee shop and asking a waitress if you can have her baby."