Why it Costs More to Adopt a White Baby
March 12 -- When a couple seeking to adopt a white baby is charged $35,000 and a couple seeking a black baby is charged $4,000, the image that comes to the Rev. Ken Hutcherson's mind is of a practice that was outlawed in America nearly 150 years ago — the buying and selling of human beings.
The practice, which is widespread among private adoption facilitators, of charging prospective parents different fees depending on the race or ethnicity of the child they adopt is one that Hutcherson is fighting to change from his Redmond, Wash., church. The Antioch Bible Church has established its own adoption agency, and is lobbying state legislators to change Washington's laws.
"I've got championship Rottweilers. I sell them by supply and demand," Hutcherson said. "I raise thoroughbred racehorses. I sell them by supply and demand. I'm not going to let people sell children by supply and demand. What's the difference between that and slavery?"
The campaign to change the law is directed at Washington state legislators, but Hutcherson said he would prefer to see the federal government step in and create one set of regulations governing adoption, rather than leaving the issue to the states to decide.
Current Washington law bans payments to a birth mother for placing a child for adoption, but does not address payments for arranging an adoption or the fees that may be charged.
"I think it's an issue that Americans have not looked at closely enough, because if they had, things wouldn't be the way they are," he said.
He hopes to get attention around Washington with a billboard campaign as soon as he can raise the $70,000 to $80,000 he needs. The billboards will feature a white baby, a latino baby and a black baby and next to each, the fees some adoption facilitators might charge for them: $35,000, $10,000 and $4,000.
He said that besides putting a price on children, the practice discriminates against white babies and people who seek to adopt them — an issue he said has been overlooked because white people, particularly those who can afford the high adoption fees charged, are not used to considering themselves victims of discrimination.
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