Can a woman get paid for putting a baby up for adoption?
A pregnant woman cannot get paid for putting a baby up for adoption. This is against the law, and it is against public policy to sell a baby. However, most states allow a pregnant woman to accept certain types of financial assistance from adoptive parents.
Many women are unable to work at some point during their pregnancy. Some pregnant women are living in a crisis situation and need financial assistance in order to have a roof over their heads. State laws accommodate this reality and adoptive parents are prepared to help with these expenses. In this article I will explain:
- What types of expenses are allowed and how much
- Emotional issues around accepting financial assistance
- When a woman can get into legal trouble for accepting assistance
Pregnancy related expenses that are reasonable under the circumstances
In California, as with many states, a woman can accept financial assistance for pregnancy related expenses. These expenses must also be reasonable under a particular woman’s circumstances. This is a pretty flexible standard.
What type of expenses does this cover? Covered expenses are out of pocket costs that a woman would have as a result of the pregnancy. Again, the standard is pretty flexible and can include:
- Prenatal vitamins, doctor bills, and maternity clothes
- Counseling and legal expenses related to the adoption
- Transportation costs to and from appointments (example: gas, cab, Uber)
- Phone and utility bills, paid directly to providers
- Food and miscellaneous hygiene or household products
- Rent or hotel costs
You’ll notice that none of these expenses are valuable items that can be sold. Accepting valuable items in return for putting your baby up for adoption may be against the law.
Here are some examples of such valuable items:
- Laptop or tablet or iPhone
- Cars or other vehicles
- House payments or purchase of a home (not including rent)
- Paying off loans or college tuition
In California, and many states, there isn’t an actual dollar limit to the assistance a woman can receive. However, the assistance must fall within the guidelines above. If you are thinking about putting a baby up for adoption and need financial assistance, call me first. I am an adoption attorney and a birth mother, and I’ve been there.
Emotional issues around accepting financial assistance–avoid regrets
Accepting financial assistance can be hard to resist if you are in a financial crisis. The need is very real and the adoptive parents are more than happy to help. After all, if the adoptive parents were able to get pregnant, they would have some of these expenses themselves. This doesn’t mean that accepting assistance comes without consequences. I have spoken with many birth mothers over the years who regret accepting money from the adoptive parents.
- Women feel pressured to go through with the adoption because they’ve accepted financial help
- Some women become embarrassed after they accept financial help
- When the assistance stops, women find themselves back where they started before the adoption
Here are some things to think about to avoid regrets:
- Don’t accept financial assistance if you are uncertain about the adoption
- Come up with a realistic budget and talk with the adoptive parents about it ahead of time
- Be realistic about your needs and make a plan for after the assistance stops
When can a woman get into legal trouble for accepting financial assistance
It is illegal to accept financial assistance if you are not actually pregnant (this is fraud) or you aren’t sincere about putting a baby up for adoption (this is also fraud). It is also illegal to accept financial assistance from more than one prospective adoptive parent at a time. While you can accept this type of assistance, you cannot get paid for putting a baby up for adoption.