Craigslist: Selfish Women Give Up Your Babies for Adoption

Dawn Davenport


Word of caution here folks: This is not a joke. Nor an early April Fool’s Day blog. This is a copy of a real listing/post on Craigslist last week.


So you don’t have to squint, let me help you out because you don’t want to miss this.

craigslist posting calling pregnant women selfish for not giving up their children for adoption

Before I Get my Knickers in a Knot

Let me begin by at least acknowledging that this was likely written by a person in pain, and if I was a gambling women, I’d bet that it’s a she and that she is struggling with infertility. She has likely been trying to conceive for a while. Maybe she always thought she had adoption as a fall back if infertility treatment failed, and has just now realized that it’s not that easy. I’d like to think that she posted this in a pique of frustration. Infertility can do that to you. At least she classified it right as a “rant”.

listing in Craigslist to find a baby to adopt

Now for a Little Knicker Knotting

A rant such as this would not usually compel me to write a blog (and draw attention to it for that matter). I suspect, however, that the writer’s sentiments probably reflect what a lot of people assume that people with infertility secretly think. Sure, not to this extreme, but how many of you haven’t had someone mention something close to “baby shortage” and “the baby would be better off with you as the adoptive parent”? Unfortunately, truth be told, lots of folks assume that all infertile couples or prospective adoptive parents view expectant women as a resource to supply them with babies. This post plays directly into this huge misperception.

I’m seldom at a loss for words, but it’s hard to know where to even begin. When approaching a difference of opinion I usually try to start from a place of agreement. Not so easy here, but at least we agree that “people need to start thinking more about adoption.” Adoption can be a great option for kids and adoptive families, and often a “best” alternative for expectant women/couples who are not ready or able to parent. OK, let me think hard…nope, that’s about it for common ground.

There is a lot to take exception to, but I think what bothered me the most about this tirade is the not so subtle hint to pregnant women that they can make money from placing their baby for adoption.

[M]any families will cover your expenses (even living/rent) if you place your baby for adoption. …They often pay $30,000. and sometimes even $50,000. just to be parents.

Talk about equal opportunity disrespect—one shot hits both expectant woman and adoptive parents.

Much of the rest of this listing doesn’t warrant comment, but for the record I’d like to say that I’ve talked with and interviewed many many women who have placed their children for adoption or are considering this option. They are not looking to make money off their babies, and many of these women would be terrific mothers if they chose to parent. If they decide to parent it will not be a selfish decision. Women and couples in a crisis pregnancy are not resources to exploit for the benefit of the infertile. Children are not commodities.

Now it’s your turn. Where is your common ground? Where do you take exception?

P.S. I want the world to know that most infertile people and adoptive parents do not share this view, even to a small degree. If you agree with me, click the Facebook “like” below and then click the “f” or “t” to share with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.


Image credits: Craigslist

26/03/2013 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog | 32 Comments

32 Responses to Craigslist: Selfish Women Give Up Your Babies for Adoption

  1. Avatar mitzi says:

    I am a mother looking for my son l had to put it not that didn’t want us it because it was I loved you that mush I do love you that mush please if someone know him please call me on facebook@

  2. Lori Lavender Luz Lori Lavender Luz says:

    I concur with your common ground — let’s all be more mindful about adoption. And also I’m with you, wincing at the money angle. Youch. That paints both first parents and adoptive parents in a bad light (sometimes deservedly so).

    Also, this rant starkly shows the difference between finding a home for a baby (how adoption SHOULD be done) and finding a baby for a home. It’s a subtle distinction but oh-so-important.

  3. Kathryn, I too squirm at the thought that the writer considers “her”self a proponent of adoption.

  4. Avatar Carolyn says:

    Rebecca Miller – I was in such an agency dropping off my lifebook I think it was. The office manager proceeded to conduct her entire *sales pitch* from her cell phone at the front desk (how’s your credit? We’ll hook you up with an apartment and a Walmart card….) I live in the bible belt so this agency marketed to poor women who had other kids at home, the woman they were trying to *sell* to us… they didn’t bother with the colleges b/c those women had the $$ for abortions. After reading some scathing reviews of the agency, we dropped our pursuit. This office manager would run everything through another adoptive mom (not an employee) because I didn’t have text capabilities on my phone…..

  5. Avatar Rebecca says:

    Not to start a debate, but I’ve seen many an adoption agency using the same terms to “lure” expectant mothers into placing for the wrong reasons. I think once agencies stop using babies/womens pregnancies as commodities (especially having different rates for different races/special needs/exposure, etc) then the general public will follow suit and not think these thoughts. I can’t tell you how many of these types of comments we’ve gotten so far.

  6. Avatar Robyn says:

    I don’t agree that the writer is necessarily female or infertile. I can think of a number of different scenarios. What about a social worker with WIC who sees kids in desperate situations day in and day out? I probably have some male relatives who would post this after seeing a woman with 5 kids in Wal-Mart. I could see a college student studying sociology 101 writing this. It could even be a facilitator or other adoption “professional” trolling. I think it’s awful, wrong, and disrespectful, and I don’t think that we should assume who or what the author is.

  7. Avatar Christine Ashton says:

    Women aren’t selfish to give a baby up for adoption. They often feel they just can’t raise the child. Maybe they feel they don’t want motherhood. They are giving the child a chance at a good life. They could have just had an abortion or dropped the baby off at a unsafe place somewhere. (That’s why I like Safe Haven laws).

  8. Avatar Catherine says:

    Just because I cannot have a child does not mean I am entitled to yours.

  9. Avatar Kathryn says:

    Probably should have started that with a tl;dr…sorry ’bout that

  10. Avatar Kathryn says:

    There are so many angles that make me sputter in this post. Let’s start from the premise that the author is an infertile woman. (Right or wrong, I’m making the assumption that the writer is a woman because the post is directed entirely towards expectant moms rather than expectant dads) I’m infertile. I get the pain of that. Our shared pain does not give us license to be baldly disrespectful to others, and that’s what this is all about. A lack of respect for others’ right to make a choice. A lack of respect for those who choose to place their children – if she thinks people will be swayed by money, what does she really think of the woman who might one day be her child’s birthmother? A lack of respect for adoptive parents – she seems to think they are comfortable with the idea of buying children or of making money the focal point for making an adoption plan. A lack of respect for the children she purports to care for – as TAO said, children are not commodities. Human beings are not to be bought or sold. Human beings, even tiny ones, are not owed to anyone, even those of us who want to be parents but happen to have a bit of faulty biology on board. Then there’s just the annoying, illogical transition between ranting about “selfish” women who keep their children (as opposed to the ‘selfless’ one who seems entirely comfortable with the idea of pushing the money angle to become a parent) to ranting about abortions. If it didn’t already read like a grown-up version of a someone stomping one’s feet at the unfairness of not getting what she wants, that clinches it. People who are choosing abortion are not choosing to become parents. They also, it should go without saying, are under no obligation to carry a child to term so someone else can be a mom. No one should feel it is their job to fill the domestic newborn adoption pipeline if they are facing an unexpected or crisis pregnancy, even if there are infertile people who would like to become parents. Sorry, our hopes and wishes don’t trump their right to make what they feel is the best decision for their situation and family.

    So that’s why it makes me angry.

    But you know why it makes me sad enough to feel nauseous? Because I am now an adoptive mom, and it makes me nearly cry to read this. The idea that people will look at my daughter and think her birthmother was doing us a favor or acting under a sense of obligation to infertile couples or trading her daughter for a few months rent is just painful. There’s no sense of understanding of the weight and scope of the decision that our daughter’s birthmother made, and I do not believe that she’s an outlier in care she took in making her choice. We know we will have to field questions like “how much did she cost” from people who are naive or ignorant of the process of adoption, but this corrosive, small-minded post is from someone who seems to see herself as an advocate for adoption. The author is actually trying to speak for me, but I squirm to think that people may look at our family and our daughter’s birthfamily and see it through her eyes.

  11. Avatar Margaret says:

    What bugs me about this, to jump up on my own little soapbox, is that there are actually LOTS of kids available for adoption whose birthparents had the chance to parent them and were proven to be not capable of doing it, that are waiting in foster care for forever families of their own. Rather than the name calling and harassment of pregnant women who will probably be adequate parents, how about the poster advocate for providing homes for the kids that really need families today instead? (Yes, I am a foster-to-adoption parent.)

  12. Avatar Dawn Davenport says:

    Ashley, no I didn’t email her. Not sure if that would be appropriate given the no spam warning. I’ll think on it.

  13. Avatar Dawn Davenport says:

    [this rant starkly shows the difference between finding a home for a baby (how adoption SHOULD be done) and finding a baby for a home. It’s a subtle distinction but oh-so-important.] Yep! (Now why didn’t I think to add that to my post. I guess I didn’t need to b/c I’ve got Lori backing me up. Thanks Lori.)

  14. I concur with your common ground — let’s all be more mindful about adoption. And also with your wincing at the money angle. Youch. That paints both first parents and adoptive parents in a bad light (sometimes deservedly so).

    Also, this rant starkly shows the difference between finding a home for a baby (how adoption SHOULD be done) and finding a baby for a home. It’s a subtle distinction but oh-so-important.

  15. Avatar Ashley says:

    Wow indeed. Dawn Davenport – Like you said, this person could definitely be hurting. I will be the first to admit, I had a lot of misconceptions in regards to adoption in the beginning – especially when infertility is thrown into the mix. Hopefully, she will find a support group, learn more, and connect with others about adoption (not just the process). Did you email her to let her know that our group is here?

  16. Avatar Elaine says:

    Wow. I am speechless.

  17. Avatar Stephanie Seguin says:

    how sad. i think, like you, I assumed the person who wrote this was suffering. I also had trouble when I saw lots of people pregnant who seemed to be flippant about it, or even annoyed by the prospect of parenthood. However I take great exception to the assumption that most women of a certain class are having babies to get welfare. Even people on welfare and people who have no means have children out of love and hope, and I wish ALL OF US that want to raise kids had more resources, not less.

  18. Avatar Andy Drouin says:


  19. Avatar Dawn Davenport says:

    Stephanie, I suspect that the flippant comments are tongue in cheek or kind of a “what else are you going to say to that type of rant.” And I second you hope that all of us who want to raise kids had more resources.

  20. Avatar TAO says:

    Thanks Dawn – you have guts for tackling this because it is horribly degrading, and I did get my knickers-in-a-knot just reading it…

    I want to start off with saying we are all more comfortable and tend to stay in echo chamber groups – even if it is just areas where we have common ground, and disagree on other areas. I have spent some time educating myself on how those outside of where I am comfortable actually feel on both sides of the spectrum. And sadly there others out there with this same mindset.

    The statement “There is a baby shortage” just curls my toenails because babies are not a commodity to be passed around willy nilly – babies are human beings and adoption does have consequences that the adoptee will deal with throughout life.

    This statement though takes the cake: “Their chances of becomeing parents are “thwarted” by not only their infertility but also by “selfish” women who will be “terrible” mothers keep their children.”

    1. Thwarted – no one owes someone else their baby.

    2. Since when is selfish to wish to parent your child?

    3. Being able to get pregnant means you will be a terrible mother?

    4. Absolutely no concept of how deeply painful it is to surrender a babe for adoption – nor the lifelong grief that goes along with it. Infertility should have provided her with empathy for another’s pain, and never wish another to go through that level of pain. Apparently she isn’t there yet (if ever).

    The 70’s comment is perhaps the most ironic comment of all seeing as how Australia has just this week apologised for the practices, policies, coercion, and at times downright brutality, and illegal, and unethical practices from adoptions from the 40’s through the 70’s. Those same practices happened in the US, Canada, New Zealand, UK, Ireland, Spain…

    With “her” current feelings she should not adopt, and not be approved to adopt – not fair to the child most of all.

  21. Avatar Whole Child says:

    Very well written blog post! I agree with everything you said, Dawn. I love that you challenge us to find common ground and then go from there. I admit…I have had thoughts about the “baby shortage” in this country and the fact that there are so many more people wanting to adopt than available babies…that is very true. It is why the adoption industry is so huge and can make so much money…the pregnant women are not making money off of having babies, but the adoption industry is making money off of adoptive parents due to supply/demand. Then there are the “situations” you hear about where your stomach turns…the agency sends out a blurb about a baby due in upcoming months…birthmom has already placed three babies with them so they feel sure that she will place again….WHAT?! This woman is placing her 4th child up for adoption and no one is even questioning it?! (I guess this was kind of what the Craigslist poster was wanting, though). Yes, I’m glad that those children weren’t aborted, but what is it going to take for someone to finally get responsible enough to use birth control?! And how can an agency justify making that much money off of one woman (each of her babies were placed for $40K plus medical expenses). While I don’t completely agree with the Craigslist ranter I can see that something is not quite right. While babies are NOT commodities and we don’t “buy babies,” I see adoptive parents taken advantage of time and time again while I also see other women (social work clients) who openly admit to me that the only reason they keep their children around is for the welfare check each month. Something, somewhere is not right. I guess I have rants of my own on this subject (as most adoptive and foster parents probably do) so I can’t really judge the Craigslist poster. Good topic of discussion. I like how you handled your blog post!

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Whole Child, you’re right that we all have rants of our own. I might not put mine of Craigslist, but I’ve certainly put them on blogs and Facebook. Would post them on Twitter, but 140 characters doesn’t satisfy my rants. 🙂

  22. Avatar Dawn Davenport says:

    Christy, thanks. Your kind words mean a lot!

  23. Avatar Christy says:

    Dawn, you wrote well. I don’t think I have anything to add to what you said. Just want to say that your tact and calmness in discussing this was evident and calmed me down. Remembering that this person is hurting is something to always remember when we’re offended by someone. Thanks for your input.

  24. Avatar Dawn Davenport says:

    Kathryn, can’t wait to hear what you have to say once you calm down. I kind of hope you don’t calm down too much.

  25. Avatar Kathryn says:

    Read it and I gotta take a moment…gotta go get some air…wow…that’s just…I have a strong, NSFW response, but…wow…

  26. Avatar Whole Child says:

    Stephanie Seguin, I agree with you that people of all income levels have children out of love and MOST people are not having babies to get the welfare checks…I really hope this discussion doesn’t turn into a debate on single moms/welfare/etc. Women who give up their babies for adoption are not making money off their babies, and people who receive government assistance for their children don’t receive enough to cover all the necessary expenses of raising said child, and people who say things like, “I keep the kid for the check,” are the exception to the norm. Welfare reform is a whole different issue that doesn’t really apply here, and it is very charged.

  27. Avatar Whole Child says:

    I figured out what it is that bothers me….it is that the Craigslist poster took all these huge issues: the pain of her/his own infertility, abortion, welfare reform, unwanted pregnancy…and lumped them all into one rant labeled “Let’s Talk About Adoption” like the problem is that we’re not educated on adoption. Yes, let’s talk about adoption (and we do every single day, especially here). Let’s also talk about abortion, welfare, infertility, unwanted pregnancy, and all the rest…let’s just NOT lump them all together into a big cause and effect.

  28. Avatar Margaret says:

    Greg, I think you’re reading too much into my post. All I really was trying to say was that if the craigslist poster was genuinely concerned about the welfare of the children, there are other ways to address the issue. Bullying and abusing pregnant women (whose parenting skills have not been shown to be deficient) into relinquishing their newborn infants is not one of them.

  29. Avatar Greg says:

    This is obviously an emotional person dealing with some type of grieving that they are not dealing with well. There is a lot of hurt in their ad that comes out as hate. Obviously they need to be able to deal with it better than they are. I really feel for this person and hope they are one day able to find peace within instead of attacking outward.

    Margaret, I think the ad is directed towards babies rather than just children. So while yes Foster Adoption is an option it may not be a fit for this person the way adoption isn’t a fit for everyone. It doesn’t mean a person doesn’t want to become a parent. It doesn’t make anyone a bad person for not going the foster adoption or adoption route. In fact I think if someone doesn’t go through either they are doing themselves, the children and biological parents all a favor by not getting into something that would benefit no one. Most importantly they wouldn’t be messing up a child’s life that deserves better.

    I am not sure if it was your intention (apologize if I misunderstood) but your response comes across as a “just adopt” response that are thrown at infertile people rather than recognizing that adoption is not for everyone.

  30. Avatar Greg says:

    Apologies for misunderstanding. I don’t think that was this person’s intention. There is too much sarcasm and anger it the ad. They are a troubled individual who is not dealing with their situation well.

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