The Free-Market Approach to Adoption: The Value of a Baby

The Free-Market Approach to Adoption: The Value of a Baby

2. Race-based Baby Valuing

“Second, baby valuing indicates that racial and genetic preferences are associated with the cost of adoption. Consider the following: couples may spend upwards of $50,000 to adopt a healthy, white in- fant. Black infants, however, are adopted for as little as $4,000. Adoption agencies attempt to clarify this discrepancy by explaining that black children are more difficult to place than white children, and, therefore, the costs associated with adopting Caucasian children are higher.

This logic appears flawed, even though it is true that black children wait longer for permanent placements. Why would it cost more to do less, if transaction costs were based purely on the labor and transactions involved? If placing white children is easier than placing black children, it would seem that less work would result in less pay and lower fees. Instead, fee structures based on race give evidence that adoption is subject to the free-market forces of supply, demand, and preference. In this market, racial preference matters; bi-racial children also attract higher fees than black children.”

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