Baby Business (2000)

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    • 00:30

      ADOPTION AGENT: Do you realize and understandthat your signature on this document is final,that the relinquishment waiver is irrevocable,and that there is no grace period,meaning that once you sign this, you may never change your mind?

    • 00:43


    • 00:54

      NARRATOR: Denise is giving up all parental rightsto her newborn son.[BABY CRYING]A private agency has negotiated her baby's adoptionwith a couple desperate for a family.Total cost to the new parents-- $20,000.

    • 01:17

      NARRATOR [continued]: This is adoption, American style.

    • 01:48

      NARRATOR [continued]: Denise is a single mother living in a tiny one-bedroom apartmentwith her two-year-old son.She had her first child, a girl, who was adopted,when she was only 15.Her other son lives with his father.

    • 02:02

      DENISE: Why don't you go get trike?Go get your jeep.

    • 02:04

      NARRATOR: Estranged from her family and pregnant again,she's decided on adoption, because her boyfriend hasabandoned her.

    • 02:11

      DENISE: He didn't want to help in raising this one,so I said, well, you know, I can't be another single mom.That's just way too.Many and I figured I couldn't explain to another babywhy their daddy didn't want to be in their lives.

    • 02:25

      NARRATOR: White, broke, and with an unplanned pregnancy,Denise is nevertheless a hot commodity as a birth mother.In the yellow pages in any American city,schools of adoption services vie to attract women like her.

    • 02:39

      DENISE: Hi, my name's Denise, and I'm six months pregnant,and I want to place this baby for adoption.

    • 02:45

      NARRATOR: Finding a private agency which will support herduring the rest of her pregnancy is the first steptowards giving up her baby.

    • 02:53

      DENISE: Do they have contact with the girlthrough the pregnancy, or?

    • 03:02

      ELIZABETH VANDERWERF: What we askis that you put your hearts and souls on the table,because that's what we're doing.This is the weekend that your psychological pregnancy begins.

    • 03:14

      NARRATOR: This is the agency Denise chose.It's called Abrazo, Spanish for hug.One of these couples could become the lucky parentsof Denise's baby.Abrazo is their last best hope for a familyafter years of infertility treatment.

    • 03:28

      ELIZABETH VANDERWERF: You need to rememberthat it's not a question of if this is going to happen.It's only a matter of when.Not if, but when.[MUSIC PLAYING]

    • 03:46

      NARRATOR: These introductory weekendsare extremely emotional.Their theme song extols adoption as a win-win solutionfor both birth mothers and would-be parents.

    • 04:10

      NARRATOR [continued]: The emphasis may be on feelings, but the hard truthis that private adoption has to be paid for.This weekend costs $200.The total outlay could be $20,000, about 13,000 pounds.

    • 04:24

      ADOPTIVE MOTHER 1: We did take a loan out to pay for this,and my way of looking at it is that the birth mother putin nine months of hard labor, and we'll put in our hard laborto pay the loan off.So it's comparable in that way.

    • 04:37

      ADOPTIVE MOTHER 2: We're taking out of his retirement fund.So for us, it's like, OK, he's goingto have to work a little while longer,but it's worth every single-- I mean every hour he'llput in extra after he was supposed to retire,he'll be able to come home with his child.

    • 04:52

      NARRATOR: An important part of the weekendinvolves the couples hearing from previous birth mothersin order to understand what they go through whenthey relinquish their babies.

    • 05:03

      MARY CHRISTINE: While I was crying,while I was hurt, while I felt like I was dying inside,they were just ecstatic.And that, for me, was hurtful, because I wantedthem to cry as much as I was.I wanted them to hurt the way I was hurting.

    • 05:25

      MARY CHRISTINE [continued]: And she told me-- I guess she saw that, and she told me,I'm so sorry.I'm so sorry that our joy has to come from your pain.And I guess that made it a little bit better.

    • 05:42

      NARRATOR: The philosophy here is that adoptionswork best for all concerned when thereis a relationship with the birth motherbefore, during, and after the birth of the child.It's known as open adoption.

    • 05:54

      ELIZABETH VANDERWERF: So what made you sign the papers?

    • 06:03

      MARY CHRISTINE: You know, I thoughtthey were going to give my son a wonderful life.Knowing that they were going to give my son everything Ican't or couldn't, knowing that hewas going to have two parents to love him and not just one, whowas always going to be at work.

    • 06:22

      ELIZABETH VANDERWERF: Mary Christine,have you been in touch with your birth parents?

    • 06:27

      MARY CHRISTINE: Oh, yeah.Sometimes even three times a week.

    • 06:33

      NARRATOR: In Britain, newborn adoptionsremain confidential and anonymous,but open adoption is increasinglythe norm in the United States as birth parentsand adoptive children press for continuingcontact over the years.Beth and Steve Slattery are enthusiastic evangelistsfor open adoption.

    • 06:55

      NARRATOR [continued]: They've already completed one with Abrazoand now want to adopt a brother or sisterfor their daughter, Shelly.

    • 06:60

      ELIZABETH VANDERWERF: What advicedo you have for these folks?

    • 07:03

      BETH: Allow yourself to get excited,because it's going to happen.And you're going to be so blessed,and the whole infertility process is going to disappear.

    • 07:14

      STEVE: Yeah, it'll--

    • 07:14

      BETH: You won't even remember it.

    • 07:16

      STEVE: It'll be a distant memory.

    • 07:24

      ELIZABETH VANDERWERF: Shelly, you have anything to add?

    • 07:26

      STEVE: Shelly, do you want a little baby brotheror a little baby sister?

    • 07:29


    • 07:34

      STEVE: Which one you want, baby?Huh?

    • 07:37

      ELIZABETH VANDERWERF: I think she said she wants a dog.[LAUGHING][MUSIC PLAYING]

    • 07:58

      DURAND COOK: But we threw the first the addendum away,and we're trying to get the second addendum out.Sounds good.

    • 08:07

      NARRATOR: In America, it's not just agenciesthat do adoptions.Lawyers can too.And in California, just about anyonecan provide a matchmaking service.Durand Cook has been doing adoption workfor more than 20 years.He's an attorney and sees adoptionas both his business and his calling.

    • 08:26

      DURAND COOK: I personally don't see any conflictin having a business relationship with clientsand also working through the depths of emotionsthat they go through when trying to finda home for their unborn child or to create a family when theyhave an infertility problem.

    • 08:45

      NARRATOR: As an attorney, Durand has no social workqualifications, but he doesn't see that as a prerequisitefor doing adoption work.

    • 08:53

      DURAND COOK: I would analogize itmore to maybe the medical profession, whereina doctor performs a service that hopefully is healingin a physical way, and there's nothing inappropriateabout that anymore, I think, than an attorney thatis performing an emotionally healing serviceand helping people fulfill their dreams and become families.

    • 09:21

      NARRATOR: Today Durand Cook needs all his emotional healingskills.Waiting back in his office are the Garners,clients who were angry about the birth parents hefound and matched them with.

    • 09:35

      DURAND COOK: I don't know if she even got-- who knows?

    • 09:37

      NARRATOR: Their birth mother, Linda, has passed her due date,but the Garners have no baby.They think Linda and her Mexican husband, Jose,have scammed them.They now know that there were warning signs.

    • 09:48

      MR. GARNER: Finally, in October, wefound out the social worker had deep concerns about the dealand that Jose was thinking about the baby should go to--

    • 09:59

      MRS. GARNER: A Mexican family.

    • 10:00

      MR. GARNER: Another Mexican family.There are some things having to dowith this that were-- that we learnedthrough the course of it that we think that you could haveand probably should have told us going in that probably wouldhave resulted in us not doing this deal.

    • 10:18

      DURAND COOK: And you know--

    • 10:19

      NARRATOR: Doug and Solbrit Garner are bitter.It's their second failed adoption.They spent $12,000 on this one.But Durand had been confident, because hehad worked with Linda on two previous adoptions.

    • 10:33

      DURAND COOK: I was working with her before you met her.And although I couldn't predict this,I just feel terrible it's happened.I mean I just-- I can't believe any human being like Lindacould enter into a relationship and start to facilitate it,and then suddenly just totally disregard

    • 10:56

      DURAND COOK [continued]: any human rights at all.Just like wouldn't return our calls.I mean the whole time that I've worked with her,she's returned my calls.

    • 11:05

      NARRATOR: Apart from the money, Doug and Solbrithave a huge emotional investment in Linda,visiting her and her children a number of times in Seattleduring her pregnancy.Linda was expecting a boy, and all their hopes for a familywere riding on her.

    • 11:20

      MR. GARNER: The most important thing in your lifeis your family, and I don't know if I've got one or not.I don't know if I can explain, except, perhaps,to have a child on a death bed isthe only thing you feel like.

    • 11:35

      DURAND COOK: All right.

    • 11:38


    • 11:47

      NARRATOR: The Garners' modest homeremains a shrine to the baby they thought would be theirs.

    • 11:55

      MRS. GARNER: This is the room that we made readyfor the baby to come, and this is the bed,and everything is ready.We have all the baby clothes ready and everythingthat we need.

    • 12:09

      NARRATOR: Doug and Solbrit's savings from his property dealsand her physical therapy business are almost gone,but they're determined at any costto find out what has happened to Linda's baby.

    • 12:22

      MRS. GARNER: I put my heart into this room,and today baby I was expecting to have her here.And now it's just an empty room with lots of memoriesthat I was waiting for the baby to come here.And these pictures here, this is our birth motherwhen we first met her.

    • 12:42

      MRS. GARNER [continued]: This was destined to be.We just felt very, very good feeling, a positive feelingabout that.And I would like to know what actually happened to him,and until I know that, I cannot completely stop thinking abouthim, because he is still out there somewhere.And I don't know what happened to him.

    • 13:03

      MRS. GARNER [continued]: And I love this baby wherever he is.

    • 13:09

      NARRATOR: There is little Durand Cook's legal practice cando to help Doug and Solbrit.There are few regulations and no legally enforceable contractsbetween birth parents and adopting couples.At any time, the birth mother can decide to keep her baby.But according to Durand, actual thought is unusual.

    • 13:28

      DURAND COOK: Such a minute exception to the general rule,it doesn't say much about our system.It says that our system, in essence,is not a perfect system.People do get hurt.But in general, it is a free market system, so to speak,where people get to enter into relationships with each otherand make commitments to each other.

    • 13:50

      DURAND COOK [continued]: But there's no strings attached.In other words, you can't hold someoneto their initial commitment.[MUSIC PLAYING]

    • 14:03

      NARRATOR: The ideal of family lifeis at the heart of suburban America,but when that ideal has to be created by adoption,it also means uncertainty, risk, and that all important consumerethos, buyer beware.The Slatterys have accepted the risks of the private systemand are prepared to take their chances.

    • 14:26

      NARRATOR [continued]: Shelly, now two years old, is at nursery school,where Beth takes advantage of the drive-thru pickupas part of their daily routine.

    • 14:33

      BETH: School.Did you have a good time?What'd you do today, sweetie?

    • 14:40


    • 14:43

      NARRATOR: Beth hopes that being a stay at home momwill be one of the things that might attract a birthmother to choose them.

    • 14:49

      BETH: I absolutely love staying home with Shelly,and it's something that I've always dreamed about doing.And I'm kind of living out my dream here.I love being as much a part of her life as possible.

    • 15:04

      SHELLY: I want a sister.

    • 15:06

      BETH: You want a sister?

    • 15:08

      SHELLY: A brother.

    • 15:09

      BETH: You want a baby brother?

    • 15:11

      SHELLY: I want a baby brother.

    • 15:13

      BETH: Well, we're going to have a baby soon, honey.I don't know if it's going to be a little boy or a little girlyet.We're going to find out real soon.Remember how Mommy said we're going to go to San Antonio?

    • 15:26

      NARRATOR: For Beth and Steve, infertilitywas a hard and expensive road before they finallydecided that private adoption was the only option.

    • 15:35

      STEVE: God, the Father.

    • 15:36

      SHELLY: God, the Father.

    • 15:38

      STEVE: Thank you for this food.

    • 15:41

      SHELLY: Thank you food.

    • 15:43

      STEVE: In the name of the Lord Jesus.

    • 15:45

      SHELLY: Jesus.

    • 15:46

      STEVE: Amen.

    • 15:47

      SHELLY: Amen.

    • 15:48

      STEVE: Good girl.Good girl, Shelly.That's very good, honey.

    • 15:52

      NARRATOR: Then came another difficult choicefor this devoutly Christian couple.Should they adopt one of the many black, Hispanic,or biracial children waiting for homes in America?

    • 16:02

      STEVE: Eat every bite of that, and you can have some dessert.You can have a piece of your dinosaur candy.

    • 16:10

      NARRATOR: Steve and Beth wanted the scarcest commodityof all-- an American-born Caucasian baby.

    • 16:15

      BETH: You eating some yogurt, sweetie?Is that good?We just wanted--

    • 16:21

      STEVE: We wanted a little baby that would look like us.

    • 16:23

      BETH: Yeah, I mean.We did.We did.You know.And I'm sure we would have been veryhappy in other circumstances as well,but after years of infertility, that's just what we wanted.And we have been told from several peoplethat you just stick it out, and that baby that God has

    • 16:47

      BETH [continued]: in mind for you will be there.And that's exactly what happened.

    • 16:54

      NARRATOR: In order to catch the eye of prospective birthparents, they prepared a colorful family profileshowing off themselves, their lifestyle,and even their large family house to its best advantage.

    • 17:06

      STEVE: Dear Birth Parent, you're a very special and courageousperson.The decision to place your baby for adoptionmust be a difficult one full of many emotions with concernand love for your baby.

    • 17:18

      BETH: Yet you've already done a beautiful jobwith your first decision-- to choose life for your baby.As you begin your next decision, the searchfor the right parents for your baby,we will be praying for you and your childand that you will find an incredible peace in your heartwith the family you choose.

    • 17:36

      DENISE: Honey, stop.Please.Mommy can't look at them after you're tearing them up.

    • 17:41

      NARRATOR: The Abrazo agency has given Denisea selection of parent profiles to choose from.She's narrowed her choice down to two,but the first one doesn't quite match upto her expectations for her child.

    • 17:52

      DENISE: I didn't like how the other couple's house was.And see how their's didn't have a lotof tall trees in their yard or a lot of shadein their front yard.And I was like, well, their houseis kind of small and little.

    • 18:06

      NARRATOR: The brochure she liked best was Beth and Steve's.

    • 18:10

      DENISE: I want my baby to grow upin a nice, big house with a yard,and Beth and Steve, their house was-- that was perfect.They have yards, a lot of tall, tall treesand a big two-story house.There's nothing else the other couple could have said or doneto make it any different, to make me even think

    • 18:31

      DENISE [continued]: of not choosing Steve and Beth.

    • 18:34

      NARRATOR: The feeling was mutual.Beth and Steve had only been back home from Abrazo for fourdays when Denise phoned them.

    • 18:41

      BETH: We went on and on and on about our childrenand, obviously, the loves of our livesand just really had a great conversation.

    • 18:51

      STEVE: Good first conversations.

    • 18:53

      BETH: Yeah.We just really clicked.[MUSIC PLAYING]

    • 19:07

      NARRATOR: Back in California, attorney Durand Cookhas a new birth mother to interview.She already has four children.

    • 19:14

      DURAND COOK: Why are you choosing adoptionversus parenting this time?What would you say to adoptive parents if they ask you that?

    • 19:20

      TERI: I would say I've been through it.It's been difficult. It's been rough.And it's nothing I would want to do again.I mean, it's got this wonderful sides,but it's got its bad sides.And just right now, the situationwith the father of the baby is just very hard.It's hard.And I've already been--

    • 19:41

      NARRATOR: Teri found Durand Cook in the yellow pages.As soon as he got her call, he arrangedfor her to fly in from Tucson, Arizonato go through his induction process.Now that he has Teri on the spot, one of his couplescan meet her tomorrow.

    • 19:56

      DURAND COOK: I have to go home at night and sleep,so can I go home tonight and know if we helpfind a home for this unborn child,that I've done the right thing by you and the baby?

    • 20:06

      TERI: Definitely.

    • 20:07

      DURAND COOK: I can be at peace about that?

    • 20:09

      TERI: Definitely.

    • 20:10

      DURAND COOK: The law in general--

    • 20:11

      NARRATOR: Unlike Abrazo, he chooses the parentsfor the birth mothers, and then arranges a face-to-face meetingbetween him.For Durand, there is a potential problem with Teri, though.She's not Caucasian.She's Hispanic, and so is the baby's father.

    • 20:26

      DURAND COOK: It's our time face-to-face to be able to kindof--

    • 20:28

      NARRATOR: There are only three couples in Durand's black book,who have indicated they would be preparedto adopt an Hispanic baby.Durand makes his first choice of parent.It's not very scientific.He relies on gut instinct.

    • 20:43

      DURAND COOK: This is a very Caucasian-looking couple.She has blond hair and blue eyes,and he has brown hair and green eyes.But they're a very attractive couple,and she's a very attractive birth mom.And they're very light skinned, and this baby obviouslywill have olive skin.

    • 21:15

      CRAIG: This is Craig.

    • 21:16

      DURAND COOK: Craig, hi.This is Durand Cook, Craig.

    • 21:18

      CRAIG: Hey, Durand.How you doing?

    • 21:19

      DURAND COOK: Hey, I'm doing good.Now again, just going back, because I wanted to just coverthis before I tell you about her,you've checked on your intake questionnaire,and we talked about it at the adoption conferencethat you're open to several different combinationsof ethnic backgrounds.

    • 21:33

      CRAIG: Mm-hm.

    • 21:34

      DURAND COOK: So this young lady that'shere, this will be her fifth child, so-- and they're Latin.They're actually Hispanic or Mexican.

    • 21:46

      CRAIG: OK.

    • 21:49

      NARRATOR: Teri has only one real worry--that the prospective parents are able to give her child a moresecure upbringing than she can.

    • 21:57

      TERI: Is my child going to be secure with them?Are they-- do they have a stable relationship,or do you think they're going to make it through the childhoodyears being together?I think, to me, it's the most important.

    • 22:15

      DURAND COOK: You ready?

    • 22:16

      TERI: Yep.

    • 22:17

      DURAND COOK: Are you sure?

    • 22:17

      TERI: Yeah.

    • 22:18

      DURAND COOK: [INAUDIBLE].One more hug.

    • 22:18

      TERI: Yeah.

    • 22:19

      DURAND COOK: All right.All right.Her we go.

    • 22:24

      NARRATOR: The first couple of Durand ranghave arrived in his Beverly Hills office earlythe next morning.For Durand, this matchmaking is the high pointof what he thinks of as his healing mission.

    • 22:34

      DURAND COOK: They're here.Unless they left, they're here.Oh, now they're here.

    • 22:36

      TERI: Hi.

    • 22:37

      WIFE: Hi.

    • 22:38

      TERI: Hi.I'm Teri.Hi.

    • 22:41

      DURAND COOK: Then I was going to just pause a minute.So I just want to do that, and then Iwant to acknowledge you as a human being,as a mom, how courageous you are, in my view,to be able to have given birth to your childrenand struggling along raising them with all the challenges

    • 23:01

      DURAND COOK [continued]: that go with that.You realize that this baby is full Hispanic and Mexican.And how do you feel about that?And how does your family feel about bringinga child in that would have a different skin tone than yours?

    • 23:12

      WIFE: That's never been an issue with us.I mean when you go through the home study the first time,they ask you a lot of questions about this.They ask you how your neighbors will feel about it,how your friends will feel about it.So we really don't care what our neighbors think.That was our response.All of our friends-- most of our friendsare not Caucasian to start with, our close friends.And--

    • 23:32

      CRAIG: I mean I think where we live too.

    • 23:33

      NARRATOR: This match looks like an immediate success.But although race might not be an issue for the LeClairs,it is for most of Durand's clients.It is an uncomfortable fact and onethat those in the adoption businessdo not like discussing, but there are different pricesfor adopting different races.A price schedule has emerged whereblack and other non-white babies are

    • 23:55

      NARRATOR [continued]: charged at much lower rates.

    • 23:58

      DURAND COOK: The reality is that mixtures of various racesare probably less desirable than the Caucasian infant.So there are probably, for example, maybe 30 or 40 couplesavailable for every Caucasian infant that'shealthy and available for adoption, where

    • 24:19

      DURAND COOK [continued]: if you were to take, let's say, an African-American child,there might be one home.We might even have to look for a home for that child.The child and the children are just more prevalent,and they're not as actively sought after.[MUSIC PLAYING]

    • 24:43

      DENISE: Hello?

    • 24:44

      BETH: Denise?

    • 24:44

      DENISE: Uh-huh.

    • 24:45

      BETH: It's Beth.

    • 24:46

      DENISE: Hi.

    • 24:46

      BETH: How are you?

    • 24:47

      DENISE: Find.How are you?

    • 24:48

      BETH: Pretty good.How's your day been?

    • 24:51

      NARRATOR: Back in Charlotte, North Carolina,Beth and Steve have been talking to Denise several times a week.The Slatterys are paying for all her expensesand so have committed financiallyto the relationship.But the baby isn't due for another three months,and they want to meet to make sure it will work.

    • 25:11

      DENISE: Look who's going to come right there.

    • 25:14

      NARRATOR: The big day has arrived.Steve, Beth, and Shelly are on their wayto Denise's apartment.

    • 25:28

      STEVE: Hello.

    • 25:32

      DENISE: Hi.

    • 25:35

      STEVE: Hi, Dakota.

    • 25:36

      BETH: Hi, Dakota.How are you, sweetheart?

    • 25:41

      NARRATOR: Once the agency has helped with the initial match,it leaves everyone to work out the relationship on their own.For Beth, Steve, and Denise, it's a crucial test.Will they get on?It's important that they do.They're committed to staying in touch in the yearsahead in the interests of the unborn child.

    • 26:03

      DENISE: How come you're shy?

    • 26:05

      BETH: Oh, we want to go straight for the toy.

    • 26:11

      NARRATOR: It's the two-year-olds whoprovide this otherwise unlikely combinationwith some common ground.

    • 26:20

      DENISE: No, they go on the Christmas treefor Christmas for Santa Claus.You know, I hope someday to find somebodyto have a marriage just like theirsand just their whole life, the way they parent.You know, I mean I really would hopeto grow and be more like they are,because they are really great.They're exactly what I wanted for this baby.

    • 26:37

      BETH: Oh, I felt it was awesome.I really did.We had a great time with Denise, and we went to dinner,and her son and Shelly got along great.And we just had a really good opportunity to bond.

    • 26:54

      DENISE: She didn't know.She thought it might be a boy, but she wasn't sure.His legs were going down.Now [INAUDIBLE].

    • 27:04

      NARRATOR: The baby will be a boy.Denise had invited Beth to a regular antenatal appointment,so she, too, could be a part of the process.They seem to be getting on well, but will itlast once the baby is born?Denise hopes so.

    • 27:23

      DENISE: It probably won't be as much as it is right now,but it's probably still going to be phone calls every weekor two and pictures and letters every chance that we both get.I think it's going to stay really, really close to them.I'm really lucky to have them in my lives,and I want to stay a part of their lives.

    • 27:40

      NARRATOR: But things could still go wrong before then.Beth and Steve have to put a brave face on the factthat Denise can change her mind at any point up toand immediately after the baby is born.

    • 27:51

      BETH: If it gets to the end, and she feels confidentshe would like to parent the baby, then that'swhat God had in mind and we'll be happy to honor that.

    • 28:04

      STEVE: Yeah, same with me too.[MUSIC PLAYING]

    • 28:13

      MRS. GARNER: Oh, I'm shaking like-- I'mshaking like I don't know what.So close to us,

    • 28:24

      NARRATOR: The Garners know all about birth mothers changingtheir minds.Unable to reconcile themselves to their failed adoption,they've flown to Seattle and drivento where their birth mother, Linda, lives.

    • 28:36

      MRS. GARNER: I'm so overwhelmed standing here so closeto her, the woman that has ripped out our heartand put us in terrible depression and sadness.And she's right here.Nothing has happened.She goes on with her life like nothing has happened.I'm so full of anger, and there's so

    • 28:58

      MRS. GARNER [continued]: many questions I would like to ask her,and I want to have the answer.I'd like to have the answer.Where is the baby, Linda?When was the baby born?Who has the baby?Who has our baby that we have gone through all these monthswith you to get from you?Where is the baby?

    • 29:13

      MR. GARNER: I think I would just wanther to know that we're on our way to the police departmentto file criminal charges against her.And so perhaps, she would at least feel some fear.

    • 29:31

      NARRATOR: They decide they're too upset to confront Lindaand will leave it to the police.The Garners file charges that afternoon.They're pleasantly surprised at how seriously the policetake their case.

    • 29:47

      MR. GARNER: You want me to tell them?OK.Well, it went very well.We had a very cooperative officer.

    • 29:56

      MRS. GARNER: They've already startedto work on the case in the fraud department.There's already a case right now,and they will just start to work on it.This gets really, really good.

    • 30:05

      ADOPTION AGENT: This is what you have on account,and how I got to this was you have all your deposits.

    • 30:14

      NARRATOR: Meanwhile, Beth and Steveare a step closer to completing their family.Like the Garners, their financial outlay thus farhas been significant without any guarantee of a happy ending.Funding Denise for the final months of her pregnancyhas meant that their costs are at the high end of Abrazo'sscale.It will be nearly $20,000 in total, still less

    • 30:37

      NARRATOR [continued]: than the American average of $30,000.Despite the high cost, they are in no doubtthat this kind of private agency adoptionis preferable to doing it through the state.

    • 30:49

      STEVE: It's being run more efficiently in the privatesector, and it's--

    • 30:53

      BETH: Absolutely.

    • 30:53

      STEVE: --And for it to exist in the private sectorand outside the government influence,there's got to be compensation there.And it's--

    • 31:03

      BETH: And it's more accessible-- having it be private,it's much more accessible to so many people.And there's not years of waiting.Obviously, with us, there was only two months.

    • 31:15

      ELIZABETH VANDERWERF: Money, I think,is one of the greatest evils in adoptionthat nobody ever wants to think about having to payto make an adoption happen.But the reality is that doctors don't give away their services.Hospitals don't deliver babies for free.And the goal that we have is to try to make sure that,

    • 31:40

      ELIZABETH VANDERWERF [continued]: at all possible points, that we're minimizing the costsso that normal families can adopt, not just the wealthy,and so that children can go into middle class homes,where family comes first.

    • 31:58

      NARRATOR: Back in Los Angeles and $35,000 poorerfrom their two failed adoptions, the Garnershave dismantled their baby nursery.It's too painful a reminder for them.But there has been progress in Seattle.The police duly investigated their complaint,and after getting a full confession from Linda,charged her with fraud.

    • 32:19

      NARRATOR [continued]: It turned out there had never been a baby at all.Linda was just overweight and had faked her pregnancy test.

    • 32:28

      MRS. GARNER: It's like the worst emotional situationyou can think about.Here we are.I cannot have babies on my own, and we do everything we canto have a baby to start a family together,and how a woman can do this to another woman,pretend that she's pregnant, calling me,telling me what to buy for the baby.

    • 32:49

      MRS. GARNER [continued]: At that time, my parents were here from Sweden.She calls me up and tells, you have to go and getwarm clothes for the baby.It's cold up here.I want to see how the nursery looks.Put the nursery room together.Send me pictures.She played it on the emotional side so terrible.

    • 33:09

      DOCTOR: Pull back, and push down.

    • 33:12

      NURSE: Grab her leg.

    • 33:14

      NARRATOR: Denise has gone into labor.

    • 33:19

      NURSE: Yay.

    • 33:21

      NARRATOR: She's invited Beth and Steve to bewith her in the delivery room.For Beth, it's the closest she will ever get to childbirth.

    • 33:34

      NURSE: And push, two, three, four, five.You're doing it.Seven, eight.

    • 33:43

      DOCTOR: [INAUDIBLE] the car keys here soon.

    • 33:45

      NARRATOR: The Slatterys have already named the baby Jake.Denise is happy with that.[INTERPOSING VOICES][BABY CRYING]

    • 34:04

      NURSE: OK.Let's dry you off, get your warm.Yeah. [INAUDIBLE].Real good.

    • 34:21

      BETH: He could start crying right away, didn't he?Yeah.Yeah.

    • 34:36

      NARRATOR: Under Texan law, Denise now has just 48 hoursto change her mind about the adoption.After that, the Slatterys will be free to take the baby home.

    • 35:03

      DENISE: You got to wake up, silly.You can't just sit there and sleep all your whole life.Your life will fly by.Your life will fly by if you don't wake up.

    • 35:13

      NARRATOR: The following day, Denise spends some time alonewith her son.She feels it's important to get to know him.

    • 35:26

      DENISE: I think he looks more like the birth father,and he's got little parts of me--his ears and his little cleft chin.He gets that from me, unless most of it's his birth father.Long skinny arms, long skinny legs, little skinny fingers,and he's a lot like his birth father.

    • 35:50

      NARRATOR: Between 10% and 15% of birth mothersdo change their minds about adoptionafter the child is born.At the moment, Denise has resolved to go ahead.

    • 36:04

      DENISE: I stayed up all last night spending time with him,because it was the last night I was going to have Christmas.

    • 36:10

      ELIZABETH VANDERWERF: It's precious time.

    • 36:14

      DENISE: And everybody told me, well, youshould just take him to the nursery and get restand all that.I was like, you all don't understand,because it's the last time you're going to have with him.

    • 36:29

      ELIZABETH VANDERWERF: In this way, it's right.In this way and in this time.

    • 36:34

      DENISE: And it's the one time that-- the last time you'regoing to be there and actually be their mommy,and you're their mommy.I can't take care of him, and I knowI can't, because I already have Dakota,and he doesn't even have everything he needs.So I know that I can't take home another babyand take care of him.

    • 36:57

      ELIZABETH VANDERWERF: It doesn't make it hurt any less.

    • 36:59

      DENISE: Nope.It really hurts more, because you know that.

    • 37:09

      NARRATOR: The strict time limit here on this agonizing decisionis one reason why adopting couples favor Texan birthmothers.

    • 37:16

      ELIZABETH VANDERWERF: What we're goingto do is we're going to start there,and if you'll start filling in the blanks,I'm going to ask you to initial the bottom of each pageto show that you read it.

    • 37:32

      NARRATOR: Once the forms have been signed,there is no going back.A variation on this scene is played out around 30,000 timesa year in the States in what's become a multimillion dollarprivate adoption industry.

    • 37:56

      NARRATOR [continued]: Barely two days after giving birth to her son,Denise hands baby Jake over to his new parents.[MUSIC PLAYING]Their family is now complete.

    • 38:36

      NARRATOR [continued]: Denise's only consolation-- she will always know where he isand how he's doing.

Baby Business (2000)

View Segments Segment :

Unique ID: bd-sociology-docu-bb-AA04247


The private adoption agency has become a multi-million dollar industry, and some laws favor the birth parents. This documentary follows two sets of prospective adoptive parents: one who completed their adoption and one who found themselves initiating a police investigation. The money involved, the different adoption options, and the adoption laws are examined.

Baby Business (2000)

The private adoption agency has become a multi-million dollar industry, and some laws favor the birth parents. This documentary follows two sets of prospective adoptive parents: one who completed their adoption and one who found themselves initiating a police investigation. The money involved, the different adoption options, and the adoption laws are examined.

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