Lorena Martinez – Sliding Fee Structure in Adoption Agencies Based on Child’s Race

NPR has an ongoing series entitled, “The Race Card Project: Six-Word Essays.” In this series, listeners submit six words in which they sum up their experiences, thoughts, grievances, observations, etc. about race. Though it is difficult to express all of one’s thoughts about race in a mere six words, one Louisiana woman was able to condense her experiences using the words, “Black babies cost less to adopt” (NPR.org).

NPR spoke to Caryn Lantz, a white Minnesota woman whom is an adoptive parent to two African-American boys, about her experience with the adoption process. When initially talking to the social worker, Lantz was introduced to the sliding fee scale for the children based on their race (NPR.org). Adoption agencies claim that this sliding fee scale is “altruistic” and is there in order to “provide incentives” for families to adopt non-white babies, or babies that are of different ethnic and racial backgrounds than the adoptive parents, especially when the adoptive parents are a bit apprehensive about crossing racial boundaries and becoming a transracial family (NPR.org). Though adoption agencies are moving toward a fee structure based on the adoptive parents’ income rather than the child’s race, many agencies still implement this sort of fee scale that highlights inequality and segregation based on racial background.

This story calls attention to the fact that many people are still wary about crossing racial boundaries and thus still viewing race as a dividing line amongst people. The fact that the demand for adopting white babies skyrockets the adoption fee costs and lowers prices for the less desired non-white, namely black, babies is appalling. This sort of “supply-and-demand” approach to the adoption of children only serves to highlight the fact that many Americans up to this point are still seeing those of non-white racial backgrounds as undesirable, and even shows that inequalities based solely on race are still highly prevalent in the United States.


Below is a snapshot of the differential costs of babies based on their race from various adoption agencies. The website from where this was extracted decided to remain anonymous and no longer makes this information publicly available.


Photo Courtesy of Caryn Lantz


NPR Staff. “Six Words: ‘Black Babies Cost Less To Adopt'” NPR. NPR, 27 June 2013. Web. 27 June 2013. <http://www.npr.org/2013/06/27/195967886/six-words-black-babies-cost-less-to-adopt&gt;.


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