In the United Kingdom, a couple paid a woman nearly £5,000 (or 8,000 U.S. dollars) to keep her baby and give him to them to adopt. They also paid her monthly sums to help her with food and other expenses. Initially, the woman was planning to have an abortion but when a friend told the couple about their situation, they offered to take her baby.
The baby boy was born in 2014 but the couple recently discovered that the arrangement they made was illegal. According to the Daily Mail, under English law private adoptions are forbidden, and the payment of extra fees is considered a criminal offense. If prosecuted, the couple could face six-months in jail or a large fine.
In 2013, the couple started considering adoption after struggling with infertility for five years. In fact, they started a course to learn about the process in England. However, when a junior colleague asked for time off work to help a friend get an abortion, the husband told her that he and his wife were trying to adopt a baby.
The judge overseeing the case, Justice Keehan, said the following about the situation: “They felt that, given their financial circumstances, they were not in a position to look after another child. Accordingly, they had come to the difficult and sad conclusion that she should undergo a termination. When told that there were two people, a Sikh couple, who would be potential carers for their unborn child, they were delighted.”
Thankfully, Justice Keehan realized the exchange was genuine and that the baby was now in safe hands. The biological mother added, “The father told me that terminating a pregnancy is the biggest sin and that it was far better that the child should be born and placed with a prosperous couple.”
The couple said that throughout the pregnancy in 2013 they paid the mother between £30 and £40 a month to cover food ‘and the like’. But five days before the baby was born in January last year, the couple visited the natural parents and were asked for a loan of £5,000. This, the court heard, was because the natural mother was in England only on a student visa and needed to satisfy the financial requirements for a more permanent visa.
When social workers were told that £4,900 had been handed over, they reported the payments to police. However in a ruling published yesterday, Mr Justice Keehan said the adoption of the boy, who is now 18 months old, could go ahead – as his upbringing so far had been ‘exemplary’.
He added: ‘There are strong considerations against permitting money to be paid for the handing over of a child or for the adoption of a child.’ But the judge pointed out that most of the loan had already been paid back, and said he was satisfied that the adoption had been ‘a sincere arrangement and not a commercial arrangement’. He went on to say that while paying for a private adoption was a crime, ‘the ultimate consideration for the court is the best interests of the child’.