Cincinnati Magazine – December 1982

07 Apr
In an article titled How to Adopt a Baby they detailed the different requirements from both public and private agencies as well as independent.  I am only going to detail the private agencies below as this is turning into a super long post, but many things strike me looking back thirty years.
Wait times were long – anywhere between two and four plus years to get a baby placed and until you were close to the top of the list you did not do any of the requirements, or even officially become approved to adopt.  You sent in your inquiry and then were told to go home and wait a couple of years. 
Based on the conversion rate provided by The Peoples History page, if you have $100 Converted from 1980 to 2005 it would be equivalent to $243.45 today. Prices to adopt have more than doubled or even tripled and you have to wonder why as they do not seem to provide any additional services to either party.  The only thing I can see that they do today that is different that actually costs the agency is the sheer volume of advertising they do which I don’t agree with at all.  No one should be using slick advertising messages, websites with no physical address or names of actual people behind the scenes, in one I was on yesterday, it does not even name the adoption agency but has profiles of prospective parents who obviously came from some agency, and it made me wonder if the mothers will even know who the agency is that they sign away their right to parent too.  Secrets and lies are wrong and when you have agencies boasting they spend over a million dollars a year advertising for birth mothers then frankly that’s a huge red flag that should send you running because they are in it for the wrong reasons period.  I also believe that the adoption tax credit allows the prices and profits to be inflated…especially when you look at the then vs now prices… 
I found it interesting how only one agency referred to the parents as birth parents, all the rest used biological parents, and that the agency who used birth parents was the only one who talked about the adoptees searching, how to talk to the child about adoption etc.  Most were so focused on dealing with the infertility aspect which also seemed to be a requirement to be able to adopt.  Perhaps the long wait periods were good that they allowed them time to accept that they would not have their own children.  
I did not detail the Independent Adoption process which was just using a lawyer and the prospective parents had to find their own baby to adopt, but there is an interesting insert into that portion of the article about black market and grey market adoptions which seems to be trying to convince the public that independent adoptions through a lawyer are not all bad…
Also as a side note when reading below the Public agency not detailed defined “special needs” as being a black infant or a child over 10. 
Catholic Charities:
Requirements: Married at least three years and marriage must be valid in the church.  At least one spouse must be Catholic and child must be raised Catholic.  Both must be under 40 and in reasonable health.  No more than one child can already be in the home.  Mother must stay at home at least until the adoption is final and preferably longer.
Process:  Interview and then completion of formal application that has such soul-searching questions as “Why do you yourself want to adopt a child?” Character references and biographical profile created.  Approximately two years later the training happens that discusses infertility, adoption legality and the problems and joys of adoption.  Homestudy, individual and joint visits and then approval to adopt.  After the approval is given it takes about a year before placement.  Cost is $1,700 and due at adoption finalization.
Additional details: Biological mother and father are counseled prior to voluntary surrender of child.  Mother is on average 16 to 20 years old.  Biological parents are not necessarily Catholic but know the child will be raised Catholic.  Babies are generally 3 – 4 weeks old at placement.  In 1981 – 49 babies were placed, 10 of which were special needs. 
Jewish Family Services:
Requirements: Married at least three years, at least one spouse Jewish and the child will be raised Jewish.  Mother no more than 38 years old and Father no more than 41.  No more than one child can already be in the home and must have 3 year gap.  Mother must stay at home at until child is 1-year-old.
Process: Group meeting and then one on one with case worker including investigative process.  They work to dispel the myth that the biological parents don’t care. No length of time provided.  Sliding fee based on income and $100 application fee.
Additional details: In over half the cases the agency works with the biological parents to determine what is important to them and what is important for the child.  They are given non-identifying  info on adoptive parents and relay their wishes to the adoptive parents.  They placed 10 children in 1981.
Lutheran Social Services:
Requirements: Married at least two years,  both must be active members of local congregation.  Age requirement between 22-37 years.  Fertility testing required. 
Process: Approximately 1 – 1/2 years after submitting adoption inquiry you will attend an information meeting and receive formal application.  Then attend parenting classes for a total of 24 hours and then 5 group meetings.  Adoption study, physical and a “feeling autobiography” on each applicant and then home visits and interviews.   Cost is between $500 and $1,725 on a sliding scale based on income with a $50 application fee.
Additional details: Biological parents are provided with three to five profiles to choose from and are provided non-id on the adoptive parents chosen.  Agency placement approximately 15 per year.
The Children’s Home of Cincinnati:
Requirements: Married at least three years.  Age requirement between 25–37 years.  Must have investigated their infertility. 
Process: Two to three years after submitting adoption inquiry you will attend an information meeting and receive formal application and fill out biographical profile and answer a 13 page questionnaire.  Then attend group sessions for four weeks to discuss infertility, attitudes about birth parents, talking to the child about adoption, hereditary vs environment, adoptees searching.  They view videos of birth mothers talking to adoptees and receive take home information.  Home visits and interviews and then approximately six months later take placement of baby.  Fees are based on income and is 5% on incomes of $15,000 or less and 9% on incomes of $30,000 or more with a maximum of $3,200 payable when the adoption is final, plus $25 application fee.
Additional details: They counselled 300 pregnant women in the year but only 79 placed so many chose to raise their child.  The birth parent(s) are teenagers they take an active role in selecting the adoptive parents and some write letters to be given to the child at the appropriate time.  Agency placed 35 black / biracial and 44 white infants in 1981.

Posted by on April 7, 2011 in Adoption, Uncategorized


4 responses to “Cincinnati Magazine – December 1982

  1. dawn

    April 7, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    This was interesting. I was adopted during this time and had been wondering about the process. I was adopted through Catholic Social Services, which if I understand it correctly, is an agency under the broader Catholic Charities organization, but in a different state. I’ll have to look to see if I can see if anything similar in Michigan, thank you for the idea (I think I may have been one of those fast-tracked “special needs” babies. It was something I suspected as a kid – and it made me feel terrible about myself, like I came off the remaindered pile, or something).

    Anyways, I also found the lines enforcing or preferring stay-at-home motherhood from the Catholic and Jewish agency requirements to be interesting. It presumes and enforces not only a class status (those who can afford stay-at-home parenthood), but also a single mode of acceptable motherhood/womanhood.


  2. The adopted ones

    April 7, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Welcome Dawn – I found it intriguing as they say today it is so different than before and I agree it is compared to my era…but not really that different than 30 years ago in many areas. Google is an amazing resource. The class status reinforcement is an interesting take away that I missed…but you are right.


  3. Von

    April 7, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Very interesting! Want to say more about the
    grey market’?



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