Scholarships for Birthmothers…

27 Jan


I have deep concerns on this concept, and have since I first read about it.  It would be one thing if all expectant mothers who went to a specific agency for help were entitled to apply for the scholarship, regardless if they chose adoption or parenting.  The concern I see is that the requirement to apply for the scholarship is that you had to have chosen, and placed, your baby for adoption.

The only saving grace I see is – getting the scholarship is not guaranteed – at least that is what is provided in the FAQ’s, but I don’t see any transparency where they offer details about how many applications they received vs. how many were granted each year.  Without that minimal level of transparency, then it seems wrong.

What do you think?  What am I missing, or am I right to feel this crosses the line?  Can we have a civil discussion about this?  I’m not linking to any site here – you should be able to google and come up with agencies that offer this if you need more info, or, we can just discuss the concept – at what point does it cross the line for you, what makes it acceptable, and why.


Posted by on January 27, 2014 in Adoption, Ethics


Tags: , , , , ,

20 responses to “Scholarships for Birthmothers…

  1. Don't We Look Alike?

    January 27, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Stuff like this starts to remind me of Lois Lowry’s “The Giver.”


    • TAO

      January 28, 2014 at 2:17 pm

      I haven’t read the book: The dark side no one wants to think of? Or?


      • Don't We Look Alike?

        January 29, 2014 at 3:42 am

        It’s a really good book for older kids/teens. So good that it was the only book my son ever loved reading. They live in a futuristic world, and you should see where the babies come from . . . .


        • TAO

          January 29, 2014 at 2:27 pm

          You should do a post on that…either the book wasn’t written when I was that age or it wasn’t on the very strict pre-approved list of types of books I could read. I remember finding a copy of “Love Story” at my Aunt’s house when we were visiting and reading it – the very sheltered 10ish child reading it…I felt so daring…


          • Don't We Look Alike?

            January 29, 2014 at 3:05 pm

            That’s a great idea. I would need to re-read the book first . . . .


          • Don't We Look Alike?

            January 29, 2014 at 3:06 pm

            Re Love Story: hahaha. It came out when I was in junior high, and my mother wouldn’t let me read it, but I borrowed my friend’s copy.


  2. cb

    January 27, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    It sends the message that one is only worthy of help if one relinquishes their child.

    As for the scholarshps not being guaranteed, I suspect that would be illegal in many if not all states so I suspect that they have to say that they aren’t guaranteed, whether they are or not.


    • TAO

      January 28, 2014 at 2:20 pm

      CB – yeah the conditional aspect bothers me I think the most – only if you place are you valuable.

      I’m sure there are many regulations that come into play…


  3. Brent Snavely

    January 27, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    It really looks like trading infants for money, although the money is in the form of tuition or whatever benefit(s) are part of the package.


    • TAO

      January 28, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      Brent – for me it’s definitely not the same as giving money, but it’s in a very grey area because of the only condition to be eligible to apply is having placed. Seems wrong…


      • cb

        January 29, 2014 at 2:06 am

        But when it is upfront, i.e. as part of an advertising by an agency, then it seems similar to giving money.

        Btw I am sure that on one of your previous posts about Utah birthfathers, there was something about scholarships – I’ll have to go and have a look when I get home (7 hours time)


  4. kellie3

    January 28, 2014 at 2:24 am

    I agree with Brent. It looks like trading infants for money. The agencies doing this seem to be trying to find a way around directly paying cash for a baby.


    • TAO

      January 28, 2014 at 2:24 pm

      Kellie – I’m sure the scholarships are minimal compared to the total cost of education, but what if it makes the difference in those pro’s and con’s list of parenting or placing? Just another carrot?


  5. Wryn

    January 29, 2014 at 1:25 am

    I confess that I don’t know much about this issue but a quick Google search reveals that there are a number of scholarships available to mothers, especially to single and low income mothers. If a woman chooses to parent, the adoption agency should absolutely help her apply for those as well as setting her up with other resources and agencies dedicated to helping mothers and young children.

    I see the requirement of having placed a baby less as a bribe to place and more of an attempt to get the scholarship to woman who might have less scholarship opportunities otherwise. But, again according to a quick Google search, it seems that most of the scholarships for birthmothers comes from adoption agencies (and a couple from other birthmothers) and that fact, regardless of intention, could feel like pressure to place.

    But if an adoption agency opens up its scholarship opportunities all expectant mothers would that take away some of the already limited help offered particularly to birthmothers? Perhaps a better solution might be to have scholarships for birthmothers coming from a neutral agency?


    • TAO

      January 29, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      Hi Wryn,

      Yes, some agencies state they will help mothers who parent, but lately when I look – many have removed any words about that – which is a good thing if they used to say that but didn’t follow up. Not very many years ago they hyped they would help her parent to get them in the door. It makes it clearer to the woman with the unplanned pregnancy that they really just want her baby.

      You are right it is too close of an association having the agency offer it – it comes off as ethically on very shaky ground very close to the bottom of the slippery slope. I read the requirements to apply on one and having placed was the only requirement – there wasn’t any – how we determine who gets it and how we make that decision.

      Scholarships are good, and that is why I am torn, but if they have taken their average number of placements / divided by dollars available to determine amount of of scholarship that year, then it’s an inducement – plain and simple because it is set up that way instead of awarding based on the merits of Candidate 1 over Candidate 10 – they all get it. It still makes me cringe and perhaps I am too old-school that says there is no inducement allowed – the line in the sand is that the mother makes the choice based solely on her life, and her child’s life.


  6. leenilee

    January 30, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    It is a promise of doing something (albeit a good thing) for a mother, but only if she places her child for adoption. This is coercive. Although, since not all mothers end up receiving the scholarship, I’m not sure how much of an incentive it is.


    • TAO

      January 30, 2014 at 7:09 pm

      Leenilee – I realize they don’t owe anyone transparency, but how do you know not all mothers who apply don’t automatically get the scholarship? We assume there are only so many slots because that’s generally how scholarships are set up – but what if their number of slots each year – is the average number of mothers who place each year? I think with the history of ethical fails in adoption, that all adoption providers should go above, and beyond, to be transparent and squeaky clean in their choices. Still not comfortable with the idea and I don’t think I ever will get there.


      • leenilee

        January 30, 2014 at 7:41 pm

        Now that you mention it, there can’t be that many mothers who do place each year, you’re right. It’s pretty much like offering money to a mother if she places, just under a different guise.


  7. Valentine Logar

    January 31, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    I don’t think you are missing anything at all. It seems shady at best. At worst, just another bribe.


    • TAO

      January 31, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      I think you are right Val – it’s bothered me for years since I first found out about it. Another thing, if it was a good thing – they why don’t the bring it into the light of day… It’s slimy…



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