Please Don’t Be Offended, But I Want Your Baby

Imagine…. a waitress who is five months pregnant is working at a restaurant. After finishing serving a group of 12 adults, she finds a pre-printed business card-size note next to her tip at the table. She is married, but isn’t wearing her ring on the job.

The note reads:

“We wish to adopt a baby. We are a caring, happily married, financially secure and loving couple. We want to share our joy and love with a child.” The couple’s names and phone numbers are included, as well as that of the couple’s lawyer.

It happened in Everett, Washington last month. Thanks to Cathy at Chief Family Officer for e-mailing the link.

Should the woman be offended? No, seriously, I’m asking.

My wife’s response was a resounding yes. Or rather, some resounding expletives. If put into the woman’s shoes, my wife wonders:

1. Why did they think they could leave that message for me? Because I’m a waitress and therefore can’t afford my baby?

2. Because I wasn’t wearing my wedding ring, did they conclude my pregnancy is unplanned?

My reaction was more docile:

1. If I wasn’t working a low-wage job, would I be as offended?

2. If a couple is going to solicit me, isn’t it better they give me a note instead of putting me on the spot with a verbal confrontation?

3. If I’m in a “good place” with my pregnancy, confident and proud, this note seems amusing in its approach and sad for the couple, but not offensive to me. I’m actually a little sympathetic toward them.

My wife says you can’t go around randomly soliciting pregnant women. Yeah, okay, I concede it’s an unusual thing to do.

At my wife’s place of work — a hospital birth center — two couples in the past few years have asked if they can leave cards or biographies, to be put on file for mothers wanting to place their infant for adoption. Sorry, the hospital isn’t an adoption agency. And really, if a mother wants to place her baby, an adoption agency takes over at that point. You can’t sneak a good word in for yourself, circumventing the agency’s procedures.

Still, put yourself in the mind of a couple who is having difficulty adopting a baby. Aside from waiting for an adoption agency to call, what can you do? Buy a classified newspaper ad? Post on Craigslist? It must be nerve racking seeing pregnant woman everywhere in public and wondering if one of them might be open to adoption, if only you could find out somehow.

So, I’m just saying I see the other side. A restaurant setting is conducive to slipping someone a note.

Oh, but don’t mind me. I have a penis. What do you uterus users think?

Comments

31 Responses to “Please Don’t Be Offended, But I Want Your Baby”

  1. Kayla says:

    While I think the note was better than a verbal request, I still think I might be a little horrified. That’s really weird and more than a little sad. That poor couple must have been pretty desperate.

    June 4th, 2008 at 12:55 am

  2. Tracy says:

    What this couple did was offensive on several levels, but I only feel sorry for them. My husband and I spent years trying to conceive. Unless you have been through it you can’t understand how heartbreaking it can be to wonder if you will ever have a child. We now have a beautiful little girl, but many couples are not so lucky.

    June 4th, 2008 at 1:26 am

  3. old momma says:

    I think the waitress’ response is overdramatic and lacks empathy.

    Though I don’t think the note was tactful or even well-considered, it isn’t issued with bad intentions. I’ve seen pregnant young women cornered into hasty marriages with pretty lousy men because they felt they had no other options.

    Sometimes a pregnant young woman needs knowledge of opportunity and external support to have the courage to offer her child for adoption.

    I think the note-writing couple was desperately searching for a rare opportunity for private domestic adoption. I don’t think they deserve the national public humiliation this indignant couple wishes to dish out.

    June 4th, 2008 at 5:31 am

  4. cj says:

    I’m not at all offended. I think it is refreshing when I hear stories of people who see someone they think might need help and try to help them. I know in our culture the polite thing to do is to mind one’s own business. But this couple did nothing more than to offer help in as inoffensive a way as possible under the circumstances.

    Should people mind their own business when they see someone they think needs help and when they can give that help just because they may be wrong?

    If I have a room to spare and I see a woman in dirty clothes crying on a park bench, should I fail to offer it to her because she might not be homeless and the offer might offend her?

    I do grant you that a pregnant waitress (unmarried or otherwise) is not as likely to be in need of help as the woman in the above example. But I just see nothing wrong with offering help in such an easy-to-disregard way. Period. Even if (or perhaps especially if) they hand these notes out to every pregnant woman they see.

    June 4th, 2008 at 5:46 am

  5. Katie says:

    I think this is totally inappropriate. The mere fact that something is very hard does not allow you disregard common decency.

    I don’t think people would think it was appropriate for someone who needed an organ transplant to solicit the family member of someone who recently died directly for the needed organ. Yet, this is pretty much the same thing. They are asking the woman to give up her baby forever to someone she doesn’t know.

    A generic statement of “It may be better to give up your baby for adoption if you are in a bad place” is okay when made nonspecifically in an educational effort, but definitely not okay if made by a couple wanting a baby to a specific pregnant woman they have never met before.

    June 4th, 2008 at 7:24 am

  6. Marianne O. says:

    I had something similar happen to me. Back in the mid-90′s, when I was a pregnant university student, the nurse doing my prenatal care tried to pitch her friends as great potential adoptive parents.

    Granted, she knew that I was planning to place the baby for adoption. HOWEVER she also knew that I had already selected the adoptive family and made arrangements through the Children’s Aid. I felt uncomfortable for the rest of my visits to that clinic.

    June 4th, 2008 at 8:00 am

  7. addy says:

    I think it is fine to give out cards…it may not have even been because the waitress is pregnant…she doesn’t even look pregnant in the video…I would never even ask her about it…she could just have a food baby…or just fat/retaining water…she is not what I would call noticeably pregnant…I have a friend that hands out cards that are similar and has fliers made but they give them to everyone…you never know who might know someone that might be considering adoption…I say be proactive about adoption maybe it could make the difference. when I was pregnant would I have been offended?…no way…although I am hispanic and I doubt that my spawn our hot commodities…LOL I think loosely like the same thing as handing out resumes or headshots to everyone who might know someone hiring. You never know til you try…Goodluck to all involved.

    June 4th, 2008 at 8:02 am

  8. addy says:

    forgot to add that the card does not say I want your baby…it says a baby…the couple makes it seem like the card was printed for her specifically…I think there is a difference…It would be more offensive if it were like handwritten on a napkin or something…sorry that I have two rambling posts now…

    June 4th, 2008 at 8:13 am

  9. Elle says:

    I would say this is not okay and goes beyond the boundaries of what a stranger has a right to comment upon. Someone’s reproduction is deeply, deeply personal, and it is none of a stranger’s business. To proposition someone who is expecting for their baby is completely absurd. Would you go up to a nursing mother and say “You know, it’s not too late to consider adoption” and hand her a card like this? What is the difference in that case and this one? I’m sure anyone would agree it’s inappropriate to proposition someone with an actual baby, so why is it any different to do so a few months before?

    Agencies advertise adoption all over the place. If someone is considering adoption for their baby to be, I’m fairly certain they wouldn’t have trouble finding and accessing those places. To have hopeful adoptive parents canvassing random pregnant women is unnecessary and offensive.

    Maybe I am just sensitive to this because it happened to my friend when we were teenagers. She was walking in the mall when a woman came up and handed her a flyer for an adoption agency, smiled and walked away. Maybe not a big deal to some, but to her it was another message that the world saw her as an unfit parent and undeserving of her baby, simply because of her age. Five years later he is a happy boy and she is a great mother, so in the long run it didn’t have much of an effect, but at the time the message was loud and clear and the last thing an emotional pregnant woman needed to hear from the world.

    June 4th, 2008 at 8:20 am

  10. Allison (CodeCrafter) says:

    While I feel sorry for the couple handing out the cards who are most likely doing it out of desperation it still is pretty offensive because they are making assumptions about the pregnant women that are basically to the effect of “We think we could care for your child better then you.” It also has an extra bit of conceit to it because they are trying to go outside the normal channels for adoption.

    June 4th, 2008 at 9:37 am

  11. 3FC says:

    I agree with Addy… the woman said herself that they didn’t even ask her about her pregnancy or make any comments about her being pregnant.

    The card looks generic… I also know quite a few people who hand out their cards (usually business cards, but I’ve seen some odd ones) to everyone, everywhere. When they pay bills they insert a card, eat at a restaurant they leave their card…

    I think this couple made the assumptions, not the ones looking to adopt.

    June 4th, 2008 at 9:49 am

  12. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    Completely not appropriate.

    Did they at least leave a much larger tip to apologize for their rudeness in assuming she didn’t want her baby?

    The only proper way to do this, IMHO, would be to engage the woman in conversation and, IF a conversation started, mention that they are looking to adopt and then if someone seeks more details (either for themselves or a friend), have a card made up ready with more information.

    I would be very offended if someone left me such a card, assuming my child was not wanted.

    I would be offended even if it was on a bus and they handed the card to me. But esp in a situation like this where it seems a judgement call on your ability to be a parent.

    As for the “they are leaving a card anywhere and everywhere they go” — um. I wouldn’t take random card from random person I did not know and recommend someone else give their card to them. Nor would I necessarily want to adopt my child to parents who were so desperate as to not realize what was appropriate, etc.

    If I wanted to give my child up for adoption, I’d either be talking to friends to get recommendations for people they KNOW (not a card they were handed randomly). Or an adoption agency.

    June 4th, 2008 at 9:56 am

  13. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    Er.
    and recommend someone else give their BABY to them. Of course

    June 4th, 2008 at 9:57 am

  14. Cindi says:

    I know what it is like to have trouble conceiving a child. You see all these wonderful parents with their children and those who aren’t so wonderful with children. You begin to think why can all of these women who shouldn’t have them or who really don’t want them be able to give birth and not me? Luckily, I ended up having two beautiful sons. We were licensed foster parents and were considering adoption. I suppose this couple saw a possible connection and took the chance. I don’t now how old the woman is. Cindi

    June 4th, 2008 at 12:38 pm

  15. Darby says:

    I can’t believe people think this is okay. Let’s pose it this way…

    There is a young woman grocery shopping with her three young children (ages 6, 4 and 2) in tow. She appears tired and haggard, and is openly stressed as she barely keeps the three children under control in the store. (Isn’t this how all of us moms appear in the grocery store?) And oh yeah, she isn’t wearing her wedding ring either.

    The couple approach her and hand her the same card, except that it says “a child” instead of “a baby.”

    Is this more inappropriate and offensive?

    And to respond to the idea that the couple is just “trying to help”: Just because I look like I’ve been run over by a truck when I’m out with my kids doesn’t mean I need anyone’s help, let alone someone offering to “help” by taking one of them.

    June 4th, 2008 at 12:55 pm

  16. AJ says:

    The adopting-a-child scenario is more offensive because a mother almost never places a child for adoption. However, unborn infants are often placed for adoption. It’s an apples and oranges comparison.

    June 4th, 2008 at 1:01 pm

  17. Sara says:

    I would be livid!! I agree with Katie’s analogy…this is the equivalent of handing out cards that solicit organ donation. I don’t see it as being a benign effort to “help” someone less fortunate, and agree that it’s rather conceited and condescending to assume that she is less fortunate and in need of help, or that they would be better parents than her. This goes well beyond the realm of appropriate behavior. I can’t even imagine how I would have reacted if I were her! This just blows my mind!!

    June 4th, 2008 at 1:02 pm

  18. PsychMamma says:

    I think the card was inappropriate and think it would have bothered me exactly because we have adoption agencies and normal legal procedures for pursuing adoption. I have friends who have waited on lists patiently and longingly while following the “rules.” This method seems to hint that the couple is better than (?) or more desperate than (?) other couples and somehow “above” the rules that govern others – both social and legal. I truly do understand the couple’s longing and desperation, but think we have an adoption system in place for good reasons. The safeguards provided by that system are for both parties, and this sort of solicitation just opens the door for lots of potential problems.

    June 4th, 2008 at 7:16 pm

  19. cj says:

    Well, as the friend of two people whose lives have been saved by donated organs, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with soliciting organ donation. I wouldn’t do it with a stranger, but if someone I knew had a relative who was close to death, I would (tactfully) ask what their wishes with respect to organ donation are, and I would encourage them to fill out the paperwork if necessary.

    OBVIOUSLY there is a huge difference between approaching a harried parent and offering to take a child and leaving a note indicating a desire to adopt an unborn child.

    A better analogy is this: if you saw a parent with kids being *borderline* abusive–not enough to report it, but enough to worry that the kids are being abused at home–would you approach to give a brochure about anger management classes? Most people wouldn’t, because the parent would likely be offended. But suppose you did that to one hundred parents and one of the hundred took the class and one child was spared abuse…wouldn’t that be worth offending the other 99 people?

    YES, it is a stretch to assume that this particular woman would want to give up her child. But if this couple hands the card out to one hundred pregnant women, the odds are good that at least one of them will be thinking about adoption. And it may be a real reassurance to that woman to see a happy couple and know that they want to adopt.

    Frankly, I think people are either too afraid of giving offense, or just don’t care enough about giving assistance.

    June 4th, 2008 at 7:35 pm

  20. Elle says:

    I think a situation with obvious abuse is hugely different, and a much more unlike scenario. In that case, the situation demands an obvious intervention, as you used the word abuse. In this situation, they meet a pregnant woman. What about her situation has clued them in to the fact that she might need help? Is pregnancy itself enough reason to make that judgment?

    Second of all, even if it was obvious that this young woman was down and out, there is a difference between offering somebody help, assistance, and resources, and TAKING THEIR BABY AWAY. I don’t know why people don’t ever think about this. I’ve helped out two mothers who were on hard times. One was fleeing from the child’s father who was abusive. She was also stripping and addicted to cocaine. I’m sure people would have been jumping all over themselves to “help” her by breaking apart her and her child.

    That wasn’t the help she got. I helped her get back on her feet, take care of her baby, and kick the drugs. It took about a year, and in that time I did have the baby most of the time. They were living with me, baby full time and mother off and on. It wasn’t an ideal situation, but it was better than an adoption. She is now five, happy, well-adjusted, smart, loving, and completely bonded and in love with her mother. And her mother feels the same, like her child saved her life.

    Helping someone and offering assistance is one thing. Offering to take their child? Sick and wrong, imo. I don’t care how desperate you are, the impetus for an adoption decision should ALWAYS come from the expectant parents. I don’t even think it is appropriate for a woman’s doctor or medical professional to solicit her for adoption, much less a perfect stranger who knows nothing about her.

    June 4th, 2008 at 10:06 pm

  21. gertie says:

    I would be freaked out if something like that happened to me. Seriously. Those people know where this woman works, and probably know her first name. She has no idea which of the 12 customers they were, and would not be able to identify them if they showed up at her workplace again (or if she ran into them anywhere else). I would be scared of some sort of subsequent stalking/harassment. That may be a severe overreaction, but that would be my response as a pregnant woman.

    June 4th, 2008 at 10:19 pm

  22. Stephanie says:

    The desperation factor is disturbing of people leaving the note. And would that have happened had the woman not been a waitress? Would they have done the same thing if she was eating at the restaurant in a suit and looked like a successful businessperson? I really don’t think so. It’s as if its open season if you appear to be a lower economic class. It also says something that people even think women would just give away their babies like that. If a woman was going to choose to do that, I would think they would go to a reputable adoption agency. I think this situation shows how women and their babies can become an economic commodity. Not to mention the multiple stereotypes involved.

    June 5th, 2008 at 10:32 am

  23. Andie says:

    Absolutely she has a right to be offended! Of course adoption is difficult, but you don’t approach random strangers offering to adopt their baby. Do they seriously think that if a pregnant woman is not ready to parent her child, leaving a card offering to take the baby off her hands is the way to go? And another thought…I couldn’t help but wonder if they have also managed to upset and offent women whom they assume to be pregnant but were not… Yuck

    June 5th, 2008 at 12:47 pm

  24. adrienne says:

    It might be pertinent to add that pregnant women are often around many other pregnant women. With all the prenatal visits and such, I have been in the waiting room with many, many pregnant women- some of whom I talk to.

    That doesn’t mean I’m going to pitch adoption to any of them, but this couple is looking for a rare circumstance.

    I’m related to children adopted privately (domestically and internationally) and through public adoption. Friends have also adopted children from foster care and special needs infants. The adoption process is arduous no matter what route people take, and ultimately the couple seeking adoption simply wants a child to love.

    It seems to me that parents who know that special bond with their own children should understand why others hunger for it and be empathetic to the legal, but desperate actions the childless may take.

    My friends lost their first child due to a rare congenital heart defect. Their following pregnancies ended in miscarriage. Their suddenly childless lives presented a terrible sadness that would destroy most marriages. After a 3 year wait they were able to internationally adopt a beautiful child who brings so much joy to their lives. I would not fault them for distributing such cards or taking similar measures. Nor do I feel that people who have never had children can’t feel a similar sense of loss.

    June 5th, 2008 at 3:29 pm

  25. Katie says:

    Just another note…

    On the organ donor example I concede that it might be okay to approach a close friend in a tactful, loving way, provided that friend is already familiar with your situation. However, this is equivalent of handing out cards in a hospital to every worried face, complete with the name of your doctor.

    Second, if this couple truly wanted to help the young woman there are many things they could do. They could leave a large tip, donate to a women’s shelter, volunteer with any number of organizations, work with an adoption agency on an education effort, and so on. These people’s motives were not to help, they were only looking out for themselves.

    Recently, after my brother-in-law and wife lost their baby to trisomy 18, they decided to pursue adoption. They broadcast it out to all the family members. When we heard that a young woman in our congregation was pregnant and possibly going to give the baby for adoption, we tactfully approached the leader of the congregation and informed him that we had family looking to adopt, giving him the option of passing on the information if and when he thought it was appropriate. We would never have approached the young lady directly, especially in such a difficult time for her because it would be crass and rude and totally inappropriate.

    June 6th, 2008 at 5:32 am

  26. LiteralDan says:

    I pretty much agree with the idea that at least they didn’t strike up an insanely awkward conversation, so it could be much worse.

    And rather than allow one’s insecurities to ascribe motivations and opinions to mysterious strangers, (which in my experience can be a big problem during pregnancy, so I forgive her), one could assume they are leaving these cards all over town anywhere they see any women with even a slight protrusion about the midsection, or a healthy glow about the face.

    So amusing for her, sad for them is about right. It’s a crazy world!

    June 10th, 2008 at 7:47 pm

  27. sandra says:

    kinda creepy, but can almost understand where they are coming from. My husband & i were together for 10 yrs & married for almost 8. we’d concived but miscarried just twice, but it was hard, emotionally & physically. I felt really desperate. Had even asked my best friend to consider surrogacy. it never happened. Not sure if she could’ve actually done it.
    well my husband & i have recently seperated, he left me with no car, no job, nothing basicly. Just all the bills & our minnie farm & i found out that i am currently pregnant. He knows, but hasn’t tried to contact me not once. From what i’ve been told he is claiming that it isn’t even his baby. Maybe even hoping that i will miscarry once again, but it doesn’t look that way. & as bad as we both wanted to have a baby at one time, i’m doubting it now. i dont have the means to care for a child, & i am considered high risk, so i can’t exactly work, although i do get paid to care for 2 other children, in my home. but i have actually been considering adoption for this baby. But being pregnant & now 30. Is this just my time to become a mom or to do something even more special. i wish somebody would be so bold as to tell me that i’d suck at being a mom cause i can’t afford to take care of a child. everyone just tells me that i’ll be a great mom & i’ll have plenty of help. i am 30 yrs old, i should be doing this on my own, or atleast with a husband that can acknowledge his own child!!! yea, still a little bitter

    January 4th, 2009 at 3:23 pm

  28. Amber says:

    given how completely terrified of anyone who looked sideways at my stomach while I was pregnant, I would probably have been afraid to go out to my car that night.

    People are weird, and it’s hard to tell if you’re a little weird or a lot weird when you do something like that.

    I’d probably look over my shoulder for weeks afterwards.

    January 5th, 2009 at 8:55 pm

  29. tina says:

    I guess I am offended that she is offended. It is easy for those who can conceive to ignore the plight of a woman who can not conceive. I am an African American woman and it is very difficult to find an infant to adopt; although, there are several given up for adoption, placed in CPS for foster care, or given to some relative who can’t afford to take care of them. I am tired of seeing a young woman of any color with multiple kids that they can’t afford to care for yet, continue to get pregnant. All the couple did was give the young waitress, an alternative. Is that a crime? Why is it more appropriate for volunteers, nurses, physicians, etc. at free clinics to offer alternatives? At least this way, the couple feels like they are active in helping themselves and the expecting mother is aware of alternative maybe not considered.

    December 21st, 2009 at 5:14 pm

  30. Dallas says:

    This happened to a friend of mine back when we were in college and waiting tables.

    But here’s the kicker: my friend wasn’t pregnant, just, um, “big boned”.

    She was HIGHLY offended….

    December 21st, 2009 at 10:31 pm

  31. Elizabeth W. says:

    I think the waitress had a right to be offended, but personally I am not appalled at the card or anything. I guess the people looking to adopt think it is worth mildly offending some strangers to get a chance at finding a baby to adopt and I can’t say I blame them. There is a chance, if that card gets into the right hands, that it may work for them. It’s worth a try.

    AND – if someone gave me a card saying they are looking to adopt a CHILD after seeing me and my three kids in Target, I would not be offended. I would be mildly amused and just a little bit tempted (on some days anyways).

    December 22nd, 2009 at 3:14 pm

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