How Much Did My Adoption Cost?

Someone asked this question to adoptees a few months ago.

My Bill of Sale: $250.00 in legal fees paid by my adoptive parents to the attorney who represented my adoptive parents in this transaction.

That was my answer a few months ago.

I thought about it today and it occurred to me that there were hidden costs.

In addition to the hand-scrawled receipt in pencil from my adoptive parents’ attorney, there were these monies paid:

The Surrogate Court Judge of Erie County in the City of Buffalo, New York was paid for ten months of work, from the time that my father gave me to the care and custody of my pre-adoptive parents to the time the Final Order of Adoption was signed. All of the court staff that processed paperwork received pay checks also. The court-appointed attorney also received a pay check for his ten months involvement as he conducted an investigation (not called a home study in this private adoption back in 1956) of my pre-adoptive parents, and, as he researched my family background as to why my father agreed to relinquish his fifth and youngest child to this adoption. After the Finalization of Adoption was signed, the Surrogate Court Judge sent an Order, and that Order was handled by a chain of staff members who processed the paperwork and mailed out the Order to the Registrar of Vital Statistics in the State capital of Albany, New York. The Director of Vital Statistics for the entire State of New York became involved, and received a pay check, when he received the Order from the Surrogate Court Judge of Erie County. He then created a new birth certificate according to the information sent to him in the Order from the Surrogate Court Judge. That means that the Director of the Office of Vital Statistics of New York State, a man with a PhD in the Executive Division of the State of New York Department of Health, knowingly created a false document using false facts, then signed his name to it and affixed the raised State seal of New York State, thus certifying as true the facts set forth on the new birth certificate. He lied. He committed perjury by lying under oath. And he was paid to do so. Additionally, the Surrogate Court Judge of Erie County in the City of Buffalo, New York also sent an Order to the local Registrar of Vital Statistics in City Hall of Buffalo, New York to encode my actual birth certificate in some way to indicate that I had been adopted and that this birth certificate, still kept in the books in the local Office of Vital Statistics, was now under seal. This means that I (and the two parents named on the birth certificate) have been banned from obtaining a certificated copy of this true birth certificate forever.

And every person in the linked chain of authority received a pay check – a government pay check.

So, actually, to respond correctly to the question – “How much did your adoption cost?” –  I can now say that I don’t know for sure.

I would need to find out the salaries of all the people involved, tally it up, and convert the 1956 – 1957 value of the dollar to 2013 inflation rates. When all of this is taken into consideration, I choke at the salaries paid and the income made at the transfer of a four month old baby to a new set of parents and a new life.

I struggle with how it feels to be given away freely yet other people – government employees – were paid to make sure this adoption was completed. These people were able to support their families with the salaries they were paid.

My father could not financially support all of his five children since he had to hold a job. The baby was too young and needed two parents, so my father relinquished me. The employees in charge made money off of his loss of his child and my loss of my entire family and the joy my new parents felt in receiving a new baby they could call their own.

How much money did my adoption cost?

I don’t really know.

But tax payers paid for it by supporting the government employees voted in office and civil service employees hired to keep the system working.

And the government employees were also paid to keep the records sealed and this adoption closed.

The human costs are incalculable.

Response to Von’s Bitch Slap With Troops on the Ground

This post is written in response to Von’s post today: Bitch Slap.

As for myself, I’ve been using the term “adoption reform” for so long, over 30 years, and it’s only within the past few years that I’ve come to realize it isn’t adoption reform that’s needed. What’s needed is the end to adoption. What’s needed is a soul-searching of the inhuman practice of permanently separating parents and their children and permanently and needlessly separating sibling groups. When the realization hits those who are a part of this horrific chain of separators, they will certainly have a gut-wrenching remorse for what they’ve done. I have seen it. A slow realization for some, and for others, it hits like a ton of bricks. Once the correct words are spoken so as to change the focus of their agency-speak, then those in power experience an awakening and they are changed. And once those regular people who insist on telling me their opinions on adoption, as if those opinions carry more weight than my 57 years of life experience and my research for 39 years, once these people hear my words from the point of view of being the victim of adoption, then I see a change: one person at a time.


This soul-searching realization then turns into the awareness that family preservation, kinship care, guardianship and adoption prevention must then become priorities.


Beyond that, I’ve achieved one-on-one change by telling ordinary people the facts of adoption that go beyond the destruction of a family to create the “loving option of adoption”. I tell them that every single adoptee in America suffers the confiscation of their birth certificate by the State Government via the Court Judge controlling the adoption and that the Judge then initiates orders to place that birth certificate under protective seal, and then the Judge orders the Registrar of Vital Statistics to create a new, amended birth certificate that replaces the names of the parents of birth with the names of the new adoptive parents as if they gave birth to the child and that child now has a new name on this new birth certificate.

People are stunned. They ask, “They do this? Still?”

I say, “Yes.”

They ask, “Why?

I answer, “Because that’s the way it’s been done since 1930 in America and States aren’t too eager to let adoptees have their true birth certificates. For the States that do ‘allow’ adoptees this ‘privilege’, there are conditions and restrictions because illegitimate bastards aren’t worthy to own the truth of their shameful births. But I’m not illegitimate, yet, I am bound by this archaic law that wipes out all adoptees’ births as if they never happened. And for the two States that never sealed adoptees birth certificates – Kansas and Alaska – those states have been, and still are, falsifying adoptees new birth certificates.”

People then ask me, “I never heard of this. In this day and age, why does anyone care about illegitimacy? Every child is precious.”

I say, “Of course every child is precious, but if you are born to unmarried parents, then the law says you aren’t worthy. And every other way a child becomes adopted – me, a half orphan, full orphans, and step-parent adoptees and foster care adoptees – we all are bound by the law of shame and secrecy. Of course you haven’t heard of this. The government and adoption agencies don’t want you to know. No one is stopping the continued falsification of birth certificates when a child is adopted. It’s all big business. All of it. Adoption agencies and social workers and adoption attorneys and court staff and court judges get paid. And the Registrars of Vital Statistics get paid to seal away a child’s birth rights and then commit fraud and perjury for the sake of doing their jobs.”

People then ask me, “I never realized the scope of this. So what can be done?”

I answer, “Just stop it. Demand that these barbaric practices cease. The whole process of permanently separating families needlessly must end, and, unethical confiscation and sealing of an infant or child’s birth certificate must end, as well as the unethical and fraudulent practice of lying on government documents must end. Now you know what really happens in adoption. People can achieve the same goal – of giving a child who actually needs a home – by promoting family preservation, kinship care and guardianship instead of adoption. You are hearing it from an adoptee. Word of mouth. Go spread the word. You now know the truth and now you must decide: will you join us in the legislative fight to change these barbaric, but legal, atrocities? I can provide you with information on how to stop this.”

People need to know and are stunned to hear the facts. Change is happening.

Daniel Ibn Zayd is right. People on the ground, in the community, talking about the realities of adoption – this is making a difference in my home city, one person at a time.

But we in New York State, and America as a whole, are so far behind the accomplishments of Australia. I, too, as Von points out, may not live long enough to see the drastic changes in public opinion and public policy that are needed. I sure as hell am giving it my all while I am here!




Nicola Roxon 1.jpg


Attorney-General Minister for Emergency Management


22 February 2013


On 21 March 2013, the Prime Minister, the Hon Julia Gillard MP, will deliver a national apology, on behalf of the Australian Government to people affected by forced adoption or removal policies and practices.

The event will commence at 10:30am with formal proceedings commencing at 11am in the Great Hall of Parliament House, Canberra. The apology will be followed by a lunch from 12:30pm on the Federation Mall lawns of Parliament House.

The national apology is a public event and will be open to all. Seating will be available for approximately 800 people in the Great Hall, with additional standing room.  Due to the large number of people expected to attend the apology, seating in the Great Hall will not be pre-allocated.  There will also be other vantage points within Parliament House for people to view the apology on broadcast screens.


The motion of apology will be moved in the House of Representatives and the Senate following the event in the Great Hall.


The apology will be offered as a significant step in the healing process for the mothers, fathers, and now-adult children who were forcibly separated, siblings and extended family members.


The Australian Government has provided $120,000 to support organisations to assist people affected by forced adoption practices to attend the national apology in Canberra.  Information can be found on the forced adoptions apology page of the Attorney-General’s Department website by calling 02 6141 3030.


People attending the apology are invited to RSVP for catering purposes. Please RSVP by calling 02 6141 3030.


For those who cannot attend arrangements are being made for the event to be filmed and a live feed made available to broadcasters. Proceedings will also be streamed live from the Parliament House Website at


Contact: Attorney-General’s Office 02 6277 7300 or Attorney-General’s Department 02 6141 2500


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Elaine Bishop

Administrative Officer

Post Adoption Resource Centre



T   02 9504 6788

F   02 9570 2699


Level 5

7-11 The Avenue



Locked Bag 6002


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