But UNICEF had in effect restricted supply without doing anything about demand. Its campaign caused a worldwide shortage of babies for inter-country adoption and made it an expensive business in Guatemala, where at least 3,000 infants a year were adopted. On average, fees and expenses alone came to $25,000.
I had seen Guatemala’s booming adoption scene firsthand on earlier visits. I had been struck by the large numbers of American women and couples at western hotels with Guatemalan toddlers and a local nanny. The adoption paperwork took a year – evidence that the process was both regulated and exhaustive. In the meantime a local nanny looked after the baby and the prospective parents had to make regular weeklong visits to prove their seriousness and bond with the child.
There was a darker side too, with unscrupulous baby traffickers profiting from the dearth of infants. But the result of outright prohibition was predictable and downright disastrous. The cost of adopting soared to a black-market price of $60,000…
Read the full article in The Freeman.