I’ve written before about birthmother expenses. I’m not against them, as long as they are pregnancy-related. Jackson’s birthmother didn’t ask for anything initially. Then, she had an “emergency” C-section, and couldn’t do anything for six weeks. We paid two months’ rent. We were glad to do so – clearly, she couldn’t go to work because of the delivery.
Laine didn’t ask for anything. However, the social worker noted that she needed maternity clothes, so asked the lawyer to ask us for some money. OK. We gave the lawyer a certain amount for his fees and any expenses Laine should incur. OK.
In between Cassie’s birth and Laine signing the TPR, we talked with the attorney. When we got the information for Laine’s situation from AdoptLink, there was an estimate for birthmother expenses, broken down by what the expenses were for. Apparently, the lawyer decided that we were going to give that money to Laine. OK.
Then the lawyer asked if we wanted to throw in an extra $X to make the number a round one. Not OK.
Missouri, where Jackson was born, is pretty strict about birthmother expenses. The idea of randomly giving a birthmother money, well, it offended me. There’s a fine line between reimbursements for valid expenses and reimbursing someone for a baby. I felt that this crossed it.
I want to make it entirely clear that Laine never asked for anything. The lawyer informed us that Louisiana allows a certain amount of money for birthmother expenses, and that they don’t ask for receipts. So, if we wanted to be “generous,” we could give Laine this amount of money. I told the lawyer that I was uncomfortable with this. In addition to the implications, we’re not made of money. This staying in a hotel for 2+ weeks is very expensive.
To make a long story short, the lawyer started guilting me about this. He asked what would happen if Laine’s lawyer told her she could get $X+2000 and she decided that’s what she wanted. I told him we didn’t have that kind of money. He said he didn’t think she would do this, but she could hold up the whole thing over the extra money. When he realized that tactic wasn’t going to work, he backpedaled.
I’m really not sure what the lawyer was trying to do. Laine certainly isn’t the type to ask for money – I knew that from our relationship. Of course, the lawyer still spooked me.
Another reason to have federal adoption laws.