New Mexico babies are being openly advertised for and adopted by childless couples in New York and other states—and it's all perfectly legal.

Over the past few months, several classified advertisements have been placed the Santa Fe Reporter, the Albuquerque Journal and the Albuquerque Tribune, and perhaps other New Mexico newspapers, seeking contact with mothers of unborn babies or infants, with hopes of adopting the child. State officials reported this week that at least two New Mexico-born babies have been adopted by New York couples in the past two months.

These "classified-ad adoptions" can be legally arranged because New Mexico and New York allow "independent adoptions." Independent adoptions are those arranged by third parties other than state agencies or private, licensed adoption agencies…

At least seven such ads have been placed in the Santa Fe Reporter in recent weeks. Early this week a woman reporter in Santa Fe called one of the numbers listed in one of the advertisements, and stated that she was pregnant and wanted more information about the ad. The New York woman who answered gave her name as Judy. She seemed nice, and was eager to talk.

Judy said she had been a social worker counseling troubled children; her husband was a doctor. He is Jewish and she is Protestant, she said, "but we're not especially religious." Still, she hastily added, "We would be willing to get the child religious training, if that is important to you."

Judy and her husband live in a three-bedroom house "in a nice, suburban area," she said. They have a dog, but no children.

"We've been trying for 10 years, but we just haven't had any; the doctors don't know why," she said.

Returning to the question of religion, she said the couple could even be willing to bring the child up as a Catholic "if it's really important to you." Told that the baby would be Hispanic, Judy immediately responded that she'd be delighted with that heritage. "I even speak a little Spanish," she said.

"I hope you'll consider us," she said, as she gave her caller Rosenstock's [a lawyer's] name and telephone number. "I'd be really grateful. My husband's a doctor, you know, and so he'd be able to take really good care of the child. And we have a good marriage and a good life—a child is the only thing missing from our lives."

This year marks SFR’s 40th anniversary. Celebrate with us by reading excerpts of stories that have graced our pages through the years. November is National Adoption Awareness Month.