25 cents and a canary
When reading the article The paradoxical rationalization of modern adoption, I noticed the deeply sad yet at the same time funny account of a baby being sold for 25 cents and a canary. It is taken from Preventive Treatment of Neglected Children (links to a 18.5 MB PDF file), the final book of a four volumes prepared for the Eighth International Prison Congress of 1910.
Many baby farms have been accustomed to receive and dispose of infants for a fee of $25. A woman who lived in an inside flat, opening only upon a court, herself entirely unfit to have the care of a child, upon being asked where she got the child said, " I saw an advertisement in the paper, 'Baby for adoption,' so I went and got it." The question was asked, "Did they come to visit your home?" "Oh, no," was the reply. "Did they ask you any questions?" "Oh, no! They said, 'There is the baby. If you want it you can have it.'" Another woman, equally unfit for the care of a young child, on being asked how she obtained the child, replied, " I gave 25 cents and a canary bird for it."