Should adoptees make a profit?

Should adoptees make a profit?

There is a non-profit way of doing business and a for-profit way. While there are definitely great reasons to operate as a non-profit, we suspect those reasons are easier to come up with, so let’s focus on the harder sell; the reasons for an adoptee to choose to operate as a for-profit.

Fact: Your time is best spent doing what you are great at and passionate about.

That is how you will make a positive impact in the adoptee community and beyond. In a for-profit model, your prices for whatever you sell will include a profit margin. You will make more than enough to cover your costs that you’ll have some extra. That means you will not need to spend time fundraising or writing grants.

In other words, you get to do what you are passionate about in a way that makes money, not just takes money. This is inherently sustainable and also allows for growth.

In contrast, if you set up a non-profit, you will need to spend a lot of time fundraising or grant-writing. That is probably not your passion and, since your time is a limited resource, this means you’ll have less time actually doing the thing you are passionate about. 

A lot more could be said, but honestly, that in and of itself is enough to convince us that going non-profit is not always the most effective way to give your best to the adoptee community. Most individual adoptee creatives and influencers do not have the support network required to operate as a successful non-profit.

Therefore, we support adoptees making a profit because we support adoptees maximizing their time and energy to make the most impact in their sphere of influence.

The next question is:
What is the difference between profiting and profiteering?

Some adoptees take the view that fair compensation is okay, but profiting is bad. This stems from the assertion that the adoptee community is a marginalized community, one that exists because so many of us have already been commodified. Therefore profiting by selling to adoptees is inherently unethical. 

While we agree that adoptees are the marginalized voice in adoption, we also affirm that adult adoptees are capable and responsible for making their own decisions on what they spend their money on.

Profiteering is…

…an excessive or unfair price for an essential product that is scarce due to an emergency. A great example is when people tried to sell a single roll of toilet paper for $100 when the world first went into a stay-at-home lockdown because of the pandemic.

In the adoptee community, one might see that adoptee created resources and adoptee led support groups are essential and scarce. Therefore, if an adoptee is charging others for access, that feels like they are leaving adoptees with no other choice but to pay up. That isn’t the full picture though.

The key question is; what is an excessive or unfair price?

One major part of that answer is found by looking at what the adoptee is offering and what a comparable rate for that would be.

For example, if the adoptee is a licensed therapist providing group therapy, you’d want to compare their fee with other therapists who have a similar experience and offer a similar service.

Or if the adoptee is selling stickers and coffee mugs, what is the average cost of stickers and coffee mugs from other retailers?

If it is comparable or competitive, then it isn’t an excessive or unfair price.

Profit is good.

Unlike profiteering, making a profit is simply making more money than you spent. We insist that it is not inherently wrong or unethical for an adoptee to make a profit off of selling products or services to adoptees or others people in the adoption space.

Here is why:

  1. An adoptee who is contributing to the empowering and healing of other adoptees, or who is advocating against the adoption industry, is not an enemy, but an ally! We distinguish between allies and those who are profiting off adoption in a way that exploits* other adoptees or supports the adoption industry to continue as is.

    *Exploit in sense that they are forcibly depriving someone of something they have a right too. An example would be the exploitation of young adoptees on YouTube, being forcibly deprived of their right to privacy. The word “exploit” does not truly apply to an adult adoptee who can choose to purchase or not purchase a product or a service.
  2. When our friends succeed, we all succeed. Profit is necessary to fund growth and innovation. An adoptee entrepreneur who profits is one who is now empowered to improve their situation and improve what they can do for the adoptee community.
  3. Economics. Open competition and basic supply and demand are fairly effective at regulating price. If an adoptee truly has excessive pricing, they won’t stay in business. Either someone else will offer something similar at a more reasonable price or their target demographic will not be able to afford it or will simply choose not to purchase. Consequently, they’ll need to adjust their prices accordingly. 

Beyond survival mode.

When an adoptee can cover their own expenses and costs of the work or service they are providing, that is survival. Survival is good. However, for long term success, we need to do more than merely survive.

When an adoptee makes a profit, they are able to do more than survive. Making a profit allows us to acquire better resources so we can produce better content. Profits help us pay for the things that contribute to the psychological sustainability of our work; i.e. a gym membership or a good therapist.

We deserve to thrive. We can rise by lifting one another up. Let’s open ourselves up to the possibility of greater success than we’ve hoped for, and let’s support one another in achieving it as well.