Baby trafficking and the lack of federal laws to curb that activity is the genesis for Baby for Sale, an above-average issue movie produced for Lifetime Television.
Emmy-winning actress Dana Delany (China Beach) and Hart Bochner (Die Hard) give natural, engaging performances as an affluent couple, generally happy with their lives, but saddened by the fact they have not been able to conceive a child together. When costly fertilization procedures fail, they pursue private adoption proceedings.
But when Natalie (Delany) grows impatient and posts their family information on the Internet, the Minnesota couple attracts the attention of New York attorney Gabor Szabo (a chillingly jovial Bruce Ramsay).
The lawyer presents himself as the middle man for a Hungarian girl whose been impregnated by a rich American youth, whose parents have paid all the expenses of the birth and now want to get the baby adopted so their son can return home and go back to college.
The story — and the rapid nature of the Internet response to the rich prospective adoptive parents — has enough red flags for a May Day parade in Moscow, but Natalie is so desirous of motherhood she only sees what she wants.
Szabo is very convincing, too, even though he counsels the couple to exclude their own attorney from the adoption talks. He leaves the terms of the deal — $100,000, or no adoption — until after the pair have had a full day to bond with the baby.
The couple later gets involved in a sting operation which leads to some palpable dramatic tension. Natalie goes “off script” from the cops, for her purpose is to get the baby out of the hands of Szabo, even if it means jeopardizing the arrest.
The ending is all Hollywood: when else would an out-of-state couple, in line for adoption behind a birth mother, New York state social services, the mom’s home country and a state full of foster applicants end up with the baby?
Yet Natalie’s selfless plea to the judge that the child should go anywhere where there is at least a solid, permanent home resonates with the magistrate, who jumps the couple to the front of the line. But the film raises valuable points about validating the legality of all parties in private adoptions.
Baby for Sale debuts July 12 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.