Published August 05, 2009
EXCLUSIVE: What's in a name? For an expectant mom who's down on her luck, hopefully $25,000 or more.
An Arkansas woman is offering the opportunity to name her seventh child to the highest bidder, starting at $150. The unemployed mother of six has posted an auction on eBay in hopes that she will receive enough money to buy a "trustworthy" car and to relieve her sister's burden of supporting her cash-strapped family.
Lavonne Drummond, 36, of Smackover, Ark., a "super small town" in the southern part of the state, says the idea to hawk the first name of her second son "just came to me" while she was thinking of ways out of her economic nightmare.
"It sounds really crazy but I thought maybe there's someone out there who could help me out with a good name," Drummond told FOXNews.com. "I'm running out of names."
Drummond — whose six children are 19, 16, 14, 3, 2 and 1 — said the proposal hasn't exactly struck friends and relatives as a savvy financial move. And her husband, Richard, a Navy sailor stationed in Virginia, doesn't even know about it yet.
"I didn't really ask their opinion, but last night I did get some feedback and it was not good," she said. "It's put a little rift in the family right now. They don't think it's a good idea. They think it makes us vulnerable."
Drummond's son is due on Sept. 16. With four days remaining in the eBay auction, no bids had been received as of Wednesday. But she's confident bids will start coming in soon. Whatever name the top bidder chooses, Drummond said she'll honor the request and even allow that individual to visit with the child.
"I would follow through with the name, but I'm putting my trust out there," she said. "They're helping me out here in two situations — helping a family in need and coming up with a name for my beautiful baby boy."
Drummond said she's unable to work because of the high cost of day care, and she relies on her sister and husband to survive.
"The economy is so bad and there's no jobs out here that will support a family of my size," she said. "Someone has the ability to make a huge difference for this family."
Drummond said she recently enrolled in South Arkansas Community College in hopes of earning a degree in radiology, but right now her financial woes are so severe that she barely has money to buy diapers or clothing for her young children. She said the only government assistance she receives is food stamps.
Beth Baker, a Naval spokeswoman for the Mid-Atlantic region, said all sailors receive a housing allowance for relatives to live on or off the base. Exactly how much they receive depends on the number of children, years of service and availability of housing, she said.
Robin Carroll, prosecuting attorney for Arkansas' Union County, where Drummond lives, said the online auction is legal.
"It does not violate any criminal law that I'm aware of," he told FOXNews.com.
A spokeswoman for eBay declined to comment regarding the auction of the baby's name. But the sale does not violate company policy, according to its Web site.
Drummond isn't the first person to try to sell naming rights of unborn babies online. A New York couple, Jason Black and Frances Shroeder, posted an online auction on both Yahoo and eBay in 2001 to sell naming rights to their child to a corporation for a minimum bid of $500,000. The child was eventually named Zane due to a lack of bidders and a looming state deadline regarding the placement of a name on the boy's birth certificate.
A year later, in 2002, a Florida couple placed a "Name Our Baby" advertisement on eBay after they couldn't choose a name themselves.
"We're not looking to get rich," Bob Armstrong, 40, told the Associated Press at the time. "We'll just throw it into an account and hopefully it'll grow."
Meanwhile, Drummond said she's confident her husband will back her decision.
"With six kids in this economy, it's horrible," she said. "He'll probably support me 100 percent on whatever I feel is best for my family."