The Ashwaubenon man tried to sell his daughter to a Grand Chute couple, who helped authorities in the investigation, Grand Chute police Chief Ed Kopp said.
"He was having difficulties raising the child alone and wanted to use the money for some home remodeling," Kopp said.
Danny Vu, 37, was charged Friday with unauthorized adoption placement, a felony that carries up to six years in prison.
The daughter showed no signs of physical abuse, Kopp said. Brown County officials will probably place her in temporary foster care.
The man wanted to sell the girl "and didn't want anything to do with the baby after that," Outagamie County District Attorney Carrie Schneider said.
The man owns a nail salon in Green Bay. A salon employee told the man he knew a Grand Chute woman who was looking to adopt a baby, and the man and the Grand Chute woman were introduced, police said. A friend of the woman later called police.
Schneider said the couple wanted to contact attorneys and follow legal adoption procedures, but the man did not want to involve attorneys.
Police arrested the man after the Grand Chute woman called police to say he was on his way to their home with the girl Wednesday night, Kopp said.
"We obviously had some concern about the child and what condition she was in, so we made the decision to intercept him," he said.
The child's mother is believed to be out of the country. According to police, Vu and the child's mother ended their relationship several months ago, reports CBS affiliate WFRV-TV in Green Bay.
Vu was jailed in lieu of a $10,000 cash bond.
If convicted, Vu could be sentenced to three years in prison and three years of extended supervision, WFRV reports.
Defense attorney Eugene Bartman said Vu, who was born in Vietnam but is a U.S. citizen, has never been in trouble with police or in jail before.
Vu "understands what's going on and thinks it's very unfair," Bartman said.