Sadly adoption scams have become more common, because of social media and the internet. Adoptive families are easier to find and target. We received a scam every couple of weeks.
Our first adoption scam
The first time took a huge hit to our emotions. We had been approved for adoption when we got a call from our home study provider. She told me that she had been contacted by a girl who was looking for an adoptive family. The girl claimed that the previous couple she had chosen to adopt her baby had backed out, and her baby was due in a month.
When I first talked to this girl I was terrified. I was afraid she wouldn’t like us, that I wouldn’t know how to talk to her, that she wouldn’t want to give us her baby, etc. I was shaking and couldn’t focus on anything else while we were texting back and forth. We ended up talking on the phone and she decided that she wanted us to adopt her baby boy.
We were so excited! A month was not far away and we couldn’t wait. We told our families and close friends. We started setting up our nursery and buying everything we would need to welcome a baby home.
Over the next few days, everything became questionable. This girl claimed that she was emotionally unstable and had a lot of personal issues. She would call me multiple times a day, including in the middle of the night. If I wouldn’t respond right away to a text or phone call she would have a melt down about it. I had a really hard time with it all. It was exhausting. But we were willing to go through with it.
But as things started to not add up we became very anxious. We were trying to get ahold of her doctor/hospital and find a lawyer. She would claim that her doctor wanted to move up her due date and that she was having all these complications. She also kept saying she would call her doctor and give permission for me to talk with them, but then she would have an emotional break down and wouldn’t be able to do it.
I finally was able to find a lawyer in her state to work with me, but my worst fears of the situation quickly became a reality. The lawyer said she had tried to work with the girl a month ago, with another adoptive couple and she was uncooperative. The lawyer also said she thought her due date would have already passed by now. She was very nice and helpful. She said if there actually was a baby she would be willing to work with us through the difficulties, which was great. But after looking at her past records it was confirmed that this girl had claimed to have a different due date previously.
We like to think of this lawyer as an answer to our prayers. I tried two other lawyers before contacting her and they both said they didn’t have the time to do the case. If we wouldn’t have had a chance to talk with this particular lawyer I think the scam would have continued quite a bit longer.
I also contacted the hospital about the date she was claiming to get induced, and there was no record of her there.
All of this information left us hurt, angry and confused. A lot of the time scammers will ask for money, but this girl never did. We came to the conclusion that it was more of an emotional scam. This girl was looking for attention, nothing more.
After doing some research online we found out that the same girl has been scamming every adoptive family that she possibly can. Never asking for money, just attention.
Over the next couple months we received Instagram messages and texts from three other identities. All scams from the same person. Luckily we were able to catch on a lot quicker that these were scams.
We have also had scammers looking directly for money and wanting us to send money for lawyer and doctor bills, but wouldn’t give us any legitimate contact information for either person.
8 signs of potential adoption scams
Adoption scams are hard because they can take some time to figure out. When you are first contacted by a potential birth mother you don’t want to distrust or question them. Always give the benefit of the doubt, but be cautious as well.
Here are some signs of a potential scam that are good to know:
- Often scammers just want money, if someone is asking for money right from the beginning be cautious. Never send money directly to an individual. Use a median, like your lawyer or agency to help handle the expenses. Or pay a provider the cost of the bills directly.
- Questions being dodged is a red flag. Often we would ask a question multiple times and never receive an answer. Such as “What firm does your lawyer work for?” or “We would be happy to talk with your doctor about your medical bills if you send us their information.”
- Receiving information that doesn’t add up. For example, one of our adoption scams we received ultrasound images in a text. After looking closer at the images we realized that the date didn’t match up with the due date. Another example was the first scam; she changed her due date to a couple days earlier in a later conversation, claiming that she had told us wrong the first time.
- If a birth mom immediately chooses you as the adoptive parents. Usually the birth mom will want to get to know you and take her time deciding instead of quickly making a decision within a day to place her baby with you.
- Any pushes for the adoption process to move faster. These things take time. For example, if you are feeling any pressure to pay any bills that could be a red flag. Or if the birth mother is claiming that her due date has been moved up, but you never received a doctor’s confirmation.
- If the individual won’t provide proof of pregnancy. Most potential birth mothers are willing to sign a release form for you to communicate with their doctor.
- Know your facts about the adoption process and the fees involved. One of our scammers was asking for money to pay for expenses that would be used when working with an agency, but they were claiming that they wanted to do a private adoption. Which wouldn’t make any sense.
- If you are experiencing any potential signs of a scam you can do an internet search for the individual and possibly find some information. Often a scam will already be reported that sounds similar. We were able to find a couple of our scams online and even the actual women on Facebook that a scammer was taking their identity from.
I hope that you will never experience an adoption scam, but it is good to be aware and prepared. If you have any questions or comments about adoption scams, I would love to hear them!