Over 120,000 children are waiting to be adopted in the US. But there are also many adoption scams out there that can inhibit your adoption journey. So, what is an adoption scam? Typically an adoption scam is when prospective adoptees are preyed on for money. Adoption scammers have no intention of fulfilling your adoption wishes. And sometimes, there is not even a child involved. Deciding to adopt is life-changing in the best way. But it is essential to educate yourself on the adoption process and potential scams. If you are aware, then you will protect yourself from money loss and heartbreak. And keep your journey positive, as it should be!
Here are some common adoption scams to know.
If you have gone directly to an agency, be wary if they ask for over $20,000 upfront. Be extremely careful if it is before you are matched to a child or birth mother. At this point, the only costs should be for your application and the home study. For international adoptions, this is also a common adoption scam. You can challenge the adoption company and state that you are not willing to pay upfront. Do not be afraid to walk away. If you are hesitant, get quotes from other adoption agencies for comparison. Also, be aware of the prospective birth mother asking for a lot of money upfront. Ask to see proof of pregnancy. Consider hiring an adoption attorney before you pay any large sums of money. They will be able to guide you through the process and help reduce the chance of money loss.
A typical birth mother scam sign is if the mother is reluctant to provide a pregnancy test. Or they are unwilling to go with an agency or attorney. This adoption scam usually happens when people advertise their desire to adopt online. There are many stories of adoption scammers stealing pregnant women’s identities. They then cause emotional and financial pain. Birth mother scams can involve emotional abuse, attention-seeking, or money requests. The birth mother scam can be convincing, especially when you are excited to adopt. Always check the credentials of the woman online. Do not just go by the profile they contact you on. You can reverse Google search the photos they send to check they are real. Search their name online to see if they have been involved in any scams. Never give money directly, confirm they are pregnant, then use a professional agency. In rare instances, a woman may change her mind at birth. A reputable agency will be there to support you through something like this.
If an agency or person reaches out with urgency, take caution, they could be adoption scammers. The story might be that the child will be in foster care, or the mother is desperate. There is a possibility that these things are true, but do not rush. Take the proper steps and get all the information you need. Also, do not feel pressured to adopt a child who may be older or younger than you wish. Legitimate agencies will be honest if they can match a child for you. They will not pressure you to change your requirements. Some prospective adoptive parents stay with agencies for years due to false promises. If time passes and the agency tries to get you to adopt a child outside of your requirements, try another agency.
So you have managed to turn down the request for large sums of money. Or, an agency has suddenly informed you that it will be an expensive adoption, and you need time to think. A second ‘family’ may be introduced, who the adoption scammers claim are willing to pay the money now. A birth mother scam can also do this. Adoption should not be competition. Many children are waiting for the adoption, so do not make any decisions based on pressure.
A warning sign is if the birth mother has many crises. Crises may require an emotional or financial investment. It can also happen through an agency. The birth mother is in a vulnerable position and going through a difficult time. But get guidance from a professional if crises are frequently happening. And if the birth mother starts contacting you with direct requests for money, let the agency know.
Changing stories can indicate the child is made-up, or the woman will not stick to the adoption plan. Agencies can also provide false information about children. If there are inconsistencies, challenge them and ask for concrete proof. Always ask for as much information as possible at the beginning. Note it all down in case you need to compare any later changes. This will make it easier to challenge the scammer too. Also, some adoption scammers lie and say something happened to the birth mother or child. Usually, this occurs just before the adoption date. Then they move on to another family to scam. A professional adoption expert prevents this type of adoption scam from happening.
Having no information about the birth mother or child is one of the most common adoption fraud signs. There are times when adoption scammers may have trafficked women. Or the child may have been forcibly removed. Always ask for as much information about a child’s medical and psychiatric history. If the adoption is not closed, then you should have some level of contact with the birth mother. If they regularly do not answer calls or miss appointments, it could be an adoption scam.
It may feel overwhelming to learn about common adoption scams, but it is essential. You want your adoption journey to be a positive experience, which is what you deserve. Act quickly if you notice signs of an adoption scam. And if you just have a bad gut feel, trust it, as it is usually right. The best way to avoid these adoption scams is to go with a reputable agency. A reputable agency will guide you through the adoption process with expertise. They know the signs of adoption scams and ensure all parties are protected and ready.
Florida Adoptions is here to assist you on your adoption journey. Contact us today for more information.