Recent media surrounding adoption has not been good- most of it focusing on countries closing (http://zeenews.india.com/news/world/33-russian-kids-adoption-still-in-limbo-after-us-ban_833541.html) to the death of an adoption child (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57569961/death-of-texas-toddler-fuels-russian-governments-anti-adoption-stance/). Unfortunately the most likely bad news adoption scenario is the adoption scam, and it’s also the most common.
What is an adoption scam? Well, it can look like a lot of things. An adoption scam can be an agency, facilitator or attorney who promises you a child and has no intention of giving you one. An adoption scam can be an adoption professional who has great reviews but continues to take your money even though no services have been provided. It might also look like a woman who you’ve met (probably online) who says she’s pregnant (who may not be) who says she wants to relinquish her child to you (and she has no intention of doing so) or who doesn’t exist at all. Usually all of this takes place after a lot of money has changed hands (thus the scam).
How do you know it’s a scam? You’ve heard the saying, “If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck….” Yes, the same applies here. Keep your eyes WIDE open. If something doesn’t feel right- DON’T DO IT. This is particularly difficult when adoption is involved. Your heart is on the line and no matter what your head might be thinking, your heart likely doesn’t care and is ready to take the risk even though it is a huge risk. Someone needs to be level-headed. If you are adopting as a single person, make sure you have someone trusted to bounce things off of and be a source of logical reasoning. If your adoption professional is asking for loads of money upfront, be wary. If your adoption professional charges you to keep you waiting (yes, to keep you waiting), be wary. If you meet a woman online but have never spoken to her on the phone, have difficulty getting in touch with her or she has asked for money right away, be careful!
All of these warnings are not to scare you, but to safeguard you as the prospective adoptive parent. We can all learn something when we open our eyes (not just our hearts!). We will have much more information on adoption scams next Monday, March 18th at 9pm EST on twitter.
Join me and other member of the adoption community including adoption attorneys, birth mothers, and other adoptive parents who have been through a scam to learn from them. Follow the chat (and join in!) on twitter at #adoptionislove
This piece illustrates how crucial it is for prospective adoptive families to work with proven and reputable professionals in the field of adoption. There is perhaps no other area in which it is more important to be a knowledgeable consumer, to ensure that those who are chosen to help build one’s family through adoption have integrity and are experienced. As a resource, the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys is a not-for -profit, credentialed organization of attorneys, judges, and law professors who are bound by a strict code of ethics and have distinguished themselves in the field of adoption and family building.
Fellows of the academy are here to prevent scammers from succeeding. They can assist prospective adoptive parents and birth parents find qualified and experienced service providers to make their journey through adoption a safer, legal and ethical one.
Jeanne Trudeau Tate,
President, Heart of Adoptions, Inc.
Fellow, American Academy of Adoption Attorneys