Thursday, April 28, 2016

Parenting Pointers: Avoiding Adoption Scams

Each year in the USA, more than 135,000 adoptions take place annually. About 13,000 to 14,000 of these adoptions involve babies who are voluntarily relinquished domestically.  Of non-stepparent adoptions each year, approximately 59 percent are from the child welfare system, 26 percent are international, and 15 percent are voluntarily relinquished domestic infant adoptions.  Most of the time, the adoption process goes very-well especially when a mother or father or family gets to hold the adoptive child in their hands for the first time.  However, there is some adoptions scams that every consumer should be aware and alert for if starting the adoption process.  

Executive Director of The Adoption Consultancy Nicole Witt from Tampa Bay, FL has rounded up "red flags" that could lead to an adoption scam and ways to avoid this happening to you
  • PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES: If a birth mom has placed a baby (or babies) for adoption before, but her personal circumstances have changed significantly. Generally, a birth mom having placed before can be a positive sign for the likelihood of an adoption going through because she knows what to expect from the process emotionally. But, if her circumstances have changed to the point that she’s in a much better position to raise a baby, then she may take her knowledge of ‘how the system works’ just to make money during the pregnancy.
  • IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY: If the birth mom is very focused on the finances. Has lots of extreme drama and urgent, last-minute needs for funds.
  • WATCH OUT IF BIRTH MOM SAYS "TWINS": Says she’s having twins. She knows this is something many pre-adoptive parents long for. Fact check.
  • ISN'T TRUTHFUL ABOUT WHY SHE CHOOSE YOU: She says she found you online but can’t give you details about where, when or why she selected you.
  • NEEDS A PLANE TICKET TO USA: She claims to be stuck in another country (often Cameroon) and needs money/a plane ticket to get to the U.S. so she can place the baby with you.
  • NO AGENCIES INVOLVED: Says she doesn’t want to work with an agency/attorney but just wants to deal directly with you.
  • CLOSED ADOPTION: Says she wants a closed adoption. This can certainly be a legitimate circumstance but it’s a circumstance to be cautious of. The less interaction she has with you, the better for someone who is scamming.
  • DOESN'T ASK FAMILY FOR DETAILS: A birth mom who wants to match with a family very quickly and seems to not take much interest in the details of the particular family.
  • RESEARCH AND REVIEW BACKGROUND: Check IP address of all online communications and make sure they match up with what the birth mom says.
  • WORK WITH ADOPTION PROFESSIONALS: Work with reputable adoption professionals who have a strong track record and agencies/attorneys who are having in-person interaction with the birth mom. Try to meet her in person yourself.
  • NEVER HAVE THE BIRTH MOM CONTACT YOU DIRECTLY: If you advertise online, don’t have the birth mom contact you directly. Instead, have her go through your agency/attorney.
  • CHECK GOOGLE IMAGES: When you get a sonogram picture/proof of pregnancy/picture of the baby (child), search Google images to see if a public image was used.
  • NEVER, EVER SEND CASH: Never send a birth mom money directly. Always have that handled through a reputable agency/attorney.

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