I’ve touched very briefly on this subject before, but I wanted to go into it a bit more in detail. When we first started with our adoption we started out with the intent on self-matching, meaning we were going to advertise ourselves, do our own marketing, and finalize the adoption with an lawyer instead of using an agency to do it all for us. The main reason we started off that way is because of the cost. We could save roughly $20,000 by not using an agency. I researched a lot into the options and the pro’s and con’s of each of them so we felt this was our best bet to start out with.
We started off by sharing our hope to adopt via social media and created a Facebook page specifically for our adoption highlights and updates. We then started a profile on Adoptomist.com which is a place where you put up a profile where expectant moms can view them to try and decide if a family is a good fit for her and the child. Within a few short hours we started having some contact with expectant families which was very exciting.
We had a few contacts that really seemed legitimate, others were full of red flags from the get-go. The first red flag that we always had was the grammar and word usage. A lot of scammers are from other countries so if there was a huge amount of language barriers, I was always on high alert. The other red flag we came a crossed a few times was the children were older and the mom had some huge story about why she couldn’t parent. They usually go into detail about their situation like “my baby is 4 months old and I just found out I have cancer. They’ve only given me 3 months to live. I need to find a family asap so I can focus on my medical problems.” We received a lot of sob stories like that. This may be a real case, but all of ours were not. Another HUGE red flag is the mention of money. Any time money is mentioned you should proceed with caution, extreme caution! Most of the scams that we were presented with we knew right away, but one caught us off guard.
We had a friend who seen a woman in a facebook group she is apart of, share that she was pregnant and looking to place her baby for adoption. My friend knew we were hoping to adopt so she provided her our contact information and we started Facebook chatting. The woman was from our same state, she seemed somewhat stable, and had other children who were older. She let us know that her and her husband were not in the best place in their lives and they couldn’t raise another child. We spoke with for a few weeks and there were very few red flags. Her communication was hit and miss. She would chat and respond frequently and then she’d stop. I never pressured her to reply and let her lead the conversation. One day, after not hearing from her for a bit, she reached out to me saying she would probably not be able to reply much for a bit because she didn’t have money to pay her phone bill. She never straight up asked for my help paying her bill, but that was the first red flag. I felt like she was fishing for financial help.
We became friends on Facebook and some of the things I seen on her profile page started confirming she was probably not really expecting. She kept updating her status asking for help with bills, moving expenses, etc. The more I read the more I knew she was scamming us. A few days after she mentioned her phone being turned off, she deleted me from Facebook. That was my answer. She was trying to scam be for money. That one hurt a bit because it was the first one we thought could lead to us starting our family.
These scammers pray on the vulnerable and they do it for many reasons. Some are emotional scammers. They don't ask for money, all they want is the thrill of knowing they played with someones emotions. Others do it for the money. That is why I strongly advise talking to an adoption social worker or attorney before beginning talks with a expectant mom. The more knowledge you have before diving in the better you'll be prepared on how to handle the tough situations.
After dealing with that, I had a strong desire to start researching agencies. I looked into a few and called to have a consult to see if they were the best fit for us. The one we ended up choosing seemed right. They provided counseling to the expectant mothers before they even began searching for families. They felt it was important to make sure the mother was confident in her decision before exposing her and the hopeful adoptive parents to the emotions that come with the decision. That was a really important piece of the puzzle for us which ultimately led us to choose that agency and being matched with our birth mom.
Being in the adoption process is so hard. It’s draining mentally, emotionally, and in most cases financially. When things don’t go as planned it’s even harder because you’re already so invested and tired from the process. Looking back now, I’m able to see that things didn’t work out because they were supposed to work out a different way. I’m glad I listened to my gut and didn’t invest any more time in the scams and moved forward with our agency. Having the extra help and expertise was worth the extra money to get our son. Everything worked out like it should have and for that I’m so grateful!
Hi my name is Whitney and I'm a mom to 2 adorable boys. Here you'll find our story of infertility, adoption, grief, and hope. I'm an open book so you'll never know what I'll post next!