Do Adoption Scams Exists?
We’re here to tell it to you straight. Do adoption scams exist? Are there really women that intentionally rob couples of their money and hopes of starting a family by telling them they’ve been chosen to raise her baby…a baby that may not even exist? Sadly, the answer to both of these questions is yes.
You’ve heard the horror stories in the news before, that answer may not surprise you. You may even be thinking, “if I want to adopt, all I need to do is find a licensed adoption agency because if they are licensed, surely, they are legit, ethical and following all the rules.” Before I break it to you, remember I promised to tell it to you straight. Not all adoption agencies, even if they are licensed, are on the up and up. Don’t get me wrong. There are COUNTLESS licensed agencies that you can trust; we just want you to read on to protect yourself from the bad apples out there.
Has All About U Adoptions been contacted by a scammer?
Yes we have. I would venture to say any agency you talk to would have to answer yes to this question. We work diligently to prevent our adoptive families from scams but nothing is fool proof. We modify and change procedures regularly to put even more safeguards in place to protect adoptive families from being scammed. These changes and modifications have evolved over time based on experiences. It is our hope and our goal that potential birth moms looking to scam do not make it to the point of making contact with an adoptive family. However, we also know that sometimes it can still happen, no matter how diligent or how many procedures are in place to protect adoptive families.
Keep in mind, we are talking about people that intentionally intend to commit fraud against individuals wanting to adopt, not birth moms that have every intention of placing their child for adoption and then have a change of heart. We feel there are things that you can look for; however, this isn’t a fool-proof insurance against adoption failure.
It’s Not Our JOB, it’s our LIFE.
On our website, www.aauadoptions.org and in our marketing we state, “It’s not our JOB, it’s our LIFE.” We’ve lived the nightmare of failed adoptions and know its impact emotionally as well as financially. As you consider adoption, we’ve shared some aspects to consider and questions you should ask. This is not a complete list and it’s an ever-evolving process. Anytime we hear of a scam, including those discussed on a recent Dateline NBC special, we look at our own efforts to see if adjustments need to be made.
What type of contact has agency had with the birth mom?
Not only does the amount of contact matter, in our opinion, but also the type of contact. Has all contact been via phone or text? How many, if any, face-to-face meetings have occurred?
All About U Adoptions is passionate about building a strong relationship with our birth mom’s emotionally. Not only are we available to them 24/7 via phone or text, we also travel to them frequently to spend time with them. We feel it’s important for these young ladies to know we want to develop a connection with them and be there for them through the good and the bad times. This practice of spending face-to-face time with our birth moms isn’t just to determine if they are being honest about their intentions to place their baby. However, it’s during these conversations we see the red flags. When we get a phone call from a potential birth mom that asks all the right questions but is never available to meet with us, we know we need to proceed carefully.
Before we have an adoptive family consider a potential birth mom for a match, we’ve spent hours with this young lady reviewing her options so she is making the adoption plan as an informed decision.
Is it all about the numbers?
In the Dateline special, the woman from the adoption agency they interviewed commented she did 40 – 50 adoptions per year. In our opinion, taking care of our birth moms not only financially but also emotionally increases the chance of a successful adoption and future for all involved. All About U Adoptions is a small non-profit agency that doesn’t focus so much on how many adoptions we do in a year. We focus on doing successful adoptions. In our agency, a birth mom is not a number; she is an individual with a name.
When are agency fees due?
Some agencies require you to pay the majority of the adoption fees at the beginning of the process and deduct amounts paid as you move through the process. The amount paid is non-refundable leaving you financially tied to that agency. In our agency, you will pay as you encounter the steps that incur costs. This way, you don’t have several thousands of dollars invested while you wait. More information on when we have fees paid can be found at http://aauadoptions.org/adopting/getting-started/.
Will you be able to meet face to face with the agency you select? Just as face-to-face meetings are important between us and the birth moms, we feel they can be just as important between us and the adoptive family. All About U Adoptions will travel to you, and meet on your schedule. Just as we never turn our back on our birth moms, we will be there for as long as you need us. We view adoption as a journey, not an event. Our training is designed to help prepare you for the unique aspects of being an adoptive family and we will remain available to you at any time that parenting challenges arise.
One Final Thought
Adoption can at times feel like an emotional roller coaster. Sometimes the turns can be unexpected and scary; especially when scams exist. However, even those featured in the Dateline special that had experienced adoption scams, found a way to overcome their loss and realize their dream of becoming a family through adoption. We hope that the fear of the unknowns or past hurts you may be experiencing do not prevent you from moving forward on an adoption journey. We’d like to be there to ride the adoption roller coaster with you.