Today, 11/30/2018, Dr. Oz discussed a crime of the heart and wallet. Catfish adoption scams are when couples think they are going to adopt a baby and do everything required only to find out the mother never had any intentions of going thru with the adoption. It happened to Cindy and Jack. After 13 years of marriage and exhausted medical interventions, they decided to adopt. The couple signed the contract and paid for the mother’s rent, food, clothing, cell phone, and even her bus pass. Only to be duped.
Cindy and Jack said the mother selected them. She asked very little about the couple. At first, the mother did not want to meet them but then agreed. At the ultrasound, Cindy says when she heard the heartbeat, she was so excited. When the nurse asked who wanted the pictures, the birth mother snatched them. They found out after some time of no interaction that the birth mother had given birth and no one even noticed (from the agency) or knew. She even asked for more money not knowing they knew about the birth. Cindy still cries from the experience.
Kim and Brandon were also victims of a catfish adoption scam. They appeared on the show to share their story. Brandon started searching her profile picture. It was a picture of another woman in another state. He then went to a search for an ultrasound photo that was given to them and it was from someone else’s pregnancy. When confronted, the woman disappeared.
Melissa Brissman/ What you can do to avoid an adoption scam:
- You have to make sure this person is for real. Do a reverse image search. There is an actual website that teaches people how to scam others for adoption money.
- Always have a professional involved and always make the birth mother go as well.
- Never ever give money to the birth mother. Go thru the agency.
It is becoming more popular with the growing social media sites: private, or “identified,” adoption. Families wanting to adopt will post their adoption information on social media pages hoping that an expectant mother will see it and contact them. It does not mean that an adoption agency will not be used, but they become “matched” without the use of the agency.
Use of social media for identified adoption is becoming more popular, but not without concerns. Dr. Oz is warning people of possible dangers that may occur. Unfortunately, this type of scam is becoming more commonplace. Women pose as pregnant and even send ultrasound pictures to waiting couples. Some women do this to get living expense money from waiting families; others, as in this case, are looking to fill emotional gaps in their lives. No matter the reason, it is exploitation of a family that wants to adopt a child. Waiting for a child is hard and to get conned is crushing.
The American Adoption Congress believes that birth/first mother scamming is an intentionally planned criminal fraud that destroys the dreams of prospective adoptive parents who have anxiously waited for an opportunity to grow their family. Every attempt should be made to identify and prosecute the parties involved in this type of fraud.
Adoption is a life-long event for all involved. Beware of agencies and law firms who play upon your emotions and promise a speedy process. Give your family the best chance for a healthy future by selecting only a reputable adoption agency which can guide you through all phases of the process and help you to properly select a reputable birth/first mother and prepare you for welcoming an infant into your home.
Adoption scams are not the norm but careful selection of a professional adoption agency that puts the welfare of the infant above all else gives the best possible foundation for you and your growing family.
All the money, all the heartache, all the lies only left Cindy and Jack with advice to just let it go and move forward. Cindy had kept meticulous records. She did get help from the area where the birth mother lived by a detective. The birth mother was jailed and prosecuted as it was found that the whole scam was planned. Cindy and Jack now have a beautiful baby boy that they adopted with no problems.
Ref. adoption.com, myadoptionadvisor.com
Photo courtesy of Bing via pinterest.com