Avoiding Adoption Scams
For potential scammers, the emotions of the victim are often a powerful tool, convincing the mark to do things that border on the irrational. And there are fewer actions that are laden with more emotion than adoption proceedings. Unfortunately, the desire for a child has led many prospective adoptive parents to become victims of unscrupulous persons, from bogus adoption agencies to birthmothers seeking only profit. Here are some of the ways that you can be victimized in an adoption scam, as well as some of the steps you can take to avoid such an outcome.
- A prospective birthmother may accept money and other gifts or goods from a number of adoptive parents simultaneously. This is neither legal nor ethical, but happens far too often. Frequently, the birthmother had no intention of ever giving up the child.
- An adoption agency may charge substantial fees, but fail to provide any or all of the services set forth in the agreement.
- Adoptive parents may promise the birthmother access to the child and then refuse to do so, once the adoption is final
The adoption process is somewhat unique, allowing the parties some degree of flexibility. Because fraud requires intent, it can often be difficult to go into a court of law and prove that you have been the victim of wrongdoing. For example, a birthmother may have the intent to put a child up for adoption right up to the time of birth and change her mind subsequent to delivery. In almost every instance, that would not be fraudulent behavior.
Because of the difficulty of demonstrating fraud, your best approach to avoid adoption scams is to ensure that you do your homework, and take certain steps to minimize the risk of deceit. This requires that you take time to educate yourself, that you have a strong knowledge of all parties with which you are working, and that you know your rights and the laws governing your adoption.
To educate yourself, consider doing the following if you are in the adoption process:
- Do a Google search on the birth parent, spouse and family. See if they have a Facebook presence or are on other social media platforms.
- If you get any kind of an image, get the file name for the image and Google it. You may find that the birth parent lifted the image from another website.
- There are forums for adoptive parents to share adoption fraud experiences. Consider joining one of them.
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To set up an appointment, call us in Haddonfield at 856-429-5005 or in Woodbury at 856-845-2555. We can also be reached in Philadelphia at 215-563-2150 or by e-mail. For clients
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