I thought this was a pretty decent read...especially since we have so many new members that are contemplating adoption as a whole.
Cautions to Prevent Getting "Taken" in Adoption
After reading this article, get a GREAT BOOK: The Cruelest Con
The three words that come to mind are RESEARCH, RESEARCH AND MORE RESEARCH. Check references, ask for people who were less than happy and call them and ask questions. How an agency or facilitator or networker deals with a past problem is how they will deal with your situation when you have a problem.
You get on mailing lists like this one and ask for feed back. Also, check out The Adoption Guide. Check outwww.abcadoptions.com Go on Internet discussion boards and ask for feedback. Then pay attention to what info you get. Almost every agency/resource will have someone who is unhappy. But having dozens of people unhappy is cause for concern.
Check with the better business bureau.
Do a search at www.google.com on the agency's name and key personnel. You'd be amazed at what you can find out.
There are also many agencies that don't take any funds till placement for full AA situations. If you take a firm stand, and refuse to pay the registration fees up front, and offer to pay them after placement, most agencies are in such need of families for full AA situations that they will agree.
When they give you a list of expenditures, and you have the faith they are being honest, there doesn't seem to be a way to ensure those figures are accurate, you have to go on their "word". Someone said in another forum they had to pay "administrative fees" of over $3,000. What's that for?
So look for another agency. Don't go there. There are dozens and dozens of agencies and adoption resources. While some expenses are legitimate, ask for the last three years audited tax statements. Any non profit MUST provide this promptly on request. That will give you some idea of how much money is going where.
There are LOTS out there. It's much harder if one is searching for a full CC, Asian or Hispanic situation.
The other option is International adoption. There are lots of children needing homes all over the world. If one is careful and works with well established agencies with long reputations, one reduces one's risks of loosing money. Many countries have reduced fees and grants for special needs children.
As parents who want a family, we often lead with our hearts, not our heads and this is when we are most likely to get into trouble.
Any time an agency:
1) Urges you to send money RIGHT now to avoid 'loosing' a situation
2) Calls at odd hours of the day and night, wanting a decision 'right now'.
3) Cannot provide numbers of families they've successfully helped
4) Promises a match 'right away' or in a specified time frame rather than the 'average is'
5) Fails to return phone calls and Emails promptly
6) Fails to provide references promptly when asked
7) Runs down other agencies and professionals
8) Talks about other adopting families negatively or shares confidential information about other clients
9) Tells you that 'this is YOUR baby', I just KNOW it.
RUN, RUN, RUN as far and as fast as you can.
Be skeptical. Ask lots of questions.
When dealing with potential birth mothers, it is important:
One: Get proof of pregnancy. ALWAYS!!!
Two: Have the potential birth mother sign a release of information with her doctor and CALL! Verify information. Ensure that drug and urine tests are being done and ask the results. Most honest potential birth moms will agree without a fuss and in my experience, potential birth moms who are AA are
very honest about their alcohol and drug use.
Three: Encourage/pay for GOOD counseling so that she is sure of her decision to place and you know the choice is made knowing all the other options.
Four: DO NOT EVER SEND MONEY!!!! Money should only be supplied after ALL other avenues are exhausted. All pregnant women now qualify for Medicaid for prenatal health care and delivery, so there is no need for adopting families to have big medical expenses. There are many organizations out
there to help with food, shelter, and other expenses and these, for the most part are NOT the responsibility of adopting families. If you decide to send ANY money or gifts, do it through a licensed AAAA lawyer only. And look at it as money you will never see again. It it however, crucial to remember that giving money in any way does NOT obligate a potential birth mom to place a child with you. It is NOT your child, and won't be until the relinquishment papers are signed, the revocation period is over and the
child is in your arms and home.
Five: With ANY potential situation, this is NOT your child until the legalities are complete. Do your best to stay emotionally detached. Be supportive of the potential birth mom, act as a slightly at a distance
friend. Wrap your emotions up in a safe place and leave them there until everything is done.
Beware of adoptions scams.
Join on line groups as a potential birth mother will often attempt to scam several families at once with similar stories.
If you think you are being scammed, contact local state authorities at once. Many agencies will know who the current scammers are, and can warn adopting families.
How to spot a possible Scammer:
1) She is usually in 'dire circumstances' and needs 'immediate help'. She may say that her utilities have been turned off, or are about to be, or that her other child(ren) is desperately ill and she has no money for medicine. Or variations of the above. If her utilities are off, how is she getting 'On-line'? It seems obvious, but in the heat of contact/hope/desire, common sense takes a long holiday.
2) Her story will change frequently. She may have a husband who is not the 'father', and boyfriend who's in jail, just got out or is about to go back to jail.
3) She will be On-line at odd hours, often disappear mid sentence, and leave the concerned wanting to adopt family worried. She may create an 'emergency', such as "He's at the door! What do I do? He'll hurt me!", etc. Then, boom, she's gone and the family is distraught.
4) She will have many stories about why she can't sign a medical release, or why she can't provide proof of pregnancy, or will say "it's in the mail, I just don't understand why you haven't gotten it!".
5) She may have many on-line email addresses or names, and is most likely playing the game with many couples. I know of one lady who scammed over $10,000 plus many thousands more in gifts, including a car!, from fifteen couples! She even promised her twins to different couples and one twin to
one family and the other twin to someone else. She claimed one of her babies was AA and the other was Caucasian, something that is almost impossible to determine before a child is born.
6) She may claim she has a handicapped child, that the baby she is carrying will have the same terrible problem and/or that she is suicidal.
7) The suicidal thing is also something often used to create distress in the families seeking to adopt.
Sadly most people put more time and energy into buying a new car than they do in adopting a child.
Adult Adoptee, bio mom, birth mom and adoptive mom