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Adoption scams happen, and they can be disheartening to even think about.

Often times this underlying fear is the reason families don’t move forward with adopting. However, there are common red flags to look for and questions to ask that will, hopefully, prevent you from ever having to experience a scam. 

One important thing to note is that a birth mother choosing to parent her child prior to planned adoption happening is completely different and NOT a scam. Birth mothers have every right to choose to parent, up until the moment that she signs over parental relinquishment to an adoptive family. 

An adoption scam happens when a woman decides to prey on vulnerable people. In this case, hopeful parents who would do anything or give everything to finally build the family they’ve always dreamed of.

Separate from an adoption scam, there are also signs you can look out for throughout a match or an expectant mother’s pregnancy that may indicate she will likely choose to parent her child.

Want to watch Becca cover this herself?

Some red flags you can look for and questions to ask (when working with an adoption agency).

Money

If your agency presents you a potential adoption situation, is the expectant mother asking for a lot of money upfront and fast? Asking for a large sum of money quickly, from day one, can be a telltale sign of an adoption scam.
 

Communication

Is the expectant mother showing up for scheduled appointments and calling her social worker accordingly? Or does she come up with excuse after excuse for avoiding phone calls?

Prior placements

If the expectant mother has placed before, she likely knows what she can ask for, knows that agency wants to keep her happy, and knows that families want a child. Is she taking advantage of that? This could be a more demanding situation. On the flipside, it also means she’s experienced placing a child and knows what it feels like.

 

Gender

If the expectant mother is pregnant with a child of a gender that doesn’t already have, is she going to be okay going through with the adoption? For example, if she has three boys and this time around she’s having a girl, she may want to parent her daughter. In no way is this a scam, but it’s important to ask your agency if a conversation about this has been had. 

 

Birth fathers

What is the birth father’s involvement or knowledge of the pregnancy and adoption plan? If he’s not aware, why not? There may be legitimate reasons as to why the expectant mother does not want to involve him. Perhaps she just doesn’t know who he is.
Ultimately, the more you know about him and his stance on the adoption, the better chances that you will know if the adoption is likely to go through or not.
Proof of pregnancy
Does the agency have a physical record of the pregnancy from a doctor or hospital? Has the agency talked to the doctor or hospital to verify once again that she is indeed pregnant?
Unfortunately, there are a lot of false records and ultrasounds being shared out there. There may be delays in receiving medical records, but you want to make sure everything about the pregnancy is legitimate by reaching out to the agency and asking the right questions.
Adoption is hard because you are already questioning everything! The most important thing to do in these situations is to trust your gut. You know if things don’t feel right! Keep these tips on your radar, don’t shy away from questions, and use your intuition when things get muddy.