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Adoption fraud is a horrible, unfortunate scam that, unfortunately, has happened to hundreds of parents across Michigan. Are you worried you may be a victim of adoption fraud? Our adoption attorneys have had the unfortunate experience of dealing with adoption fraud victims. These are intelligent, kind people who have handed over tens of thousands of dollars to someone who took advantage of their desire to adopt a child.
What Is Adoption Fraud?
Adoption fraud, also known as wrongful adoption, refers to any illegal act done by an individual during the adoption process for financial gain. This may include intentional misrepresentation by adoption agencies, birth mothers, and even potential adoptive parents. Click here to download more information about adoption fraud from the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
In some cases, adoptive parents think they will be given a child to adopt by its birth mother; however, the birth mother has promised the baby to more than one family in return for additional financial support.
Common Adoption Schemes
There are several adoption fraud schemes that prospective parents may fall prey to during the adoption process. Scammers use various methods to deceive and exploit the adoption system for their own gain, and they are not above using underhanded methods.
Common adoption schemes include:
- Double matching: the baby is matched with more than one parent
- Fabricated matching: prospective parents are matched with a fake mother, a mother who is not pregnant, or a birth mother who has not decided to give the child up for adoption
- Fee-related schemes: these adoption schemes require adoptive parents to pay ridiculously high fees without providing anything in return
If you are a victim of one of these scams, know that it is not your fault. Many fraudulent agencies and scammers are experienced in the field of fraud. They know how to use parents who want to adopt a child, and they do not shy away from exploiting birth mothers as well.
Signs of Adoption Fraud
Here are some common signs you may be a part of adoption fraud:
- You are guaranteed a baby
- You are asked to pay immediately
- You are not given proof of pregnancy
- You are encouraged to falsify documents
- You are continually asked for more money
- You have a bad feeling about the adoption
- The birth mother is evading you
- You often have unanswered questions
- You are asked to pay high or inconsistent fees
- The agency forces you to sign documents without reading them
While every birth mother’s life situation is different, if a birth mother constantly avoids you and misses scheduled calls or appointments, this could be considered early warning signs of fraud. Also, it is important that whenever a birth mother asks for additional funds, that you understand the reasoning. If there is a valid reason for an emergency expense, that is not necessarily a sign of fraud. However, if your birth mother asks for money at random times without providing you with much information as to why, this would be a cause for concern.
Here are some ways you can avoid adoption fraud:
Consult with an adoption professional and adoption lawyer
This is one of the best ways to protect yourself from a potential scam. An adoption professional will be able to spot adoption fraud before it even begins. As they are familiar with the adoption process, they will also provide you with the safest, most effective way to adopt a child. An adoption lawyer will protect your legal rights as an adoptive parent. It would be devastating to adopt a child only to find out you made a mistake and are not legally its actual parent. An adoption lawyer will ensure this cannot happen.
Obtain proof of pregnancy
Before you decide to move forward with an adoption opportunity, you should first confirm that the birth mother is pregnant. An adoption professional can provide you with valid proof of the pregnancy. Valid proof means verified proof of pregnancy from a licensed medical provider.
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