I recently read an article on adoption scams that said it is very difficult to tell the difference between a potential birth mom who is legit and one who is a scammer. I learned this week just how true that is.
It turns out that sweet birth mom J from Texas was going by at least 3 different names and trying to get money from adoptive parents around the country. I learned this by posting a message on one of the adoption forums to see if anyone else had been contacted by an expectant mom from Texas recently. I didn't use any names, but mentioned the town she was from and said our agency had reason to believe she was working with multiple families. I received several responses, all with strikingly similar stories and identical due dates, but different names.
So, the scared young girl who called us and our social worker at 6 a.m. because she had just spent the night in the emergency room and didn't know how she was going to pay for her medications was actually an experienced con artist. She knew how to make us feel sorry for her and she tried everything she could think of to get us to send money. Luckily, we're smarter than that. We know better than to send money to directly to a birth mom -- especially one who wasn't even seen by an adoption professional. Unfortunately, others I have talked to did actually send money to this girl. And when they became suspicious of her and stopped, she stopped contacting them.
The thing that bothers me most about all of this is that she played with people's emotions. She prayed on kind, loving couples who longed for a child. She exploited people who were the most vulnerable: those who had struggled with infertility and/or pregnancy loss. People who had already grieved and suffered and lost, but were opening their hearts to her and really cared.
In the end, we all lost again -- hope, time, faith, the child we all thought we were flying to Texas to bring home, and for some, money. Every couple who was contacted by this woman expended a great deal of energy and emotion on this situation. And much like our past struggles to have a child, we all once again ended up with nothing.
But I guess that's just all part of the adoption journey.