Adoption Scams: How to Recognize and Prevent

Do you worry about being scammed in a domestic infant adoption? How can you prevent scams and recognize red flags for a failed adoption match? Join us to talk with Colleen Quinn, an adoption attorney at the Adoption & Surrogacy Law Center in Richmond, VA, with 34 years of experience in adoption law. She is the co-author of the last five editions of the VA CLE Adoption Procedures and Forms.

In this episode, we cover:

  • Adoption scams can fall into four general categories:
    • those against adoptive parents by expectant or supposedly pregnant women,
    • those by brokers or facilitators who are not licensed or may not be legal,
    • those by adoption agencies and attorneys agains adoptive parents.
    • those done by adoptive against expectant/birth parents.
  • What are the typical adoption scams perpetrated by expectant women against prospective adoptive parents or adoption agencies or attorneys?
  • How much can adoptive parents pay an expectant mother for living expenses, clothes, transportation, food, etc.?
  • What are some ways to prevent being scammed. Red flags for an adoption scam?
    • Insist on Video calls and then move to in-person meetings.
    • Ask for HiPPA release to see medical records
    • Don’t provide cash directly to the expectant parent.
    • Work with an experienced adoption agency or adoption attorney.
  • What should adoptive families know and ask about unidentified birth fathers?
  • What are ways adoptive parents can prevent becoming a victim of an adoption scam or adoption fraud?
  • What are warning signs that an expectant woman does not plan to go through with the adoption? Note that this is not necessarily or even commonly the same thing as an adoption scam.
    • Watch for the placing parents wanting to name the child.
    • Wanting to take the baby home for a few days.
    • Terms used by the expectant parent—your baby vs. my family.
    • If placing their 3rd or 4th child more often not to place a full sibling and the couple is still to
    • Secrecy-Not telling her mom
    • Grandmom doesn’t agree with placement
    • How soon they fill out the forms that we send.
    • Slow walk the Hippa forms.
    • Not following through with their attorney
    • More fall through with adoptive parents
    • Not getting good adoption options counseling  in person that asks the hard questions. This type of counseling really help her think through.
    • Overly or under-emotional about the adoption plan.
  • While not necessarily a scam, how common is it for expectant mothers to not be fully open about prenatal exposure to drugs or alcohol?
  • Acts by brokers or facilitators who are not acting legally?
  • Acts by adoption agencies and attorneys against adoptive parents.
  • Adoption scams/fraud against expectant parents or birth parents?  (open adoption, fertility treatment, back out of the arrangement)

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Music Credit: Michael Ashworth

Podcast Producer: Megown SoundWorks

Image Credit: RDNE Stock Project