Guest Author - Karen Ledbetter
They assist local and nation law enforcement officials in arresting and prosecuting adoption scammers.
Kelly is a Sonya Furlow survivor and detailed her experience in The Cruelest Con. Several years ago, Sonya Furlow was convicted of scamming 44 adoptive parents out of over two hundred thousand dollars.
Lynne is an adoptive mom and is very passionate about prosecuting adoption scammers. She also serves as a Triad Search Angel and was a 2006 Angel in Adoption nominee. Both ladies are members of the American Adoption Congress.
Keep in mind that birth parents and adoptive parents can be victims of adoption scams. Adoption agencies, facilitators, and attorneys, as well as adoptive parents and people posing as birth parents can all be adoption scammers. Kelly and Lynne agree that education is the best way to prevent being victimized in the world of adoption; and they have compiled a list of red flags.
Red flags that an adoption professional may be fraudulent include someone who requests large up-front fees, claims to send you information that you never receive, promises a baby within a specific amount of time, fails to return you phone calls due to personal crises, claims to have a 100-percent successful placement record, tends to piggyback adoption situations with another professional, and encourages expectant moms to lie to adoptive parents.
Red flags indicating a fraudulent expectant parent include someone who asks for money right away, requests a plane ticket, refuses counseling, refuses to talk with your adoption professional, refuses to name or tell the baby’s father, requests no information about you, continually changes due dates, seems to have one crisis after another, and sends you an ultrasound copy without a name on it.
Expectant parents need to beware as well since they can be victimized by adoptive parents. Red flags to look out for include adoptive parents who make demands, have no home study, treat expectant parents with disrespect, make unrealistic promises, attempt to ignore adoption laws and/or expectant parents’ rights, want their names on your baby’s original birth certificate, refuse to allow you to contact their references, and promise open adoption but withholds identifying information.
With predators like those mentioned above in the adoption world, it’s a good thing that we have caring people like Lynne and Kelly, who strive to protect hopeful adoptive couples and birth parents through education. Their newest web site is full of information to help adoptive parents and birth parents protect themselves from becoming victims. In addition to tips on how to spot a potential scam, the web site includes a list of questions to ask adoption professionals before handing over any money or signing any documents, a state-by-state listing of links to adoption laws, news articles about known adoption scams, a message board, and many other helpful links.