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News & Blog

How To Avoid an Adoption Scam

The following article was originally posted on the FBI website. We are sharing it on our blog to help raise awareness of red flags to look for when pursuing adoption for both adoptive parents and birth parents.

Adoption Fraud

Unethical adoption service providers can take advantage of an emotionally charged process to deceive and defraud prospective adoptive parents or birth parents considering adoption.

Learn what to look out for, how to protect yourself and your family, and what to do if you’re a victim.

Common Schemes

Double matching occurs when a birth mother’s baby is matched to more than one prospective adoptive parent.

Fabricated matching occurs when prospective adoptive parents are matched to a fictitious birth mother, a birth mother who is not pregnant, or a birth mother who is not genuinely interested in placing her baby for adoption.

Fee-related adoption schemes occur when adoption service providers require prospective adoptive parents to pay exorbitant fees upfront or on a recurring basis but fail to provide services promised.

How to Protect Yourself

When choosing an adoption service provider, do your research. Be aware of what fraudulent providers may do or ask you to do.

  • Misrepresent professional licenses or education
  • Make unsolicited contact to sign up birth mothers or prospective adoptive parents
  • Be difficult to reach via phone or email, despite multiple attempts
  • Unnecessarily control communications between adoption participants
  • Quote highly negotiable and inconsistent fees
  • Encourage prospective adoptive parents to pay expenses immediately to avoid losing out on opportunity to adopt
  • Demonstrate a pattern of requesting additional unexpected fees throughout the process
  • Make guarantees about the adoption process, such as:
    • Matching within a specified time-frame
    • Birth parents’ willingness to adopt
    • How quickly and easily the adoption will be legally finalized

Know other red flags to look out for during the adoption process.

  • Lack of proof of pregnancy or proof with inadequate details, like missing dates
  • History of failed adoptions due to unusual circumstances
  • Adoption participants pressured to sign documents they don’t fully understand
  • Adoption participants encouraged to falsify statements and documents to finalize the adoption

Additionally, birth parents should recognize signs of an exploitative situation, which may include:

  • Being coerced or manipulated into placing a child for adoption
  • Getting assigned prospective adoptive parents without being involved in the choice
  • Being pressured to follow through with an adoption or being told you will have to repay covered expenses if you change your mind