5 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Adoption Scams
While researching the private domestic infant adoption process, many prospective adoptive parents encounter stories about adoption scams. While the number of adoption scams is in no way comparable to the thousands of successful adoptions that occur each year, unfortunately the stories about adoptions-gone-wrong often receive a disproportionate amount of attention.
Adoption scams occur in situations where a woman will reach out to families with no proof of pregnancy, with false proof of pregnancy or with no intention of actually making an adoption plan. Once she finds a prospective adoptive family, she will request emotional and financial support from that family before disappearing and leaving the family out thousands of dollars — and back at step one in their adoption process.
Adoption scams in Iowa and other states are rare but certainly possible. However, there are several steps a prospective adoptive family can take to prevent one from occurring in their personal adoption journey.
One of these steps is speaking with attorney Ken Nelson about the specifics of the Iowa adoption process. Ken can explain exactly which choices you can make to avoid the possibility of encountering an adoption scam and how his legal services can help protect your rights as prospective parents. To learn more today, please contact the Nelson Law Firm.
As he explains how you can prevent adoption scams, Ken will likely touch on five important steps:
1. Choose the Right Professional.
Those who are most at risk of encountering an adoption scam are prospective adoptive parents who choose to work without an agency or attorney throughout every step of the process. These parents must find an adoption opportunity on their own, which means they are using their own resources to advertise for prospective birth mothers — without the protection of legal screening that adoption agencies provide.
In order to avoid adoption scams, prospective adoptive parents should consider working with a reputable matching agency that fully screens all prospective birth mothers. Thorough screening helps ensure that a woman is really who she says she is and gauges whether or not she is truly interested in adoption. Some adoption agencies will even provide risk-sharing programs to protect prospective adoptive parents should a scam occur.
Those who find a prospective birth parent on their own may be at risk without this kind of screening and professional guidance. Adoption attorney Ken Nelson can provide referrals to trusted, experienced matching professionals to help you find an adoption opportunity — and avoid the possibility of an adoption scam.
2. Get to Know the Prospective Birth Parents.
Another important aspect of recognizing and avoiding adoption scams is building a relationship with prospective birth parents. The more adoptive parents understand about a prospective birth mother’s situation and reasons for choosing adoption, the better they can sense when something may not be quite right.
A prospective birth mother who is seriously considering adoption will want to know as much about an adoptive family as possible. After all, she is making one of the biggest decisions of her life. A woman considering adoption who doesn’t seem to want to know her baby’s adoptive family should raise concerns, and you should consider asking her to speak to your adoption professional before moving forward with the match.
While getting to know the prospective birth parents can seem intimidating, it is a crucial step in building mutual respect and, in the cases of adoption scams, determining a woman’s true motives before getting too far in the adoption process. Attorney Ken Nelson can always provide suggestions on building this relationship or help you contact a professional who provides contact mediation.
3. Be Aware of Current Adoption Scams.
Many adoption scammers will target more than one family, and they often use similar tactics. Prospective adoptive families may consider joining online support groups and adoption forums to learn more about the current patterns for adoption scams. The more informed prospective adoptive parents are, the less likely that they will become a victim of a serious adoption scam. Your adoption professional should also educate you on the common signs of an adoption scam as you pursue your adoption process.
4. Hire a Professional to Manage Living Expenses.
Adoption scammers are often after the financial benefits associated with adoption and will pressure adoptive families into financial aid early on in the process. Adoptive families should never give money directly to a prospective birth mother. The living expenses laws in different states can be complicated and, even in cases where a prospective birth mother is sincere, giving her direct financial aid can potentially break adoption laws.
Many adoption professionals can handle the financial aspect of an adoption on their own or through professional escrow services — which will prevent a woman from abusing the living expenses system. If a prospective birth mother does not wish to work with an adoption professional to receive her financial assistance, it may be a sign that her adoption desires are not genuine.
5. Pay Attention and Take Notes.
Finally, prospective adoptive parents should pay close attention to a prospective birth parent throughout the adoption process. If anything seems out of the ordinary during the pregnancy and discussions of your adoption plans, make note of it and present it to your adoption professional. Multiple red flags in conversations may indicate an adoption scam, and your adoption professional can follow up with a prospective birth parent to find out more information about their situation.
While adoption scams are rare, they can occur, and prospective adoptive parents should take caution to prevent this situation from happening to them. One of the most helpful steps is working with an experienced adoption professional that can recognize the indicators of an adoption scam and provide you protection in these kinds of situations.
As an experienced adoption attorney, Ken Nelson can educate you about the signs of an adoption scam and provide suggestions to help you protect your money, time and safety as you pursue the adoption process. To learn more about the services Ken can provide, please contact the Nelson Law Firm today.