Tips for Avoiding a Birth Mother Adoption Scam
- When first contacted by an expectant woman who is considering adoption, have her contact your adoption agency or adoption attorney or get her permission for them to contact her. Procrastination in contacting your agency or attorney is a major warning sign.
- Google the woman’s name, email, Instant Messaging name, or any other contact information to see what information is available online for her. If you feel squeamish, just realize that she is probably doing the same on you.
- Early in the adoption process have the prospective birth mother sign a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant medical release for access to her medical records. Request her records immediately. Procrastination in signing this form is a warning sign.
- Early in the adoption process meet the birthmother in person so you can evaluate her motives and intent with the benefit of body language. Procrastination in setting up and following through with this meeting is a major warning sign.
- Don’t share identifying information with the birth mother until after the in-person meeting and not ever online.
- Pay any allowable birthmother expenses directly to the provider, not to the expectant woman herself. For example, if the state you are in allows adoptive parents to pay the birthmother’s rent, pay it directly to the landlord.
- With the prospective birth mother’s permission, ask the doctor to perform routine drug tests. Keep in mind that it is much more difficult to detect alcohol use.
- Offer the birthmother counseling. It is not necessarily a major warning sign if she refuses, but most women who are perpetrating a scam will not accept counseling.
- Join the yahoo group Adoption Scams http://groups.yahoo.com/group/adoptionscams/
- Trust your gut. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.