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Understanding and avoiding adoption fraud

The adoption process can be delicate and emotional. Adding to the difficulties that are already present during such proceedings, some prospective parents may fall victim to adoption fraud. Families in Georgia considering an adoption may benefit from recognizing warning signs of such fraud.

Adoption fraud is defined as any intentional wrongful misrepresentation or illegal action taken by someone involved in the adoption process while seeking financial gain. Also known as wrongful adoption, the birth mother, the adoption agency or the prospective adoptive parents can perpetuate this type of fraud. Adoption fraud includes such actions as an agency charging too much for the process and a birth mother taking money from more than one family for medical bills, payment of housing and other expenses. Other examples include a woman who is not pregnant posing as a birthmother while requesting payment of expenses, someone trying to sell a baby online, and adoptive couples who promise to adopt a baby and disappear once the adoption process is complete.

There are often warning signs before the fraud is committed. Some of the signs include a supposedly pregnant woman refusing to provide proof of pregnancy, a birthmother who refuses to meet with a lawyer or adoption agency, or a woman who does not provide a contact number. Additionally, a warning sign can also be an agency that pressures the adoptive couple into signing papers or provides guarantees about the process.

Residents might benefit from speaking to a lawyer at the beginning of the process. That lawyer may be able to help a client avoid fraud scams and could provide guidance throughout the process.

Source: Findlaw, "Adoption Fraud", November 24, 2014

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