Scam I Am

“The biggest liar in the world is They Say.” – Norman Douglas

A few months back 20/20 ran a story on sad prospective adopters duped by a natural mother who had pledged her child to more than one family and then backed out completely.

Early in 2006, the brokers who sold my daughter were scammed by a couple who had taken money from the agency and then upon birth of the children decided not to place. Gasp.  The mother was sentenced to prison. (Hint: Try not giving money in the first place…that’s called coercion, intimidation and maybe even extortion and gee willikers it might even prevent you from getting scammed.  And oh yeah, it commoditizes our children.).

Terrible. Wrong. Heart wrenching (particularly for the children involved) but that is not my point.

The point is that the media LURVES to report on adoption scams provided it supports the social stereotype. Crack whore, money hungry, baby machine scamming the ever so lovely Mr. and Mrs. Infertile Joebeamer.

How many stories have you read about natural mothers being scammed? Probably none, right? Maybe one? How many have the local papers picked up? 20/20?

Well, let me tell you about two (and I can tell you even more.)

My husband and I lived in our second home. My second child, our oldest son was a few years old. I was passively searching for my daughter. She was still a minor, a teenager. I posted my details on a few search registries, adoption.com, and a few forums.  I regularly googled her DOB, the agency, even the last name I thought she had. Nothing came up.

One sunny day, sitting at my husband’s large desk in our home office, I check email. Much to my surprise (okay, outright shock) I have an email from a young woman who states she thinks she may be daughter. I can still remember gasping for breath, feeling dizzy and starting to cry.

But I was cautious. Something didn’t seem right to me. It wasn’t what I expected. (What did I expect?). I don’t know. It was short, sweet, to the point, direct. I guess I expected her to be a bit more, emotional, particularly given the age that she was at. This seemed kinda cold, business like.  But what did I know? How does a teenager craft an e mail to their mother? “Hey, hi, yo, Mah, its me? The kid you discarded oh so many years ago?”. I don’t know.

Whatever it was, something did not sit right with me. I did some digging on the address, poked around while I continued corresponding with my “daughter”.  Daily I was anxious, worried, what if it was her, what if it wasn’t, how do I confirm, etc.

I located my caseworker from the agency. I called her. I spoke to her. She refused to offer any assistance.  Just tell me NO this person is not my daughter, I begged. She refused to utter a word. I got the party line “You daughter went to a nice family”. Duh. That’s not what I asked you stupid idiot. Talking to her was pointless.

I pushed the “daughter” for more information. She could not produce it. She could only produce publicly available information. I asked for pictures. I got none. I was pretty sure it was bogus.

Finally, desparate, I scanned adoption.com for adoption scams. I posted a few questions. Turns out I was one of many moms this “daughter” was scamming. Many mothers had sent this person money, and more.

I escaped that.

So did my friend Kristy, largely due to my experience.

Kristy’s scam has been going on the past few weeks. Daughter writes her, claims to be her daughter, gets all emo with Kristy, send hers pictures of daughters daughter (“She would really like to meet her Gramma…”). Kristy WANTS to believe. Kristy is actively searching for her daughter born in 1985. Gosh, how Kristy wanted to believe. But like me, something seemed off. She kept in contact with “daughter” while checking her out. Daughter asked for Kristy to send HER money for a DNA test. (NO!!!). Kristy did not. Kristy instead called a state adoption registry and asked if they could just tell her that her this girl was NOT her daughter. In not so many words, registry person tells her to keep looking, do not send that girl money, etc.

Kristy is devastated. She has been scammed and contacted like this THREE TIMES.

Folks want to know what kind of woman pledges her unborn child to anxious adopters. I want to know what kind of person portrays themselves as an adoptee to a mother desparate to hold her child in her arms. I also want to know why the media doesn’t report on OUR pain?

Oh, duh, I forgot. We don’t have any. Adoption is WONDERFUL and MOTHERS FORGET AND GET ON WITH THEIR LIVES.

Yeah, right.

Sick, sick people in this world.

10 Thoughts.

  1. You’re right, why aren’t things like this being reported on in the media? I’m speechless. Gives me a lot to think about.

  2. Wherever there is vulnerability, you’ll find scams. It is sick – and it’s fraud. Although you may not have had much to go on, were you and your friend able to report it?
    The FBI’s Internet Crime Control Center would be a place to report this kind of action. I know it would be difficult to catch someone doing this, but it would be worth a try. Here’s the link:
    http://www.ic3.gov/crimeschemes.aspx

  3. I remember when my birthmom still contacted me via private investigator I did reverse phone lookups and all kinds of shit to make sure it was the real deal. Sorry you had to go through that.

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