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Avoiding adoption fraud

Texas families who are trying to navigate the complex adoption process may be at risk for adoption fraud. Also known as "wrongful adoption," adoption fraud occurs when a person or an agency intentionally misrepresents information regarding an available child in order to receive financial or personal gains. While many fraudsters are adoption agencies, birth mothers and facilitators, prospective adopters may also be the perpetrators.

There are many red flags that may alert potential adopters to adoption fraud. If working with an agency or a facilitator, they may fail to return phone calls and emails or otherwise be unavailable for contact. They may pressure a potential adopter to sign documents that may be incomprehensible or extremely difficult to understand while making certain promises and guarantees about the process. Further, they may infer that the child already belongs to the adopter. Fraud instigated by birth mothers may be similar, with additional red flags including the refusal to meet with an adoption agency or failing to show proof of pregnancy.

Potential adopters do have some measures they can take in order to protect themselves against fraud. The easiest way to do this is to learn what to expect by discussing the process with others who have already gone through the process and by adopting through professional agencies that are licensed. Researching current fraud tactics can also help adopters avoid being defrauded.

Because the adoption process can be difficult and confusing, potential adopters can add another layer of protection against adoption fraud by seeking advice from a family law attorney. The attorney may help potential adopters by locating legitimate agencies and helping them understand their rights. The attorney may also assist with any problems that may arise during the adoption or if the potential adopters become involved with an adoption fraud scheme.

Source: Findlaw, "Adoption Fraud", December 04, 2014

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