I’ve taken some off social media to reflect and process the events of last week.
Ben and I decided to contact an adoption facilitator in CA and it was, both, interesting and frustrating to learn how eager people are to take advantage of couples who want to have a child.
About 10 days ago I contacted an adoption facilitator who also claims to be a clinical psychologist. In her past she was a marriage and family therapist, and she has done extensive research in attachment and bonding in babies. She seemed very unique in that she is present when most birth mothers go into labor and give birth to the babies. Being in the field for almost 30 years, she has become an agent to connect birth mothers with prospective adoptive parents.
There were definitely some red flags along the way as I think back. When I first called her I had to ask her 3 different times for her rates in a span of a 12 minutes conversation. She waited 10 minutes into the conversation before she explained how much she charges. She built rapport quickly, gave her pitch, asked what kind of a baby we were interested in and told me that there are currently 2 birth mothers she knows of who were looking for adoptive parents. At the end of the conversation she told me her rates: $950 for the initial 2-3-hour interview and $16,000 later.
I talked it over with my husband who initially thought it was a good idea. Right before we went to bed he asked, “have you researched her to make sure she is who she says she is?” This was a fair point and I soon discovered that She had, both, glowing and distasteful reviews. I inquired further via email, and she was happy to provide a lengthy email to explain these negative reviews and what had happened with the adoptive parents.
I emailed her back and thanked her for taking the time to explain the situation. I told her that we would contact our lawyer here in Knoxville to inquire about adoption facilitators, knowing that there are different adoption laws according to each state.
Red flag #2: She responded immediately and stated the following: “I think it would be better if you talked to a California attorney because you use the laws of the state where the birthmom lives OR the state where the adoptive parents live.” She then instructed us to give an attorney located in California a call.
When we talked to our attorney he explained that it was illegal and a “criminal offense” for TN residents to pay for an adoption facilitator anywhere in the country.
I mulled over this information for a day or two. I realized I was angry with the adoption facilitator for a couple of reasons: 1) She was giving us wrong legal advice when it was not her place to do so, and 2) she would have made a legitimate amount of money from us and it would have been us, not her, who paid a costly price.
From the research I have done in a short amount of time, I realize there are many heartbreaking situations for adoptive parents. There are many people who are willing to take advantage of couples who want to adopt a baby. The issue: it’s an emotionally taxing journey, if you allow it to be. The lesson: if you make decisions solely through your emotions, you may get taken advantage of. The plan: Involve God in the process, and you won’t go it alone.