As an adoptive parent, you are either aware of, or will soon become aware of “red flags” though your adoption process. There are no hard and fast rules as to what constitutes a “red flag” when dealing with someone who may be having second thoughts of their adoption plan or, worse yet, scamming you or your agency. The best way to handle these situation is trust your gut and approach the situation head-on.
When an expectant mom seems to only be concerned about living expenses, that is a big red flag. It does not mean she is genuinely not considering adoption. We have worked with many wonderful women who just cannot seem to get a break and honestly need the living expenses right away. The best thing to do in these situations is to trust your gut. If you think something does not sound right, it is probably not right.
Just yesterday I received a call from an expectant mother that we are working with. She is matched with one of our clients. She informed me that her heat was off in her apartment and was told it would not be turned on for 5 days. She asked for money to go get a room for the next five days until the heat was turned back on. For those of you that do not know this, a landlord can get in enormous trouble for not fixing a tenants heat immediately, especially when it is in the single digits.
She told me that her electricity was out and that is why her heat went out. I put her on hold and called her electricity company. They informed me the power was still on at the apartment complex. I then got her back on the phone and informed her that the electricity company told me the power was on and the heat should be working. She then told me it was not the electricity, it was related to the building itself. This was a second red flag. As soon as I addressed the first issue, the power being out, she changed her story.
I then put her on hold and told called the apartment complex. I informed them that a tenant just called me to tell me the heat was out for the entire apartment complex. They were very surprised to hear that because this was the first they had heard of any issue with the heat. The woman from the apartment complex told me that typically if something like the heat goes out in the apartment complex, especially on a single digit temperature day, her phone rings off the hook until the matter is resolved. I then connected the expectant mother into the call. I informed her that the apartment complex was surprised to hear that her heat was out, because that was the first they had heard of any issue. The woman from the apartment complex then informed me, and the expectant mother, that she would be sending someone over immediately to fix the issue, if there even was an issue.
Now, situations like this come up from time-to-time, and there is no instruction manual how to deal with someone who is obviously fabricating a story in order to extort money. I told the expectant mom that I would call her back in a little bit to check on her to make sure the heat got turned back on. I then called the prospective adoptive parents. I informed them of the situation. I told them my concerns. I pointed out that this woman, from day one, has only been concerned about receiving living expenses. After a short discussion we decided it best to let this woman go.
Sure, she might have proceeded with an adoption, but the adoptive parents were not up for another match (this was their second match because the first match extorted $3,000 of living expenses from them any never had any intention of proceeding with an adoption) that was going to end in more heartbreak.
The takeaway here is, when dealing in adoption, always trust your gut. If something does not sound right, it probably isn’t.