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The 4 Questions You Need to Ask to Avoid Adoption Scams

Ask Any Adoption Professional You Are Considering These 4 Questions

For the past 30 years, numerous reports from sources like CBS to Time to The New Yorker have warned of unscrupulous adoption organizations. These unlicensed adoption professionals take a family’s savings with unverified promises of fast wait times and low costs.

What these organizations hide is many of them must sign up 5-10 families for every successful adoption.

These organizations sound reputable, look reputable and initially act reputable. So, how do you protect yourself? 

While trustworthy professionals will provide honest, clear answers, adoption scams will refuse or vaguely answer four simple questions. 

If you’d like to ask these questions to one of our Adoption Coordinators and get honest, clear answers, you can click here to schedule a free consultation.

Question 1: How many families are on the waiting list?

 Why is this important to know?

 If you don’t know the number of families on the list, you can’t know with any   confidence that the wait times you have been told are accurate. 

Adoption scams might have 100 waiting families and only complete 20 adoptions a year.  This means, for the average family, the actual wait time could be close to five years.

Red Flag: Adoption scams will vaguely answer or avoid answering this question. Providing actual numbers would expose their false wait times.

Question 2: How many adoptions did you complete last year?

 Why is this important to know?

 If you know the number of adoptions completed last year and number of waiting families,   you can more accurately calculate wait time.

Pay attention when the response avoids answering the actual question. Instead, they might just give an average wait, or talk about a specific adoption story. This is a tactic to avoid hard facts and lure families in with false promises.

Red flag: Adoption scams know that they need to avoid answering these questions. Instead, they will focus on delivering wait times that sound amazing. But, if they shared their actual numbers, it would be clear that the data doesn’t line up.

Question 3: Will I pay additional fees after a certain period of time?

 Why is this important to know?

 Most adoption scams operate on expiring contracts. If you have not adopted by their   deadline, you will have to repay most (if not all) of their fees.

Unfortunately, adoption scams prey on two key facts:

  1. They realize that families who are older will likely not renew in two years, thereby giving up their adoption journey.
  2. They realize younger families often don’t have the money to pay the fee again and therefore will drop off their list.

Red flag: Most adoption scams promise extremely low wait times. These wait times are typically best-case scenarios, if not entirely inaccurate. When the wait lasts longer and the contract expires, you’ll be stuck with even more fees.

Question 4: Are you a licensed adoption agency?

 Why is this important?

 Licensed adoption agencies are monitored by state authorities. If they provide fraudulent   time estimates or dishonest fees, they will be shut down.

On the contrary, unlicensed adoption agencies do not have state licensing authorities to shut them down if their practices are unethical. They can continue to operate for years while giving false wait times and inaccurate cost estimates, which has hurt many families.

Red Flag: They indicate they have licensed attorneys or professionals on staff. However, it is important to note individual licenses do not allow state authorities to review the organization. 

Red Flag 2: Nearly all 50 states require an official license to perform adoption-related services. Most unlicensed organizations, like adoption facilitators and adoption consultants, are based in the small handful of states where they are allowed to operate.

Choosing Your Adoption Professional

Make sure any professional you consider working with will clearly answer all four questions listed above. 

If they refuse to answer any of these questions, you are taking a big risk. We don’t want to see the future of your family placed in the hands of an adoption scam.

But, there is good news:

There are many small, medium and large adoption agencies that provide accurate, transparent and honest time estimates.   

When it comes to something as important as creating your family, you want to be protected. Otherwise, you risk your time, your money and, ultimately, your opportunity to become parents.

To ask these questions to one of our Adoption Coordinators, call 1-800-ADOPTION today or click here to schedule a free consultation.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do we need to retain our own attorney?

No, American Adoptions has established relationships with some of the best adoption attorneys in the nation. Because adoption laws vary from state to state and between counties, it is important to utilize the services of an adoption attorney who specializes in the state where the adoption will finalize, which is unknown until you match with an expectant mother. You have the right to retain your own attorney, but doing so may be an additional, unnecessary expense.

Can we choose the gender of our baby?

American Adoptions does not allow gender specificity in adoption. Any family who wishes to be gender-specific in their adoption should contact us at 1-800-ADOPTION and ask about the possibility of an exception waiver before taking any other steps toward adoption with our agency. Any families who do receive an exception to be gender-specific may also incur an additional fee, which helps cover the additional advertising costs of such a request.

Please note that gender specificity will likely increase your wait time significantly.

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