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Avoiding adoption fraud in Maryland

Some adoptive parents may be familiar with adoption fraud. Also known as wrongful adoption, adoption fraud is typically defined as illegal acts or misrepresentation during the adoption process for financial gain. Generally, an adoption agency or a mother who promises to place the child into the adoptive care of a potential parent perpetrates this type of fraud.

For example, some adoption agencies may try to overcharge a person who is seeking their services. Other agencies may not provide accurate information regarding the child's welfare, including physical, developmental and emotional problems. In cases of fraud involving the child's mother, the woman might make arrangements with a number of families, promising each family the child in exchange for financial support. In some cases, a group or person might attempt to sell a child on the Internet.

In order to avoid falling prey to such scams, it might be beneficial to learn about common schemes that seek to mislead adoptive parents. It is generally a good idea to ask questions and discuss the process with individuals who have been through an adoption already. Prospective parents might also benefit from avoiding collaborating with agencies who make extravagant promises regarding the outcome of the adoption and birthmothers who refuse to show proof of pregnancy or meet with an adopter's lawyer.

Because fraud is only one of the possible barriers to adoption, a person who is seeking to adopt might work closely with a family law attorney throughout the proceedings. That attorney could help a client avoid possible fraudulent schemes and might help the client meet state-mandated adoption eligibility requirements.

Source: Findlaw, "Adoption Fraud ", November 24, 2014

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