Who’s to blame?

I have been getting a lot of inquiries into how we are doing in the aftermath of our adoption failure. I have also received heartfelt messages and notes of encouragement, all of which I’ve read and very much appreciated. And hugs. Thank you for all the hugs. I’ll never turn down one of those.

My dear friend Lauren started a GoFundMe to help us try and recover what we lost and be financially prepared for the next match without going further into debt. I am humbled by that gesture.

If you have been following our story and are open to helping us along the financial path to finding our second child, here’s where you can do that.

Huge, heartfelt thanks to you in advance, and to all our family, friends, and not-yet-friends who have already donated.

I am also starting to hear stories from people who’ve experienced a similar loss (typically without the fraud part) or know someone who has.

And like I felt for quite a while (and still do if I let myself), a lot of people are outraged. They want to know why this happened, why more can’t be done, how to prevent it from happening again, and who we can blame.

So I want to address a few of those things.

Some people have suggested that our agency is to blame, that they should have done more or seen this coming. The fact is, they did their due diligence. They run background checks on their birth parents. Anything they find, they share with the adoptive parents.

They also check an adoption scam board they have access to. They check it at the beginning of taking on a birth mother and throughout the process. These birth parents never showed up there. Please believe, they will now.

Our agency also assigns a caseworker to each birth mother. That caseworker is in constant contact with her throughout the whole process. While they are mostly supporting and walking birth mom through every step, they are also looking for any signs that she’s wavering. They don’t match birth mothers with prospective adoptive parents until they are reasonably sure she’s committed to following through. And they would never coerce a birth mother into following through with a placement. If she wants to be released, they let her go with best wishes for her journey into motherhood.

Our caseworker wants to believe the birth mother in our situation had good intentions – at least up to a certain point. But when you consider the lies and deception, it’s hard to give her that benefit of the doubt. Maybe that was the case… who knows. It’s either that, or she is just a really good liar and fooled all of us.

I have mentioned before that I like the way our agency takes care of their birth mothers. That’s one of many reasons we went with them. I think some people don’t understand why we pay her living expenses though, and why we can’t get that money back.

Most people get the fact that it is illegal to give money or anything of value in exchange for a human life. That’s human trafficking. And it’s illegal in an adoption scenario too.

However, more and more agencies and other adoption entities want to help out these birth mothers in some way for the sacrifice they are making. In a day and age where it’s relatively accessible to terminate a pregnancy, these women instead choose to carry a baby for 9 months, potentially facing ridicule or shame from friends and family. They endure the pains of labor and delivery, only to hand that baby over to someone else to raise. Then there’s the recovery period – physical and emotional.

Under typical circumstances, I don’t take issue with a birth mom getting some financial help with living expenses for what she is doing. And the way agencies are able to do that for them is by having any funds they receive considered as charitable. Which is why we can’t get it back. And we are ultimately the ones footing those expenses as part of the whole adoption process.

This was all explained when we signed on with our agency, so we knew the risk we were taking. Maybe we got too confident after a smooth and successful placement with our son three years ago. You want to believe a failed adoption won’t happen to you, but you certainly never expect it to be a fraudulent one.

So we don’t hold our agency to blame. I don’t know what else they could have done.

What about the birth parents and letting them get away with this?

As I mentioned in my last post, pressing charges probably wouldn’t get us anywhere. Even if they were charged with anything (which is highly unlikely because we don’t have a lot of proof, and it would just turn into our word against theirs), then you’re talking about ending up in a legal battle that could drag on for who knows how long, and to what aim?

They have been flagged should they ever attempt to do this again. That will have to be enough.

And now, we are choosing to invest our time, energy, and resources into something more productive for our family.

Jeff is off work for another week (he’d taken time off because we were supposed to be adjusting to a new baby), and we are making the most of the extra family time. Levi and I are enjoying having Daddy around more.

We are regrouping, reassessing, and figuring out where to go from here. Things may look a little different as we restart, but we’ll get back out there.

Our baby is out there somewhere.

 

P.S. Thank you for being here and following our story. I pray it’s an encouragement to you, and maybe even a source of hope. If you are open to helping us along the financial path to finding our second child, we would be hugely grateful. Here’s where you can do that.

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