Avoiding Adoption Fraud

Some California couples choose to enlarge their family through adoption. Prospective parents are expected to do their due diligence, as the field of adoption is not immune to acts of fraud and misrepresentation.

In fact, there are several red flags that prospective parents should be aware of when working through the process of adopting a child, according to authorities. For example, a facilitator or an agency may push potential adopters to sign documents that the adopters do not comprehend. The agency or facilitators may fail to answer specific questions or fail to return emails and phone calls from adopters. Furthermore, they may refer to the child as already belonging to the prospective adopter before the adoption is actually finalized. In some instances, adopters have reported being defrauded by adoption agencies and facilitators that did not disclose all the necessary information about the child or the process prior to the adoption.

There are also red flags for those seeking to adopt children from birth mothers. For example, a birth mother may refuse to meet with a lawyer or adoption agency, refuse to give out a phone number or fail to show proof that she is pregnant. There are cases in which adopters report being scammed by birth mothers.

Prospective adopters can avoid adoption fraud by identifying these and other red flags. Authorities say that prospective adopters should always research the agency or facilitator with which they plan to work. Moreover, potential adopters may benefit from speaking to an adoption attorney.

In this way, prospective adopters may be apprised of their rights as adoptive parents. In addition, a family law attorney may help ensure that the adoption process is being done legally and without causes for concern.

California Adoption Considerations

A family dealing with the need to establish a legal relationship between a parent and child when there isn’t a biological bond must go through the adoption process. The new relationship is deemed to be permanent and equivalent to that between birth parent and child. An adoption may occur in connection with a marriage in which a child’s biological parent has a new partner. Whether by marriage or by registration of the domestic partnership, the parents must demonstrate a legal union. This is one of the simplest and most common adoption scenarios as at least one birth parent is still the child’s parent.

Adoptions can also occur independently or through an agency. An international adoption is also possible when a child born outside of the United States is involved. In each of these cases, a court must end the parental rights of a child’s biological parents before adoption can be completed. This is also the case in a stepparent or domestic adoption as the absent parent’s consent is typically required for termination of the relationship. Although these decisions may be made without a biological parent’s consent, the courts tend to proceed with caution. In cases involving a deceased birth parent, proof of that status may be needed.

Tracking down an absent biological parent may be challenging, but there are resources to consider as this issue is addressed. Options may include searching online or through government agencies such as county recorder offices or the Department of Motor Vehicles. Efforts may be made to track down a child’s parent through family members or by use of last known addresses as well.

Legal representation may be important if a biological parent needs to be located for the adoption process to continue. A lawyer with experience in family law matters may be able to assist in the search for that individual while also managing other details related to the case.