My husband and I are proud parents of an amazing 7-year-old boy. After a lengthy struggle with secondary infertility that included two miscarriages and a stillbirth, we recently became certified as qualified adoptive parents. We are pursuing independent newborn adoption in the hopes of growing our family and bringing home the brother or sister our son has always wanted.
Having weathered many disappointments on the road to growing our family, it was not an easy decision to put our hearts and hopes on the line again by venturing into the world of adoption... But we feel it is the right choice for our family.
Independent adoption involves the rather awkward experience of advertising your family, and then waiting for a call, text or email from an expectant mom who is considering an adoption plan for the baby. It can take months or even years to connect with an expectant mother, and the anxiety of waiting and not knowing when "the call" will come can feel overwhelming.
So, as you might imagine, my husband and I felt many emotions when a woman who had seen our adoption profile reached out to learn more about our family: excitement, uncertainty, fear, and hope -- to name just a few.
Later that day, however, these feelings turned to frustration and disappointment when -- after a couple of hours spent texting with this "expectant mother" -- we learned that she is actually a well-known adoption scammer.
My disappointment soon shifted to anger (not an emotion I usually indulge myself in) when I realized that if her scam had continued undetected it would have disappointed not just me and my husband but our son as well (not to mention the countless other hopeful families she has hurt). How dare she!
Sadder yet, our experience is not an isolated incident. Many adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents we've met since beginning our adoption journey have shared similar experiences.
I've decided to channel my anger and frustration into an open letter to adoption scammers everywhere. Perhaps it will make just one would-be scammer think twice about the impact of her actions. At the very least, it will let other prospective adoptive parents that they are not alone...
I wonder if you comprehend the pain, angst and disappointment you cause.
I don't know what went wrong in your emotional development to make you think that tricking innocent families at a time of emotional vulnerability is acceptable. I can only imagine that others have hurt you, and I do hope that one day you find peace and healing. But in the meantime, whatever your psychic pain, you have no right to inflict emotional suffering on others.
Do you know that the mom you lied to this morning has been struggling with allowing herself to trust and hope again after multiple painful perinatal losses?
Do you realize that the woman who you glibly told lies about your fictional pregnancy symptoms may be a childhood cancer survivor, who will never know what it feels like to have a pregnancy of her own?
Do you care that the couple you tricked into sending you money may be spending their life savings trying to achieve their dream of becoming parents?
Do you have any idea how your lies make it harder for others who truly are facing the challenges of unplanned pregnancy to build trusting relationships with prospective adoptive parents?
Do you have such little confidence in your own talents and capabilities that you think that lies and trickery are the best way that you can get attention and have your emotional and financial needs met?
Do you realize all that you might achieve if you took the energy that you spend on deception and put it into achieving something positive and meaningful in this world?
I hope that you will stop and think about the impact of your actions. I hope that you will use your resourcefulness, your creativity and your talents to find positive ways to get the support and attention that you crave.
I wish you peace and joy in your life and -- until you find it-- I wish you far away from those in the adoption community trying to find peace and joy in theirs.
Alana can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org