The Number One Most Common Adoption Scam

scam buttonOnce you begin your birth mother outreach, you will inevitably be contacted by some less than scrupulous people offering to help you adopt or give you their child.  One of the common threads you will likely see is contacts coming from Africa, particularly Cameroon.
Many times, the stories seem like they could actually be legitimate connections or a real fit for what you are looking for in a child.  Here is an example of a situation emailed to families that is not a legitimate opportunity to adopt:
I am Father Francis and am writing in hopes you will choose to provide a God-filled home to a girl named Anya I have here. Her parents had been missionaries here in Cameroon with the Catholic church for some time and Anya was born here. The family was traveling by vehicle to a settlement far away and was run off the road by some insurgents. Tragically the parents were killed. We have tried to reach relatives but after looking for many months, it has been fruitless. Anya is now considered an orphan by the Cameroon authorities and is available for adoption. She should go to the orphanage but I can’t bear to see her go to the poor conditions other children experience there. So I am looking for a home in the US that can provide a better life than she will have in this country. Please respond quickly if you want to adopt her.
Upon receipt, the family immediately emailed back their interest and received the following:
Many thanks for your quick reply. I have shown Anya your photos and she seems excited to have a family again.  The loss of her parents and brother is still here but she seems hopeful. I’m sorry I must ask for your help with the visa application for Anya. Our parish is poor and normally we would collect for a need like this but it is too much. Can you wire 500USD so we can get her visa for US travel? She has a US Passport. I have included our bank information.
The family then asked for a direct phone number so they could speak with him and work out the details and what was needed.
I thank you for your response. I am in London for a time and have included my number. We need to receive the funds quickly or Anya may go to a  local family. Can you wire the needed funds today? Anya is ready to go to the US where it is safe for her. I have been speaking with a barrister in London who has prepared the paperwork for the adoption.
Upon wiring the funds, the family called the number, and Father Francis advised he would proceed and they would hear more soon so they could proceed with travel arrangements.  The next day, another email arrive:
I hoped to return to Cameroon but it seems as though I will be in London for a time longer. I have arranged for Anya to travel here with one of the Sisters from the parish. This will be easier on everyone. Would you be so kind as to wire 1750USD for their travel? We can then meet here in London and you do not have to go to Cameroon.
Again, the money was wired.  And, that is the end of the story.  Father Francis was never heard from again, despite all the attempts. The phone number was no longer in service.  The family could find no record of missionaries killed in a car accident in Cameroon nor any child left behind.  When they called their attorney to ask for advice, his response was simply “You should have called me before you got involved financially.”
If anyone contacts you about adopting from a foreign country, it is 99% likely it is a scam.  Always speak to your attorney or coordinator if you feel it may be legitimate.