We just experienced a terrible disrupted placement. What I can't seem to get over is how we are treated by the professionals involved. The attorneys have been rude, condescending, and defensive. We have shelled out a ton of money and now are looking at spending that again if not more. We have such little faith in the system and hate that so many of the laws only protect birth parents and attorneys, and the adoptive parents are the only ones at risk, emotionally, financially, etc. People shouldn't have to take out second mortgages just to start a family and if we are paying this much money and a birth mom has actually chosen us, why is there no part of the contract that they are expected to uphold? We feel our disrupted placement was partly due to fraud on the birth mom's part. She was a master manipulator and not a nice person. We watched her lie to family and friends and terrorize hospital staff. We lost the baby we loved and are unsure if she is safe with her birth mom so we will always worry about her. But I think this kind of fraud will only increase if adoptive parents have no protection. It's so sad that the cost for us keeps going up (much like college tuition) but because we all want to adopt and start a family, we pay it and thus is continues.
I know it's hard to have a match fall through. Our first match fell through. She was in jail (not county either) for assault on a police officer. She still changed her mind and decided to parent.
It's normal to be angry at this point. But it's important to understand that just because a woman decides to parent doesn't mean they committed fraud.
Secondly, while APs take a financial risk, that can't outweigh a mother's right to change her mind. You don't honestly know how you'll feel about parenting until that baby is born. That's why it's so important to make sure that you don't pay more in expenses than you can afford to lose. Those expenses have to be a gift. For the emom to have to chose between paying back those expenses and parenting would be incredible coercion.
Remember, you aren't buying a baby. I'm not sure if you were working with an agency or just attorneys. But if you pay agency fees, those are for their overhead, salaries, and advertising costs to attract emoms. If you stay with the same agency, you'll likely be able to apply much of that expense to the next match. You are much more at risk with just attorney or a facilitator in my opinion.
Adoptive parents have most of the power. Did you have a relationship with this emom during her pregnancy? That makes it harder for her to change her mind (it's emotional pressure). Did you pay expenses for her? That also puts you in the position of power. It's harder for an emom to change her mind when she's been accepting money. Were you trying to adopt in an "adoption friendly" state? Then you were even more in a position of power. Most adoption laws are written with the PAPs in mind, not the emom. The agencies are motivated to get them to place and many put pressure on them not to change their minds.
Don't think that you are powerless. You can choose to spend less and wait for a match that you can afford. You can choose to adopt from foster care and be sure that you are getting a child who actually needs a home and not one that the emom feels pressured to place. You can choose to refuse prebirth matching and insist on waiting for an after birth match (yes they exist, and by the time you're called, mom has signed the TPR).
I'm sorry you're hurting. But you aren't powerless in this, and you have options to minimize your risk.
I'm sorry you are going through this. I had a tentative match that changed very quickly, before baby was even born, and that was hard enough. I can't imagine how much harder it must be to hold a child in your arms and have them go back to parents, especially if you aren't sure the mom is safe.
I think it is hard to separate out the financial from the emotional at this point, and sometimes it is easier to be angry about the money because it is less painful to think about. From your mentions of attorneys I am guessing you did not go through an agency? I agree with dmariehill that this does seem to put you at more risk. If you really have reason to believe this was fraud - that she never intended to place with you but was simply using you for money - then you do have recourse. However, giving you her child is not actually part of the contract, since buying human beings is not legal. Instead, she is required to tell you and stop accepting money from you when/ if she decides not to place with you. If you believe that she did not do this, and you have proof of that, you can talk to a lawyer and find out what to do, because fraud is illegal. Changing her mind at any point, up to the time that the law says she can't anymore, is not illegal.
Again, I am so sorry you are going through all this right now. I would suggest taking a break from matching to regroup and decide how/ if you want to proceed with adoption. dmariehill had some good suggestions regarding considering only post-birth matches and emoms who are requesting lower expenses. You can also look at agencies with all-inclusive fees (they pay the expenses, so if the emom chooses to parent your fees are all applied to a future match). Remember to take care yourselves emotionally now, before you go back into trying to figure out your next steps.
"People shouldn't have to take out second mortgages just to start a family and if we are paying this much money and a birth mom has actually chosen us, why is there no part of the contract that they are expected to uphold?"
As others have pointed out, in this country at least, and at this time at least, it's illegal to make a contract to provide someone with another human being in return for money.
Judging only from your post, it seems like you were led to believe by your agency that because you were matched with an expectant mother you had actually entered into a contract with her under which she was obligated to furnish you with her baby.
If that's the case, I think you were very ill served by this agency. Pre-birth matching in no way obligates expectant parents to relinquish and place with hopeful PAPs, and the agency should have made that clear to you.
I think that your problem is with the agency, not a mother whom you think reneged on a "contract," and hope, for your own sake and I mean this kindly, that if you decide to pursue adoption you avail yourself of the many resources--some of which you can be directed to here, but also other places--that can help you become more informed about what the process entails.