In 2009 an Atlanta couple arranged privately to adopt a child. They did what is expected – sending the birth mother money to help support her through her pregnancy . . . it amounted to $6,000. When the baby girl was born in early 2010, the birth parents pulled out of the adoption, deciding to parent instead. This happens, and the Atlanta couple understood that. But what was really hurtful was finding out the birth parents had been accepting money from a second hopeful adoptive couple throughout the pregnancy as well.
According to The Courier Journal, the birth couple, residents of Kentucky, pleaded guilty to theft by deception and were sentenced to 5 years of probation, but the Kentucky Court of Appeals dismissed the convictions. You see, in Kentucky (where the birth parents live) “buying” a baby is illegal. This means the money the birth parents received from both couples were technically “gifts.” And so, no fraud took place in the eyes of the law.
The state of Indiana is now tackling adoption deception. Their law states “A birth mother commits adoption deception if she knowingly or intentionally benefits from adoption-related expenses paid when she: 1) knows she is not pregnant; 2) accepts expenses from a prospective adoptive parent who doesn’t know that another prospective parent is also paying her expenses; 3) does not intend to go through with the adoption.”
Proving some of that deception may be difficult, but the hope is that with more and more states making adoption deception laws, the fraud will decrease.