Most people see only one side of adoption: the happy pictures of a couple holding their adopted child in their arms for the first time. The happy welcome home videos at the airport when the family returns home with their internationally adopted child.

But there is a darker side of adoption. One of the ways this darker side manifests is through adoption scams. This is the story of Rocky and Beth. After struggling with infertility, they chose to pursue domestic adoption. They connected with an adoption agency and were matched with an expectant mother.

They developed a relationship with the expectant mother through texts, calls, and pictures. As Beth said in the news interview, as it is with many families, “You kind of have this love for them because of what they’re giving you because it was something I couldn’t do myself. She is offering her child to me, and how do you ever thank somebody for that.” Like all hopeful adoptive parents, they prepared the nursery.

But what Rocky and Beth didn’t realize was that this expectant mother was also forming relationships with three other families, in three other states, all who were thinking they were going to adopt her unborn baby. Fortunately, the couple’s attorney discovered what she was doing and notified the couple as soon as he knew.

Unfortunately, adoption scam occurs more than it should. Attorneys advise prospective adoptive families to learn as much as they can about the person with whom they have been matched.  The internet is a great source of potential “clues.”

What can others learn from Beth and Rocky’s story? One thing they recommend is creating a national registry of expectant mothers making an adoption plan. As Rocky stated, “There are no checks and balances for them to say, ‘Hey, she’s already registered here, but she’s doing the same thing elsewhere’ because those other agencies don’t communicate with one another.”

Beth and Rocky wish that there were safeguards against this happening to others, and are hoping a national registry would be put into place. Now they are just hoping and praying for the future.

Read more about avoiding an adoption scam.