Monday, January 30, 2012

Happy New Year??

It's been said that when you hit bottom the only way you can go is up. I thought last New Years was bad enough having my depression return after 10 years but this one takes the cake. Let's say my birthday was not a day of much celebration. But I was so thankful for the love I felt from our family that night with the little surprise party they threw. You are thinking..."What in the world is she talking about?" Well here is the low down.

We were contacted through our adoption web site on December 23rd by a birthmother. She said she was 19 year old girl living in Indiana, PA (a borough 2 hours from Pittsburgh, PA). She claimed she lived with the father of the baby and also that 2 years ago she placed a baby for adoption.

A caseworker from our adoption agency talked to her on the phone Monday, Dec 26 and they scheduled meet with her Fri, Dec 30 to start the adoption paperwork. She sent a text message Thursday, Dec 29 morning saying she was having regular contractions and later on texting us another message saying her water broke and they were heading to the hospital. She wanted us to get to Pittsburg as soon as we could. We drove to Salt Lake City caught the red-eye flight to JFK International Airport. We didn't sleep a wink.

Just before we departed was the last time we had any contact with the birthparents. We tried contacting them once we got to New York, Pittsburgh, and then the hospital. No response. The agency caseworker had not heard from them as well since Thursday night. We inquired at the maternity ward but they did not have have a patient by that name there. The caseworker was there with us and she checked other local hospitals as well. Ultimately we determined we had been scammed.

Later on we received a phone call from a Kittanning, PA police officer who told us they had arrested a woman earlier that day. They had confiscated at arrest 4 cell phones from her and found our texts and immediately called us. Apparently she had been talking to 10 other couples as well. She is not pregnant and there is no baby.

Everything happened so fast and neither we nor the agency saw any of the typical red flags. She was very willing to work with a caseworker and to give them consent to access her prenatal records. We've known since we first started pursing adoption that adoption scammers exist and we were very cautious at first. Being a true con artist, she knew exactly what to tell us to so we would let our guard down. Plus she knew over the holidays that adoption professionals would be less available and adoptive couples are most vunerable. I don't know about Barry, but I know I was struggling with the coming of the New Year thinking another year has past and our hopes and dreams for a baby didn't come true.

Hindsight is always 20/20. When she said she was in active labor we should have asked the caseworker to call the maternity ward to inquire about her. We were still in Salt Lake City and still several hours from boarding the plane when we recieved the message about her water having broke.

It has been difficult processing this loss. It's not a typical loss like our previous failed adoptions. Though we are out money for our flight, rental car, and hotel expenses, the hardest part to is we never felt any promptings warning us. We have had to simply accept that this life is a testing ground and at times a refiners fire. I like what Peter in the New Testament says to the Saints, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:I've sure felt like an iron rod that almost to the point of snapping, but we have been re-enforced and strengthed through the Comforter and through the many prayers said in our behalf.

The strange part of this scam is she never asked for money and not knowing her ultimate plan truly frightens me. I don't believe it was mere coincidence that the police arrested her before we reached the hospital; Heavenly Father had to have been watching out for us.

I'm sure that just like me you are wondering, "What now?" We know we are to have another child in this life, so we are going to dust ourselves off, bandage the cuts and scrapes, and just continue waiting. We'll just have to see in a couple years where things stand. This quote from Elder Holland has really brought me peace, "Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come."

Here are some articles of our story in the press and the current status of her charges.

Police say woman with history of adoption scams targeted Idaho couple from Pa. women's shelter | The Republic


  1. Rebecca and Barry,
    Don't know quite what to say, except so sorry to hear this happened to you. I love that quote from Pres. Holland too. If only we understood God's timing.
    Thoughts and Prayers are with you!
    David and Linda

  2. I'm so sorry! I can't believe a person would do something like that. I hope time will heal your wounds. You are in my thoughts & prayers.

  3. I am SO sorry. That is awful! I admire your positive outlook, and you are right, blessings will come.

  4. This story absolutely breaks my heart (and makes me so so mad!) I'm sorry we didn't hear about it until just now. I don't understand how someone could be so cruel. I don't know why you're having to go through all of this, but I do know that the Lord is mindful of you. As always, you'll be in our prayers.