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Topic : 07/26 Adoptions Scams, Part 1

Number of Replies: 277
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Created on : Thursday, February 15, 2007, 04:43:02 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
(Original Air Date: 02/22/07) Dr. Phil explores one of the cruelest cons in America: adoption scams. Couples hoping, wishing, praying to have their own child, become easy targets for heartless con artists who pose online as birthmothers. Meet three women who wanted nothing more than to hold a newborn child in their arms. Instead, they say they were misled, lied to and left devastated by a woman who claimed to be pregnant with a baby meant for them. Now Marie, Crissy and Jen might have a chance to confront Melissa, the woman who deceived them. With the help of private investigator Harold Copus, they track her down, and even Dr. Phil is shocked by what happens when they find her, including their close encounter with a man and his shotgun. When Melissa sits down with Dr. Phil to tell her side of the story, will her victims finally get their chance to confront her face to face? Talk about the show here.

Find out what happened on the show.

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February 21, 2007, 6:23 am CST

What a shame

Hi there,

I am a new adoptive mom to a newborn baby son. There is so much involved with adoption that I can see how easy it would be to get scammed. First of all the emotion of wanting to be a parent is overwhelming. It can take over your entire being therefore making you an easy target for scammers. I have to admit it, I was scared too. But I was lucky.


I think this is why most adoptions are international instead of domestic, this is so sad. We have so many people in the US that scam people instead of working! People are scared of birthparents!!!!! Will she change her mind, will another family member come forward? I think that there should be adoption law reform in our country. After just going through an interstate adoption, I have to say that the laws are a mess! Each state is different and you have to comply with each state. Some international adoptions are not this hard!


I have to say that birthmother expenses need to be regulated instead of being called "charity!" In some states you are really buying a baby instead of simply wanting a family and providing one for a child who really needs one.


On another note, I want to say that not all BIRTHPARENTS are scammers or bad. I have a great relationship with the Birthmother of my son. She loves her child and wanted to give him the world. We talk on a regular basis and are forming a special relationship not only for ourselves, but for OUR sons future. Sometimes I hear people saying that we should not be close at all, this is not how adoption should be. Adoption needs to be more open in our country. Everyone involved should be able to love the child. I am not saying weekly visits are the answer. But open communication and honesty need to be there.


If there were more regulation on adoption these things would not be happening. The laws in EACH state need to be the same and the birthparents should not receive so much money for support until and after the child is born. My state regulated the money I was allowed to give our birthmother. I did not feel as though I was buying a baby.


I wish more people would stand up and help change the adoption laws in our country.


February 21, 2007, 9:06 am CST

Happening Now?

My husband and I are hoping to adopt, and have been in contact now with a birth mom that found us online. I hope she is for real! Are there any red flags you can share with me to help me know if she's scamming us?
February 21, 2007, 11:12 am CST


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is very committed to investigating telephone, mail and internet fraud.  The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers report, spot, stop, and avoid them.


Education is a key tool to prevent consumer injury.  The following link to the FTC website, you'll find publications with advice on avoiding scams and rip-offs, as well as tips on other consumer topics and reporting consumer fraud. 


To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261.


The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.


Hope it helps!


February 22, 2007, 2:04 am CST

Myspace page?

I am interested in viewing the page that Marie set up. This is such a disturbing topic for me as I have fought to become a mother myself and am still fighting that long fight. If anyone has a link, I would appreciate it.

Thank you...


Marie, Jen, and Chrissy(sp) are in our thoughts.

February 22, 2007, 5:22 am CST

Melissa is a liar

I knew Melissa as Bella on the boards.
When I first "met" her, she was in college with twin boys and in recovery- so she said.
One thing that sticks out to me is a question she asked. We had another member on the boards that was questionable, writing false stories, attention seeking drama. Melissa had asked me if I saw her as this person.
I had said no.
I wasn't wrong- Melissa was by far much worse.
I read in these interviews how Melissa did this because "to feel special to somebody-to feel like somebody in this world gave a sh*t whether I lived or died".
At the time she was working this scam on Marie, tearing Marie's world apart, Melissa had many who cared whether she lived or died- cared greatly.
Melissa had informed us on the boards she had breast cancer and was undergoing treatment for such.
We cared deeply. She had many people who cared deeply.
Ands she used each and every one- manipulated each and every one- trampled each and every one.
I don't know what made Melissa do this to these women- to keep doing this over and over and over. One thing I feel quite sure about, it wasn't for any noble reason such as just wanting to feel special.
She didn't want to feel special- she wanted to dominate, control, power trip herself into oblivian with the high of it all.
That is her drug of choice- the pain of other people. Being able to exert that type of control.
I'd like to think she can be helped- I'd like to think she will never do such a thing again- but after witnessing her carnage up close and personal, I don't see a fix for her.
How do you give someone a heart when they don't have one?

My respect and admiration for all these women in having the courage to push forward- to not just sit back and allow Melissa to continue.
She needs to be stopped- what she does ,has done is cruel. Utterly totally cruel.
February 22, 2007, 7:04 am CST

Myspace page

Quote From: jrbarney

I am interested in viewing the page that Marie set up. This is such a disturbing topic for me as I have fought to become a mother myself and am still fighting that long fight. If anyone has a link, I would appreciate it.

Thank you...


Marie, Jen, and Chrissy(sp) are in our thoughts.

Well, unfortunately, the MySpace page you referenced no longer exists.


I have a feeling she's the reason behind that, too.



February 22, 2007, 7:26 am CST

That woman is sick!

How can that manipulative woman sit there and smile about what she did? Smile as she says she is sorry? Her apology is just empty words. She does not feel any remorse. That is just evil. I hope she gets locked up and gets mental counseling.
February 22, 2007, 8:12 am CST

Hang in there...

Even though I ws never scammed - I have been in your shoes as far as wanting a baby/family.  I tried for 5 years, suffered 10 miscarriages.  My husband and I still reflect today as that being the most difficult time of our lives thus far.  However, "hanging in there" and not letting anyone interfere with our desire to be parents won out over all the obstacles placed in our way.  We have a beautiful family of 3 girls - all adopted as infants - all happy and healthy.  The girls are now 7, 4 and 18 months....and are the light of our lives.  If having them meant having to go through those 5 trying years....then it was worth it!  If you want children - don't let this woman and her horrible ways stop you or deter you in any way.  Press on.  Your perserverance will help create a loving family some day.  My thoughts and prayers are with all of you!

February 22, 2007, 8:32 am CST

02/22 Adoptions Scams, Part 1

Maybe I am missing something BUT - how can anyone actually adopt a baby without researching and at the very least, meeting the person first!  People worry about getting cheated when purchasing objects online and putting their credit cards online but they will go through a transaction of adopting a baby without ever meeting and getting to know the birth mother?  That's crazy!  I'm not saying that these people deserved any of this but I still think they were just setting themselves up to be conned!
February 22, 2007, 8:45 am CST


Quote From: daisyblue22



Man, you need to go and do some research. Your statements are very inaccurate, let alone insensitive to the plight of these three women.


Did it ever occur to you that a lot of people who are scammed do NOT give any money to the scammer? Some of these evil people are just in it for the thrill of manipulating their victims.


By the way, we don't "BUY" children in this country. That's a federal crime. Again, spend some time researching instead of kicking people when they're down. UGH.



If you honestly believe children are not purchased in this country,  you are dreaming.  There are NO federal crimes for the wealthy.  As far as the victims are concerned, those are the people who should have been doing research.  It may sound cold, but it is factual.  Hopefully they will learn from this.  Yes, the perps here are contemptible, but they can't be successful in their scams without people who are willing to go for something without checking it out.
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