Here’s our story.
I couldn’t begin to explain this situation to you guys earlier, because I didn’t think i’d be able to capture the cruelty appropriately and to be honest, it’s exhausting to revisit and I haven’t had the energy. However, the BBC recently came out with this article, “The Fake Baby Adoption Scam,” and there it was. You might have seen it or seen the segments about it on morning TV shows by now. It happened to us – that girl, those false promises, that scam.
In my post, “Our Journey to Adoption and Key Learnings,” I wrote:
“Private domestic adoption is a very time consuming and stressful way to go about adopting. Even though it worked for us, I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone. Emotions were at extreme highs of hope and then extreme lows, because more often than not, we felt like we were being taken advantage of. The screening process was very hard. Right before we found out our baby was born, Joe and I actually shut off our adoption phone to take a vacation without the frustrations. We also were about to begin working with an agency as another avenue.”
I was talking about the scammer, Ashley, @ashleymamabear2019. Besides making an adoption website portfolio, I began an Instagram account for Joe and I in hopes that a potential birth mother would find us through hashtags. We made two connections though it and both were scammers. One was a man who claimed he was from Texas, his wife passed and he had a three month old daughter that he could no longer care for. He sent pictures of the little girl and my heart broke for them. We believed him until he contacted us again sending us a picture of a different little girl. He was after money and a trip to NYC to meet us. He had intentions.
This scammer however, Ashley, never asked for money or anything at all. All she wanted was our time and emotional investment and it went on for months. As Joe and I hold onto hope through adoption while deep in grief for the daughter we recently lost, we were being taken advantage of left and right. Everything reported in this article happened to us. Time, tears and believing we were about to be parents to a premature baby girl who was 32 weeks old. 32 weeks… the exact age Ava was when I lost her so you could imagine what it was like for me to see the photos as they were sent.
Ashley claimed she lived with her father and had an abusive boyfriend who was currently in jail. She claimed she watched her mother commit suicide when she was young. She claimed she had a baby shower and had so much to give us for the baby including a car seat.
She kept us going throughout her pregnancy and would send us pictures. She was a young blonde woman (or so we thought) with a tattoo on her stomach that was in honor of her late mother. We watched her bump grow and would get updates on how she was feeling and the baby was doing. Sonogram pictures filled our texts and late night calls with her would last up to three hours. It was like she held us captive. She would scream and threaten to find other parents for the baby if we hung up. So we held on…
We knew she was bipolar and often times I acted as her therapist, but the extremes went from sending us pictures of the baby girl born premature and telling me not to wear fragrance to the hospital, because it would bother the baby to waking up to text messages telling me to “F off” because I didn’t pick up her call at two in the morning. She even once texted me, “No wonder you’re not a mother.” That was completely out of the blue. I sat and cried with Joe. I was a mother and my baby girl is in Heaven.
Imagine going through all of this and feeling so desperate to be parents, so sad by our loss, but still having hope. One day, before we went to Miami for a family wedding I was done. I couldn’t handle doing this anymore. Shut off our adoption phone, signed Joe and I up with an agency and decided to go to Miami without thinking about adoption for three days. That’s when Amaya came.
Scams are part of private, domestic adoption. I’d advise anyone going through the process to be aware. It’s so hard not to get emotionally invested, especially when you’re getting pictures of sonograms and newborns, but make sure you have a good support team. To avoid this type of drama, the best thing you can do is use an adoption agency. Here’s more on our journey to adoption to help answer any of your further questions.