Adoption fraud occurs when the adoption process includes any form of misrepresentation, deceit, or false representation. Adoption fraud can come in many forms, and may be perpetrated by various parties, including: birth parents; adoption agencies; state social workers; biological parents; persons with previous legal custody; and others.
Sometimes called wrongful adoption, adoption fraud is often a serious violation that can have effects that last for years or even decades. For these reasons, adoption laws will hold all persons or parties liable who contribute in any way to adoption fraud.
"Wrongful adoption" often refers to situations where there is a mistake or an intention misrepresentation regarding the adoptee or the adopter’s identity. "Adoption fraud" often refers to instances where the misrepresentation is used for financial gain. The two terms are often used interchangeably. Some examples of adoption fraud include:
- Adoption agencies charging excessive or unreasonable fees for adoption-related services.
- Adoption agencies accepting money but never providing the services provided.
- Social workers or other personnel failing to provide information about the adoptee’s physical, emotional, medical, or mental background (as well as family history).
- Pregnant persons or birth mothers collecting fees or charging for expenses without ever completing the adoption process.
- Failing to maintain proper connections with the birth parents after adoption, when such communication or contact is required.
- Failing to obtain consent when required.
- Intentionally providing the wrong child or baby for adoption, or providing the wrong set of adoptive parents.
As mentioned, multiple persons or parties might be involved in an adoption fraud scheme. Fraud may also occur especially in the context of an international adoption situation.
Adoption fraud generally leads to legal remedies such as a monetary damages award. These are often issued in a civil court of law, and are intended to reimburse the plaintiff for a wide range of issues. These can include: loss of companionship with a child or with a parent; medical expenses caused by a failure to transfer medical records and medical history properly; emotional trauma; and various other remedies.
Other remedies may exist, such as an investigation into the adoption agency’s practices, as well as changes in company procedures. In cases of widespread cases, a class action may be necessary.
Adoption fraud is a serious violation that can lead to some major legal consequences. You may need to hire an adoption lawyer in your area if you need help with any issues with adoption such as fraud or misrepresentation. An attorney can provide you with legal advice on how to approach your case, and can also research the laws in your area. Also, if you need to file a lawsuit or appear in court, your lawyer can provide legal representation during that process as well.