Safety, Privacy, and Security

Other Help Topics

Safety

How do I know which family or adoption professional to choose?

The placing or adopting of a child will be one of the most important decisions of your life. Neither decision should be entered into lightly or without much thought and research. Take time to research and consider all potential families and adoption professionals without moving too far, too fast, with the first option that presents itself to you.

How do I know if a situation is “Too good to be true?”

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Adoption can be an emotionally charged experience for all that are involved. Beware the person that appears to be answering all of your questions the way you want them to, or someone who oversimplifies the process. If things begin to move too fast, too easily, or you begin to feel wary of the situation, you should consult an adoption professional for advice. If something doesn’t sound or feel right to you – trust your instincts.

How familiar should I be with the legalities of adoption?

You don’t need to be a lawyer, but you should be aware that adoption law varies from state to state, province to province, and country to country. Researching the basic law of your state will help you to communicate with both your adoption professional, birth family or waiting family. The more educated you are, the more prepared you will be to recognize early signs of fraudulent behavior. You may want to explore the following questions:

  • Does your state limit the payment of expenses for placing parents?
  • Is there a Putative Father Registry or other procedure to make sure the father’s rights are respected?
  • Is there a time during which placing parents can change their minds after signing relinquishment papers?
  • What is the mandatory wait time after placement before the adoption can be finalized? Does it differ for private versus agency adoptions?

Who can I go to for advice?

Those who have been through the process, whether placing or adopting, have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share. Support groups can be found locally in your community, and on the Internet, and many have shared their experiences in stories and articles.

What is fraud?

Fraud is generally presumed to mean any form of intentional misrepresentation or illegal act, adoption fraud can include (but is not limited to):

  • Adoption professional fraud
  • Waiting family fraud
  • Birth family fraud

What does adoption professional fraud look like?

An adoption agency or facilitator that charges exorbitant fees, and is not properly staffed is committing fraud. Agencies can also commit fraud by accepting money for services never rendered, misrepresenting the emotional and physical history, or background of a child.

How do I avoid adoption professional fraud?

Begin by reviewing their status on NRFA. If they have been pre-screened, NRFA has taken several steps toward examining their business history and reviews. Next contact the state licensing specialist in your area and request information concerning their license status, complaints, and legal actions taken against them. Finally, the Better Business Bureau offers guidelines specific to adoption and can be a source of information about the business license, legal actions, and principals’ names.

What does waiting family fraud look like?

Portraying an inaccurate description of themselves or purposefully misleading the birth family in order to gain their trust and the placement of a child. Some waiting families will commit to multiple birthmothers, with the intention of accepting the first placement that comes through.

What are the warning signs for waiting family fraud?

Procrastination. If a waiting family shows hesitation or procrastination about giving you the contact number of their adoption professional, sharing their homestudy and background check information with you, or delaying a meeting it could be a major warning sign.

Requesting Information. Any requests for identifying information or personal information concerning your identity, bank accounts, location, school or job should be a major warning sign. Do not give the information and cease contact if you feel uncomfortable.

Promises of Financial Assistance. The law dictates that expenses should be paid directly to an adoption professional, not to the birth family directly. If a waiting family offers to pay you “under the table” you should cease the relationship immediately. This is illegal, and could be cause for your state’s Child Protection Division to remove your child from you at birth to be put in the state’s custody. If a waiting family attempts to entice you with promises of large amounts of financial support, this is also impossible due to legal regulations, and these persons should be considered highly suspect. If they are not truthful with you about financial assistance, you cannot assume they are being truthful with other information they are giving you.

Online Clues. Google the family’s name, email, Instant Messaging name, or any other contact information to see what information is available online for them. If you feel awkward, just realize that they are probably doing the same on you.

Scam Support. There are many online support groups that share information about adoption scams. We highly recommend joining the yahoo group Adoption Scams, and reporting any suspicious information or questionable conduct.

What does birth family fraud look like?

An expectant or biological parent accepting money for expenses from more than one prospective adoptive parent, with or without any intention of completing the adoption process. Often they are seeking money, but sometimes just the attention.

What are the warning signs of birth family fraud?

Procrastination. If a birth family shows hesitation or procrastination about contacting your adoption professional,

What does birth family fraud look like?

Procrastination. If a birth family shows hesitation or procrastination about contacting your adoption professional, completing a pre-natal medical record release form, relaying proof of pregnancy (sonograms, pictures, etc.), or meeting then it could be a major warning sign.

Requesting Information. Any birth family requests for identifying information or personal information concerning your identity, bank accounts, wealth, home, or job should be a major warning sign. Do not give the information and cease contact if you feel uncomfortable.

Requesting Financial Assistance. Always pay allowable birthmother expenses directly to an adoption professional, not to the expectant woman herself. Urgent requests for rent, groceries, or other expenses can be a warning sign that her need for finances may be her leading motivation, and not the interest of the child.

Online Clues. Google the woman’s name, email, Instant Messaging name, or any other contact information to see what information is available online for her. If you feel awkward, just realize that she is probably doing the same on you.

Scam Support. There are many online support groups that share information about adoption scams. We highly recommend joining the yahoo group Adoption Scams, and reporting any suspicious information or questionable conduct.

Privacy and Security

How do users communicate securely?

To protect your privacy, always send messages through nrfa.org. Do not send messages to personal email addresses and never share your email address.

Our service allows you to receive and reply to messages from other users without revealing your personal email address. Messages are sent and received from an nrfa.org email address assigned to your account. When you create your NRFA account we will send you a confirmation email to verify your email address. It is important that you verify your email address to avoid future messages from other users going to your spam folder.

Be extra cautious if you receive messages agencies offering services. If you think the contents of this message are inappropriate in any way—whether it’s spam, a scam, or suggestive—we’d like to know. Notify our Customer Care team.

Is my account secure?

We operate with state-of-the-art security features. For a more detailed look into our privacy policy please click here.

Do you share my information?

We will never share your information with anyone. For a more detailed look into our privacy policy please click here.

How do you use my information?

We use your personal information for the sole purpose of providing you with the best service we can. We will never share your personal information. For a more detailed look into our privacy policy.

What precautions does NRFA take to help maintain a safe community?

One precaution we take is to check certain information some members provide us against various databases and other sources for criminal or other inappropriate activity. In addition, our dedicated safety team reviews profiles for suspicious and inappropriate content and investigates job posts, profiles and messages that are flagged by our members as objectionable. While we view these as important initial steps, they are only preliminary checks and do not catch everything; the best safety precautions are the ones you take.