Saturday afternoon I got an email from a woman claiming to be looking for a couple to adopt her infant. I excitedly showed it to Mark, and debated the best wording for responding. Something felt a little off, but I chalked it up to nerves about actually being contacted by someone. I quickly wrote the woman back. Then, I remembered an article I’d read about adoption scamming on The R House blog. It suggested running a search on the email address, so I did. When mothing came up when I searched for just the name before the “@” I felt some relief, but I decided to run a search for the full email address. That revealed one hit: an ad for the baby. That definitely seemed fishy, but I held out hope that this was a real contact.
We left for a family event shortly thereafter and on the way there, I received another email from the woman. This included many pictures of her baby and various family members. She laid out a bit of her story and ended with the instruction for me to contact the priest currently caring for her child: name, email, and phone number. However, the phone number clearly wasn’t from the US and further investigation revealed it was from somewhere in Africa. My heart sank. Obviously, this was an adoption scam.
I’m glad that I was able to figure that out so quickly, though I hear many adoption scammers are much more adept at stringing you along. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt though. The past couple of weeks have been so hard and our adoption email has been silent since we were approved for adoption. For a brief time after I got that email, I thought maybe that was changing and someone was interested in getting to know us further. And seriously? This was doubly cruel coming on Mothers’ Day weekend!
When I got home that evening, a friend reminded me that you can do an image search in Google by uploading a picture. I was able to track down the original owner of the pictures the scammer had used, and alert them. I went back and forth over whether to do that, but in the end, I figured if it were pictures of my kids, I’d want to know.
The scammer has written me back once more, yesterday afternoon. I ignored it, but if she/he writes me again they are going to get a very angry email.