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Adoption Fraud: What You Need to Know

By Ashleigh

Grieving CoupleThe path to adoption can come with some bumps in the road. Sometimes, an adoptive family may wait for a match for much longer than they had planned. Some families may be matched, only to face a disruption when an expecting mother chooses to parent. And unfortunately, some families even fall victim to adoption fraud.

Adoption fraud commonly occurs in the form of a woman who claims to be pregnant and seeks out an adoptive family, but in reality, she has no plans of pursuing adoption. While these women are usually looking for money, this is not always the case.  It can also be considered adoption fraud if a potential birth mother intends to pursue an adoption plan, but is dishonest with you about medical issues that may affect her baby.

It can be tough to know exactly what to look out for in an adoption scammer. In some cases, a pregnant mother may claim to pursue adoption with no intention of seeing it through. In other cases, she may not even be pregnant at all. Some behaviors that may be indicative of an adoption scammer are:

  • Reluctance to provide proof of pregnancy or other pregnancy-related medical information
  • Unusual quickness in choosing you as an adoptive family
  • Excessive concern or preoccupation with money
  • Refusal to accept counseling

You can take measures, however, to protect yourself from the emotional and financial devastation of an adoption scam. If a birth mother contacts you, don’t be afraid to do a Google search of her, and don’t feel bad about being reserved until you meet her in person. Taking this kind of action may seem overly cautious, but it can help to protect you from the risk of a scam.

Lowering the risk of adoption fraud is also an especially compelling reason to work with an experienced adoption agency. Families that choose to find a birth mother on their own, especially through the Internet, are more vulnerable to scams. Adoption agencies have ways of preventing these incidents from happening at all.

Here at American Adoptions, we do everything in our power to protect you from an adoption scam, including:

  • Mediating contact between the adoptive family and prospective birth mother
  • Counseling birth mothers and gauging their commitment and sincerity before helping them choose an adoptive family
  • Networking with other adoption professionals and law enforcement to identify scammers
  • Keeping an up-to-date record of scams and potential scammers

We understand that, despite taking even the best preventative measures, not every adoption fraud can be avoided. However, for those unfortunate times when fraud is not detected, we have a unique Risk-Sharing Program in place to cover any lost adoption expenses.

Frauds and scams are an unfortunate reality in the world of adoption, and we encourage you to take all possible steps to prevent them from happening to you.  Wherever you may be in your adoption journey, know that American Adoptions can help protect you from adoption fraud and put you on the perfect path to finding your little one.


Today is World Smile Day! :)

By Ashleigh

World Smile Day

“Do an act of kindness. Help one person smile!” – World Smile Day slogan

Harvey Ball, creator of the smiley face, started World Smile Day to remind people what the smiley face really stands for: good will and good cheer. Ball thought that we should devote one day each year to smiles and acts of kindness, and thus declared the first Friday in October each year to be World Smile Day.

So, today, we ask that you spread acts of kindness to help others smile.  Smile at strangers you pass on the street, the grocery store clerk, your boss and, of course, your friends and family.


Protect Your Finances with Our Risk-Sharing Program

By Ashleigh

Here are American Adoptions, one question we hear from many adoptive families is: “What if the birth mother changes her mind?”

We do our best to minimize the risk of disruptions by providing support to potential birth mothers and helping them develop strong relationships with adoptive families. However, there are still cases in which a woman will decide not to continue with an adoption plan and instead choose to parent. If you are facing an adoption disruption, you’re already struggling to work your way through emotional suffering; you don’t want to have to worry about financial suffering at the same time. At American Adoptions, you won’t have to.

Our Risk-Sharing Program helps families to pursue adoption after a disruption by covering expenses such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Costs of living
  • Prenatal care
  • Agency Fees
  • Legal Fees

Unlike some other adoption agencies, which will roll over your fees into a new adoption plan, we refund your money directly back to you. This way, you have the opportunity to restart your adoption journey on your own terms.

While we know that nothing can eliminate the disappointment of an adoption disruption, the least we can do at American Adoption is help you to try again. We are here to take the financial burden off of you so you can focus on healing, moving forward, and rebuilding your adoption plan.


Top Tips for Baby Safety Month

By Emily

Top Tips for Baby Safety MonthSeptember is National Baby Safety Month, sponsored annually by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association to educate parents and caregivers about keeping infants safe and healthy through their first years. As the month comes to a close, it’s a good time to brush up on top safety tips for your little one:

  • In the kitchen: Kitchens are full of potential safety hazards, so it’s important to take extra precautions in this essential part of your home. Don’t hold your baby while cooking, and turn pot handles toward the back of the stove to prevent hot foods and liquids from being tipped over. Keep knives, heavy pots and breakable dishes out of reach, and stash garbage cans in locked cupboards or use cans with child-safe covers.
  • In the nursery: The nursery should be a secure environment for your baby to learn and grow. Keep it safe by moving furniture away from windows to prevent babies from falling through the screen or becoming tangled in window cords. In the crib, always use a sheet that fits securely on the mattress. Make sure the mattress fits snugly within the crib to prevent your baby from slipping between the mattress and the side of the crib.
  • Out and about: When you and your child are on the go, always use a car seat to arrive safely at your destination. Carefully follow all of the car seat manufacturer’s instructions when installing the seat in your vehicle. Prefer to walk? Always put your stroller in the locked position when putting your baby in the stroller or when remaining stationary. Place any other items you’re carrying, like your purse, in the storage space beneath the stroller seat, and do not hang heavy items off the back of the stroller — this could cause it to tip.

Your child’s safety is a priority every day — not just for Baby Safety Month. Continue these safe practices to protect your baby this September and throughout the rest of the year.


ICPC: 5 Things to Know

By Emily

You finally get the call — it’s time to travel to the hospital where your baby is being born. You pack your bags and rush to the birth mother’s state, excited to start your next chapter with the newest addition to your family. But before you take your new baby home, there’s just one more requirement you have to satisfy: the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC).

All interstate adoptions must comply with the ICPC, an agreement between all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands that regulates interstate adoption placements. The ICPC process might seem burdensome, but it’s a crucial part of the adoption process. If you are adopting across state lines, here are the top five things you need to understand about ICPC:

  1. Your ICPC paperwork must be approved before you can leave the state where the baby is born. When you travel to the hospital when the baby is born, your ICPC paperwork will be submitted to the baby’s state (or the “sending state”) ICPC office. Once the adoption is approved there, your ICPC paperwork will be sent to your home state (the “receiving state”) for approval. You will need to wait in the sending state with your child until you are notified that your ICPC paperwork has been approved by the receiving state. Once all of your ICPC paperwork has been approved, you are free to return home with your baby.
  2. ICPC can take 7–10 business days or longer to process. This means you should plan to stay in your baby’s birth state for at least two weeks while you wait to be approved to return home with your child. Make arrangements to be away from home for several weeks, and try to be flexible as you wait for approval.
  3. You should not contact the ICPC office during your wait. You will be eager to take your baby to his or her new home and will naturally want to check the status of your paperwork, but you should leave it to your adoption professional to coordinate contact with the ICPC offices. You will be notified immediately when you are approved to travel across state lines.
  4. Keeping your home study current can help ensure a smooth ICPC process. The process cannot begin until your home study is complete, so it’s important to have it done well in advance and be mindful of expiration dates. It is also important to note that your home study will need to meet requirements for both the sending and receiving states. Working with a national agency can help you ensure that your ICPC paperwork will be approved no matter what state you adopt from.
  5. ICPC is legally mandatory in every adoption that takes place outside of your home state. If you don’t comply with ICPC, or if you cross state lines prior to receiving ICPC approval, it could put the adoption in jeopardy.

ICPC may seem confusing, overwhelming or inconvenient as you wait to return home as a family. Your adoption specialist or adoption attorney will help you through the ICPC process and ensure you meet all the necessary requirements — so all you’ll need to worry about is spending time with your new baby while the paperwork is processed.


Today is National Grandparents Day!

By Ashleigh

National Grandparents DayBe sure to take the time to appreciate the grandmas and grandpas in your life! Here are just a few fun activities you can do with your kids to help them celebrate their grandparents:

  • Make cards – Store-bought cards can be thoughtful and sweet, but ones you make by hand are so much more personal. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to do something hands-on with your children.
  • Enjoy the weather – Summer’s almost over, and Grandparents Day is the perfect excuse to get the family out for some relaxing, low-key activity. Think about going to a park or having a small picnic.
  • Get busy in the kitchen – It seems like everybody has a memory of their grandma’s best recipe; today’s a great day to return the favor. Get your kids involved in making a tasty meal or treat to bring as a surprise!
  • Share your time – The greatest thing you can do to show your love and appreciation is spend some quality time together with the whole family.

Whatever you do this Sunday, remember to show your love and appreciation for grandparents and everything they do!


Pre-Placement Visits: the Who, What, When, Where, and Why

By Ashleigh

The Adoption Opportunity – the point when you are matched with a prospective birth mother – is one of the biggest steps in every family’s adoption journey. While it is a very exciting time, it can also be very stressful. You may find yourself thinking constantly about the birth mother who has selected you, and asking yourself: what if she doesn’t like me?

This is why pre-placement visits are so important. By meeting the birth mother in person, you can both feel that much more confident in pursuing your adoption plan. About half of adoption opportunities involve a pre-placement visit, and they offer enormous benefits for both the birth mother and the family. However, they also require some careful preparation to be sure you have the most positive experience possible.


If you and a spouse are involved in the adoption, you both need to be there. If you have other children, they may also be present; however, this will be largely based on the birth mother’s comfort. If the birth mother is uncomfortable meeting your other children at this point, you may be asked not to bring them along. Other people who might be at the meeting are the birth father, a member of the birth mother’s support system, an adoption specialist, or the birth mother’s other children, if she has any. You will be told ahead of time who to expect there.


What will you talk about?  You want to know as much as you can about the birth mother, and chances are she wants to know the same about you. At the same time, it’s important that you don’t overstep your boundaries or ask inappropriate questions. Be sure to keep the conversation light and avoid sensitive subjects such as the birth father (unless he is involved) and medical history. If you aren’t sure of what to ask or how to start the conversation, try some of these questions:

  • What are some of your hobbies?
  • What are your favorite books or movies?
  • What kinds of activities do you imagine your child doing?
  • What do you want to know about us?
  • How are you feeling?


While pre-placement phone calls typically occur a week or two after matching, in-person meetings can take a little more time and planning, especially if you live in different states. If the birth mother is very close to her due date, this could also change your schedule. Typically, though, you can expect a visit to include one or two meetings over the course of a weekend.


Where you choose to meet will depend on a number of factors: where you both live, how long you want the visit to last, and how far into the pregnancy the birth mother is, to name a few. Most often, though, a pre-placement visit will take place in a casual, neutral setting that allows for conversation to flow freely and without interruptions or distractions.

Many times, a family and birth mother will meet for lunch and have a nice conversation while they eat.  If you or the birth mother has other children, you could meet at a park and get to know each other while the kids play. Another possibility is touring the hospital where the delivery will take place.

Keep in mind that you will be the one to travel to the birth family’s location; this is to ensure the birth mother’s comfort, which you should always try to keep at the front of your mind.


When you are feeling nervous about the meeting, remember that you and the birth mother are there for the same reason: you both share a love for a child and a desire to give that child the best possible life. Let her see that love, and she will fall in love with you, too. Remember, one of the main goals of a meeting is to help the mother feel confident and reassured in her decision. She wants to get to know the person who is going to raise her child, so relax and let her see the real you.

When you have been matched with a birth mother, a pre-placement visit is a huge landmark on your journey, and one that you will remember for the rest of your life. You want to prepare as much as possible, but don’t forget to take a deep breath and simply enjoy meeting the person who is helping you expand your family!


Upcoming Fall Seminars and Picnics

By Ashleigh

Website PhotosAs the summer comes to a close, we are gearing up for our fall lineup of Adoption 101 Seminars and Adoptive Family Picnics. There are only a few left for the rest of the year, so don’t miss your chance to learn more about the adoption process or meet other adoptive families in your area!

Adoption 101 Seminars

Our Adoption 101 Seminars are for adoptive families entering the adoption process who are looking for general information to help them decide between domestic adoption and international or foster care adoption. An Adoptive Family Coordinator will also go over how much an adoption might cost and the advantages of using American Adoptions over another adoption professional. One of the highlights of our Adoption 101 Seminars is a Q&A session with an adoptive family and sometimes even an Adoptive Family Specialist. No matter where we travel across the country, we like to have this Q&A time for our families from folks who have been in their shoes!

Watch the video below for more information and then see our upcoming seminar dates for the fall!

Below is our fall lineup of Adoption 101 Seminars: 

  • Florida – Saturday, September 19th
  • Missouri – Saturday, September 26th
  • Pennsylvania – Saturday, October 3rd
  • Texas – Saturday, October 17th
  • Florida – Saturday, November 14th

Adoptive Family Picnics

Ever wanted to meet up with other families who have adopted children? Our Adoptive Family Picnics, now in their third year, have been a great opportunity for adoptive parents and adoptees alike to share advice and connect with each other. After our October Picnic in Pennsylvania, Adoptive Family Coordinator Mike Aguilar shared how inspiring it was to see everyone come together:

“It’s amazing to not only put faces to the names that we interact with but also to see how grateful they are for our services,” he said. “And it’s so great to watch them interact with other adoptive families and bond over their shared experiences.”

But the highlight for everyone in attendance is definitely the kids. Adoptive Family Specialist Kathie Hoffmann overheard one girl say, “Mommy, are all these other kids just like me?” Another little girl’s main goal was to make new friends who were adopted. And when she did meet another girl around her age, they were instant friends!

“It was one of the coolest things I’ve experienced in the six years I’ve been working here,” Kathie says.

The remaining picnic dates for this year are:

  • Doyelstown, Pennsylvania – Saturday, October 3rd
  • Tierra Verde, Florida – Saturday, October 3rd

Watch the video below to see more from our 2014 Adoptive Family Picnic in Kansas:

To find the most updated information on American Adoptions’ variety of seminars and events, subscribe to our newsletter or visit our seminar page!


Newborn Care Class for Adopting Parents – St. Louis, MO

By Ashleigh

IASheaderAttention adoptive families in the St. Louis area! Do you need help preparing for your little one? Looking for a newborn care class tailored to your needs? We’ve got just the class for you!

Infertility and Adoption Support is hosting a Newborn Care for Adopting Parents workshop specifically designed for adoptive families. Meet families in your area who are also going through the adoption process and learn the basics of taking care of baby – who could come any day! Learn about finding and choosing your child’s healthcare provider, the difference between rear and front-facing car seats, safe sleep practices, and cloth vs. disposable diapers.

The seminar will be held September 24, 2015 from 7 – 9 PM at the Missouri Baptist Medical Center, Auditorium 1.  Seminar is free and open to all families no matter where they are in the adoption process.

For more information, visit Infertility and Adoption Support’s website.


We Want to Hear Your Stories!

By Ashleigh

One of our favorite things here at American Adoptions is to hear adoption stories from our adoptive families, birth parents and adoptees. We love hearing all the wonderful things that make your adoption story unique and special and sharing those stories with our readers.

If you have an adoption story you want to share – whether you’ve written it yourself, whether you want us to help you write it or you want us to write it for you – we want to hear from you! Any story, big or small, we want them all!

Adoptive Families:

  • Tell us about your journey with American Adoptions
  • Tell us about your relationship with your child(ren)’s birth mother
  • Tell us about your first night/week/month home with your little one
  • Share your advice for other adoptive parents

Birth Parents:

  • Tell us about your journey with American Adoptions
  • Tell us about your struggles and triumphs with your adoption plan
  • Tell us how you’re coping with the adoption
  • Tell us about meeting your child’s adoptive parents
  • Share your advice for other birth parents


  • Tell us about your journey with American Adoptions
  • Tell us about your relationship with your adoptive and birth parents


Whether your story is short, long, happy, or emotional and no matter where you are in the adoption process, we want to hear about your experience. This is your chance to share your story with the adoption community and help people just like you. Email your story to and we’ll share it with our readers!

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