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Couple Scammed While Trying To Adopt Baby Through Instagram Issue Warning About Social Media Adoptions

Photo: Instagram/Vasin Lee/Shutterstock
couples adopting babies on social media

An Ohio couple are speaking out after they were scammed while trying to expand their family via an Instagram adoption.

Though it is a relatively new frontier for adoption, social media is quickly becoming an increasingly common way for couples to adopt without using an adoption agency.

However, social media adoptions have resulted in financial scams and heartbreak for adoptive and birth parents.

Without regulations, this avenue creates risks for both prospective parents and birth mothers due to the lack of oversight and support.

In 2021, Breanne Paquin and her husband posted to Instagram that they were planning to adopt after Paquin's chronic illness and endometriosis left her unable to get pregnant.

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After three months, a woman from Texas got in touch with them, claiming to be pregnant and looking to give up her baby.

They decided to go ahead with the adoption and the couple even hired a lawyer to take care of the legalities.   

However, once the paperwork was discussed, the woman seemed more hesitant to comply with signing any official papers and refused to join in any of the Zoom meetings.

Instead, she asked the couple to pay her medical bills which they had to pay directly to her as she refused to sign any paperwork.

Paquin and her husband paid up to $9,000 to the woman thinking it was for her medical bills. 

However, they realized they had been scammed by this woman after going to Texas to pick up the baby.

While waiting in their AirBnB with a car seat, hoping to bring home their baby soon they received a text from the woman. 

She wanted to keep the baby.

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Paquin said, “Looking back at it now, I wish I would have realized that these were real problems and I was kind of blowing them off.”

Paquin and her husband chose to not press any charges against the woman. As they had already lost so much money, they didn’t want to spend more on a lawsuit. 

“We’re hoping that the justice system would file criminal charges against her, but I honestly don’t see that happening,” she said.  

Paquin also mentioned that adoptive parents should have more rights if someone else faces a similar situation to hers.

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“If we even just had that basic right where that money would be paid back to adoptive parents if the adoption doesn't go through,” she said.

“It would stop people from scamming because it wouldn't be as easy anymore.” 

When adopting, couples use various social media platforms other than Instagram such as TikTok, Facebook and Twitter.

People post that they are looking to adopt and add hashtags such as #AdoptionJourney, #AdoptionStory, #AdoptionRocks, #AdoptionDay and #AdoptionIsLove.

The mentions of hashtags involving adoption have increased quite a lot in the past couple of years. 

Other than being cheaper than adoption agencies, this method is more simple. Choosing to go through social media also meant the couples have more control over the adoption process as compared to adopting agencies. 

Social media adoptions create avenues for exploitation on all sides.

While the paperwork and cost of agencies can be overwhelming, skirting around these regulations can be dangerous for all.

One birth mother who placed a child via online adoption said she felt like she had no opportunity to change her mind because she had formed a relationship with her child's adoptive mother.

Other experts say social media adoptions can result in children being placed with parents who would not have passed all the screenings adoption agencies require.

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Sanika Nalgirkar is a news & entertainment writer at YourTango based in Seattle, Washington. She has a master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of Washington. You can check out some of her writing on her website.

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