Preying on childless couples hoping to adopt in order to scam them out of money–or just because you can–is probably one of the worst things you could do as a human. While that sounds dramatic, preying on people who are vulnerable is pretty gross behavior, am I right? Well, sadly, “adoption scammers” are a thing.
According to The Post and Courier, adoption scammers are literally people who trick couples into thinking they are going to help them adopt a baby. And then, right before it’s supposed to happen, they ghost. A lot of times, however, these scammers aren’t even doing it for money. As Jezebel points out, some are just doing it “for the sheer sport of breaking some stranger’s heart.”
This happened to Melissa Carroll, a woman who has miscarried five times in the span of four years. She reportedly spent more than $40,000 on fertility treatments, and very much wanted a baby. A woman named Avalyn contacted her through an adoption website. Avalyn said she was a college student who was about to give birth and didn’t want the baby. It seemed like a match made in heaven, except it wasn’t.
Once Carroll started making plans to bring the baby home, the contact between her and Avalyn stopped–because Avalyn wasn’t pregnant in the first place. According to the article, this is not the first time it’s happened, either:
“Experts believe about a dozen women across the country, including two in Upstate South Carolina, dupe prospective parents with make-believe babies. They troll popular adoption websites; pass along phony ultrasound images; spin convincing, although fake, sob stories; even pretend like they’re writhing in labor, only to vanish when their lies fall apart or they grow tired of the game. Some of these women try to extort gifts and money from their victims, but many seem content to toy with their emotions, to exploit their vulnerabilities for the sheer sport of breaking some stranger’s heart.”
Lauren Sausser, the writer who wrote the piece, claims to have identified two of the people doing this: a 21-year-old South Carolina woman named Kayla Roach and 42-year-old April Renee Lusk of South Carolina. As of now, they have both denied the Sausser’s claims.
You can read the rest of the tragic story here.