Monday, September 12, 2011

Fake Baby

This is how it all started:
Hello Mrs. Jennie

I apologize for being so late in replying to your email but I've been very busy and am going through a lot. My name is A_____ and I am 24-years old. I am very vibrant, ambitious and am currently in school to become a reproductive endocrinologist. I am African American and American Indian. I'm usually the "spotlight" child. If there is a spotlight, there is me! I do performing arts and dance. I was raised Presbyterian but was saved under the Pentecostal faith at 19.

Since I had really no choice but to tell my family exaxtly why I'm being so withdrawn from them including paternity of my baby. Even the twins (8 year old sisters) knew I didn't swallow a watermelon seed. My family has always been extremely close. There was nothing off limits to asking as long as you asked first. So when I left just out of the blue in January and went over sixteen hours away, my family didn't know what to think. I went from being Miss Teenage Morris College and leaving my second year of med school at MUSC (Charleston) to no contact with almost anyone in South Carolina- my best friend included. I did not know I was pregnant when I left. I left 3 days after the "incident" after spending 2 days in the hospital. The hospital does give the morning after pill  birth control is against my religion so I didn't take it. I didn't think I would get pregnant.

My due date is September 25th and this little lady must thinks she is inside a bounce house. My last ultrasound was on July 8th and she weighed 2 pounds 7 ounces but she has never really stayed still long enough for the to get an accurate measurement. She turned her back on one ultrasound and rolled over. I had to actually stay the night in the hospital because she was literally grasping her umbilical cord and had a tight grip on it! So she had to be monitored and turned (which was no easy thrill for me) manually by my doctor. I feel like she doing zumba or something sometimes.

I'm having a hard time-honestly- because I want to give her the best the world has to give. Sure I can shower her with affection, care and love but not safety. I can keep her safely snuggled in her little bounce house now but I can't say that for her future. The last thing I ever want is for my step-father to fight me for custody and win because of his credientals that I can not even compare too but it looks better on paper and in a court. I want her to grow up in a safe and happy environment that she can flourish and grow in. I made her that promise and I plan to always keep it in love.

Feel free to call me anytime on my cell __________. I want her family to have a chance to know and see her before she's here so she'll never have a question you can't answer. I have all of her ultrasounds on a digital CD because I always get two and 3D images so detailed you can see her smile. I even have all 7 of the preganacy test I took over 3 days to make sure I did the one before right. I don't want her to ever think I gave her away or didn't want her because of her conception. She's my beautiful blessing that I was once told I'd never have and it hurts but she deserves the beautiful life I don't think I can promise.

Signed ADM____

When you receive a letter like that it is like you immediately are excited.  We started to fall in love with the thought of a little girl coming to our family.  It all turned out to be fake.  So, beware, stay away from A.D.M. in Bishopville, SC.  She was working with an agency that many of you may be working with and I have no idea whose profiles she may have looked at.  We just want to get the word out and don't want anyone else to get hurt. Below is what we wrote the day after it all happened

A fake baby. Fake 4 months of getting fake pictures like the one above, being told you were the family for this fake child. Four months of dreaming of this fake little girl. Four months of bending over backward to help a fake birth mom through the fake hard times that were totally viable things a real true birth mother would go through. Four months of her meticulously telling us about the things the baby was doing and doctor appointments and how much they think the baby weighed. Stories about what the doctor told her and what she told the doctor. Stories, fake people, lies, all meticulously put in place. Three visits by the social worker to the fake birth mom. We were all played. For what? She never asked for money.  She never asked for anything, but she did take our time.  She did like the attention we gave her. 

It all lead up to Thursday. Thursday she had a fake infection and was in the "hospital." She was so concerned for the health of the fake baby. I spent all this time reassuring her the baby was going to be okay. She tells us that the fake doctor told her that she was going to have to deliver the fake baby a month early. She is freaking out. She needs reassurance. I totally feel I need to go to her in the hospital. I ask Tyson to take the day off work and watch the kids so I can go help her through her fake hard times. She calls on Friday and says she is dilated to a 6. She is having the baby. We frantically pack. We pick up our 4-year-old son from preschool and tell him we are going to go meet his sister.  He is so excited!  We pack him and our 18-month-old son in the car.  We get to the hospital. What? There is no one by the name at the hospital.
Oh, she says she is under an alias and not in the computer. What room are you in? 402 she tells us. Nope, 608, "they moved me."
They say there is no one in that room.
"What building? Where are you?" She runs us around the hospital. She describes specific areas of where to be. For 2 hours we wait for her to tell us how to get to her. She said she had the baby. We totally think she is just out of it. She just had a baby, right? She is on pain killers.
Tyson sees. Tyson knows it is fake. I can't believe it. I keep holding on to the fact that I know this girl. I have talked to her at least twice a week. She has told me in detail so much about this baby that makes perfect sense. I have to hear it from the horse's mouth. I still keep holding on that the circumstance is that we just can't get to where she is. She keeps talking about the baby. Keeps saying she is just so concerned about the fake baby. She keeps distracting me on the phone, talking about the baby. She creates a fake sister. The fake sister is supposed to meet us outside. We drive around some more. Can't find the sister. I talk to the fake sister on the phone. Gosh she sounds a lot like fake birth mom, but they are sisters, so maybe they just sound the same.
Oh, sister had to go back up to the room to check on the baby.
Ok. Boys are in the car and have been for 4 hours.
They need to eat.
Leave the hospital.
Tyson suggests I talk to a nurse. Perfect idea. Call birth mom, takes her a while to get the fake nurse on the phone. The fake nurse totally sounds like fake sister. I ask if it is the fake sister. Fake sister says no. I ask her to give me the phone number to the nurse's station and I will call her back. She gives me a number. I call the number. It is an OB/GYN doctor's office. Uh, Tyson sees, but I think maybe the "nurse" accidentally gave me the number to the office she works at rather than the nurses' station. I keep having hope. Call social worker. Social worker admits that perhaps she overlooked a few things. She met with this birth mom 3 times, but it could have all been lies.  Was the name of the birth mom on the ultrasound pictures? We didn't know. Do we have actual proof of pregnancy? Perhaps not.  Perhaps this is a scam.
Fake birth mom talks to social worker, says she is scared we are backing out because we feel like she is lying to us. She wants us to adopt her baby so bad. Finally get on the phone with fake birth mom again. Give her an ultimatum. I need to talk to a nurse right now or her sister needs to come down to the lobby right now. Right now. "I can't reach the nurses button", she says. Oh, "my mom is here," she says. "Perfect, please let me talk to her," I say.
Different voice this time. Totally different. I plead with her to help us. From what birth mom told us, she wasn't on board so perhaps she would not tell us where birth mom is. "Please meet us down in the lobby. "

"Where did she tell you she was at?" Mom asks.

"At the hospital with the baby," I say

Mom replies, "She is at home. What has she been telling you? What is going on?"

Me, "She said she went in to have the baby."

Mom, "No, she is not having a baby."

Me, "Is she even pregnant?"

Mom, "No. She is a very sick girl. She has serious mental problems. She made this all up."

Wow. Such detailed stories of a baby, such real stories of what the baby was doing and how it felt inside. Such detailed situations of what she was going through. Seriously, she had to research this like crazy. There has to be a book or something online she is getting this from. Amazing. Can’t believe this happened to us.  She knew so much of what a birth mom would go through.  She knew how to keep us talking to her.  She knew about drugs doctors would have her on, she knew about premature labor and the things they do.  She spoke to me in detail about the plans in the hospital. We were her project, something fun she did for 4 months.  I hope her mother has taken away her computer and her phone and gotten her some help. 

Despite this crazy situation and this crazy day, we are not in a deep dark hole. We are over adoption, but we know people are generally good. We wish we could go give all the people a hug that helped us yesterday. I had random hugs from strangers who saw what was happening. They cried with us, had concern and care for what we were going through. For this one sick person there was 10-15 amazing people who bent over backward to help us and show us compassion and love.

In the past year we have had three girls who have chosen us to be the family for their baby. Three times we have dreamed of a little girl who is coming into our family. Twice minds were either never really made up or minds were changed.  Situations changed and the birth parents decided to parent.  It hurt. We fell in love with them.  This one, we were totally played. Totally. 

One of the things that is so frustrating with having gone through these three experiences (especially with them so close together) is that we've been embarrassed by having announced our family growing by one more with the most pure and naïve faith that it was going to occur. We've announced to employers, friends and family that we are going to or actually do take off time from work to have this addition come in to our home in mere hours, days or weeks just to find out that we were mere pawns by mal-intended and sick people.
It is such an emotional thing when someone tells you that they feel that you are the perfect family to raise their child. You feel such a responsibility to not do something to upset them for fear that your spouse and children are denied the blessing of the child coming in to your home. You simply do all you can to not ask questions or give impressions to the birth parent that you don't trust them or that you're crazy. You fear being the reason that they're unwilling to place in your family. I think it makes you unwilling to ask the hard questions that need to be asked. Just imagine trying to live with that. You, your family and close friends all conjure up hopes and dreams for this huge blessing to come in to your lives and for the opportunity to rear, raise and love this child. You fear that YOU might be the reason that all that might be lost. The chance at that great blessing is lost due to you. YOUR actions ruined it for you and your family by simply pressing too hard or appearing untrusting or crazy. It is unnerving to even think about and creates an enormous amount of pressure. It is something you would live with your whole life. I can certainly say that we have tried our best to guard against it but simply have been out-foxed each time.  Maybe we only saw what we wanted too. 
We are done with adoption.  We love adoption because we have two beautiful boys who came to us through strong and wonderful birth families, but we are done opening our hearts to it again, just to let them be crushed.  We have been blessed with two tremendous little boys that we love. We are no longer willing to put them or ourselves through this again. We are no longer going to waste time trying to build our family but rather invest in the family that we've been blessed to have.
The Smiths

A couple of weeks has passed since we went through this.  It still seems like a dream that this even happened to us.  I think it is so important in this open adoption world that everyone is informed about what to look out for and what to watch for.  Stay involved in your adoption.  Check up on what the social worker is supposed to do and what is or isn't being done.  We definitely thought we were fine and didn't think much of a scammer because it was through an agency.  I so hope she has not contacted any of you. 
We are excited and content about being a family of four.  We are so thankful for the Lord's hand in our life.  We have definitely grown closer as a family through all three failed adoptions and perhaps that is what it was all about.  We love and appreciate our son's birth families for the wonderful opportunity we have to raise our beautiful boys.  


Ariane said...

I was so saddened by this story. We are also a family of four (two adopted boys) getting ready to try again. My family doesn't quite understand why I'm not jumping at getting our papers in again. I love adoption. I love our wonderful birth moms. I hate the process. The only thing that keeps us going is knowing at the end of the road, there is another birth mom to love and another baby to cherish.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't there a pregnancy confirmation? The agency should have received pregancy verification from the OB before you ever got that far with the expectant mom. Or they should have been warning you strongly that she hadn't provided one and could be a scammer. What happened?

Rebecca said...

A similar thing happened to me and my husband when we were waiting to adopt our first child. Most of our communication was done in texting, but she would text us from other people who had just "grabbed her phone" and her "voice" was different. Different punctuation, different spelling mistakes, etc. She had a huge web of lies, but she was able to keep it all straight somehow. She also was very needy and something was always going wrong - an abusive boyfriend, almost losing the baby, preterm labor, car accidents, etc. A very elaborate story. I feel your pain here. So sorry you had to go through this. I remember feeling so silly afterward that I didn't see through her, but it is so hard when you are told you've been chosen and you are going to have a baby. You want to believe it and give everything to that situation. You'd never dream of not giving 100% to that person, and being there to support them emotionally.

The Smiths said...

to anonymous - that is why we put too much trust in the agency. They should have got the proof of pregnancy, but they didn't. I should have been on top of that. I was too stupid to think about the name not being on the ultrasound pics she sent.

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