Adoption Fraud

By: Amanda O'Neal
By: Amanda O'Neal

A South Texas woman is accused of soliciting people online to adopt her baby. FBI agents arrested 24- year- old Belinda Ramirez Tuesday near Corpus Christi. Ramirez wasn't really pregnant and authorities say she conned several people out of money and crushed their dreams of adopting a baby. Ramirez allegedly had a number of victims send her money for what she called surrogacy services. She was charged with mail and wire fraud.

Local adoption agencies offer tips on how to avoid an adoption scam.

Unable to have biological children, Kim Schams and her husband Scott adopted their 2 sons at birth. They wanted to help others with the adoption process so Kim founded Aggieland Pregnancy Outreach in College Station, an adoption agency which helps build an open relationship with birth moms and adoptive parents.

" When I think about my kids birth moms and how alone they were in the process, one way that I can give back to them is to give other girls who are in the process support to help them through," said Schams.

Newborns are in high demand for adoption and many couples turn to desperate measures to find one. According to the state, there are many companies or individuals committing adoption fraud.

To avoid becoming a victim, Kim suggests doing lots of research and going through a reputable adoption agency.

When dealing with an adoption agency, investigate and make sure they're licensed by the state. It's also a good idea to consult an adoption attorney. Know who your dealing with, meet with them face to face and never hand over money upfront.

Shonda Whetstone with Homes for Good in Bryan, works with CPS to find a permanent home for foster children who were abused or neglected. The agency only does closed adoptions, meaning the adoptive parents and birth parents never meet.

Since the adoption process takes a long time, more and more people are looking online for other options, but Whetstone warns of the dangers.

" You can look online and find different places, but I would go in and actually sit down and talk to somebody and ask a lot of questions," said Whetstone.

For more information on adopting you can contact Homes For Good at 979-260-1900 and Aggieland Pregnancy Outreach at 979-764-6636.

Aggieland Pregnancy Outreach will host a free informational meeting on June 17 at 10 a.m. The office is located at Nueces Street next to A&M Consolidated High School.


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