Anyone who has ever been through the adoption process will tell you that it’s an extremely emotional one. Often times it’s the very last straw available to a couple who badly wants to become parents. Such is the case for Holly and Mark Gonzales. After four painstaking years of trying to have children, they decided to give adoption a chance.
Enter con artist “Kristy Bennett,” whose real name is Roxanne Janel Jones. She told the Gonzaleses that she was pregnant with twins and that she wanted them to be the parents. But Jones never intended for Holly and Mark to become the parents of her twins. Instead, she was driven by financial gain.
CBS News Correspondent Armen Keteyian led an undercover team that featured a woman who posed as a potential mother. They contacted Roxanne Janel Jones (who told them her name was Cindy Stevens) and their correspondence ultimately led to a face to face meeting which took place in a hotel suit that was wired with hidden cameras. As part of the arrangement, the prospective mother agreed to give “Stevens” $100.
Keteyian and his team discovered that “Stevens” was trying to play them the exact same way she had played the Gonzaleses. Keteyian’s full story on adoption scam airs tonight on CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, but the Early Show has a clip up that’s very compelling and sets the table nicely for what you can expect to see this evening.
In it, adoption expert Adam Pertman gives three tips to all parents who are entering the world of adoption should be aware of.
1. Educate Yourself: It’s not as simple as paying an agency and going from there. Pertman points out that most people do more research about a potential doctor or car than they do about the adoption process. With all the resources available, there’s no excuse. Potential adoptive parents, he says, need to do their homework before beginning the process.
2. Engage a Professional: This is not something that you can do alone. Part of the education process is to identify a trustworthy professional who can be your advocate during every step of the process.
3. Have Your Radar Up: Though it doesn’t happen terribly often, there are people like Roxanne Janel Jones out there. For for that reason, Perman encourages couples to have their radar up. If something seems too good to be true, he says, it probably is. This is advice which the Gonzaleses would have been well served to have followed. For there were several red flags that came up during their experience with Jones. “We chose to ignore them because of the hope that this was happening,” explains Holly.
Mark feels that their experiences with Jones has set them back in their adoptive efforts. Even so, they’re not deterred. “Our baby is out there somewhere,” Holly said. “We’ll find him.”
Again, you can see the rest of the Keteyian’ story about adoptive scams by watching CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. But in the meanwhile, make sure you check out what has already aired on The Early Show.
Image: screenshot from undercover video via CBS.