Man Charged in Adoption "Ponzi Scheme"


Adoption Ponzi Scheme There’s a special place in Hell for people who take advantage of anyone in the adoption triad — the parents desperate for a child to raise and love, the birth parents who are making the most difficult decision of their lives, and of course the child who didn’t ask to be part of any of this.

And by that measure, Kevin Cohen of Roslyn, NY is a very very bad man (if he did what he’s accused of). Which is:

An attoney, he allegedly presented himself to prospective adoptive parents as an adoption facilitator, and bilked them out of thousands of dollars by telling them he knew of someone who was interested in placing a baby for adoption and he needed money to set up the connection and (sometimes) pay money for the birth mother’s medical expenses.

Typical adoption expenses run about $30,000, but Cohen was demanding upwards of $65,000 from some parents. Of course. there was no baby, in any of the cases. Police believe Cohen was running a Ponzi-like scheme, paying back the first couples he scammed with proceeds from later ones.

Okay, I understand, it’s easy to judge these people — why were they spending all this money when there are thousand of waiting children in the foster system? But no one judges people who give birth to their children for wanting a healthy baby — why, then should people who build their families by adoption be expected to accept something different? When my husband and I were starting the adoption process, I saw a stat that for every healthy white baby placed for adoption, there are ten families waiting, while for every healthy nonwhite baby, there are three. Those are pretty crappy odds, and I absolutely understand the overwhelming desire for a baby that causes people to make sometimes a less than ideal decision to go with someone who’s doing God knows what than a reputable, ethical agency.

I guess the takeaway here is to maintain a healthy sense of skepticism, and not believe anyone who says “I can get you a baby for X dollars.” Because even if they aren’t a scam artist, it’s likely anyone whose first conversation starts with the price tag is not operating all that ethically on the birth parent side either.