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Adoption scam concerns

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

National Adoption Day falls on Saturday and while the majority of adoptions are legitimate, couples need to remain vigilant against fraud.

A Long Island couple, who only wanted to identified by their first names, Leslie and Daniel, got married a year and a half ago and decided that adoption would be the best way to start a family.

"We met each other a little later in life," Leslie says, "and we decided that would be the route we really wanted to go.

The couple opted for a private adoption instead of going through an agency. They hired a lawyer and placed ads for prospective birth mothers.

A pregnant 19-year-old from Arizona answered the ad and Leslie traveled to meet her. She said she felt really good about the situation and even went to watch a sonogram and the woman gave her the CD of the images.

Adam Pertman from the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute advocates for better adoption policies.

Then, the birth mother started asking for money. It was not just for living expenses but for other things like emergency car repairs. The couple gave her money totaling into the thousand of dollars.

"There are scams of all sorts, and they are perpetuated by all parties, Pertman says. There's good stuff, there's is really bad stuff, and there's everything in between and we don't really know which is which. That's why it's the wild west."

Leslie returned to Arizona a week before the baby was due but the expectant mother refused to see her.

"My heart broke. I knew this was the beginning of the end for us," Leslie says.

The 19-year-old did give birth but placed the baby with another family. Leslie and Daniel discovered that the woman had been taking money from a number of families during her pregnancy.

Despite being duped, Leslie and Daniel are moving forward and continue to look for an opportunity to adopt.

"We're hopeful," Leslie says.

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