Birth Mother Red Flags

Birth mother red flags to watch out for
by Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P
Founder of Lifetime Adoption

Many legitimate prospective birth mothers may be in desperate straits and look to you for money to help with expenses during pregnancy. This is not unusual and it doesn’t make her a bad person. She is, after all, carrying this baby to place it for adoption. And it’s hard work.

Other women who claim to be birth mothers may not be pregnant at all or are trying to get money from a number of adoptive parents. We provide you with some red flags to help you avoid adoption scams. They don’t always mean fraud, so use your intuition and judgment, but they may help you to know when a scammer is on the line and you should just say, “No thank you.”

  • A birth mother who matches too quickly with you.
  • Will match with you only if you send money.
  • Immediately asks for help with expenses.
  • Says you’re just perfect but knows little about you.
  • Doesn’t ask about you, your family or your interests.
  • Needs expenses paid immediately.
  • Makes you feel guilty or desperate.
  • Plays heavily on your sympathies, appears emotionally fragile.
  • Threatens to place the child with another family or get an abortion if you don’t do something now, like send money.
  • Tells incredible and convincing hard-luck stories.
  • Calls often, desperately wanting money.
  • Seems detached from the pregnancy.
  • The focus is not on baby but on herself.
  • She’s evasive about giving her home phone number or other details.
  • Won’t tell you where she’s getting prenatal care.
  • Doesn’t want you to speak to her doctor.
  • She cries uncontrollably. (You can tell it’s an act if her sobs stop when you ask how much money she’s looking for.)


Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P., is a nationally recognized authority on adoption. A Certified Open Adoption Practitioner, Caldwell is the founder of Lifetime Adoption Center, LLC., established in 1986. Caldwell has assisted in over 1,800 successful adoptions. She was one of the first adoption professionals on the Internet.
Caldwell’s life work has been dedicated to educating and helping birth parents and adoptive parents through teaching, speaking, and resources and as a radio talk show host.
Author of a number of award-winning books, Caldwell has more than 225 media credits to her name, including: Larry King Live, ABC News, NBC’s The Today Show, CNN Headline News, CNN’s The Campbell Brown Show, CBS News, NBC News, KGO Newstalk Radio, CNN’s Black in America II, MSNBC, Fox, PBS, BBC, Dr. Laura, and is widely sought for print articles and speaking engagements.