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Topic : 07/26 Adoptions Scams, Part 1

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Created on : Thursday, February 15, 2007, 04:43:02 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
(Original Air Date: 02/22/07) Dr. Phil explores one of the cruelest cons in America: adoption scams. Couples hoping, wishing, praying to have their own child, become easy targets for heartless con artists who pose online as birthmothers. Meet three women who wanted nothing more than to hold a newborn child in their arms. Instead, they say they were misled, lied to and left devastated by a woman who claimed to be pregnant with a baby meant for them. Now Marie, Crissy and Jen might have a chance to confront Melissa, the woman who deceived them. With the help of private investigator Harold Copus, they track her down, and even Dr. Phil is shocked by what happens when they find her, including their close encounter with a man and his shotgun. When Melissa sits down with Dr. Phil to tell her side of the story, will her victims finally get their chance to confront her face to face? Talk about the show here.

Find out what happened on the show.

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February 22, 2007, 8:47 am CST

Don't allow Melissa to change you...

Quote From: lovernios

Hello, my name is Mike, and I've been conned by her too

I wish to thank Marie for putting a stop to Melissa.
If it weren't for her efforts, I'd be mourning a beautiful dead woman very soon, I'm quite sure.

Backing up a second...

Melissa posed as Bella in a couple of web-hangouts that I frequented.
She was the same 'personna' that Marie was all too familiar with.
Only at these sites, Bella was not scamming prospective adoptive parents, she was creating enormous empathy and love for herself by pretending she had breast cancer, complete with a double mastectomy and 8 rounds of chemotherapy.

She knew her stuff about cancer and various treatments.  She was not an authority or a good patient, she claimed she did not listen to the doctors.  She took the treatments as they came and kept her life as 'normal' as possible, in spite of her disease.
I always felt she was not facing her illness, and it's apparent now as to why it came across that way.

We talked as friends on the phone frequently, she was a pleasure to talk to and quite a revelation in the context that she was very gravely ill, yet her spirit remained bouyant and charming.
We were 'close' for perhaps 7 months.

The 'truth' was such a crushing thing, but as the smoke cleared in my mind, it was clear I was lied to for all those months.  Many others were fooled, though most people kept it at a distance, but there were several of us men who made it clear to her that we cared and were willing to help somehow.

I sent her alot of things, most of the stuff was inexpensive stuff, simple stuff to make her smile and feel good about herself.  Bandanas for her head, head scarfs, chocolate, pink cancer girl stuff, necklaces for her boys, books to read, pens and some stationary etc.  Panties too.  I wanted her to get the feeling that she was still a lovely lady, and still retained tons of feminine beauty depite the ravages of the disease.  

I also sent her 135$ to pay a phone bill once.  Hey, she was alone with 2 small kids in the middle of nowhere.  Me, I was very worried she would need emergency service sometime, and a lack of a telephone became a safety issue, so I paid it for her.

I read alot of posts from the most beautiful women I've ever read from and the message board at http://www.breastcancer.org
I became very familiar with that site, and the nature of breast cancer in general.
The strife and mindless sadness that breast cancer imposes on a female body can be devastating, and yes, it is grave enough to kill.  Young women in their prime are mutilated and their life is sucked out of them with the intensity of the treatments.  Families are consumed with supporting and helping, money is drained and there is an air of fear and loathing in people's hearts.
At the bc.org site, there is tremendous support on many levels, but something with this disease that is a total robbery of the feminine soft beauty and women who survive it struggle mightily with their sexuality and chances at a future with new and old relationships.
My compassion for Bella rested in that type of mindset.

I knew I could not see her, she was insecure and far away, so what we had was perfect for the time.

She said her breasts were to be reconstructed in Beverly Hills.
She said she made over $150,000 a year, but her bills were snowballing, the medical problems were keeping her out of work and her benefits were drying up rapidly.
She also told us she had a 3 year old daughter die from cancer.
She told us she has twin boys
She told us the father of those boys was fighting for freedom in Iraq, but they were not a couple anymore.
She told us she sends random care packages and letters to servicemen overseas all the time, as a basic good gesture.
She presented herself as a devout an honorable Christian.

What this boiled down to many times was simply that Breast Cancer was too serious, scary and intimidating to lie about, it was beyond me to imagine this was someone lying to me.

Amazingly it was.   She got 'stuff' from me, and a phone bill paid.

I was robbed of my good nature and my goodness as a person.
It was sucked out of me.
I was heartfelt and in a state of fear, worry and concern for her for 7 months, and she was lying all the while.  
She manipulated me so much, I am still confused and unsure on just how diabolical this person is.
She obviously was busy, she had very serious scams going concurrently with Marie, Jen and Crissy.

I will say this...  it is a relief to have 'someone' not have Breast Cancer anymore...

My heart thanks Marie, because at some point down the road, Melissa would have had to KILL OFF Bella, and let that 'character' of hers die.
To the deep and resonating sadness of all those that merely wanted to help her.

THAT - would have been aweful.  
Melissa sure was not Bella, so an ENDING would have been required.

Thank You for reading.

Mike



 

Mike,

I read your posting on Melissa's other scams. It's sickening to think there are people that would become such parasites-feeding off of others emotions and good intentions. I'm sorry this happened to you. Sadly it's a common thing. We see this in the news often, people faking illnesses with their children to get sympathy and donations. Think about all the people taking aid for Katrina when they weren't anywhere near the storm.

 

I know at times I've asked myself if I should give to charities or people that appear in need. I question if my good deeds are really helping or is someone just using me. The best answer I have ever been given comes from my now deceased grandmother. When I was a little girl walking with her, a beggar was sitting on the sidewalk with a small box asking for handouts. The man was dirty, smelly and most likely homeless (or really faked it well). My grandmother put money in his box. As we walked past I asked her what if he's faking it? or if he's really not homeless. My Grandmother replied, "It doesn't matter what he does, I know I did the right thing."  Although this happened over 40 years ago I clearly remember her words and use those to settle any doubts I ever have.

 

You have a kind heart Mike, don't let someone like Melissa harden it.

 

Maria

 

PS- Rosie O'Donnell wrote a book called "Find Me". It's a sad tale of how she was duped by someone claiming to be pregnant. This person had multiply personalities. Rosie sent this woman all sorts of things and spent countless hours on the phone with her.

 
February 22, 2007, 8:56 am CST

Let the Hate Mail Begin

I am one person who has no sympathy for these people.  If they wanted to adopt, they should have gone through known legitimate channels.  Putting an ad in the paper?  Why not just auction a baby off?  These are people who outsmarted themselves and got burned for it.  They weren't even smart enough to know something was up when the "mother" kept having them repaint the same room?  These people might have just as well written their ad on a bathroom wall.  There are many children out there who really need good homes.  These people were too good for that?  I see kids with no homes all the time, but these people wouldn't think of them.  No.  They had to buy the "best" child they could and they got what they deserved. 
 
February 22, 2007, 8:57 am CST

Let the Children come

As with millions of people watching todays show my heart goes out to these women. After I cried for you all, I prayed for you all. I would like to give you a word of encouragement. We adopted our daughter after a 16yr wait, all things come with God's time not ours I learned that the hard way. I know that your babies are out there waiting on you. I know that it is hard to let go of the anger and the pain however there is someone waiting on you, who needs you and all that you have learned from this. Keep the faith and please don't give up.  To the woman who did this to you, all I can say is that you probably don't really know why you did this. But all that is meant for evil good makes good, even though you hurt these people who have also put them in a position of great opportunity, because nothing works better than word of mouth. Spread the word and let the babies who need these mothers come forward. Prayers will continue for you all  Believe when I say pray works daughter is 8yrs old and son is 4yrs as of Jan 9. which after a 16yr wait makes me a old but loving mom.

momoftwoangels

 
February 22, 2007, 9:28 am CST

count yourself lucky

Quote From: flrat69

I am one person who has no sympathy for these people.  If they wanted to adopt, they should have gone through known legitimate channels.  Putting an ad in the paper?  Why not just auction a baby off?  These are people who outsmarted themselves and got burned for it.  They weren't even smart enough to know something was up when the "mother" kept having them repaint the same room?  These people might have just as well written their ad on a bathroom wall.  There are many children out there who really need good homes.  These people were too good for that?  I see kids with no homes all the time, but these people wouldn't think of them.  No.  They had to buy the "best" child they could and they got what they deserved. 

Wow, aren't you full of yourself. Count yourself lucky that have not walked in these peoples shoes, or others like them.

 

You have no right to tell people where they should go to adopt. For your info. adopting through what you call "proper channels" get people scammed too. Educate yourself before you step into this arena.

 
February 22, 2007, 9:40 am CST

RECOGNIZING THE REMORSELESS - WITHOUT CONSCIENCE

How do we recognize the remorseless? One of their chief characteristics is a kind of glow or charisma that makes these people more charming or interesting than the other people around them.  They’re more spontaneous, more intense, more complex or even sexier than everyone else, making them tricky to identify and leaving us easily seduced.  Some of my favorite books which provide a good introduction and insight into this subject are: 

 

 

Emotional Blackmail:  When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation and Guilt to Manipulate You by Susan Forward  

 

Why is it Always About You?:  The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism by Sandy Hotchkiss OR Emotional Unavailability by Bryn C. Collins

 

Without Conscience:  The Disturbing World...by Robert Hare  

 

 

Fundamentally, these people are different because they cannot love.  They learn early on to show fake emotion, but underneath they are indifferent to others’ suffering.  They live to dominate and thrive for the thrill to win.  We all almost certainly know at least one or more already.

 

Hope it helps! 

 

 
February 22, 2007, 10:07 am CST

???

Quote From: thecharmedone

Absolutely no one deserves to be scammed in this way, it is reprehesible behaviour.

 

However, adoption is supposed to be about finding a permanent loving home for a child who has no family, not about finding a child for people who are unable to have one of their own. If even a quarter of the effort, funding, tax breaks etc  was used towards keeping children with their real families, women would not be made to believe that their child is better off being raised by non related strangers.  

 

Adoption is not the win win situation that everyone says it is.  Read Lifton, Verrier, Soll

What? What do you mean "adoption is supposed to be about finding a permanent loving home for a child who has no family, not about finding a child for people who are unable to have one of their own. "? I'm a little confused about that statement. There are countless couples out there who would make loving, great parents but are unable to have children of their own. That's the exact reason for adoption. To say that adoption isn't meant for those who cannot have children is kinda ignorant, don't you think? On the opposite spectrum, there are countless people out there who have too many kids and are terrible parents. That's where child services come in (but we all know how bad they are). Sometimes children need to be taken out of the home due to abuse, neglect, etc by their parents, and (most of the time) they're placed in good foster homes. Depending on how long the child is in the home, sometimes the foster parents want to adopt him/her because they've now become part of the family. You'd rather a child stay in an abusive home for the sake of being with their "real" family? I've always believed that a "real" family is a loving, supporting one, not an abusive one, no matter what blood results say. Also, some women cannot keep their child due to whatever reasons, and so feel that adoption is their only choice. We don't know the circumstances they're in for them to make a decision like that.  Who are you to judge? I think we need to set our priorities straight and think about the ENTIRE welfare of the child instead of thinking they need to be with their birth family only.

 

As for the show, I cannot believe there are melicious people out there, such as Melissa, to have the balls to do something as terrible as she did. I hope she gets the maximum jail time alloted for stuff like this. It just makes me sick to think there are minds out there like that. It's a sick world, it really is.

 
February 22, 2007, 11:15 am CST

02/22 Adoptions Scams, Part 1

After the cowardly, deceitful acts Melissa has had the gall to do to these innocent families, she has no right to whine and complain "I don't want to hear what Marie has to say; she would insult me."  Well, how many times have you insulted her and worse by scamming and lying to her  and the other women, lady!?  They deserve to get to say to you what they need to say after what you've done to destroy their lives.
 
February 22, 2007, 11:23 am CST

02/22 Adoptions Scams, Part 1

Quote From: flrat69

I am one person who has no sympathy for these people.  If they wanted to adopt, they should have gone through known legitimate channels.  Putting an ad in the paper?  Why not just auction a baby off?  These are people who outsmarted themselves and got burned for it.  They weren't even smart enough to know something was up when the "mother" kept having them repaint the same room?  These people might have just as well written their ad on a bathroom wall.  There are many children out there who really need good homes.  These people were too good for that?  I see kids with no homes all the time, but these people wouldn't think of them.  No.  They had to buy the "best" child they could and they got what they deserved. 

These women did go through the proper channels...think you should do a little more homework before spouting off. As far as the painting of the room goes.. in my eyes that was compassion for the "so called birthmother"

From the way it sounds, you could be just as demented as Melissa thinking that there is nothing wrong with this!

 
February 22, 2007, 11:28 am CST

I say to you respectfully that you don't know what it feels like to want a baby.

Quote From: flrat69

I am one person who has no sympathy for these people.  If they wanted to adopt, they should have gone through known legitimate channels.  Putting an ad in the paper?  Why not just auction a baby off?  These are people who outsmarted themselves and got burned for it.  They weren't even smart enough to know something was up when the "mother" kept having them repaint the same room?  These people might have just as well written their ad on a bathroom wall.  There are many children out there who really need good homes.  These people were too good for that?  I see kids with no homes all the time, but these people wouldn't think of them.  No.  They had to buy the "best" child they could and they got what they deserved. 
I was able to have my own biological children. But it took a while to get pregnant . The 2nd time I was probably considered to be infertile, because it took well over a year. It seemed like forever. It took a little less time the 1st time.For me it was a yearning. I wanted a baby in my arms, in our lives, to cuddle, care for ,love etc... I feel so very fortunate that we were able to have our own. I can only imagine how desperate I would have been to adopt had we not been able to have our own biological children. These people who are scamming these couples must KNOW how desperate childless couples can be. I certainly have a lot of compassion for each and every one of them. To think how they probably hoped and prayed for a baby to love and then to have a low-life individual break their hearts and shatter their dreams! People like that have no conscience at all!
 
February 22, 2007, 11:28 am CST

Better questions

Quote From: reticulate

Tell me, please, how exactly do you steal a dream?

Differences of opinion aside, why would you defend someone who does this? Do you think it's OK? Would you do it? Would you want someone to do it to you?

 

Answer those questions and maybe you'll figure out why you feel as you do.

 
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