Adoption Scams, Part 2: Jen, Marie and Melissa

Melissa's Meltdown

Dr. Phil joins Marie, Crissy and Jen on stage.

He explains, "I said to these women when I talked to them on the phone, 'Do not expect much from this person because someone who has the ability to do what she has done doesn't have the ability to connect at a human level, in my opinion, and to have empathy for other people,' so we have just seen the result." He asks the women for their reaction to his conversation with Crissy and Melissa.

"It didn't surprise me," says Marie. "I know she won't face me. I think she won't face me because I pushed this forward, and I told her I was going to make her pay. And I'm going to make sure she pays."

"She's scared," Jen adds.

"Yeah, no question. I think there is a fear response there. But you understand, empathy is the ability to stand in another person's shoes, to connect with what someone must be feeling. It's different from sympathy; it's empathy." Dr. Phil says if Melissa had empathy, she'd be begging for forgiveness. "And I'm sure you didn't get a lot of satisfaction out of her because, as I said, I think there is still a very sick power trip going on."

"She's still in control," says Marie. "Because she knows what we want, and she's got it. We want to face her, and she's got that, and she's not going to give it to us."

Dr. Phil says, "At least you had the opportunity to hear me ask her questions, you had the opportunity to hear Crissy and I talk to her. Hopefully, that advances the ball somewhat for you in terms of knowing " " Dr. Phil pauses and sits silently listening. "OK, I'm getting on the monitor that she's in a meltdown in the green room," he says, "so I am going to go back there, and maybe it's a turning point. I don't know. So, y'all hang with me, OK? And I'll be right back." He breaks from the women and exits.

"Tell me what you want," says Dr. Phil as he sits opposite a tearful Melissa.

"I am sorry," she sobs. "You know, you say that I deserve everything they've said about me, and I probably do, but I don't want to sit there and face it again. I read it. I've read it. I know what they think of me. I feel like any kind of remorse that I show them will be used against me." Her emotions swell at the thought.

"All right, look," says Dr. Phil. "At some point it's got to stop being all about you ... and it's got to start being about recognizing that when you make a mess you've got to clean it up. Let me tell you, these women are too dignified, they are too classy, to go off on you."

"They did at my house," she says.

"Frankly, I think you deserve it. But they're too classy to do that," says Dr. Phil. About their visit to the house he says, "They were trying to get you to come out and talk to them! They're yelling through a window because nobody will talk to them. They're entitled!"

"They haven't tried to talk to me," she says. "They've just run to their Internet sites and posted that I'm a fat bitch, and they hope I rot in prison, and that prison is too good for me, and they're just attacking the way that I look. Nobody has tried to call me. Nobody has tried to talk to me. Crissy tried to call me and talk to me in the last week about this."


"Why don't we bring them in here, away from the audience, away from everybody, your face stays hidden, and at least look them in the eye. You don't have to go out there. I'll bring them in here."

One of the Dr. Phil producers, Julie, says, "Sit tight," and runs out of the room.

"Do you want to meet these women?" Dr. Phil asks as they sit alone together. "I'm not going to let them in here if you don't want to. Look at me."

"I don't remember Jen. I don't want to meet Jen," Melissa pleads. "I don't know who she is. I don't know what her story is."

"It doesn't really matter," he says. "Just don't say anything to her. Look at me here." Melissa turns to him. "I'm not going to let them hurt you. And I'm not even going to let them in the room unless you say it's OK. Look at me. I'm here for you."

Melissa weeps. "I don't know what to say to them."

"You don't have to say anything," Dr. Phil assures her.

"I know that you don't think I'm remorseful and that I'm not reacting the way you want me to react but " "

"There's no right or wrong answer. Nobody's going to come in that door unless you tell me it's OK."

"I've been called a fat bitch, time and time again," says Melissa. "They hacked into my e-mail account to get pictures to post them on the Internet."

"I understand," says Dr. Phil. "Hey, listen. You started that fight. They didn't find you; you found them. You started that fight. And when you start a fight, you're going to get hit. I'm trying to end it, here, today."

"This isn't going to end it, though," she says. "I don't believe that this is going to end it. I believe that this is going to then move on to their little arena, to their little hate Melissa Web site, and it will be laughed about."

"I want you to meet these women," says Dr. Phil. "I want you to have an adult, civilized conversation with them, and when you do, then I will make certain that they take down those hate Melissa Web sites that you're talking about and move on with their lives. What I ask you in return " I will get them to do that " what I ask you in return is to commit to me that you will never, ever, do this to another human being as long as you live."

"That's easy. This will never, ever, ever happen again," says Melissa. 

"Your association with them will end here today. That's the deal of the century, girl."

"I know it is," Melissa concedes.

"They just need to talk to you. They just want you to hear them. They want you to see that they're human beings. They need to know " like you had a need for someone to want you and care about you."

"I don't have answers for their questions," says Melissa. "I don't have answers for my own questions."

"That's right. Fair enough?" asks Dr. Phil.

"Will you stick to that and not try to convince me to do otherwise?" she asks.

"Yes, I will," he says.

"OK," she says.

Dr. Phil signals for the women to come in the room.

Dr. Phil introduces Jen and Marie as they take a seat. He explains, "The problem that Melissa has is in trying to answer your questions. It's like trying to make sense out of nonsense. She doesn't have answers. There is no logical explanation for why somebody would do what you did, correct?"

"Correct," Melissa confirms.

"So, to say, 'Why did you do this?' she says, 'I have no answers for that. I'm just sorry I did it, and I'll never do it again,' but she doesn't have answers." He asks Marie what she wants to say.

"You know, you said you're sorry, and you'll never do it again to Crissy, and then you did it to me, so how are you sorry?" she asks. 

"I don't have answers for your questions," Melissa says flatly.

"Jen, what did you want to say?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I'd like to know the reason why you're saying that you don't remember me."

Melissa says, "I don't remember you."

"In fact, I think I already know the reason," Jen continues. "It's because you had so many people going all at the same time." Jen describes details about herself and her encounter with Melissa, and says she has proof. "I have all of it. There's no way that you could tell me that you don't know who I am. I have copies of your letters to me."

"I said that I'm not saying it didn't happen," says Melissa. "I just don't remember you."

Jen says, "I think that's really sad that you did this to so many people that you've lost count."

Marie wants to know how many couples Melissa was involved with at the same time as her, but Melissa says she was the only one.

"How could you tell my little boy that he was going to be a big brother?" Marie asks tearfully.

"I never talked to your son," Melissa says. "I never talked to your son."

"Yes, you did on speaker phone, on my cell phone. Yes, you did," Marie insists. "How could you do that? You have a son. How could you hurt a little boy? How could you get this little boy's hopes up that he was going to be a big brother? You should know better, Melissa. You have a son. Could you hurt your son like that?"

"You have a son," Jen chimes in. "Would you like someone to do that to your child?"

"No, you have," Marie adds. "You have torn your son apart. You have ruined his life."

"You're accountable to him as his parent," Jen says.

Marie says, "And, believe it or not, I feel sorry for him. I really do."

"We all do," says Jen. "We did then, and we do now."

"I have stayed up many nights crying for him," says Marie.

"It's a very sad life for him," says Jen.

Dr. Phil asks, "What do you want to see Melissa do? What do you want to see happen with her?"

"I can't say," says Marie. "I promised I wouldn't be mean." 

Dr. Phil asks, "Do you want her to get help? Do you want her to be a mother to her son? What do you want long-term?"

"Her son means more than anything," says Marie. "Honestly, Melissa, I don't care about you. I care nothing about you. You have ruined my dreams, hopes. You've stolen it from me. You have hurt my family."

"You don't deserve our compassion," says Jen. "You don't deserve it."

"I don't care about you, but I care about your son. I do," says Marie. "And for him, I hope you get help, and I hope you become the mother who you should be. And most of all I hope you never do this again, and I promise you that it will be my mission to make sure you never do this again."

"That's why we're here," says Jen.

Dr. Phil asks Crissy if there's anything she wants to say, but she tells him she has said everything. He asks Marie the same question.

"No, I'm done," she says. She turns to Melissa. "But I got to look into your eyes. Do you remember that? Do you remember when you said you can't wait to see me?"

"No," says Melissa.

"Well, I remember it, and this right here brings me more closure than anything." She turns to Dr. Phil and tears well in her eyes. "So thank you, because this right here brings me a lot closer to making my dreams come true again, to trying one more time. Thank you."

Jen says, "Melissa, I want to tell you that you didn't stop me. You did not stop me from getting my dream. Less than 30 days after you left me that terrible voice mail message on my cell phone when I'm in the airport in Chicago, I picked up a pen and I signed my name to a document that would let me adopt a little baby. And I brought a little girl home from Guatemala, and she is the center of my heart." Jen's voice rises to a shout. "You did not stop me. You didn't! And that's the thing you should know from me. You didn't stop me from having my dream, and you're not going to stop them either, because I'm going to make sure that they follow through, and that's all I have to say."

Dr. Phil asks Jen, Marie and Crissy to step out and agrees to meet them back on stage.

"You did a good thing," he tells Melissa. "That's a step. You have a son. And you are a human being who has the chance to turn your life in the right direction, and I've told you that I'm going to help you to do that, and I'm going to. I'm going to help you to do that, OK?" Melissa dissolves in tears. "Have I done everything I said I'd do?"

"Yes," she says brushing a hand across her cheek.

"No more games on the Internet, and we're going to get you the help that you need, OK?"

Melissa nods. "OK."

"We'll get through this," says Dr. Phil. 

As he leaves, Melissa pulls the brim of her hat lower on her face and cries.