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Watching Out For Adoption Scams

In California, one couple thought they'd found a willing birth mother. Instead, they found themselves victims of a scam.

The Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman reports the story of Bob And Alette Temple.

The couple wanted nothing more than to have a baby. But because Alette Temple has cerebral palsy, most adoption agencies turned them away.

Her husband says, "We tried several different avenues to adopt: Guatemala, Marshall Islands, India."

And Alette Temple notes one agency even laughed when she disclosed her illness.

So imagine their relief when 32-year-old Mary Anne Mays was sent to them by an adoption agency. She had a letter that said her husband had been killed in Iraq, and because of his death wanted to give up her unborn baby for adoption.

Bob Temple points out, "We wanted to see good medical evidence that the baby was healthy and when it was due."

Mays provided documents showing she was pregnant. Soon, she began asking the Temples to pay her expenses.

Asked how much money the Temples gave Mays, Bob says, "It's around $9,000 - through airline tickets, rent, back rent, future rent, medical expenses."

And he says she kept coming to them for more. The Temples say the adoption agency encouraged them to keep giving her money.

Bob Temple says, "She'd say, 'Don't upset her; there's a baby in there, and it's going to be your baby, and don't worry about the money. It'll be worth it.' And of course we agreed, you know. We wanted a baby."

It was Alette Temple who got suspicious. "I did my homework," she says.

Alette Temple convinced the doctors to rerun Mays' blood samples. The tests showed she'd never been pregnant; the earlier test was forged. She was not a war widow, but had simply used the name of a soldier killed in Iraq.

The Temples called police and Mays was arrested. Turns out she has scammed at least three other couples.

The Temples were not only out $9,000, but also out a lot of heartbreak, says Bob Temple. "We were sure this was going to be the baby that we were adopting, and to find out later that it was all a lie was so emotionally devastating, it was a terrible crime that she committed on us!"

His wife adds she had her heart in it.

Bob Temple notes, "When she was arrested, we felt at least happy that maybe had stopped her from hurting other people."

A small consolation, until something extraordinary happened: A local TV station aired a story about how the Temples were scammed. By chance, a young pregnant woman who planned to give her baby up for adoption saw the story and decided, "I want my baby to go to them."

The birth mother doesn't want to be identified. She met the Temples recently and handing them her baby made their dreams come true.

"It was just incredible," says Bob Temple. "It was the happiest moment of my life, and I know it was the happiest moment of her (Alette's) life."

Katherine is the newest member of the Temple family. Using special baby cushions and halters, Alette Temple is able to care for her daughter. And just like any mom, she couldn't be more proud.

"She's perfect," Alette Temple exclaims. "Even when she screams."

Excited, Bob Temple adds, "We're parents! Our parents are grandparents!"

Alette Temple says their dreams finally came true: "Now we have a gorgeous little angel."

The Temples have kept in close contact with the birth mother. They say she's refused financial help. They've also become friends with the parents of that American soldier killed in Iraq, who were horrified to find out their son's name was being used in a scam.

As for Mays, she's in a Northern California jail, awaiting trial for fraud.

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