Is The Hillsdale Adoption Scam a true story? Everything you need to know

The Hillsdale Adoption Scam

Lifetime’s The Hillsdale Adoption Scam follows the story of a successful couple Bethany and Terrence (played by Keshia Knight Pulliam and Michael Strickland respectively) falling for an adoption scam perpetrated by a ‘pregnant’ woman named Georgia (played by Danika Frederick). The couple’s desire for private adoption leaves them swindled by a con artist.

The all too familiar plot of the movie is not on accident as it is the latest addition to the cable’s ‘Ripped from the Headlines’ series that brings ‘feature films straight from the news to the small screen’. Moreover, it is a dramatized version of the many true crime events that have transpired over the years, where unassuming couples looking for adoption are exploited for money by scammers.

The Hillsdale Adoption Scam is loosely inspired by the viral 2022 adoption fraud, where a Houston woman scammed a couple from Ohio

It is no secret that The Hillsdale Adoption Scam is based on real domestic cases of adoption fraud in the United States. The story seems to be particularly inspired by the adoption scam that happened in Akron, Ohio.

In 2022, Breanne and Greg Paquin became victims of an elaborate adoption scam by a Houston woman. The couple had been in touch with the birth mother of their future son, whom they eagerly named Carson Ryder, via social media.

Greg and Breanne Paquin
Greg and Breanne Paquin | @gregpaq91/instagram

The unnamed birth mother had reached out to Breanne after she posted on Facebook looking to adopt a child. Sometime after Christmas in 2021, the Paquins flew all the way from Cleveland to Houston, Texas to attend the birth of their adopted son and bring him home.

However, the birth mother postponed the meeting, claiming that her dying mother had been hospitalized for open heart surgery. This was not the first time she delayed a meeting. In the past five months, she had refused to meet the couple citing health issues.

In one instance, she claimed to be diagnosed with placenta previa and sought $9,000 from the Paquins for the said treatment. On top of the medical bills, the couple had spent $17,000 on the adoption process. Breanne’s mother had organized a GoFundMe to cover the expenses.

After running another background check on the birth mother and contacting her relatives, the couple’s lawyer found that the pregnancy and health issues did not exist at all. The FBI became involved in the case and the scammer was threatened with legal repercussions.

The Paquins admitted that they overlooked the red flags in anticipation of adopting a child. They had opted for private adoption in place of adopting through an agency, thinking that it would cost less.

During the press for The Hillsdale Adoption Scam, actress Keshia Knight Pulliam advocated for ‘reputable adoption agencies’ and warned potential parents from such scams.