Adoption attorney of 40 years says, ‘I’ve actually never had anything like this happened’

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MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The woman wanted by Mobile Police for violating an adoption agreement turned herself in on Thursday, January 7, and has since been released.

Police report Sara Adkins continued receiving financial support from a couple who was supposed to adopt her baby, but she miscarried, did not tell them and kept the money anyway.

Officers said Adkins took about $12,000 from the couple. She’s charged with theft of property. Jail records show Adkins has been arrested previously on drug charges.

Adoption attorney Richard Shields said, “I have to admit out of the adoptions I’ve handled, I’ve actually never had anything like this happened.”

Unfortunately, this is not the first time someone’s tried taking advantage of a couple looking to adopt.

Shields said, “It’s almost like a death to them, you know they had this child that they were counting on and that they had hoped for and no telling how long they had been, you know, looking to adopt, and then to have this happen to them. It really is tantamount to having a death of a child I think.” 

Shields told WKRG News 5 he’s been working with families as an adoption attorney for 40 years. We first introduced you to Shields in Devon Walsh’s extensive investigation. He represented a couple who was also deceived in their adoption process.

We asked Shields what kinds of things prospective adoptive parents should look out for to try and make sure this doesn’t happen again.

He said, “A lot of times you can talk to somebody and if you meet them or you know, you have an agent or an attorney that talks to them, you know kind of size them up, and sometimes your instincts are right. This person is not legitimate.”

Shields also said it is a good idea to ask lots of questions and go with your gut.


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