Archive for Wednesday, May 5, 2004

Adoption scam victims revel in happy ending

May 5, 2004

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— At 16 days old, Kathryn Taylor Temple already has a pile of press clippings telling how her adoptive parents had their hopes for a child dashed and then lifted again.

The clippings first tell the story how the couple was scammed by a woman who claimed to be pregnant, and then they recount how an expectant mother 300 miles away was so moved by their disappointment and perseverance that she picked them to raise the daughter she was carrying.

Alette Coble-Temple, 32, a psychologist who works with troubled teenage girls, suffers from cerebral palsy. During the year she and her husband spent trying to become parents, the couple often heard from adoption agencies and expectant mothers that they didn't want to work with them because of Alette's disability and given her husband Bob's age, which is 52, and status as a cancer survivor.

"Initially I felt like I was in an episode of 'Law & Order,' and then when we got this call, it felt like a 'Hallmark Hall of Fame' movie," Coble-Temple said Tuesday as she fed Kathryn a bottle.

Kathryn's adoption became final last Friday, capping the Temples' seven-week odyssey from anger and despair to elation and gratitude. On March 19, Walnut Creek police arrested Maya-Anne Mays, a woman who had spent months promising the couple she would let them adopt the baby she said was due on March 22.

They had paid Mays $14,000 in living and medical expenses, taken her into their lives, and prepared the baby's nursery, but their worst suspicions were confirmed when it turned out she wasn't pregnant. Mays remains jailed on three counts of felony theft.

An eight-months pregnant woman in Eureka heard a television news report about the couple and, as she would later relay it to the Temples, was so impressed by their grace and determination not to let Mays' scam sour them on adoption that she decided right then she had found the future parents of her child.

After giving birth on April 18, the woman, who is in her mid-30s, told a delivery room nurse that she wanted her daughter to go to the Temples, but she couldn't remember their names. She eventually got in touch with an adoption facilitator who tracked the couple down with the help of police and news articles about the Mays case.

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