Stealing Hope: An in-depth investigation into 'emotional' adoption scams

More than 100,000 children are adopted in the United States each year and an untold number of prospective parents are duped by con artists offering up make-believe babies during the adoption process.

They troll popular adoption websites; pass along phony ultrasound images; spin convincing sob stories; even pretend like they're writhing in labor, only to vanish when their lies fall apart.

Read The Post and Courier's full investigation, “Stealing Hope,” at postandcourier.com/stealinghope.

The newspaper also produced a three-part podcast in conjunction with the investigation, delving into the mystery surrounding a South Carolina woman who is said to be one of the most prolific adoption scammers lurking on the internet today.

Listen to the podcasts at postandcourier.com/stealinghope/podcast.