A California family is left shocked and pained after believing for months they were going to adopt a baby girl from a young pregnant woman and give all their love to another child — only to learn the woman was never even pregnant in the first place.
Laura and Matt Trayte were looking to adopt a child and add a sibling for their son. Then, 34-year-old Elizabeth Jones learned of their plans through Facebook and contacted the couple.
They instantly bonded.
After meeting, Laura and Jones took pictures together and made special shirts. Jones' said "Birth Mom Strong" and Laura's read "Adoptive Mom Strong. Jones even shared a sonogram with Laura.
"I frequently called her our hero because she was making this dream come true for us," Laura told Inside Edition. "I felt I found the perfect person to be part of this extended family. Our relationship was based on the love for this baby."
Six months later, when the due date finally arrived, the Traytes traveled with their son from their California home to Eastern Tennessee to there for their soon-to-be daughter's birth.
They even recorded a video on their way to the hospital to show their excitement. But then they started receiving text messages from Jones saying that the baby was coming and she was pushing.
"Oh my god. We have a baby. OMG," read one text message.
"She ... said the baby was born in the ambulance," Laura said.
However, when the family finally arrived at the hospital, they were met with a big shock.
"A nurse came over and said there is somebody with that name, she checked herself in, she didn't come by ambulance. She checked herself in for lower back and pelvic pain. She's not even pregnant," Laura recalled.
She added: "I was so confused. That never entered my mind that she was possibly never pregnant to begin with.
Inside Edition asked Jones for an explanation about whether she lied about being pregnant and giving birth, but she did not answer the questions.
Jones was arrested and pleaded guilty to eight felonies in connection with the adoption fraud.
"The fact that she was never pregnant, there are no words to describe the shock, trauma and pain that we felt ... and still feel," Laura said.
The parents have tips for others looking to adopt a child. They urge people to hire an attorney who specializes in adoptions to guide them through the process. They should also acquire proof of pregnancy from the birth mother's doctor, do a background check on the birth mom and explore social media groups that discuss adoption scams.