Matt and Laura Trayte were determined to adopt a sibling for their 6-year-old son, but they ended up victims of a bizarre psychological con game, as they arrived at the hospital on Nov. 29, to find out there was no baby.
The Traytes had already endured an initial adoption attempt that fell through earlier this year. In April, they were connected with a woman in South Carolina through Angel Adoptions, a service that cost them $16,000. They borrowed and raised money to pay for the steep bill.
“We were really excited,” Matt told the Register. “Hudson was running around the house saying, ‘I’m getting a baby brother.’”
The mother told the Traytes she had moved to New Jersey to be with family. As Laura made plans to visit her there, the woman stopped answering her phone. Angel Adoptions then told the couple they don’t work with women in New Jersey and certain other states.
They soon found out the mother had decided to keep the baby. They were devastated.
As the Traytes attempted to get a refund from Angel Adoptions, Laura decided to look for a birth mother on her own.
Death of a unicorn: Couple endures ’emotional crime’ in bizarre botched adoption https://t.co/vByOsvLAXn
— O.C. Register (@ocregister) December 8, 2018
A Second Chance
Laura started a website and a GoFundMe campaign, and she also paid money to Facebook to send out a post about their story to a large number of people.
In early September, the couple received several replies, and they chose a woman named Elizabeth Jones in Virginia who said she was expecting a baby girl.
Jones never asked for any money. She said she was an Army veteran and was attending online classes. She was married with two children, and they couldn’t afford another child.
“We never planned to add another baby to our family,” Jones wrote in a Facebook message to Laura, according to the Register. “Adoption seemed like the best route. I was super excited that I had finally found a family. One that was down to earth, nice, shared many values I did.”
Laura and Jones began communicating daily, and it was decided they would keep the adoption open. The baby girl would always know her birth mother.
On Nov. 9, Laura traveled to Virginia to visit Jones.
“We talked for hours and hours,” Laura told the Register. “She was anxious and nervous. She was very, very insecure.”
Laura thought Jones must be feeling ashamed about giving her child away.
They went shopping, went out to eat, and posed for pictures together. Then they visited a local law office to sign paperwork giving the Traytes the power to make medical decisions for the new baby.
The attorney, Jared Williams, provided his services free of charge.
Laura returned home feeling confident about the adoption of the newborn baby they decided to call Noella.
“She doesn’t want anything from us,” she said, according to the Register. “She never asked us for a penny.”
When the Traytes arrived in Virginia in late November, ahead of the baby’s due date, Jones and her two children spent some time with the couple and their son Hudson. Everything was going smoothly.
Jones said she was scheduled to be induced on Nov. 29. But early that morning, she began sending messages to Laura saying she was already in labor at home.
“Oh dear gosh. The pain is unreal,” she wrote, reported the Register.
Jones sent a picture of a bloody toilet and other graphic details. She said they called an ambulance, then her husband decided to drive her to the hospital. Then they abandoned the car on the freeway and flagged down a different ambulance.
Meanwhile, the Traytes rushed to the hospital.
Then Jones said they were headed to a different hospital three miles away, with a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) waiting for her. She said the baby’s head was out.
“Oh my god we have a baby omg,” Jones texted.
The Traytes finally found Jones in the emergency room of the Holston Valley Medical Center, fully clothed. However, Jones suddenly claimed she didn’t know the couple.
A nurse said Jones was at the hospital complaining of back pain.
Matt and Laura realized nothing Jones had told them was true. They cried and screamed at her.
“What am I supposed to tell my son? How could you lie to us? How could you lie to our 6-year-old?” Matt said, according to the Register.
Later that day, Jones sent another message saying she lost the baby a couple weeks earlier. Over the course of the next week, she gave several other conflicting stories. She offered no proof for any of them.
The Traytes say they can’t afford an attorney, and with no money exchanged, local law enforcement did not bring any charges against Jones.
The couple says they have given up on adoption for now. They only wish to share their devastating experience with others.