What We Can Learn from Real Life Juno XO

Another good day for an adoption scam

Twitter Scam Grabs Attention to Adoption Corruption

On January 27th, I stumbled up  the profile of a girl called @RealLifeJunoXO.  While it’s now gone, I  believe I had been searching for #adoption or adoption on Twitter and saw crappy post from the Bethany Birthparents Poster Couple of the Year AKA @TylerBaltierra and  @CatelynnLowell. RealLifeJunoXO was literally start struck that they had tweeted back to her, parroting some bull adoption propaganda about how selfless and brave she was for considering adoption. As reported already, my response was a cry for her to do her research.

Now, according to RL Juno’s tweets so far, she was claiming 16 years old,  17 weeks along, already matched with a couple of rich surgeons, was due in June and had some cutesy (not so cutesy?) story about finding out she was pregnant by peeing on a stick with two other friends. Some weird game of Russian pregnancy roulette?

Effort and Time Wasted by All or Not?

There was then a rash of Tweets to her from mothers and adoptees trying to get her to understand the truth about adoption or telling her how super great and strong and selfless she was depending on the Kool-Aid levels.  As so many people were doing such a great job of sharing the truth about adoption to her, and being that we had until June, there was a slight chance that we could maybe undo the damage already done and get this impressionable young mother to be to not make the biggest mistake of her life, though she did not openly respond to the many conversations around her or about her. I hoped she was just reading and taking it all in.

Then, suddenly, on the 30th, she reported cramps and said she was going to the hospital. This was quickly followed by a report that her baby “Rocco” was born at 22 weeks. I was shocked as the end of January is way different than June.  I wondered how labor, especially for a first time mother, could be so quick, but shrugged off that concern as my ignorance towards preemie births. There was no mention of her actual labor, but a report of the babies height and weight and then, low and behold, a picture.  It seemed for a hot minute that perhaps she would parent her child among all the Tweets of how beautiful he was and the prayers and blessings going out. RL Juno thanked everyone with glee.

Accusations of a Scam and Picture Thieving

And then, the whole thing went up in smoke.

fake juno 2

It didn’t matter that it looked like MAYBE she would now parent. The picture posted had been stolen from another mother’s photo gallery.  The real baby was older than 22 weeks, was born in 2006, and was now a happy healthy 7 year old.

Twitter adoption scamming

At first our Real Life Scammer tried to argue her validity and demanded that people prove the fakeness. This was done and then, the real mother of the boy came on Twitter and demanded that the picture as removed. Faced with that, RL Juno gave in and admitted that the whole thing as a fake; the pregnancy, the adoption line and of course, real life Rocco.

So, of course there was anger and of course everyone feels goofy for having been had, but let’s look at the bigger issues here and the big question WHY?

Twitter Adoption Scammer Outed

I have asked Amanda over at The Declassified Adoptee and Lost Daughters to weight in here so there could be also an adoptee perspective on the recent Twitter Adoption Scam.

Why Fake A Pregnancy and Adoption Plan?

SO the question is WHAT did she get emotionally out of this activity?

She got lots of attention. There were tons of conversations about her and to her.

With the “premature” birth, there were questions as to if she would have eventually solicited for money to pay hospital bills. Maybe she would have pretended to want to keep her mythical child and would have needed help for that? Thankfully, wise Tweeters saved us all form that!

I have asked “RealLifeJunoXO” directly and am waiting for an answer that might be better than her tweet that said “I’m so sorry about all of this. There is no explanation, I’m just a bad person.” I’m not questioning the “bad” adjective, but I really want to know more of a reason why. I have yet to receive an answer if I get one, I will edit it in.

I Blame MTV’s 16 and Pregnant. Oxygen’s She’s Having Our Baby, and Tyler and Catelynn

Aside from these horrible TV’s shows making the exploitation of mothers into some sort of sick reality show from of “entertainment”, they do exactly what, I believe the “backers’ of these shows want to do. They encourage mothers at risk to “choose adoption” for the sole purpose of increasing their profits. There is no “reality” in them. They do not show anything past the happy adoption fairly tale that is the carefully constructed marketing messages of the adoption industry.

Adoptee Amada says:Claud knows I have been a critic of 16 and Pregnant and every other pregnancy + adoption show that has popped up since then.  While I wasn’t really following this issue on Twitter, hearing about it after it happened speaks to the larger issues I’ve been trying to point out for several years now.  These shows show you the aspects of adoption that are the most entertaining.  They do not intend to portray an accurate or realistic picture of adoption.  For example, while it appears the show’s participants on Teen Mom appear to be struggling in poverty, news reports (and in one instance, a court report) revealed that some participants are paid up to 6 figures in their salaries.”

Then, they raise up the “selfless’ like Catelynn and Tyler to the stupid “celebrity” level.  So, not only do the Shrill Couple continue to promote adoption as the best thing since sliced bread, their own sad lives of continuing to promote adoption and somehow be spokespersons, but they also push adoption exploitation via the media. I would say that this glorification of the Adoption Industry not only provided more misinformation to mothers at risk, but also provides a warped lens for other people to see themselves through. Tyler and Catelynn relinquished a child and are now famous “role models” invited to speak at colleges like former president or a person of real purpose. The recent events clearly show that this false fame and reverence also encourages people to engage in unhealthy behavior in order to grab some of that sour limelight.  Here we have our not so real Juno pretending to follow in the footsteps of the Bethany Poster Couple for the attention.

Adoptee Amada says: People watch these shows and this portrayal becomes the singular story of adoption and teen parenthood.  When 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom first came out, I noticed that MTV’s message boards had posts from individuals claiming to be expectant mothers, wanting to consider adoption, and begging to be on the show.  People responded applauding their decision to choose adoption and their wish to be on the show.  They responded not actually knowing these women and likewise, not knowing what might actually be right for them (or not).  I found this dynamic to be alarming, to say the least.  I question the benefit of being on a show that takes an incredibly vulnerable moment of a teenager’s life and broadcasts it on national television—especially when adoption is involved.  We should not be encouraging shows like this.”

And then it encourages this kind of behavior:

RealLifeJunoXO lies. She is rewarded with fawning tweets saying how strong she is, how selfish. Why? Because she is planning on relinquishing to adoption. While there as a whole slew of people warning her of the adoptee view and the long term risks of relinquishment, there was a whole slew of people who just blessed her choice without even questioning her motivations or reasoning.  As I said, I went easy on her thinking that we had until June to make a dent. I have found that an overwhelming bombardment of undesirable ideas are more easily dismissed if launched in a great upheaval, but little bits of facts, carefully presented, can weaken the mortar around any wall of disillusion.

Where is the Reality of Adoption Truths and Informed Consent?

None of her supporters question the appropriateness or ethics of being “matched” at 17 weeks, or already identifying as “Juno”, or being so decided already, or the rights of the supposed baby’s father, or even the influence of this “teenager’s” parents.  Long before she was called out as a scammer, there were many red flags that should have been questioned among even average adoption supporters. The justification of adoption relinquishment was out in full force. You would think with all these people caring about her making the “right” choice, there would be more cries of concern questioning these adoption practices that pushed the known boundaries of even the most common adoption industry tactics used to separate mothers and children. How can she be “brave” if we don’t really even know the first thing about this girl? If her earlier, now removed tweets, were any indication upon the thought patterns of her choice, she was obviously immature and acting like this whole pregnancy was about as exciting as  a trip to Disneyworld.

She steals photos and people defend her against “trolls” who were, in reality, shining a light of truth. Because she mentions adoption, she can do no wrong as a stately prospective birthmother to be. Somehow, just mentioning the act of relinquishment, she is taken into the protective bosom of adoption and showered with adoption mythology meant to sooth and reinforce her “adoption plan”.  Even when the “baby” is born, she is not questioned about her plan. In truth, it was the adoptees that came out against her in full force. The true voices of the unborn child were not heard, she ignored them. I guess she didn’t care about what the adoptees had to say because she really wasn’t about to create an adoptee. I have trouble understanding how we continue to ignore the very voices for whom adoption is supposed to represent.

What Was Learned From the Twitter Adoption Scam?

  • Adoption makes people do really weird things.
  • There is a glorification of adoption that the current reality show trend is really capitalizing in a very unhealthy way.
  • People stop thinking logically when they hear the word adoption and often hear and see what they want based on their own experience. There is a tendency to over personalize others experiences with the reality of our own beliefs.
  • There are many people who will go out of their way to help a complete stranger.
  • We still do not value the voices of adoptees like we should.
  • Don’t try to pretend to be something that you are not on the internet; you will be caught.

There were hundreds of Tweets about adoption in a few short days. While none of them really benefitted THIS mother “at risk”; we do not know who else might have seen a bit of the flurry of activity and could have been helped in some way.

In the end, no one was really hurt (minus the child whose identity was stolen and as tweeted from his real life mother “we have now taken kellars website down.. Sad that other preemie moms can’t look at it 4 hope”) and perhaps, we have help this lost girl, real life fake Juno, to find a bit of her own truth even if not adoption related.

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About the Author

Claudia Corrigan DArcy
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy has been online and involved in the adoption community since early in 2001. Blogging since 2005, her website Musings of the Lame has become a much needed road map for many mothers who relinquished, adoptees who long to be heard, and adoptive parents who seek understanding. She is also an activist and avid supporter of Adoptee Rights and fights for nationwide birth certificate access for all adoptees with the Adoptee Rights Coalition. Besides here on Musings of the Lame, her writings on adoption issue have been published in The New York Times, BlogHer, Divine Caroline, Adoption Today Magazine, Adoption Constellation Magazine, Adopt-a-tude.com, Lost Mothers, Grown in my Heart, Adoption Voice Magazine, and many others. She has been interviewed by Dan Rather, Montel Williams and appeared on Huffington Post regarding adoption as well as presented at various adoption conferences, other radio and print interviews over the years. She resides in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, Rye, children, and various pets.

7 Comments on "What We Can Learn from Real Life Juno XO"

  1. She is a twisted little girl who no hope to ever enter the real world. As she seeks the wrong way in becoming an adult, in this hard enough and sick world that we already live in. To say one is pregnant, had a baby it all to hurt others is the lowest form of nuts, I have ever came across in all my years on the internet. Believe me I have had many. This one is a live and learn lesson to those of us who lost our little babies to this thing called Adoption. It’s hard enough losing a baby but to pretend just sucks!!

  2. No 16 y/o is without hope. I think it may have been a valuable learning experience for her, and may ultimately help her be a better, more compassionate person as adult.

    Don’t ever count someone out at 16. She’s still got a long way to go.

  3. Yes! I agree with you and Amanda completely on why “Juno” did what she did. It was also what I tried to explain to my daughter – the wonderful “Ducky” (yes I’m biased) – when she struggled with the reality that anyone could fake such a terrible loss that was so very real to her from losing her oldest brother to adoption.

    It has, unfortunately, become an ego boost, a sure way to gain positive attention, to truly – or even pretend – to be a mother who is planning on giving her baby up for adoption. And the saddest reality of that is that it is now working its way into our culture that it is “cool” to give away your baby. It’s just terrifying to imagine that’s the message our young girls are receiving now.

  4. Lucreza Borgia | February 10, 2013 at 1:37 am |

    How does anyone even know that she’s a teen girl? Or that anything she says now is the truth? She looks much older than 16 and I doubt that this is the first or will be the last time she will do something like this.

  5. Barbara Thavis | February 10, 2013 at 11:58 pm |

    Claud, thanks. Just thanks. We need you to shine a light on adoption folklore. We need reform. You have and will continue to make a difference. In our day we will see the 90% of adoption coercion in the US be stopped. Because of people like you I have hope.

  6. I was one of the adoptees that jumped on her, and with me being me, it was from a VERY great height.

    When she “gave birth”, I wished both her and her “son” well, and sincerely hoped they’d stay together.

    I should’ve listened to that initial “wow, she’s back out and posting bloody quick” thought that I had, but I dismissed it due to the fact that I know the technology’s there now for someone to be able to tweet that easily from having just given birth. After all, all one needs is a mobile ‘phone to be able to send stuff.

    I think I was somewhat amused to wake up the next day (or whenever it was) and find out it had all been a scam. Even then though, I sent her a “wish you well” twit.

    Then again, I’ve seen this sort of thing before.

    Waaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the annals of Internet history I created http://ljers4eternity.livejournal.com/2002/07/23/ over on LiveJournal (the link’s to the first ever post on there).

    When it came out that one of our own, Flashman, had been lost when the World Trade towers came down, there was a similar sort of out-pouring of loss and grief that had surrounded Princess Di’s death. Flashman was the name that was being mourned.

    And then it broke. News came out that there was a discrepancy. Could it be true? Was Flashman…a Fake? That’s what the post @ http://ljers4eternity.livejournal.com/18973.html suggested.

    Turns out it was true. Rhy had been running a dummy account, acting as Flash, for a while, and she was getting tired of the charade, and so when the towers came down, what better way to escape the trauma of having to fake his life than to kill him off in a way where his body may never be discovered. It probably sounded really simple to her at the time, but that’s not the way the Internet works, and so instead of being able to quietly retire, poor lass suddenly found herself at the centre of an awful lot of attention.

    I suspect that’s why this fake Juno created the early birth – to be able to get out of having keep the lie going all the way through until June. After all, it’s hard enough living our own lives, let alone living a on-line fake life as well.

    There was a really good community over on LJ that discussed the whys behind what we do on-line, but I can’t find it, and I can’t really remember what the name for it was either. I’ve got meta in my head, but I don’t think it actually was that. If I ever do come across it again, I’ll try to remember to throw it over to you because it had some fascinating stuff on there. I do know there was also http://fake-lj-deaths.livejournal.com/profile created though, because it turns out Flashman wasn’t the only fake death we encountered.

    I’d be interested to hear fake Juno’s reasons, but tbh, I think I’ve probably summed them up already. She just thought “giving birth” would give her an easy out, mainly because she didn’t understand that that’s not how the Internet works.

    I do hope both whoever it was behind Juno and Rhy who created Flashman are doing ok though, because I don’t think they really expected things to get quite as insane as they did. I also don’t think either of them were quite as deliberately malicious as some would suggest.

    ‘S like you and Amanda say, it’s down to that whole 15 minutes of fame thing.

  7. Found the community I couldn’t think of that discussed such stuff: http://blog-sociology.livejournal.com/profile

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