“The Hillsdale Adoption Scam” deals with a very sensitive issue, but it is predictable to the point where you might as well skip it after realizing what’s going to happen. The film doesn’t drive itself, but your expectations do. As the plot progresses, things get more and more predictable, and what’s irksome is how abruptly the film ends. Here’s more on it:
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In ‘The Hillsdale Adoption Scam’?
Bethany lives with her husband, Terrence, and their kids, Mila (biological daughter) and Gavin (a foster son). She owns an interior design company, and they are pretty well off. But when Gavin’s biological mother seeks custody of him, and he is taken from them, they are completely devastated, especially Bethany. Looking for a way to vent, Bethany shares her thoughts on a website offering support for mothers named “Mommy Mine.”
One night, a pregnant woman comes knocking hard on their door. She tells them that her drunk boyfriend, Puck, has threatened to kill her, and she desperately needs a place to hide. Bethany shows compassion for the woman, whose name is Georgia, and finds out that she has plans to put up her unborn child for adoption. Picking this up as a sign, Bethany lets Georgia stay at their house instead of a hotel. As the days pass, Bethany grows fonder of Georgia and even offers her a job at her company. Finally, when Georgia tells her that she is looking for foster parents, Bethany offers to adopt her unborn son in exchange for a car as well as a new apartment. Bethany also arranges for a midwife, Carmen for Georgia’s unborn son.
But one day, when they are shopping at a baby store, the woman at the counter recognizes Georgia from a few months ago, when she came in with a couple. While Georgia brushes it off, saying that she has her confused with someone else, Bethany notices it and returns to the store a few days later, where she finds out that the couple met Georgia at an online group for moms. The name of the group was “Mommy Mine.” So, is Georgia lying? And how much of what she has already told Bethany is a lie? What is her motive here? “The Hillsdale Adoption Scam” is inspired by real adoption scam stories.
Adoption is a sensitive issue. In Bethany’s case, the need to have a child comes from the void formed after her foster son Gavin was taken from her (not by force, but legally). So, when she finds out that Georgia is going to put her unborn son up for adoption, she leaps at the opportunity as it will let her not only have a son, which she always wanted, especially after Gavin left but also help a woman with whom she is able to sympathize. By helping Georgia, she is helping herself. What adds to her weakness for Georgia is when the latter stays by her side and listens to her as she speaks about her dark patch with Terrence, something that has seemingly returned [Terrence has already had an affair after it was discovered that Bethany didn’t have eggs viable enough for pregnancy (after Mila). It did take a heavy toll on Bethany, although Terrence swore that it was a “one-time thing”]. When we share our deepest secrets with a person, it means that we find that person very close to us. Also, we tend to overlook their flaws or anything that might compromise our sympathy for them. But the catch here is that the sharing isn’t always mutual, and neither is the feeling. Bethany opens up to Georgia in all the ways she can, and in the end, she finds out that it was all a hoax. Georgia robbed her of her belongings, but more importantly, she robbed her of her emotions that she literally showered Georgia with.
It is not just Bethany’s motherhood that is highlighted in the film. What she does isn’t propelled by her craving to have a child. It is because she is a nice person—someone who cares for everyone. She forgave Terrence and gave him a second chance after he had an affair. She didn’t take any action against Gavin’s biological mother after she returned to take her son away, seemingly all of a sudden after so much time. She helps a stranger and lets her spend the night in her house without even trying to find out if the woman is speaking the truth (although here the mother theory comes in, but we can say that even if Georgia hadn’t pretended to be pregnant, Bethany would at least have let her spend the night at her house). At the end of the film, even while tied to a chair and with death looming over her, she tries to make Puck understand that he still has the chance to walk away without harm or becoming a murderer. This is what ultimately saves her life, as Puck unties her and sets her free. While many may disagree with this, her virtuousness does get on our nerves at times. Puck puts this feeling into words when he tells her that none of what she is going through would have happened if she hadn’t been so nice to Georgia. It’s sad but true. Sometimes, being good becomes a compromising factor. Strange times, right?
‘The Hillsdale Adoption Scam’ Ending Explained – What Is Georgia’s Motive?
Towards the very end of the film, as Georgia is searching for Bethany in the storeroom, she explains why she did what she did. Her justification for how she turned into an apparent psychopath and criminal after finding out that she could never have babies is absolutely bizarre and rather ludicrous. She was basically jealous of the mothers who had one or more kids, especially Bethany, who had a kid and wanted another one. There is an explanation for this behavior, but shouldn’t Georgia be more kind and considerate towards women and their kids for the same reason? When we are deprived of something, rather than being jealous of the person who has that very thing, it is always better to appreciate it and remind the person how lucky he or she is to own it. In this way, there is an exchange of positivity that provides us with at least some of the satisfaction that we wanted in the first place if not all. It’s as simple as taking pleasure in checking out your friend’s new phone that you aren’t able to afford. Georgia took the wrong path and couldn’t process Bethany’s niceness. Georgia’s outburst was perhaps a complaint that she wanted Bethany to listen to. But alas, it was too late.
“The Hillsdale Adoption Scam” isn’t a bad film, but there were ways in which it could have had more of an impact. Despite dealing with adoption, it falls short of the conviction and a certain personal vibe that comes with the issue. It is predictable and entertaining, and yet it ends on a note that is overwhelming if we think about it. At the end of the film, Bethany meets Gavin’s biological mom Cynthia, and they start talking to each other happily while Gavin and Mila head to the playground. The thing to consider here is that if only this had happened earlier on, if Bethany had reached out to Cynthia, she wouldn’t have had to go on the internet to share her feelings, and Georgia wouldn’t even have come into her life. Alternatively, if Georgia hadn’t met Bethany, which eventually led to the former’s arrest, many other mothers would have fallen prey to her wicked scheme. So maybe what happened to Bethany had to happen because it ultimately brought Gavin and his mother, Cynthia, back into her life.
“The Hillsdale Adoption Scam” is a 2023 mystery thriller film directed by Leona Katambi.