"I never knew any of these so-called original intended parents names, I'd never seen their signatures so there was so much involved and I just didn't have the appropriate information, which was my fault but again, I think when you're looking for a family, a child, I think we find ourselves incredibly emotional and vulnerable," Stein said.
There were "at least 12 different couples or sets of intended parents and the price for the babies ranged from ($100,000) to $150,000," said assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Merriman.
Stein worries her experience may become more the norm than the exception in adoption cases.
"This is a new frontier. We're going to see a lot more of these cases because there's such a supply and demand problem," she said. "This is something we have to watch out for. I believe if transparency is not there, there is probably something wrong."
In her case, in the end, Stein was able to recoup some of the money she invested in the adoption.
She also contacted the surrogate mother and paid the woman's bills.
Now she is focused on looking forward, to a long and happy future with her son.
"He's just unbelievable," she said of 5-month-old Ren Friedrick. "I feel like he knows what's going on. He's so aware. He's just risen to the occassion."