Keshia Knight Pulliam: 'Adoption Scam' shows value of legit agency

Keshia Knight Pulliam stars in "The Hillsdale Adoption Scam." Photo courtesy of Lifetime
Keshia Knight Pulliam stars in "The Hillsdale Adoption Scam." Photo courtesy of Lifetime

LOS ANGELES, March 17 (UPI) -- Keshia Knight Pulliam said her movie, The Hillsdale Adoption Scam, premiering Saturday at 8 p.m. EDT on Lifetime, shows the value of using a professional adoption agency.

In the film inspired by true stories, Pulliam, 43, plays Bethany, a woman who becomes the target of a con artist who promises to let Bethany adopt her baby.


"Make sure you use a reputable agency," Pulliam told UPI in a recent Zoom interview. "People have had this experience."

A pregnant Georgia (Danika Frederick) shows up at Bethany's door on the run from an abusive spouse. Georgia earns Bethany's trust and sympathy, and also asks for financial help while she's carrying the baby.

Pulliam said that, while Hillsdale Adoption shows the potential dangers of engaging in a private adoption, the film "also gives a lot of hope. I would encourage anyone who's looking to adopt because it's an amazing thing."


Before Georgia entered their lives, Bethany and husband Terrence (Michael Strickland) were in the process of adopting a foster son. But the biological mother changed her mind before the adoption was final.

Pulliam said this plot point illustrates how emotionally tumultuous adoption can be for prospective parents. However, Pulliam said she hopes the possibility that a biological mother may change her mind does not discourage adopters.

"Different states have different laws regarding a period in which the biological parent [must] make their final decision," Pulliam said. "But the end of it, is an unimaginable love of a little human being."

Georgia preys on Bethany's maternal instincts to ensnare her in the scam. Bethany already has a daughter she and Terrence conceived through in vitro fertilization.

"Bethany is very much a nurturing person," Pulliam said. "From Bethany's perspective, this is a girl who is in trouble who needs help, who needs protecting."

Pulliam has a longstanding relationship with Lifetime. She starred in Christmas movies Radio Christmas and A New Orleans Noel, and hosts the Married at First Sight aftershow, Married at First Sight: Afterparty.


In Married at First Sight, real people agree to marry a stranger. Pulliam said that the reality show will never get old, even after 16 seasons.

"There are always going to be twists and turns," Pulliam said. "You can think you know what's going to happen or how it's going to work out, but there's always a curveball."

While Pulliam hosts Afterparty for Season 16, Married at First Sight is gearing up to film Season 17. Pulliam said she does not get an early peek at the new season.

"Season 16, we still haven't gotten to decision day yet," Pulliam said. "There's a lot to go and a lot to learn about the couples who are on the journey right now as we're watching."

Pulliam began acting at 5, playing Rudy Huxtable on The Cosby Show. Except for a break from 1992 to 2002 to finish high school and college at Spelman College, Pulliam has been on television since.

"It has been like four decades," Pulliam said. "It's a blessing to be able to do what you love."

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