The Hillsdale Adoption Scam (2023 Lifetime)
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Cast: Keshia Knight Pulliam, Michael Strickland, Danika Frederick, David Tomlinson, Lauren Cochrane
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Synopsis (via Lifetime)
Bethany and Terrence have a thriving business, lots of friends, and a beautiful family. But, when their foster son’s biological mother decides she wants to take him back, they are desperate to find another brother for their daughter Mila. Bethany isn’t able to have kids so when a desperate pregnant woman named Georgia shows up on their porch looking for help it seems like kismet. Terrence is hesitant about Georgia, but Bethany dives in head first taking Georgia shopping, renting her an apartment, and even giving her a job at her successful interior design firm. As the pregnancy progresses even Bethany has to admit things don’t seem right so she begins to look into Georgia’s past. Stars Keshia Knight Pulliam and Danika Frederick (2023).
We start off in a basement with some women hiding under the stairs and a man looking for them with a flashlight! (YIKES!)
Cut to a few weeks before, Keshia Knight Pulliam (who cannot act, I’m sorry.) plays Bethany. Bethany is a busy mom of two who is married to her Zaddy husband, Terrence. He works in marketing and plays football with his son before work. Good thing he does because the adoption didn’t go through, and Gavin is going back to live with his biological mother.
Bethany works as a house stager and always carries pepper spray on her person. She inherited the business from her father and has imposter syndrome. TBH, the business isn’t running well; The security Guard Owen sleeps at the store, and they are looking for a new assistant store manager, and Lead Decorator is rude to the moving guys.
Bethany struggles with Gavin suddenly being taken away and writes about her foster care experience on a mommy blog. After a few weeks, Bethany asks Terrence about having another baby to fill the void. Bethany goes out back to get some fresh air and take out the trash when she hears a woman scream. (THANKFULLY, SHE RUNS BACK INTO THE HOUSE!)
The screaming woman bangs on the door and says her boyfriend is chasing her, threatening to kill her. Terrence and Bethany let her in. Bethany notices that the woman is pregnant and sneaks her out of the house, and checks her into a hotel for the night. The woman thanks Bethany for her kindness and shares her story. Her name is Georgia, and she got pregnant by her high school sweetheart, who died in a car crash. Georgia’s new boyfriend, Puck, is an alcoholic, and raising a child in that environment wouldn’t be great. Georgia mentions putting the baby up for adoption, and Bethany seizes the opportunity. SHE could adopt the baby!!!
Georgia is very thankful for the help, and everyone goes to bed. Bethany goes to bed and has a nightmare about Georgia’s boyfriend, Puck, killing them all. Bethany wakes up and then just shrugs it off. (WHATEVER!)
The following day, Georgia and Bethany go shopping! (and thank God, because Georgia’s beanie is soooo 2006.) On the way out the door, Bethany runs right into Puck, who is going door to door looking for Georgia. Bethany lies to his face.
Instead of bring your daughter to work day, it is bring your pregnant lady to work day. When a client barrettes Bethany into a panic attack, Georgia steps in posing as a lawyer and gives Bethany the courage to stand up for herself. Bethany hires Georgia as her assistant. She also decides to officially adopt the baby when Georgia gets another offer from a family.
Bethany is thrilled and tells Terrence the good news. He is skeptical but agrees; they even hire a midwife to help, a midwife that Georgia suggests. Things seem fine until Bethany notices a strange tattoo on the Midwife, Carmen.
Puck shows up at the house again; this time, he breaks in and demands to speak with Georgia. Carmen, Georgia, and Bethany all run to the basement. Here is where Puck is looking for them with a flashlight. It is WAY more suspenseful than it needs to be. Bethany activates the home alarm, and they run for the car, and he chases them, screaming that he wants to talk.
They call the police, and an officer is stationed outside the house. Bethany doesn’t understand why Georgia would be with a man who treats her like that. Georgia suggests that she disappear again because she doesn’t feel safe. Georgia promises to make sure she and the baby are safe.
Georgia talks Bethany into renting her a condo and a car, and they go shopping for baby items. Strangely the saleswoman recognizes Georgia and asks how the couple is doing. She was in there last time. Georgia laughs off the confusion.
Bethany’s co-worker has suspicions about Georgia and confronts her in her home. That is a mistake because someone pushes a shelf on her. (This character is never named.) It is so bad that over the character’s body in the hospital, Georgia and Bethany have a conversation about Terrence’s potential infidelity and Bethany’s inability to carry a baby.
Terrence comes clean about the woman he was meeting; he was taking a job interview. Bethany hires him to work for her company.
With less stress to keep her up at night, Bethany goes back to the store and asks the sales learn about Georgia. The clerk tells her that Georgia met the couple on a blog, the same one Bethany posted on! Bethany looks up the couple online and finds that they are both dead. She brings the papers to Georgia, and Georgia is horrified… that she was almost discovered!!! Carmen, the midwife, killed the former couple. (Later, Bethany does discover that the sonogram she has framed is fraudulent.)
Georgia has been living with Puck and Carmen in the condo. They come up with a scheme to get 60K in artwork from Bethany’s company. Then they have a threesome and take off the fake baby bump!
Bethany goes over to the condo to ask about the sonogram and is smashed in the head with a vase. She wakes up tied up with duct tape on her mouth and in a warehouse. Georgia explains everything in her villain monologue.
Georgia goes through her plan, but I remember hearing that DEZZY IS THE CO-WORKER’S NAME!
Bethany calls Terrence to tell him that she is spending the night at the hospital with Dezzy. In reality, she will spend the night with Puck watching her until the artwork is delivered. Bethany is surprised to learn that Puck didn’t kill anyone. She tries to convince him to let her go, and he actually does!
Georgia pulls a gun out and stops Bethany from leaving. Puck says he will call the cops, so Carmen stabs him and kills him to stop him from talking. Georgia and Carmen search through the warehouse. Georgia gives another monologue about not being to have kids either. It ends in “I Deserve a GOD DAMN BREAK!” Then she breaks a vase. (It is hilarious.)
Terrence and his daughter Mila show up to look for Bethany. I’ve been wondering what purpose she has had this whole movie; it is to be held hostage here by Carmen. Terrence struggles over the gun with Carmen and shoots her in the stomach. While Georgia is distracted, Bethany takes her out with a vase to the head. Everyone who is still alive is arrested.
Bethany realizes that she has all the family she needs and won’t be adopting any more kids. They see Gavin with his biological mom in the park, and they are both doing well. Bethany is happy a loving parent can raise Gavin.
Minority Report: Bethany, Owen, Mila, Dezzy
Read about the true story here.
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Number of Kills:
🔪🔪🔪🔪 (4 knives)
Enjoyment Level (1-5 scale)
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