We began our Adoption Journey in December of 2001 with Associated Catholic Chareities. After some time, we deceded to pursue other options. In December of 2003, and upon several recommendations, We began a relationship with an established and respected agency in San Antonio, Texas. In the interest of protecting the innocent, ME, I will not mention the agency by name. If you are interested, or need to know, you can e-mail email@example.com. Anyway, the agency's reputation turned out to be not so steller; infact, after our experience in 2004 I began an investigation. What I found was shocking, but not quite as much as what I experienced from the state of Texas when I complained about our treatment by this agency.
My story begins in December 2003 with our application to the agency. This particular agency, as do many in the US, specializes in placiong children in the homes of parents who suffer from infertility, a medical disability as ruled by the United States Supreme Court in Bragdon v. Abott SCt 118(2195 -2206) We provided all of the necessary information to the agency including a letter from our fertility specialist.
We attended a required orientation in March of 2004. Just days before this orientation, we were contacted by the agency with a birth family interested in our profile. After confering and praying, we dicided to let this child pass to a more suited family. Anyway, we attended the orientation and afterwards we were told by the Director to "spend our money...this is your psychological pregnancy...it is not if but when..you will have a baby" . In April of 2004, we were introduced to a birthmother through the agency. Well, to be accurate, we were introduced to her friend, we never actually talked to the birthmother as she was not interested in contact or participation of any kind with the adoptive family. She had given all decision making authority to her friend. We first spoke with Debra, the friend, at around 10:45 on the 17th; we talked for about 45 minutes. Debra called back about 1 AM on the morning of the 18th from San Antonio to inform us that we had been chosen. We spent the next twenty four hours in what I can only call a dazed bliss. We shopped, did baby laundry and set up the nursery. We spent the rest of the day preparing for our trip to San Antonio. I should mention here that all of this occured prior to the agency having recieved our home study; a requirement of the agency prior to placement per their own documentation.
At around 9 :45 PM on the night of the eitteenth, our counceler called stating that she had the baby and was on her way to the foster family's house to drop hert off. She told us to be in San Antonio on the morning of the twentieth.
We awoke Monday thinking we were going to be parents, but that could not have been further from the reality. As previously stated, we were matched by the agency and chosen by a family before the agency had even recieved our home study. Contrary to what the agencies own policies are and what the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Minimum Standards state, this was deemed to be OK by the DFPS and the Texas Attorney Generals Office because we signed a contract with the agency..
The agency decided based on our Home Study (received the morning of the nineteenth, the day before we were to take placement) that we had lied about our infertility and that we conspired with our fertility specialist so that we could do business with this agency. We were ejected from the agency and they initially kept all of our money. We had given the agency $7750.00, $3000.00 of which was for an escrow account of which they grudgingly refunded approximately $2500.00 but not after several letters from our attorney and $4400.00 in legal fees.
This is a common problem in America and in Texas but no one from the State of Texas or the Federal Government has yet to recognize the problem with the adoption "industry" in America. I find it appaulling that the Federal Government can report statistics on virtually every form of business in this great countryl but, no one tracks adoption with any detail. This is documented by some well known adoption advocacy and reform groups.
It is past time to do something about this problem. Agencies like the one we got entangled with in San Antonio can not be allowed to continue such business practices. IT IS TIME FOR REFORM.
In June of 2006, I filed a complaint aginst this agency with the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disabilities Rights Section. The Department of Justice has decided that the agency did act inappropriately in their treatment of my wife and me during our relationship with the agency. The agency will soon receive a settlement letter requiring them to change thier business practices. this settlement letter may also include restitution for us as the adoptive parents/victims. The agency was wrong in thier behavior and treatment of us and both the agency and the state of texas have failed to take responsibility. That is why my next step is to file a similar complaint against the state of Texas for thier unwitting role in the deceptive business practices of this agency (and others) as well as thier unwillingness to man up and take responsibility.
Thank You DOJ. Someone has finally shown courage and common sence during this ordeal.