Our Awful Experience with Adoption Network Law Center

(I’m converting our domain, rmcsquared.net, into our professional web site and moving all personal content to this blog. Eventually, I’ll have to figure out what to do with it and how to organize it. Until then, I’m just creating a series of posts with the .net content.)

We adopted through Adoption Network Law Center, located in Southern California. If you Google “adoption”, ANLC comes up on the first page of results. We thought that was a good thing. We learned too late, that although ANLC markets itself as an agency, it is operates like a facilitator. What’s the difference? In our case, the cost and the services received. This is what Robyn has to say to prospective adoptive parents who ask her about ANLC.

We heard glowing reports about ANLC. We signed with them in May 2005, after extensive research. At the beginning, we had only wonderful experiences with them. Our adoptive parent counselor was patient, gave great feedback, guided us in our profile book and pictures (while allowing us to make the final decisions). We had a potential match before we were done with our home study. Then another, but the mom went into labor early. Finally, we matched with a great young woman in another state.

Then, the troubles began.

The “Birthmother Counselor” was very difficult to get a hold of. She didn’t answer email, nor was she ever available when we called. We were not told that our son’s birthmom picked us, nor was she told that we had accepted the match. We tried to call to verify with the agency, but couldn’t talk to her until 5pm the day after the meeting.

At first, S wanted to deliver in another state, because of the requirements of her state’s courts. However, S then decided to stay in-state, but no one told us. When we finally got on the phone with Counselor, she couldn’t explain the situation to us very well.  The county in which S lived doesn’t allow out-of-state adoptions. If S didn’t deliver in another county, we were not going to be able to adopt our baby. While I was trying to understand what this meant, Counselor said that another family she had worked with had an adoption fall through at the hospital, so, “see, your little problems don’t matter so much.”

I am not kidding. That’s what she said. I called her on it, and she asked me to forget she ever said that. But how do you forget that?

S was having trouble getting records from her doctor. He was anti-adoption, and even though S had signed a release form (of which ANLC had a copy), we still didn’t have a proof of pregnancy. We asked Counselor to step up the legal efforts to get the records. We also gave her our phone number, and said that if S asked for it, she could have it.

S called later that day, and we ended up talking for a total of 5 hours. We found out that Counselor had called her and told her that if we didn’t have the medical records, then we might pull out of the adoption. We NEVER said this! We were extremely angry. We also found out that Counselor had been telling us one story and S another. I reported Counselor to her supervisor and requested another counselor.

Counselor #2 never even gave us her last name or email address, and was never available via phone. At this point, S and I were communicating without the benefit (?) of ANLC.

Everything Counselor #2 said she would do, she didn’t. The social worker at the hospital never heard of us. S had to have an emergency C-section, and we were in the hospital for 19+ hours with no idea of what was happening. We were not allowed to go into the NICU, or even to see our son. No one at the hospital knew the adoption protocol.  We called Counselor #2 at 3 in the morning, and asked her to call the hospital social worker and the hospital nursery staff so that we could see our son. When we asked what resources were available to us, she told us, “Our own inner strength and our faith in God.”

For this, we paid them $16,000.

Because S was exhausted from a badly managed labor and delivery, Jackson was alone  in the NICU for at least the first 8 hours of his life, when S woke up and asked to see him. He was then alone again for another 12 hours. Counselor #2 never called the hospital social worker. Instead, she called S in the morning, told her that she had to change the hospital paperwork, and chewed her out over the phone. Max was there when she called.

Our lawyer was appalled by how ANLC worked, and even the California ICPC (Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children) office was suspicious of the fees ANLC charged. The ICPC work wasn’t included in the exorbitant fees, although the contract says it is, and we were anxious to go home. ANLC wasn’t returning messages from the CA ICPC office. ANLC wouldn’t help us with the ICPC unless we gave them another $1000. I finally lost it at one of the attorneys, told her how everything was royally fouled up, and how our son spent his first night in this world alone because of their mistakes. I told her we didn’t give them $16,000 for her to claim that the ICPC wasn’t her job.

She did the work.

Our total cost was over $30,000. Had we been more careful, perhaps we could have seen this coming. We asked and asked about “hidden fees” and were told that almost everything (except travel and birthmom expenses) was covered by the $16,000 we paid to ANLC. All that ended up being covered was the advertising and match. Everything else, we paid for out-of-pocket (except for the ICPC work I mentioned).

I had heard so many glowing remarks about ANLC. We knew it we be expensive, but we thought that the number of adoptions they do, the quick match time, and the legal and counseling resources were all worth it. In the end, we wondered why we even bothered to use them, because they did so little for us. They got us the match, and they let everything else drop on the floor.

In the end, we did adopt our beautiful baby boy, and we love him so very much. We thanked our adoptive parent counselor for helping us in the beginning, but the people we were handed off to just didn’t seem to care.

Never in a million years would we use ANLC again. We love our son dearly, and would not want another child over him. We figure that our role now is to serve as an example to others and discourage them from using ANLC.

Since the adoption, I have found many other people through the forums at adoption.com who have had even worse experiences. It seems that every time I share my story, the person sends me a message back telling me that he/she has received lots of comments like mine. I have been told about a birthmom who said that ANLC messed up the paperwork so that she could have taken the baby back if she had wanted to. Another birthmom who was active on the forums used ANLC to place her daughter, and ANLC was not forthcoming with the proper legal information.

ANLC treats expectant mothers and birthmothers unethically: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/0/115/RipOff0115152.htm and http://www.adoptionagencyratings.com/adoption-network.htm

We recommend that you RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH!

58 thoughts on “Our Awful Experience with Adoption Network Law Center

  1. I’ve always felt that ANLC was unethical.

    In regards to deciding on agencies, and especially ones which are ethical towards birthmothers, if I were you, I would check out the “unplanned pregnancy” page of your chosen agency’s website and read it as if you yourself were an expectant mother considering your options. ANLC is one of the most coercive in that regards and I could see that just by looking at their website.

    The best ones would be the social service agencies, where adoption is just one of the many services provided for their emoms in , rather than a stand alone adoption agency or law firm (law firms are worse than agencies in my opinion). The upside is that the emom is treated with respect, the adoption is often relatively inexpensive compared with others (because adoption isn’t the social service agencies reason for existing) – the “downside” is that adoption situations are far less (I use inverted commas because it isn’t really a downside – the reason adoption situations are so few in these agencies is that the emoms are given all the resources and assistance they need and that their counselling is probably less biased than other agencies).

  2. I am a birthmother that placed my daughter through ANLC and I had an absolutely amazing experience dealing with them. There was one issue with a birthmother counselor who I reported for something that was inappropriate and she was gone quickly after that. My main counselor R was incredibly supportive and loving, to this day we stay in touch. The adoptive couple I chose was perfect and I felt at home with them when ever we spoke or met. I would not change one bit of my experience with them, they helped me get away from the situation in my home state, helped me find a fantastic living situation, had me meet other birthmoms, I went to birthing classes with the other birthmoms, and had so much support and love during the hardest yet most rewarding time of my life. I am very sorry that you and others have had negative experiences but I have a huge amount of respect and appreciation for the people at ANLC. I was encouraged to make the experience what I and the adoptive parents wanted and we did, which ended in something magical.


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  5. I was an employee of ANLC. Once i figured out what their M.O. was I wanted to vomit. These people are BEYOND unethical. Boy do I have stories.

  6. My husband and i adopted our first child with anlc and i have nothing but wonderful things to say. We started the process in march 2012 and our baby was born july 2012. The counselors were always available to answer my questions. One of them even gave me her home number while we were at the hospital when our daughter was being born. Im so glad i didnt get online and read these reviews before signing up otherwise i may not havemy daughter today. Adoption is expensive no matter which agency you use.

    • Adoption is expensive no matter which way you choose, although it shouldn’t be (but that’s another subject). I am glad that you found ANLC to be helpful. Our experience was that they were unethical and practically useless after they had our money. But, definitely, congratulations on having your daughter!

      • We will be adopting through ANLC and are very impressed so far. I wonder why you seem so angry when you have a precious son…

        • The ends do not justify the means. Our adoption happened in spite of ANLC, not because of them. They took our money, didn’t do the work they said they would do, and treated our son’s birthmother horribly. I know many other people, birthmothers, prospective adoptive parents, and adoptive parents, who used ANLC around the same time and had terrible stories to tell.
          All of that said, as I noted in my post, they are under new ownership now. I truly hope that ANLC is not what it once was, that they are now an ethical, helpful adoption entity.
          Good luck on your adoption journey.

          • Please don’t let new management fool you. ANLC continues to be as corrupt as always. And from what I gather from extensive readingings/research Kristin Yellin was brought onboard as a figure-head and needed attorney because the founding owners had just gotten largely fined for misrepresenting ANLC as a law center yet operated without the presence of an attorney as well as the wife misrepresented herself as a registered nurse. All the same, Ms Yellin has made the company no more fair nor respectable than Allan & Carol Gindi, especially with some digging you find that her ownership is only co-ownership with that of the founders.
            And, actually ownership has changed hands once again. This tiime, conveniently to the hands of Lauren Gindi, daughter of the founders whom had not long ago been heavily fined/reprimanded for falsely representing the company. Ms. Gindi has only passed the CA Barr exam this past December & now owns the company. This, too, seems convenient for the founders. And one other interesting bit of information of ANLC that I found curious, ANLC’s new website boast the story of the company’s first adoption, how Allan & Carol travelled with the adopting parents for the delivery of their twins (I believe). As the story is being told, it speaks of Allan, stating something along the the lines about how this adoption was back before Allan became a lawyer. Interestingly, while Allen Gindi did complete a law school, he does not have a license to practice law. Therefore, he’s not actually a lawyer. It’s a nit picking thing to point out but it is a false testimony on their site. And as much as they have nit picked at us & our contract, etc, I feel entitled to pick. I wish there was a way to file a class action lawsuit against them. If you are considering using ANLC, do your homework first & be sure to look up all the owners; the Gindi’s (Allan, Carol, & Lauren). My advise is to RUN; don’t walk as far far away from them as possible!

    • We are into our final call with ANCL, and I am nervous now that I am reading all these reviews. Can you tell me more about your experience and who you worked with?

      • Our experience is pretty much what I wrote above. Our “birthmother counselors” were Marie and Ellen. I know Ellen worked there as recently as 2010.

        I strongly recommend not using a facilitator, such as ANLC. Instead, use an agency. If you search my blog for “facilitator” you’ll find out why. Facilitators aren’t licensed in the same way as agencies. Once a facilitator has your money, they have no real incentive to help you.

      • Hello Jami,

        My husband and I are started with ANLC in June and are expected to be parents on March 4th. Please be sure that you are fully aware of all expenses as we have had several surprises within the last few weeks. This process is going to cost about $15,000 more than what we expected when it is all said and done. Not to mention that the phase II fee to me is useless as the attorneys handle all of the legal work. This company is not a law firm as they set the grounds for potential adoptive parents. Please be sure to ask many questions and make sure that you know what you are getting into before signing anything.

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  8. I’m so surprised to read this we adopted our daughter through adoption network and we had a truly blessed experience everyone we dealt with was kind and very easy to reach and talk to our birth parents and grandparents were amazing and felt supported I watched our counselor stand up for our birth mother and we were told very clearly our birth families feelings and what to expect to help them I truly was so beyond happy we chose them I can’t come up with one negative We just adopted our daughter so perhaps things have changed over time I’m so sorry anyone felt they had a bad experience because I recommend them to everyone I still speak with members of our team and consider them like family I can’t say enough good things about our experience

  9. Robin, my wife and I are still waiting. Have been since Sept 2013. We could sure use some assurance. ANLC appears to have our best interest as their priority We sure hope so.

    • Well, you haven’t been waiting all that long, so that’s a plus. I think ANLC only has their bottom line as their priority. Almost all facilitators are for-profit entities, and, while non-profit doesn’t mean an agency or professional is ethical, being for-profit is seen by a lot of people in the adoption community as being inherently unethical. I hope you’re someone who has a good experience with ANLC. Good luck!

    • I am a birth mother looking to put my baby up for adoption. I have had nothing but trouble going threw ANLC. I can never contact them and am having a very hard time getting the help I need. I am a little over 6 months pregnant with only 12 weeks till my due date. June 13. I have yet to pick a family or get any financial support. I have tried to explain it to them many of times. I just relocated due to the pregnancie. I lost my job and my home in Mississippi.I now live in Memphis ten. And I do need financial help but im more concerned about finding a good home for my baby. I’m asking for 650 a month which would only add up to 1950. And that’s only what I can not afford right now. (Removed contact information ~ Robyn)

      • My suggestion to you would be to NOT work with ANLC. They’re not an agency, anyway. You might try Open Adoption and Family Services, which is a very reputable, ethical agency. Pact is an ethical facilitator that works with women who are placing children of color. There are a lot of different agencies out there who can make sure that you get the help that you need, such as financial assistance through programs in your state or community and options counseling.

      • Hi Robyn, My wife and I are actually looking into ANLC and a few other agencies for adopting our first child. If you have any interest in talking to us about your situation let me know and we can give you our information. Thanks and good luck with whatever you do with your situation.

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  11. Thank you for posting. I have been looking at alot of agencies and was about to go wtih ANLC until we just found out we are moving to VA, I am in the Navy. So we are basically starting from scratch because no one will do a home study before we move. Glad I didnt go with ANLC!

  12. We were going to go with ANLC until we read so many negative reviews. Have you heard anything about AdoptHelp? They are also a law firm but have all good reviews. We are also looking into Nightlight Christian Adoptions and American Adootions. Any feedback will be helpful, thanks!

    • I looked into AdoptHelp our second time around. All I recall about it was that it was expensive.
      I have a post about Nightlight Christian Adoptions. Sometimes, I really wish we had signed with them. https://chittisterchildren.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/why-i-like-nightlight-christian-adoptions/
      People either love or hate American Adoptions. We wouldn’t use them, because we feel that charging fees based on the race of the child is unethical. In addition, they discriminate against same-sex couples.
      I hope this helps!

      • American doesn’t discriminate against same-sex couples. At all. There are multiple same-sex couples live on their website at any given moment. I am a waiting family with them and have connected with two same sex couples who began their wait around the same time as us. One of them has already placed and one is matched and this all happened in the first week they were live! I understand why people are leery of the fee difference for race but your assertion that they discriminate against gay couples is simply not true at all.

        • American Adoptions only started working with same sex couples as a matter of course within the last year or so. The comment to which you’re referring was written in 2014, when American Adoptions did discriminate against same sex couples. Thanks for commenting, and good luck on your adoption journey!

  13. Best of luck to all of you in the process and trying to make the decision on who to go with. There are some people who get picked right away with ANLC and they are very lucky, although I think there are certain profiles that get picked way sooner than others. We’ve been waiting for close to 2 years now and we’re fairly open on our preferences. We were told a very different story on the wait time and I voiced my opinion about this and I don’t think my Counselor liked it too much. For all I know we’re been blacklisted now. We received a call about one situation and we were told that another couple backed out because they were uncomfortable about the circumstances surrounding the pregnancy. I had about 30 seconds to confirm that if our profiles were presented and we were chosen, we could not back out no matter what we uncovered in the process because the birth-mom was devastated that the other couple backed out. What? Based on a few bullet points you’ve given me I have to commit to this no matter what I uncover in the process and someone just backed out (there has to be a reason)? Being as disheartened as we are right now I didn’t want to act on impulse since this was the first potential (and we still might not have gotten picked). As I’m thinking about what is going on, my counselor almost scolding me says, “This is what adoption is! It’s women in crisis situations” and I needed to make a decision. Well we don’t know much about adoption outside of the picture that was painted for us in the sales call. We are very unhappy with them and feel that we’ve been led down a path of empty promises. My advice to anyone looking to adopt is to go with an agency that doesn’t take money from you prior to a match. We knew full well that it was non-refundable, but you never know what changes will happen to you while you’re waiting and if you’re disappointed with one place, you can try another. Best of luck to you all – birth-mothers and adoptive parents.

  14. I really think it is a shot in the dark, no matter who you sign with. We have been with two agencies for two years and recently signed with ANLC. The first agency has presented us with four situations in the last year (ridiculous), the second one matched us within two months of signing. It was exciting and unreal. Unreal was right. The birthmother kept the baby, but after finding the birth mom’s open Facebook page on our own, we saw that she never had any intention of placing her baby at all. We called the agency and told them what we found online, and they were not surprised! As a matter of fact, the director began to tell us that there were red flags on their end from the beginning, but matched us anyway!! They matched us because we were required to send them nearly $20K due upon a match. We found out that the mom was keeping the baby the day before our family was supposed to get on a plane to get the baby.

    My point is that it is sad that as adoptive parents, we go through a lot of scams and total BS to get a baby! It happens as much with agencies as it does with facilitators. We literally just signed with ANLC, so I cannot tell you anything about our progress with them yet. I will say that I appreciate them sending photos of themselves to us, so we can put a face with their names. Our first agency hasn’t done this at all and we rarely hear form them….unless we are making contact with them. I am sorry you went through so much garbage, but happy that you received your son. I am hoping that our experience is the opposite and that we finally get our baby through them.

    • I’m very sorry to hear about your experience thus far. I do hope you’re able to successfully adopt soon. It would be lovely if ANLC has changed since its management has changed. Good luck on your adoption journey! And thank you so much for taking the time to comment.

  15. We adopted via ANLC in 2012, and had a nearly flawless experience. Fees were exactly as discussed – it’s was just a little bit difficult to understand the full process prior to going through it. I am not sure what could be unethical about them, but they certainly worked for us. A good friend has adopted twice through them and had similarly good experience.

  16. I came across this website and could not believe my eyes. My wife and I have had a successful adoption with ANLC we could not recommend them higher. We actually had a failed adoption first received all of the birth mother expense money back then just 2 months later we were matched with another birth mom the result was a successful adoption in April of this year. At every step they were nothing but professional and compassionate in just 2 short years we now have the baby we have always wanted. I just want to say Thank God for ANLC..

  17. we are considering working with this company we were told it will cost a maximum of 51,000 and receive a child with 2.5 years. Does that sound like worst case scenario?

    • Gwen, we used ANLC in 2005/2006, and the company is now under different management. I can’t speak to their practices now. I can say that I recommend using an ethical, non-profit, full-service agency that provides unbiased counseling to expectant parents, as well as support for all parties after the adoption.

  18. I contacted ANLC when searching for an adoption agency (I pregnant currently and must put my child up for adoption). I requested additional information and ever since I’ve been receiving numerous text messages, emails and phone calls. I had not returned them yet. The reason being, I feel sad about my decision. I had to take additional time to make sure I have no other option. Today I was able to come to terms with my decision and I know that its the right decision.

    I was coming online to finally get back in touch with them and let them know that I will be going forward. I understand that you can change your mind up until you give birth, but I kept imagining our HORRIBLE it would be for me to pick a family and then change my mind down the line. I HAD to be sure before I went forward. I decided to just type the agency name into google to see if anyone else has experiences with them and found this blog. Now, I am not sure again. I haven’t changed my mind about my decision, but I now see that every agency is not created equal and I need to do a bit more research to see if the good outweighs the bad on this particular agency.

    I am not so concerned about how I am treated during this process, but I am very concerned about my child and his/her’s new parents. The family who is willing and able to love, cherish and support my child deserves to be commended and treated with the utmost respect.

    I don’t want to rush into a decision, but this process is so stressful for me. I hope I make it through without making a big mistake.

    Thank you for listening.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your experience! You should know that ANLC is *not* an agency. They are a licensed facilitator in CA. They call themselves an adoption law firm. Facilitators and agencies are in no way the same. Every member of the adoption triad (adoptee, adoptive parents, birth parents) is more likely to find support from a full-service, ethical, licensed agency. I always recommend Open Adoption & Family Services, as they have a stellar reputation. Look for agencies that are non-profit or not-for-profit. Those agencies are not always ethical, but it is a step in the right direction. I hope that you are able to take the time you need to make the best choice for you and your child. Be well!

    • Hey Kristy,
      We are a hopeful adoptive family and have found it difficult to truly know if an agency/facilitator/consultant really has the best in mind for all parties in the adoption triad as well.

      We have an approved homestudy through an agency but have recently started posting our profile online ourselves so that expectant mothers have the opportunity to find us directly. We will still of course need to include a lawyer/agency in the process and it is important to us that the expectant mother has all the support she needs in making her decision before and after placement, but we’re hoping that maybe working a bit “out of order” will make the match the priority and then the legal logistics/details can fall into place after.

      You may check out some of the parent profile sites like Your Adoption Gateway (we’ve found them very lovely to work with and you can stay anonomyous as you view profiles), Parent Profiles, Favebook, Instagram etc to see if there are any families who you’d be interested in learning more about.

      Best wishes in making your decision – it sounds like you’re doing it out of love…so as long as you follow your heart (and use your Brian when need be!), I’m sure you’ll find the perfrct family for your baby one way or another for your child.

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  21. This is a nightmare. Please email me at iamshynie@gmail.Com

    I am a birthmother through this agency and it has been a nightmare from beginning. I was lied to, signed paperwork under the influence (IN THE HOSPITAL) never received copies of paperwork, our “open” adoption was never worked through or specified. And when I wanted to change my mind I was told I would have to pay the 16kback to th prospective parents!!

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