Loretta Cooper runs Heartfelt Adoption, a facilitator here in California. She has a situations web page that I would look at from time to time. Recently, several people have been asking about her, and I thought it would be a good idea to share our experience here. (And it corresponds nicely to my post about facilitators.)
In March 2011, on a Wednesday, I saw a post for a premie baby in Ohio. Profiles were to be shown that Friday. I contacted Loretta at Heartfelt and she gave me some information. She also indicated that she knew our social worker. I called our SW and he said that Loretta is very “sincere.” I filled out Heartfelt’s paperwork and worked my rear off to submit the profile in her desired style by Friday morning. Loretta did not get the profile to the SW in Ohio time to be shown. (As is turned out, mom decided to parent, but still, I find this completely unacceptable.)
The next morning, Loretta called before 10 am. She apparently told Max that there was a baby born situation, and asked were we interested, yes or no? Max said, “Let me get my wife.” She repeated, “Yes or no?” I got on the phone. She told me that a baby had been born, she had an attorney going to the hospital. She asked if we were dead set on a girl. I replied, “Yes.” She said, “OK, conversation over. Goodbye.” and hung up.
Later that week, she contacted us again with a possible situation and asked if we were dead set on a girl. For the third time, I told her yes. She said she didn’t work with couples who specified gender. I wrote her a few email messages, noting that because we want an African-American girl, she might keep us on file if such a situation appeared. She replied that she didn’t work with couples who specify gender.
In June 2011, we came back from a weekend vacation and found a message from Loretta on our answering machine. She said that she didn’t know if we had found a match, if we were still wanting a girl or not, but she had an Hispanic baby due. The expectant mom wanted an Hispanic parent, but, according to Loretta “your husband looks Hispanic” so maybe that would work. I deleted the message. First, “looking” Hispanic isn’t the same as being Hispanic. Second, Max looks about as Hispanic as Robert Pattinson does. Third, she had told us she wouldn’t work with us. Fourth, we were clear that we want a girl. Fifth, I thought we were clear that we want a child who is at least part African American, because Jackson is.
In September 2011, I was driving to pick Jackson up from school when I got a call from Loretta. She said that she wasn’t sure if we had found our match, but she had “a 4-year old Marshallese” – I cut her off. I told her we had been matched, and that she had told us she wouldn’t work with us because we want a girl. She was rather nice this time and said OK, she hoped the match worked out, etc. This situation was a 4-year old boy. She had a copy of our home study, and we were approved for an infant, not an older child. Furthermore, we had repeatedly told Loretta that we wanted a girl.
Personally, I found Loretta at Heartfelt to be rude. She dropped the ball in a big way during our first interaction. She didn’t pay attention to what we told her. She obviously didn’t pay attention to the expectant mom who wanted an Hispanic parent for her baby either. She may be “sincere” but I don’t think she’s someone I’d trust.