Our Experience with Adoption Connections in Kansas

I recently realized that there are two major entities* we worked with but who have not appeared in reviews on my blog. One of them is Adoption Connections, Inc. in Kansas. Questions have come up about them on forums from time to time, so I thought I should share our story in one place. (Please note: There is an agency named Adoption Connection, singular, in San Francisco. We never worked with them.)

We signed up with Heaven Sent Adoption Referral, and matched through them with a situation from Adoption Connections, Inc. I have to admit, I got so excited by the match after having been waiting for one year, that I don’t think I was thinking entirely clearly.

JoAnn is the main employee of ACI. She does everything associated with the expectant mothers. We played a lot of phone tag. She’s difficult to get ahold of because she’s so busy.

We matched in April 2011. We found out on June 1, 2011 that the match had failed. The expectant mom left a message on JoAnn’s voicemail that she couldn’t go through with it. JoAnn told us that she would definitely put us at the top of the list the next time she found an emom pregnant with a girl who was at least part African American. (Remember, we were specifying sex and race.)

In July, we matched with Jasmine. JoAnn immediately began paying her expenses. We had already wired them money for the last match. We lost $500 from that, and they had been going to refund us (at least, in theory) when we re-matched. So, that $500 went to Jasmine. To make a long story short, after we were out $600, Jasmine disappeared and JoAnn discovered that her proof of pregnancy may have been/probably was forged.

Hindsight being 20/20, I realized after the fact that there were a lot of issues with how ACI does things:

  • They bring all of the expectant moms to Kansas. I have mixed feelings about this in general. Kansas laws favor the adoptive parents. I think the relinquishment is 12 hours after the baby is born, and finalization is done after 1 month. Bringing emoms to Kansas removes them from their support systems. True, some emoms might not have support systems, but most people at least have a friend or family member who can be there for them. From a PAP’s point of view, bringing emoms to Kansas increases the amount of “birthmother expenses.”
  • Kansas allows $4,000 to be paid for post-partum birthmother expenses. ACI just has the APs give the birthmothers $4,000 regardless of whether or not there are any expenses.
  • I think JoAnn gets involved in “helping” these women by paying whatever expenses, and doesn’t do her due diligence in determining if they’re for real. I mean, she should have checked out that proof of pregnancy before she extended any money for expenses. We thought she had. She hadn’t.
  • I don’t get the sense that ACI provides any counseling for the emoms. I think it’s just JoAnn. I could be wrong about this.

I hate to say this about them, because I do believe that JoAnn is a genuinely nice person. But being nice doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot. I don’t think she does her due diligence, and I question the ethics of bringing the emoms to Kansas, paying out the maximum in “birthmother expenses” pre-birth, and just giving the birthmother $4,000 post placement.


* The other is our home study agency, The Family Network.

25 thoughts on “Our Experience with Adoption Connections in Kansas

  1. Hey Robyn. Thanks for this review. My husband and I have been considering using Heaven Sent, and it seems like a lot of their situations are from Kansas. I imagine that they get quite a few referrals from that agency. $4000 post placement “whether they need it or not” seems like baby buying. It’s certainly coercive, knowing that they’ll get $4,000 if they place and nothing if they don’t. Eek. Sometimes I feel pretty disgusted with myself, though, because I want a baby so much that sometimes I’m secretly kind of glad for the coercion. I know it’s awful. It’s just hard sometimes to balance what I know is right with what I want so much.

    • Hello! I agree that handing over $4000 is tantamount to baby buying. If you haven’t already seen my post about the lawyer we used for Cassie’s adoption, I recommend it. Also, I know where you’re coming from. We tried so hard to have an ethical adoption, and we didn’t really, although we thought we did everything we could. It’s all so emotional.

    • My advice on how to proceed with them would be, honestly, don’t proceed with them. If you have already started a relationship with them and money is involved, you just have to keep calling JoAnn until she calls you back. You can also try the number on their web site, although the person who answers will probably want you to talk to JoAnn, if memory serves me right.

  2. This agency caters to desperate birthmoms my daughter is a birthmom every situtuation is different i wanted what was best for my daughter and our family (ie not desperate)she is 24 and un unmarried(not desperate) just wanted a solid family and life for her child.She has a support system( mom and dad)and was told by us we will support you in what ever desicion you make !!!!!!fast foward gettin to my point i jus had to make that part clear!!!!she chose a open a adoption i did research a phone calls and emails to make this process as easy as possible for her birthchoice seemed like a good They told us lies!!!!!!!! they connnected us to These people ACI !!!!!!!!!And what a HUGE mistake THEY FLEW MY BABY TO ANDOVER KANSAS .she wanted to leave our city because of shame i was supposed to come with her but at the time i had personal business. She flew out first !!!!!!!!!!i was coming 2 weeks later.the nightmare begins from them picking her up in a smelly van Joann has dogs she rides with .To droppin her off in a isolated trailor home!!!!ALONE ,NO OTHER EM AROUND.THEY TOLD ME IT WAS APT. THEN LATER ON OUR WAY TO AIRPORT mobile home?????????took her to grocery store said get a few things .hot pockets.juice noodles? ??and she sat byeherself..ragedy furniture .matress on the floor are you kidding me?i reached to birtchoice and was angry. They told me its clean and safe !!!!!Hey by whos standard a homeless person or druggy !!!!!!Joanna didnt anr the phone she called whining everyday saying she hungry !!!She hadnt seen doctor thinking she made a mistake about adoption. They keep trying to get her to sign contracts. I told her dint sigh anything to i get there .they did fly me there.Stinky dog van from airport i was happy to see my daughter. JOANN RAMBLED ON THE DRIVE? THATVWE CAN WALK TO STORES NEAR BY THEN SHE DROP BOTH OF. US OFF..AT THE RAGEDY TRAILOR DIRTY FURNITURE .NO FOOD ,NO TRANSPORTATION, .NO OTHER PEOLPLE NO COUNSELING. NO DOCTOR it had been almost 3Weeks! !!!!in KANSAS. just sign these. Papers everyday!!!!Ha-ha yea right needless to say we got out of there !!!!!Why would i let you handle my grandbabyI ????I WILL KEEP HER MYSELF!!!!!! THEYR. IDIOTS they need to be shut down( Bbb)ethic. Codes standard’s, organization. Compassion. Terrible beware birth moms if you regular! !!!!and not a druggy! !!and just need money and a place to live!!!to sign you baby over!!!to these people! !!!NOT US

  3. Candi, would you mind speaking to me privately? Can we exchange email addresses? I have a daughter who is in a bad situation and has considered this same company because a friend told her about it! I’m trying to make sure that she’s going to be safe and taken care of which she says she will because her friend was treated okay-ish… but from what I have seen so far— I’m relly scared for her and the baby!

    • Iris, I’m not sure Candi will see this comment. My advice (not that you explicitly asked for it) would be for your daughter to contact a reputable, ethical agency. Open Adoption and Family Services has a great reputation. Nightlight Christian Adoptions is another agency that I feel is ethical. Don’t go with an agency that removes expectant moms from their support systems by bringing them to other states and putting them up in housing. I hope your daughter receives counseling as to all of her options and makes the best choice for her and her baby.

  4. We adopted from ACI three times and had only good experiences. I thought they were loving and caring to birth parents and adoptive parents both. It was a fabulous experience

  5. I used ACI when I made the decision to place my baby up for adoption. I thought they were wonderful. I initially contacted JoAnn stating that I only wanted information about the adoption process and that I wasn’t sure it was what I wanted to do. I was five months pregnant at the time. I felt that JoAnn was very patient, understanding, compassionate, and kind with me throughout the whole process. I was matched with an amazing couple from Washington. I was humbled (though scared) to bless them with my beautiful daughter, who’s now 10, and I don’t think it would’ve been possible without ACI. Any monies given during my pregnancy or after were solely for the purpose of help and support. Shame on anyone who would think that placing a baby up for adoption could ever be an easy or impulsive decision all for the sake of a mere $4,000. That amount doesn’t even come close to the years of grief therapy I’ve gone through following the adoption. It was the best decision for my daughter but it has been the most painful experience of my life. I would recommend JoAnn at ACI to any woman who would like to simply ask questions or is sure about what they want to do. They are good people.

  6. I am a birth mother who placed my firstborn daughter up for adoption due to financial and other situations. I found the number in the back of a expected moms magizne from the local health department. I contacted apoption connections at the end of september, I arrived in kansas at the beginning of October 2011. (7 months along) three months until my due date. I met the adopted parents a week after I arrived, they were really nice, and all the adopted mom just seemed kinda pushy, like she showed up at the trailer that sunday after i had met them, and kept texting me trying to get me to go to church with them. Me being tired declined the invite, so she ask if she can visit with my new roomate (not even had met her) They paid for my bus ticket to kansas from arkansas which was only 150$, housed me in a doublewide 3 bedroom 2 bath trailer, had me go to the welfare office to sign up for food stamps, and government subsidized health insurance. Gave me a weekly allowance of 100$, took me to weekly doctor appointments. They showed up at the exact moment my daughter was being born. On the forms they had me fill out in the delivery room I put she could be in the room with them. Joanne had me sign the adoption paper the following day. I had no one with me while I was in labor other than a guy a met online. He left to go feed his animals at the exact moment Joanne had arrived at the hospital. They even ran into each other in the parking garage. I know it wasn’t his decision as to what I should have done, I just blamed him for me giving my daughter up for adoption after that. I met him the first week I was in Kansas. Anyway to make a long story short she is being well taken care, she was smiling inevery picture they ever sentme. She has a mom, a dad, a older, and a big beautiful house to grow up in. Which is a lot better than what I could have provided for her. The only thing that bothers me is them not sending pictures like they should. Which is supposed to be three times a year. All I’ve gotten in the past two years is two Christmas cards, and four emailed pictures. Also I haven’t gotten a yearly visit since 2014, I’ve only seen her twice since she was born in 2011.

    • Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m sorry to hear that your daughter’s adoptive parents aren’t holding up their end of the arrangement. I hope that changes.

      • I will sum this up as short as possible, I’ve placed with them multiple times and I have been forewarned this last time not to do so due to various reasons. One of the couple’s I have placed with I never got to meet face up and I was told that we would Skype with my son after he was placed with the couple that never happened! The couple even said that they didn’t want to meet or talk to me according to Joann, mind you I was never told why & he was a toddler,not a newborn when he was placed so this is a child I had a bond & attachment to. Whenever I upset Joann she would text me & say not to ask her for pictures of my son and I am trying to figure out a way to have contact with the family without having to continuing to go through the motions with Joan. I placed all open adoptions and I’ve never seen any of my children since they’ve been placed. I’ve been given cash after placing and a flight back and that’s all, just pictures. I have had to seek counseling on my own each time, and even ended up in mental wards behind these placements. It’s depressing and there is lack of compassion, it’s just about money & control.ive been told that there are ways around this and every other agency said to me that that isn’t how open adoptions are supposed to happen that I’m supposed to get a yearly visit etc. Yet I have not received any response on a yearly visit whenever I ask. Another thing that concerns me is how they have bms that place repeatedly with them move to KS and place with different couple’s, some are picky,and the couple’s don’t even meet with eachother to have the kids know their siblings. It kind of feels like slavery days back in the 1800s, when slaves were separated &kept segregated & you only get rewarded when you are submissive to your slave owners. No offense to anyone.

  7. We talked to other agencies and they try not to work with them. We spoke with the local hospital and they informed us that they have a bad reputation.

  8. I found this when I was doing some research and just thought I’d add that this review is 100% true still in 2018. They are becoming known as a target for scammers from their lack of due diligence. They are very nice people, but I’ve connected with other families who were involved with a “scammer” via ACI and they obviously refuse to change their policies despite repeat occurrences. The short version is: birth parent housing, attorney & social worker are married, high scam rate, high cost considering it’s all going to one family. Their birth parent housing consists of trailer homes, apartments and motels and most of their referrals come through Unique Adoptions.

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