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.