Heartbroken Families Demand Answers After Adoption Agency Abruptly Closes: 'I'm Never Going to Have a Child'

February 7, 2017

Hundreds of families planning on adopting children through a nationwide agency were left stunned — and out thousands of dollars — after the organization announced last week that it was closing and declaring bankruptcy, despite reporting millions of dollars in revenue in recent years, records show. The Independent Adoption Center [IAC], a 34-year-old non-profit enterprise based in California with operations in 16 states, made the abrupt announcement in an email to its clients last Tuesday, writing that “immediate closure is our only option.” “As you may be aware, the climate of adoption has changed in recent years,” IAC interim executive director Marcia Hodges and board president Greg Kuhl said in a January 31 statement. “Societal changes have created an environment in the United States where there are fewer potential birth parents than at any other point in our 34-year history of helping to create families. “Simultaneously, due to changing demographics and the closure of international adoption programs, there are more hopeful adoptive parents seeking to adopt domestically than in any other time in recent history,” Hodges and Kuhl continued. “The IAC has worked tirelessly to adapt to this changing environment, but the many efforts we implemented were ultimately unsuccessful. We therefore cannot sustain the agency any longer.” Tax filings between 2011 and 2014 show the agency reported revenue between $4.6 million and $6.5 million each year, but in IAC’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy filed on February 3, it noted it was left with just $57,012.45. Expectant parents and birth mothers who received the email were at a loss, and left asking themselves what to do next or who to turn to for answers, as the agency’s offices, as well as its online message boards and social media pages, were shuttered by the time the announcement was made. “I was just in shock, and complete and utter despair,” Angela Stevens, 34, told “I thought, ‘I am never going to have a family; I am never going to have a child.'" Stevens and her husband Shane, also 34, tried having children when they married five years ago, deciding to adopt after unsuccessful attempts to conceive both naturally and through in vitro fertilization, she said. “We met with Independent Adoption Center and we thought they were great,” she said. “They were known as being one of the top agencies. They’ve been in business for 34 years. We thought we were going with a reputable company.” The California couple became members in August and by the time Stevens had received the heartbreaking email, they had spent about $15,000 in fees, she said. “Now that the money’s gone, it makes our options difficult,” Stevens said. “IAC has really crushed a lot of people’s dreams of becoming parents. People spend their life savings on this.” Like the Stevens, many hopeful parents had turned to IAC over the years because of their long history of operation, inclusive approval policies for adoptive parents and its counseling resources available to all those involved in the adoption until the child turns 18. Those resources — and, of course, the promise of becoming parents — made the extensive preparation work and the time spent waiting for a child worth it, according to Brandi DaVeiga, 37, who said she and her husband, Thomas, had spent at least $15,000 in the two years they had...

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