Dear Richard and Tracey:__________________________________
As you may or may not be aware, Adoption Assistance Agency has bee struggling. The flow of birthparents planning adoptions has been slower than normal for some time. In addition to that, we have had more than the normal number of birthparents who have planned adoptions change their minds and decide to parent their children. in the history of the agency, we have experienced a number of slow periods typically followed by an increase in activity and placements. We fully expected the same pattern to repeat itself and have worked and waited expectantly for the increase. We hope you have had the opportunity to visit our totally revamped website aimed at attracting birthparents. We have made numerous other adjustments in our recruitment and retention efforts with birthparents and in networking with medical and crisis pregnancy centers. Unfortunately, we have been unable to secure the adoptive placements for which we hoped. We have worked with a number of birthparents for months and months toward an adoption only to have them change their minds at the last minute, draining adoptive parent and agency resources. We have cut agency expenses to the bare bones and our staff has worked at severely reduced pay trying to ride our what we believed would be a temporary downturn. We have believe that the pattern we learned to expect over the 13 years of agency history would repeat itself as we continued to work diligently and faithfully on behalf of all of our clients.
In the last couple of months, as we have brainstormed and consulted with other trusted professionals, we have been forced to reluctantly reach the conclusion that this is not a temporary downturn. Instead, we have come to realize that we , as well as the other local agencies, are continually being edged out of the opportunity to provide legal and ethical services to potential birthparents and adoptive parents by large for-profit adoption facilitator. These are organizations which charge adoptive parents large sums of money and provide excessive financial support to birthparents for placing their children. they also spend high dollars on advertisements and recruitment of both adoptive parent sand birthparents. Adoption facilitators are not licensed or authorized by any legally recognized authority nor accountable to legal standards in the same manner legitimate, licensed adoption agencies are. Though not legally permitted to provide services in New Mexico because of their predatory practices, adoption facilitators are capturing the bulk of birthparents in New Mexico through their online websites and forcing out the small, local, not-for-profit adoptions agencies. Our concern and distress with these organizations is not that they "are doing it better' because they have more resources. Those who are adoption facilitators are charging more (much, much more) but "not doing it better!" they provide few services other than contact with a birthmom. Birthparents get financial support but typically no emotional or professional support. Adoptive parents are also often left on their own to obtain other legally required services which these organizations are not qualified or licensed to provide. It is a very disturbing trend in adoptions on every level. Though we are actively working to draft legislation and other legal protections for the adoptive parents, birthparents and ultimately the children who are being victimized by such practitioners. we find our own financial resourced drained to the point of having to face closure of the agency. We find we are no longer able to compete with these large, out-of-state entities and are being forced to close our doors after 13 years of serving children and families and placing nearly 200 domestic adoptees with loving, stable families and assisting many, many others with international adoptions.
We are deeply saddened and frankly outraged by these changes in the field of adoption and know that we are missing the wonderful opportunity of helping adoptive parents build families through adoption and help in birthparents make a solid adoption plan for their children. For the staff and board of directors of Adoption Assistance Agency, adoptions have never been a business venture, but our mission , our ministry, the call of our hearts to help adoptive parents, birthparents and children find, love and embrace one another. Our grief is deep with the realization that we will not be able to continue working on behalf of all our families, children and birthparents.
As we have struggled with our own grief and dismay a the current state of affairs, we have also struggled to know how best to help our families . Our hope is to help our families locate reputable adoption professionals who can help them complete their ream of adoption.
For those of you who have completed adoptions through us, here are two very important pieces of information:
(1) If you are currently communicating with your birthparent/s through the agency, please continue to do so for now. We hope to keep minimal operations going and will continue to forward letter and pictures as well as other communication. If the time arrives when we can no longer be available in this role, we will inform you and make some sort of provision for this important need.
(2) If you have been a contributor to the agency with charitable donations, we humbly request that you continue giving. We are not surrendering our license nor our non-profit status at this point. We are actively fighting the illegal and unethical practices of adoption facilitators in New Mexico so that the hope of sound, legal adoptions does not disappear for countless other families. We will be maintaining minimal operations in order to mount this fight. We would greatly appreciate financial support to keep this moving forward. We continue to hope that if we can be successful in eliminating facilitators from preying on clients in New Mexico, AAA could again thrive and provide adoption services in the ethical personal way we have done so in the past.
Starting Monday, June 7, 2010, we will not be taking new clients. We will be limiting our office hours to Tuesdays, 9 to 5, for our clients only and will continue to provide the help and services as needed. We can also be available to you at other times by appointment. Thank you for allowing us the privilege of working with you to build your family through adoption and indeed it has been a privilege. You will remain forever in our hearts and prayers.
With deepest regards,
Sharon and Penny
Truly, God led us to these ladies and to finding our son. I had hoped to continue our relationship, for many years to come, by sharing our story through the classes they offer, and having them see Samuel grow up and maybe one day come back to adopt his own child.
I wish all of them happiness in whatever they do in the future and I hope one day to see their agency fully thriving again. May God hold them in his arms and may they feel His love around them.