Demastus Law Firm
View from the other side
Mislead Mom and others,
I feel for your frustration and hurt, but I'd like to offer a view from the other side. I am an adoptive father of a beautiful little girl. Our daughter's BP were desperate due to her pending due date and we agreed to help them through the delivery by providing food, shelter, medical, transportation, etc. We agreed to have an open adoption and did follow-up on that promise. The issue was our inability to get a good address for them to send pictures...they were transient. We would run into them periodically and ended up having to give them pictures in person because they could not stay at one address long enough. Our in person visits did include our daughter. In our situation, we believe, they used this emotional tie to allow them to contact us earlier this year to help support a second pregnancy. We agreed to keep the siblings together and supported them the exact same way we did previously. Four days before the baby was born an agency move them to a large city in Louisiana and would not allow us to meet with the BP. We believe we were scammed by the BP (and the agency, but that is another story) due to our open relationship, so they could be a "better deal" from the agency. I am in no way suggesting that you would do this to Michael and Jamey, but I thought you might want to hear from someone on the other side. We have chosen to close the adoption with our daughter's BP and will never do another open adoption due to these experiences.
Stay away, far away....
I have good reason to believe that Julie was fully aware of the birth mom's decision to keep her baby long before the baby was born. While the birth mom was on happy pills and in labor at the hospital, she let slip some disturbing details that hinted towards keeping her baby. It was not too hard to decipher that she had been planning on it from early on. Her fiancee who stayed with the birth mom, couldn't look at us in the eyes. He knew.
In fact, looking back it was to Julie's advantage for a failed adoption. A few months later, we had a successful adoption through another agency in OKC. Julie was fully aware of it, because word got back to us that she was "Happy for us." Long story short, we had to sue Demastus for the money that was in "escrow" (around $20,000), that could have been applied to another adoption in her agency (oh yes, we were done). She refused to answer the phone, return calls, etc. After the failed adoption, not a word from her. She was hoping we would just disappear. We had to get a lawyer on her case and she went to defend herself in court before paying our refund, where it was totally decided in our favor. It was almost a year for our refund (un-applied legal fees). It would have been nice if those funds were available for our successful adoption. W'eve got a wonderful family. Why would she even want to go to court? I guess our lawyer was better than her lawyer.
I really believe she prays on adoptive parents (who are crazy, and will do nearly anything to get a child, making us very easy targets for fraud), and I believe that she is happy to take any case because that is cash in the bank. She is all about the sale, and nothing about the support. I am speculating, but I really think that she coaches the birth mom's on what to say, and what to do and how it will go down when they want to keep their baby. We had the baby girl for three days from the hospital. It was the 11th hour before the singing off of parental rights. I believe this was all planned, to make it look like they worked on the birth mom. Within a day, the birth mother had her facebook page up, with her baby and pictures of the nursery all done over. This was the most fraudulent and unethical experience we have ever dealt with.
Coordinators/Update on Misled Birthmom - Tulsa
I am curious as to who the ones with "great experiences" were working with?
Update: Its been over 2 years since I first posted here. I was in Tulsa (a 7 hr drive for me) a few months ago, and called and left a vague message to bait them for a call back). right away I got a call back form Julie herself, on her cell, and I was so happy. However, that quickly changed to dispair as I told her who I was (name, brief placement info, the years I have left messages and had no response) and said I would like her to act as a "Liason" to contact the a-parents for me so that I do not seem to cross any boundary, she asked me 2 times their names again, (which I have found by my OWN research), and said in the end, she didn't think they have those records anymore, but maybe. Then quickly switched to a jingle about how if I knew anyone expecting to send them her way and they will help...I hung up thinking why in the world would I send any mother your way after all this heartache?? I know it isn't ALWAYS ALL her fault, but I have been in this position for YEARS with that being the first EVER contact from even the AGENCY. It is just WRONG.
I still just want a photo at least, but more than anything to see his smiling face and know that I made a good decision. How can such a selfless descision turn out to be sooooo unfair?
Please message me if you know any updates on Demastus....
"Because the agreement on a car is NOT worth more than the agreement on a child...?
Demastus Was Wonderful
We adopted our 2 boys, now 8 & 10 through Demastus. One from Oklahoma City and one from Tulsa. I was very impressed that they had more social workers than lawyers.
The first birth mother who picked us let us support her for several months, then backed out. Fortunately, Demastus found us another right away. There are no guarantees. There can't be.
During the time leading up to the adoption the birth mothers were treated very well. We paid for their rent, groceries and medical bills. The social worker drove them to do their shopping. While we were in Oklahoma for the birth, the adoptive father's (me) sole responsibility is to make sure she didn't have to eat hospital food. For every meal she would tell me what she wanted and I would find a restaurant to order carryout.
In the beginning we kept in touch with the birth mothers. As time passed the contact dwindled, but we still exchange letters with other members of the birth family. We are planning a trip to OK to see the birth mothers again. I ran across this site when I Googled Demastas to find their Tulsa phone number.
Julie Demastus should be DIS-BARRED
We are still trying to finalize through this law firm after 6months!!!! Julie Demastus and coworkers have no ethical conscience; once they have the money forget about getting anything else. Julie Demastus continues to chronically lie about the status of our case and does NOT return phone calls. I have contacted the OK Bar Association and Cleveland County courts about her behavior. PLEASE everyone stay away from this place!!!
There are SO MANY better firms and agencies.
Agreed on the no intregrity
We were referred to Demastus by a family who had adopted from them in the past. They had a potential birth mom pregnant with a biracial child. She was 5+ months along and they "couldn't find a family for him".
What bothered me is that the agency appears to be run by a 25 year old office manager and Julie Demastus is a figurehead like in the TV show Remington Steele. She would NEVER contact me because I didn't have text capabilities on my phone. She filtered all her "news" for me through the woman who referred me to the agency who is NOT an employee, she is an adoptive mom to a child placed by them, bless her heart. I didn't know her either; she is a friend of a friend. After getting strung along for several months (supposedly the BM kept standing this "office manager" up so she couldn't get our info in front of her and then it was "oh, she's picking between you and another family"), I figured there would be no baby, but if I remember right, they let us know way after the baby was due in an "oh, sorry, by the way, BM kept the baby". Yeah, when the due date came and went, I kinda figured as much. Oh well, we we were only out the $$ for the homestudy which is why I didn't get more upset.
When I took paperwork into the office (after making several attempts, it was like nailing jello on a wall because she's also in school full time), said office manager took a phone call on her cell phone and rather than excuse herself, I was party to the whole conversation.... The questions about potential birth mother's rental history, the offer of paying her rent, a Walmart card. I found it interesting yet very unprofessional.
I'm really glad we hadn't paid them anything and we never could get a straight answer about a timeline regarding fees. This could have been really important as the BM's due date approached and we didn't have time to take out a loan against our 401K, as I'm sure many families need to do.
I didn't do my homework because I was referred by the friend of a friend who also had her own adventure with this agency but it ended with a baby being placed with them. I knew that without prior planning, we couldn't write a check for 1/2 the fees at the hospital without prior planning (which is what this lady had to do) and we weren't going to take a huge penalty hit on our 401K without some direction from them.
HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE Experience
My (now ex) husband and I sent our application in to Demastus adopt a child in April 2003. After a few matches that we turned down for various reasons, we accepted a match in August 2003 with a birthmother who was due the following January. We went to Tulsa to meet her and spend time with her a couple of times that fall, and I talked to her at length each week on the phone. Early in the process the woman in charge of their Tulsa office (main office is in OKC) left/was fired/who knows and was replaced by her relatively new assistant who really had no clue what she was doing.
Approximately a month before the birth we gave them the other half of the money as required. We always did our part. The birthmother went into labor in January, and we got a phone call. We hit the road as soon as possible and made it to Tulsa a few hours after the birth. We went straight to the hospital. It was a Thursday night. The next day our birthmother left the hospital. The baby had to stay until Saturday night because of jaundice. We took the baby to an apartment we were renting. We had to go to the hospital each day to have the baby checked because of the jaundice.
Tuesday morning the birthmother was supposed to go before the judge to revoke her consent. Late the night before we got a phone call that she'd changed her mind and wanted the baby back so they came and picked him up within 20 minutes. It was HORRIBLE to say the very least. The next morning Julie and a couple of other people from OKC drove to Tulsa and met with us along with the Tulsa staffers. They cried and said they felt terrible. They told us that we were at the top of their priority list to get a baby. That was January 2004. We NEVER heard from them again - except for a change of address letter that fall. They have no idea that we adopted a baby that summer from an agency in Florida that was fabulous to us. They still have a lot of my money so what do they care?
Demastus staffers clearly hadn't spent much (if any) time with our birthmother because I picked up a million red flags that they never even had a clue about - all things that they should have known and would have if they'd spent any time at all talking to our birthmother. They really screwed us over. I had two attorneys look over the contract and paperwork, and there's nothing I can do about what they did to us. They pretended to care, but honestly, they didn't care one bit about us. They gave us the names of two local couples that had failed adoptions like we did then got babies very quickly. I talked to them, and they raved about the agency. It was all suck a crock. I wish I'd never gotten involved with them.
We had a horrible experience that I wouldn't wish upon anyone. My ex-husband is still haunted by the whole experience. There are a LOT of agencies out there. PLEASE be careful who you choose to work with - as an adoptive parent AND as a birth parent. If anyone has any questions, please post a comment, and we can talk in more detail about our experience if you'd like.
By the way, I only gave Demastus one star in the rating field because they made me rate them in order to post my comment. If I could give them negative stars, I would.
A Great Experience
My Adoption Experience?Ǫ
When I found out I was pregnant at 17 years old, I was scared and embarrassed to say the least. I had no idea what I was going to do, so I just ignored the situation. When I could wait no more, my parents found out and called Demastus Law Office. Julie Demastus answered the phone and that afternoon they came to my house to tell me about adoption. Since I had put off making a decision (hoping it would all disappear) everything had to happen very quickly?Ǫthere was no other option. Even though the process was rushed, I never felt like I was being pressured or that the wool was being pulled over my eyes. I truly felt (and still do) that these were ladies who truly cared about me and making a horrible situation turn into the best possible situation?Ǫand it did! I couldn?
Misled Mom's First Draft Letter-Feedback please
Dear Michael and Jamey,
How is Nathan?
I have attempted to contact you through the Demastus Agency for over 3 years now to no avail.
They won't even return a phone call, not one single time, nor fax. Thus, I have began the exhaustive search process and began leaving messages on online chat boards and signing up with adoption adovocates and websites and registries to take a proactive stance in the matter in hopes of regaining contact.
I only wish to know how Nathan is and have a chance to explain to you how I was misled by this adoption. I believed that with Jamey's education in psychology, and mine, as well as your beliefs in education and promising in your letter to do what is best for Nathan, that the fragile nature of his little psyche was entrusted to the two who would know what to do and read every book or news article available regarding adoption, how to live it out, what research says, and that this would blossom into a loving gift that we both equally shared. You having helped give a child I could not see a happy future for with me the very best that he deserved, and I giving you a talented, very healthy, and very beautiful child. I believed in my heart, as hard as it was to do, that this was in some complicated way God's will.
Adoption became a factor only in the last month of my pregnancy( which I was 3 weeks overdue I might add) as a result of the father's last minute denial of paternity and refusal to help financially when he'd promised so much and was able... and I a mother of a 3 year old who received no aid of any sort from the government because I was using my new bachelor's degree in the mental health field making just enough to scrape by, had nine dollars in my bank account when he was born trying to keep utilities on and the rent paid after the moving expenses I was still catching up on from months before on my dream to become a great adult and help the mentally ill. I'd spent months huge and pregnant sleeping on an air mattress, paying for my doctor visits, lab bills, eating healthy, attaching, bonding, holding him in my belly and believing I would parent him. I had almost 2 weeks paid sick leave to take after he'd be born then I would need to pay for child care, and I'd had 3 tests, one of which was the sonogram, indicating down's syndrome, for which my ob/gyn had already referred me to a specialist saying he would require immediate care. The last few weeks I was flooded with fear on how I would manage since the father withdrew. I imagined us evicted and stuck 7 hours from home, my car was broke down, I had no phone, so there was not even a way to get to family across the state, who would be terribly judgmental. After receiving a nasty email from the father saying he wouldn't help and maybe adoption was a better option due to the down's, I saw another commercial for Demastus saying something like, "If you really love your child and want more for them, call." So I called and set up an appointment with a Demastus advocate explained my situation and my reservations, asked many questions for which they had all the right answers to, I initially agreed to consider (CONSIDER) an open adoption only. One set of parents' packet was dismissed as soon as I read they would not agree to an open adoption. To which she replied that the agency didn't even deal with parents who were not open to the birthmother's wishes, something I believe to be rubbish now. The agency said they would get my car running, pay the rent for me to recuperate on maternity leave and deal with any mental hardship, get me a phone to call friends for support (which I didn't have) and said I needed to focus on taking care of my daughter and giving her a better life, and at the same time giving my son the life he deserved. I believed it....and it is true in most regards. I am a very spiritual person, and when I saw your packet, all your interests listed matched mine to a T, Jamey's degree and field was the exact same, education and
I wish I had known about this site much sooner. I had a similar experience to "Misled Birthmom." We found out we were pregnant in October of 2003, and didn't decide to place her until February 13th, 2004. That was the day we went to Demastus. We were told that since it was so late in the pregnancy, that we had to pick an A-couple right then & there. So we did, not knowing any better. On February 25th, the horrible doctor they had chosen for me induced labor against my wishes (I wanted a c-section, but he supposedly didn't do those), and had to do an emergency c-section. I had just met the A-couple THAT morning. They didn't seem to want anything to do with me or my hubby, the Demastus ladies didn't want to help either of us, the doctors & nurses went against my wishes on just about everything...and it took 2 years (and the help of ANOTHER agency) for me to even get a single picture of her, and we're back to no contact again.
I've since placed another child, he's 2 now, I'm still in touch with his A-mom at least once a week through e-mail, she sends pictures all the time online, through a shutterfly account so I can get copies whenever I want. I went through another agency for that one. They were better before the adoption, but the after-birth care was just as shady & awful.
I wouldn't mind the lack of communication, but for the fact that we wanted an open adoption. I understand that A-parents can be fearful that B-parents might "change their minds" later on, but that doesn't really give them the right to cut us out of their lives all together. Especially since I really need to get in touch with them to advise them of a hereditary medical condition their daughter might have that I just had surgery for. I have no idea how to contact, other than through Demastus, and I'm having no luck at finding an e-mail address for them. The A-mom from the second adoption is trying to assist me in contacting them somehow. (serious condition, had a neurosurgeon operating on me, and is more likely in females than males)
This is really upsetting, she may not be "my daughter" anymore, but I did give birth to her, and I don't want her to have to go through what I've just gone through if catching it earlier would prevent it.