LDS Family Services
So, here's the thing to consider when thinking about LDSFS...
...LDS Family Services is a HUGE agency. They've got multiple offices in every state across the entire globe (let alone the United States). This is a massive non-profit organization that was establish (formally) in 1973 (but has been in practice since 1919!). LDSFS has hundreds of employees with hundreds of perspectives/experiences in regards to adoption (and we're not even talking turnover here). LDSFS is, in fact, being run by people. And, sometimes... people suck. People, jaded and colored by their own life experiences, will never approach any situation the same - even if they are all given the same training and policies to abide by. So, just like with ALL adoption agencies, there will be a difference in experiences for every single person you talk to. You will NEVER find one agency that every single person is happy with. When considering LDS Family Services as an expecting parent or potential adoptive parent, PLEASE take everyone's experience (good or bad) with a grain of salt. My advice would be to contact your local office and develop YOUR OWN opinion of that office and it's staff BEFORE making any commitments.
In my personal experience with the LDSFS Colton, CA office and Fountain Valley, CA office - I would give them both a 5 star, 100% awesome rating. The caseworkers were attentive to our needs and even more attentive to the needs of our daughter's birth family (which is most important). I could seriously write an in depth novel on all the positive things I have to say about these specific offices and caseworkers. However, I have friends and family who have had horrendous experiences with certain caseworkers or offices in Texas and Utah. Just because they had a bad experience in Texas does not mean I will have a bad one in California - and vice versa. A few bad apples do NOT spoil the bunch.
There are some things that I love about LDSFS as a whole that I'd like to point out; They are a non-profit organization. The majority of adoption agencies and attorneys in the U.S. are for-profit BUSINESSES. Those for-profit agencies/attorneys hardly ever look to truly help families in need - they are only out to make a buck and are using children (or the desire for children) to squeeze every penny they can out of folks. That genuinely upsets me. Adoption should be treated as a humanitarian effort - NOT as a business. So the fact that LDSFS is subsidized in a way where they are able to charge less then half of the $20,000 that most other agencies/attorneys charge, well that strikes a positive cord with me.
Again, please know that this rating and recommendation is based on my personal experience ONLY. I'm not trying to say that everyone should or should not use this agency. As with most things in life I strongly encourage you to gain first hand experience with them yourself before making a decision.
Let me preface this by saying I have a deep and abiding love and and faith in the LDS Church and it's people. When I was diagnosed and told I would never conceive adoption through LDS FS was the only my husband and I wanted to go. We loved and trusted the church and I deeply wanted to feel like God still had a hand in it and that God was bringing us our baby. At first I did feel like it was the right place for us. We loved our social worker. She really got us and seemed tailor made for our unique family. But then she stopped returning calls promptly if at all. I had to badger every little bit of help out of that office. Adoption is HARD. Harder than anyone can imagine. LDS FS did not make it easier. They gave us an online login for 100s upon 100s of pages of documents and said. Good luck to you. Cancelled appointments ... No help whatsoever. So with working full time and all the other stresses the paperwork wasn't getting done on our own. So a year in the one phone call I got was to inform me they were closing our case because we hadn't done enough. When I asked about a refund for our 1000 deposit they acted like I was out of line. They eventually said it would be sent to me in 2-3 weeks 16 weeks later and multiple unreturned or useless phone calls later I still don't have it. I really don't know what to believe in anymore but I do feel that a church affiliated adoption agency that could be so faith promoting should really do so much more for its members. I wonder how many people have left the church after working with them.
RE: What happened?
Read up and on illegal LDS adoptions the horror stories involving this agency are criminal and scary!! And it's going on in the USA most often in UTAH they claim to be christians but last time I checked Christians were not baby stealing child brokering people. SCARY!!!!!!
My husband and I had a wonderful experience with LDSFS. Our caseworker was organized, thoughtful, compassionate and informed. She kept us up to date on all of our requirements, and helped us understand the process of adoption. While adopting our daughter, we worked with four different case workers with the agency (our original caseworker, our birth mother's original caseworker, our new caseworker-because our original c.w. left the agency to mother her newborn-and our birthmother's new caseworker-she moved during pregnancy) and all four people were very professional, on the ball, and willing to help us with whatever we needed. Granted, sometimes we had to be patient and very pro-active on our part to make sure communication stayed open. But, all in all, we felt that everyone involved had each party's best interest in my (our birth mother's, our daughter's, and ours).
Adoption is a tender and very emotionally draining experience. It is miraculous and wonderful and it is also hard and exhausting. That is true for whatever agency you choose to go with. But LDSFS really helped and supported us and our birth mother along the journey--and afterwards, as well. They were very forthright with all costs associated with adoption, and they are very trustworthy. We will definitely use their services again when we are ready to grow our family further.
Worst Experience Of Our Lives
When we were looking at LDS for our adoption we were told by everyone to avoid them. However, we figured they must be isolated incidences because this was a "church" organization. We we wrong. They were the most unprofessional people we have ever worked with. None of these caseworkers should be handling the fragile process that is adoption, especially not our caseworker. Our caseworker was insensitive, careless, unprofessional and quite frankly, a liar. LDS put us through the worst year of our lives. The only thing good that came out of it was our wonderful birth mother and son. LDS managed to ruin almost every special experience that we had. LDS did nothing to help and we had to fight to get our adoption finalized. PLEASE do not use this agency. Yes, they are a "church" organization but once you walk through those doors the gospel principles are no where to be found. I hope no one ever has to go through what we did.
Avoid this place unless your rich newlyweds!
The wait here is infinite. They are unprofessional and get your hopes up over nothing. Birthmoms tend to want wealthy, childless couples. We came in as a mixed race, middle class couple with one bio kid and the odds were stacked against us. Honestly the church makes it sound so eady and neat to adopt but getting picked by a birthmom is like trying to find a needle in a hatstack. We went back to the doctors for further assistance and are now having our third bio kid. My advice is use whatever resources you have and get out of the endless waiting game, it is just too hard emotionally to be in permanent limbo.
I have only had dealings with the Seattle, WA office and the Spokane, WA office.
If you are LDS, live in Western Washington or Alaska, and are considering adopting I would encourage you to look beyond LDS Family Services. We were frustrated, to say the least, with our experience there.
Words that describe this office: unorganized, un-empathetic, slow, revengeful, unethical, not thorough.
We did end up adopting through them (much to our surprise) however, we felt it necessary to hire a different lawyer to complete the process and finalize the adoption.
We have moved from this area, but will be very hesitant in using this agency again.
Just Say No
The amount of scandal and deceit that goes on with this adoption agencies makes it a huge risk for adoptive parents and natural mothers. If I had one bit of advice to give about this agency, I would say DON'T!!
Would go to again.
For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (adoptive parents), birthmothers from any affiliation, most are LDS.
Our adoption experience was 7 years ago, and everything went very smoothly. We were treated well, communicated with during all aspects of homestudy and waiting period. The fees were on a sliding scale. Communication with our child's birthmother is semi-open (but I understand guidelines have changed) and continue.
If I were going to adopt again, this is the only place I would go.