Life Adoption Services Hot
100% unhappy (and I'm not even the one adopting!)
I have been working with a friend to help her complete a relative adoption. She picked these folks because they were the only ones who did Home Studies, International Placement Services, and Post-Placement Services in our state who returned her initial calls. At first, they were helpful, answered all her questions, responded quickly, and so on. That's how they hooked her. After a couple of weeks, things started going south, but she was eager to keep up with the process and jumped through all the hoops they asked her to.
Alma, after the first few contacts, was worse than useless. She answered questions selectively, picking which ones to respond to (or not), and even giving information that had nothing to do with what my friend had asked her. More than once my friend expressed to me a nagging feeling that Alma was lying to her. On the phone, Alma was lackluster and unresponsive, and seemed determined to play dumb so she didn't have to understand my friend's questions. In emails, her response times dragged over days, and she often seemed to have an attitude of being put out that she was being asked to do her job.
My friend was promised multiple times that the agency would continue to work with her, and reassured over and over that she was doing the right thing. Yet, the second my friend followed Alma's advice to find a different agency for the placement services, everyone started getting professionally hostile (that cool, icy kind of hostile where they weren't overtly aggressive, but you could tell they were upset and distancing themselves). She spent hundreds of dollars to get international documents, to pay for an immigration lawyer and a placement agency, and to complete the paperwork that Life Adoptions wanted her to finish. They stressed her out no end and put her through the emotional wringer, took her registration fee, had her pay for services from third parties based on their assurance that they would help her, and then the second her inter-agency contract went through to them from the placement agency they dropped her like a hot rock! Over her email, too, instead of in person like a professional organization would.
To top it all off, we have since discovered that the fees (even the "discount" they offered her), are exorbitant to the point of being practically extortion. It is very clear that they absolutely do not want clients based on their behavior. My friend's immigration lawyer even said she had heard of these people, and wasn't surprised a bit that they dropped her-- she'd heard of similar experiences from others among their clients. My friend is too nice of a person to slam these people on the Internet for what they have done to her. The emotional roller coaster, lies, and broken promises these unprofessional jerks have put my friend through has caused enough stress to make her cry, lose sleep, and have health problems. These people deserve to pay for putting such a respectful, caring, generous human being through emotional trauma by dangling her family members' futures like a toy in front of her. Karma isn't fast enough, my friend isn't mean enough... but I have neither of those limitations and feel that EVERYONE needs to be aware of the shady, fly-by-night, downright unprofessional nature of this company. I only hope that some good comes out of this, and no one else gets caught in the same situation with them that my friend did.
They are discriminatory and I am not sure what they motives are. There have been multiple couples rejected from their services due to color, sexual preference, religious preference and even discriminated against because they are serving our country. Expectant mothers go elsewhere. Talk to several agencies before you choose. There are many wonderful families out there to adopt and assist with you and more reputable agencies. I even think they write their own reviews on this website. Google them. They operate off different names and organizations and are very misleading. Beware all.
I can't believe they are still in business!
We opted to use this agency a decade ago because they were one of the few agencies going to going to the country of our choice.
I found that Alma, the main worker, was either completely clueless throughout our process or a liar. I would guess probably a bit of both. I continually got information about our adoption from another agency that had someone on sight at the orphanage. Things like another agency/couple was trying to adopt our baby. LAS always contended none of it was true.
LAS provided no information about what I needed to include in my dossier. Fortunately, I obtained that information elsewhere. They were expeditious with our adoption & never asked form more money than we agreed to in our contract.
The months we waited to travel were some of the most trying months I've ever encountered due mostly to their lack of information, communication and coldness.
Once we returned home, the director called me to congratulate me then to viciously inform me that "You were lucky to get your baby. You have no idea how much it costs us!" Yikes! I have no idea what that meant, but sounds corrupt. They also told another PAP that her baby was sick when in fact they had referred the same baby to two families.
Our adoption was successful & really went off without a hitch, but if you are looking for an agency that is helpful, personable or compassionate, it is not Life Adoption.
Life Adoption/ Congo
Our experience with Life Adoption was horrible. Our adoption was completed, so they get 1 star. The staff was horribly rude and never knew what was going on. We basically completed our adoption on our own. If we had not been proactive, we would not have a child.
We ran into some huge corruption and legal issues while in country and LAS all but stopped answering the phone. Scary.
We recently returned home after adopting our son from Vladivostok,Russia. The whole process took exactly one year! Alma was always available to answer phone calls and e-mails, and was extremely helpful throughout the entire process!:-) The only negative about our experience was a miscommunication involving Our courier to Moscow. We, as well as LAS, were under the impression that the coordinators in Russia would be the couriers or provide one. However, once there we were told that we had to provide a courier, pay for his plane ticket to and from Moscow, and his lodging/living expenses while in Moscow for 6 days! Needless, to say, we were not happy about this news and opted to travel to Moscow ourselves which involved changing our flight tickets and staying in Moscow 6 nights, which turned out to be REALLY expensive! Also, if possible, I would not recommend buying return tickets until you are in Russia and know the actual date you are traveling home. Changeable tickets in Russia are a joke and it's way to hard to get them changed.....we had to go to the airport twice in Vlad, and to both Aeroflot and Delta offices in Moscow. Alma called and checked in us while we were in country and returned my e-mails very quickly while we were in Russia! We had no snags with any of our paperwork while in Russia and I credit Alma with looking over our documents so well and making sure everything was in order! We are so happy to be home with our two year old son, and we would like to thank LAS and it's staff for making our dream come true!!!!
The Ends Justify the Means
After much trial and tribulation, we are the proud parents of two sibling boys from Russia (ages 5 and 7). The process was stressful - no doubt - but the MOST important thing is that the children you bring home are happy, intelligent and adjust well... Life Adoption's facilitators in Russia do an AMAZING job of personally selecting children that they find to be healthy and emotionally well-adjusted. Russia is a difficult and very bureaucratic country from which to adopt, but we would do it again in a heartbeat given the incredible children that Life Adoption has brought to our family.
Life Adoption isn't the largest adoption agency that you can find, and don't have staff on call 24/7 like some of the larger agencies, but they are less expensive and are sensitive to the needs of adoptive parents.
Our Adoption Experience
Adoption is a very emotional experience. We prayerfully considered who we were to use and interviewed a few local agencies. When we met with Joan (the director/owner of Life Adoption Services) we felt at ease and comfortable with her and her vast knowledge of Russia, the adoption process and other countries she worked in. She had been helping families adopt in Russia for decades when we met her. This matters when you are in Russia and they are looking at agency ratings, agency accreditation and relationships. I can't stress how important it mattered to us, adopting in a region that was extremely strict with paperwork. Joan, an adoptive parent herself, we felt she understood our concerns and fears. Alma and I spoke often on the phone - she always answered my questions directly and was excellent at email replies.
Our adoption process start to finish took about a year. We felt supported (Alma is great at quick email responses) and Joan most always answered the phone after hours when I would have a question. When we got the call that we had a referral (which means they have matched you with a child) Joan called us at 8PM to tell us! We called her back at 9:30PM and she answered the phone. A moment we will never forget. We traveled twice, first to meet the children, second to appear in court and return home with them.
As for the cost, time spent in Russia, court date wait-time and paperwork - it was no fun - It's a process that you have to commit to and have lots of grace for all involved. Adoption is a process. Life Adoption was honest and fair and they delivered. I remember asking Joan if this would really happen for us. I will never forget her reply - She said "do what I tell you to do and you will have a child in about a year." Joan is very knowledgeable and confident in the adoption process. We decided to trust her and her staff and I'm glad we did! Our children are healthy, super smart and well adjusted.
We will forever be thankful to Life Adoption Services and their staff for all the hard work and care given to us during our time adopting. I would recommend this agency and would not hesitate to use them again in the future.
Thanks Life Adoption Services!
I am the proud mother of a beautiful, well adjusted 2 ?? year old girl (she was 14 months when I brought her home from Russia), thanks to Life Adoption Services. The adoption process itself was certainly hard work, due to all the paper work and the intricacies of the Russian referral system. However, the kind and experienced staff at LAS made the process easier to handle due to their knowledge of all the steps required to get a referral and in preparing you for the journey to bring your child home.
While in Russia I was very well cared for by their coordinators and the LAS staff always stayed in touch to make sure everything was going according to plan. LAS is a smaller agency, so their operations may not be as standardized and cookie cutter as a larger operation. Although because of this they?
Very Good Experience
Our family completed an adoption of a beautiful and intelligent 5 year old little girl from Russia last year with Life Adoption Services. The process was started in August of 2009, and we brought our daughter home in May of 2010. This is our second adoption, but the first time we used Life Adoption Services. We found their services to be efficient, thorough and fully informative, making every effort to be timely. When we discovered that our daughter was diagnosed with TB just prior to our court date, the staff was swift in providing us with her updates and finalizing a court date as soon as she was able to leave the country. The staff in Russia was key to our being able to complete this adoption, during the touchy Tory Hanson crisis. They were professional and courteous, and most importantly, respected among the Russian authorities. I have recommended Life Adoption Services to many others who are considering adoption.
We utilized LifeAdoption Services for both of our daughters adopted from Russia. The first in 2001 and the second in 2009.
We had extraordinary experiences both times. The agency always responded quickly and respectfully to our questions.
Both times that we came to LifeAdoption, our previous agencies had not served us well. We were travel ready both times and the second time we adopted an older child, age 10 out of birth order for our family.
LifeAdoption was extraordinary in their support of us and assisted us in communicating in written form with our second daughter, who was old enough to understand what was happening and assisting with the bonding of our family even before our adoption was complete.
We even had a death in our family as we were departing for our second trip in 2009. Joan made sure that the Russian liason was contacted in a timely manner. The Russian judge was very sympathetic to our situation and allowed us to travel back the following week.
We always felt safe and well supported with LifeAdoption. We will always be extraordinarily grateful to Alma, Joan and Cynthia. LifeAdoption is a smaller agency, and as such, we felt as though we received personalized service and have established a true connection with the staff. We will be forever grateful to all of them for bringing us the beautiful gifts of two amazing daughters.
Please allow LifeAdoption to have a positive impact on your life and help you to build your family. We would definitely use them a third time if we have the resources to adopt in the future.