Adoptions From the Heart

Average: 3 (42 votes)
Adoptions From the Heart

Adoptions From The Heart is a private, non-profit, non-sectarian adoption agency, licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia, and approved for placing children with Connecticut families.

Phone: 1 518-863-8455
111 Bridge
Northville, NY 12134
52 user reviews


I am very surprised about


I am very surprised about everyones bad experenices. I am a BIRTHMOTHER and I dont think that I could have really asked for anything more. Im in VA and the Aparents are in PA. I just talk to my case worker and it has been almost 8 months now. Maybe its the overseas adoptions that they may need work on. I just know that I have found the PERFECT parents for my beautiful daughter. If it wasnt for AFTH I would not have be able to find them. They offer support to me when I call and need it, we are starting a birthmother group to help deal with the lost of a baby through adoption. They are just really caring people I work with. Im sorry that not everyone feels the same.

Great experience (Placement August 2011)


I had a very positive experience with Adoptions From The Heart. I used the Cherry Hill, NJ office and was in the AA/Biracial program. When my social worker, Elaine, was assigned, she asked what were my expectations. I told her I expected to have my questions, calls, emails etc. answered promptly. I explained that "promptly" didn't mean "immediately" but that I did expect a response in a reasonable timeframe. She exceeded my expectations.

My son came home in August 2011 (after only a 5 month wait) as an emergency placement. He's perfect for my family and I couldn't be happier. As a "bonus" I also became friends with another single mom who went through the process at the same time. She is also happy (her son is home also) and just today said she'd recommend the agency without reservation.

My adoption is not finalized but I will come back to update my review when it is. Best wishes to all who are searching for an agency. Adoption really is one of God's greatest gifts.

P.S. I rated 4 stars and not 5 because I'm "one of those people" who gives no survey a perfect score (smile)

Denise C.



I'm not sure of the circumstances of others but as for myself and my family, we would recommend NO OTHER AGENCY but Adoptions from the Heart. From the moment that we walked into the office until the time that we landed back on US soil we were treated with respect and courtesy from their staff and their in country facilitators. Our social worker, Sam, walked us through the process step-by-step. He gave us a timeline of events which was right on the money. While we were in Vietnam, Maxine and some of her staff were personally there with us, in country, including at our meeting our son and the giving and receiving ceremony--taking pictures for us to boot!
Somebody earlier had mentioned that Angelina Jolie had used Adoptions from the Heart and that they may cater only to the rich and upper middle class. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our adoption was 3 weeks after Jolie's from the same exact orphanage, using the same in-country facilitators, the Pinkertons. I only mention this because my wife and I are just working class people, she a mental health counselor and myself a nurse and yet we were given the same treatment and courtesy as a big Hollywood star had gotten a few weeks before--and that speaks volumes about this agency.



I recently adopted through AFTH. The adoption was finalized about 2 months ago and I couldn't be happier with the experience! AFTH's staff worked hard to ensure that we understood how everything would work. Once we were in the book it was a bit of a waiting game, but that was to be expected. The educational course they had us take really helped us understand the process. We were also encouraged to call and check in whenever we needed to. I definitely took advantage of that and I am so glad I did! Otherwise I think I would have felt unsure of what was going on. Our social worker was always there to help us and counsel us through ANYTHING! Sometimes I just needed someone to talk to about it because I was so nervous and anxious! It was kind of frustrating having to wait, but me and my husband realized that this is what we signed up for. We knew that when the time was right, we would get the call! And we did! Again, our social worker was right there with us step by step. I really liked how she tried to make everything as comfortable as possible for not only us, but for our child's birth-mother as well. We are so thankful for the gift she gave us, so we were very pleased that her social worker from AFTH truly took the time to look after her and her well being during this process. Overall, I think that AFTH did an excellent job and did everything in their power to provide us with a WONDERFUL experience and a beautiful child!!! I would recommend them in a heartbeat!

Happy with AFTH - x2


We used AFTH twice (Domestic/African-American program - 2007 & 2008) and were very happy with the agency.

The first time-round, we did have some issues with one of the social workers but once expressing our concerns to the agency were re-assigned to a wonderful SW. The second-time round, the agency helped us rush everything through so that our children could be together (they have a bio-bond as well). At times, we wished for more frequent contact and updates but always felt our SW was responsive to our questions.

Based on our experiences, I would recommend AFTH....but in light of some of the other comments, it seems like things may not be going so well as of late.

Very satisfied with AFTH!


I'm surprised to see all of the negative comments. Maybe it has more to do with the particular office or the particular program, (e.g. - Guatemala), than the agency as a whole? We just completed a domestic adoption with AFTH in VA and could not be happier! Our SW was positive, flexible and supportive. The office staff was also very genuine. I would definitely recommend them!

Decent agency


We adopted domestically with them. Our experience was good, but not great. Mostly, the homestudy took a long time to be done compared to other places, and getting a copy of it was actually pretty hard. Communication was ok during/after placement, but the main issue was the last of communication during the wait - no idea if our profile was being shown, or how many situations actually fit our choices... no feedback on how long we could expect to wait considering our preferences... we basically didn't hear from the agency for months.
Another con is the lack of information/counseling for transracial adoptions, and the high fees (including a high upfront fee).
We did like the ethics of the agency though - good counseling for birthmothers, not letting them ask for huge living expenses, and being able to say upfront how much we were comfortable to pay - it's why we went with them in the first place, we didn't want to lose a lot of money if we ended up having a failed match.
So a good experience overall, although I would shop around more for another adoption.

I love AFTH


My husband and I used this agency for two adoptions and they could not have been more professional, helpful, supportive and emphathetic. I met many other families throughout my process who were equally pleased with their involvement with this agency. International adoption is a very difficult process--especially recently. The process in the countries change, but that is not the fault of the adoption agency!!

Wonderful Experience with Adoptions From The Heart


We worked with Adoptions From The Heart for a domestic adoption in 2010. We found them to be extremely professional and supportive. We worked mostly with Ashley K as our social worker in the Wynnewood office and we also worked with Michaelina. We can not say enough positive things about our experience with both of these phenomenal social workers and the staff at AFTH. They made this process comfortable and not scary or intimidating at all. They walked us through the process and all types of situations we could face and how they would be handled so we would be prepared for anything and everything. We always felt confident with them and supported by them. We started the process at the very end of April 2010, went through the paperwork and homestudy process and then entered the program officially in August. We brought home our baby girl in October 2010, so we were fortunate to not have a long wait at all. Ashley helped us with every question we had and she was there for guidance when we needed it. She answered our calls and emails promptly and thoroughly. The classes offered by AFTH were very informative and allowed us to connect with other adopting parents who could relate to what we were going through. We will be forever grateful to AFTH for creating our family, and we hope to use them again in the future.

Excellent Agency to Use


We used the Allentown office for both of our adoptions. All of the staff members were very knowledgable, considerate, and available to answer any questions that we had. They were also very supportive for us during rough times when we were very close to going thru a disruption with our 2nd son twice. I would recomend this agency to anyone and would use it again if we ever decided to adopt a 3rd child. We could never thank them enough for helping them complete our family!

adoption from russia


I could not be happier with my adoption or the process. We were given information when we asked for it and if our case worker did not have the answer she found it. It is hard for me to read all the negative things about this agency because our caseworker Debbie was fantatic and helped us every step of the way. Maybe it was a particular office but our office helped us bring a wonderful boy into our family. We consider them like family. Thanks Debbie and Katie for making our journey perfect.

AFTH was wonderful for me


I also loved working with AFTH and have a beautiful daughter because of them (home in '06). My experience was just fine, as one has to "roll with the punches" as international requirements change by the country at their whim (major ones the agencies should most often know about ahead of time, but smaller changes may come quicker or even depending on the judge you get). I was informed of potential changes and as documents were added as new requirements shortly before travel, I was ready.

I also wonder if it's just specific offices or employees or programs that others might have problems with (that's unfortunately very possible that all staff are not of the same caliber). Or, is it just the fact that we want to have control over a process where, at least with international adoption, a foreign country can change requirements etc on a whim and we have no recourse. If you go into international adoption with an expectation that nothing will change as you wait, or with an entitlement attitude that the country is doing this for you vs. for the children, or that the agency actually has power over the foreign country, then your experience won't matter on the agency, but in any case, it won't be a good experience.

I am not saying that every worker there is the greatest as I only have experience with a few, but those I was in contact with gave me the info I needed. I admit I didn't ask for a lot of details until my travel time came closer and maybe there was a bit more in the way of travel info that I would have preferred, but as someone who has traveled a bit for business, I was able to adapt easily, know the questions to ask, or get the info I needed elsewhere. I can see it might not be enough for someone who didn't have much experience in traveling.

Also, AFTH's foreign team (at least in the country my daughter was born) was absolutely top notch!!! I can't say enough good things about them!! They understood the local procedures well, dealt with any changes, and also were very caring and helpful.

My husband and I just


My husband and I just completed an adoption from Guatemala with AFTH. They did give updates but they were less detailed then we would have liked. They were a bit unorganized and we would have liked a little more support. With that said, all the BIG things were done right. The adoption went quickly and smoothly as possible. Our daughter was well taken care of and Foster Family was wonderful. Lawyer was professional and staff was friendly and capable.

Domestic adoption with AFTH - wonderful experience


We had a really wonderful experience with Adoptions from the Heart's Gladwynne and Allentown, PA, and Cherry Hill, NJ, offices. AFTH started out as just our home study agency, as we were originally planning to do an international adoption with an agency located out of state. However, we eventually decided to switch to a domestic adoption and at that point we moved our entire process to AFTH. Our adoption of our son was finalized in October, 2011.

We had some bumps in the road -- mainly, before our son came to us we had to return a newborn who had been placed with us a week earlier because the birth mother changed her mind. That was extremely difficult, but we felt we had been very well prepared for the possibility by AFTH and we felt well supported through the whole process.

Our experience has been that the AFTH staff really cares about us, our child, and our child's birth mother, and that staff members at various offices work together extremely well to support everyone involved. We feel very good about the way his birth mother (a teenager) was treated throughout the process, and that is part of what made our adoption such an amazing and positive experience. AFTH has done a wonderful job from start to finish. I'd recommend them to anyone.

I can't believe the


I can't believe the negative comments about AFTH. I don't know which state that all of you are from. We are in the process of adopting from Guatemala for the second time with AFTH and I fell it has been a positive experience both times. Everyone that we have had contact with from the receptionist to our social workers has been very understanding of how stressful adopting can be on a family. They have not always have the answers to the questions we have asked, especially because of the changes going on in Guatemala but as soon as they know the answers they let us know. The fees were spelled out for us in the paperwork and we never were asked for any additional fees that were not outlined in the paperwork. They where and are on top of needed paperwork that is required for adopting from Guatemala even with the changes that are occuring sometimes daily. I am sorry that most of you are not in agreement with me . However I would recommend AFTH to anyone due to my experiences with them. I don't know if this agency varies from state to state but my experience with them from pa. has been a positive one and the only reason I didn"t give them a rating of awesome is because we have not completed the second adoption. If I was just rating on the first adoption the rating would be 5 stars

Communication and


Communication and organization poor during the Hague mess possibly due to the inefficiency of the Guatemala contact. Went months without updates, which was excruciating during the long wait. Support afterwards non-existent. Fortunately had a wonderful foster home & mother in Guatemala.

100% Recommend - 2 Successful adoptions :)


My husband and I adopted our son in 2012 and our daughter in 2014. Both were domestic adoptions, VA and DE. We worked mostly with Ashley at the Wynnewood, PA office. We could not be happier with our experience. We were in the book 8 months before we were chosen in our son's adoption and were in just about 1 year in our daughter's adoption. Our emails and questions were always answered promptly. Working with Adoptions From The Heart was the best decision my husband and I ever made.

A great agency with a heart for the special ones


My husband and I have adopted five times. Four of the homestudies were done by Adoptions from the Heart Pittsburgh office. Their homestudies were done in a very timely manner and were top notch.

We received three placements of special needs infants from AFTH, and working with the Pittsburgh office, were able to apply and receive subsidy for the last two due to their medical needs. They fought for us to make sure our precious ones had this very important item, providing a medical card for them until they turn 18 years old.

One of our placements was a special needs child with another agency, but once again AFTH Pittsburgh came through for us with the homestudy and postplacement visits!!

Debbie from this office is amazing to work with and works very hard to find the best family for the child. She is extremely supportive of the adoptive parents even once the adoption is finalized!!

Would we use them again? YOU BET !!

Maxine and her horrible off


Maxine and her horrible off spring Heidi are the most vile people on the planet. Beware of who you are dealing with crazy and mean.

8 Adoptions=Highly Recommending AFTH


AFTH Pittsburgh office has been instrumental in building our family over the past 13 years. Without their professional services, and amazing support, we wouldn't have the 8 beautiful children who call us Mom and Dad.
In addition to our two biological children, we were blessed with four children who came to us as babies through international adoptions, 3 who came through domestic newborn placements, and a 2 yr. old whose prior adoption had been disrupted. In every case, Debbie was always incredible at providing a home study, post placement visit, phone calls, etc. She is a wealth of information and knowledge. She always had our home studies completed in very little time, and communicated with the placement agencies and lawyers whenever needed. We have dealt with many different placing agencies and lawyers through the years, and we have often been disappointed...but never with the AFTH Pittsburgh office! We trust them wholeheartedly, and continue to refer people to them! It is also worth noting that we found their fees very competitive, and in many cases lower than most other agencies! We also found the time frames for a completed home study to be much shorter!
We completed a domestic newborn adoption through AFTH two years ago. From beginning to end, Katie, Debbie and Joan walked us through every step. Even when we experienced major concerns with our daughter's placement, they went above and beyond to ensure that everything worked out. In the end it did, thanks to their support.
Joan is a complete angel! She is so gifted in working with birth parents! She connects with them, and is a steady support and counsel to them. Katie manages the office with professionalism, and a true heart for all involved with the adoption process. She is a constant voice of encouragement and wisdom. Debbie is an experienced social worker, who has impressed us in every step of our adoption journeys, from homestudy to post placement visits to finalization.
Debbie, Katie and Joan each hold a special place in our family. We highly recommend the AFTH Pittsburgh office!

Great Experience!!


My wife and I worked with the Pittsburgh office and they are absolutely wonderful! We definitely appreciate their honest approach to adoption in giving us realistic expectations as well as transparency with regards to the cost of adoption. Our case worker Laurie kept us on track throughout the process. Whenever it looked like we were struggling or we felt that the wait was too long for us to bear she provided the right words to say at the time and the encouragement we needed. This agency and especially the Pittsburgh office really knows what they are doing when it comes to adoption. Today my wife and I are the proud parents of a newborn baby girl whom we've waited all our lives to receive. Thank you AFTH Pittsburgh office for helping to make our dreams come true!!

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life" - Proverbs 13:12

adoption from the heartless


From the birth mothers side of the coin, this agency makes lofty promises as well, only to drop you like a bad habit once they have completed their sale. Every new mother experiences post partum depression, understandably it is often far more sever with mothers who give the baby up. My daughter was promise post baby counseling, but was given the bums rush once these corrupt people had what they wanted. I would like to see an investigation of the practices. I was just informed of all this by my ex wife. I intend to make things hot for these lying, unscrupulous baby mongers.
Please, if you are doing the right and difficult thing, choosing life over abortion. Be sure to get everything you need in writing. It will be hard for you, you will need counseling and a lot of support. God bless all the young ladies making this choice, and God bless all the wonderful parents who are making a loving home for these children.

Adoptions from the Heart is excellent


My husband and I are waiting to adopt domestically and are using Adoptions from the Heart. We chose them because we really liked their ethics and felt that they treat everyone in the adoption triad with care and respect. We have found them to be very supportive and they have told us multiple times that we can call them as often as we need or want to during the waiting stage. We looked at some agencies that said please don't call us during the wait and thought that was outrageous. We liked that expectant parents considering placing a child get to see as many potential adoptive parent profiles as they wish that match their specific conditions. In other words, birth parents get the chance to make the choice of who they want to have parent their child without being restricted to a specific number of longest waiting families by the agency. We liked this policy and felt that it showed care and respect for the birthparents. Also liked that adoptive parents, birth parents and kids placed through the agency have lifetime support from the agency. So far AFTH has been upfront and direct with us about everything.

Where should I begin...........


Giving a one star rating for this horrendous agency is being generous. I am unable to post our ongoing negative experiences since they would identify us and because I would simply run out of room. I will start from the beginning. During our group meetings, there was VERY important info which was withheld (we learned later) over & over again...EVERY one of our group members had ongoing issues with AFTH (Wynnewood Office)-Maxine Chalker, the Founder & owner, is simply awful and unethical. A very respected adoption attorney described her as being a "miserable human being & very difficult to deal with"- The case workers (only one is an actual social worker) are dreadful- THey would send emails and shout (using caps...who does that???))- They are incredibly unprofessional and are anything but warm and fuzzy. There was little to no support at all and information/requirements would change constantly-THey would say one thing & do another-In other words, the agency did whatever they felt like doing-They take your money, know that you "need" them and don't care about you at all- Additionally, paperwork was lost frequently (not just ours) - Despite this being the agencies fault, they would "accuse" people of not submitting it! Really? This happened multiple times to several people in our group. I know that 2 families in our group have contemplated contacting an attorney (for valid reasons!!!)- A co-worker & his wife, in my husbands firm, left AFTH to go elsewhere-THis was after a disruption and they walked away leaving the $$$ behind-THis is how disgusted they were w/ the agency! Another couple who I met adopted 2 children but states that she would never recommend using them. Her own sister (who is adopting) is pursuing other options. Another couple that we met recently, decided against using them after the info session in Wynnewood-She felt that too much info was being left unanswered- I literally could go on for hours...........THis is a terrible agency being run by terrible people- How sad that an adoption agency is being run this way! There are wonderful agencies around the Country and I would highly suggest choosing one with not only a stellar rep, but one with pleasant, authentic, professionally trained and emotionally supportive people.

A miserable experience


What a disaster this agency is!!! We used AFTH, (the Cherry Hill NJ office) for our most recent adoption and I was appalled at the way that the staff there treat adoptive parents. They were not remotely helpful or supportive and at times were downright threatening. Our social worker was CLUELESS on the adoption process and would often say "you know...I usually do domestic adoption so I don't know the answer to that"!!!! Well, I am paying you over thirty thousand dollars to know!! The process for us was sheer hell and the lack of emotional and logistical support was really disheartening. The communication was non-existant and the little information that they did give us was pure "fluff". Our child is home now (no thanks to them) and I continue to be disappointed by our social workers behavior even in postplacement meetings she continues to be unprofessional and difficult to work with. For anyone looking for an agency please run the other way...there are good agencies out there and trust me (and the many other families that have posted here) this is not one of them!

The support we got was good


The support we got was good getting paper ready once referral came through though it was almost nonexistent. They are focused on keeping the attorney happy at any and all costs. No explanation was given as to where the fees were going and we were made to feel like we should not even ask when extra money was being requested. On pickup there were multiple things discovered that we found out to be untrue. Basically once in the country we were left on our own with very little assistance from the attorneys office

We would seek other agencies next time around


Our experience was 2 years in the making, with lots of promises and very little information or follow-up. We would receive a call about questionable drugs/history for the birth mother and had to make a decision if we wanted our profile shown - and then never hear back from the agency, all the while wondering if she was still choosing or chose another couple. Several attempts were made to rectify this but further calls to us followed the same pattern.

Our placement was emergency and I have to agree with other posts, the information given at first was not complete or accurate. Only when we met the birth mom's SW did we get the complete story, accurate details (in writing!) and felt as though we were dealing with someone competent.

The reason I've dropped them to 2-star is the fee schedule, which was raised 3-times in 18 months - ever six months the rate went up $2,000 for the placement. We were exempt from other fee hikes since we already paid them thankfully. That is $6,000 in a recession. Mind you, Maxine's salary was $232,000 which is a bit high for a non-profit as we've researched other agencies which were larger (a bit further away) and the President/Executive Director took about half as much for services. Ok, everyone needs to make a living but our program rate went up 40% in 18 months!

Using we find out that Maxine gave herself a nice raise, making $378,000 total compensation for the year. The 40% increase makes sense and now we know where our money went.

Mind you, if we had unlimited money we would still use another agency. We had a string of multiple bad SW assigned to us and the one we wanted was overworked but very good. We have a wonderful child and we wouldn't change that for the world however it was our understanding that the agency was started altruistically -- but apparently has morphed into a nepotistic money-maker. It's all about the money from the moment you get that phone call!!!

being anonymous


This agancy is extremely vindictive. That is all I can say. I can't believe if you worked there you could have any other opinion than that there is such greed and lack of empathy. They don't care about the adoptive parents or the birth mother, just can they collect their fee before the birthmother disrupts and can the baby be a race that they can charge a higher fee for the placement.

What you pay those high fees for?


This agency is all about the money. They want to clean out your pockets!

Take a look at the salaries! Maxine Chalker earns well over a quarter of a million dollars a year! I looked into it when I saw the high fees and the nickle and diming that goes on. I think they have premium prices and not premium staff! I think they need to put the money where the service starts, with the social workers. . They want to pay a social worker less than a pizza delivery person!!!!

Check out and go to form 990. Salaries are there and this doesn't account for profit sharing and bonuses! How is this considered a non-profit?????

I think that the COA is on to their antics and unprofessionalism.

I find it interesting that everyone is remaining anonymous


I think that it is interesting that when most people are posting on this board, they are choosing to remain anonymous.

I worked for this agency for a little over two years. It is not the best agency that I have worked for, but they are not as horrible as what I'm reading here.

A lot of what happens in other countries is due to the rapid changes that come about within those countries. I know that I told people this over and over again prior to signing with the agency. Adoption is not for those who cannot be flexible.

However, I will say that I have also read some valid points on this board as well.

Do your research, do your part of what you are supposed to do during the process, keep in touch with your social worker and REMAIN FLEXIBLE!!!

And remember, your social worker is your key contact, but he or she is low down on the totem pole of this particular agency.....if you are having problems, ensure you do not share in the blame and do your best to work with your social worker. No one is entitled to a baby.....this is a serious, serious journey. The social worker's job is to find good parents for children. Not find a child for a family.

Go with AFTH! They're Awesome


Earlier in the year they sent us to the Ukraine (former Soviet Union) to adopt. Someone from AFTH in the Ukraine read e-mail messages (not addressed to them) that we had sent to the AFTH offices in the US. Our in-country "team" gave out our private apartment phone number to a third party with whom we weren't doing business. We got a threatening phone call in the middle of the night from an angry intimidating Russian/Ukrainian man who said that we could consider our adoption terminated and that we would be forced to leave the next morning. When Maxine Chalker and Terry Petrone were asked about it, they basically had no comment (for legal reasons I suppose). Two other American families we knew got the same threatening phone call that night. It's incredible that AFTH is still in business.

Name Withheld for Privacy Reasons

Do your research and GO ELSEWHERE!


We went spent two years with this agency and decided to go through their Ukrainian program. The pre-travel preparation was a joke. Their program coordinator (Terry) had never even been to the Ukraine and knew very little about how things worked there. We basically paid $17,500 to get an appointment and were shown no kids within our age range (2-5) and saw no remotely healthy kids (HIV, HepC, Cerebral Palsy, Profound mental retardation, etc.) We wanted to come back to the US after our first appointment and cut our losses, but were coaxed into staying for two additional weeks because they made approximately $11,000 more off of us. Do your research and GO ELSEWHERE!

Name Withheld for Privacy Reasons



DENIED HAGUE ACCREDITATION!!! My husband and I used this adoption agency for our Guatemalan adoption and endured close to 20 months of sheer hell from the inept social workers there! I am so relieved to see that this horrendous agency has been denied the ability to continue international adoptions in Hague countries. Our process was un-necessarily long and communcation was non-existant. My heart goes out to those families who are in-process while in the midst of this mess and I hope that they are able to complete their adoptions with out further disruption. Thank God the COA recognized a bad organization!

Run The Other Way


This is not the only board that shows people dissatisfied with Adoptions from the Heart. We talked to a few family friends who had used them several years ago, so we thought this would be a good agency for our China adoption. Not TRUE! If I can give negative rating here, I would. There is no interactions with them after we send our application to China. I sometimes have to educate my SW on the China adoption process that I learned online. The only good thing I can say is that my SW at least calls me back whenever I ask her a question, even though she usually doesn't have the answer. Recently, we asked them about our application status in China, since everyone else from other agencies (CCAI and USAA) with similar application date were referred. They said that they couldn't reach their counterpart in China (Gracewood,) so I have to contact Gracewood directly. Well, if they couldn't reach Gracewood, who works for them, how do they think that Gracewood would reply to my e-mails? What am I paying them for, then?

Plus, their fees are higher than other highly rated agency. If you are considering China adoption, check out CCAI and USAA instead.

I do not recommend this agency


We used this agency twice. Everything seemed okay the first time around, but last spring when we used them for our second China adoption, we were very disappointed. First of all, AFTH offers no support whatsoever for waiting families. When you are putting your emotions, money and faith into International Adoption, it's important to have ongoing support from your agency. I'm talking about more than a cold letter from the director once a month providing information that anyone can gain from the internet! My sister's agency held monthly travel meetings during the long wait so waiting families could get to know each other. AFTH doesn't have the traveling families meet at all except for once right before the trip.

My spouse did not travel with me on our second trip which turned out to be a nightmare! Although this agency knew that I was traveling alone, they did nothing to prepare us except throw a packet of information my way (at the travel meeting) and say, "Good luck completing the forms." No one told us that our Power of Attorney would not hold up at the U.S. Consulate nor that my daughter would not be granted immediate citizenship upon entering the states. The real kicker came when I found out that the packet of information (consulate forms) were outdated and would not be accepted in China. Thanks to Adoptions From the Heart, my daughter and I were almost stranded for another few weeks in China.

We had a very long and drawn


We had a very long and drawn out adoption from Guatemala, with no true extenuating circumstances. (Referral to home 17 months). AFTH was very hard to work with and showed very little empathy. They were great about getting us paper ready. Other than that... use someone else for an adoption from Guatemala.

I would NEVER recommend this


I would NEVER recommend this agency to anyone. Communication was horrible and they have no firsthand experience of what the adoptive parent is going through during the process.

Avoid this agency like the plague!


I had an unfortunate experience with one of their so-called "emergency placements". While I understood that possible emergency placements were part of the contract, I did expect them to be professional enough to give me adequate information on the birthparents, before expecting me to hop a plane and travel to pick up a baby. At first the SW told me both bparents were in the military. Then she told me only the bmother was in the military. The bfather had left the military. Then I was told that the bmom had a baby that died @ a year old, but they could not tell me why. Even then, I was still considering making the trip. I told them I would need a little time to get there, and they were less than accomodating. I had to go immediately, cause the baby was about to be discharged, and since there was no time to get a certified check for the fees, to just bring my checkbook. Red Flag. I told them I would be unable to go, and that I couldn't leave my job for an unspecified amount of time. They responded with a threat to kick me out of the program if I didn't go. I didn't go, and they told me that they would be generous and alllow me to stay, but the next "one" I had to take. All they care about is getting their fee, and getting the baby off their hands. It's a business exchange. Avoid them.

Your inference is inaccurate



In my post, I am not validating nor dismissing yours or other's experiences with AFTH. However, your inference that I am not an adoptive parent is an incorrect assumption. I am an adoptive parent (x2), an adult adoptee and an MSW. I DO know what adoptive parents are experiencing.....I have traveled that road and traveled it hard.

There are a lot of different offices in AFTH in a few different states. Some of the social workers are really good and their hearts are in the right place. Some of the social workers should not be doing this type of work. There is good and bad everywhere. No one is going to be pleased all the time with every experience.

But I DO hear what you are saying. If you had a bad experience and poor support that was TRULY the fault of the social worker on your case or the agency itself, I feel for you. The experience of adoption is difficult enough without dealing with the incompetencies of the 'professionals'. In my experience, many times a lot of the issues were with the countries themselves or even the adoptive parents. I'm not saying that was or is true in your case. I'm saying that I saw plenty of it. I also saw amazing adoptive couples that were on the ball and worked as a team. I also worked with wonderful offices within AFTH and other offices that did their jobs at a minimum standard.

You are correct in saying that a lack of communication and empathy in adoption is deplorable. That is why I entered this field after the adoptions of our two children. I wanted to make a difference. Hopefully I have.

As far as remaining anonymous, if your adoptions are complete, post placement is complete, you have nothing to worry about as far as retaliation goes. Heck, people speak out even before placements occur and the adoptions still go through. For the agency to legally retaliate against you, they would have to have some solid documentation and in my opinion, they do not want to risk a lawsuit.


I have not adopted through


I have not adopted through this agency, nor would I. The feedback above which is mostly negative sums up all I have heard. Maxine Chalker and her staff seem to be into big promotion, and I nearly gagged when they used Angelina Jolie's one adoption as an opportunity to blow out a press release trumpeting "Angelina Jolie Chose Adoptions From The Heart to Handle Vietnamese Adoption".

Because the agency is in a relatively affluent Philadelphia suburb (according to the Realty Institute, $155,187 is the average household income) there's a bit of snob appeal. It works like an English accent does on Americans, implying professionalism and education. At the end of the day, it doesn't seem AFTH is all that special.



After doing a lot of research my husband and I chose this adoption agency for our Guatemalan adoption. What a disaster!! The staff (with the exception of a few kind secretaries) was HORRENDOUS! There was absolutely NO emotional and logistical support throughout our 15 mo. adoption. From referral to pick up was just one mess after another. The legal updates were scant at best and we had to practically beg for them! I even received an email once that if I persisted in questioning them about the status of our case they would pull our homestudy!! Nice huh! Our case was in and out of PGN for close to eight monthes and when I would call to speak to my social worker she did not have any idea what the steps in a Guatemalan adoption even were!! I was constantly educating her! To be honest too many bad experienced happened to even write them all here. Our child is finally home now and I continue to be SHOCKED at the lack of competence and accountability that I encounter from this staff. So for those of you looking to find a caring, competent and compassionate agency to complete your adoption please...look elsewhere! Our only blessing is that our child is home now, but I can assure you AFTH has little to do with that!

Our AFTH Rating


I cannot recommend this agency. Although we had wonderful communication and support during the paperchase of organizing our dossier, once that phase ended, so did the communication and support. Our questions were mostly put off and when answers were provided, they were half answers or outright lies. Nothing was ever put in writing -always by phone despite numerous request by my husband and myself for written replies.

The facilitator they used for our program was terrible and they took no responsibility for the messes he made. The education program was mostly "fluff", deep issues were glossed over, real risks were classified as rare or the result of unrealistic expectations of PAPs.

This agency should be called


This agency should be called Adoptions from the HeartLESS. They have no business being involved with adoptions from Guatemala. They used a facilitator who they had problems with in the past and represented her as an attorney to me. My case was NOT handled by an attorney. I was lied to over and over. I finally hired outside attorneys in Guatemala to make sure the adoption was legitimate and get it back on track. When I demanded to visit, I was relieved to find a healthy, happy baby, which I give all credit to a loving foster mom. I was then sent a phony medical report. My son could not have seen their doctor while he was with me in the hotel when I visited! When I picked up my son, the facilitator tried to extort money from me outside the US Embassy. The agency defended the corrupt facilitator and treated me horribly. I missed many months with my child because their facilitator was corrupt with the money and the agency didn't visit Guatemala and check on the children and didn't require paperwork to prove the status of the adoption at any time, especially when the case was supposedly out of PGN. This is an agency to be weeded out in order to clean up adoptions from Guatemala. I wouldn't want anyone to experience the heartache I did in order to get my superboy home. He is the blessing of my life.

My experience with this


My experience with this agency was not a good one. I found them to be disorganized and unprofessional, and was told several things I later found to be untrue. Their lack of organization, professionalism, and empathy added to the stress I experienced in the weeks before traveling to adopt my child.