Our experience was excellent. Yes, there were times when I was frustrated and wanted more info, but each and every time there was info on my case I received an email, often late into the night, or a personal phone call. When there were problems with the first referral, Sue made sure it was handled promptly by staff the next day as she was leaving the country, and I had a new referral within a day. The staff really cares and it shows. When I ran into problems with a delayed DNA test, I was given answers by phone and by email. Every step of the way I received the help that I needed, either from a case worker helping me prepare my dossier, or staff who fielded my calls. I tried to not make a nuisance of myself by emailing a lot, because I could see the typical "movement" on the boards of other cases and paced mine by theirs, which to me made sense, even if I did not receive regular weekly or monthly updates. Do I feel like there were things CCI could do better, sure. But by far, I felt like my case was handled with great care and followup.
There is definitely someone anonymous out there who has a vendetta for Sue personally, that is quite clear, as this is not the first time I've seen some pretty horrid things posted. I did not walk in your shoes, and you did not walk in mine, but I find the posts disturbing, especially when you accuse someone (whom I know) who posted with their name earlier that they must be Sue posting. I do know people who did not have good experiences, with CCI as well as with other agencies, and I hope that this rating board proves to be a good thing. The fact that people can post anonymous makes me less accepting of it's truth and usefulness.
EXCELLENT EXPERIENCE!!!!!!!!Emails answered promptly, staff was compassionate and organized. Director visited with us and guided us through process. Agency has YAHOO group for family and agency support and questions as well as a country specific CHAT with the director two nights per week! Best of luck to anyone adopting it has been just a wonderful experience!
I urge anybody reading this to PLEASE find another agency. Join the Yahoo group Adoption Research Group, and there are many adoptive parents that can recommend good agencies. But CCI is not one of those.
We hired Celebrate Children International after falling in love with a little girl off of a photolisting site in Ethiopia. I'll be honest, I came to this very website several months ago and read all of the reviews (as well as on other sites) and chose to ignore those negative reviews. After all, there were some positive reviews too right? And most people commented anonymously, so I assumed there was one disgruntled client hiding behind the guise of 'Anonymous' who had a personal vendetta against Sue Hedberg. Boy was I wrong.
Several months into the adoption, we became very uneasy when we found out how heavily involved Sue Hedberg was in the relinquishment process in Ethiopia, a practice that is considered very unethical by every other agency we talked to. Other agencies said they wouldn't touch the birth families with a ten-foot pole, that that is solely the responsibility of the orphanage workers and local police. Not only was CCI heavily involved, but there was not a shred of documentation (that we ever saw anyway) and Sue Hedberg 'couldn't remember' anything about the relinquishment interview she had had, on video, with the two birth mothers of the children we committed to adopt. Why did the mothers not want their children? Sue 'couldn't remember'. Are there other relatives that could care for them, maybe a father? Sue 'couldn't remember'. Are the mothers possibly sick? Do they have HIV? Sue 'couldn't remember'. She continued to refer us to the videos for answers. The videos were in amharic (which we obviously don't understand), were not translated, and had music dubbed over them. Since Sue insisted all the answers to our questions were on the videos, we found an Ethiopian woman to translate the videos for us. She cautioned us not to proceed until we could get better answers from the agency. She told us from the relinquishment conversation it appeared that the mothers didn't even understand what was happening. She told us that at the end of the interview, one mom said, "Can I go back home now? I'm tending to my bread." From this statement our friend concluded that this mother had been approached by CCI, and she left her bread at home to come relinquish her child into Sue's care. We also saw in the videos, other Ethiopian families lining up in the background, apparently there for their own relinquishment interview. We asked if we could keep the families intact through a family sponsorship. Sue said no such program exists in Ethiopia. Come to find out later, EVERY ethical agency offers family sponsorship before adoption. Not only that but there are many organizations working hard to prevent poverty orphans, World Vision, Hope Chest, and Adera Foundation, to just name a few.Obviously with this information we did not feel comfortable proceeding. We asked if we could adopt the children through another agency which would be more thorough to investigate the orphan status of the children and we were told absolutely not. "We are the agency who has been supporting these children and if they are going to be adopted it will be through CCI," we were told. We asked to speak to the CCI board of directors and we were told that we would have to write a letter to Sue and that SHE would distribute the letter at her next board meeting. We asked if we could speak with the board ourselves and we were told it would be inappropriate for CCI to share their board contact info with PAPs.
It took us three months but we finally found a private investigator who was able to track down the kids and their mothers in Ethiopia. Both mothers confirmed that they relinquished their children at the invitation/persuasion of Celebrate Children International. The children were orphans because an adoption agency recruited them for adoption purposes! Unbelievable! And here we thought we were doing good in the world by opening our hearts and homes to an Ethiopian orphan with no other hope in the world!! On top of that, the director of the orphanage said that they were no longer working with CCI because of similar unethical practices they had observed. Several CCI families had already committed to several children in this orphanage, and it appears that they are not being told the truth about their case and why their referrals are suddenly unexpectedly 'lost referrals'. (Sound familiar?)
There are many other things I could write, the fact that we lost thousands of dollars to this agency, the fact that we were removed from the Yahoo group without explanation, the fact that our client login was disabled for asking questions about how CCI ensures that adoptions are run ethically and legally. Even the fact that our character was attacked for 'leaving this children as orphans" and "holding them up for 4 months" and for "badmouthing them" to other clients. But exploiting families and creating orphans for profit takes the cake, and I am compelled to write this negative but very truthful review about CCI and our experience. I BEG you to not walk, but RUN away from this agency.
After reading some of the replies I am shocked! We had no problems with Celebrate Children. Alot of these comments sound as if they are from the same individual.
Adoption is not for the faint hearted, especially adoption from Guatemala. Sue went above and beyond for our family. My husband needed a birth certificate from the Bolivarian Republic of Chavezuela (Venezuela). It was almost impossible for us to get, Sue was able to get his birth certificate. We had a smooth process and brought home our daughter last year at 6 months. I am a question person and I asked alot of questions!!! I even popped in her office quite a few times (my husband has a office a mile down the road from CCI) and was never treated as though I was an unwanted guest. She did not ask me to write this I was looking up and agency for Peruvian adoptions and wanted to see what CCI's rating was. It is unfortunate that the few with bad adoption stories make up the bulk of CCI's review. Quite frankly the ones who were requested to have mental heath checks should have gotten them! The insults to those who have had a good adoption process are uncalled for and demonstrate a lack of character.
They are a good agency!
I wish I could give this agency ZERO stars- they are AWFUL! Sue Hedberg, the agency's director is cruel and dishonest. She claims to be Christian but treats her clients in far less than a Christian manner. Our adoption took 3 times as long as she suggested, and 90% of the information we got along the way was faulty and inaccurate. Our case manager told us private information and badmouthed other clients (so did Sue), and both of them reprimanded us for politely asking for the truth about our case. Celebrate Children International and Sue Hedberg are unprofessional, deceitful, and not at all compassionate. Beware.
I dont typically write reviews on boards like this but after seeing some of what has been said I feel it is only fair to take a couple minutes and write a review.
We were originally going to adopt through another agency but became frustrated with how difficult they were to work with. This is a very well known agency but I am not here to complain about anyone. I think it was just not a fit as opposed to a bad agency.
After talking to some friends that were adopting through CCI we called Sue to get more information. Our friends were so happy with their experience. After talking to Sue my wife and I took a little bit of time and decided to leave the current agency and move forward with CCI. We are so happy we did.
We brought home a baby girl in December and started right away again and were able to bring home a 6yr old boy in April. Through both of the adoptions the communication was very good between Sue and her staff. It could not have been easier. It is clear that Sue and the staff at CCI care about the children they are trying to help.
I have lived in a few different 3rd world countries and understand how frustrating it can be for us in America to work in a 3rd world countries process's. It boggles your mind sometimes how they do things.
I would highly recommend CCI to anyone. I know that some people have had problems and with a process like adoption in a 3rd world country that is bound to happen. It seems that some people on this board are more concerned with sharing hatred than reality. Whenever someone posts something good someone posts something bad. Probably the same person that can't move on.
Our experience was great and if we were to adopt again would definately look first at CCI.
My husband and I met with Sue and her staff this week and I have nothing but wonderful things to say about them. Her staff was so helpful and offered to help us after hours because we have 2 small children. We plan on signing with them next week and I will make sure to check back every so often and let you know how it's going. I live 10 mins from her office so they are easily accessible.
Hopefully I can offer a different perspective.
I have had wonderful experience with CCI and all of the staff in the states and Ethiopia. I would recommend them! We adopted our daughter last year a process that took 6 months total, and we are now adopting 2 more precious children through CCI and the wonderful, amazing, HARDWORKING Sue! I know that there are so many things that we as adopting parents do not understand and we have to remember that that agency is trying to work in 2 different countries..2 different cultures. I can say, as many others have that Sue and her staff are prompt and to the point! I respect that!
Keep in mind that adoption is a very emotional and trying process. Every single time I have called Sue Hedberg she has answered my call or called me back. She has spent hours assisting me, even before I was a client. She is a sweet, kind woman who has the children at heart always. I have had a great experience. I could not be happier! And yes, I will adopt with them again.
Anyone that has gone through an international adoption knows the process is really, really hard! Your patience is tested, your faith is tested, and sometimes during the process you wonder if it's all worth it.
My daughter is home, so I can say with complete certainty it is worth the wait, frustration and tears.
BUT, and this is a BIG BUT - SUE HEDBERG singlehandedly made our adoption process absolutely miserable!
I honestly think she gets a rise out of intimidating AP's and using her scare tactics to bully us into shutting up.
From referral to homecoming our adoption took about one year. Long, yes, but not as long as many other people.
It was sad to lose some extra months with our child, but what hurt the most was being lied to, belittled and threatened.
Long story short. We supposedly had one of her best attorney's. The first steps of our adoption went just fine (PA, Family court, 1st submission to PGN.) Once in PGN nothing was as CCI told me. I was told of 3 PGN kickouts, give submit dates and kickout dates, given specific reasons for the kickouts, etc.
I TRUSTED CCI for many months because they told me too and I really, really wanted to. But finally the third time something felt really wrong. I started asking questions about things that weren't making sense to me and Sue tried to shove me off. I called PGN to see if my intuition was right, thinking they'd prove me wrong and I'd go on trusting CCI. Well, I called PGN and they had NO record of our file for nearly 5 months!!!!!
I immediately started pushing for information, boldly told Sue I called PGN myself and she told me I was in breech of contract. This was one of her many attempts to scare me.
I hired adoption supervisors (who were great, by the way) and they checked on the case the very same day I agreed to work with them, before I even sent them a penny. They confirmed that our file was in fact kicked out of PGN and had never been resubmitted.
I had to fight like hell to get Sue to do anything and I was for a time scared to death that she would do something to jeoparadize our adoption and our daughter would suddenly be no longer available. Fortunately it didn't work that way.
Once Sue decided to actually check on our file, we showed up in PGN almost immediately, within a day or two. Again, adoption supervisors confirmed this as did the PGN when I called. Miraculously, we came out of PGN approved in about 2 weeks.
After getting out of PGN I really didn't have to deal with Sue any more, thank God, and the final steps of our adoption went on just fine.
I AM CERTAIN and have PROOF that Sue Hedberg intentionally lied to me on more than one occasion.
What I am not certain about is why our file was KO'd for so long, how we got back in so quickly and how we came out approved in near record time.
I could probably do some more digging to find out some of the truths, but it doesn't really change anything so I may let it be. We'll just have to see what comes up!
I had a great experience with this agency. Sue was responsive and everything went smoothly.
Many adoptive parents, myself included, entered international adoption with blinders on. Though we think we know everything there is to know once we start the process, we sometimes assume ethical practices are taking place behind the scenes with birth families. Even if YOUR process was smooth, I really urge families to do their research. When you dig deeper than the happy posts about the awesome communication and smooth processes, you may unravel the secrets of how many unethical agencies do business - including Celebrate Children. In the adoption world to parents who have traveled around this block a time or two, I can tell you this agency and director has THE WORST reputation.
After reading Finding Fernanda, I will never, ever adopt a baby girl with non-special needs. We, as adoptive parents, feed DIRECTLY into the corruption. To be honest, it amazes me that Celebrate Children is even allowed to still exist in the adoption business. What you see on the surface may not what you choose not to see on the "other side" of adoption, the birth parents side. I was very surprised to see such strong ratings. It scares me to think that APs haven't really taken the time to learn more about their agency's past.
My husband and I are in the end of our process to bring our baby girl home from DRC with CCI. A little over 2 years ago we started our family with a bang and brought home two infant sons from Ethiopia with CCI! The entire process took 7 1/2 months and our boys were around 8 months when we brought them home.
Sue was very thorough and professional, but she was also there for us when we needed answers or help with the process. We were lucky enough to travel to ET at the same time Sue was there and even though she was SUPER busy she made time to give us a tour of the Transition Home and went with a big group of adoptive families out to eat. She loves all the kids there, and KNEW them! You can't say that of most International Adoption agencies.
Our daughter's adoption has taken longer, but we knew it would, since we are one of the pilot families and they are still learning the process, and figuring out all the communication issues(Congolese people are not known for being open and forthcoming) We are expecting to travel in a couple of months if the passport gets processed quickly!
If ANYONE has questions about CCI please feel free to contact me on Facebook or through my E-mail address email@example.com (e-mail address can be used to find my FB page as well). I have not met a single family who has not loved working with CCI, and have a list of people to refer you to who would be open and honest about their experience.
It is very rare that an adoption goes through without a hitch. Our first adoption(s) went so smoothly I automatically said "We are due for a few hiccups next time around!". We started our journey to our daughter in January of 2011. We lost 3 referrals while they were doing background checks, due to them finding living extended relatives(in DRC the Mother's Brother has more legal authority over the child than the biological father in the area the first two came from). Even though I was heartbroken over those 3 precious children, I KNEW the moment I saw our daughter's face that she was the one meant for our family. I was also SO very thankful that CCI's in country people were doing their jobs so well! I would not be able to sleep at night if I thought CCI was corrupt and adopted out 'stolen children'. I know CCI is a honest, aboveboard agency, and Sue has great integrity.
We received our daughter's official referral about 10 months ago. She has passed all of the court dates with flying colors(there are 4 court appearences) and is now oficially our daughter!
I believe that most of(if not all of) the negative comments/votes are from when CCI was still doing Guatemala adoptions. Guatemala was in the process of shutting down adoptions and things were hairy for ALL agencies doing adoptions through there at that time. I am sorry for those families who had to go through that, and I know one personally(did not adopt through CCI, but had a rough time and ultimately did not adopt from Guatemala, after the baby they were referred, passed away).
My husband and I also got the chance to meet Sue's daughter, Julie, and she has stayed with us several times. She had been with Sue on her 2nd trip to the DRC and actually got to hold my baby girl while there! I was slightly jealous, but extremely thankful to know that while they were there my daughter was loved on.
Really none of the issues we have run into have been because of CCI, but the Congolese not being prompt about sharing information(even though Sue and Cherie are in almost daily contact with the lawyer).
I highly reccomend CCI, and we have several family members and close friends who would say the same about their adoption experience with them!
Becky Jo Gerber
Seriously ...who takes seriously anyomous complaints....bogus and bah..................
mom of 11, 5 through CCI and g.ma to 3 through CCI
chidlren through Sue at CCI and 3 of our grandchildren came through Sue at CCI.........I call that a very good track record!
is the many testimonies of successful cases lead one to believe that CCI should be trusted. just a thought...read up on the positives. CCI works very hard to do the right and good thing for children. The evil in this world would seek to steal, kill and destroy.....CCI often works an uphill and against the tide battle but they do their best for families and for children. Sue loved our older boys when no one else gave a hoot about them, she advocated for them and brought them to our attention. We would not trade them for anything, fought like a mad dog for them and can't imagine life without them....and CCI was with us every single step of the way. And we have the most incredible boys, brought home as young teens, that any one could ever hope for.
We are back on board for the 3rd time with CCI! My first rating of celebrate children was when we were in process of bringing home our first 2. We had them home only 2 months before we started the the process to bring 2 more home. We would not trust any other agency. CCI works very hard and is constantly working to keep abreast of the frequent changes and requirements. so much do we trust them that we are adding our 3rd adoption, 5th son, from Ethiopia through CCI again.
As I said in my last post over a year ago. There are stressors in this journey. Huge ones and no adoption experience is without them. I feel very badly for those whose experience was "bad" and yet they have their children home with them and adore them. A bit of an oxymoron I think.
those who complain bout falling in love with a child only to find out that some random circumstance halted the proceedings need to remember how many couples experiences this same thing when they encounter miscarriages and other pregnancy related complications that prevent them from parenting the child they have have never actually seen yet but fell in love with. The emotional roller coaster is tough I will admit. But CCI understands this and will be there with you all the way.
this agency is excellent and works tirelessly to unite families. If I coudl give them a 20 I would!
Go for it with Celebrate Children!
Celebrate Children International is top notch. And I am part of a group of several families who have built their families through CCI services and Sue in particular. my daughter & her husband used them twice for a total of 4 children adopted (Sue helped with 3 of those) And we will be bringing our children home by the end of March 2010. People experience disappointments at times. It is a sad fact of life. But CCI goes way beyond the call of duty to answer questions and provide step by step instruction for families. We got many many more updates on our boys than people we know who used other agencies. And there is the element of prayer they infuse into their services.
I feel badly for the people posting criticisms because I am sure their dissatisfaction grew from a disappointment in their life. much like a couple blames a dr. when in vitro fails or miscarriages occur. And of course jealousy and resentment when others are successful in building their families.
I give Celebrate Children and Sue a 10 star rating!
This agency is by far one of the worst I've ever dealt with. We were put through pure hell and one week before we were to adopt we were told China rejected us. The people working there claim to be christian but I saw anything but christianity. Stay away from this agency; it's about the money. They also lied to my wife and I continually. I don't know how they can sleep at night. Shame on Celebrate Children. Bill
I'm a news reporter investigating some of the complaints against Celebrate Children International. I've got several hundred pages of documents from DCF I'm combing through, but would like to communicate directly with those of you who've had bad experiences. You can e-mail me at Andrea.Conklin@wftv.com.
This is an unfair comment - how many women are interviewed prior to becoming pregant to make sure they can handle the "pregnancy process"? Adoption is a difficult process, but then again so is pregnancy, and insisting that every person that ever becomes a parent should be evaluated is simply ridiculous. If a PAP asks too many questions, or has an emotional reaction to something during their adoption process, they should be encouraged and assisted by the agency - not threatened with a psych evaluation.
I, too, wish I could give this agency no stars. I completed three Guatemala adoptions with three agencies and CCI was, in my opinion, the worst by far for many of the reasons mentioned here. Add to that the fact that they patrol yahoo groups and chat rooms and have their employees pose as happy clients (this was verified on the adoption agency research yahoo group), and you have one crooked agency. Those who have had a good experience likely either don't have anything to compare them to or were extremely lucky and didn't hit any bumps in the road. Run, do not walk, away from CCI.
I also had a great experience with CCI and my case was NOT an easy case. I asked question after question and never felt that I was given anything less that 100% of Sue Hedberg's and her staff's full attention. As far as time line goes we were in and out of PGN for 6 months and our child came home at right at one year old. Like I said not an easy road but I do not fault the agency for that. Communication was great and I felt as though the staff was very empathetic as to our feelings during the process. They had an awesome support system which included weekly chats and a yahoo group. I met tons of other CCI families who I remain very close to. I hate that others did not have a good experience - but ours was excellent.
No one else has posted the timelines, although another person responded elsewhere saying it would be a good idea to post them..
To keep my identity safe I'm not going to list the months (and years) involved. In total with CCI my case took 16 months.
Month 1 - DNA. Although there was a DNA mixup of dates.
Month 2 - Pre-Approval
Month 3 - Family Court (CCI/Sue promises clients that family court is taken care of on the same day as DNA, which is not accurate and something Sue should stop telling clients).
Month 4 - Nothing. My completed family court file was left for a month while social workers were on vacation.
Month 5 - PGN submission & numerous KO's
Month 6 - Nothing ....
Month 7 - Nothing .... Lies of resubmission
Month 8 - Nothing .... More lies of resubmission amongst other lies..
Month 9 - Nothing .... More lies of resubmission
Month 10 - Nothing .... Lies, lies, lies
Month 11 - Nothing .... You guessed it, lies
Month 12 - Resubmitted to PGN and KO'd
Month 13 - Resubmitted to PGN and KO'd
Month 14 - Rectification
Month 15 - Resubmission
Month 16 - PGN Out
I feel there may be a possibility of sabotage with my case. There are many more details involved, but I have a strong feeling towards it.
The verbal and mental abuse by Sue and her staff is amazing. "They" declared when a family needed a psychological evaluation, however, none of them were mental health professionals!
What I found to be comical after my hell ended is that they want you to send them your updated address, phone number, and email address for the next 10 or so years. Can you imagine going thru the most traumatic expierence of your life and then giving your contact information to the alleged abusers for the next 10 years?
When your case has no problems, you will have no problems with Sue... but when it hits a snag, watch out!
How are you going to dispute what the author has obviously gone through? It's fantastic that your adoption went off without any problems - congrats... Many, many, do not. She has been denied once again by the COA.. that speaks volumes.
I was not impressed with the service that we received from CCI. We were not told of the true date that our case went into PGN, after waiting for 13 weeks in PGN with no news, we got brave enough to call PGN ourselves. It was at that time that we found out that our case was not submitted on the date that we were actually told, it occurred 6 weeks later! After finally getting out of PGN, things went smoothly. We did discover though that our child was diagnosed with Failure to Thrive (by our pediatrician in the States). Yes, our child was definitely worth the wait, but I wouldn't use CCI again. Adoptive parents deserve to be told the truth and not lied to.
I will warn any client looking into CCI to STAY AWAY. When you first look into them they will appear on the exterior to "have it all together" and Sue will be sweet and friendly but once she has you locked-in you are on your own. We lost our first referral while visiting her and we have become aware through seperate lawyers we hired that it was a case of fraud and baby buying. Our second referral is now home but we still are afraid because their were children in his foster home who are under investigation about being stolen. The positive comments left about them are probably from Sue herself or one of her trolls.
We started our adoption with CCI in July 2007 and in Feb 2008 picked up our little angel! I had stopped in unannounced to CCI many times to drop off paperwork. The staff and Sue were very helpful. Sue would stop what she was doing and attend to my questions or concerns right then and there. I did understand there was alot of political red tape with adoption and can understand why things may take long. There are many bloggersn out there and clients that are disgruntal or impatient. But unfortunately those people are ignorant and need to understand that things take time, and IT'S not all in Sue's control. I had a good experience, and yes, sometimes i felt frustrated or nervous but having been to Guatemala, i can understand there is alot of red tape...
Sue was kind and reached out to us with the information she had. Our child was exceptional well care for by her foster mother. Other than one PGN KO we had a flawless process. We traveled with Sue and she obviously cares for the children. On our pick up we met many happy CCI clients. I am not an employee or Sue.
I'm afraid to post any details that would identify our case because of what Sue or her staff might do. Just that fact speaks volumes.
No one but Sue will ever know if her actions are intentional or simply the result of greed but I have personally seen the inappropriate sharing of personal information (about both her staff and her clients) and incompentency (losing paperwork / dates on final paperwork conflicted with information we were given along the way).
Just some of the inconsistencies: when it's convenient for her, Sue says the lawyers don't give her current feedback; when it's convenient for her, she says she speaks with the lawyers daily. When it's convenient for her, she says she knows all the foster mothers very well; when it's convenient for her, she says she doesn't know YOUR foster mother. When it's convenient for her, she'll tell you on a group chat that she is monitoring all the cases closely/daily; when it's convenient for her, she'll tell you on the very same chat that she doesn't have her spreadsheet with her and can't tell you about your particular case. When it's convenient for her, she'll tell you that she gives every one of her cases personal attention and be with you every step of the process; when it's convenient for her, she'll say she has so many emails in her mailbox, stop asking anything, she'll contact you when there is news. The misinformation goes on and on and on. Sue very often says "trust me" and people who say that are usually the ones you shouldn't trust.
International adoption is a roller coaster and there are certainly worse agencies than CCI. But there are also better ones.
We had a good experience with CCI and Sue Hedberg. In the end, we are very greatful for Sue's dedication and hard work througout our process. She along with our case manager were very good to us and ALWAYS available to answer questions that came up. Yes, she did give us the "short" email responses (which did bother us from time to time) but she always, always responded and gave us honest answers.
I am also very thankful that she visited with our child on three seperate occasions throughout our process. The pictures and videos are things we will always cherrish because without them - we would be missing memories of our child as an infant.
I understand that other AP's out there did not have such a great experience with them but from my own personal experience I would have to say that I am happy with their services and we would use them again.
Last year we were in the midst of a horrible adoption process with another agency, and a friend referred us to Sue Hedberg. For 6 months Sue was available to talk to us, answer our questions, give us advice, and help us try to save our adoption. She spent hours on the phone with us. When we asked if we could pay her, she said, "Just send me a picture of your little girl when you get her home."
In December we came to Guatemala to try and straighten out the situation with our daughter, and Sue happened to be here as well. We decided to start a second adoption, this time with Sue. Sue went out of her way to arrange for her very best attorney and facilitator to take our case. She felt that since we'd had such a horrible experience with our first, she wanted to do everything possible to make sure this experience went as smoothly as possible. The attorney wasn't taking new clients, but took us as a favor to Sue.
So far everything is going very smoothly with this second adoption. Sue always answers my emails and always provides honest information.
I would never ever wish these people on anyone EVER. Adoption is fraught with emotions for us PAP's and no one deserves to be threatened and bullied for wanting to be treated as adults. Sue constantly complaines about her work load, e-mail load and every other thing to make clients feel bad for wanting answeres to simple questions. She is paying herself over 300,000.00 dollars a year and her husband 150,000.00 a year and earning that kind of money should take more than the average work week. I urge anyone thinking about using them to research facts at the yahoo group Adoption_Agency_Research before paying one red cent.
CCI is the worse adoption agency on the planet!! I am convinced they are in a category by themselves!
They did not get Hague accredidation--no surprise there! They are attempting to remediate the problems but based on Sue Hedberg's lack of communication, refusal to respond to requests for information despite the fact that our contract clearly states we are suppose to get weekly updates (haven't had one in months), her mean-spiritedness AND that she has told ALL her families that she will not know (ask the attorneys for confirmation) if our cases have been registered with the CNA in Guatemala until it is too late to do anything about it!!! You can remediate organizational problems but not character defects!
I would rather set my hair on fire than work with this agency for our next adoption!
I started considered my referral in February, but didn't accept it until June, and we are expecting to go and pick up our little boy first or second week of March! Sue has helped us through this and I am very thankful because the situation in Guatemala is so very unstable and chaotic. This has been (and still is!) very stressful for all of us, but she's our cheerleader and would take a minute to respond our emails, encouraging us to keep faith in God. I pray every night, reminding myself that everything is in God's hands and that He's working through Sue. We see the truth of it when we got out of PGN end of January because we almost got the previo for not documenting our (and the baby's) disabilities. When Sue learned of it, she argued with the PGN and the attorney and as a result, we got out earlier than the usual 8- weeks wait.
Please remember that every case is different. But regardless, I believe that Sue and staff of CCI show their dedication through each and every cases they work for.
We used CCI for our adoption and would never use them again. Sue headberg was our facilitator. She is extremely disorganized. We recieved information on children that we were not adopting. Both medical and pictures. We had to ask constantly for updates that we would find she had gotten but had never passed along to us. Her office lost paper work that I had fedex'ed to them and they had signed for.
When she was out of country (a good deal of the time) she left people in charge that were not allowed to contact anyone in Guatemala. When she didn't know the answer to a question or she had bad new she would not bother to return our phone calls. She would get nasty if we pointed out any issues that we were haveing or asked for information.
I have to agree that Money seems to have clouded the her judgment.
We had a positive experience with CCI and would use them again. Fair in their fees, very good communication (through caseworkers), and friendly in-country helpers to make sure the visit and pick-up trips are good times for all. We had a great attorney and (most importantly) brought home a healthy little baby just under 6 months old.
I am very pleased with the services provided by CCI, especially happy that the director goes to Guatemala every month or two to see our babies/children and send photos/video. The whole process (with our first adoption) was very positive and we had our beautiful baby boy home at 5 months of age. The in-country helpers and attorneys were fantastic to work with and really took good care of us. We are using CCI for our second adoption and they have been very truthful (and held off collecting most of the fees, attorney's fees as well) until we are sure that our case can proceed under the new Guatemalan process. Sue at CCI has always been very truthful and open with us and we appreciate her love and concern for the children of Guatemala.
A satisfied PAP (twice)
I was surprised to see all the negative posts about CCI - we are working with Sue (the agency is not just made up of Sue, though most people don't mention anyone else) for our second adoption and really feel that CCI is one of the best adoption agencies out there, especially when working with Guatemala. International adoption will always leave lots of question marks when waiting, but our caseworker tries her best to get answers to our questions from the information available by our attorney. The caseworker and agency director have been very honest and open regarding the changes taking place in Guatemala and the chance that we never may bring our second child home. Working with an agency based on Christian values is a plus for us and the support group (chats and message boards) are full of wonderful Christians who want to support each other before and after their children come home. Sue and staff are dealing with a LOT of children and want the best for each of them - when dealing with that many children it must be very hard to give each child individual attention but Sue manages to get photos and video to each family to ease the wait. The fees are reasonable and the in-country assistance is great. I highly recommend Celebrate Children (and Sue) to anyone looking to adopt from Guatemala.
I also have had a horrible time with Sue H.
We were lied to on too many occasions to count. Had to hire outside help from lawyers in Guatemala to find out any TRUE information. Never received the monthly updates or medicals promised without having to beg for them.
Received curt replies via email. One word answers.
Asked us for the final $10K AFTER we had ALREADY paid it 6 months PRIOR!
Received updates for a different family regarding where we were in the process. Found out the truth a month later that what we were told was not intended for us. Happened 2 different times.
Sue does not monitor her Foster Mothers/Families. My daughter was abused physically by her family and Sue did not know about it!! Even with monthly pictures taken and meeting with the FM on several different occassions. My lawyer said that there was no need to tell Sue as she would not do anything about it! My lawyer moved my DD to a new FABULOUS home the day after the Dr. alerted her. As far as I am aware, Sue still uses her as a FM.
The adoption process should be full of anticipation and joy. Run the other direction unless you like lies and heartache, which is what our adoption expierence was full of.
I chose Celebrate Children after months of agency research. All of my initial emails were answered promptly and in great detail. They also represented themselves as Christian individuals. I felt confident that Sue and her staff were compassionate, caring people who truly loved the children of Guatemala (and other Countries) and wanted nothing more than to see them united with their forever families. I was prepared for the ups and downs of international adoption and the many unknowns, but I was not at all prepared for the emotional abuse this agency would cause so many families entrusting them to make their dreams comes true. I prepared my dossier with little to no help from my case manager, receiving no responses to my many questions. When I became paper ready and received my referral it was told that we were represented by "one of the best in country contacts" over the next few months it became clear that everybody was represented by "one of the best". I was told that in the next 6 months I would be receiving the call to pick-up my new child. In the beginning things moved quickly and within a short time (3 months) I had DNA, exited Family Court and received Pre-Approval from the U.S Embassy. I was then submitted to PGN and kicked-out several times over the several months for errors. The weekly updates I was promised never came, my emails were either replied with two worded answers or not at all. I began to feel as if I was bothering my case manager and contact between me and this agency was gone. I had to take charge of my case. So many children celebrating their first birthday's in Guatemala, coming home a walking, talking toddler. Many families have had to hire outside help in order to complete their adoptions. Sue is well known in Guatemala, but not for her caring heart. She is a bully who abuses her families emotionally and financially. You quickly learn to remain silent if you want your child home. To many questions will result in the threat of a lost referral. If you become upset she will require a pyshological evaluation claiming you are an unfit parent. Her yahoo group is not there for support but rather a way to monitor her families. If you say something in any way contradictory to her you will be banned. Chats are often used to gossip and personal information is shared about non- participating families. If the tone becomes negative, Sue will share stories about famillies who have lost referrals or children that have died. Stating we should be happy we still have a referral. Celebrate Children was one of the last agenies to continue handing out referrals up until the very end. Many Power of Attorney's were signed the last couple weeks of December, but little information was shared with the families about the risks involved. I do feel that long ago Sue must have cared for these children, but somewhere between her office and the bank it was lost. I do not want to see any other families fall victim to this agency. Adoption is supposed to be a beautiful experience, but using Celebrate Children will take away from that and cause you a lifetime of pain.
By the way all the above news reporter email is non exsistent. There is no such email. Please pay attention to the fact that any reputable news reporter would seek info from both sides of a story. The fact that this 'said reporter" is only seeking negatives can only lead us to confirm the pure bogusness of the reporters work and the reporter her self.
Congratulations on your decision to adopt. I hope you don't mind my suggesting that you consider a couple of things before you become too tied to one particular agency. CCI has an F rating on the BBB. http://www.bbb.org/central-florida/business-reviews/adoption-services/ce.... Also, if you are new to the process of adopting, you should research the Hague Convention and understand what it means to be denied Hague accreditation. "The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Convention) is an international treaty created to ensure that intercountry adoptions are in the best interests of children and to prevent abduction, exploitation, sale, or trafficking of children. Hundreds of adoption agencies have achieved Hague accreditation, and only a handful have been denied. CCI is one of those few who were denied. If I'm not mistaken, they have been denied twice.
If you contact the COA they will tell you confidentiality prevents them from disclosing reasons for an agency's Hague denial. If you ask CCI about their Hague denial, they will either tell you that the allegations were false, or they will tell you they do not know. But many adoptive parents will tell you they have run into serious ethical and problematic situations as clients of CCI, including being lied to, threatened or mistreated. Many clients have had their referrals yanked out from under them, or have been forced to undergo psychological exams for questioning the adoption process. I learned first hand that you don't talk to other CCI clients about your case, compare notes or express concerns, or you will be kicked off their yahoo group and your password will be disabled.
Nicole, you should also know that as of last spring, there had been nineteen formal complaints made against CCI. There have been several investigations into CCI's practices. As you probably read in a previous article posted, it is only because Florida's adoption laws are so antiquated that CCI's license hasn't already been revoked.
I would highly recommend that you take a week or so to really study and research before you take the plunge. Join the Adoption Agency Research Yahoo group, where adoptive parents can freely share their adoption experiences without fear of retaliation. Please ask about CCI there. Or look at the archives. Ask about some other agencies. Holt, for example, is known for being highly ethical. Perhaps you will find that proximity of location doesn't matter so much (It is just as easy if not easier to mail documents than to drive to your local office ten minutes away!) And you might find that after hours meetings are not as important to you as ensuring that your adoption is completed ethically and that you and your family are treated respectfully.
Good luck, and congratulations!
We had a very negative experience with this agency and would never recommend them to anybody. Please do your research, particularly about Hague accreditation and what it means when an agency is denied.
I came across this agency a few weeks ago and as a habit, I always google everything including BBB just to find out more about any org or a company I will be associating with. Oh my God, I happened to tumble on this rating site! I am scared to death because I was about to call them as I would like to adopt a child! Luckly enough I have all paperwork and approval from immigration, also dossier ready!! I am horrified to find out this information before I make the biggest mistake of my life! It is a shame that greed can take controll of people and it is a real shame that they can do all this while pretending to care so much for children! I thank all the courageous people who have written all these horrifying stories about Sue!! We need to expose people like this in our society!
The reviews of Sue remind me of a poem...There was a little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead. And when she was good, she was very very good. And when she was bad, she was horrid!
I am happy for those of you that had wonderful experiences with Sue. Most likely 50% of her clients love her but please don't minimize the true heartbreak and damage that this woman has caused so many of her clients AND children. I know firsthand how Sue's lack of professionalism and integrity leave a lasting pain that I wouldn't wish on anyone. Building families through adoption is too important to only get right 50% of the time.
I too, am stunned at the responses that I have read on this site along with others about CCI. We had no easy process and were kicked out of pgn twice before bringing our daughter home at 11 months old. Not at any time did I feel like I could not pick up the phone and call them and ask questions about my case. Sue, herself called us and checked us while we were in Guatemala when we experienced some delays. She visited with our child several times and forwarded us long videos and many pictures which we will cherrish forever! - What did she have to gain by doing that? She along with our case manager ALWAYS responded to our emails within minutes of asking questions - and we asked our fair share!!!!!! She had weekly chats and a support group which she was ALWAYS present! I truly beleive she cares about the children in Guatemala along with each family that she has. Like I mentioned before our process was NOT easy and there were times I wanted to hold someone and anyone accountable. I really and honestly hate the fact that others had such a negative adoption experience but to slander this woman and make comments such as "the devil", etc. shows me charachter of person posting. I just hope others understand that and realize that there are many happy CCI families out there!
Our experience with CCI has been wonderful, Every question we asked was answered promptly, even on Sunday. Sue is a wonderful person and truly cares about the children and families that use CCI.
She is the hardest working person that I have ever met. We are currently waiting on our pink slip to pick up our son. I would use this agency again... Our process has been very smooth, 9 months from start to finish..
Still getting over 4 failed referrals including one that we met in person! Wouldn't wish this agency on my worse enemy.