I wish I had known about this site much sooner. I had a similar experience to "Misled Birthmom." We found out we were pregnant in October of 2003, and didn't decide to place her until February 13th, 2004. That was the day we went to Demastus. We were told that since it was so late in the pregnancy, that we had to pick an A-couple right then & there. So we did, not knowing any better. On February 25th, the horrible doctor they had chosen for me induced labor against my wishes (I wanted a c-section, but he supposedly didn't do those), and had to do an emergency c-section. I had just met the A-couple THAT morning. They didn't seem to want anything to do with me or my hubby, the Demastus ladies didn't want to help either of us, the doctors & nurses went against my wishes on just about everything...and it took 2 years (and the help of ANOTHER agency) for me to even get a single picture of her, and we're back to no contact again.
I've since placed another child, he's 2 now, I'm still in touch with his A-mom at least once a week through e-mail, she sends pictures all the time online, through a shutterfly account so I can get copies whenever I want. I went through another agency for that one. They were better before the adoption, but the after-birth care was just as shady & awful.
I wouldn't mind the lack of communication, but for the fact that we wanted an open adoption. I understand that A-parents can be fearful that B-parents might "change their minds" later on, but that doesn't really give them the right to cut us out of their lives all together. Especially since I really need to get in touch with them to advise them of a hereditary medical condition their daughter might have that I just had surgery for. I have no idea how to contact, other than through Demastus, and I'm having no luck at finding an e-mail address for them. The A-mom from the second adoption is trying to assist me in contacting them somehow. (serious condition, had a neurosurgeon operating on me, and is more likely in females than males)
This is really upsetting, she may not be "my daughter" anymore, but I did give birth to her, and I don't want her to have to go through what I've just gone through if catching it earlier would prevent it.
Mislead Mom and others,
I feel for your frustration and hurt, but I'd like to offer a view from the other side. I am an adoptive father of a beautiful little girl. Our daughter's BP were desperate due to her pending due date and we agreed to help them through the delivery by providing food, shelter, medical, transportation, etc. We agreed to have an open adoption and did follow-up on that promise. The issue was our inability to get a good address for them to send pictures...they were transient. We would run into them periodically and ended up having to give them pictures in person because they could not stay at one address long enough. Our in person visits did include our daughter. In our situation, we believe, they used this emotional tie to allow them to contact us earlier this year to help support a second pregnancy. We agreed to keep the siblings together and supported them the exact same way we did previously. Four days before the baby was born an agency move them to a large city in Louisiana and would not allow us to meet with the BP. We believe we were scammed by the BP (and the agency, but that is another story) due to our open relationship, so they could be a "better deal" from the agency. I am in no way suggesting that you would do this to Michael and Jamey, but I thought you might want to hear from someone on the other side. We have chosen to close the adoption with our daughter's BP and will never do another open adoption due to these experiences.
I have good reason to believe that Julie was fully aware of the birth mom's decision to keep her baby long before the baby was born. While the birth mom was on happy pills and in labor at the hospital, she let slip some disturbing details that hinted towards keeping her baby. It was not too hard to decipher that she had been planning on it from early on. Her fiancee who stayed with the birth mom, couldn't look at us in the eyes. He knew.
In fact, looking back it was to Julie's advantage for a failed adoption. A few months later, we had a successful adoption through another agency in OKC. Julie was fully aware of it, because word got back to us that she was "Happy for us." Long story short, we had to sue Demastus for the money that was in "escrow" (around $20,000), that could have been applied to another adoption in her agency (oh yes, we were done). She refused to answer the phone, return calls, etc. After the failed adoption, not a word from her. She was hoping we would just disappear. We had to get a lawyer on her case and she went to defend herself in court before paying our refund, where it was totally decided in our favor. It was almost a year for our refund (un-applied legal fees). It would have been nice if those funds were available for our successful adoption. W'eve got a wonderful family. Why would she even want to go to court? I guess our lawyer was better than her lawyer.
I really believe she prays on adoptive parents (who are crazy, and will do nearly anything to get a child, making us very easy targets for fraud), and I believe that she is happy to take any case because that is cash in the bank. She is all about the sale, and nothing about the support. I am speculating, but I really think that she coaches the birth mom's on what to say, and what to do and how it will go down when they want to keep their baby. We had the baby girl for three days from the hospital. It was the 11th hour before the singing off of parental rights. I believe this was all planned, to make it look like they worked on the birth mom. Within a day, the birth mother had her facebook page up, with her baby and pictures of the nursery all done over. This was the most fraudulent and unethical experience we have ever dealt with.
I am curious as to who the ones with "great experiences" were working with?
Update: Its been over 2 years since I first posted here. I was in Tulsa (a 7 hr drive for me) a few months ago, and called and left a vague message to bait them for a call back). right away I got a call back form Julie herself, on her cell, and I was so happy. However, that quickly changed to dispair as I told her who I was (name, brief placement info, the years I have left messages and had no response) and said I would like her to act as a "Liason" to contact the a-parents for me so that I do not seem to cross any boundary, she asked me 2 times their names again, (which I have found by my OWN research), and said in the end, she didn't think they have those records anymore, but maybe. Then quickly switched to a jingle about how if I knew anyone expecting to send them her way and they will help...I hung up thinking why in the world would I send any mother your way after all this heartache?? I know it isn't ALWAYS ALL her fault, but I have been in this position for YEARS with that being the first EVER contact from even the AGENCY. It is just WRONG.
I still just want a photo at least, but more than anything to see his smiling face and know that I made a good decision. How can such a selfless descision turn out to be sooooo unfair?
Please message me if you know any updates on Demastus....
"Because the agreement on a car is NOT worth more than the agreement on a child...— Misled Birthmom for Open Adoptions"
We adopted our 2 boys, now 8 & 10 through Demastus. One from Oklahoma City and one from Tulsa. I was very impressed that they had more social workers than lawyers.
The first birth mother who picked us let us support her for several months, then backed out. Fortunately, Demastus found us another right away. There are no guarantees. There can't be.
During the time leading up to the adoption the birth mothers were treated very well. We paid for their rent, groceries and medical bills. The social worker drove them to do their shopping. While we were in Oklahoma for the birth, the adoptive father's (me) sole responsibility is to make sure she didn't have to eat hospital food. For every meal she would tell me what she wanted and I would find a restaurant to order carryout.
In the beginning we kept in touch with the birth mothers. As time passed the contact dwindled, but we still exchange letters with other members of the birth family. We are planning a trip to OK to see the birth mothers again. I ran across this site when I Googled Demastas to find their Tulsa phone number.
We are still trying to finalize through this law firm after 6months!!!! Julie Demastus and coworkers have no ethical conscience; once they have the money forget about getting anything else. Julie Demastus continues to chronically lie about the status of our case and does NOT return phone calls. I have contacted the OK Bar Association and Cleveland County courts about her behavior. PLEASE everyone stay away from this place!!!
There are SO MANY better firms and agencies.
We were referred to Demastus by a family who had adopted from them in the past. They had a potential birth mom pregnant with a biracial child. She was 5+ months along and they "couldn't find a family for him".
What bothered me is that the agency appears to be run by a 25 year old office manager and Julie Demastus is a figurehead like in the TV show Remington Steele. She would NEVER contact me because I didn't have text capabilities on my phone. She filtered all her "news" for me through the woman who referred me to the agency who is NOT an employee, she is an adoptive mom to a child placed by them, bless her heart. I didn't know her either; she is a friend of a friend. After getting strung along for several months (supposedly the BM kept standing this "office manager" up so she couldn't get our info in front of her and then it was "oh, she's picking between you and another family"), I figured there would be no baby, but if I remember right, they let us know way after the baby was due in an "oh, sorry, by the way, BM kept the baby". Yeah, when the due date came and went, I kinda figured as much. Oh well, we we were only out the $$ for the homestudy which is why I didn't get more upset.
When I took paperwork into the office (after making several attempts, it was like nailing jello on a wall because she's also in school full time), said office manager took a phone call on her cell phone and rather than excuse herself, I was party to the whole conversation.... The questions about potential birth mother's rental history, the offer of paying her rent, a Walmart card. I found it interesting yet very unprofessional.
I'm really glad we hadn't paid them anything and we never could get a straight answer about a timeline regarding fees. This could have been really important as the BM's due date approached and we didn't have time to take out a loan against our 401K, as I'm sure many families need to do.
I didn't do my homework because I was referred by the friend of a friend who also had her own adventure with this agency but it ended with a baby being placed with them. I knew that without prior planning, we couldn't write a check for 1/2 the fees at the hospital without prior planning (which is what this lady had to do) and we weren't going to take a huge penalty hit on our 401K without some direction from them.
My (now ex) husband and I sent our application in to Demastus adopt a child in April 2003. After a few matches that we turned down for various reasons, we accepted a match in August 2003 with a birthmother who was due the following January. We went to Tulsa to meet her and spend time with her a couple of times that fall, and I talked to her at length each week on the phone. Early in the process the woman in charge of their Tulsa office (main office is in OKC) left/was fired/who knows and was replaced by her relatively new assistant who really had no clue what she was doing.
Approximately a month before the birth we gave them the other half of the money as required. We always did our part. The birthmother went into labor in January, and we got a phone call. We hit the road as soon as possible and made it to Tulsa a few hours after the birth. We went straight to the hospital. It was a Thursday night. The next day our birthmother left the hospital. The baby had to stay until Saturday night because of jaundice. We took the baby to an apartment we were renting. We had to go to the hospital each day to have the baby checked because of the jaundice.
Tuesday morning the birthmother was supposed to go before the judge to revoke her consent. Late the night before we got a phone call that she'd changed her mind and wanted the baby back so they came and picked him up within 20 minutes. It was HORRIBLE to say the very least. The next morning Julie and a couple of other people from OKC drove to Tulsa and met with us along with the Tulsa staffers. They cried and said they felt terrible. They told us that we were at the top of their priority list to get a baby. That was January 2004. We NEVER heard from them again - except for a change of address letter that fall. They have no idea that we adopted a baby that summer from an agency in Florida that was fabulous to us. They still have a lot of my money so what do they care?
Demastus staffers clearly hadn't spent much (if any) time with our birthmother because I picked up a million red flags that they never even had a clue about - all things that they should have known and would have if they'd spent any time at all talking to our birthmother. They really screwed us over. I had two attorneys look over the contract and paperwork, and there's nothing I can do about what they did to us. They pretended to care, but honestly, they didn't care one bit about us. They gave us the names of two local couples that had failed adoptions like we did then got babies very quickly. I talked to them, and they raved about the agency. It was all suck a crock. I wish I'd never gotten involved with them.
We had a horrible experience that I wouldn't wish upon anyone. My ex-husband is still haunted by the whole experience. There are a LOT of agencies out there. PLEASE be careful who you choose to work with - as an adoptive parent AND as a birth parent. If anyone has any questions, please post a comment, and we can talk in more detail about our experience if you'd like.
By the way, I only gave Demastus one star in the rating field because they made me rate them in order to post my comment. If I could give them negative stars, I would.
My Adoption Experience…
When I found out I was pregnant at 17 years old, I was scared and embarrassed to say the least. I had no idea what I was going to do, so I just ignored the situation. When I could wait no more, my parents found out and called Demastus Law Office. Julie Demastus answered the phone and that afternoon they came to my house to tell me about adoption. Since I had put off making a decision (hoping it would all disappear) everything had to happen very quickly…there was no other option. Even though the process was rushed, I never felt like I was being pressured or that the wool was being pulled over my eyes. I truly felt (and still do) that these were ladies who truly cared about me and making a horrible situation turn into the best possible situation…and it did! I couldn’t have done it without them. The DLO Ladies gave me a few profiles of adoptive parents but I was overwhelmed & asked them to pick for me. They picked a wonderful family for me who was at the hospital the whole time I was there. Both the adoptive parents and DLO were there for me throughout my stay and catered to me completely. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for everyone’s graciousness. I can’t imagine having to go through this process with DLO’s expertise and compassion.
Now I am a soon-to-be college grad and thank God everyday for sending DLO into my life. Everything I achieve or hope to accomplish is in hopes that one day when my son is old enough to truly understand the situation, he will want to meet me…and when that day comes, I want him to be proud of the person I have become.
Today I still get pictures of my son and have a wonderful relationship with my adoptive family. I couldn’t have a better family for my son and wouldn’t change a thing.
I highly recommend this office to anyone on either side of the board.
Dear Michael and Jamey,
How is Nathan?
I have attempted to contact you through the Demastus Agency for over 3 years now to no avail.
They won't even return a phone call, not one single time, nor fax. Thus, I have began the exhaustive search process and began leaving messages on online chat boards and signing up with adoption adovocates and websites and registries to take a proactive stance in the matter in hopes of regaining contact.
I only wish to know how Nathan is and have a chance to explain to you how I was misled by this adoption. I believed that with Jamey's education in psychology, and mine, as well as your beliefs in education and promising in your letter to do what is best for Nathan, that the fragile nature of his little psyche was entrusted to the two who would know what to do and read every book or news article available regarding adoption, how to live it out, what research says, and that this would blossom into a loving gift that we both equally shared. You having helped give a child I could not see a happy future for with me the very best that he deserved, and I giving you a talented, very healthy, and very beautiful child. I believed in my heart, as hard as it was to do, that this was in some complicated way God's will.
Adoption became a factor only in the last month of my pregnancy( which I was 3 weeks overdue I might add) as a result of the father's last minute denial of paternity and refusal to help financially when he'd promised so much and was able... and I a mother of a 3 year old who received no aid of any sort from the government because I was using my new bachelor's degree in the mental health field making just enough to scrape by, had nine dollars in my bank account when he was born trying to keep utilities on and the rent paid after the moving expenses I was still catching up on from months before on my dream to become a great adult and help the mentally ill. I'd spent months huge and pregnant sleeping on an air mattress, paying for my doctor visits, lab bills, eating healthy, attaching, bonding, holding him in my belly and believing I would parent him. I had almost 2 weeks paid sick leave to take after he'd be born then I would need to pay for child care, and I'd had 3 tests, one of which was the sonogram, indicating down's syndrome, for which my ob/gyn had already referred me to a specialist saying he would require immediate care. The last few weeks I was flooded with fear on how I would manage since the father withdrew. I imagined us evicted and stuck 7 hours from home, my car was broke down, I had no phone, so there was not even a way to get to family across the state, who would be terribly judgmental. After receiving a nasty email from the father saying he wouldn't help and maybe adoption was a better option due to the down's, I saw another commercial for Demastus saying something like, "If you really love your child and want more for them, call." So I called and set up an appointment with a Demastus advocate explained my situation and my reservations, asked many questions for which they had all the right answers to, I initially agreed to consider (CONSIDER) an open adoption only. One set of parents' packet was dismissed as soon as I read they would not agree to an open adoption. To which she replied that the agency didn't even deal with parents who were not open to the birthmother's wishes, something I believe to be rubbish now. The agency said they would get my car running, pay the rent for me to recuperate on maternity leave and deal with any mental hardship, get me a phone to call friends for support (which I didn't have) and said I needed to focus on taking care of my daughter and giving her a better life, and at the same time giving my son the life he deserved. I believed it....and it is true in most regards. I am a very spiritual person, and when I saw your packet, all your interests listed matched mine to a T, Jamey's degree and field was the exact same, education and travel were a priority as it is with me, your marriage and love for one another was evident, and I didn't want my kids in a broken home, they'd lived in Colorado as had I, been to New York as had I, and as corny as it sounds, I was born and bred an OU fan, and you displayed that very well in your photos, as well as stated you hoped to raise your family here with Oklahoman beliefs and you were in the very town I was. It was comforting to know a little about what that meant, and what he would be raised to believe or even see and appreciate, versus say California of which I have no idea of the culture. I was even careful enough to analyze that adoptive parents tend to bond more with a child who resembles them, and their interests, and the traits such as hair color and eyes were exactly the same for the father of Nathan and Mike, including their intelligence factor, just as with myself and Jamey our beautiful green eyes which have a tint of blue and yellow were a match, and I already mentioned the field of study. All around we resembled eachother, only it was as if you were us in an alternate universe where we lived happily in love, were grown and successful. I remembered thinking sometimes as a depressed child, if only I could have chose my parents things would be better. And I felt this was my chance to choose my son's parents who as hard as it was and is to admit, could do so much more for him than I ever could at that time in my life, and provide the love as well.
I understand and greatly appreciate your protection of Nathan, and I want you to know I do not wish to interfere in any way with your life together, I simply have a biological emotional need to know that he is ok, and regardless of how much you possess or that I know of this or that or Jamey telling me years ago he was your prince and would want for nothing, I just wish to see his smiling face from time to time for reassurance, to know I did the right thing. To know it was God's will and all is well. To give me what little peace of mind I can have.
You should also know that I stopped the deposition at the courthouse hearing in OKC to waive my rights when the issue of legalities and open adoptions in the state of Oklahoma was brought forth to me. No one EVER told me there was no way to enforce it here, it was all peaches and cream before that, we stopped got up I walked out crying and they followed into the lobby and went and got your attorney Tina Peot, who assured me that you were very nice people who agreed to the open adoption and there would be no problems. I believed her. Was I a fool? Was I taken advantage of during the most fragile, indescribably horrific moment of my life?
I have not seen his face smiling since his first year, and even that was a struggle to get. I honestly DO feel misled. And I have been, or I wouldn't have to be writing this letter now, searching the state for a way to contact you and let you know I am not a mom who just passed this baby on to someone else as a relief and moved on. I had the best of intentions and it was for a long term commitment to live a difficult new role, as a birthmother. Not the adoptive mother who would parent, but still as a birth mom, a new family friend.
Before we moved from Tulsa back home across the state, I met with Jayme (hoping to see Nathan, but she did not bring him - my first heartbreak- that is if you don't count the first visit at Chilli's when he didn't accompany her, but I thought that may have been best since it was still so new and I was so fragile emotionally) at the Cracker Barrell and asked that we exchange addresses or email which she said she must ask you first. This was my second heart break to learn that things were not going as planned. Not even an email? There's nothing personal about that. You can set a free one up on any number of websites. Regardless, I respected that and instead gave her ALL of my information, putting the ball in her court, my new address, the email I've had since I was a senior in high school and still have active today, and my grandmother's phone number, which is also still on. She asks about him about every 3 months if not more, and what my progress is, and has encouraged me in my search to find you. I have filled out a forwarding address with the Postal Service upon each move I've ever had and as I said before, contacted the adoption agency to request an update, photos and left my address and phone number numerous times over the last 3.5 years.
To this date I have nothing, but old photos I've pined over. I am willing to honor your new wishes of staying in the background, even though it was NOT what I agreed to for this adoption, because I respect the life you are giving him and only want a happy life for him and you all as a family.
I just wish you would respect that I gave him that life, and I wish to see that he is living it happily. I am attempting to contact you in every way first, but you realize Ive lived as a journalist for 4 years now and I am ready to become an advocate for this tragedy, even if it means writing a letter to the editor of every newspaper, telling my story online, to the associated press for which I am a managing editor of, and even working with the legislators to get this changed in Oklahoma. I work and lunch with Senators, both on the state and Federal level, including the president pro tempore of the house, who happens to be a close friend who encouraged me through college, and I feel if an agreement on a car is valuable, then the agreement on a life should be as well. I know I can make a good case for change in this conservative state which advocates giving life. More women may do so if they believe it can be a beautiful experience, not a sad one of how they were conned and I've found on the message boards that this is more common than just my story.
I would love for us to have a healthy blossoming relationship that I envisioned as well, be it only photos and an occasional letter.
Thank you for your time and love you are providing Nathan, please consider this with all your heart.
When we went to Damastus, we had no idea what we were getting into. We were matched to a birthmother within 10 days, but she wasn't due for 5 months. We got to know the birthmom over the months and were invited to the hospital to assist in the birth. Demastus Law and the case worker/coordinator were great and returned calls within a reasonable time period. Unfortunately, the birthmom decided to parent the child 2 days after giving birth. It ripped our hearts out. The good news is that we were called exactly 7 days later with the birth of another child who needed a family. No reservations - we went right back. God works in mysterious ways - this child was meant to be ours and we are the proudest parents on earth! Thank you Demastus!
Everything seemed great at first, under the circumstances of a last minute adoption....I insisted the couple agree to an open or at least semi open adoption. One couple was refused becasue they said they would not honor that. During the deposition to waive rights, i was informed Oklahoma law did not protect me or my open adoption at which point I immediately STOPPED the interview. I said, this was NOT what they had told me, or what I'd agreed to. My attorney from demastus went and got the parents attorney from demastus who sat with me and assured me that the two had agreed, and they would honor that it be open, I would have nothing to worry about. The coordinator for demastus assured me they only dealt with those willing to at least have semi-open adoptions that was mandatory unless the birthmother was not comfortable with it. After more discussion, we reconvened. The first two visits set up with the birthmom, she did not bring my son. I just wanted to know that he was ok, had a horrible birth and was so torn over the decision those four days in the hospital ( i didnt not make it official till the last day) that I wanted to see him. But I did not want the amom to worry I would have reservations or try to do something weird. So I kept mum. We talked of him and went on our way. I got pictures after calling a few times and reminding them, but after the first year I have had nothing and he is 3 now. I've tried to recognize they may be overprotective, and honor their boundries, but I call and leave messages for Demastus to advocate and don't even get a call back. I feel used. I feel betrayed. I feel like I was taken advantage of in a horribly fragile time in my life. Now I am a successfull journalist top in my local field, ready to go national and advocate with Oprah, whoever need be, I have two Legislators that are close to me that I am willing to put aside my pride with and lobby to change our laws. All I want is a photo. Is that too much to ask...for a mother? I just want to know he is alive and well. They owe me that at least after promising me even more than that. If you are willing to help me or share your experience please email me.
My husband and I feel like such fools. We gave Julie twenty thousand up front and then suddenly our calls and emails went unanswered for several months. I finally was able to get someone on the phone and thier response was," Oh your birthmom changed her mind, so sorry no one got around to calling you." We were matched with two more moms( who also took off ) and our money quickly disappeared and so did our dreams of adopting.
These are good people, intending to help. Yet they take a bad course of action that they can and should avoid. Lets just say that they have very little communication with the adoptive parents. Calls and letters go unanswered. IF THIS IS NOT WHAT YOU WANT, DON'T use THEM.
I used the ladies at Demastus for my pregnancy. It took me 4 months and several meetings with other agencies and it just didn't feel right. The couple I pickedd was wonderful throughout the pregnancy and still is. I would recommend them for couples searching AND birthmothers alike.
Twice my wife and I have used this agency...I honestly couldn't think of using anyone else based on the compasionate care that I saw given to the children, birth parents and adoptive parents.
We were all participants looking for the best possible outcomes. The level of competent guideance the Demastus Agency provided in the most emotional experience one could have was just amazing!
With our encouragement, friends have been chosen as adoptive parents and sing the same praise of the Demastus Agency.
Please DO NOT use this agency. Slippery all the way.
Never returns phone calls. Does not seem sincere or very forthright on MANY MANY fronts. I DO NOT RECCOMEND THEM FOR ANYTHING. WORKING WITH THEM ALMOST 8 months and NO satisfying words to say! Search elsewhere to find your wonderful child.