I am a birthmother and am disheartened to read about so many birth parents and adoptive parents having awful experiences with Bethany. I contacted the Washington State Bethany services in 2006 because I had become pregnant and wanted to place my child for adoption. The adoption counselor walked me through the process every step of the way - and I was completely in charge the whole time. They helped me design my birth plan; supported my choice of a doula; helped me look at myriad potential parent profiles and set up interviews; were there at the hospital; and immediately put me in touch with counselors and support services for post-relinquishment needs.
I cannot say how much of a blessing they have been, and continue to be. I am still in constant contact with my Bethany adoption counselor, and our local offices host regular events to which birth parents are invited. We are often told about new counseling or support services as well.
My heart aches for those who've experienced such terrible things. But I can say our local Bethany offices and staff have been terrific. In the years since my daughter was placed, we couldn't have asked for a more professional and caring adoption agency!
I would not recommend Bethany Christian Services to anyone unless they want a closed adoption. If you are looking for an open adoption, it is best to find another agency.
Would not recommend. Made it very clear I wanted an open adoption and did not get one.
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.
Because of the timing of your post, I suspect that you have been in the AGCI Ethiopia program, as we have for the past 3+ years. Because of our good experience with AGCI with our first adoption, we chose AGCI again for our second adoption effort. While we experienced some of the same facts that you have the past few years, our perspective and conclusions are very different.
AGCI has done its best to communicate good information while screening out unfounded rumors. AGCI sent all families in process periodic written updates and scheduled group conference calls to share information as they knew it. In between updates and calls, we were always able to reach AGCI staff with any questions or concerns that we had. I am not sure how AGCI could have communicated any better than that.
Rules did change as circumstances changed, not randomly but after careful review, consideration and input from families like ours. AGCI has also had a lot of staff changes, some because of personal life circumstances and some because of their efforts to scale back the Ethiopia program so it could remain sustainable. My husband and I often commented that we were thankful that AGCI was willing to act quickly to respond to changing circumstances; staff reductions are difficult for everyone involved but the alternative is failure, which is never in anyone’s best interests.
AGCI’s fees are reasonable and comparable to other agencies, although other agencies’ fees may not be immediately obvious like AGCI’s. AGCI never “promises” a successful adoption; I would be suspect of any agency that does. At every step of the way AGCI emphasized what we should each already understand, that adoption is an uncertain process with a number of variables outside of AGCI’s control and there are no guarantees. What AGCI does promise is “to work ethically and responsibly,” and we have found that to be true time and time again.
International adoption has been in flux for years. Even in our first adoption we saw the timetables change as government agencies took longer to review files, adoption rules changed at regional and national levels, and USCIS changed its review processes. When we began our second adoption, our first blog post discussed the uncertainty and challenges in depth based on everything from state department stakeholder calls to news repots to other blogs and books challenging everything about international adoption. Despite the best efforts of ethical agencies like AGCI, in Ethiopia the process degraded to the point that AGCI and other agencies are now sharing their reluctant conclusion that adoption is no longer a viable option in Ethiopia for most children and most families.
Finally, actions speak louder than words. Even while it continues to work hard to serve vulnerable children in Ethiopia aprt from adoption, AGCI has offered to waive/transfer its entire agency fee for families who decide to pursue adoption through another available program. These are the actions of an agency that cares deeply about children and families.
In closing, I pray for healing for all of the waiting families whose hearts have been broken in their adoption journey. I pray for wisdom for AGCI staff as they help families consider other options. Most of all I pray for Ethiopia and the vulnerable children who are left in the midst of it all. May we each seek to love and support them in other ways.
All God's Children starts off great, but with constant staff changes, terrible communication, randomly changing rules, and "fees" that don't seem legitimate, you will quickly realize you will never see the completion of the adoption you were promised. Our family experienced constantly increased timetables, an absolute lack of communication, and finally the "closing" of the country and program and the loss of all of the money and time invested.
Please do your research, and find another agency. I do not believe that AGCI has children and families best interests at heart.
I can not believe as a family that wanted to adopt an older child and wanted to make a difference to someone that needed us, in return we got put in a horrible situation with a total lack of respect and caring from Bethany Christian Plymouth MN office. We picked them cause I felt we would have Christian experience. Half truths, lack of disclosure and an inability to see us as a family unit with feelings, boundaries and deserving of respect was our experience. Do NOT work with this office. They have their own agenda. The sad thing was they aren't good liars so it was pretty apparent when we caught them not treating us with respect (ex: one social worker would disclose not knowing what the other said, found out from outside agency people - like dr office, etc). I pray that they take my feedback that I provided verbally and try and approach families differently!
Had successful adoption through ASC but I would never use them again or reccomend their services to anyone. All they care about is money - your money! They are not supportive to adoptive parents in any way, they lie and are unethical. Once the adoption is finalized - you will never hear from them again. They change their rates with no notice. They really do nothing once youve been "matched". Its up to you and the birthmom to build the relationship and try to make it work - no advice or help from the agency.
The plus for adpoting in Indiana is that there is a bithmom cap - $3,500
Birthmoms can't milk you for anymore than that - at ASC birthmoms get 1/2 prior to placement and the other 1/2 once they sign the papers making it official.
I recently placed my baby boy through an open adoption. I'm still working through all of the emotions and trying to process the new normal of my life. I worked with Bethany throughout my entire pregnancy. My pregnancy counselor became a friend to me. I never felt pressured to place my son. I always felt in control of every decision that was made and that was stressed to me time and time again- I was in control of choosing his family, how things would happen at the hospital, what the openness would look like, etc. After I had him, I began to second guess my decision and even majorly changed the plan that I had made. Through it all, Bethany was beside me supporting me in whatever decision I made. Since the placement, my pregnancy counselor has been in contact with me multiple times just to check on me and has even met with me to talk. My only complaint would be preparation for what life will be like after a placement has occurred. The entire process focuses on what will happen and how, but not how you will be afterwards. But I can honestly say I felt respected and loved by the Bethany staff.
If I had a choice to go back and choose another adoption agency as a birth mother, I would still choose Bethany. I had a great, loving experience with both them as an agency, as well as with the adoptive family they helped me find. I feel SO secure in my choice of open adoption. I get to visit Ansley, and I get regular pics and updates as promised. Bethany helped me so much through a hard time in my life, and for that I am truly thankful. I am so sorry that some others seemed to have bad experiences; However, I hope and pray that potential birth mothers reading this will get some relief reading about my experience. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org if anyone would like to ask me questions about Bethany or adoption in general.
We found A Loving Alternative while researching reviews online. Once we spoke with Jim and Cindy over the phone, my husband and I knew they were the ones that were going to help us find our baby. By the last week of March 2014, our Dear Birthmother packet was created, printed and was in process of being mailed out to interested birthmothers. We thought we had enough time to prepare our home. My husband and I were both thinking it wouldn't be any faster than a year before we would find someone who we could connect with. Well, we were both wrong! On May 1, 2014 I received a call from Cindy about a "potential" baby that would be here on June 23rd. We told her we were extremely interested and on May 3rd we found out "It's a GIRL!" and her due date was moved up to May 23rd! I had less than a month to prepare, so I thought! By May 7th we got the call that our baby would be here by May 9th and we needed to get there now.
We packed our bags and made an all night drive to a state we had never been to before and loved every minute of our experience doing so. Our baby girl was finally here and in our arms! We couldn't have asked for anything more. Cindy and Jim were there every time we had a question. Even if they didn't have an answer for us, they would do what they could to help answer those questions.
Thank you Cindy and Jim for our beautiful baby!
We consider A Loving Alternative a part of our "FAMILY"
They are discriminatory and I am not sure what they motives are. There have been multiple couples rejected from their services due to color, sexual preference, religious preference and even discriminated against because they are serving our country. Expectant mothers go elsewhere. Talk to several agencies before you choose. There are many wonderful families out there to adopt and assist with you and more reputable agencies. I even think they write their own reviews on this website. Google them. They operate off different names and organizations and are very misleading. Beware all.
with bethany christian services the adoptive parents are amazing and treat me like their family. the people at bethany always had my best at heart. the pregnancy counselor is amazing ive known her since my 6th week of pregnancy.i called her lost and confused and not really not knowing what i wanted to do. i knew i didnt want to abort the baby and knew i couldnt take care of him either. so i opted for adoption. all this negative stuff you guys are saying isnt true. you may have run into a bad segment of bethany. but the one where in live in little rock ar is amazing. they were there at 2am when i went into labor and stayed at the hospital through my c section and waited til i was out and made sure i was ok. i have nothing but high reviews for this place. they made me feel like family and like i wasnt just another number. the pregnancy counselor went far and beyond what she was supposed to do and helped me with alot during my pregnancy. things that you wouldnt think would matter but do. its the little things that count. she answered all my texts when i would text her. she was there when i first saw my baby at 8 weeks pregnant. i know i may get knocked for loving this place so much but if i were to restart my pregnancy right now and be just choosing an adoption agency i would go with them over and over and over again if i could.
We started our adoption journey almost 1 year ago. We had many, many questions. We spoke with Susan quite often (by e-mail and phone) about how things worked. She was always quick to respond to questions and concerns. All this without even having committed to Open Door. We are now at the stage where we are working on our dossier. Susan continues to respond quickly to questions and concerns. Susan has even found answers for us about an orphan hosting program we are involved with. Susan has went above and beyond with helping our family. Thank you Susan and Open Door. I look forward to our continued work together and hopefully soon we will bring our daughter home.
Thank you for your feedback, was there anything specific about your experience that would help if it was changed?
Frustrating! It's all about the money while offering zero support for the adoptive parents. They prey on desperate couples having just recently charged an excessive premium to couples who want to be placed on the "special list" to receive fall-in-your-lap adoptions. These kind of adoptions actually cost the agency so much less, yet they have found a way to make more off of desperate couples. Just run away!
We used Keane Center to help us with our adoption. We also used an attorney out of State where the birth mother lived. We had a wonderful experience, and I would recommend them to everyone! Chris went above and beyond and was so helpful and kind to us. All of the staff that we encountered, the attorneys, social workers, etc were very professional and knowledgeable about adoption laws. You won't be disappointed with going with Keane Center.
Thank you for your feedback. While your review was posted nearly six years ago, we at Adoptive Families for Children wanted to take a moment to respond and update you and other readers on what's changed over that time.
In the summer of 2011, Ardith "Ardie" Lee (mentioned in your review) sold Adoptive Families for Children to James J. Bianco, Jr., an attorney in Concord, New Hampshire. Attorney Bianco has been involved with adoptions for over 30 years and has represented hundreds of adoptive parents and birth mothers during that time. Adoptive Families for Children remains a full-service, licensed child placing agency, but is now directed by a new, experienced team of adoption professionals, led by Kristine Pries (Executive Director) and Lisa Bianco (Director of Adoption Services). AFFC works with birth mothers and their families considering adoption, as well as couples and single individuals who wish to become a mom or dad by adopting a child in need of a permanent home.
For more information, please visit our website at www.adoptivefamiliesforchildren.com -- we'd love to hear from you directly!
We used Hope for Families to complete our home study. We were referred to them from our attorney who was very competent and helpful as well. Every time I reached out to them they were very prompt in getting me the information I needed. They also drove 6 hours on a Sunday to complete our interview due to a time crunch. I was very pleased with everyone that I ever interacted with from that agency. Dr Brown and his son were awesome too! We also knew another family that utilized them also for placement and the home study and they have had great things to say also.