Adoption Associates Inc
We used Adoption Associates to adopt our daughter and have nothing but great things to say about them. The birth-mom support program, birth-mom caseworker for the Lansing office is phenomenal. Since we live in Grand Rapids we had to use a caseworker from their office to do all of our homestudy evaluations etc and she was less then stellar. She only worked part-time was very non-responsive. I had to follow up with her often about things she would say she would get back to me about. She is no longer employed by them, but I would still highly suggest using their agency. That small inconvenience was totally worth the 200 other things they did so well. Would highly suggest them over many other agencies.
Would not recommend Adoption Associates
There is nothing that runs smoothly in this agency. The staff turnover is high which is very concerning. Adoption Associates is all about being a business and making money, period. Few staff ever had the answers we needed, assured us they would find out and get right back to us, and rarely did. The follow up is terrible, the policies and processes are so unclear. The wait time is longer than other local agencies and what they tell you it is. If we had it to do over, we would definitely not choose Adoption Associates.
Poor Communication, High Fees
We had very high hopes for working with AAI. I agree with previous reviews that it was difficult that the caseworker only worked part time. Scheduling was very frustrating because she had little availability. This agency lacked a thoroughness to their intake process and policies seemed unclear. However, trainings were well done. I wouldn't recommend working with this agency. We had a very difficult experience with them.
Please, consider a smaller
Please, consider a smaller more personal agency. I wish I had someone tell me that before I spent over $5,000 to then be left waiting for months, switched between 3 caseworkers and finally when I asked for a refund or partial secondary to using ZERO services (no home study, no other country fees, and very limited return of emails/phone calls) I was told it had all been used for advertising fees and I would get zero back unless I moved forward with them.
If you do choose them, I hope you have a great experience and get what you pay for, but personally I expected a more ethical and personal experience from the "best" agency.
Awesome China Waiting Child Program!
Adoption Associates came highly recommended by a family we met who had used them twice for China WC adoptions. We brought a child home through them last year and had a great experience as well. The staff was friendly and knowledgable and we always felt like they were treating us the way they would want to be treated if they were the clients. They are well organized and our wait for matching with our daughter was extremely short making our entire process only 12 months. After adding everything up we paid on the lower end of the range we were quoted. They also have a grant program for their families to help with agency fees. I wouldn't hesitate to use them again!
Has anyone had recent experience with this agency for domestic, transracial adoption? Please post your experience if you have. Thanks.
Smooth, Fast and Professional
I too left an agency after a year and went with AAI because of their professionalism. I was never disappointed. After a year with the other agency who finally told me that there were no- 8-14 year old girls available for adoption in Russia! I turned to AAI, this was in 2007 and within 3 months I had a referal and was traveling in 4 months my daughter came home to me in 7 months. It was so smooth, they knew exactly what they were doing and yes there may have been some changes in fees, they warn you about that up front because Russia is a crazy place (my words not theirs). Because I was adopting an older child there were some complications with one referal. Two days before I was to leave the girl changed her mind. The facilitator did not want to take the risk that in court the girl would not want to come to the USA and changed the referal to another girl after talking to me . God works his/her powers in amazing ways. The last referral was meant to be my daughter...Everyone comments how much we look alike, we are similar in so many ways. Their ground crew was fantastic! The whole Russian experience went so smoothly I was completely amazed. Once in Russia it was completely hassel free I could not believe it. By the way my daughter here now almost 3 years is wonderful amazing 13 year old and I could not be happier with the whole experience.
Terrible Adoption Associates, Inc.
For any current or past clients of Adoption Associates, Inc. (AAI) dissatisfied with AAI due to their mismanagement, contractual violations, and arbitrary fee increases, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are trying to assess in the Grand Rapids/Michigan territory the number of parties interested in or are planning to take legal action against AAI. More importantly, we want to get the word out publicly about individual experiences with AAI so people considering AAI will have a better understanding of what they could be getting into before signing up with AAI.
For additional information/background regarding Adoption Associates and complaints against this agency, see:
If you want to complain:
Jane Bareman - Executive Director email@example.com 616-667-0677(work)/616-443-1235 (cell)
Tom Duthler, PhD - Board Member firstname.lastname@example.org 616-874-8845(home)/941-355-5024(condo)
Patrick McGow, Esq. - Board Member email@example.com (cell)/313-496-7684(work)
Phil DeVries - Sect/Board Member firstname.lastname@example.org 616-456-6554 (business)/616-915-9713 (cell)
Robert Levine - Treasurer/Board Member email@example.com 616-949-8248(home)/616-648-1074(cell)
Dick Van Deelen - President/Founder - firstname.lastname@example.org 616-662-4153(home)/616-822-8077(cell)/239-394-3242(FL)
To access Michigan DHS investigations into AAI (only one out of a few reports is posted), go to:
Go to Michigan DHS web site
Select Child Placing Agencies
Select Child Welfare Licensed Facilities
Select License Lookups (CB700200923)
You can also post your concerns to: http://adoptionassociatescomplaints.blogspot.com/
Smooth and Professional Process with AAI
My husband and I started our adoption process and homestudy with another agency. Fortunately we found our way to Adoption Associates and we were so pleased with our process.
We attended a orientation meeting hosted by AAI in Jan, 07. The Russian Program Coordinator (who is from Russia) happened to be at this meeting and she is the reason we switched to AAI. She was full of enthusiasm which left us feeling so positive and hopeful about something that can be so overwhelming and intimidating. We soon met with a Russian Program Consultant who spent so much time with us and made us feel so welcome. She was very educated, professional and had spent time in Russia herself.
We officially signed paperwork and committed financially with AAI in June, 07. Prior to this, there were many e-mails and phone conversations between myself and our soon to be consultant who always made me feel welcome to ask questions of her. Another thing I really liked about AAI was that they allowed us to attend waiting family meetings (which were extremely valuable) before we had committed any money to them. The other agency we almost worked with wouldn't let us attend meetings like this until we received a referral.
Our referral came in Sept, 07 with our 1st trip later that month. Our 2nd trip for court was Dec, 07. Our trips both went perfect and as expected. We had some idea of how our trips would work because AAI spells everything out in their paperwork. I can't emphasize enough how everything went like clockwork with our trips and process. Our in country travel was extremely organized. We always had a driver and translator which was a huge relief being so far from home and having a huge language barrier. It was like AAI had this down to a science.
Lastly, I want to comment more on my consultant. Adopting is very stressful for you and even the consultant who is working with you. Although they do this everyday, they have to deal with all kinds of personalities and situations that are out of their control. I am the kind of person that needs reassurance and hand holding. Our consultant did a great job of this. She even called us while we were in Russia which we didn't expect and really wasn't necessary. She was just following up which was very thoughtful and kind of her.
To recap, our homestudy began March, 07 and we had our son home in Dec, 07. I think that is pretty amazing and I don't think this would have happened so quickly if I had stuck it out with my original agency.
I would recommend AAI to anyone and everyone. AAI is the only agency I would use if I adopt again.
Great job for Russian Adoption
I bolted from another agency after a year and was quite scared after that experience. The Russian people were wonderful. After a year with the other agency and no referrals I received my first referral within 30 days. I turned that one down but AAI was with me through three others. I was traveling in 2 days when my daughter to be decided she did not want to come to the USA...they worked with her and then decided that it was not worth the risk and found me another girl...the Perfect Girl for me as it turns out. AAI staff was understanding well informed , totally ethical and on the ball... Their ground crew in St. Pete and in Pskov was incredible everying went extremely smoothly, they had all the bases covered and even had their people standing in line to hold places at 2 a.m. to make sure we could get the Visa's. Absolutely terrific people.
We used AAI for our Guatemala adoption. It seemed like everyone who worked there only worked part-time. We were told that there would always be someone there to cover and answer questions for us but there was not the case. Many emails were sent out after 5:00pm and the person sending them would not be in for the next 4 days. Upon receiving an upsetting email that indicated that our contract was being changed I called and left a message for a particular person to call me back that day. What I did receive was an email telling me that "my schedule does not permit me to answer your phone call today. C will be in on Tuesday (4 days later) and will answer your questions then). We were pressured into believing that we had to pay for "extra fostering fees" because of the Hague agreement situation with Guatemala. Much to our attorney's disappointment, we were not told to bring the extra $2,000 down for pick up and we have refused to pay this extra money which was not part of our original contract.
Overall, I would give them a poor rating on communication. I would also question their ethics in regard to pressuring parents into paying extra fees that are not in the contract. When asked, they refused to give any details or supporting documents as to why we should have to pay this money.
domestic adoption from Adoption Associates
My husband and I adopted our daughter domestically through Adoption Associates in August, 2007. It took about 15 months from the time we started our home study until we brought our daughter home. We were very pleased with the agency. They were always very prompt in answering our questions. If there was something they didn't know the answer to, they found out the answer and called us back right away. The only thing we were a bit unhappy with was that our final bill was quite a bit higher than we expected. (We spent about $34,000 altogether, even though our bills reflected about $30,000.) I needed a lot of "hand holding" through the process, which they did very well. All in all, we were very happy with the agency and would definitely use them again if we adopt a second time.
Very Upfront About the Risks
We used this agency twice, a Guatemalan adoption completed in 2005 and in 2007. When we first met with them at the end of 2004, we were very impressed. The agency was honest with us from the beginning that Guatemalan adoptions could stop at any time. We knew the risks up front. In 2007 when we could see that Guatemalan adoptions would stop, they had stopped accepting new Guatelaman applications and directed families to other programs. Not all agencies were doing that.
We were so happy with our first adoption, communication was great, we were very easily able to get ahold of our in country attorney. Even if there wasn't anything happening for a couple weeks someone would check in with us.
The second time was a lot different for us. For the first few months of our wait, we were given regular updates. However unlike our first adoption we did not get monthly photos and medical updates that we expected. A few months ago we got those pictures (mind it was a year after they were taken and after our son had been home for 6 months.) We are happy to have those photos but irritated that they did not come when we expected it. During a slow down in our process I asked for an update and questioned the delay, I was given an update that I had already heard 2 weeks prior and told that they would ask the attorney the next week. I realize that they met with their attorneys only once a week but by the next week we still had not heard anything different and were told once again they would ask the attorney on their weekly call. When we arrived in Guatemala to bring our child home, we could not get ahold of our attorney. It turns out that our attorney had left the adoption business but our agency did not tell us. Once I found that out, it explained the delays in our case. It made me realize that many points in our process were not being followed up on as much as the Agency's contacts had been doing in the past.
I am thankful that AAI was reponsible for creating our family. I feel that they do a wonderful job with other intercountry programs they facilitate. Because the agency is so upfront about the risks of intercountry adoption I am giving them a 4 rating. Never at any time was I given false information or mislead.
We had a great experience with AAI in both our international adoptions. We used them in 2005 and 2007 and completed two adoptions in Guatemala with an 8 month and 11 month timeline. We felt both times the agency and international contacts were upfront when problems came up and did the best they could with the information they had. We felt our local contact did an excellent job but have heard that other local contacts with this agency didn't do as good of job contacting AP's with all information.