Lakewood adoption agency agrees to pay misled parents

Relates to:
Date: 2009-02-11

By Tillie Fong, Rocky Mountain News

A Lakewood-based adoption agency has reached an agreement with the Colorado Attorney General's office to reimburse parents who were misled about the availability of Ukrainian children for adoption. Adopt-A-Miracle also agreed to stop the practice of "photo-listing" children who are not adoption-ready on its Web site,  www.adoptamiracle.com, and to separate its child housing program from its adoption program.

According to the agreement, the state claimed that the adoption agency had used "photo listing" of Ukrainian children on its Web site to recruit parents for its child housing and adoption program. Prospective parents were led to believe that they could adopt the children that they had housed for several weeks. However, not all the Ukrainian children listed on the Web site were available for international adoption because certain legal requirements had not been met.

When prospective parents learned belatedly that the children that they had housed were not available for immediate adoption, they demanded a refund from Adopt-A-Miracle but were refused. The agency claimed that the fees that were paid by the prospective parents were for adoptive "services"
but not for actual adoptions.

Under the settlement, Adopt-A-Miracle would pay $28,500 in restitution to several families that were harmed by the agency's practices.

However, the agency insists that the agreement is not an admission to any wrongdoing, since it claims that it had suspended its child housing program last year and already made the required changes.

A quick check of the Adopt-A-Miracle Web site Friday showed that it did not photolist any waiting child from any country, and the link to information about the agency's child housing program was broken. However, the Web site states that it was the "country regulations" of Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan that prohibited the agency from photolisting the "thousands of children waiting" from those countries.

Attachments:
ASSURANCE OF VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE AND DISCONTINUANCE.pdf
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