AG Probe of Adoption Agency Sought

Date: 2004-03-20

Albuquerque Journal (NM)
Author: Katie Burford Journal Staff Writer

Firm Lost N.M. License in 2002

The Children, Youth and Families Department has asked the state Attorney General's Office to investigate an Albuquerque international adoption agency.

CYFD secretary Mary-Dale Bolson sent a letter recently to the AG's office stating that there is reason to believe that A.M.O.R. Adoptions Inc. may have committed criminal acts and been untruthful to the state agency.

The adoption firm's New Mexico license was not renewed in November 2002 after CYFD found various problems. The firm specializes in the adoption of children from Guatemala and operates an orphanage in that country.

Bolson said it appeared that the adoption agency has provided CYFD with false information and has accepted new cases without a license.

According to the letter, the false information relates to money paid to lawyers and others in Guatemala for the completion of adoptions, the status of pending adoptions, and money it received from clients.

Marian McAndrews, head of A.M.O.R., could not be reached for comment. The agency's office at 3700 Coors NW has been closed.

CYFD's request is in the process of being reviewed, said Paul Nixon, an AG spokesman.

In August, McAndrews said she planned to close the adoption agency after pending cases were completed. CYFD was to be kept apprised of A.M.O.R.'s progress on the cases.

Earlier this week, CYFD sent McAndrews a letter by certified mail stating that she should cease operating, said Matt Dillman, a CYFD spokesman.

Dillman said A.M.O.R. has been given "every opportunity to make good on their promises and their contractual obligations."

A.M.O.R., which opened in 1995, is facing other legal problems. St. Louis, Mo.-based Children's Hope International has filed a lawsuit accusing it of fraud.

The suit, filed in St. Louis County Court, states that, between December 2002 and July 2003, Children's Hope, an adoption agency, matched 14 clients with children from A.M.O.R.'s orphanage as part of an agreement between the two agencies.

Although A.M.O.R. was paid about $25,000 in fees for the adoptions, none were completed, the lawsuit states.

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