Duke City Adoption Agency to Close Doors

Date: 2003-08-03

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

Group Scrutinized After Complaints

An Albuquerque international adoption agency that came under scrutiny after some of its clients complained is shutting its doors.

A.M.O.R. -- Adoptions Made of Respect -- specializes in the adoption of children from Guatemala and operates a hogar, or orphanage, in that country.

A.M.O.R.'s license was not renewed in November 2002 after the Children, Youth and Families Department found problems with the agency.

Some complaints that CYFD substantiated were: applicants were matched with children who weren't free for adoption, the agency did not adequately account for money it collected from applicants and applicants were not given complete information on the well-being of the children.

In April, A.M.O.R. agreed to a CYFD plan to fix those problems and help it regain its license. Since then, Marian McAndrews, head of A.M.O.R., has decided to close the adoption agency. She said A.M.O.R. will continue to operate an orphanage in Guatemala.

"We want to concentrate on the care of the children in the hogar," she said in a recent phone interview.

She said the decision is based on health problems and a desire to spend more time with her family.

"The agency goes and my family and the hogar take precedence," she said.

Placement of children in the orphanage will be handled by licensed adoption agencies in the United States and elsewhere, she said. She did not know how many children are currently at the orphanage.

CYFD officials say A.M.O.R. has about 17 adoption cases pending.

"We're telling them they can continue with the adoptions that they have in progress but they cannot take any more cases," said Kirk Rowe, who manages the licensing of child placement agencies for CYFD.

The agency has finalized about eight adoptions since the corrective action plan was put in place in April.

McAndrews said the remaining adoptions could be finalized in the next six months "but it depends on the government of Guatemala."

One former A.M.O.R. client who was interviewed by the Journal in April said she was misled by the agency about progress in her case.

As part of the corrective action plan, A.M.O.R. must submit biweekly reports on the progress of its pending adoptions.

CYFD attorney Joanne Brown said the reports "ensure that there is some action" in the cases.

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