ASSURANCE OF VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE AND DISCONTINUANCE
Adoption Agency Agrees To Settlement
(DENVER) – Colorado Attorney General John Suthers today announced that the State has reached a settlement with Lakewood-based Adopt a Miracle (www.adoptamiracle.com), and its owner Vinola Humphrey. The Attorney General’s Office received several complaints from prospective adoptive parents who claimed they were misled by the agency about the availability of Ukrainian children for adoption.
Adopt a Miracle posted photos of Ukrainian children on the Internet and offered adopting parents an opportunity to temporarily host these children in their homes, a process known as “photo listing.” The prospective parents were led to believe that the child they were hosting was readily available for adoption, when, in fact, that was not always the case. After becoming attached to the child, parents were told that the he or she was not available for international adoption.
According to consumers, Adopt a Miracle wrongly represented that all of the Ukrainian children listed for hosting were available for international adoption. Frequently, one or more of the prerequisite conditions for adoption had not been met:
- The biological parents’ rights had not been terminated,
- The child’s paperwork had not been processed through the Ukraine system, or
- The child had not been listed on the Ukraine government’s database for one year.
All three of these conditions must be met for a Ukrainian child to be available for international adoption, a process that can take years to complete.
When it became apparent that the children were not available for adoption, many adoptive parents demanded a refund, which the agency typically refused, claiming there were no guarantees and that the contract was for adoptive “services,” not necessarily adoptions. Potential adoptive parents, most of whom had already spent thousands of dollars at this point, were then faced with the choice of either remaining with Adopt a Miracle to try and adopt a different child, or switching to a different agency and starting the process anew.
Under the settlement, Adopt a Miracle has agreed to discontinue photo listing children, although photos of children can still be provided upon request. The company will further be required to clearly and conspicuously disclose which children are available for hosting and which are available for adoption.
As part of the agreement Adopt a Miracle has agreed that any hosting program will be separate and apart from its adoption program. The agency also will pay $28,500 in restitution to several prospective parents harmed by its business practices.
See ASSURANCE OF VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE AND DISCONTINUANCE attached below