Meridian adoption expert opens agency

Date: 2005-11-24

Idaho Statesman, The (Boise, ID)
Author: Katy Moeller Staff

Meridian resident Jody Sciortino recently opened the first Idaho office of the Adoption Resource Center Inc., a Maryland-based international adoption agency founded in 1990 "by adoptive parents for adoptive parents."

Sciortino is a licensed clinical social worker who has been working with families and children for 30 years. She has specialized in adoption for the past eight years, working most recently for Kidsave International.

Kidsave International is a nonprofit organization that works to get children out of orphanages around the world and into loving families.

Prior to Kidsave, Sciortino was the executive director of Frank Adoption Center in Raleigh, N. C. That agency, founded by Russians, was based in the United States but placed children from former Soviet countries with families in Ireland.

"I went to Russia 13 times," said Sciortino, who left the agency in 2003 because work-related travel was taking too much time away from her family.

Sciortino understands adoption on both a professional and personal level.

"I´m an adoptee," said Sciortino, who moved to Meridian from Raleigh, N.C., with her husband, Tony, and their children last January. "My three children were adopted."

The Sciortinos´ children are: Nick, 13, Marissa, 15 and Jenna, 19.

It was Tony´s job in commercial banking that brought the family to the Treasure Valley.

But it was Jody´s expertise in social work and adoption that led to her recruitment by the Adoption Resource Center, which had wanted to hire her for years.

When the agency´s management tracked her down in Idaho earlier this year, they agreed to let her open a new branch in Meridian if that´s what it took to get her on board.

"My executive director had met her and just really, really admired her and her background," said Liz Guigon , director of operations for the Adoption Resource Center, in a phone interview from her office in Coral Springs, Fla.

"She´s incredibly knowledgeable in the field of social work, crisis intervention and adoption issues," Guigon said.

Sciortino couldn´t refuse.

"They offered me the opportunity and the position. They were accommodating me," said Sciortino, who made it clear that her own children, all in their teens, are a priority. "Teens need you more because they´re launching into adulthood. I didn´t want to do any of the kind of work that consumed my family."

Adoption Resource Center, which has just four branch offices nationwide -- including the new one at 2770 E. Franklin in Meridian -- specializes in international adoption in China, Russia, Ukraine and Guatemala.

Why do some choose international adoption over adopting within the United States?

"The media´s horror stories about birth mothers challenging adoptions," Sciortino said. "Many feel with international adoption that risk wouldn´t be as great."

Americans adopt more children from Russia than anywhere else in the world, followed by China. There are about 5,100 Russian children adopted each year, she said.

The average amount of time to adopt, from start to finish, is nine months to a year. The cost to adopt children from abroad varies from country to country, ranging from $14,000 to complete the process in Korea to as much as $30,000 in Guatemala.

"The majority of people want to adopt infants," said Sciortino, who has expertise and interest in older child adoptions.

Her daughter Jenna was 13 years old when she was adopted. The Mountain View High School senior was born in Russia.

International adoption and older child adoption are not for everyone. Sciortino said prospective parents need to take "an open emotional inventory" of what child they think they can bond with and parent, taking into consideration things such as age , country of origin and special needs.


Link to:

More information

Adoption Resource Center

Address: 2770 E. Franklin in Meridian

On the Web: www.adopt

E-mail: jodyadopt

Phone: 887-3886

Cutline:HAPPY HOMES: Jody Sciortino,front center, is opening a branch of an international adoption agency in Idaho with the full support of her husband, Tony, and her three children, Nick, 13, Marissa, 15, and Jenna, 19.


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