Several Florida-based international adoption agencies have closed in recent years after investigations by the state Department of Children and Families:
» Tedi Bear Adoptions (Neptune Beach) — After a St. Petersburg Times investigation revealed that the agency had promised the same Vietnamese orphans to multiple families, DCF investigated and found numerous licensing violations. The agency’s executive director, Tedi Hedstorm, surrendered the agency’s license in 2003 amid a DCF complaint alleging other violations by the agency, including charging clients an unauthorized “networking fee” and hiring employees who lacked the proper credentials.
» International Adoption Resource (Coral Springs) — In 2003, DCF suspended IAR’s license following reports that the company’s international adoption coordinator was wanted in Costa Rica on an international arrest warrant alleging trafficking in minors. Then-Attorney General Charlie Crist launched an investigation into whether the adoption agency may have engaged in unfair and deceptive business practices. In 2004, International Adoption Resource agreed to stop operating in Florida permanently.
» Little Pearls Adoption Agency (Tampa) — In 2008, DCF shut down Little Pearls, an agency that specialized in Vietnamese adoptions, after receiving and investigating complaints about the agency’s practices. The former agency and its founder, Tampa lawyer Richard Feinberg, are the targets of a civil RICO complaint filed by seven prospective parents who say that Little Pearls collected $133,000 to “hold” children but never completed the adoptions and kept the money.
» Homecoming Adoptions (Orlando) — DCF yanked Homecoming’s license in 2006, stating that the agency had entered into contracts with prospective adoptive parents and taken their money but later failed to return advanced money that was refundable under their contracts. In 2008, Homecoming Adoptions came under renewed scrutiny by the department, which alleged it was operating without a license. The non-profit, which was run by three Orlando attorneys, appears to have dissolved in 2009, according to state corporate records.
Part of a series of 6 articles in Florida Trend regarding International Adoption