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Denver adoption agency to close after 22 years


By Carlos Illescas

A Denver-area adoption agency that specializes in placing special-needs children in permanent and foster homes is closing after 22 years, a victim of the bad economy.

Adoption Alliance, which finds families for some of the most difficult-to-place children, said Tuesday that the economy has led to fewer families seeking to adopt, and donations to the nonprofit are down.

Also, regulations passed several years ago have made international adoptions more difficult.

Executive director Tracey Blustein said the agency is working with the state to transition about 200 families to the more than 30 other adoption agencies in the Denver area.

Adoption Alliance's license expires at the end of January. The 10 workers left at the agency will lose their jobs.

"It's unfortunately a sign of the times, just like many nonprofits," Blustein said. "It's difficult for us to sustain our operations."

For adoptive parents such as Patty Ramlet, the news comes with much trepidation. The final paperwork hasn't been completed to keep a 4-year-old named Chance in her family for good. The child has lived with her family for four months.

"My adoption isn't finalized, as I am sure many others aren't as well," Ramlet told 9News. "Maybe the process will be disputed or not go through or have some kinks, and I've waited a long time for Chance, so there is some fear there."

Colorado Department of Human Services spokeswoman Liz McDonough said Adoption Alliance informed the state Dec. 8 that it was closing and surrendering its license.

She said no family will be left hanging through the transition process.

"For us, the most important thing is to work with them and other providers to ensure a smooth transition for their families," McDonough said.

She said the closing of Adoption Alliance isn't part of a trend, but the fact that it is a large and established agency is "something to take note of."

Adoption Alliance has placed 2,500 children into adoption and foster care. More than 90 percent of the children have special needs, whether emotional or mental disabilities, and they also have histories of abuse and neglect, according to the agency's website.

"We're very sad," Blustein said.

2011 Dec 28