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New Life Adoption in Syracuse asks judge to dissolve


New Life Adoption in Syracuse asks judge to dissolve

Published: Wednesday, June 08, 2011, 8:53 AM Updated: Wednesday, June 08, 2011, 9:06 AM

By Charley Hannagan, The Post-Standard

Syracuse, NY -- The board of the New Life Adoption Agency Inc. has asked a judge to dissolve the non-profit that for more than 20 years has provided adoption services to families in Central New York.

In papers filed with the New York Supreme Court in late April, the agency said a change in China's adoption policies caused the agency to lose money and it was unable to cover its operating costs. New Life owes slightly more than $110,000 to HSBC Bank, social workers, lawyers, office suppliers and others.

Directors of the agency have declined to speak publicly about the decision to close.

The not-for-profit’s plans to repay creditors will be a part of the dissolution process, which goes before state Supreme Court Justice Donald A. Greenwood on June 21, Edward J. Fintel, the agency’s lawyer said this morning.

Fintel declined to comment further.

Papers filed at the Onondaga County Courthouse, however, offer a glimpse into what went into the decision.

Incorporated in 1986 as the Family Foundation of Central New York Inc., the agency changed its name three years later to New Life Adoption Agency Inc.

It’s primary purpose was placing children in homes for adoption, both foreign-born and those born in the United States. The vast majority of the agency’s caseload was placing Chinese-born children with American families.

New Life worked through the Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs. Before 2007, the agency completed about 50 to 60 Chinese adoptions a year.

In 2007 and 2008, the China began changing its policies, significantly slowing the adoption process. As a result, New Life was only able to complete about 10 to 20 Chinese adoptions a year.

“With the majority of its business greatly reduced, New Life has been unable to generate sufficient revenue to cover its operating costs,” the papers said.

New Life told the court that money it held in escrow for families getting ready to adopt has been transferred to LaVida International, an international adoption agency in Audubon, Pa., in the Philadelphia suburbs.

LaVida has already helped three New Life families travel to China to pick up children, and is working with two others, said Emily Bell, a LaVida adoption coordinator.

LaVida has also noticed a slowing of adoptions from China, she said. “There’s been a very big slow down in the referral process. We’re working with families for five plus years instead of finishing adoptions in a year,” Bell said.

New Life has told the court it doesn’t have enough in assets to cover its debts. And on March 11, the board of directors voted to ask the court to dissolve the non-profit.

The agency owes $59,915.66 to its largest creditor HSBC Bank and $21,000 to the agency’s retired lawyer, Golda Zimmerman.

The agency reported its assets as $4,855 in cash, and various office furniture and equipment.

2011 Jun 8