With families in limbo, adoption agency turns in its license

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by Joe Conger / KENS 5

Bio | Email | Follow: @joe_conger

kens5.com

Posted on April 9, 2012 at 4:43 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 9 at 6:31 PM

SAN ANTONIO --The small staff at Adoption Alliance of San Antonio has seen its “families waiting” file grow a little bigger this week, after the adoption agency started fielding phone calls from worried parents across the country.

Executive Director Justin Johnson said, “They were so shaken up, tearful, crying, you really couldn’t even understand what they were trying to explain to you.”

Johnson is talking about clients who felt abandoned, after another, unrelated agency, Adoption Services Associates, sent out a mass email declaring it was out of money and out of business.

That sudden decision left birth moms and adoptive parents knee-deep in a costly legal process. Many adoptive parents told KENS-TV they are out tens of thousands of dollars, and birth mothers are left with nowhere to turn.

“That’s what they told me: that they could help me with everything I need. And, I don’t know where to go from here,” said Tasha Gardner, a mother of a newborn who was expecting 8 weeks of post-pregnancy care from ASA.

The families have started a facebook page to share information. On it agencies like Adoption Alliance have offered their services to help keep the adoption process going for the affected families.

“In almost every situation, there is going to be a way of salvaging something. Like I said, it’s going to be case by case,” said Johnson.

By state law, ASA has 30 days to relinquish its records to another adoption agency or transfer them to the Texas Bureau of Vital Statistics. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services confirms that process has started.

ASA hasn’t commented publicly, but  KENS-5 did look into the agency’ licensing record. In 2010, the most recent audit by state regulators listed 3 deficiencies:

*Staff records showed no “continued educational training” for 2009 and 2010.

*ASA had not conducted random drug tests in four years.

*Three out of 9 employee background checks were not completed on time.

ASA had been licensed by the State of Texas since 1986, and credits itself with thousand of successful adoption. In subsequent emails to its clients, ASA said that the director had been hospitalized with a serious illness, and that ASA attorneys were working with state officials.

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