Almost a thousand prospective adoptive parents received an e¬mailed notice advising that Independent Adoption Center (IAC) was declaring chapter 7 bankruptcy and closing permanently, effective immediately. IAC is licensed in eight states, including Florida, with an office in Tampa. The abrupt closing of all IAC offices and its programs has left many families in dire straits, both financially and emotionally. Those in the middle of an adoption are now hampered in their ability to complete the adoption, and others have lost substantial sums of money which will hinder if not eliminate their ability to adopt.
This is a situation that should never happen. The Florida legislature should mandate that adoption agencies segregate and hold adoptive parent funds in a separate trust account, and prohibit use of adoptive parent money until earned. Comingling hopeful adoptive parent funds with agency operating funds allows the premature expenditure of these monies at the agency’s discretion with little financial oversight. The end result can shatter the hopes and dreams of prospective parents, who seek to create or enlarge their families through adoption.
The Fellows of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys have pledged to assist those families that now find themselves in an untenable situation as a result of IAC’s bankruptcy. The Academy will assist these families in order for them to obtain their files from IAC, or to have them transferred to other reputable licensed adoption agencies. The Academy will also assist in advising those families as to be best way to proceed with regard to their prospective adoptions. There will be no charge for these services. A list of volunteer attorneys is posted to the Academy website at www.adoptionattorneys.org
Jeanne T. Tate