|Protesting at a Gladney event--in Texas|
We reported earlier a reputable agency in San Antonio, Abrazo (that only handles fully open adoptions), had stepped in and tried to help the first mothers who counted on continuing
contact with their children, but only a handful were able to do so since the women had so little to go on and the adoptive parents could not be located. According to Elizabeth Jurenovich, director of Abrazo, the mothers who used ASA were led to believe they had open adoptions, but they didn't. "They were given no identifying information, no home addresses, no written post-placement contact agreements, and in most cases, no direct means of contact, given that the phone numbers they were typically provided were 'baby lines' only--toll free numbers set up by the adoptive parents until they got the baby home." That's not an open adoption. That's an open adoption scam, trapping unsuspecting and desperate women at a time they are the most vulnerable.
To make matters worse, open adoption agreements in Texas are not enforceable, according to Fort Worth attorney Gerald A. Bates. So even if ASA had stayed in business, mothers would have had no recourse if the adoptive parents simply stopped sending promised pictures and letters.
WHEN AN AGENCY CLOSES, SO DO THE LINKS
Since the only tie between natural mothers and child and adoptive family who went through ASA was the agency itself, that connection evaporated when the agency shut down. Thousands of letters--66 filing cabinets and 25 boxes of them--were never forwarded and left for whomever stumbled on to them. The door to the shuttered agency wasn't even locked, according to our source, and the correspondence was found by a news reporter for Fox 29 in San Antonio, Yami Virgin. The agency has facilitated more than 3,000 domestic and 700 international adoptions.
According to the Fox 29 story, one mother, Jessica Esquivel, had the adoptive family's last name and though she and they had exchanged letters and pictures for seven years, that came to an abrupt halt four years ago. She found the family on Facebook and has been able to see pictures of her daughter there, but the family has not responded to her letter.
First mothers, adoptees and adoptive parents who wish to retrieve letters that may have been sent to them should call 512-776-7388 to check if there is correspondence in their file. The state is also recommending for those who were a part of an adoption to go to the state's adoption registry, but we caution that such state registries are famously inadequate and let to extremely few matches.
AGENCY TO THE STARS
ASA was the go-to agency for quite a number of those movie-star adoptions we've read about in recent years. Perhaps they were attracted to it because of the qualifications of the adoption attorney, Linda Zuflacht, who founded the agency and ran it since 1984. Zuflacht was a founding member of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and had been mayor of a city located in the San Antonio metropolitan area, Shavano Park. Zuflacht was not prosecuted--no law against shutting down a private business, no matter who it hurts or what promises are broken. Besides--who said open adoption agreements were even enforceable? Zuflacht skedaddled to New Mexico where she ran for municipal judge in Raton. She lost. She is in private practice there today.
If you were part of an adoption through ASA and you have a story to tell, contact Yami Virgin at firstname.lastname@example.org AND PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW. All comments welcome. If you were part of a broken open adoption, your story may prevent another such adoption from happening.--lorraine
To see the story at Fox 29:
Adoption Letters Will Be Released
An Un-Open Adoption: Adoptive Parents Lie and Break a Mother's Heart
The promise of 'openness' lures vulnerable mothers to be
Considering Open Adoption? What You Should Know
Open adoption--does it really solve all the problems?
When an agency promises 'semi-open' adoption, look elsewhere
The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child
by Nancy Verrier--adoptive mother; biological mother; therapist
If you are considering adoption for your baby, skim through this classic first. It may change your mind. From an adoptee at Amazon:
"I could not have written this book better myself. It is an extremely insightful book which opened up a world of understanding to myself and also to my loved ones. It helped me understand why I am the way that I am, why I do some of the things that I do, why I struggle with love in my life, and why I have this subconscious fear of abandonment and trust."