Yesterday, the Independent Adoption Center—one of the largest LGBTQ, friendly adoption agencies in the country—sent the following announcement to its clients:
“It is with deep sadness that we write to inform you that the Independent Adoption Center (IAC) is declaring Chapter 7 bankruptcy and will be closing permanently effective immediately,” said the announcement from Marcia Hodges, Executive Director of the center.
The closure will impact 1,886 prospective adoptive families who were current clients of IAC. Among these expectant families were Charles and James Judice, a gay couple living in San Diego. Speaking with ABC News, they said the announcement, which came without warning, was “devastating.”
The Judices, along with all other IAC clients, will be forced to initiate adoption proceedings from scratch with a new agency. A bankruptcy court will determine how much of the funding, if any, families will be able to recoup from the amount already invested. The Judices had already spent $17,000 over seven months working with IAC when they received the news.
Hodges blamed a number of factors for the sudden closure, including increasingly restrictive international adoption laws and domestic “societal changes” that have led to a decrease in available birth parents. At the bottom of her announcement, Hodges referred clients affected by the news to other adoption agencies.
A statement from the IAC Board Chair, Greg Kuhl, apologized for the sudden closure, which many clients received without warning, saying, “We are working as hard as possible to notify all of our clients of the impending bankruptcy. Through an internal mistake approximately 800 of our clients were not notified. This is our mistake and we are working hard to correct it.”
The IAC had eight offices around the country, including in New York, Texas, and California. The agency was a pioneer in “open adoptions,” in which birth and adoptive families share information with one another and maintain varying degrees of contact.
The closure of IAC is a huge loss to the LGBTQ community. Since the center’s founding in 1982, the IAC helped facilitate over 4,000 adoptions, including placements with hundreds of LGBTQ families. The center actively sought out prospective LGBTQ adoptive parents, and has long been recognized by the Human Rights as a leader in providing adoption services to our families.
Gays With Kids will continue to follow this story as it develops.