SPRING VALLEY, Calif. - A local couple waited months and spent thousands of dollars with an adoption agency to make their family whole, but the agency's sudden closure has left them with no child, no money and no one to turn to.
"We've always wanted to be dads," said Charles Judice.
Judice and his partner James signed up with Independent Adoption Center about seven months ago. They knew the process would be long and expensive, and so far, they're spent about $17,000.
However, what they never expected was heartbreak.
Judice said, "It was pretty devastating."
On Tuesday morning, the couple received an email that read, in part: "It's with deep sadness that we inform you that IAC is declaring Chapter 7 bankruptcy."
Just like that, their dreams for a family were shattered.
IAC had been around 34 years, and Judice said everything seemed fine at their last meeting a few weeks ago.
"They were telling us how great their new advertising program is and trying to get us to join it for an extra $2,500. Panic went to sadness, to anger," Judice told 10News.
The couple had a nursery and even had names picked out for a boy and a girl.
"We were ready, excited. We were ready for them to come any minute," Judice said.
This is no doubt a setback, but one thing is certain: "We intend to pick ourselves up from the boot straps and get back up," Judice said.
The baby they get will be loved.
Judice said, "They are part of our family even if they're not born yet. And we'll do everything we have to, to bring them home whenever they're supposed to come home."