SAN DIEGO - Local families left heartbroken and out thousands of dollars, after the adoption agency they trusted vanished overnight, declaring bankruptcy.
On its website the Independent Adoption Center says, “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. This was an extremely difficult decision to make, but after much discussion, we have come to the conclusion that immediate closure is our only option.”
For San Diego couple Jason Aronne and Kunal Ghose that closure means their dream of adoption has been put on hold.
"I didn't believe it at first,” Aronne said. “I'm like there’s no way this is possible, how can that just happen overnight.”
Jason and Kunal said they started the adoption process about a year ago.
They've been fingerprinted, had their home inspected, backgrounds checked.
"At this point we've given them 15 thousand dollars,” Aronne told Team 10.
What's left of the agency's website gives a brief apology and description of the challenges they faced saying,"As you may be aware, the climate of adoption has changed in recent years. Societal changes have created an environment in the United States where there are fewer potential birth parents than at any other point in our 34-year history of helping to create families. Simultaneously, due to changing demographics and the closure of international adoption programs, there are more hopeful adoptive parents seeking to adopt domestically than in any other time in recent history. The IAC has worked tirelessly to adapt to this changing environment, but the many efforts we implemented were ultimately unsuccessful. We therefore cannot sustain the agency any longer.”
According to information from the California Secretary of States website the adoption agency is listed as a non-profit.
Using the non-profit information website Guidestar Team 10 discovered the agency's 990 tax forms.
According to the information in 2013 they spent more than they brought in.
But, in 2014 the Independent adoption agency was making money.
According to the information they also had cash investments and savings.
Team 10 also uncovered the state department of social services evaluated the agency's northern California facility in December of 2016.
The report mentions the agency has two open investigations that are pending but nothing about finances.
"I just don't understand how millions of dollars can disappear overnight,” Aronne said.
What Jason does know is the love he and Kunal have for a baby.
They just don't know when that adoption is going to happen.
"We will adopt and grow our family one way or another," he said.
The County of San Diego tells Team 10 its adoption program does not work with the Independent Adoption Center.
To learn more about the adoption process in California and how to research adoption agencies: http://www.childsworld.ca.gov/pg1302.htm.