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Lifetime Adoption

Our Story:  After 4 years of unexplained infertility we felt led toward adoption.  A friend of a friend had successfully completed an adoption through Lifetime and after conducting our own research we too contracted with Lifetime.  After a two year wait without the slightest hint of a match we discovered we were pregnant during which time Lifetime agreed to place our contract on hold for nine months. 

When our daughter was two months old we paid the fee to have our contract reactiviated and resubmitted profiles and a video that reflected our family of three.  We requested and received two-6 month extensions.  During this time we were pleasantly surprised to discover that they requested additional copies of our profile which we hoped meant increased interest in our family and that after all of this time a match would finally be made. 

However as we stand at the closure of our third year contracting with Lifetime we still have not had even the briefest glimpse of a possible match.  Rather than continue to live our lives in limbo we have made the very difficult decision not to request a third renewal therefore forfeiting the nearly $20,000 we paid to Lifetime for their “service” along with our hope of expanding our family any further.  As such we would like this opportunity to share our experience with Lifetime.
They successfully match expectant birth parents with prospective adoptive families (unless you are one of the families for whom they do not—please see below).
They take pride in their structured approach which they share will lead to a successful adoption as long as you explicitly follow their advice (unless you are a family who follows all of their recommendations and wait for years without success—please see below).
They contract with hundreds of families at a time which provides them a wealth of experience (unless this number is too high—please see below).
There are a larger number of prospective adoptive families who are unsuccessful with Lifetime than we were led to believe.
We are one of four couples of whom we are personally aware who waited years (one family waited two, the rest of us three) without matching through Lifetime.  The other three couples found success elsewhere. 
We began tracking the Lifetime website in our region to celebrate families who had matched or adopted in attempt to keep our hopes up (December 2015 to March 2018).  During this time about ” of the families from our region disappeared from the website without ever being noted as “matched” or “adopted”. 
Our friends fall in this category as will we.  While families may be removed due to divorce, illness, because they no longer want to adopt, or because of personal details as related to an adoption are not able to post their success; however, there are also families who allowed their extended contracts to lapse because they found success elsewhere or chose not to wait years and years for something that may never come to be.
There are numerous positive reviews about Lifetime online from families who found success with Lifetime’s formula. However, there are families for whom it does not which Lifetime fails to acknowledge may also be the result of their formula.  Lifetime often responds to families who post negative reviews indicating a lack of understanding on the part of the family in regard to the contract, the family’s “decision not to accept a match that was within noted preferences”, or as they do in our case, place the blame on a changed family dynamic (the number of opportunities Lifetime presented to us as a family of 2 and as a family of 3 have been exactly the same—zero).  We find this demonstrates a lack of humility we find to be disappointing from a company that claims to hold Christ at the center of their work.
Domestic adoptions are declining.  In 2014, only 18,000 infants under the age of two were placed for adoption.  One of the nation’s largest adoption agencies continues to grow overall even as the number of adoptions it facilitated dropped from 1,980 in 2010 to fewer than 1,300 in 2016.  This speaks to the ever increasing interest in families wishing to start or grow their family through adoption.  However, it also speaks to the increasing inability of adoption organizations to meet the needs of their clients.  Despite this they continue to accept money from susceptible families who want nothing other than a child to love even when they know there is a probable chance they will walk away empty handed.
Ultimately Lifetime is a business.  While they seek to match birth parents with prospective adoptive families, their ultimate goal is to stay in business.  As a result they send a very persuasive message to vulnerable families.  To those who benefit from this business the message is a blessing, but please be aware there are a number of families like ours who pay tens of thousands of dollar and years of waiting who have nothing to show in return.


Carolina 2014, thank you for your transparency. I wish there were more posts like this that were informative about experiences with agencies. My husband and I have often contemplated using Lifetime or American (we are in the waiting process for our 2nd child) but have wondered what happens with the initial investment if a match doesn’t happen within the 12 month contract. And exactly what happened to you is why we hesitate. My heart goes out to you. Adoption is difficult and an experience like yours makes it that much harder. That is a lot of money to lose and have no little one to show for it. I appreciate your honesty and you did it in a very classy way. Thank you!

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Posted by KelseyJohnson on Jun 29, 2018 at 7:46am

“They take pride in their structured approach which they share will lead to a successful adoption as long as you explicitly follow their advice”

It’s a shame that good people such as yourself have to learn the hard, disappointing (and expensive way), but the reality is that no agency can guarantee a successful adoption—parents decide not to place, extended families step in, financial or other circumstances change, and matches aren’t contracts.
And I don’t know if this is just for infants or if it’s also for adoption of foster children, but I think it’s pretty much true for everybody.
You are correct that agencies are a business and that they can mislead and prey upon those who hope to adopt, but think about it—if “meet[ing] the needs of their clients” means providing them with other people’s children, how could they possibly guarantee that?

Posted by NoraT on Jul 07, 2018 at 10:20pm
Posted by NoraT on Jul 08, 2018 at 1:32am

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