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Lifetime Adoption Agency? Facilitator vs agency????


Hello, my husband and I trying to determin which avenue to take to adopt our angel.  We are very seriously considering Lifetime Adoption in CA.  Has anyone used them? Or does anyone have any agencies / facilitation suggestions or strong opinions about going with a facilitator over an agency? Any advice is very very appreciated!!! Thank you smile

Replies

I haven’t heard of that agency…sorry.

We went with an adoption consultant whom we LOVED…can’t say enough about her and her staff.  They were terrific for support and they gave tons of guidance.  Their networking was invaluable to us.  It was rare for a week to go buy that we were not emailed at least 2 situations to look over and decide to ask to be presented or not.  In the end we waited for about 11 months from the time our home study was completed until our daughter was in our arms.  We waited a bit longer too because we wanted a gender specific adoption (we didn’t ask to be considered for any situtations if the birth mother hadn’t had an ultrasound to determine gender yet…there were a lot of those).

Good luck to you and send me a private message if you want the name of our consultant.

Posted by Tressi on Jan 02, 2012 at 6:13am

Lifetime has an excellent reputation on the westcoast and I am sure they can provide you with references as well. They were on our top three list but we decided to sign with a facilator in CA instead. We have been waiting a year so far. (We are not in CA)
Just be careful choosing a facilator and make sure they are in good standing with the state and that it is legal with your state. We are in WA and it is legal.
If you do sign up with Lifetime, maybe you could sign up with a facilator that is low upfront cost in addition? Bundle of Joy, or Little Bit of Heaven or Adoption Consultants Inc (Cathy Mantel) in CA has a 10 dollar a month option. Best wishes, so exciting for you to make a choice and get the ball rolling. Lyn

Posted by Seattle1992 on Jan 02, 2012 at 7:14am

Hi Tressi - I would love the name of your consultant!  My husband and I have a long list of places I would like to look into some more or attend their seminars; Adopthelp, IAC, American Adoptoins, Adoption Consultancy in FL and a LA based law office (David Baum at adoptionhelp.com)  Any feedback on any of those places would be greatly appreciated too - We are so overwhelmed!  We want to adopt a domestic newborn, we are based in LA and both in our 40’s.  Anxious to start the process as I know wait times can be so unpredictable!

Posted by Kylle&Greg; on Jan 02, 2012 at 8:03am

I signed with a facilitator but also signed with the referral services Lyn mentioned- Little Bit of Heaven, Bundle of Joy, and AdoptLink. I ended up adopting my son through an agency in Texas who was absolutely wonderful. Their fees were VERY reasonable and included legal services as well. The time from homestudy to parenting was about 7 months. Email me if you’d like more information!

Posted by tanyalin on Jan 02, 2012 at 9:08am

We used Gloria Hawk out of Georgia but we did it all from out of state by phone, etc.  Her company is called Adoption Advice & Guidance.  We loved them and can’t say enough about them.

Posted by Tressi on Jan 02, 2012 at 10:52am

Thanks Tressi!  Much appreciated.

Posted by Kylle&Greg; on Jan 02, 2012 at 11:38am

I think it’s interesting that Lyn says Lifetime has a wonderful reputation on the west coast. The only place I’ve ever heard anything good about Lifetime is on this site. On the list that I own & moderate, members warn others away from Lifetime.

You have to make sure that facilitators are legal in your state.

I didn’t want to use a facilitator. We used one for our first adoption, and once they had our money, we were on our own. This is a common complaint about facilitators. This time around, we wanted to use an agency, but we were specifying gender and we would not use an agency that discriminated against GLBT parents, nor would we use an agency that charged fees based on the race of the child. This greatly reduced our options.

We signed up with Little Bit of Heaven, Heaven Sent, and Bundle of Joy. Most of the situations were over $28K. I really liked the women who run these referral services though.

We ended up adopting through Lil Snee at AdoptLink, a facilitator in CA. We never thought we’d be picked for the situation, but we were, it worked out, and our daughter’s here.

At the end, we signed up with Cathy at Adoption Consultants Inc. I would have liked to have matched through her. We were also considering Nightlight Christian Adoptions, but were concerned with how long we might be waiting. If you’re open to transracial adoption, Pact, a facilitator out of CA has an excellent reputation, though I do find them to be a bit pompous. One of their founders, Beth Hall, literally wrote the book on transracial adoption.

I hope this helps!

Posted by rredhead on Jan 02, 2012 at 12:58pm

I took a look at Cathy’s site at Adoption Consultants Inc and liked what I saw too. I will probably put a call into her office tomorrow to learn more!

Posted by Kylle&Greg; on Jan 02, 2012 at 2:53pm

I definitely didn’t like the facilitator we almost stared working with.  It became clear quickly that she was all about money.  She kind of did things in sneaky ways so no one would get too much info on a situation before she was ready…that was after you signed up with her for full fee but you still might get the rest of the info and decide not to be considered.  I think the consultant was the best for us.  Not quite a facilitator and you are definitely NOT on your own.

Posted by Tressi on Jan 03, 2012 at 12:21am

Even though we are with Cathy in Ca, we have never really been offered any situations to match, very SLOW going so looking back, I would have still signed up with her but not paid and joined her full service program if that makes sense since she offers smaller programs and then we could have singed with an agency too. Good luck.

Posted by Seattle1992 on Jan 03, 2012 at 2:34am

I think that may be what we are leaning towards doing too, Lyn - signing with an agency and also sign with Cathy in CA and maybe a couple more low up front fee consultants, facilitators or attorneys….

Posted by Kylle&Greg; on Jan 03, 2012 at 3:51am

I understand the thoughts about being cautious with adoption facilitators, but in our experience Lifetime is awesome.  We adopted our daughter as a newborn in 2007 by using Lifetime and now we are using them again.  They’ve been around since 1986. They are so great to work with, will gladly give you references to call, and they are very responsive.  What we really loved about them is their birthmother support and outreach. They have http://www.BirthmotherBlessings.com and http://www.LifetimeFoundation.org to help support birthmothers.  They also provide counseling.  We were matched and placed in 9 months on our first adoption and now we’ve been waiting just over a year, but we’ve limited our preferences a bit.  Hope this helps. You can read our story at http://www.infantadoptionguide.com/domestic-adoption-story
and my “How I became a Daddy” post at http://www.momatlast.com/uncategorized/how-i-became-a-daddy/

Posted by adoptiondaddytim on Jan 07, 2012 at 10:52pm

It’s been a while since anyone posted to this discussion.  I wanted to share our story about working with Lifetime.  It’s not a good story.

We felt they were all about the money.  It was shocking to us how little our contact new about us or even bothered to get to know us each month when we had our check-ins.

In the end, we decided that they should have never encouraged us to work with them.  We didn’t seem to fit their preferred profile. 

When we brought that up and wanted to get a refund.  They sent us a certified letter indicating all of the things we did wrong and how they were not obligated to return any of our money.

All is all, very disappointing.  I don’t think I’d recommend anyone to use a facilitator.

Posted by Allsmiles on Dec 16, 2012 at 3:35am

Are you still looking into a facilitator?

Posted by JSousa on Apr 18, 2013 at 4:02am

Our facilitator was excellent and we are still in touch. A Loving Alternative has a personal touch that made me feel very comfortable with their interaction with birthmothers on our behalf. It only took us 45 days to find a birthmother and I have recommended them to other couples who had a great experience. Just tell Cindy that Patty sent you her way! http://alovingalternative.com/ Good luck!

Posted by Patty Lazarus on Apr 18, 2013 at 4:17am

We used Lifetime Adoption in CA and had a wonderful experience with them.  We are from Ohio and our birthmother ended up being from Tennessee, but it all worked out great!  We highly recommend Lifetime!!!

Posted by loveadoption on Apr 23, 2013 at 2:53am

LT made our dream of becoming parents happen in less than 4 months! I dont believe LT was just about the money at all. I was on a limited budget and LF was able to offer may numerous things to assist including a grant and a payment plan. LT remained in contact with us right up until we filed the petition for adoption.  When our birthmother went into labor they called us the next day to make sure everything went smooth and to find out if we needed any additional assistance.  Even years after our adoption we have remained in contact with LF and so has our birthmother who has contacted them for information on scholarship assistance. 

I dont know of any “preferred” couple that they have.  I have met 4 other couples who have adopted through LT and we all were various backgrounds, beliefs, races, etc. 

LF is a wonderful agency, but it would be naive to not understand that they are also operating a business. They have a full staff of dedicated adoption professionals that assist you through the process who they pay salaries to.  It is highly unreasonable to expect them to return a fee to a couple who did not take the time to understand what services they provide and how the operate.  The minute you sign a contract with them they start working on your behalf, so its a bit unrealistic to expect them to return a fee once they have started working on your behalf.

LF does not accept everyone who applies to work with them.  So if they accept you as a family rest assured that they do believe you are a couple they can assist.  Some couples they are able to match quickly others take more time.  I was matched in under 2 months and brought my son home 2 months later.  Another couple I am friends with took about three years for them to match. That wasnt because LF wasnt working on their behalf, it was because the family’s composition wasnt typical.  In the end a birthmother has to choose you.  LF knows this and works with you to make your profile and package as attractive as possible to prospective birthmothers. My point is, LF will continue to work with you UNTIL you are matched and bring home your miracle! Patience is key in the adoption process no matter who you choose to go with, and no agency, attorney or facilitator can guarantee you a baby in a specific amount of time.  What LF DOES guarantee is that if you follow their advice they will work with you until you bring your baby home!

Posted by MelindaHM on Apr 23, 2013 at 4:48am

We used Lifetime and had a great experience. So much that we adopted with them again.

I have referred many friends (IRL and online) and 2 have adopted, 1 is waiting.

They are now an agency too.

There are many options to find your child. For us, Lifetime Adoption was the perfect option. They found and supported our childrens birthmoms, supported us thru the way with check-ins and webinars each month, and took the time to give us answers and information we needed.

To the poster who had a different experience, I would only ask what did you put into it? We made the effort to get to know our coordinator and traveled for a visit when we were in Cali for a wedding. I want to know the people I work with, not just wait for them to get to know me.

Lifetime was professional and helped us at every step.

Posted by MoAlex on Apr 11, 2015 at 3:20pm

This company will take your money along with your dream to adopt a child.  My husband and I worked with them and did everything they asked, after putting a hefty payment down, and 4 years later we still had no hope for Lifetime coming through in any way with an adoption.  We were robbed financially and emotionally by Lifetime.  Lifetime claims to be a “Christian” adoption center, but you will not see a Christian-based action come from them.  They are in it for the money, and nothing else.  The only hint of Christianity is that if you complain about your disappointment, they will tell you that you probably aren’t praying enough.  In the meantime, your wallet is a lot lighter, and your home remains empty of that child they had promised you.  Lifetime doesn’t know what a good faith effort is.  You will notice they have an A+ rating on BBB.  Pay no attention to that - somehow the negative reviews (mine included) “disappear”.  If you search deeply, you will see many reviews like this one.  Also, in some places, you can’t even work with the Foster/Adopt system if you’re contracted with an Agency.  So even if you’ve waited years for Lifetime to come through, and they don’t, your hands are tied to go down another path to a child.  You’d have to break your contract with Lifetime, forfeiting many thousands, to work with Foster/Adopt, or another licensed Adoption Agency.  Your hands and wallet are tied.  Bottom line:  STEER CLEAR of Lifetime!!!

Posted by jmphillips0819 on Dec 15, 2016 at 6:07pm

This company will take your money along with your dream to adopt a child.  My husband and I worked with them and did everything they asked, after putting a hefty payment down, and 4 years later we still had no hope for Lifetime coming through in any way with an adoption.  We were robbed financially and emotionally by Lifetime.  Lifetime claims to be a “Christian” adoption center, but you will not see a Christian-based action come from them.  They are in it for the money, and nothing else.  The only hint of Christianity is that if you complain about your disappointment, they will tell you that you probably aren’t praying enough.  In the meantime, your wallet is a lot lighter, and your home remains empty of that child they had promised you.  Lifetime doesn’t know what a good faith effort is.  You will notice they have an A+ rating on BBB.  Pay no attention to that - somehow the negative reviews (mine included) “disappear”.  If you search deeply, you will see many reviews like this one.  Also, in some places, you can’t even work with the Foster/Adopt system if you’re contracted with an Agency.  So even if you’ve waited years for Lifetime to come through, and they don’t, your hands are tied to go down another path to a child.  You’d have to break your contract with Lifetime, forfeiting many thousands, to work with Foster/Adopt, or another licensed Adoption Agency.  Your hands and wallet are tied.  Bottom line:  STEER CLEAR of Lifetime!!!

Posted by jmphillips0819 on Dec 15, 2016 at 6:07pm

WHY is it so hard to find out the costs of these places ? I have called ANLC, Adopthelp and Lifetime.. they all refuse to tell me what their “marketing” fee is unless I apply through them . I don’t want to apply until I know the cost ! We are not planning to use them for legal work , just to assist in locating a child to adopt. Has anyone used any of them recently ? Any idea what their fees are ? Very appreciate any responses .

Posted by ashleyandjon2adopt on Dec 13, 2019 at 12:37am

Outdated website. It appears that this site is obsolete and used very little. Most posts are from years ago , and impossible to get a response to inquiries . I will join a facebook group

Posted by ashleyandjon2adopt on Dec 13, 2019 at 6:15pm

Everything about this facilitator screams fishy.

If you are considering Lifetime Adoption I highly suggest doing your homework.

Keep in mind, this is a business that generates income. Do not make an emotional decision, please be very thoughtful when considering your adoption route. I applied to their free application, listened to 5 hours of their webinars, scoured the web for reviews and did a lot of my own research. I can tell you that in my research I was honest with myself on what I was noticing and what ultimately happened was that there are MANY red flags.

- Suggested material they encourage you to learn from are biased. Webinars are internally based because it is from the employees with no outside resources. The book advertised on their website written by the owner is sold by a book company which is under a different name. However, after going with my gut instinct to not go any further with Lifetime, I cancelled my order of the book and called both the different phone numbers listed on the invoice. Both numbers lead me to Lifetime Adoption except one of the phone numbers was answered as Lifetime and the other phone number was answered as the book company name, both answered by the exact same person. It gave me the chills it was so creepy!! The webinars are very sales-like in my opinion, “it’s never too soon to apply” and the constant idolizing of the owner of the business left me feeling like this is not a credible company. Some of the material I agreed with, however, I could read between the lines that much of what they preach is based on what they know makes them money. They claim that it is based on what they know works for a quick and successful match, but based on all the surrounding factors I have my own opinions.

- After doing additional research on the differences of facilitators and agencies I learned that facilitators are illegal in some states. Why are they illegal if there wasn’t something that they were known for that caused them to become illegal to begin with? Also, the webinar that went over what type of company they were, was actually eye-opening to me. What was stated was that if your state does not permit a facilitator that Lifetime Adoption will provide someone within their company who can legally continue the process in that state and not to worry. So…wait? They are a facilitator masquerading as an agency in some states??? Hmm. RED FLAG! While I am sure they have to do things the legal route in those states, I just find it incredibly odd that they try to play as both but act as a facilitator everywhere else. If using a facilitator is illegal in those states then it is not right to operate by using a backdoor or loophole in those same states.

- In learning about facilitators I found that generally they are small businesses with few employees not regulated by the state. Essentially they can operate however they want. It seemed to be confirmation when the same people doing the webinars were the same people answering the phones and my emails.

- My biggest concern were reviews across the internet where adoptive moms were victimized when they did absolutely EVERYTHING they could do the right way and yet waited years, spending thousands waiting and when they asked Lifetime why it was taking so long they were told they needed to be more faithful and pray harder/more diligently. Did they hear the mother’s prayers? Do they know her heart? As a woman of faith, I completely understand the meaning of waiting patiently. But what I do not agree with is using that as an excuse to hide behind why they cannot provide a baby in so many years when people are shelling out more money than they honestly should have because they trusted the company. I have to believe these complaints because it came from more than one person online when I dug deeper. If this business is not in it just for the money, then they should restructure. If the finances spent that year did not produce a baby, allow it to cycle over to the next year or for a complete or partial refund when things don’t work out. I guarantee you adoptive parents do not want to wait. Why make them feel worse by keeping their money?! There needs to be accountability. Allow the adoptive parents to see that a number of birth moms have received their info or find a way to be more transparent if anything else.

- This is an era that bases opinions on reviews so why is the review section on Facebook hidden unless there is a reason?? Reputable companies allow reviews for all to see. Reviews in other locations have been reported to have been deleted. Interesting, yet another red flag.

These were just a few among many other issues I took with this company. I do believe there are success stories that come about this business but in the grand scheme of things I backed out in order to protect my own family. I do not have thousands of dollars to potentially throw down the drain and I’d rather save my family the heartache. We plan to go with an agency.

Posted by rl459 on Feb 10, 2020 at 10:18pm

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