I am filing this report to warn all interested parties that are considering Hope Cottage Adoption Agency in Dallas for their international adoption program.
There is much wrong with their program - but will be brief if more information is desired I welcome the ocassion for you to contact me through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
First, their program is in relatively infancy - although the agency is over 80 years old. As a matter of fact, my parents adopted me and my 2 brothers from there over 40 years ago and why when we selected Hope Cottage when we decided to adopt internationally.
Second, most international adoption agencies do not require a substantial downpayment upfront when you retain them - only when a referral is given and accepted. Hope Cottage charged $7400 - of which $400 a month becomes nonrefundable each month you are in the program.
My husband and I enrolled in their Romanian international adoption program in March 2000. We were told our wait would be about 7-9 months. When December 2000, January and February 2001 passed without any referral and inadvertantly learning (not by the agency) that Romanian program was suspended; we decided to run a consecutive adoption program with another agency that represented Russian adoptions (at this time Hope Cottage didn't). Hope Cottage strongly discouraged us from running concurrent programs. However would provide no concrete information to us about our adoption referral timeframe. Even with the distrust we were developing we still shared with them that if their referral resulted we would go with them. Yet, within 2 months we had received a Russian Referral from our new agency and advised Hope.
From the moment we accepted, Hope became very obstinate, rude and critical. Wanting to retract their homestudy (which had cost an additional$1200) and would not provide us a copy they had completed and by which we needed for the new agency. Additionally, they refused to refund our $7400 fee even though they had done nothing to earn this nor incurred any expenses relating to our adoption. We tried repeatedly to contact them to reach a compromise (we had only requested half of the deposit back)however no reply was returned (we even wrote the Chairman of the Board of Hope Cottage). Citing the reason was "we withdrew from their program and hence nothing would be refunded". In actuality, they did not deliver on their promise -yet we had no recourse since the contact we signed was in their best interest and to puruse legal counsel would exceed our requested refund amount. We learned shortly thereafter that they closed their Romainan program.
We now have a wonderful 17 month old Russian angel, Kendall Valentina Hendrick and had a pleasant experience w/ our replacement agency. I can only wonder how long we would have waited and how much money Hope would have eventually taken from us and why I felt compelled to share our story.
There is much more to this - including their lack of warmth and compassion. Would be happy to share more so feel free to contact me via email.
In summary - STAY AWAY FROM HOPE COTTAGES' INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION PROGRAM. Reputable agencies do not require a substantial outlay of cash for your adoption until a referral results.