Adoption by Gentle Care; An Adoption Agency in Ohio Not so Gentle, Not so Caring

AGC a COlumbus Ohio Based Adoption Agency with a bad reputation

Why Won’t They Return this 3 Week Old Baby??

AGC a COlumbus Ohio Based Adoption Agency with a bad reputation On March 31st a baby boy was born outside Columbus, Ohio. A scheduled early C-section, there was no joy, no flowers, no balloons for the birth of this little guy, rather he was born into a perceived crisis, in panic, in shock and confusion. His existence was seen as a great rift that would destroy a family and cause other children harm; a 2014 version of Sophie’s Choice and adoption’s “Gentle Care” swooped in as the answer to was  thought of as a problem.

Of course, too soon the problem turned out to be the intended adoption, not the birth of this innocent baby.

His mother’s name is Carri. She isn’t and is a “typical birthmother“.

a good mother not a birth mother

She isn’t because she does not fit the bill of what most of society and the adoption industry would like us to believe a birthmother is like. She is not young, poor, or unable to provide for her child. She is almost 40, with 5 happy smiling children at home and a 300K house. She has a long term partner, the father to her children. She is a stay at home mom who goes to Ohio State games and volunteers her time.

She is because she became pregnant when she shouldn’t, found herself panicked, hide the pregnancy in a  state of denial and then lost, like so many of us, followed along with what other people told her to do. In a state of panic, emotional dissociation and shock, she called Adoption by Gentle Care ( AGC), who swooped in and directed her on what to say and do to relinquish this baby boy. She is typical because she felt she had no choice, but had to follow this path to preserve not only her life, but the lives of her other 5 children.  She is typical because once the adoption machine sunk it’s teeth into her, they exploited her weaknesses to get what they wanted in a most unethical fashion.

And here, she is not typical because she, thankfully, realized almost immediately that there was no good reason to place her son and she wanted him back.  Three days after the consent, she realized her mistake, but Adoption by Gentle Care has refused and is continuing down the path to adoption.

How Adoption by Gentle Care Came to Be Involved in this Baby Boy’s Life

This is a true story that is happening right now of how Adoption by Gentle Care is not only railroading a good mother in Ohio, but ignoring the best interests of this little boy and  most likely endangering the emotional welfare of another family, the adoptive family, by not informing them that the little boy in their care is not unwanted nor without a family who will love and care for him because he is already theirs.

Please keep reading and considering taking part in the requests at the end. Sometimes we do not have to sit by and blindly watch the train wreck of  lives being destroyed in front of us. Sometimes, we can at least try to help make a difference.

As I have harped on before, the birthmother, any birthmother is not a sinner nor saint. We are simply human beings like everyone else, imperfect people that make mistakes. Sadly, these mistakes are compounded and added to by adoption and relinquishment until it becomes a perfect storm of major life altering events that form a never ending vortex of loss and pain for all involved. How is it, I wonder, that with other mistake in life, people are given second chances, forgiven, but when adoption is in the picture, the birthmother must be forced to continue her penance, live her redemption, for all the rest of her days?  It just truly is not fair. It was not fair to me, it was not fair for all my sisters and it is not fair to Carri or her family, nor the child she bore, not the adoptive family affected.

Why Adoption? Why Gentle Care? Why Relinquish?

What was Carri’s great sin?

She had a one night stand with a guy who  was not the man she lived with, the father of her 5 children.  I refuse to judge her for something that countless people do every day.  I refuse to damn her when our Congressmen, our celebrities, our other friends and neighbors also commit such “crimes”. I refuse to say she deserved her loss now when there are commercials on TV for websites that encourage such activity. These things do happen and while it  might not be something I believe I could ever do, but it hardly turns her into a horrible person. The facts are the facts, what is done is done. She made a very human mistake and became pregnant as a result of that.

Then, she did what I and so many countless other women do when confronted with a pregnancy of such nature; we freeze. I wish I could explain fully what happens when we go into such a deep state of pregnancy denial, but even though I lived it, I cannot. All I can say is that it is “normal” and it happens. We know we are pregnant and we expect that others can see it too, but for some reason they do not and so the denial continues.  During this time her father passed on adding more emotional stimulation to an already charged time. Sometimes, there is only so much that a person can emotionally handle. You deal with what is directly demanding you and the rest goes to the back burner.

She told the father of the child and he told her to terminate the pregnancy, but she did not want to. He was angry that she would not abort, but that was that. Carri knew that she had to talk to Her Significant other (SO) , but then his mother died and she was hesitant to burden him with the pregnancy and hurt him more.  In hindsight, we can say judgmental things, but again, what is done is done. This is how it played out. This is what happened. There are no refs in life pointing out fouls and throwing flags when we need them.

Carri was due April 7th, 2104.  She did not tell her other children she was having a child and she and her S.O. did not speak about it. In her head, she assumed that her S.O.  knew, how could he not, and was just accepting the pregnancy and the new baby.  He is not a person who communicates much and talks about deep feelings, so she had reason to take his silence as acceptance.  And of course, one dreads confrontation when we know that we have done something hurtful.  No one asks, no one tells. Again, I lived it and cannot explain it. It happens.

So, in the middle of March, she finally said to her S.O.  something along the lines of, “Well, you know I am pregnant and I am dilating, I can have this baby any day now. We need to talk about it.”

And her S.O. dropped the bomb, something now that he does now deeply regret, but he give Carri the Sophie’s Choice: Choose. Choose between keeping this baby or our family, our lives, as we know it. You cannot have both.

Now, I remind you to not point fingers here, but to view this with empathy. He is also hurt. He also is feeling his life, his family, threatened. Like so many parents, other spouses, and even mother’s themselves, before a baby is born it is seem as a threat that will ruin lives.  It is not fair, but it is fear talking and it is this fear that the adoption industry uses against us.

How Can it be that I Can see the Red Flags and Gentle Care Missed Them?

And so, Carri Googled “adoption” and called the first agency that showed up in search. It was the Columbus, Ohio based Adoption Agency; Adoption by Gentle Care.  The Gentle Care social worker, Kelli, calls back within minutes.  Carri is in full panic mode and Kelli is pressuring her to met face to face. Why so quickly? Well as stated, Carri could deliver any day, and as Kelli explains in her text below, getting initial paperwork started, even when Carri is clearly distressed, shortens the time clock for when Carri can sign the consent to relinquish.

ohio adoptions ; the 72 timeline to relinquish

On March 28th, 2014,  they, upon Kelli’s assistance, met at a local Bob Evans restaurant and Carri cries the entire meeting.

All the “typical” reasons for relinquishment as given by Kelli and Carri refutes every one. No, she can provide her child a home and support.  No, she wants her baby. No, she can take care of him. No, it’s not about money. She is only here , only doing this “for her partner”. Why this conversation even continued is beyond me. How Kelli could not see red flags waving wildly when clearly there is a mother who does not want to relinquish but is feeling coerced by her partner is beyond me, but Kelli just kept right on going.

The initial intact meeting continued in the Bob Evans restaurant. I will leave you to question the thoughts of privacy, sensitivity, and professionalism yourself.

Kelli asked if the birth father of this yet unborn child ( so he was just the father still) had any interest in parenting. Carri could not say because she did not know. She answered honestly that he had wanted her to have an abortion and was angry when she would not, but she had not asked him directly about parenting. Has he registered on the Ohio’s Putative Father’s Registry? No. Has he supported you during the pregnancy? I did not need support. To date the father hasn’t said he would or wouldn’t want to parent the answer of “no” was because she said Carri  had to say “no”, he did not want to parent. And so it is decreed that “he doesn’t matter then.” Kelli coaches Carri on how to list him as unknown on the birth certificate.  One less problem standing in the way of the potential  adoption.

Kelli asks if Carri has any Native America blood. Carri says honestly that she does. She is not registered with the tribe, but she knows she is Pottawani. Here’s Kelli stops Carri and says to the affect, “Carri, you can’t say that. If we name Native American blood, then this adoption won’t happen. He’ll go to foster care.”

I guess this is the lesson learned by Adoption by Gentle Care after the Veronica and Dusten Brown case.  I guess this is how some adoption agencies get around the Indian Child Welfare Act; they instruct their “clients”to lie about their heritage to skate around the law.

Kelli, at this point, has found Carri’s weakness. The threat of foster home for her baby brings in visions of falling down  shacks  by the railroad yard and poor children running around half naked in the cold with dirty feet.  Is that real? Is that a possibility? It doesn’t matter that chances are this baby would probably go to a pre-adoptive foster home if any and that the threat of a foster home was benign at best. The vision is not corrected, the fear is not reassured. Carri, trying to save her family, doesn’t want this baby to suffer but wants what she believes is best for him, trusts and listen to the “professional”.

You can’t say that you have Native American blood. So she doesn’t. The answer becomes no. It’s a lie, but acceptable to Gentle Care. The lie means that the adoption can happen without getting ICWA and the tribe involved.

Kelli tells her how she is eligible for $3,000 in “birthmother expenses” to be paid by the adoptive family. Carri refuses any notion of that. She does not need it. She does not want it. She has health insurance. She hasn’t worked in a while anyway as she has 5 kids at home.  Gentle Care brings that back up again and again.

Carri views the waiting families on the Adoption by Gentle Care site. She picks a family for her baby. She move up her scheduled c-section a week. What is she thinking? What we all do. This is what I must do. I will just get though it. I’ll get it done. I have to just do this. I have no choice. Do not think about it. Just get through it.

There is no other pre-birth, pre-adoption, birthmother counseling discussed, offered or given.

Adoption, Birth and Emotional Disconnect Exploited by Gentle Care?

Three days after making the phone call to Gentle Care, she gives birth.

Carri is still emotional disconnected. She does not see her baby, she does not hold him, she has no pictures, she believes that if she keeps these boundaries, it will somehow be possible to do what she feels she must. Kelli goes into relentless “checking up” mode.  Constant contact with a mother post birth to determine, we might think, whether or not her resolved has wavered.

This is the treacherous  time for the adoption agency as Carri cannot sign the relinquishment consent until  72 hours post birth. Of course, normally at this point an adoption agency and often the adoptive parents have invested much and have an awful lot to lose, but not in this case. If Carri had faltered here, Kelli and Gentle Care would only be out a few hours of time, maybe the Bob Evans check? The adoptive family if they are told of the “match” have had only three days of emotions and no direct contact with Carri either.

Predatory and unethcial behavior by Gentle Care in Ohio

While Kelli texts Carri over and over, the father of this new baby boy also texts Carri. He did not know that his son was born. He only knew that Carri was due soon and seemingly, had a change of heart.  He requested to be told when “their son” was coming. To “please let him know” but Carri, still reeling, did not respond, though she did let Kelli know.

Carri is  still operating on auto pilot. She just wants to get out of the hospital. She wants to go home and so, 24 hours after a C-section, she does.  She returns to her family though still recovering from major surgery and is on 500 mg of Vicodin every 3 hours and has Dilaudid in her system.  She is still on the same dosage come April 4th when she signs the relinquishment consent.

As the baby was discharged, Carri thought that she had to sign as soon as possible or else her baby would once again be threatened to go to the horrible and dreaded foster care. If she signed, he could go “home” if she did not, then it was the mental image of the “dirty shack down by the river”.  You have to sign or foster care.

Gentle Care Adoption Takes a Questionable Relinquishment Consent

Kelli and an unknown witness for the Gentle Care agency come to Carri’s house to obtain the consent.  Carri cannot drive yet and it must be done while the other children are at school. No one is there but Carri, Kelli and the witness. It is legally supposed to be Carri’s witness, of her choosing, but she does not know that. She has no legal representation of her own. She was not given copies of what she signed. The relinquishment consent is taped.

There is a point  in the relinquishment process, one must testify if they are of “sound mind and body” . One must state that they are not under any mind altering substances and are making this decision of their own free will independently of any coercion of duress. Carri was still under the doctor’s prescription for  Vicodin as well as Dilaudid and not sleeping. So Kelli informed Carri that she had to say “no” when asked about the medication of the adoption could not go forward and .. he son would go to foster care.  Carri did what she was told to do and lied.

The tape is stopped when it comes time to talk about her Native American blood.  Again, if you say yes, then your baby will go to a foster home. “You must say no,” Kelli coaches Carri to say.

The father is unknown. She is not on medication. He is not of native American decent. She did not relinquish to please her partner and save her family.  Every single red flag that should have screamed WARNING to Gentle Care has been ignored. Carri signs the adoption consent.

You might wonder at this point why bother writing this all out. You might be thinking that for whatever reason, even if you don’t understand them, that Gentle Care did what Carri wished and even if you don’t agree, the adoption happened. But within three days of signing, the reality of what had transpired set in and Carri realized as again, so many of us do that relinquishment was a really bad idea and she wanted her son back.

She leaves a message that the father of her child should file with the Punitive Father’s Registry. When she tells Kelli that she informed him of the birth,  Kelli is angry at her. She yells at her. She hangs up the phone on Carri. Carri starts calling adoption attorneys. She starts calling everyone.

Revoking Consent to Adoption in Ohio

Now Ohio law does not give a revoke time frame and consents are seen to be final per Ohio Code 3107.084 Withdrawing consent.

(A) A consent to adoption is irrevocable and cannot be withdrawn after the entry of an interlocutory order or after the entry of a final decree of adoption when no interlocutory order has been entered. The consent of a minor is not voidable by reason of the minor’s age.

(B) A consent to adoption may be withdrawn prior to the entry of an interlocutory order or prior to the entry of a final decree of adoption when no interlocutory order has been entered if the court finds after hearing that the withdrawal is in the best interest of the person to be adopted and the court by order authorizes the withdrawal of consent. Notice of the hearing shall be given to the petitioner, the person seeking the withdrawal of consent, and the agency placing the minor for adoption.

Sadly, even if Ohio had had a mere week or eve a 72 hour revoke period, then Carri had a legal right to change her mind, but technically she does not.  Unless one does consider the “best interest of the person to be adopted”. Since the person to be adopted is only 3 weeks old, he cannot speak for himself and so, it is up to us to be his voice.

One would think that “adoption professionals” such as Gentle Care would know that most child welfare advocates such as UNICF all say that adoption should only be a last resort and all other methods of family preservation should be exhausted first before a child is adopted out to biological strangers. There certainly would not be anything terrible with understanding that mistakes do happen and now, with the reality of maternal-child separation, the most humane and truly the best outcome for this baby would be to be returned to his mother and five siblings. However, that is not the path that Adoption by Gentle Care has chosen to make.

For whatever reason, and again, it’s not like Gentle Care really had THAT much invested in this case, they are ignoring the wishes of a very competent mother, not looking out for the best interest of this baby and also putting the adoptive family at great emotional risk.

Carri has obtained an attorney to take her case. Her attorney normally, like many other adoption attorneys do not take on revoke cases,  and he just happens to be the man that FOUNDED Gentle Care and now he is going against them. That alone says something.

So What did Adoption by Gentle Care do That was Unethical?

Ignoring the when and the whys, let’s just look at the what’s.. as in what did  Kelli, the representative of Adoption by Gentle Care, do that was so unethical, possibly illegal and might render this consent as invalid:

  • Instructed  her to deny knowledge of the fathers identity  and did not follow up to make sure that his parental rights were either acknowledge nor consent to relinquish taken voluntarily as is his right.
  • Advised  this potential birthmother to be deceitful regarding her native American blood to avoid ICWA complications and keep the adoption on a time track of ease.
  • Told her to lie about her medications and ability to consent before taking the  legal consent.
  • Ignoring that she felt pressured to relinquish and would not be considering adoption at all except to defer to the swishes of her significant other.

Adoption by Gentle Care’s Long History of Troubled Placements

Now we could say that perhaps, while this was wrong and illegal, it might be the fault of Kelli and some personal zealousness on her part to obtain this  consent and not a pattern of wrong doing on the part of Adoption by Gentle Care, however, a little bit of digging proves that this is not the case.

In addition to these, I have word that a social work voluntarily left their organization due to her ethical concerns and I am sure that with this story coming to light more horrors stories might very well turn up. If you have one, please let me know.

Now of course, I am not sure WHY Gentle Care feels the need to push adoptions and get all desperate about it. It’s not like they ever did international adoptions and are suffering from that decrease in numbers. Their 2011 tax return states that they had 1,052,984 in assets at the end of the year. So they aren’t the big movers and shakers of adoption agencies, but one million is not something to sneeze at either.  Perhaps they just have an aggressive need to grow and the idea of playing God and making a profit overrides all other logic and compassion, because I don’t see who they are serving anyone’s best interests here.

Let’s Think About the Perspective Adoptive Family

So here is this couple  someplace in Ohio who already have a 4 year old biological daughter  and are probably thrilled to have this 3 week old baby boy in their house. Their names are not important anymore.** And really, they look like normal happy decent people who I wonder if they have any idea what the back story is behind this placement.  Do they know that it is an at risk adoption? Or like the way that information was withheld and things were not done as ethically as possible,  can we assume that they too are being railroaded by Adoption by Gentle Care?

How realistic is it to think that Gentle Care said to them:

“Here’s a baby boy, but his mother really didn’t have a good reason to relinquish him. She is actually very capable and has everything she needs to take care of this baby, but is feeling pressured and panicked by her  partner. We do not know the birthfather’s intentions, but we are going to consider him “not an issue” and told the mother to keep him unnamed. Oh, and the child does have Native American blood so should really fall under ICWA criteria, but we also informed the mother to omit that information so we don’t have to worry about that portion of the federal law.”

I wonder if they are aware that they are bonding with a child under at risk circumstances, and considering the ICWA implications and coached denial of native blood, that they could be the nation’s next Capobiancos? I am going to take a hankering and guess that Gentle Care did not tell the HAPs that Carri really wants her baby back and has hired a lawyer, but instead, if asked, might say something bland such as “She is having trouble adjusting” or some such minimizing crude.  I bet that didn’t say that the validity of the actual consent might be under question as Carri were NOT of sound mind and body.

Like I cannot believe that decent people would take that risk, especially with another child in the house who will have trouble understanding, that the child they now house, could be and should be returned to his original family. I always wonder how folks can fight .  We have no indication that the PAPs are actually behind the decision to fight the return of this baby boy, in fact, all indications are to the opposite. From what I understand Adoption by Gentle Care has said that EVEN if these HAPs should return the child, Gentle Care would place him with another family.**

I wonder if their fees and adoption expenses are refundable, but instead, they could collect from this couple and then turn around and collect even more adoption fees from a 2nd couple.  After all, they are claiming that the relinquishment  is “legal” and valid, so the HAPs returning him would not be THEIR fault, oh no. Does this couple know this? Are they sitting on pins and needles, trying to guard their hearts while being hopeful? Are they being told exactly what Gentle Care thinks they need to hear, but that has no basis in reality? I wish I could find them and let them know what’s really happening, because my trust in Gentle Care is just not giving me the warm and fuzzys. I do not believe that Gentle Care is doing this on behalf of this couple nor are they looking out for their best interest. I wonder if these Hopeful Adoptive parents  are also being exploited and used like pawns in some awful game of hide the baby.**

In the Best Interest of this Baby Boy

Now being that his birthday is March 31st, this poor little guy is not even a month old. At this point he could be easily returned to Carri and his family and they can all just put this nastiness behind them and forget about it. He will never remember, for the most part, on a cognitive level this first month of life and how he was almost lost, but reclaimed.  There will be no cries of “Ripped from the only home he has ever known” or anything else that makes child physiologist required to testify nor any need for transitions plans. There will be no news headline. No need for the Supreme Count. No morning talk shadows. No great twitter debates.

It’s really just so simple; give the baby back and chalk it up to another day, but Adoption by Gentle Care wants to fight.

In a contested adoption in the state of Ohio,  being that there is no revoke period, the revocation is determined to be “in the best interest of the child.”

Per Ohio code 3107.161 Determining best interest of child in contested adoption – burden of proof.

(A) As used in this section, “the least detrimental available alternative” means the alternative that would have the least long-term negative impact on the child.

(B) When a court makes a determination in a contested adoption concerning the best interest of a child, the court shall consider all relevant factors including, but not limited to, all of the following:

(1) The least detrimental available alternative for safeguarding the child’s growth and development;

(2) The age and health of the child at the time the best interest determination is made and, if applicable, at the time the child was removed from the home;

(3) The wishes of the child in any case in which the child’s age and maturity makes this feasible;

(4) The duration of the separation of the child from a parent;

(5) Whether the child will be able to enter into a more stable and permanent family relationship, taking into account the conditions of the child’s current placement, the likelihood of future placements, and the results of prior placements;

(6) The likelihood of safe reunification with a parent within a reasonable period of time;

(7) The importance of providing permanency, stability, and continuity of relationships for the child;

(8) The child’s interaction and interrelationship with the child’s parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest;

(9) The child’s adjustment to the child’s current home, school, and community;

(10) The mental and physical health of all persons involved in the situation;

(11) Whether any person involved in the situation has been convicted of, pleaded guilty to, or accused of any criminal offense involving any act that resulted in a child being abused or neglected; whether the person, in a case in which a child has been adjudicated to be an abused or neglected child, has been determined to be the perpetrator of the abusive or neglectful act that is the basis of the adjudication; whether the person has been convicted of, pleaded guilty to, or accused of a violation of section 2919.25 of the Revised Code involving a victim who at the time of the commission of the offense was a member of the person’s family or household; and whether the person has been convicted of, pleaded guilty to, or accused of any offense involving a victim who at the time of the commission of the offense was a member of the person’s family or household and caused physical harm to the victim in the commission of the offense.

(C) A person who contests an adoption has the burden of providing the court material evidence needed to determine what is in the best interest of the child and must establish that the child’s current placement is not the least detrimental available alternative.

The Least Detrimental Available Alternative? The Biological Family of Course!

Now “the least detrimental available alternative” means the alternative that would have the least long-term negative impact on the child and for those of us involved in adoption, it’s pretty clear that the LEAST detrimental alternative is to be raised with ones biological family.

Because I am lazy and this recent post just happens to be in my face, opened in another window, on Lost Daughters, may I quote:

“This dismissal and rejection of our biological families are detrimental in so many obvious and insidious ways. It treats our original parents as though they are invisible and disposable, while it also teaches adoptees to reject a fundamental, inextricable part of who we are (we literally would not be who we are today without our original parents).

When you grow up being taught that your connection to your original mother (and father) ultimately means very little, you learn to extrapolate that premise to all other relationships. You learn that no connection ultimately matters. You lose one connection–so what? You can just replace it with another.

If the bond of one’s own flesh and blood ultimately doesn’t matter, then how much less of a bond, of a commitment does friendship or marriage carry with it?

Being an adoptee and growing up with the dominant narrative and perspective of adoption has taught me that relationships and people are disposable as well as replaceable. If my own flesh and blood mother, father, entire extended family were “replaceable” how was I not supposed to internalize that all people are such–most of all, myself.”

Granted, we might not know how his adoption will affect this little guy in 10 years, in 20 years, in 30 or 40. We won’t know if he can compartmentalize his emotions, if he will feel the loss and rejection of his original family or if he will act out and have trust issues. Will he be one of the adoptees facing an increase of suicide risk, or drug use or not? We don’t know, but the thing is we don’t have to find out. The risk is not needed. The outcome could be moot as he has a willing and able family who wants him.

As I write those words I have flashbacks to seeing Veronica Brown all over again. Saying over and over again how adoption is supposed to be about children that need homes, not, in this case, adoption agencies that want to prove that they are right. The baby, while born into confusion, doesn’t need adoption and never did. His family needed to come to terms with what was happening and for that, all they needed was a tiny bit of time. Less than a week. If Adoption by Gentle Care had not swooped in and pushed this along, if they had read the red flags and put on the breaks, if they had bothered being concerned about the emotional health of Carri as they were supposed to, then none of this would have happened.

Preventing Another Veronica Brown and an Unnecessary Adoption

So as I said before, Carri is doing everything that she needs to be doing now to have her child returned. Of course, she is freaking out and panicked as she cannot imagine that she could have ever done such a thing. She blames herself. She feels so stupid. She says that she should have known better. Of course, we know that there was probably nothing that she could have known better. That once she made that first phone call, the agency had their hooks in her. They are professionals and know exactly what to do, what to say, to get us to that point of no return. They found her Achilles heel: “Sign or your baby goes into foster care”

It doesn’t make sense to her, being that she has never dealt with adoption insanity before. It’s only been days, she says, and it is true. It would be so simple. But only in adoption can we take a weak moment  of fear and  turn it into a life time of grief and loss for her whole family. The same thing would be like taking everyone who called a suicide hotline and lining them up for a firing squad. Shocking right? But this is what irrevocable adoption consent  after 3 days says.

“Every time I hear them talk, I feel like they are talking about a car. He is a baby. He is only three weeks old.”

Most dealerships will give let one return a car. If you can’t, then you call the better business bureau. There are lemon laws for cars, but nothing on adoption agencies.

How Can AdoptionLand Help?

Please help me put some pressure on Adoption by Gentle Care.  I did write to them and asked some questions for this piece, but they have not responded nor made a statement.  I suspect that within days, or even faster if you share this through social media or link to it from other sites, anyone searching for them will hear this story.   Truth is truth and hopefully no one else will fall for their “Gentle Care”

Let them know on their Facebook page what you think about their “Gentle Care” . Since it is the weekend, chances are that they will not monitor the page until Monday.

One can get in touch and leave them a message here;

Toll-Free: (800) 824-9633
Phone: (614) 469-0007
Fax: (614) 621-2229

And while they don’t make their email address easy to find, there is a form here that can be filled out or their email address from their FB page is

They are on twitter at @AdoptGentleCare  #GiveCarrisBabyBack

And dare I say that considering their checkered history, this is one adoption agency that perhaps needs to lose their license for sure. The Office of the Ohio Attorney General might be told that concerned citizens are requesting an investigation.

I don’t need to tell you what to do. I don’t need to tell you to be outraged. I don’t need to tell you how to feel about this mother and baby boy. I just ask that you help me do something. He is only 3 weeks old. He doesn’t have to remembered this like Veronica Brown. We don’t need to remember him like we do Veronica Brown. Not yet.

Let’s go.

This post was originally written and published on April 25th, 2014

The date has been changed so that the updates and stories can be read more easily in chronology order.

Please see the main mini site pages on the Unethical Ohio Adoption Agency   pages to continue learning about Carri and Camden’s adoption story and how you can help Bring Camden Home.

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About the Author

Claudia Corrigan DArcy
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy has been online and involved in the adoption community since early in 2001. Blogging since 2005, her website Musings of the Lame has become a much needed road map for many mothers who relinquished, adoptees who long to be heard, and adoptive parents who seek understanding. She is also an activist and avid supporter of Adoptee Rights and fights for nationwide birth certificate access for all adoptees with the Adoptee Rights Coalition. Besides here on Musings of the Lame, her writings on adoption issue have been published in The New York Times, BlogHer, Divine Caroline, Adoption Today Magazine, Adoption Constellation Magazine,, Lost Mothers, Grown in my Heart, Adoption Voice Magazine, and many others. She has been interviewed by Dan Rather, Montel Williams and appeared on Huffington Post regarding adoption as well as presented at various adoption conferences, other radio and print interviews over the years. She resides in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, Rye, children, and various pets.

9 Comments on "Adoption by Gentle Care; An Adoption Agency in Ohio Not so Gentle, Not so Caring"

  1. Michelle Roberts | April 26, 2014 at 11:20 am |

    Unfortunately I don’t think attacking their Facebook page will help. They have 9 ‘Likes’ and no postings since 2011 except one from a person trying to help who shared this article. We are going to have to try a different shaming route. It seems directly through the Ohio state government, BBB and local newspapers and television stations.

  2. Michelle, that was there a fan page, no one seems to really use that page and I don’t think it’s run by the company, their actual page is what they deleted already!

  3. {scream} I’ve been out of the trenches a year now due to many other trenches & struggling to cope so I have only just discovered this. Honestly, I can’t even read it all…I got as far as the list of unethical things Gentle Care did and I lost it…just can’t read more of this today. I did want to take a moment though to say that my daughter was “placed” via Gentle Care in 1991 and the list of unethical things they did then was a much longer list! They swore that it was not a relinquishing of my rights…that it was more a guardianship, that it was fully open during the time my baby was with the “parents” meaning I could call and visit any time so long as we all agreed for work schedule sake and such (cough…bs) and if ever i thought the “parents” were not being cooperative that is what they were there for so to contact them and they’d mediate because it was oh so important that my daughter have me in her life while I got on my feet or even if I decided on allowing them to fully adopt her, blah blah blah (this is in addition to the things on your list). The adopters were my “friends” (hacking cough) who I was staying with at the time though my home/my apartment was in another state. They did all of this in the adopters home at their dining table with the two “social workers” (as they presented themselves) sat at one end of the table and the adopters hovered over my back at the other end. I cried so hard that I could not read the papers/sign/see anything/breathe/shaking and gasping out things like “but why is that not written here…I don’t want to leave without her…I’m so scared…I want to raise my daughter myself…did you talk to her father…what does he want/say…i’m here for help not to lose my child…i’m so terrified this will be seen as abandonment and I’ll never see her again…so afraid she’ll be taken by the state into some string of foster homes…” and on and on I went…AND they refused to allow me to hold my daughter on my lap while we went over all this…then unceremoniously told me it was time for me to go…that it was “best” for me to get back to my home state as fast as possible for my baby’s sake and actually stood around with the adopters, adopters’ sister and brother (6 much older people than me-very daunting if not down right intimidating…ok, it was hella intimidating!) till I got into my car and drove away crying so hard that I couldn’t even get an automatic into the right gear or hit the brake when I was meaning to push the gas pedal…Yeah, it was only temporary all right…I was shut out within 2 years with only one VERY brief visit when my baby was 11months old. When I learned her name was changed/they had fully and legally adopted her I contacted Gentle Care…they responded to the effect that it was best for me and my baby to move on and not harrass the “parents” or something along those lines.
    I didn’t mean to share my whole ugly story but one of the things they hammered home to me that day was that I “agree to never use” their (gentle care) “name in any negative way…” passively threatening legal action.
    So, I am happy to see you are revealing them for what they still are. I have written to them several times telling them how horrid they are for what they did and once got a response that they are sorry my “experience” was not what I’d hoped but that is often how it goes with “birthmothers” and they wish me all the best…I’d done the right thing…blah blah…short and uncaring and completely avoiding any accountability.
    Ugh…I have to stop there…just know I am so thankful you are revealing even deeper truths right down to modern day agencies.

  4. Horrible, horrible, horrible. I googled “adoption by gentle care” in my chrome browser and I do see that on the right is an area to give “google reviews”. There is only one review that accounts another tale of poor ethics. Also, they come up on yelp at

    I’m not sure how much these reviews are browsed by expectant mothers considering adoption but perhaps writing up the experiences in these areas might warn others on a page the agency doesn’t have control over.

    • Exactly what I was thinking! I actually have two other review sites for them open right now on my browser. Reviews actually mean ALOT to Google rankings! Which then affects if people find an agency, what they do find and then what they think about it. If you see nothing but negative reviews, then the chances are one will use that company. So yes, this is another way people can get their point of view across.

  5. A sad situation, indeed. The agency’s actions are despicable. They should never encourage a first mom to lie. Ohio should have a revocation period, even if it is just a few days.

    I want to clear up some misconceptions on your FB page about the adoptive parents and their rights. I am apprehensive because adoptive parents are not viewed positively by some of your audience, but I think you have a right to know.

    After a first mom terminates her parental rights, the agency is the entity who is legally responsible for the child until the adoption is finalized. The agency gives some limited decision power to the adoptive parents and often allows the adoptive parents to bring the baby home. The agency can take the baby away from the adoptive parents at any time and for any reason. For lack of a better word, the baby “belongs” to the agency, not the adoptive parents, until the adoption is finalized.

    My niece’s adoption was legally challenged. My brother and sister-in-law were the prospective adoptive parents. They had not finalized the adoption yet.

    My brother and sister-in-law didn’t have a clue how my niece’s first family felt until a motion was filed in court. If my brother and sister-in-law had known their feelings, they never would have sent their profile to my niece’s first mom. They would not have presented themselves to an unwilling mother. They never would have taken custody of the baby. They would never have written the check to the agency.

    Once my niece’s first family filed a challenge in court, the agency made all legal decisions. The agency decided whether to return my niece or whether to go to court. The agency decided the legal strategy. My brother and sister-in-law had no choice, but to watch the agency defend the relinquishment in court. It didn’t matter whether my brother and sister-in-law agreed with the agency’s position. It was not their call.

    My brother and sister-in-law had no power to return my niece to her first family. Let me say that again. THEY HAD NO POWER TO RETURN THE BABY BECAUSE THE BABY BELONGED TO THE AGENCY UNTIL FINALIZATION. They stood helplessly by while the agency prevailed. Then, they had one choice and one choice only. They could adopt the baby or refuse to adopt her.

    If they refused, the agency said they would place the baby with another adoptive couple chosen by the agency, not the first mom. In hindsight, I wonder if the agency was truthful or just trying to bully them. Who knows? They believed the agency.

    Think about the choice they faced for a minute. They knew that all information about the new adoptive couple would be kept from my niece’s first mom. They knew that my niece’s first mom would not know what kind of family her baby was being raised in. She wouldn’t know what part of the country her baby girl was living in, what her adoptive parents looked like, or even what their names were. With such little information, the odds of reunion would be slim. They knew that the new adoptive couple would know about the legal contest and might be hesitant about giving pictures and updates. How can that be good for my niece’s first mom or my niece?

    My brother and sister-in-law are atheists living in a major city. If they refused the adoption, the agency could place the baby with Mormons living in rural Utah. How would my niece’s first mom feel about that?

    If these adoptive parents are like my brother and sister-in-law, they are reeling. They are thinking, “How did this happen? Why don’t we have any say at all? Why are we so powerless? We didn’t sign up for this. We never wanted to hurt anyone. What if Carrie is unsuccessful in getting Camden back? Should we adopt Camden or refuse? What would Carrie want us to do? Would she want us to refuse to be a part of it and refuse to adopt Camden? That would be easier for us. Would she resent us if we refuse the adoption and the agency places Camden with some couple that she never would have chosen for him? Which would be better for her? For Camden? Why didn’t Carrie tell her SO about the pregnancy earlier so that they could’ve talked about it and this whole thing could have been avoided? Why did her SO pressure her to adopt Camden out? Why did Carrie sign the papers if she wasn’t sure? Why, oh why, doesn’t Ohio have a revocation period so that this whole mess could be resolved and Camden could go back to Carrie? Why did the agency encourage her to lie? Why did the agency lie to us?”

    I hope you

    • Hi Callie,

      Thank you for bringing in this side of the story. I completely agree with you and do know that is how it legally works. It is true, custody is given over to the agency who then places the baby with the HAPs and THEY do have the control and power to do what they wish with the baby.

      As I have said before and sadly, will have to say again, a good portion of adoption agencies are exploiting BOTH sides of the adoption equation as your comments clearly points out. In a case like this, because AGC did not put the breaks on when the red flags were so clear, they are putting any HAP in a very bad position as well. It might sound false, but I actually DO feel badly for those who are put into that position. It is a no win. I really do beleive that people go into adoption with the best intentions and, like myself, like Carri, just do not know what CAN happen and are too trusting of the “professionals”. And then there gets to be a point when they are in too deep and what outcome is there? Everybody loses. Granted, there are those HAPs ho just get all too entitled IMO, such as the Capobiancos, but I do believe that NO ONE really wants a child that they know has been taken form it’s mother though unethical means.

      I also believe that in a case like this the Agency NEEDS the Haps to take on the fight and have no other but to do so. Then the HAPs become the brunt of the media exposure and of all intents and purposes” the bad guys” while the agency can wipe their hands of it and go off quietly to count their money and do it all over again. While it is unknown still at this time, there is actual a chance that the HAPs in this case, HAVE said ” No, we want no part of this” and where Camden is now is almost anyone’s guess. Adoption by Gentle Care is not telling; so EXACTLY as you have described. Very real fears.

      Again, I do thank you for commenting. Believe it or not, I DO feel for both sides in these case…my anger and disgust is at the agencies and laws that allow this to continue. THAT’S where the change must happen to protect ALL parties involved, especially the children who get stuck in the middle.

  6. Lisa Maniaci | August 30, 2016 at 2:16 pm |

    Thank you for including me.

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