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West Haven couple has to put dreams of family on hold after adoption agency bankruptcy

WEST HAVEN – An adoption agency abruptly shut its doors, impacting families across the country, costing them thousands of dollars. The Independent Adoption Cent...

WEST HAVEN – An adoption agency abruptly shut its doors, impacting families across the country, costing them thousands of dollars.

The Independent Adoption Center announced Tuesday it was declaring Chapter 7 bankruptcy, effective immediately.

A West Haven couple, Shannon Frederickson and Dawn Sengstacken, have been signed up with the agency more than two years and learned about its closing through an email, this week.

“I can’t believe everything just got stripped away from us, just like that, with an email,” Frederickson said. “And then frustration that this is how they notify you.”

The couple said they’ve given the agency more than $20,000 but it’s more than just the money.

“We can’t get any of our stuff, our fingerprints, our background checks, all that stuff we don’t have access to whatsoever because they just shut the doors,” she said. “They took everything off the websites, all our pictures, everything just gone like we didn’t even exist.”

The company’s website redirects to a letter confirming its closing.

The couple said the hardest part of it all is going through the process, including steps like a home study, and not having a baby.

“We have an alarm for our pool, we have everything I mean we were so ready,” Sengstacken said while standing in the baby’s nursery.

“For me it’s definitely wanting the child, that I now have to start all over, do it again and find another agency that I can trust which will be hard to do,” Frederickson said.

Frederickson went through four failed IVF treatments and the couple thought adoption was going to be a sure thing.

“We never thought in a million years going the adoption route would be a gamble,” Sengstacken said. “The only gamble we knew was time.”

In a press release it blamed its position on the climate of adoption changing: “Societal changes have created an environment in the United States where there are fewer potential birth parents than at any other point in IAC’s history. 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. Because of this, while we have striven to find financial solutions, we have come to the end of a rope and are declaring bankruptcy.”

The Independent Adoption Center has been around 34 years and facilitated more than 4-thousand successful adoptions.

The couple said they plan to file a lawsuit and look for a new adoption agency. The concern is the cost, especially after paying at least 50-thousand dollars for IVF and the adoption fees.

They have created a Go Fund Me Page to help raise money in an effort to start a family.