An American couple in Knoxville, Tennessee has started a fundraising drive in their hometown to complete the adoption of a child from Guyana, but the Director of the Child Care and Protection Agency in Guyana, Ann Greene told News Source on Tuesday that the agency which overlooks all adoptions has “absolutely no record of the couple making any application to adopt a child in Guyana”.
The couple Allen and Stephanie Harden have launched a website to raise over US$15,000 to offset all the expenses of the adoption.
But in Guyana there are no fees attached to adoptions. Persons looking to make adoptions would have to make court filings once they would have been approved but there is no way those fees would amount to anything close to the figures.
The Harden family told News Source that the adoption is being processed through an American adoption agency called “Children of All Nations” which is based in Texas. They said they were sent documents from that agency which shows a breakdown of the costs and among the costs they are being charged by the agency, are costs for adoption services in Guyana.
The Director of the Child Care and Protection Agency also told News Source that her agency has no records of the “Children of All Nations” agency making any application for any adoption. She explained too that it must be made clear that in Guyana there are no costs attached to the adoption of children.
“We do not charge for adopting children. There are no costs. The persons adopting once they would have been approved would have to take on court and legal costs but this agency does not charge for adopting children. That does not happen and we have no record of that family’s name in any adoption document”, Ms. Greene said.
News Source made several efforts to speak with a representative of the Texas based Children of All Nations Adoption Agency. The numbers provided on the agency’s website kept on ringing out and our calls were not answered.
The family sent a number of documents to News Source which showed they were being charged $US7,000 as an “in country adoption fee”. According to the documents that fee should cover attorney and legal and court costs in the country where the adoption is taking place. Additionally, they were being charged US$4,500 as a “foreign adoption program fee”. Those costs are outside the over US$6,000 that the couple is being charged by the agency for its work.
In an email to News Source, the couple said they now intend to raise several questions with the adoption agency about the costs. According to the family, “we are an open book”. The couple explained that they were told by the agency that most of the costs would be for the completion of a dossier on the family that would be sent to the Government of Guyana and the relevant agency overlooking the adoption.
The Director of the Child Care and Protection Agency is concerned about the reports of the family being charged in Guyana for the adoption. She said even if the couple comes through an agency, their names would have to be submitted to the agency. Ms.s Greene said her officers will continue going through records to see if there is any trace of the american couple’s names or the agency that is representing them.
Allen and Stephanie Harden appeared on one of the television newscasts in Tennessee talking about their efforts to adopt a child from Guyana. They have launched a fund-raising website to assist them with the costs and also have plans to visit Guyana as part of the adoption process explained to them by the agency in Texas.
The Children of All Nations Agency lists itself as “Hague accredited, non-profit organization offering the highest service standards in international adoption and humanitarian aid.”
On the agency’s website, Guyana is listed as one of eight countries where it has “Waiting Child programs available”. The agency boasts of having facilitated 8,000 adoptions worldwide.