This post edited 10/119/09
The Star Tribune of Minneapolis, MN ran story entitled: Burned by a baby broker
It is a story of sypathy for one sandy Hibbs, a 50-year old single women who "flies all over the world for her job" and who tried to adopt not one, not two, but three young babies from Guatemala.
So sad for Sandy, who spent approx. $170,000 in total for the three (which might include moneys spent for a previous failed attempt from Russia or somewhere) and she cannot get the girls out of the country cause of illegalities in th adoption. Now isn't that a heart breaker that babies are not allowed to be sold illegally?
Turns out the mother of the twins and third girl wa sonly 15 when she gave birth and thus cannot legally sign any relinquihsment papers and so they were forged, Also turs out their grandmother is seeking to raise the, Pity. Poor, poor sandy wallowing in a room with "three empty cribs."
Turns out that there are 17 agencies in Minnesota, the largest importer of babies of all the states.
In the past three years, state regulators began 14 investigations against eight of these firms.
A Family Journey, which handled Hibbs' failed adoption, was cited for 13 licensing violations this year, including overcharging her. Investigators also found that Hibbs paid $9,000 in foreign fees before she fully qualified for adopting.
"Attorney Scott Hillstrom, who represents the agency, said state investigators conducted "a blatantly incompetent investigation," but his 24-page appeal was rejected on every count. Hillstrom said his sister's agency handled 175 adoptions and failed to deliver children in just two cases, including Hibbs'.
"Experts say the willingness of Americans to spend $25,000 or more adopting a child is a big part of the problem and has contributed to illegal activities in such countries as Guatemala, where that kind of money is a fortune.
"The agency was run by Tamara Hillstrom out of her Minneapolis home. Before starting the nonprofit agency in 2005, she was in the clothing business, selling hand-painted goods to retailers and running a Mall of America kiosk. She had no social work experience, but had adopted a child from Guatemala."
The article goes on to report that: "So far, criminal charges regarding Guatemalan adoptions appear to have been filed against just one American, Mary Bonn, an adoption coordinator who worked for A Family Journey and other U.S. agencies. She was arrested while working for a Pennsylvania agency in February 2007 after smuggling a baby out of Guatemala to her home in Florida. She pleaded guilty to harboring an illegal alien and spent 10 months in prison."
Hibbs reportedly became "uneasy," however, when the attorney started demanding more money. In June 2008, the lawyer suggested to Hibbs by e-mail that she come to Guatemala, pay him $33,500 in cash and meet the children's mother and grandmother. Hibbs said she didn't go because paying in cash seemed unsafe, even unethical.
But not to worry, because the reporter reminds us that "most Americans come home with the children they wanted" [despite corruption.] Yes, in fact, even "Hibbs still hopes for a happy ending in which she gets the girls."
And, we can also take solice in knowing that: As punishment, state officials made the agency's license conditional for one year. Until next August, Tamara Hillstrom must disclose the state's findings to all current and prospective clients. Scott Hillstrom said that could put the agency out of business."
If A Family Journey closes, it would become the second agency effectively forced out of business by the state in recent years. In 2007, the state revoked the license of Reaching Arms International of New Hope after regulators received dozens of complaints about bungled adoptions. Investigators found forgery, false documents and other problems.
What was this single 50-year old who "flies around the world for her job" thinking to consider three babies at nice? The title of the article and THIS accompanying photo (left) put 100% of the focus on the disappointment of the prospective baby buyer.