(KUTV) The Department of Human Services has placed Heart and Soul Adoption, Inc. of Centerville on a conditional license after finding violations that include over-charging adoptive parents.
The investigation, according to a state document, found that Heart and Soul did a poor job keeping records, including receipts for costs charged to adoptive parents.
In some cases, clients of the agency were charge in excess of $4,000 for healthcare for birth mothers, not knowing the birth mothers had Medicaid benefits that covered their medical care.
Some parents were charged for travel for out-of-state birth mothers and for others not directly associated with the adoption.
“There was no evidence of any refunds issued to the adoptive families except in instances where the adoptive family sought legal action,” said the document.
Another violation listed, was the failure of the agency to seek out fathers of the adopted children before the adoption took place.
The state is requiring Heart and Soul to address a long list of violations.
In the meantime, the agency cannot take on new clients and current clients must be made aware of the investigation and violations.
In a phone call, agency owner Denise Garza said she could not comment.
The Department of Human Services said she intends to appeal the state’s action and a hearing date will be set.
Shanna and Mike Lindstrom, a Salt Lake County Couple who adopted 2 boys – one through Heart and Soul – were not surprised the state investigated.
“It was just a matter of time before something like that happened,” Shanna said.
The couple said the adoption process through Heart and Soul was difficult.
The 2012 adoption of their son Mike, who is now 9-years-old, was not done legally because Heart and Soul failed to file proper paperwork with his state of birth.
They almost lost their son after he was already living with them.
“I’m still angry about it,” Mike said.
In the end, the couple hired another attorney in their son’s home state to sort out the problems and re-start the adoption process.
That required paying for a brand-new adoption process after they’d already paid Heart and Soul.
The Lindstrom’s said they didn’t pay their remaining balance to Heart and Soul since they botched the adoption the first time.
The couple advises other who want to adopt privately, to interview agencies first and get personal recommendations.
Then, slowly make an educated decision before going down a road that will already be emotional and stressful and very expensive.
“Have some patience, do research as hard as it is to wait for that wonderful baby,” Shanna said.