Granted it is not Patricia Stowbridge, Michael Shorstein, nor Jeanne Tate, at least an agency is being investigated. Here is the story and the link.
An update on an ABC Action News investigation: A bay area adoption agency could lose its license, after the state is finished looking at its financial records. Action news investigator Matthew Schwartz broke this story back in February.
Dorene and Kevin Whisler have an empty bassinet in what would have been their baby's room. The former Tampa residents spent 32-thousand dollars to adopt a child from "Adoption Advocates," which is located in this un-marked office in Largo. But the Whislers backed out of the adoption at the last minute, saying the agency told them the mother was drinking and doing drugs and couldn't guarantee a healthy baby. Meanwhile, the baby was adopted by another couple.
His name is Landry, he's now ten months old and perfectly healthy. He was adopted by a bay area couple who paid Adoption Advocates ten thousand dollars for the birth mother's expenses. But just months earlier, the Whislers had paid Adoption Advocates ten-thousand five hundred for birth mother expenses. So Adoption Advocates collected two fees for one adoption! When we brought it to the attention of the Department of Children and Families this past April, DCF started investigating Adoption Advocates. This week, spokesman Andy Ritter says the state continues to review the agency's records.
We asked what if DCF finds that they charged two people for the same expense… two different couples? "That would be a licensing violation, and it could possibly result in the loss of their license,” Ritter told us.
We've tried several times to talk to Adoption Advocates, which is run by Kathleen Hayes and her daughter Tara.
This week Tara Hayes again told me on the phone that the agency still has no comment.
Scott Stephens is a Hillsborough County family court judge. He couldn't talk about specific cases, but says people who want to adopt should get legal help before beginning the process. He says, "It's an inherent prospect for these people to be taken advantage of, and there's no shortage of people who would like to take advantage of them if they can."
After our earlier reports on adoption advocates, DCF got involved and the adoption agency had to refund the Whislers about eight-thousand dollars. Adoption Advocates' license expired two weeks ago. DCF has given them a three-month provisional license, while its investigation plays out.
©2007 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast