And to add insult to injury, it came in the form of a cryptic email, informing them ASA was shutting down abruptly, due to financial problems, and offering no hope for refunds.
But to thousands of birthmothers and birthfathers who entrusted their children to ASA's care from 1984-2012, the news may be even more devastating.
Adoption Services Associates, started by American Academy of Adoption Attorneys lawyer Linda Zuflacht, was an agency known for doing primarily closed and semi-closed adoptions.
Birthparents who voluntarily placed children through ASA rarely were allowed access to their children's adoptive families identifying information, so they had to rely on ASA for updates on their child['s progress, for pictures and letters, for notifications of developing medical concerns, for forwarding mail to the child/ren they placed there, and for reunions once the child came of age.
With the news that ASA is closing, however, what little access or assurance those birthparents had largely is lost forever.
When licensed agencies in Texas are shut down, their files most often revert to the custody of the Texas Bureau of Vital Statistics, for warehousing. The BVS, however, does not participate in post-adoption services nor reconnections, leaving already disenfranchised parents even less empowered.
Another San Antonio agency, the private, nonprofit Abrazo Adoption Associates recognized this problem, and moved swiftly to launch a Facebook group designed to offer support to ASA birthparents, most of whom are as of yet unaware ASA has gone defunct.
The group, which is open to any parent who has placed a child through ASA, is called "For ASA/Adoption Services Associates' Birthparents"
"Our hope is that ASA's birthparents will know they are not alone, that there's help available to them and that people truly care about their continued welfare," said Abrazo's founder, licensed therapist Elizabeth Jurenovich. "Parents who place children for adoption deserve to have assurance of how their children are doing across the lifespan, and although the ASA disaster may hamper ASA's birthparents' access to such information, we are going to do all we can to support them, as they await updates and seek new means of access as needed."
Additionally, Abrazo is offering free counseling and a birthparent support group for any ASA birthparents in need of these services, whether to process the news of their agency's closure or to seek help with adoption-related needs.
Abrazo offers round-the-clock access to emotional support for placing parents via its tollfree birthparent helpline (1-800-454-5683)
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Abrazo is a private, nonprofit child-placement agency, licensed by the State of Texas since 1994, and specializing in open adoptions for infants, toddlers and sibling groups.