Illien Adoptions International
1250 Piedmont Ave.
Atlanta, Georgia 30309
Type: Private Agency
Based On All Reviews
Review by mamaflower07 submitted on April, 14, 2016 at 06:18 AM
Pros: The women in charge of our case seems to really care that we find a child.
Child's Age: 5y 4m
Start Date: May 2014
Type: Closed, International
Special Needs: Yes
Child from Other, nothing
Cons: I have learned that Illien will cancel services on families that complain about anything they do. So I have to be careful and not give too much information. I do not want them to know who I am. But I can say we would not use Illien again. Poor communication. Lack of insight. No help when needed. Increasing fees and not grandfathering in families. Changing covered services. Our process has cost much more than it would have at competing agencies since Illien does not include everything others include. Be wary of this. Such as other agencies include translations, Illien does not. Not even on referral information. This cost adds up. It is a cost you won't have with another agency. We even accidentally got an email forwarded to us a year ago that clearly was not supposed to be sent to families because in it Anna Belle was threatening employees. Very unprofessional. We would never use them again.
Reviews: We would not use Illien again.
Review by mestable37edu submitted on October, 21, 2015 at 01:47 PM
Pros: Not to completely biased, but I do not have any positive aspects to this agency. Our first social worker at least seemed caring and honest. But, she told us she was unhappy with how the director was working and left.
Child's Age: 0y 0m
Start Date: Mar 2013
Status: Referral received
Type: Closed, International
Special Needs: Yes
Child from Quito, Other, Ecuador
Cons: What ever you do, DO NOT USE THIS AGENCY!
BECAUSE WE COMPLAINED ABOUT ILLEGAL CHANGES TO OUR CONTRACT AND UNETHICAL PRACTICES OF THE STAFF, ILLIEN TERMINATED OUR CONTRACT AFTER WE HAD ALREADY PAID $14,000.00 DOLLARS TO THEM, AND AFTER WE HAD BEEN WITH THEM 2 YEARS AND ALREADY HAD AN APPROVED DOSSIER IN ECUADOR. THEY JUST TERMINATED US FOR PUNITIVE REASONS, FOR COMPLAINING ABOUT THEIR PRACTICES. THEY LITERALLY TOLD US THAT SINCE WE DID NOT LIKE THE CHANGES THEY WERE MAKING AND WE WERE UNHAPPY THEY WERE TERMINATING US.
Let me list the things that Illien has done wrong:
1. RETROACTIVE CHANGES TO CONTRACT, PULLING COVERED SERVICES THAT ARE IN THE CONTRACT: Illien decided to pull services that were prior covered in the contract. Services that are expressly listed in the contract as covered, such as home study reviews and translations of dossier documents. They tried to start charging us for these things. We pointed out that they were listed as covered in our contract. So what did Illien do? They sent us a new contract, and said we had to sign it, meant to replace our old one. And the new one changed all the covered services. Note that we had been with Illien 2 years at this point, and had already paid 14,000 to illien, and had paid 80% of the fees required. They still wanted to try and get us to sign a new contract in which they could pull all the services under fees already paid. When we complained, they said that since we were "unhappy" and not happy with the staff they were terminating us. They literally said that they could if they wanted, without justification.
2. NO REFERRALS IN ENGLISH. You can forget being able to understand the serious medical needs of the child referrals you get...as Illien refuses to translate them into English.
3. PROGRAM NOT WORKING. The program in Ecuador had 2 completed adoptions in 2013, and just 1 in 2014, and none in 2015. You get the trend. But when we asked for this information, they stalled and stalled and it took them a month to tell us.
4. THEY COVER NOTHING. Literally nothing. Now with new clients, they do not cover anything - not even the translation of your dossier. So, you pay for all your documents, getting them notarized, getting them apostilled, and also for translating them all into Spanish, you pay for your home study, for a home study review (which they mess up time and time again). You also have to pay to translate the medical referrals on children if you want them in English. You pay for everything. They do nothing for you except be a liaison with Ecuador. We asked if they could help with information about what medical results we should expect, and they said could not help. We asked them if they could help us find a Spanish translator, and they said they could not help. They said they were going to find us an agency in NY state for our homsetudy update, and after 3 months they said they could not help. We asked if they had any advice about grants or funding, and they said they could not help. THEY NEVER EVER HELP. NEVER. ON NOTHING. And you pay them $18,000.00 for that... for no help on anything, at all except to send your papers to Ecuador. That is all they do. You do not need them for that... FedEX would do it for $30.00.
4. LACK OF COMMUNICATION: We waited, literally, MONTHS to get a response on important matters. In one example, the director said she would tell us what agency to use for our homestudy update in NY when we moved back to the USA. We emailed about every 2 weeks asking, and they kept putting us off. 3 MONTHS later they finally replied and said they did not have anyone and to find someone ourselves. By this time our homestudy had expired!
5. MISINFORMATION AND LIES: We were living abroad in the Middle East. We clarified with them prior to signing on that they had experience with families living abroad, and also that Ecuador would be okay with us not living in the USA. They said they had "worked with many families in our situation" and that it was no problem for Ecuador. 7 months later Ecuador balked at our application because we lived in the Middle East, and wanted us to be residents of the US. The Director called saying we had to write a letter about our residency in the US, and we reminded her that we were not residents of the USA, but residents in the Middle East. And she asked (yes I quote): "Then how do you have a passport?". The Director did not even know the difference between residence and citizenship!!!! We knew then she had never worked with families abroad before us and had lied to us, and that Ecuador did have an issue with us living in the Middle East. Luckily our social worker had worked with many families abroad, and he knew what to do, and literally saved Illien's ass on this one by writing a letter to Ecuador for Illien. In May 2014 when our dossier finally got approved in Ecuador (thanks to our social worker, not Illien), Illien told us how our case would open the doors for other families living abroad as we were the first to be approved in Ecuador. That was when we knew they had lied to us and we were their first family in that situation. In June 2015 we pressed them, and Illien finally admitted we were the first, though they told us otherwise before we signed on.
6. LOST REFERRALS: We had a 'pre-referral', which we accepted. They now tell us it was never an official referral, just a waiting child we 'expressed' interest in, except we had to submit a formal letter of acceptance for the child. So, which is it? If we had to submit a formal letter of acceptance than it would be official... though after they lost the referral they insisted it never was. This is typical of Illien... tell you one thing now and something else later. Then later, on the official referral we got in October 2014, Illien would not translate the documents into English. The child had a very serious life-long medical condition, but since it was in Spanish, we were not sure of the details. Then Illien gave us ONE DAY to look over those documents. ONE DAY. And we were told we had to submit a letter denying/accepting the child in one day... on documents in a foreign language that we could not fully understand. When we complained, they just had excuses.
7. MISTREATMENT OF FAMILIES: A past employee told us how the Director mistreats families, and micromanages everyone, and spies on their emails. She will email you from one of the employee email accounts, and you think it is your case manager, and then later realize it the was director. She reads everyone's emails too. this is information from an employee.
8. IGNORE COMPLAINTS: Many times over the last 2.5 years we submitted complaints... about not getting referrals in English... about many things. They just ignored them. We would get an email saying that the "Director would get back to us". And a month would go by, and sometimes she did, and in other cases, she never ever did. In one case, we complained about something in March 2015, and were told the Director would get back to us. We emailed in April and again in May asking about it. They kept saying the Director would get back to us. We emailed in early June to ask again and were told that the Director would get back to us. Finally mid-June she responded, but not to our complaint, just a general run-around on the issue. So, it took 3 MONTHS for them to finally respond after we made multiple requests, and when they did, they did not actually address our specific complaint.
Reviews: We could go on and on about all they did wrong, but consider the worst thing they did: After 2 years, and we have an approved dossier in Ecuador, they decide to change contractual services and when we complained they terminated us and refuse to refund any of our 14,000. You will think that they cannot do this, that this must be illegal. You are right, it is illegal, so we are pursuing legal action against them. But, save yourself the heartache and stress we have done through and do not use this agency.
Review by nskband submitted on January, 12, 2011 at 08:40 AM
Pros: Very good communication from agent. Always ready to take our call and advise. Good international connections. Gives a single agent for handling the process. Understands concerns of Adoptive parents.
Child's Age: 1y 4m
Start Date: Oct 2008
Completion Date: Dec 2010
Time Until Placement: 26 months
Type: Closed, International
Special Needs: No
Child from Delhi, India
Cons: Time limits unfortunately not in their hands, the process can get frustrating.
Reviews: Michelle, our agent has been a wonderful liason, ready to make calls to allieve us of our concerns. Very good international connections. Knows many agents in India and ready to help.
Would recommend this agency anytime. We will use them again if need be.
Review by aengle submitted on March, 21, 2010 at 02:13 PM
Pros: Overall, they process children through the system more quickly than many larger agencies do.
Child's Age: 13y 0m
Start Date: Sep 2008
Completion Date: Jul 2009
Time Until Placement: 10 months
Type: Closed, International
Special Needs: No
Child from Ethiopia
Cons: First, my child’s child profile report listed him as five years younger than he actually was. Despite the fact that Illien at that point already knew that his orphanage was untrustworthy, no one from the Illien staff questioned or tried to confirm my child’s age. I only found out that he was 13 (and not 8 as listed) from the child himself after he passed court and I was in Ethiopia picking him up. He said that no one had ever asked him his real age. It was easy to see how Americans could be misled about his age, because upon arriving home, he was only in the 30th percentile for height for a 10 year old, and not even on the chart for a 13 year old. However, based on comments I heard, it became obvious to me when I was picking him up that Illien’s Ethiopian staff knew he was older. This age difference made his placement in the home of a single mom very questionable, since many Ethiopian males, including my older son, believe that they have already become men at age 13—and they do not necessarily want to accept authority from a woman. At no point did anyone from the Illien staff counsel or warn me about any of these issues.
The second issue had to do with my second child’s emotional state. Everyone, Illien workers and visiting Americans alike, had praised him as emotionally stable and mature. The child profile report described him as “happy,” showing no “signs of low self-esteem,” and “full of energy.” He is actually a really sweet and generous child. But he admitted to me after the adoption that he exhibited aggressive behavior towards adults (an orphanage worker and a teacher) at least twice during the year I was adopting him, and no one told me anything about that behavior. In addition, he has been through extensive abuse in his early life and was diagnosed within a month of being in the U.S. with post-traumatic stress disorder. During the four months he lived in my home, he exhibited signs of PTSD ranging from suicidal behavior to hallucinations to sleep and eating disorders. Unfortunately, he ultimately became a threat to the point that I had to dissolve the adoption.
Amazingly, a single male friend of mine stepped up and adopted my second son, and he is now doing better. However, I would never want anyone to experience the hell I went through, and I feel that it could have been easily prevented. I received no updates about his behavior during the year I adopted him, and my son says he would have admitted his age if anyone had asked. With more accurate information, I would have called off the adoption. Worse, during the months in which I was investigating how to get help and end the adoption if I needed to, Illien was almost no help at all. Websites on dissolving adoptions say that the first step is to contact your adoption agency for help. However, in this case, the head of Illien’s Ethiopia program was emotionally supportive but had very few practical tips, while the head of the agency was really uncaring. They left me on my own to deal with an explosive situation, even though the Ethiopia program director admitted that the placement was “inappropriate.”
Reviews: I strongly advise anyone considering adoption, especially adoption of older children, to avoid Illien. They do tend to be faster than many bigger agencies, but they don’t verify information, they’re not proactive, and if you have a problem, they will not help you.