I recommend Heartsent Adoptions in Orinda. The have domestic and international programs. I adopted from China in 2009 and every detail of the process was expertly and lovingly managed by Heartsent. They offer classes for prospective, waiting and new parents about parenting, attachment & bonding, cultural awareness. They guided me every step of the way. Good luck on your journey!
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Re: Failed IUI/IVF - starting to think about adoption
My husband and I had some experience with infertility - and this after having our first son without a hitch - and it is incredibly draining and depressing. But how happy we both were when we ''turned the corner'' to the idea of adoption. We started by talking to families who had adopted, and beginning to look at agencies. They are happy to talk with you in an introductory fashion, without really knowing what exactly you'd like to do. We were greatly impressed snd ended up working with Heartsent Adoptions in Orinda (domestic and international adoptions), found at www.heartsent.org. Val Free was great to talk to. The adoption road, with all its choices, is VERY personal. There are lots of decisions to be made, and doubts to be had. But I cannot emphasize enough how happy we are to have adopted our child. I would be happy to talk to you further on this topic. J.
Re: First-time adoption - which agency? which attorney?
My husband and I adopted our son (now three and a half) through Heartsent Adoptions in Orinda. We thought they were wonderful, extremely competent, communicative and compassionate. I believe they do both domestic and foreign. Good luck! happy adoptive mom
Re: Researching Chinese adoption - which agency?
When we were starting the adoption process we looked at both BAAS (Bay area adoption services) and Heartsent in Orinda and attended both their orientations. Talking to the director of Heartsent, Val, she was reassuring and said that the adoption agencies in the bay area are good and that there really isn't a ''bad'' choice, which I think is true. We eventually chose Heartsent and were extremely pleased with their program. They are very experienced, and were extremely helpful above and beyond what we expected. We started the adoption process in July 2005 and were done with homestudy by mid September 2005(we had a lovely social worker. We ended up switching countries after completing homestudy. Heartsent was so supportive and very accommadating. We picked up our lovely daughter the following February 2006. We have friends that have used BAAS and were very pleased. Check out the different agencies and you'll know where you feel most comfortable. I can say that Heartsent helped ALOT with the paperchase, and also was very convienient for us because of the location. Good luck it is so worth all the effort. Nita
We are considering adopting. The advice on the BPN website is from 2002, so we wanted to get some up to date advice. How is Heartsent in Orinda? I went to their orientation and the staff was nice and information was helpful, however on 2 occasions I called them, left messages, and no one called back. Both times I had to call them again. The first time it happened, I thought well maybe it was just some fluke. But, it happened again. It feels like a letdown. Both times I asked about their Sat orientation or classes, and I'm sure I left my phone number for a callback. Do you recommend Heartsent? Did you have good experiences with them?
I didn't see the original posting, but I had an unpleasant experience with a social worker working with Heartsent.
During the first meeting with the social worker I indicated that I was considering trying another IVF procedure. The social worker told me she was not sure that Heartsent would work with me if I was still trying to conceive and that she would have to raise the issue with Val before we could go further. She strongly left the impression that I would have to chose starting the adoption process or trying an IVF and couldn't proceed simultaneously with both. Heartsent assured me this was not their policy, but it was emotionally distressing until the matter was cleared up. When you have been wanting a child for years a six month to even start a process which will take a year can seem like an eternity.
Another example, after my homestudy was complete, they telephoned me for some reason. My answering machine had my old roommate still on because her massage clients still used our number. I was accused of lying about how many people lived at my house, grilled about it, and implied they would consider ''revoking'' my approval. This time I was more mad than anything else. Heartsent again apologized. But, it was upsetting and shouldn't have ever happened.
I think Heartsent has some good people, but the process was much more stressful than it needed to be. My experience was a few years ago and I do not know if these people are still associated with Heartsent. Louisa
We adopted our baby girl with Heartsent last year. THEY ARE FABULOUS. We interviewed a couple of agencies, and by the end of the Heartsent interview with Val Free, we knew we wanted to work with her and her agency. She is super smart, sensitive, knowledgable and experienced. The staff was efficient, and extremely patient with us, as we were unsure which country to adopt from. They helped steer us towards our eventual Taiwan adoption, which turned out to be only 6 months later! The staff was always very kind and very responsive, within reason. There are many aspects of the international adoption process over which they have NO CONTROL and everyone has to understand that. I do know that they recently changed the staff person who organizes the classes, and perhaps that is why your phone messages were not returned promptly. All thier classes are free, and extremely informative. I used to attend them and we've been teaching them now too. There is a yahoo group of Heartsent families (which is not associated with the actual adoption agency - just the families). If you are interested in their experiences and want some more opinions, I can give you the link to join. It's quite an active, communicative bunch. Best of luck with your international adoption. Julianna
Re: Agency for China adoption
We are currently using Heartsent Adoptions to do the homestudy for our Guatemalan adoption. They specialize in adoptions from Asian countries, so we are not using them as our placement agency.
So far, I adore them. They are very responsive, helpful, and have lots of experience helping families adopt from China.
They can be reached at: 925-254-8883, and are located in Orinda. Good luck! Michelle
We also checked into several international agencies. One in Orinda I really liked is called Heartsent (http://www.heartsent.org), although we did not end up using their services. W