Posted by: eacadoption | 11/20/2010

Giantelli’s Adoption Journey

Many of our EAC families have endured heartbreaks and hardships when trying to become parents, especially the Giantelli’s.  Heartbroken more than once, scammed, and lost a fortune; almost everything that could go wrong did go wrong, and sometimes it happened more than once.  After so many years of struggling, you would begin to believe that starting a family may not be in the cards for them… until they met us, meet the Giantelli’s and this is their story:

We’re Tim and Leila and this is our story about our journey on how we became parents.

Our journey began in 1998, we went through seven years of infertility treatments, had surgical procedures, spent lots of money and did get pregnant twice, however both pregnancies ended in miscarriage.

A friend had mentioned to us that she knew someone who had adopted two boys from Russia through a program called Adventure USA.  She gave us the name and number of her friend, who we contacted.  We were so touched by her story that we decided to pursue adoption.  In August 2005, we contacted the agency that she had used and decided that we were going to adopt from Ukraine.  Our decision at the time to go with Ukraine was that it required only one trip for four weeks.  We had paid fees and just completed our dossier when we received a call from our agency at the time, who advised us that the Ukraine had suspended adoptions from several countries, including the US, due to families not completing post placement reports.  We decided to ride it out for a few months.  By early November 2005, we spoke to our case manager and there was no change in the Ukraine policy so we decided to register in Russia.  We updated our dossier and submitted it in January 2006; from there we waited… and waited.  In March 2006, we finally got a referral and decided to accept.  On that same morning, I was going to call our agency to tell them we were taking the referral, however, on the same day we received a phone call from our case manager advising us that the child had been adopted by a family member and was no longer available for adoption!  We were heart broken!

We went back into the data bank to wait for a referral.  Unfortunately in 2006, Russia decided that all agencies need to be accredited.  Some agencies got accredited immediate and for others like ours, it took years!  In this two-year period we had to have all our paperwork updated as everything was expiring.  I received a phone call in July 2008 that our agency finally received it accreditation and things will be moving along.  In August 2008 we prepared some region specific documents and were getting ready to send them in to our agency with a check when I received a phone call from the Director of separate agency who completed our home study and told us not to send in our check since the agency was closing its doors and is now out of business!  Needless to say I was in shock!  We paid them close to $20,000 and I didn’t even get the courtesy of a phone call from my own agency.  I had to hear it through another agency.

We dusted ourselves off, picked ourselves up and worked with the Director of the agency who did our home study to sign with another agency.  We did our research and finally chose an agency that had gotten their accreditation with Russia immediately and were in good standing with Russia!  So in September 2008, we paid more fees, completed more paperwork and by October 2008 we were registered in a region located in Eastern Russia.  This agency received many referrals from this region so we were sitting good or so we thought!  In January 2009, Russia came out with a blacklist and we found out the agency who did our home study was listed on the blacklist.  As a result, we were not eligible for referrals in too many regions.  Our agency bounced us around to about four regions.  This all took play over the course of about one and half years.  Again our paperwork was expiring so it had to be updated and renewed.  We were charged each time a document had to be updated and renewed in New York to get it notarized, county certified and apostilled.  This started to run into a lot of money!

Finally in January 2010 we get a call that they have a child for us, we were so excited.  We received the information on the child, sent it out to our doctor, who then gave us the go ahead.  So we traveled to Eastern Russia to meet this boy and realized that there was something definitely not right.  However, we were forced into signing an acceptance to adopt this child.  There was no internet service where we were so we were unable to get videos out to our doctor.  Upon arriving home I emailed my doctor the videos and she was horrified!  She referred to the child as “feral”!  So we of course, declined the referral.  In June 2010 we were sent another referral, which we lost and was blacklisted from the region.  Our agency had layoffs and my case manager was one of the employees impacted.  So in July 2010 I spoke to my new case manager about what region we’ll be in.  We were registered in two regions but was blacklisted from the one region where they were getting referrals.  So my new case manager said she’s leaving us in the other region we were registered in which was a new area for them.  Please note we were registered in this region for almost two years and had not received one referral.  When I asked her about referrals apparently no one had ever received a referral so my question to her was where are we in this region?  She told us to just wait and see what happens.  Between the trip to Russia in February and paying program fees, etc, we spent close to $40,000 with this agency!  On a side note we were told be this agency that things had slowed down in Russia, may be due to a woman flying her child back or so we thought!  I was not pleased with the response our new case manager had given us to why we were staying in a region with no referrals and none on the horizon.  I went home that night and spoke to my husband.

We decided as we always did; let’s check with our agency that did our home study.  So the next day I emailed the Director of the agency who completed our home study and asked her if there were any agencies that were getting referrals from Russia.  Her response to me was, “It’s funny you emailed me, I was just writing you an email.”  She was at a conference where she met Margaret Cole with EAC.  So I called EAC and spoke to Jennifer and told her my long sad story about all the money we lost to date on adoption, which was at this point $60,000!  She was wonderful; she was very patient and just listened to my story.  When I was finished she was appalled at what had happened to us and told our story to Margaret Cole.  That night my husband and I were talking and deciding what we should do.  You know we’ve heard the story many times, “We’ll get you a child.”  And yes, we drank the cool-aid every time but the only thing they left us were broken hears and an empty bank account.  When our phone rang, it was Margaret Cole; she was on her way to Columbia but wanted to personally talk to us as she related what we went through.  After speaking with Margaret, we decided to sign up with EAC, which we did the next day.  We were assigned Lynn as our case manager, who has been wonderful.  This was late July, early August 2010.  We began the process of completing paperwork, more paperwork, and more mounds of paperwork!  I have never seen this much paperwork!  Our dossier and paperwork was submitted to EAC the week before Labor day, the Thursday after Labor Day we received a phone call from Tricia telling us that they have a referral for us, two boys ages 1 ½ and 2 ½.  We almost fell out of our chairs!

In the past we waited for months, years and now in only 7 days!  We were shocked but thrilled!  So far so good!  Based on the information relayed to us, we were asked to review the referral, which we did.  We sent the information to our doctor and based on the information decided to travel to Russia to meet the two boys. On October 2nd we made our first trip to Moscow.  On October 4th we met our two boys and we knew when we met them that this was right.  However, we still wanted to take precautions and send videos to our doctor for review.  We had computer issues, but our translator in the region, Anya was wonderful!! She got us a laptop that worked and stayed with us late into the night while we uploaded the videos.  Our doctor reviewed them and everything looked good.  We accepted the referral and went home.  We received a phone call two weeks later with our court date; we went to court on November 1, 2010 and was awarded custody of the boys who we named Miguel and Jonas. We will be making our final trip the end of November and bringing them home on December 4, 2010, almost five years to the day that we began our adoption journey and we finally have a happy ending!!

We can’t say enough good things about EAC.  The staff in the US and Russia are wonderful!! They are there 24 hours a day and have guided us through the entire process.  This agency is so different from the first two agencies we were with. I would highly recommend them to anyone wanting to adopt!  Don’t ever give up hope!  We didn’t, and now after being with EAC, the past is a faint memory!

Thank you EAC, for making our dream of becoming a family a reality and our journey all worth it!!

Please note that the names of the family members have been changed and altered in order to protect their identity and privacy.


  1. Good day I was fortunate to seek your website in baidu
    your Topics is wonderful
    I get a lot in your Topics really thank your very much
    btw the theme of you website is really superb
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    • Thank you for your feedback! We really appreciate it and glad to hear you enjoy our blog, especially the topics. The name of this theme that we are currently using is called Ocean Mist. Hope that helps!

  2. Hello! We are about to start our adoption process with EAC and would love to talk or e-mail with you more about the agency. I want to do as much research as possible to ensure that I am selecting a reputable agency.

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