LOS ANGELES - A local adoption agency left families heartbroken and out of money after it abruptly filed for bankruptcy.
Brandi da Veiga and her husband began working with Independent Adoption Center about two years ago and said they paid the agency about $15,000.
"We can't have biological children so it was surrogacy or adoption," da Veiga said.
The couple was waiting for good news, but received an email from the agency informing them that it had declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy and would close.
"You never expect an agency that's supposed to be creating families to just say we're done effective immediately," da Veiga shared.
The da Veigas join a list of many families in the country who received the same news.
Some said they were encouraged to participate in a new advertising program as recent as a few weeks ago.
Brian Pace, another agency client, recalled the company asking to spend an additional amount in order to enroll. He and his wife opted out, but had already invested thousands of dollars.
"It feels like a year of effort is just gone and now we got to find a whole new place," Pace said.
The adoption center, which operated for more than 30 years, said in a statement that it filed for bankruptcy due to changing demographics, with more people seeking to adopt and fewer potential birth parents in the U.S.
The statement additionally said that the court would notify clients if they were owed any money.
"It's been devastating... Emotionally going forward we'll be guarded if we choose to pursue another agency. Is this going to happen again? It kind of scars you a little bit," da Veiga said.
One couple told Eyewitness News that the website hosting their profile is working with families to keep the profiles posted.
Da Veiga said she shared her story to help other families looking to adopt.
"People need to be informed when they make decisions about choosing adoption and you really need to do your homework," she said. "We really thought we had."