A San Diego couple's dream of adopting their first child and starting a family was shattered when they learned the adoption agency they selected filed for bankruptcy.
Jason Arrone and Kunal Ghose have been working since last May to adopt a child.
The couple paid $15,000 to the non-profit Independent Adoption Center, based in Los Angeles.
"The idea of it (the process) just stopping and not only did we, literally, lose all of our money, but having to start the whole process all over," said Jason Arrone.
They have been anxiously waiting, hoping, to find a potential birth mother.
"I'm just absolutely devastated, just dumbfounded and blindsided from what happened," said Arrone.
But their dreams were abruptly put on hold in an email sent to them Tuesday. It was a blunt message: the Independent Adoption Center is closed, and declaring Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
"We were kind of excited, moving forward, and then literally out of left field, even from what I can tell, the people who work there had no idea it was gonna happen until right before we were told," said Arrone.
The news stunned the couple. They have printed out fliers, information about themselves, to be sent to potential birth mothers.
"My first reaction was anger, and I'm still angry and need assurances," said Kunal Ghose. "What happened?"
The couple said there was no indication that this was coming.
"There was no sign of anything going wrong. The only thing that looked off was they were signing more couples than they were having actual adoptions," Ghose said.
A letter to clients noted "societal changes have created an environment where there are fewer potential birth parents." The letter makes no mention of any financial trouble. It says clients can file a claim if they feel they are owed money.
"It was almost insulting, like the idea, as if you 'thought' we were owed money. You have all of our money. It was just absurd," said Arrone.
The couple is still looking at their legal options and where to go next. They say that, based on a Facebook support page, some 700 people have been impacted by the closure, including at least 20 couples here in San Diego.