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State suing adoption agency

SPRINGFIELD -- Thousands of families turn to adoption when they want to start a family, so the state is cracking down on an agency it says is operating illegally.
SPRINGFIELD -- Thousands of families turn to adoption when they want to start a family, so the state is cracking down on an agency it says is operating illegally. The Attorney General's office is suing Adoption Network Law Center. It's a for-profit business based in California. WCIA-3's Ashley Michels has more.

It's currently illegal for companies or agencies to set up adoptions if they are not licensed with the state. Adoption Network isn't, so the state sent it a cease-and-desist letter earlier this year. But, the Attorney General says nothing's changed, so she's suing the company to keep families from being hurt in the process.

For many couples, adoption is the only way to build a family. But, there's often a lot of red tape and waiting so, the first thing for many people is to hit the internet to look for answers.

"You're so excited. The stress of waiting is very difficult and you just want everything to go OK."

But, an online search could lead you down the wrong path. This for-profit agency isn't licensed with the state and isn't supposed to be advertising to Illinois' families.

"One of the big problems is the placement could be denied."

Erin Predmore adopted her child from out-of-state. She also works for a licensed agency in Springfield. Predmore says getting denied would be devastating for a new family.

"Adoption is stressful regardless. I remember getting the call saying it was okay to travel with our son and just the relief I felt and, like, alright, he's ours, we're going home."

The state says it wants only success stories like Predmore's from now on. That's why it's trying to weed out companies trying to illegally tap into Illinois' adoption market. That way, families get the right answers from the get-go.

"We know the Illinois' laws and can abide by them so that everyone's safe; both the child and the biological parent and the adoptive parents."

Lawyers for Adoption Network weren't available for comment, but they did send the state a reply to the cease-and-desist letter. It says they don't believe they're breaking any Illinois' laws.

The Adoption Council says there are three things to watch for to avoid fraud:

        1) Follow your gut. If you sense a situation isn't quite right, walk away.
        2) Get real proof of pregnancy. Ask for written documentation from a
        doctor, then follow up with their office.
        3) Limit the amount of cash you give to birth families. Pregnancy-related
        expenses are often paid for, so giving some money to the family is normal,
        but too much is a red flag.
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