Strongsville adoption agency accused of soliciting bribes, withholding money

Posted at 8:54 PM, Jan 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-13 21:01:15-05

We are taking a closer look at an adoption agency in Strongsville after It was debarred by the state department. The feds accuse European Adoption Consultants of allegedly soliciting bribes – among other crimes.

News 5 spoke with one family who spent tens of thousands on their adoption process and now is stuck with radio silence.

It took one trip to Haiti for Katie Bishop and her husband to decide to increase their family by one. 

“The hunger and poverty that’s there, we can really make a difference in the life of a child," Bishop said.

But things took a turn when Strongsville-based European Adoption Consultants, the agency they went with, lost their accreditation.

“The initial letter from them said they might try to contest that so just to hold tight while they figure the out,” Bishop said.

Three weeks have since passed and Bishop says that was the last they heard from EAC, who still has their $21,000 deposit. 

“I’ll send them an email or I’ll try to call. One of the numbers I have for them has been disconnected," Bishop said.

We, too, tried to reach EAC and its founder Margaret Cole to get answers. The company didn’t return any of News 5’s phone calls and when a News 5 crew went to their Strongsville building, no one answered.

Then someone from the company’s call center told News 5 that they are no longer allowed to contact the company.

“We are just letting everyone know that they are closed. we do take a message, but I do know that people call back and say they never got a callback. So I don’t know what’s going on with the office” said the call center representative.

But Bishop says she won’t stop until her family is complete.

“You know I feel like he is already my son, even though I don’t know his name. So I am going to keep fighting until he is home here in my arms” Bishop said.

The State Department debarred EAC for the next three years. On their website, EAC says they will be reviewing fees paid and will work with any new agencies to “transfer as much as possible.”