City Pages: “The Adoption Scam”

This is an article written in a local news magazine. This adoption agency has been in the news a lot in our area. Because this is such a long feature story, I’m linking the rest of the story here

Reaching Arms International claimed to specialize in placing European orphans. But prospective parents say they’ve been left heartbroken.

The Adoption Scam



Chad and Julia Sandstrom had two biological children of their own, but they wanted to adopt a third. Julia was drawn to the idea because her father was adopted, while Chad thought it was a good way to avoid contributing to the overpopulation problem.

Unlike many adoptive parents who have their hearts set on an infant, the Sandstroms wanted an older orphan. "I wanted to give a child a family," says Julia Sandstrom.

After family friends played host to an orphan visiting from Russia, the couple knew their time had come. In January 2005, they went to a party hosted by the local adoption agency their friends had used. Located in New Hope, Reaching Arms International specialized in placing Eastern European children. The Sandstroms came away impressed by the passion of RAI’s founder, Nila Hilton, who had dedicated her life to working with orphans. . .

Two weeks before the Sandstroms were supposed to go to Armenia, their caseworker called and said she’d left the agency. Julia couldn’t get Hilton on the phone, so she drove to Reaching Arms. The building had been put up for sale.

"It looked like they were ready to cut and run," she says. "We were left high and dry."

For more of this story, click here

Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.

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