The Badys’ Story: 

A Scathing Local Angle

“Walked out this morning

Couldn’t believe what I saw

Hundred Billion bottles washed up on the shore

Seems I’m not alone in being alone

Hundred Billion castaways looking for a home”

-The Police


    On Friday, June 29, 2001, Daniel was just putting Anguel down to sleep. I was at work, doing an unusual second shift. 

    Shortly after 9 p.m., the telephone rang. On the other end was a breathless woman asking Daniel if we were the people whose baby had died in Russia using Building Blocks Adoption Services.  

    He was taken aback; we usually received requests like this over the Internet and never on the telephone. He told her that it was us indeed whose son had died.

    This woman’s name was Constance Bady. She went on to relate that she was having problems with Denise Hubbard and wanted to see if others had had similar problems.  

    Unfortunately, she was not as proficient on the Internet as others had been and was not able to contact us through that channel. She had just contacted a woman by the name of Diana Adams of East West Adoptions.  

    After hearing her story with BBAS,  Diana Adams told Constance to call Ohio’s licensing bureau to see if there were any complaints on record against BBAS. 

    Constance took her advice and contacted the ODHS and spoke with Ms. Saridakis about other BBAS complainants. When Ms. Saridakis began to tell her our tale, Constance was nearly ill. She asked Ms. Saridakis for our telephone number and Ms. Saridakis provided it.

    Constance told Daniel she was shocked by Cyril’s story and had waited several days before venturing to call us. She told Daniel that she didn’t think that we would want to speak of it. 

    Daniel told her that we were available to speak to one and all about Cyril, BBAS and anything else pertaining to Denise Hubbard and her bad business practices

    He was on the phone with her for nearly two hours. It was obvious she was greatly relieved to find she was not alone in her experience with Denise and had been waiting to be able to talk about with someone who understood it very well.

    The Badys had their own tale to tell of BBAS and Denise Hubbard. Constance and her husband Alan had decided to embark on an international adoption after having suffered through a miscarriage. They believed that there were children in the world who needed homes and that adoption was a positive way to achieve the goals of parenting and provide a child with a home.

    They were drawn towards Russia because of the children.  They were interested in adopting a toddler — possibly two — and began to investigate adoptions agencies in their local area.

    The Badys live in Medina as well. Mrs. Bady works as a real estate agent and is therefore familiar with the local real estate market. Her husband owns his own business.

    They were aware of Building Blocks because Denise had done a fantastic job in advertising around Medina and the greater Akron area. She was advertising in The Medina Gazette and on local radio stations.  

    The Badys, ignorant of the adoption industry and BBAS’s bad reputation, jumped without looking. They had briefly looked into European Adoption Consultants (EAC), but didn’t like the “impersonality” that EAC seemed to exude towards its clients.  Nor did they like EAC’s prices.  

    They felt comfortable with BBAS because it was ten minutes away from their home. They felt that if they had any questions, concerns or problems that it would be best to deal with people a couple of miles away instead of half a continent.

    Upon first contact, Denise led them to believe that they would get comfy, localized and hands-on service from her organization. She smelled a quick and easy sale and turned on her charm as the “all-knowing agency director wanting to make your dreams come true.”

    Without batting an eyelash, they sent in their initial application fee of $275 and officially signed on with BBAS in January 2001. 

    Before the contract was signed and the initial non-refundable $3,000 was paid, Denise invited Constance and Alan over to her lovely, newly-built home where BBAS now had its offices.  

    The Hubbards’ new dwelling was on a postage-stamp–sized lot in the City of Medina. The Hubbards had purchased the land in June 1999 and had begun to build later that year.

    When giving the Badys directions, Denise told them to look for a giant yellow and green house.  

    “Look for the house looking like a giant succotash!” Denise actually said. And the Badys easily located that Giant Succotash.

    Constance, being in the real estate business, noted that the Hubbard family was living very well in their new dwelling.  

    Their house was a nine-room spread, with four bedrooms, three full baths and one half-bath and a lovely open porch. Denise pointed out to the Badys the home’s amenities. She informed them that the house was approximately 5,000 square feet with a full basement.  The full basement was for that when foreigners visited, they would have a place to stay.  That was how well the agency was doing.

    Constance noted the hardwood floors (something Denise had always coveted), the sunk-in living room with two steps leading down to it, the island in the kitchen and the foyer of this McMansion. Off the foyer, there were French doors with leaded glass panes which led to the two BBAS offices — one for Denise and the other for staff members.

    Constance wondered how the Hubbards were living so well by running an adoption agency. From her description, this new residence was grander than that Cape Cod on the 2.1 acres in “the country” they had finally sold in October 2001 for $172,000.

    Denise met with the Badys in her office off the foyer to speak about adoption, Building Blocks and the adoption process. 

    Denise was so accommodating! She went over Emily’s adoption, and made mention of all the satisfied, happy families she had and how great she would be to work with. 

    At first, she tried to steer the Badys towards Bulgaria, touting the health of the children in the Bulgarian orphanages. She hit upon the higher caregiver to child ratio and the fact that FAS/FAE and other drug use problems were not as prevalent in Bulgarian children as they were in Russian children.

    But they were interested in Russia as so many people are. Denise did not discuss her relationship with Amrex, nor did she go over what a horrible contract BBAS had its clients sign and the needling, horrible clauses contained within about refunds and how much control the agency had over their clients.

    Denise asked what sort of child the Badys would like to adopt. Constance mentioned the color of the children’s hair. She mentioned that not too many people in her family had red hair.  

    Denise laughed that off and neither she nor Constance thought anything more of it. But later she would try to make it haunt the Badys.

    They discussed costs. For a one child in the age range of 2-3, Denise quoted them a total of $14,500 ... $9,075 plus the agency’s other fees of Child ID, translation and contract. 

    This quote did not include travel costs, the cost of the homestudy, the costs of the document gathering or the INS. The homestudy and the INS would be $1,955 alone.

    Regarding the contract that the Badys were to sign, they asked about it and if it could be amended. Denise told them a bizarre story about a family who had requested that if they traveled to a certain region in Russia and found that the children they had traveled to adopt were unhealthy, could they have their plane fare refunded? No, the contract was not changeable; it was as is and if you wanted a child, you signed it. 

    They were steered towards Adoption Specialists, Inc. for their Ohio homestudy.  Jim and Carol Wilson’s homestudy agency’s fee would be $1,500.  

    The Badys would later come to learn this was on the higher end for a homestudy in Ohio. Other Ohio residents who had adopted claimed that their homestudies had cost them only $800 or $900.  

    Where was that extra cash going? Carol Wilson made an appointment to come out for her first social worker visit in February 2001. 

    Yes, the very same Carol Wilson who had done — and badly botched — the Hutchison’s homestudy in early 1999. The Badys would learn she hadn’t improved much.

    On Jan. 3, 2001, their signed contract and non-refundable fee of $3,000 were sent out to Building Blocks Adoption Services. So far, they were $4,775.00 into the adoption.

    Their troubles with Carol Wilson began almost immediately. Ohio requires that the social worker make four visits to the client’s home. On the day that Carol Wilson was to show up at the Bady’s home, Constance took the day off and prepared the house. 

    She made sure that it was neat, presentable and homey. She went to the trouble of making baked goods for the occasion. Alan had taken a half day off from his job as well, in order to ensure that their first meeting would go well.

    Unfortunately, that day, there was a heavy snowstorm. Medina, being relatively close to Lake Erie, was experiencing the phenomenon well known to anyone who has lived in the Great Lakes area as “lake effect.”

    Alan made his way home, but when he got there, there was no Carol Wilson. They waited an hour for her to show. Mrs. Wilson did not call to say that she would be late nor if she would be showing or even if she could reschedule.

    With no call from Carol, Constance called her instead after waiting for two hours.  After preparing so well for the first visit and both of them taking time off from their jobs, she was aggravated.  

    Mrs. Wilson answered and didn’t think it was such a big deal. She laughed it off.  Her only excuse was “Yeah, I couldn’t get through the snow.” That was it for Carol Wilson and Adoption Specialists as far as the Badys were concerned.

    The Badys then turned to BBAS and asked to switch social workers to Christine Varley, the social worker who was on staff at BBAS itself at that time. 

    This arrangement worked better for the Badys. Other than wearing jeans to one of their meetings, Mrs. Varley was more professional than Mrs. Wilson. Their homestudy would be completed in April 2001.

    As soon as the $3,000 fee was paid and the homestudy visits underway, the referral videos began coming from both Kazakhstan and Russia (for Kazakhstan, you must put “Moscow, Russia” on your I-600A anyway). They were not paper-ready, had no valid homestudy and Denise Hubbard and Amrex were hurling referrals their way!  

    The first video they received was of a three-year-old girl from Kazakhstan. Denise told them that the girl had siblings who were approximately 7 and 10.  

    Three children and a difficult age spread were too much for the Badys, neither of whom had ever been parents before.  

    They had to decline that referral. But all was not lost. Denise told them that another family wanted to adopt all three children, and Alan and Constance were happy knowing that the siblings would be placed.

    For the medical and video reviews, Denise referred the Badys to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. They had two specialists in international adoption medicine and a geneticist on staff. They also charged $250.00 for three children’s videos. A very, very fair price I must add.

    Their next video and medical was for an eight-month-old baby boy from Kazakhstan. The video was brief and didn’t show them much.  

    They requested — and got — within a week, another video of the same baby at 10 months old.  

    This second video was shocking. The boy was in a high chair and non-responsive. His movements, when he moved, were slow, listless and without any apparent direction.

    Hopeful and still blind to the ways of Denise, they sent both of the baby’s videos to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. The doctors, upon reviewing the baby’s medicals and horrible videos, said they could not give a favorable report on the baby.  

    They told the Badys they would be surprised if the child would even be able to go to school due to his apparent underdevelopment. They turned that referral down.

    By April 2001 they were sent two separate video tapes for two children in Vladivostok, Russia, one of BBAS bastions under both Gornostaev and Amrex.  Denise told the Badys that she had recently received the children’s videos and both children, Denise told them, had already been rejected by other families. 

    The first video was of an eight-month-old baby girl named Lisa who appeared somewhat alert in her video, except of course for her head banging on the bars of her crib.

    The other video was for a boy named Ivan who appeared to be 18 months old in his first video. He looked very, very sick — he had dark circles under his eyes and his first medical showed stunted growth — somewhat normal for a Russian child in an institution. His medical stated he had had two bouts with pneumonia.

    The Badys were somewhat intrigued, but felt that they would need updated videos and medicals to determine whether or not they wanted to adopt the children.

    Denise appeared to be accommodating about obtaining these second videos. She began to speak to them as if in their hearts they were going to be bringing the children home. “When you go to Vladivostok,” she said, “you will be staying …and you will be seeing this sight and that sight.”

     The second videos and medicals came within two weeks. The Badys, having been told the kids had been rejected previously, felt that both children had been available for quite some time.  

    That is a good observation, because since most eight-month-old baby girls are placed rapidly, the waiting time for an infant girl is substantially more than that of any other age or sex.

    The second video of Ivan showed him to be a boy of roughly 2.5 years old. The same dark circles were still under his eyes, and the “updated” medical they had now stated that he had, on top of two bouts of pneumonia, had suffered chronic lung infections.

    Lisa appeared healthier than Ivan in her second video, but still acted out.  

    Her second video was very alarming. In this one she was 14 months old. What stood out to the Badys was the fact that the she was literally banging her head against the wall in this video.

    Three times the camera would cut away and the child would be reshot. Constance told me on the telephone that the head banging wasn’t slow or monotonous. It was a heavy, hard banging. So much so, Lisa’s head was appeared to be bruised by it.

    Cincinnati Children’s Hospital again reviewed both children’s videos and medicals.  Their reports were not favorable at all.  

    In fact, they were downright dismal with regards to Ivan. The specialists saw a warning sign in the dark circles under Ivan’s eyes and the lung infections listed on his medicals. His small stature was another large reason for concern.  

    They told the Badys that there was a strong possibility the boy had cystic fibrosis, a potentially fatal genetic disease. They told the Badys that even if Ivan got to America for medical attention, he would not be expected to live past the age of 30 if indeed he had cystic fibrosis. Another medical would help them make a clearer determination of Ivan’s condition.

    By contrast, the specialists felt some hope for Lisa’s videos and medicals. They noted a small head circumference, but again this is not unusual for a child in a Russian orphanage.  

    The headbanging was a cause for concern, and they wanted to know more about her allegedly “retarded” birth mother as stated in her medical report. What a “retarded birth mother” meant was anybody’s guess, but when they asked Denise Hubbard, it meant it was time to say anything to get the child placed.

    The Badys went back to Denise with this information. Denise, being her usual lying, know-it-all self, downplayed the diagnosis of the specialists at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. The Badys asked Denise about the birth mother’s alleged retardation.  

    Denise, told them what she had told us about Cyril’s birth mother, said that such physiological diagnosis of the birth mother on Russian medicals didn’t mean anything, really. The mental retardation label could have been applied by the Russian doctors to a woman if the woman hadn’t finished high school or if she had “no social skills.”  

    How did Denise Hubbard make this stuff up? Did she do this with a straight face? Or was it all to move the product?

    Again, like a broken record, Denise downplayed the children’s obvious mental and physical problems. The clips of Lisa banging her head against the wall where the camera abruptly cut away?  Her favorite excuse was applied – Oh, Emily did the same thing!

    As Constance recalls, a startling conversation took place on June 12 between them and Denise. It was an unbelievable conversation where Denise at long last revealed her true colors.

    Regarding the specialists who had reviewed Ivan and Lisa’s videos at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, the same group that she herself had recommended, Denise changed her tune about them when it came to them reviewing her clients video referrals.   

    They were being “too cautious,” Denise said, about Lisa’s condition. She told the Badys to no longer use Cincinnati Children’s Hospital because they were being too negative and skeptical on the videos. Denise point blank told the Badys —  “There is nothing wrong with these children.”

     The Badys stuck to their guns and in the same conversation asked for an updated video and four measurements on Lisa and an updated medical on Ivan.  This way the specialists could make a clearer determination with updated medical information.

    This did not set well with our omniscient leader. Denise did not want to help them and viciously countered that in order to get an updated video in Vladivostok, the Badys would have to pay an additional $1,500 per child because, Denise told them, “the orphanage needs to pay its employees!”  

    Three thousand dollars total for updates on both kids. Those orphanage workers were indeed getting well paid. 

    If they wanted a better evaluation of Lisa, Denise told them that the girl should be examined by Dr. Downing in person. Constance and Alan asked who Dr. Downing was, how they could reach him and how much it cost for his services since they were not proficient on the Internet and had never heard of him or visited his lackluster website.

    Denise, who had actually copied and printed a medical form from his website and placed it in our file at the ODHS in an unsuccessful effort to make it seem as if she had met her contractual obligations to us, and who also cried and pleaded to have our posts removed from his bulletin board, now told the Badys that she didn’t know the price.  They would have to go on to the Internet and get it for themselves.

    It all boiled down to this: either the Badys paid Denise $3,000 for Ivan and Lisa’s updates or they could return the videos that very day. They were, after all, eminently placeable children and another family would surely want them.

    The Badys were reluctant to write the kids off, but if BBAS was unwilling to provide more specific updates on them for the doctors to make an evaluation, they could not make a final decision.  

    Three thousand dollars was not part of that decision, contrary to what Denise would claim under oath later. Money that had never been discussed before for “updates.” Point blank, Constance told Denise that she had begun to question Denise’s “ethics and integrity in business.

    Their working relationship effectively ended after that conversation.