page serve as a warning to other American adoption agencies to not use Dennis
Gornostaev's facilitation services for ANY adoption program.
Beware of Ukrainians promising quick adoptions and healthy kids.
For two years
(1997-1999) Dennis V. Gornostaev was Denise Hubbard's primary facilitator. He
generated referrals from Russia and enabled Denise Hubbard to have an adoption
program before BBAS was even incorporated in Dec. 1997. It was through
Dennis Gornostaev we received Cyril's referral in Sept. 1999. At all times, Gornostaev held the reigns to any contact between
Russia and the United States. Not
was the connection to Perm, we are reviewing what we know about him. And to join one agency in warning others thinking about using him to
STAY AWAY from
him for ANY adoption.
After Gornostaev's ouster from BBAS in Dec. 1999, tracking his whereabouts was difficult.
In 2003 we came across more regarding Gornostaev and his work as a “facilitator” for Russian, Ukrainian and Kazakh adoptions in
for two, possibly three, adoption agencies.
review of what we know about Dennis V. Gornostaev.
Gornastaed née Gornostaev first appeared a full year before BBAS
incorporation in Dec. 1996. He was listed, along with Carol and Simona
Wirtz on Sarah's Hope Adoption Agency's Articles of Incorporation as a “Trustee”.
Gornostaev's home address at the time was in Upper Montclair, New Jersey, far away from Ohio.
He was living there thanks to the generosity of a family whose Ukrainian adoption several years earlier he had helped by drawing on connections in his homeland. He had later come to the U.S. on a student visa. When some problems between him and the school threatened his visa, the mother in the family offered to take him in and give him room and board in exchange for him helping to take care of the children, which she says he did quite well.
He would live with them as a sort of au pair for another two and a half years.
By December 1997 Gornostaev and the Wirtz
parted. This was after Emily Hubbard's adoption was completed. Gornostaev,
Denise Hubbard and
Dennis Kaselak, the attorney who helped to run Sarah’s Hope, teamed up to
bring Building Blocks Adoption Service, Inc. its Russian and Ukrainian adoption
Dennis Kaselak incorporated his own company I.A.C.S. Inc. on June 6, 1998. Its specific purpose, as stated in its Articles of
provide financial support to foreign agencies and orphanages; to provide
assistance for international adoption of children and to facilitate and
coordinate the adoption of such children as shall come into the care and custody
of adoptive parents.
I.A.C.S.’s trustees were Dennis Kaselak, his wife Elizabeth and Dennis
Gornostaev. Gornostaev gave another
New Jersey street address as his home residence: in Summit, another affluent New
Jersey commuter suburb, where his American hosts had subsequently moved to (they
were still living at this a ddress, not far from the house Dan grew up in,
in 2005 when he decided to stop by and ask about Dennis and we found all this
ddress, not far from the house Dan grew up in, in 2005 when he decided to stop by and ask about Dennis and we found all this out).
Around this time, the woman said, the kids had grown a little more self-sufficient and he needed to get on with his life, so he moved to Ohio.
A month after
I.A.C.S.’s formation, BBAS completed its
first Russian adoptions in the Volgograd, Perm and Vladivostok regions.
This was a mere two months after BBAS was licensed to place children by the ODHS.
With the first BBAS
adoptions completed, Dennis Gornostaev changed his residence
to Northeastern Ohio. This makes sense for most of his business was
originating from BBAS. He
operated out of an office on Main Street in the leafy Cleveland suburb of Chagrin Falls with an assistant
named Elena. She handled BBAS clients’
paperwork, acting as liaison to Denise and Wendy Stamper.
As referrals were lost in Volgograd in June 1999 Gornostaev and Hubbard’s relationship became tumultuous. Hubbard was literally at the mercy of Gornostaev, for he was the one directly in contact with “the reps” in Russia.
back, she began making inquries to Amrex.
By the end of the summer, Volgograd deteriorated due to a corrupt Italian placing children illegally with Italian citizens. This caused chaos to Gornostaev’s operations in the region, causing referrals to be lost and unhappy clients breathing down Hubbard’s neck. The Whitwells’ lost their first referral in Izhvesk in Oct. 1999 as well.
Denise, fed up
with the problems Gornostaev was causing, needed to find another facilitator for
speculated she was angling to align with Amrex due to her insistence that we post our adoption on ICAR a few weeks before
we went to Russia in Oct. 1999. Whether Dennis
was aware of this, we do not know. We can only assume he was not, as she still
had to complete several adoptions (ours included) through him. The
Whitwells were the last BBAS family we know of to complete their adoption
Gornostaev, in February 2000 in Izhvesk.
Denise, fed up with the problems Gornostaev was causing, needed to find another facilitator for Russia. We speculated she was angling to align with Amrex due to her insistence that we post our adoption on ICAR a few weeks before we went to Russia in Oct. 1999.
Whether Dennis was aware of this, we do not know. We can only assume he was not, as she still had to complete several adoptions (ours included) through him. The Whitwells were the last BBAS family we know of to complete their adoption through Gornostaev, in February 2000 in Izhvesk.
The straw that
truly broke the camel’s back, though, was Cyril’s death
in Perm and Linda Wright’s rejection of Ekaterina the same night.
We can imagine that Denise didn’t need this, and may have faulted
We can imagine that Denise didn’t need this, and may have faulted Dennis.
its wake, she told him point-blank that he would have to take his business
elsewhere come the millenium.
Perhaps, in its wake, she told him point-blank that he would have to take his business elsewhere come the millenium.
that Denise and Dennis Kaselak (I.A.C.S.) also ceased their
business relationship in at the end of that year, when BBAS changing its facilitators to
Hubbard would spare
no one in her efforts to screw Gornostaev, including BBAS clients.
Ashley had assumed Denise was following the proper post-adoption procedures. Of course, once an adoption is completed with BBAS,
Denise could care less, especially if that client had been one who no longer
believed in her.
Ashley had assumed Denise was following the proper post-adoption procedures. Of course, once an adoption is completed with BBAS, Denise could care less, especially if that client had been one who no longer believed in her.
Gornostaev received word from his contacts in Izhevsk that they were not getting the Whitwell's Post Placement reports. He was forced to directly contact them through email. He told Charlene that Denise was forwarding the Post Placements to Amrex. Charlene went directly to Denise and let her have it.
work in Izhvesk, so why had
Denise sent his Post Placements to them?
Charlene circumvented Hubbard by contacting their Izhevsk
translator via email to explain the situation. Happily, the translator understood, and their son’s post placement
reports were sent to the correct people.
After December 1999, Gornostaev briefly teamed up with Diana Adams of adopts.com to place children with her help. They completed one adoption we are aware of in October 2000, but after that, he moved to another agency.
Daniel’s telephone conversation with Dennis Kaselak on Oct. 31, 2000, Kaselak told
him that Gornostaev was currently working with All God’s
Children International (AGCI) of Portland, Ore. This was verified by a page, since replaced with this
one, on AGCI’s website regarding 9/11 where Dennis V. Gornostaev
signed his name as “Russian Program Director.” AGCI is presently working
Resource Center, which has the accreditation it lacks.
AGCI is presently working
Resource Center, which has the accreditation it lacks.
Baltimore-based Adoption Resource Center, which has the accreditation it lacks.
Gornostaev placed a few children through AGCI in 2001 in Vladivostok, mainly functioning for them as he did with Building Blocks ... in a background role, making things happen on the ground but rarely coming into direct contact with the families.
An AGCI family who successfully adopted a boy from Vladivostok in September 2001, under the two trip system, said they did not have direct communication with Gornostaev during their adoption. AGCI and Gornostaev, we learned, had parted company in Jan. 2002, citing “significant differences of style and philosophy.”
Gornostaev’s Vladivostok facilitators are no longer working with him. Instead, they are working with an accredited agency (bringing in the big bucks and the willing-to-pay clients) in the Primorski region.
seems to burn an agency a year.
It wouldn’t surprise us if he wore out his welcome with them as he had
It wouldn’t surprise us if he wore out his welcome with them as he had already done with BBAS.
The next agency to take Gornostaev on would be burned even worse. It happened during his tenure as AGCI’s Russian Program Director. It took us until February 2003 to come across the following post to a Yahoo! Ukrainian adoption email list, placed by a Program Director for A New Arrival:
From: "A New Arrival - Cyndi"
Date: Fri, 21 Jun 2002 21:22:41 -0600
Please post this link on as many message boards and adoption e-lists as possible. We need to get this message out.
If you are an agency, please take note of this important bulletin. It would be great if this bulletin could be translated into other languages because they will be Dennis' next prey.
Notice on Dennis Gornostaev also known as Denis Gornostaev
Adoptions from Ukraine
Adoptions from Russia
Adoptions from Kazakhstan
Dennis Gornostaev lives in Prague and claims to facilitate adoptions of orphan children from Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan.
In reality, Dennis is not doing the adoptions for most people, but is taking thousands of dollars from them, leaving them without referrals or adoptions. He does not give the refunds for failed adoptions although his contracts states that he will, and most of his adoption attempts are failures.
A licensed, international adoption agency in the U.S., contracted with Dennis, and paid him over $12,000 for adoptions for three families, from Ukraine and Kazakhstan. He did not do the adoptions and has told the agency over and over that he would refund the clients' money but never did. He went so far as to tell one client that he had already transferred their money to the agency's bank account, but it did not arrive, so that was a lie.
Since Dennis is in Prague, the agency has no way of recovering the lost funds. So we are alerting the public to stay away from Dennis and do not trust him with your adoption or your money. Dennis has successfully completed a few adoptions and may use those as references for his business. But most of his adoptions fail, and he does not refund any money.
The agency gave him five months to make good on his promises or we would make this public. The five months are up. The agency was able to complete adoptions via other programs for our clients, but at a loss of over $12,000.
If you have any further questions, please email…
Upon seeing this, I was stunned. It had taken us long enough to find it, and to see Dennis Gornostaev so blatantly being called on what he was by an agency director was a complete (though pleasant) shock.
She went to the trouble of providing the same warning on her agency’s website at the URL provided.
Cyndi Peck at A New Arrival had the courage to stand up and warn other agencies
about Dennis. Why hadn’t Denise
Hubbard or her counterparts at AGCI?
Mrs. Peck made another post to the same Ukraine group on Aug. 29,
From: Paul and Cyndi Peck
Date: Thu Aug 29, 2002 3:54 pm
Subject: The Good, the BAD and the UGLY!
Ok, since you asked :-) I will post this again. We had a terrible experience with Dennis Gornostaev. He took $12,000 of our client’s money and did not do the adoptions, and did not give one cent back.
We asked him to even refund us ½ and we would “eat” the other half. He said he sent it (well, it never came.). Now he does not respond to any of our communication. He works in Ukraine and Kaz and lives in Warsaw.
to find out more and emailed Mrs. Peck on Feb. 6, 2003, with my telephone
number. She called me
back and we exchanged information about Dennis Gornostaev.
As the conversation unfolded, I came to understand that the relationship between A New Arrival and Gornostaev began in October 2001, a month after his name appeared on the AGCI website. Mrs. Peck told me that Dennis Gornostaev had come highly recommended to them by Randy Barlow, an American social worker living in Germany.
Mr. Barlow was under the
impression that Gornostaev had completed many independent adoptions and had many
happy clients under his belt. He had no reason to think otherwise. Neither would ANA when Dennis Gornostaev’s name was presented as a facilitator for
their adoption programs.
Neither would ANA when Dennis Gornostaev’s name was presented as a facilitator for
their adoption programs.
Once connected with ANA,
Gornostaev promised them quick referrals, shorter
trips from Kazakhstan and Ukraine and healthy children. By the end of October, at least six clients had compiled their dossiers
and paid $3,000 for “translation and location” of children from
Gornostaev requested ANA provide him with three clients per month for Ukraine and
Kazakhstan, a hefty workload for a small agency. Clients are hard to come by in such a competitive field, but they
believed Gornostaev when he said he’d get their clients the quick referrals
and the fast in-country trips.
nothing of Gornostaev’s Kazakh representatives, in truth, we don’t think he had any
at all in that country.
March 2002, after promises and entreaties by the agency to have their clients
hang in there, neither travel dates or children appeared for them in Kazakhstan.
Fed up, the
Kazakhstan clients were forced to switch to other ANA programs, or leave the
Peck told me that Dennis completed one adoption for them in Ukraine out
of three families who had signed on (Building Blocks, to the best of our
knowledge, has only completed one Ukrainian adoption, back in mid-1999). He
claimed he was originally from Ukraine, something we cannot verify.
The couple who successfully adopted from Ukraine had a relatively trouble-free adoption, with the end result being a healthy, young child,
Gornostaev had bragged on his great connections at the National Adoption Center
in Kiev (when it was being run by Mrs. Kunko), but Mrs. Peck later found out
that it was illegal for agencies to select children from Ukraine (not that
that’s stopped some agencies). Needless
to say, she was not very happy about it.
Cyndi said her
agency had refunded part of their clients’ money, but that Dennis
had run off with approximately $12,000. She had been in contact with Dennis to have the money wired to ANA’s
account; Dennis would tell them he needed the account number to have the money
returned. Still, after several email exchanges and telephone calls, ANA’s money
had failed to
email account bounced, his cell phone number has been disconnected. Cyndi
thought Gornostaev is living in either Prague or Warsaw, or
someplace in Eastern Europe.
(His U.S. hostess said in 2005 that he was as far as she knew living in the
Czech Republic somewhere, though she had had no contact with him for years. She
had tried to talk to, among others, Denise to find him, and found her terse and
curt on the phone (surprise!))
(His U.S. hostess said in 2005 that he was as far as she knew living in the Czech Republic somewhere, though she had had no contact with him for years. She had tried to talk to, among others, Denise to find him, and found her terse and curt on the phone (surprise!))
intents and purposes, Dennis Gornostaev has left the show, taking with him
at least $12,000 of American families’ money.
Not only had he taken ANA’s clients for a ride, but the agency as well (unfortunately for one of these clients, ANA signed on with another facilitator who would also take them for a ride in Vietnam).
Cyndi Peck herself would cease to work with ANA in June 2004. After having serious doubts about Lori Jones, ANA's Executive Director, Cyndi joined Mary Mooney's new agency, International Adoption Guides:
Cyndi Peck, pictured here with her family, is a Guide for China and Haiti adoptions. She assists adoptive families with the dossier and paperwork needed to adopt. Cyndi has worked in international adoptions since 1998, helping over 100 families. She is the mother of four internationally adopted children, five biological children, and grandmother of two.
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