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Embattled Adoption Agency Gives Up Its License
JACKSONVILLE, FL -- The baby room is ready for the little boy and girl the Ernfridssons were hoping to adopt with the help of Adoption Blessings Worldwide.
But $40,000 later, that room sits empty and their dreams are on hold.
"We don't want anymore families to go through what we went through. We lost our entire life savings. We were promised children and that didn't happen," says Lori Ernfridsson.
They are just one of the families who stepped forward to make complaints about the agency to state authorities. The complaints were made weeks ago, but First Coast News learned that on Thursday, Georgia officials received notification that ABW was relinquishing its license.
The agency was once licensed in Florida and based on the First Coast under a different name, Tedi Bear Adoptions, years ago. After numerous problems and state investigations, the agency surrendered its license to Florida authorities in 2003.
The agency was already licensed in Georgia, and changed its name from Tedi Bear to Adoption Blessings Worldwide, but its executive director, Tedi Hedstrom, still had a home in Ponte Vedra.
Complaints against ABW started rolling in to Georgia and Florida authorities months ago.
"That's why they're shutting down. There's been too many problems to continue doing business for them," Andreas Ernfridsson told First Coast News.
Hedstrom did not return phone calls to her home and cell phone.
In a statement released by her attorney, Rick Rumrell, Hedstrom says she's been "....praying that God give her direction in regards to the future...with Adoption Blessings Worldwide.... It is with great regret that Adoption Blessings Worldwide and Tedi Hedstrom will be formally closing its doors to adoption services."
"We were absolutely thrilled to hear that," says Lori Ernfridsson.
The couple is taking legal action to get their money back.
"They need to pay the money back to these couples that have been hurt and suffered, and they need to never practice again," says Andreas Ernfridsson.
First Coast News has learned that a number of former ABW clients will soon be filing a lawsuit against the agency.
The agency told Georgia authorities it will relinquish its license by July 31, 2008.
Hedstrom's attorney says pending adoptions will go forward with another licensed agency. Hedstrom does not want to reveal what agency that will be until all clients are notified.First Coast News