Bethany Christian Services specializes in both domestic and international adoption among other services, including foster care, refugee assistance, post-adoption services, and youth and family counseling. The national headquarters is in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with other offices in 35 states and additional global offices. Bethany operates international adoption programs in 11 different countries and also provides home study and post-adoption services for both full-service clients and adoptive families working through other agencies.  

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The Good

  • International Adoption
  • Domestic Fee Affordability
  • Foster Care Adoption

International Adoption

Bethany complies with the Hague Convention on International Adoption. As of 2016, Bethany places children from Albania, Bulgaria, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Hong Kong, Lithuania (for families with Lithuanian heritage), South Africa, South Korea, and Uganda. The Haiti program is on hold. Many of these international children have emotional, physical, or cognitive challenges. Bethany works with in-country adoption specialists who speak both English and the local language and are familiar with the local customs and government. Wait times, fees, and eligibility requirements differ according to the country, and can be unpredictable even within each country. For example, the wait time to receive a referral for a child aged 4 or younger from Albania can take 2-3 years for one couple, and can be as short as 6-18 months for another couple that has Albanian heritage. Couples open to adopting a Chinese child with special needs could complete the entire process in as little as 15 months. Bethany provides detailed eligibility descriptions, rough wait estimates, and process nuances on their website. The country fee, third party fee, travel fee, and post-adoption fees vary by country. But these fees remain constant regardless of the country: Preliminary Application: Free Formal Application: $550 Global Services fee: $1,800 Home study: $1,900-3,000 Program Fee 1: $3,000-5,050 Program Fee 2: $2,000-3,450 Post-Adoption Services: $1,400-2,000 Total international costs range from $18,083 (Hong Kong) to $52,168 (Uganda).

Domestic Fee Affordability

Fees for domestic adoption vary from state to state due to legal system and state regulations, but Bethany's fees are straightforward and affordable for Michigan adoptions. Here's the breakdown: Application fee: $750 (non-refundable) Assessment fee due prior to home study: $1,900 (non-refundable) Pre-placement services fee due at approval: $5,000 (non-refundable) Placement and supervision fee due at legal placement: $13,850 Total: $21,500 The fees above include family counseling and support, adoption education, support groups, family assessment, national networking, legal documentation, and finalization. They do not include birthparent expenses, which are required on a case by case basis to comply with state laws.

Foster Care Adoption

Foster care adoption through Bethany is an option for individuals or couples of any marital status and the costs are extremely minimal, especially with the help of grants, corporate scholarships, and contracts with the state. Waiting children are generally a minority, part of a sibling group, between the ages of 8-18, and/or have special emotional, mental, or physical needs. There is currently a huge need for foster care adoption, with over 104,000 waiting children in the U.S. Adopting a foster child from a state other than the parent's state of residence is possible, can be a long process.

The Bad

  • Need for Centralized Information

Need for Centralized Information

The bad thing about having so many different branches for domestic adoption services is the lack of a unified information source. While the agency sets forth detailed information about the international programs online, they provide precious little information about domestic, directing prospective clients to contact specific branches of the company for even general questions about the adoption process. Though it seems a small complaint, it's probably enough to make some prospective clients opt for an agency that presents more information, more clearly, more quickly.

The Bottom Line

Bethany stands out with its broad approach to helping children in a variety of avenues, such as family and youth counseling, foster care support, and refugee assistance, without sacrificing depth in its adoption-specific programs. In addition to the criteria ranked, the placement statistics, client references, and a long record of success confirm Bethany's good name. It is worth noting that Bethany's latest annual report reveals significant donor contributions, further indicating trust and confidence in this organization as capable and impactful.

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User Reviews

Star Rating

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22 Reviews

Review Breakdown

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Ash
October 9th, 2019 Mashpee, MA DETAILS
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“NIGHTMARE” doesn’t even begin to describe our experience with Bethany Christian Services. High staff turnover, an incompetent agency attorney, and a sloppy work ethic made for the worst experience of my life. First off, their communication is WRETCHED. Whenever we had a question or concern, it took several emails and nagging phone calls/voice messages to garner a return call/email. Throughout the course of a 20-month ordeal, we had four different case workers…three of whom weren’t actually certified to be adoption counselors! One of the case workers cut corners and failed to maintain adequate records, which resulted in us having to re-do most of our post-placement visits and further delay finalization. The birth mom went without a counselor for several months following the birth, and BCS failed to deliver our letters to her, which we write quarterly. Several parts of our case were missing or incomplete…thank God I keep meticulous records. The lawyer they hired to represent the agency was the epitome of incompetence; I don’t think she’s ever done an adoption case before. She was completely lost in court, very disorganized, and failed to give our case due diligence. So, we hired our own attorney who divulged to us other huge red flags. The agency also LIED to us about the status of parental rights termination for both the birth mother (voluntary severance) and father (involuntary severance); they also lied to the birth mother about her rights. Luckily, our attorney cleaned up this disastrous mess and we finalized our adoption about six months behind schedule. I maintained all the paperwork, we hired our own attorney, they didn’t provide us or the birth parents much support, they lied to both parties…not really sure why we paid almost $40,000. They are in business for the money and have no right to call themselves “Christian.” AVOID AT ALL COSTS, OR PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK.

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Valerie
August 20th, 2019

Horrific adoption journey. I am traumatized for life , I literally have a psychotherapist to help me cope from my experience with them . When I was 17 I was coerced into a nightmare adoption. Told I didn’t need to see my child and it was God’s Will. That they came with the Lord to help me . I suffer from extreme grief, depression and anxiety just to name some symptoms of the PTSD. I’ve been forced into extreme unethical isolation from my beloved child . It’s been 13 years of psychological & spiritual abuse! I am so concerned about the situation my child is now it . Makes me sick to my stomach. Ungrateful adoptive family , because of me they were blessed to have the gift of being my child’s caretakers and they have absolutely treated me like garbage not allowing me phone calls . I have never been allowed to celebrate his birthday with them and I GAVE BIRTH TO HIM! Absolutely heartbreaking. Grief everyday still trying to resolve it & verify my child’s safety. The agency has a long history of forced adoptions/lawsuits I recently discovered. They also try to censor me from sharing my adoption journey which is absolutely disgusting because they advertise lifetime post adoption support. Learn more on my Instagram @underagebirthmother. Blessings from Hawaii

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Decarlious Smith
August 5th, 2019 Arlington, TN DETAILS
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We are the Smith's and we’re sharing our story to bring awareness to birth moms and families, so they will not have to experience the pain of losing their child. Our personal story involves an Open Adoption agreement with Bethany Christian Services in Memphis, TN. To give a brief glance of our story, we got custody of our grandbaby after she was born through Juvenile court. We are recognized as her birth parents in the State of Tenn. She spent her first two months of her life in NICU and we have raised her for three years. In Jan. 2017, we found out that our grandbaby was not biologically ours, but she has our DNA in her heart. We are an African American couple and our grandbaby is White and we love her dearly. In Jan. 2018, we made a difficult decision to go through an Open Adoption with the agency. In the beginning, we made it known to the agency and the adoptive couple that we wanted to be natural active grandparents and both sides agreed. To sum it up, the agency and the adoptive couple gave us the impression we were in an Open Adoption agreement, only to shut us out of our baby’s life post finalization. In Oct. 2018, we asked for our baby to be returned. The agency refused and tried to proceed to finalization against our wishes. After learning of this, we hired an attorney who identified this to be Open Adoption Fraud. Since Nov. 2018 we have been in court. The attorneys representing the agency and the adoptive couple have used every legal avenue against us. The adoption is not finalized and we’re fighting to get our grandbaby returned and to raise her in a loving and diverse household. Since April 2019, Bethany has rebranded their logo and website. Bethany is now promoting the importance of Open Adoption as it helps discover how adoptive parents and birth parents can set the foundation for a lifelong relationship. Is the reason for this change due to States like Tennessee (a new bill passed in March) making Open Adoption agreements legally enforceable? The adoption system is greatly flawed. It is a profit driven industry. Both adoptive parents and natural parents are exploited for what they bring to the table: money for fees and children for transfer. The children adopted are treated like a commodity with the transfer of parental rights to a child bought and sold. We are living proof. Instagram: @decsmith50

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June Simmons
August 1st, 2019 Flintville, TN

This is having to do with an adoption through Bethany Christian Agency. With our experience with our son and daughter in law , they have had the kind of experience that you never want to see your children have to experience. A lot of heartache and a lot of financial expense that has really played emotional roller coaster on them. Just to say the worst experience you can imagine coming from a Christian base adoption agency.

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Nichole Bruner
July 31st, 2019 Kalamazoo, MI

First let me say I would give this center less than a star, they do not deserve any star what-so-ever. These ladies (kids) at the Bethany Christian Services in Kalamazoo are a joke. The most unprofessional people I have met in my entire life. They do not communicate anything, then lie. They play favoritism. This place does not care about the well-being of a child. After repeated times of these people telling my family that they plan to adjudicate the father involved in our situation so he has to do random drug testing ( he spent time in jail for possession of drugs), parenting classes, counseling, and supervised visitation, they actually ripped a 15month old little girl from the her grandmothers care yesterday and placed her in her father's care. This little girls has only lived with the grandma, now the grandmother gets only ONE hour per month to spend with her. This is after two months of repeated calls to CPS from the daycare provider documenting that each time the father drops the child off she has bruises, numerous bug bites, horrible diaper rashes, dirty. One time he sent her in the morning with dried poop and sand in her diaper.... Apparently this is the care they see fit for her. I am furious, and will be getting a lawyer. Karah J, Kelsey, Tammy, and Joel from Kalamazoo county you all should be ashamed of yourselves!

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CR
July 31st, 2019 Plymouth, MN DETAILS
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We adopted through Bethany Christian Services and had a pretty good experience. The people we worked with and had interactions with at the location we worked with were all great. Frustrating things: - They don't make their average wait time public. Some agencies do. I think this is because the wait time tends to be longer than other agencies. - There are a lot of BCS agencies in the US but the way they normally connect birth parents to adoptive parents is via local agencies. Which in turn makes the amount of possible profile showings naturally lower than if they would network from agency to agency. - In the 2.5 years we were waiting we were a part of 8 profile showings. Which was very disheartening. Positive things: - Cost was less expensive than almost all other agencies we looked into. - Good to work with as adoptive parents before, during, and after the process. - We ended up adopting through them and it was a good experience over all. However, while waiting we did feels as if it was never going to happen because we weren't able to be a part of very many profile showings. What I learned through the process is that adoption is amazing but the system is very broken in general. If you have the money or are willing to take out large loans and use an agency that has access to a higher number of adoption options, then you will probably adopt quicker. If you would like to adopt quickly or be a part of profile showings often, I wouldn't recommend BCS. If you would like to work with a great organization with great people, are willing to wait years, and keep the cost down I would recommend BCS.

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TB
July 26th, 2019 Derwood, MD

Placed my daughter with them in 2000. I was 15 with a 1 year old already. Part of the adoption plan was I was to get a yearly update with photos. I only received the update 1 time when she was 3. I had to call and call and call. It took months to get that. This agency is a joke!!

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Stewart
May 22nd, 2019 Collegedale, TN DETAILS
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We had a good experience with Bethany doing a local adoption. It did take some time but with this sort of thing that is expected. We had a great caseworker and she was with us every step of the way.

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Anonymous
April 22nd, 2019 Allegan, MI

Terrible doesn't begin to explain it. As an adopted child having to deel with them, is horrible. They lied to my mother. Told her they were just putting us in a temporary placement. They said they were going to help her. But instead they sat back and watched her fail. And right now they are currently refusing to help lgbt+ have a family. Which is certainly unchristlike. How can they call themselves christians. God would help those of that community give helpless and lost kids a family. These people of this organisation make me sick.

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Jay
February 1st, 2019 Port Saint Lucie, FL DETAILS
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Terrible, 3yrs 15k dollars later and nothing. Multiple case workers throughout, no feedback except when something is wrong or money needed. Pitiful! Disgusted...they should be ashamed!

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Shanique
November 9th, 2018 The Bronx, NY DETAILS
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Nice but need to be more honest about certain information after adoption occurs

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R.
November 7th, 2018 Grand Rapids, MI

I was looking for options during my first pregnancy, and ended up at Bethany. They were callous, insensitive, told me that an open adoption was impossible, and treated me like trash, even though I was their perfect standard of birthmom. Educated, middle class, young, healthy. They have since stolen refugee children from their families, are tied in with Betsy D, and all around despicable humans, taking babies from parents with false promises and misinformation, and giving them to the families that fit THEIR ideal, not the family the mom would choose for her child. DO NOT GIVE THEM YOUR TIME, MONEY, OR CHILDREN.

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Disappointed with BCS
July 12th, 2018 Carriere, MS DETAILS
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Thieves and swindlers!!! Those are the best words to describe them. Little to no communication unless we contacted them; then it took days for them to respond. Very incompetent regarding paperwork. Had many things wrong with our preferences multiple times. Waited over 3 years for nothing! Sent multiple birthmoms directly to them, which they attempted to "counsel" a different direction. When questioned regarding this, we were told they are advocates for birthmoms, not the adoptive parents, so be aware of this before you give them your money...they will not advocate for/ promote you. We adopted privately, which they said was okay to pursue, and they proceeded to cancel our account because "we got a baby." Not through them, mind you, but they kept all of our money anyway. BEWARE and seek a different path is our advice!

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Leah McDonald
June 21st, 2018 Morton, IL

Bethany Christian Services is in the business of ripping babies away from their mothers. My daughter was manipulated into signing papers to give them her son in the hospital. She did not even know she was pregnant & was rushed to the hospital in a ambulance while on vacation with another family. She was encouraged to not tell her me, her mother that she just had a baby! She was told it was God’s will to let them have her baby! Made her feel as though she had no other options. When I called to check on her from another state, a nurse lied to me & said she was fine, she just had a cyst that ruptured. My daughter was a minor, had hemorrhaged. They only kept her in the hospital for a few hours before sending her down a back staircase with a cab voucher!!! My daughter could’ve died. Bethany & Hackley hospital need shut down! Nurses held my daughter down so that she couldn’t see her son while a blanket was also held up. She was completely traumatized. Bethany & that staff my daughter experienced are beyond disgusting individuals. Tried stealing my daughter’s son for $$$$$$!

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J. Steele
September 21st, 2017

Bethany secluded me so I had NO support from any friends who could have helped me parent my daughter. They insisted I cease all contact with her Father (he was against the placement). They threatened me, bullied me and did not inform me of my rights as a Mother. They continued to pursue me even after I told them to leave me alone. Finally, Laura D (the adoption "counselor" visited me, told me how wonderful her husband was and asked if she could have my baby for herself. This organization is horrible. I believe God is appalled that they use His name to traffic babies.

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Kat
August 28th, 2017

This place is run by criminals. They do everything they can to cut the bio father out of the adoption. They are already being g sued by fathers who were not notified about the adoption. And in my personal experience even when they know the bio father is against the adoption they will still go around him and send the child out of state to finalize the adoption when there is a pending court date with the father. They are shady and unprofessional and it's all about money and selling children.

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KM
March 1st, 2017 Thomasville, GA

Spent close to $9,000 and waited for three years. Three years. Nothing. Very little support and they didn't contact me unless they needed my annual $1,000 home study fee. Cancelled a few weeks ago and didn't even get a courtesy "sorry for screwing you over" reply. We're pretty poor and we don't have $1,000 a year for a decade or however long it takes to just throw around. Worst mistake of our lives. I don't care about the money. It's the three years they took from us we can't get back.

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MH
January 25th, 2017 Edgewood, MD

Been working with over a year for foster care, they have been rude to me and lost countless paperwork. Purposely attempted to allow clearances to expire. They always make it the customer's fault when there is a "problem" in their eyes. My caseworker even said "I won't be able to find you children." Stay away. I used them because I thought that they were Christian. For them it is all about the money.

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H.
January 24th, 2017 Rochester, MI

Terrible about returning calls and emails; if you get luck and get a good social worker, they can be great, but there are (in Madison Hts. Mi, anyway) explicitly unprofessional, IMO cruel, and discriminatory people who are at the top of this branch. Feel prepared to be talked down to, insulted, and rather than get a solid "apply elsewhere" a long time period of not returned calls and emails, waiting for you "to just get the hint." We are Christians and good people, but (before knowing ANYTHING about us) a particular Division Supervisor - after very unChristian and derogatory comments to us, to our face! - made sure our communications just twisted in the wind. They give Christianity and adoption a bad name. After deciding to leave I did research and also found they earned the "Adoption Demon of the Year" award (as opposed to the "Angel of Adoption" award) for their coeercive practices in trying to get "unChristian mothers" to give up their children to the "right kind of people." Yuck.

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River Of Tears
May 12th, 2016 Fort Mill, SC

If you place your child with Bethany, you aren't guaranteed ANYTHING. People make promises with "Good intentions" but fail to deliver. Adoptive families don't have to write or send letters to the birthmother. Often (such as in my own case as a birthmother) the adoptive families are so afraid to let YOU OWN flesh and blood know you , they can be distant and not forth coming about the situations going on with your child. I've asked to see my daughter I placed with a couple. YEARS later I get a long letter about the truth of a difficult past few years for the family. How heart breaking that was. I can't see my daughter, yet from reading one letter, her adoptive father and mother divorced and brought a now step father into the picture and LORD know how many girlfriends that the adoptive dad has allowed my daughter to meet. Yet , I HER BIRTHMOTHER, don't even get to see her. If you wouldn't give a complete stranger $100 dollars, why trust them WITH YOUR CHILD?

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John and Maggie Adair
March 29th, 2016 Blairsville, GA

Bethany has the same problem as many national adoption agencies. Too many couples waiting for an adoption placement and too few expectant mothers wanting to complete an adoption plan. Six years ago, they stated that we would have a finalized adoption in two years. Now six years later, we don't have any finalized adoption and no children in our home. Other problems we see is a constant turnover of case workers and increasing wait times.

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Katie Wilson
April 23rd, 2015 Lawndale, CA

The wonderful team at Bethany Christian supported me every step of the way. I enjoyed a successful domestic adoption within a year of beginning my process. They continue to support me and my family....and pledge to do so for life. I can't say enough about this wonderful organization!!

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