By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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“After 30 years as a nonprofit adoption agency that has placed 4,500 orphaned and vulnerable children from around the world as well as here in Washington state, Adoption Advocates International will be closing its doors to bringing more children into secured and loving homes,” said a statement from the nonprofit delivered to the Peninsula Daily News on Tuesday.
“These AAI children, adoption families, staff and board members celebrate what has been accomplished for so many and hope a better future can be obtained for all orphaned and vulnerable children everywhere.”
In a newsletter issued by email late Tuesday, Brad Collins, the nonprofit’s interim executive director, thanked staff members for their work.
“Their self-sacrifice is even more evident in their unbelievably hard work above and beyond the call of duty in trying to keep AAI going in the face of extremely large financial challenges over the last few years,” Collins said.
Collins did not return calls requesting comment. Neither did other board and staff members of Adoption Advocates who were contacted.
The nonprofit’s offices at 709 S. Peabody St. were locked Tuesday afternoon.
A woman who did not identify herself came to the office door and declined to comment on the closure to a PDN reporter, and then closed and locked the door.
From these offices, Adoption Advocates has matched children with parents in every U.S. state, as well as nine other nations.
The nonprofit places children — from babies to teenagers — from Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, China, Thailand and many other countries, including foster children from the U.S.
Collins became the nonprofit’s interim executive director in October. He also is a Port Angeles City Council member.
Merrily Ripley founded Adoption Advocates in 1983 and retired in the fall of 2011.
The agency has not named a permanent executive director.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Diane Urbani de la Paz contributed to this story.