June 28, 2014 / 9:18 AM / in 3 years

Atlanta adoption agency closes after charges of violations in Congo

ATLANTA (Reuters) - An Atlanta-based international adoption agency will close after it was suspended for 90 days by U.S. authorities over allegations it paid bribes and used incorrect papers to adopt children in the Congo.

A Congolese boy displaced by recent fighting in North Kivu, yawns at the child friendly space (CFS) within Mugunga III camp for the internally displaced people near Goma, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, August 7, 2013. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

One World Adoption Services, founded in 2003, worked with citizens in the United States and Canada interested in adopting babies from Africa, South America and the Caribbean, according to its website.

“They were really left with no choice but to close,” Joel Ferdinand, One World’s attorney, told Reuters on Friday.

The non-profit agency could not financially afford to go three months without making adoptions, Ferdinand said. The agency’s 120 pending adoption cases will be transferred to other agencies, he added.

The suspension was over alleged bribery and false and improper documentation for adoptions in Congo, Ferdinand said.

One World “unequivocally disputes the allegations,” the lawyer said.

The Council on Accreditation, the nonprofit group that is authorized by the U.S. State Department to accredit adoption agencies, did not return phone calls and emails seeking comment.

In announcing the suspension on Wednesday, the U.S. State Department had said One World would have 90 days to correct the problems cited by the accrediting group.

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