Pt. Angeles international adoption agency closes suddenly

PORT ANGELES, Wash. -- One of the state's few international adoption agencies has shut its doors, raising questions about how the closure will affect families that are in the process of adopting.

Lights were off and the doors locked at Adoption Advocates International (AAI) on South Peabody Street in Port Angeles. There were no signs indicating the agency was closed or why.

KOMO 4 News reached interim executive director Brad Collins by phone, but he refused to comment.

Collins did distribute a letter that provided a general clue as to why AAI may have closed after 30 years of uniting families with children. The letter thanks staff members, parents and sponsors. It referenced "extremely large financial challenges over the past few years."

"I think it's a tragic thing," said Peter Ripley, son of the woman who founded AAI. Marrily Ripley opened the agency in 1983 and recently retired.

He expressed concern for how the sudden closure will affect current clients.

"Everything is in limbo, but I think if they just hold on and keep the faith I think things can fall through and things can work out," he said.

Families often wait up to three years for the entire adoption process to unfold and take their child home. AAI does not reveal on its website how many clients it now has.

The agency says it has completed 4,500 adoptions over three decades.