Unable to have kids on their own, the Jaggers thought they had finally gotten their shot at parenthood.
“We got the sonogram,” said Andrea Jaggers, recounting the first image she saw of the baby boy they planned to adopt.
“It started to to become more real,” Chris Jaggers said.
For an up-front fee of $6,250, Sacramento nonprofit Chicks in Crisis matched them with a birth mother who was due to deliver their new son in late July.
The Jaggers — who have held a number of fundraisers to scrounge together enough money to start a family — were ecstatic.
“When someone’s pregnant in your family, you call everybody, right?” Chris said.
But three weeks before the due date, while driving to meet family and friends for the July 4 weekend, their cell phone rang, with a call from their adoption attorney.
The birth mom had changed her mind.
“We get a call and have to pull over,” he said. “And we’re devastated.”
The birth mom was no longer comfortable with them, they said they were told.
Under their contract with Chicks in Crisis, their money is nonrefundable, but the nonprofit said it “will continue to move forward and assist in a continued attempt to locate a birth mother.”
But for the next two months, Chicks in Crisis founder and adoption facilitator Inez Whitlow would not return their emails or messages, they said.
“We were her clients,” Chris said. “She was supposed to be supporting us.”
Twa’Lea Jordan, the Jaggers’ adoption attorney, said Whitlow initially promised to refund half of their $6,250 down payment but never followed through.
“To me, that’s unethical,” she said.
After CBS13 called Whitlow, she emailed the Jaggers offering to set them up with another birth mom, which would cost them $30 thousand dollars more.
Instead the Jaggers took the case to small claims court, with a judge hearing both sides of the story in a hearing lasting more than six hours.
CBS13 spoke to Whitlow after the hearing.
“Right now, I just don’t have any comment,” she said. “But I think it went fine.”
Weeks later, the judge awarded the Jaggers $1000 of the $6250 they paid Chicks In Crisis, saying Whitlow’s “actions soured the relationship and violated the implied terms of good faith and dealing in their agreement.”
“We had never been through this process before,” Andrea said. “So we were in it blind.”
Refusing to give up their dream, the Jaggers plan to start the adoption process all over again somewhere else.
“It’s really important to us,” Chris said. “We know we want to be parents. We’re ready to be parents.”