Open Seas Adoption Services, Inc. is a private adoption agency. It is a public charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and is headquartered at 270 Madison Avenue, Suite 1203, New York, New York 10016.
Please read a recent message from Our Executive Director, Maureen Basquill Ruf:
To the friends of Open Seas everywhere, Happy New Year! And all good things, most especially the best of health, for you and your loved ones in 2021.
The year 2020 was crushing for mankind, with a devastating loss of life and untold suffering in almost every corner of the globe. Although the coronavirus pandemic affected human beings in unequal measure (and does still), no one escaped loss. As John Donne wrote over 400 years ago, “No man is an island entire of itself … any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
In 2021, in varying degrees, every one of us, all around the world, will be rebuilding our lives, rededicating and reframing the work we do. For those of us committed to Open Seas’s mission, the challenge is significant: we are up to it.
In December 2019, Open Seas lost its Hague accreditation. In November 2020, it lost New York State’s authority to operate, and this loss was on top of all that Open Seas’s participants had individually endured during the coronavirus pandemic.
As many of you know, to facilitate intercountry adoptions of foreign-born orphans by U.S. citizens, a U.S. adoption agency must have authority to operate at both the state and federal levels. Lacking one or the other precludes intercountry adoption facilitation.
Inasmuch as Open Seas currently lacks both requisite authorizations, it has no legal predicate to provide international adoption services anywhere in the United States. Moreover, lacking New York’s authority to operate precludes our providing even domestic adoption services to New Yorkers.
This is neither the time nor place to mount a detailed, exhaustive defense to the loss of these “licenses.” I will say just this: Regarding the founders of Open Seas, that is, myself, and my husband, James Allen Ruf, Jr., who serves as chairman of our board of directors, Jim has had more than his share of sickness and hospitalizations for the last several years, which took its toll on me, and, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic last year, I experienced a reoccurrence of an illness I had been free of for many years.
Throughout these years of hardship I kept my promise; as the Agency’s entirely pro bono executive director, I remained faithful to our mission to complete intercountry adoptions ethically and transparently, in the best interests of the children, with neither the children nor the prospective adoptive parents ever at risk of harm of any order to their well-being.
Thankfully, Jim and I have proved resilient. Close to death and against considerable odds in 2019, Jim pulled through, managed not to contract the coronavirus in 2020, and is today well on the road to a full recovery; and I, too, have left behind my darkest days of 2020. I have recovered and am back to working well from home.
As our nation begins to heal in every way this year, renewing its long-standing friendships abroad and working in tandem with its overseas partners to build a safer world for the earth’s inhabitants, so, too, will Open Seas heal. And there will be a new day for our agency.
Personally, I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and affection for Open Seas from other Hague-accredited agencies and our very own, former adoptive applicants. Their words of encouragement have touched me and bolstered my confidence that, with a little help from our friends, Jim and I can and will rebuild the agency we founded ten years ago, with renewed and refreshed passion for intercountry adoption.
We ask those of you who have not been in touch, but may be aware of the loss of one or both of our licenses, to withhold judgment, as we would of you were the tables turned.
Again, on behalf of Open Seas, I wish all of our friends at home and abroad, people of every color, ethnicity and faith, a happy, healthy and blessed 2021.