FTIA-ROTIA-AAA and the Axis of Evil

On September 27, 2006, Families Thru International Adoption potentate Keith Wallace repeatedly testified, under oath, before the United States Congress that he “didn’t have much information” about Masha Allen’s adoption even though he had been “invited here today to provide the committee with all the information I have about the adoption of Mr. Mancuso.”

A close comparison of Wallace’s spoken and written testimony, however, reveals that he left out a lot of unqualified praise for Jeannene Smith. Here’s what Wallace says in his written testimony:

FTIA’s working relationship with Ms. Smith was interesting, to say the least. Ms. Smith is very industrious and very intelligent. It was partially through her urging that FTIA developed some of its foreign adoption programs. Even if I had done research in starting a new program, Ms. Smith would always have additional and helpful information. I even traveled with Ms. Smith several times when starting a new program.

I was contacted by Ms. Smith in the second half of 1996. Ms. Smith asked if she could work with FTIA. I contracted with Ms. Smith to work as a northeast regional coordinator for FTIA.

. . .

During this period, I even wrote a letter of recommendation to the New Jersey licensing authority on her behalf. I had concluded that she could not work for FTIA, but I knew she was smart so I thought maybe she can run her own agency.

FTIA’s “Russian facilitator,” Serguei Dymtchenko, remains an important but overlooked figure in the Axis of Evil which ultimately developed and which links all the major players in Masha’s adoption. Again, according to Wallace’s written testimony:

Mr. Mancuso submitted his original dossier to Ms. Smith, but FTIA never received his original dossier. If Evansville had received an original dossier, we would have record of (1) receiving it, (2) reviewing it, (3) sending it to one of the Russian coordinators/facilitators we worked with at the time.

According to Jeannene Smith’s sworn Congressional testimony: “everything that was done was with Mr. Wallace’s authorization. Every bit of literature, every bit of information that was disseminated.” Clearly either Smith or Wallace or both are lying. That much should shock no one.

And who exactly was FTIA’s “Russian coordinator/facilitator . . . at the time?” Not surprisingly it was the exact same person who was ROTIA’s Russian coordinator/facilitator at the time, Serguei Dymtchenko.

Here’s Dymtchenko’s sworn Congressional testimony:

Jeannene Smith introduced me to Keith Wallace and that meeting took place in her home office in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and I started working with FTIA.

What is shocking, however, is a news report dated February 10, 2003, which details FTIA’s then-ongoing relationship with Serguei Dymtchenko in Azerbaijan.

FTIA representative Sergey Donchenko, residing in the United States, told Echo that his organization has undergone all the required registration stages–the cabinet, and the justice, education, health, and foreign ministries. Donchenko also stated that the legal basis of international adoption is regulated bilaterally–by both the U.S. and Azeri sides. “Kasimova must be aware of our organization’s activities, since she was present at an event arranged at the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan with the participation of FTIA representatives,” he said.

The news article continues:

One of the main questions that remains unanswered is why the adoption of Azeri children by U.S. citizens should involve huge expenses totaling $22,920, with $11,110 spent in Azerbaijan itself. The chair of the Children’s Rights Defense League, Yusif Bekirov, said that Azeri law presumes the adoption procedure will be totally free and charged, “This phenomenon could only be explained by corruption among the officials dealing with adoption issues.” He is particularly outraged by the orphanage donations, which are supposed to be an act of free will, but in Azerbaijan they are deemed a mandatory procedure in order to be able to proceed with an adoption application.

$omething about the money part of all thi$ $omehow $eem$ familiar and provide$ yet another crucial link or at lea$t and overriding motivational factor.

Unfortunately, Masha was not the only bungled adoption involving Dymtchenko and his harem. This post, entitled our adoption nightmare further details the relationship between ROTIA’s eventual executive director, Marlene Seamans-Conn (who also testified before Congress), and Dymtchenko’s 2001 joint venture and PA licensed international adoption agency American Adoptions Abroad (AAA). Readers might remember Seamans-Conn as the sister of renowned naturist Toni Egbert discussed previously in this blog.

We were told that no matter what adoption agency we were using, put “FTIA” where the form asked for the name of your agency. When I started to say that our agency was American Adoptions Abroad, he [Dymtchenko] stopped me before I could finish, and he repeated what he had just said. I did as I was told since just a few weeks before my trip we had received a letter and forms from Marlene stating that FTIA and AAA had formed a cooperative relationship in order for AAA to operate as an accredited agency in Russia. Serguei Dymtchenko is also the same Rostov facilitator used by Families Thru International Adoption (FTIA), located in Evansville, IN. Before receiving notification of this cooperative relationship from our agency, we had never even heard of FTIA. It was now clear that American Adoptions Abroad did not have their own accreditation from the Russian government; they were using FTIA’s accreditation.

More on this adoption nightmare from the RipOff Report dated February 19, 2003:

We’re posting this because of our frustration in dealing with two adoption agencies we have signed contracts with: American Adoptions Abroad (AAA) and Families Thru International Adoption (FTIA).

For over nine months now we’ve been trying to negotiate a settlement from a failed adoption we experienced in late April 2002.

After we posted our story to The Adoption Guide we were contacted by an attorney representing AAA ordering us to cease and desist from further postings and demanding we retract our post.

We were forced to hire an attorney as well, but negotiations have gone nowhere. We have also contacted numerous government agencies and regulatory authorities with equally discouraging results.

. . .

Just prior to the referral trip, we were required to sign a new contract with AAA/FTIA, which ironically came just a couple of days after we paid nearly $9,400 to the private company of AAA’s International Program Director, Serguei Dymtchenko.

AAA’s executive director, Marlene Seamans-Conn, misled us about a number of things, among them the Russian accreditation status of American Adoptions Abroad and the number of adoptions the agency had performed.

AAA used the accreditation, the facilitators, and the in-country staff of Families Thru International Adoption.

After we filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, Bureau of Consumer Protection, one of FTIA’s interpreters signed an affidavit regarding his role in our failed adoption experience where he states that he is employed in the Branch Office of FTIA in Russia.

We’ve read in several instances that this type of “umbrella” arrangement between accredited and unaccredited agencies is an illegal practice according to Russian adoption law.

After our story was posted on The Adoption Guide web site, we were contacted by FTIA’s executive director, Keith Wallace.

He stated that he would speak to Serguei Dymtchenko, who also happens to be the Russian facilitator for FTIA, and see if he would return our money.

Needless to say, our money was never returned, and we didn’t hear from Mr. Wallace again until he discovered that prospective FTIA families were contacting us regarding our experience with his agency.

The whole thing began to smell even worse when we were told by the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services that in 1998 FTIA was operating in the state of New Jersey without a license.

FTIA was given a chance to become licensed, but a year later FTIA was still unlicensed and was asked to close its NJ office.

Before Marlene Seamans-Conn started her own agency, she was working for another agency in New Jersey for which Serguei Dymtchenko also facilitated Russian adoptions.

Whenever payments were required for our adoption, we were always asked to send the money to either the home address of Ms. Seamans-Conn in Sewell, NJ, or to the home address of Serguei Dymtchenko in Toms River, NJ, but our payments to Mr. Dymtchenko were required to be marked payable to his own company, TJS.

We’ve also been told about Mr. Dymtchenko’s involvement with another family’s adoption nightmare where he was working for Adrienne Lewis of the now defunct Global adoption agency, which was shut down by state authorities in CA and LA where she was licensed.

. . .

The fact that there are agencies out there, AAA being one, that don’t even have a social worker on staff is beyond belief.

Mike & Patty
Warren, Michigan

So there it is folks: ROTIA<->Dymtchenko<->FTIA<->Dymtchenko<->AAA<->ROTIA. A story which begins and ends with ROTIA, with Dymtchenko and FTIA right smack in the middle.

9 Replies to "FTIA-ROTIA-AAA and the Axis of Evil"

  • Anonymous
    March 24, 2008 (11:06 pm)

    So Sergei also worked with Adrienne Lewis who left a trail of victims with her Russian and Mexican adoptions. Adrienne was on CBS News one night several years back where Eye on America exposed her scams. She had other allies in her axis of evil, which I won’t name here.

  • Anonymous
    March 25, 2008 (8:31 pm)


    What do you know about Lewis’ old partner, NJ attorney, Barbara Ross, and the agency they had together somewhere in the SE that existed only on the Internet, Adoption Builds Families, a.k.a. A Baby for All?

  • James R. Marsh
    March 25, 2008 (9:20 pm)

    According to the New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics, a Barbara E. Ross was disbarred by consent on March 9, 2007 for the knowing misappropriation of clients’ trust funds. This matter was discovered solely as a result of the Random Audit Program.

    It also appears that she went into DOG ADOPTION in, where else but Cherry Hill, NJ, home of none other than ROTIA! Perhaps Jeannene Smith is working with her in the kennels. Come to think of it, Matthew Mancuso’s mother and sister run a dog kennel too. Hmmmm. Between Tony Egbert the naturist and all these lost dogs, I think we’re on to something here. Something definitely requiring further delicate analysis.

    Folks I’m not making this up. Check out http://www.sosdogs.org Although sadly, upon further research, it does not appear that this B.R. is the “real” Babs Ross. This “coincidence in adoption” was just toooo good to be true.

    So consider this a shout out to the REAL Barbara Ross. We know you are out there. Are you disbarred? Are you using your unique skills and talents to rescue small dogs? Have you and Jeannene Smith formed some kind of support group, think tank or ethical consortium? Will you expand your rescue mission to felines? What about ferrets? Please someone, help us out!

  • Elizabeth Case
    April 7, 2008 (8:41 am)

    Many years ago I corresponded with a single, gay man from New Jersey who eventually adopted a Romanian child using Tree of Life (Same agency that placed Daniel Peckenpaugh with the NATURIST preist William who raped the child – another day, another rant).

    Before the man adopted with TOL, he’d had run ins with Adrienne Lewis AND Barbara Ross. He posted this entire experience up on a free-hosted website. This website has since been taken down.

    At the time, I printed a copy of it out. If anybody is interested, I can mail it to them.

    I’ve wondered what became of Barbara Ross. Maybe she isn’t raising and adopting dogs, but who knows!

    Also, according to FTIA’s 990 from 1999, Serguey Dymtchenko (or however you spell it) is listed as having received $300 in “donations”. Serguey’s been down with Keith & Co for far longer than any of them let on.

  • Happy Parent
    April 16, 2008 (2:36 pm)

    I am so shocked to hear all of this about Serguei. We have adopted twice from Rostov, using Serguei and we had fabulous, wonderful affordable adoptions both time with him and met quite a large number families who did the same with him. Each of our adoptions were very smooth, no issues whatsoever and everything done exactly as we were told in the beginning-from time frame to referral to costs. I can hardlly believe you are speaking of the same guy.
    We adopted our infant son in 1999 and our infant daughter in 2001 and the entire process was amazing. His team in Rostov and Moscow were amazing, professional and totally above board. They catered to our every need and there is not one thing, in hindsight, that could have been done any better.
    We are forever thankful to be the parents to our now 7 and 9 year old children and will always be thankful for Serguei and what he did for us in building our family

  • In memory of Zoe
    April 29, 2008 (6:34 pm)

    Firstly, my experience greatly pales in comparison to what ROTIA did to Masha. But, OMG! Spivack said that “any fees paid during the course of this process are not to buy a child. Rather, fees are for services to ensure the integrity of the process and keep corruption away.” Are you kidding me? No one from ROTIA helped ensure the integrity of MY Guatemalan adoption experience! For 6 months of the process, ROTIA sent me e-mails from their Guat contacts saying that my daughter, Zoe, was meeting developmental milestones and was a healthy infant — the last assessment being dated 1/9/06. On 1/18/06 (a mere 9 days later), Zoe was seen by her pediatrician here in the US and was diagnosed with hypotonia, failure to thrive, plagiocephaly, torticollis, poor weight gain, developmental delay — she developed all these diagnoses in 9 DAYS??? Then, on 2/16/06, she was diagnosed with microencephaly via MRI — sooooo, she developed microencephaly in 5 weeks? Give me a break! On several occasions, I asked Jeannene Smith for Zoe’s birth record in order to determine if the cause of her microencephaly was due to a traumatic birth — she never provided it to me. I was quickly removed from the ROTIA Yahoo group. Then, she leaves a message on my answering machine asking me what I wanted and threatening to SUE ME!! Yep, it’s still on my machine today. I told her what I wanted: $3,000 to help me pay for Zoe’s ongoing physical therapy and medical treatments. I received nothing. In the end, I had to make the decision to disrupt the adoption and relinquish her to a family who received the truth about Zoe’s condition and could better handle it. Ultimately, Zoe died in November 2006, and I still suffer mental anguish today over my experience with ROTIA. I agree with the other posters: they all belong in prison!

  • Anonymous
    May 12, 2008 (8:30 pm)

    We, too, were victims of Adrianne/Adrienne Lewis, Global Adoptions, Inc., (license revoked several years ago due to illegal practices after the LA Attorney General became involved), Morales in southern CA, a lawyer in Tijuana/Nogales, Mexico (would have to look up his name in my notes).
    We lost over $15,000 in the Mexican adoption process after believing that we were adopting a baby for over 4 months – there were always reasons why the adoption process was being held up in Mexico, then the birthmother reclaimed the baby, then NO contact for several months despite multiple phone calls. We were one of several families that we established contact with who had similar stories – and some of the stories were horrible (ie they were sent pictures of their “dead” baby)! Some even had children that they had adopted in Mexico but then could not get visas for their children to bring them home to the US.
    Before this, there were similar stories re: Russian adoptions (involving Sergai, or however his name is spelled, as well as an agency entitled something like God’s Children – would have to check notes).
    Barbara Ross from Toms River, NJ, was involved in some of the stories. Ross tried to convince a Canadian to break laws after giving her false information. An e-mail was accidentally forwarded to an adoptive family detailing the pregnant Mexican woman being housed in the US.
    Lewis and her significant other subsequently set up their adoption facilitation business in VA, although Lewis also had a home in FL (Miramar I think it was).
    There were TV, internet and published articles detailing the stories of numerous families who had failed adoptions. IRS and the FBI were investigating in CA. Then Lewis dropped out of sight…. And Ross threatened lawsuits…
    I was shocked to see these names all resurfacing again recently! Makes my blood boil and makes me want to bring out my notes and reestablish contact w/ the FBI, IRS, Attorney Generals, families ID’d through the internet all over again…..
    My advise is to STAY AWAY from facilitators, do internet searches, check w/ Attorney Generals, Law Bars, BBB’s before trusting any attorneys or agencies!!!!

  • Anonymous
    October 28, 2010 (3:48 pm)

    Happy Parent is a plant, a fraud and I believe Serguei’s daughter wrote that comment. Serguei Dymtchenko came to America poor and is now very rich, HOW DID HE DO IT? no one gets that rich that quick, and he never won the lottery! TJS stands for Tatiana (his wife) J is for Jane (his daughter and S for Serguei.
    He owns a big big house and a medical building in Toms River…go after his assets …..he thinks money comes so easy…but I do not think he knows how easily he can lose it and some one needs to teach him to tell the truth!