Failing adoption agency knowingly continued operations, Biden meets Xi Jinping: 5 Things podcast

On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: A national adoption agency knew it was doomed. It kept taking families’ money.

USA TODAY investigative reporter Marisa Kwiatkowski explains. Plus, President Joe Biden meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Podcasts:True crime, in-depth interviews and more USA TODAY podcasts right here.

Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.

Taylor Wilson:… Good morning. I’m Taylor Wilson and this is 5 things you need to know Monday, the 14th of November, 2022. Today, how a national adoption agency kept taking families money even as it knew it was doomed. Plus a look ahead to Biden’s meeting with China’s leader, and what happened when two planes collided in Dallas.

A USA TODAY investigation found that the leadership at the Independent Adoption Center based in California knew the agency was in danger before it folded, and gutted numerous families across the US. Producer PJ Elliott spoke with USA TODAY investigative reporter, Marisa Kwiatkowski, as well as Stacy Green, one of the victims, who tells her reaction when she found out that her and her husband were no longer becoming adoptive parents.

Stacy Green:.

I was disheartened, I was shocked. I called my husband and I’m like, “Let me pull up our email.” And we were both extremely upset and extremely frustrated. I had gone to Facebook, there was a Facebook group amongst each of the different chapters within the company, and so I was looking there and that’s when I found that somebody had posted a bankruptcy website and everybody started talking there.

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PJ Elliott:…

Stacy, thank you so much for sharing your story and your experience with us. Marisa, can you now talk to us about what you’ve learned from your investigation?

Marisa Kwiatkowski:..

Our investigation into the Independent Adoption Center found that the leadership of the agency knew what was coming. They knew they were in serious financial trouble, yet they continued to enroll new clients and ask for more money from existing clients up to the very week they abruptly closed their doors. Our investigation also found that more than a year before the IAC closed, California state officials had also been investigating the agency. They’d received the same warnings about the agency’s problems, yet their investigation languished. And in the chaos after the agency closed, state officials tried to rewrite the timeline to minimize their own inaction and to protect themselves from litigation.

PJ Elliott:…

How many families ended up getting ripped off?

Marisa Kwiatkowski:..

At the time the IAC closed, there were more than 1,800 families at some point in the adoption process. But that’s not the full toll of what happened here, because there were also other families who had completed their adoptions, who relied on the IAC for communication with each other or who were receiving counseling services post-adoption from the agency.

PJ Elliott:…

Marissa, thank you so much for your time. And for more on this story, listeners can go to USATODAY.Com.

Taylor Wilson:…

President Joe Biden will meet face-to-face today with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia. Biden is optimistic about rekindling his relationship with China’s leader. He said, “I’ve always had straightforward discussions with him. There’s never any, any miscalculation about what each of us, where each of us stand.” For his part, Xi has called Biden a friend. The pair previously met in Beijing and Washington in 2011 and 2012, and they’ve spoken by phone or video five times since Biden took office last year. As we talked about last week, Taiwan will be a major point of conversation and Biden has said he will raise concerns about Xi’s desire to reunify China with Taiwan. Climate change, North Korea, fair trade and more are also on the president’s agenda. Stay tuned to 5 Things this week for more updates from the G20.

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Elon Musk spoke earlier today at a business forum in Bali ahead of the G20 Summit. It was one of his first public appearances since buying Twitter for $44 billion last month. Since then, Musk first dismissed the company’s board and top executives, he then laid off much of the company’s full-time workforce by email, and is now cutting jobs of outsourced contractors who fight misinformation and other harmful content. The billionaire has been criticized for a slew of changes to the social media platform, including a new confusing verification system where users can pay for a verified blue check mark.

In Bali, Musk said today that he wants to boost the amount and length of Twitter’s video offerings, and expressed a push-to-share revenue with people producing the content. Musk said at an all-hands meeting last week that bankruptcy was possible for Twitter and also tweeted that the company was losing $4 million a day.

The National Transportation Safety Board has opened an investigation into the tragedy at a Dallas Air Show over the weekend when two vintage World War II planes collided. Six people were killed in the crash, which was seen by spectators at the show and captured on video. NTSB member Michael Graham said officials were looking into why the planes were in the same airspace at the same time. He also said much of the investigation will center on videos of the incident.

Michael Graham:.

We don’t have any flight data, recorder data or cockpit voice recorders or anything like that. It’d be very critical to analyze the collision, and also tie that in with the air traffic control recordings to determine why the two aircraft collided.

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Taylor Wilson:…

A preliminary NTSB report is expected in four to six weeks, and the Federal Aviation Administration is also expected to investigate. Video from the scene appeared to show one plane turn into the path of another before both planes broke apart. The mayor of Dallas said no injuries to spectators on the ground were reported.

It was a big opening weekend for “Black Panther, Wakanda Forever.”.

Black Panther:.

Tell me how to best protect Wakanda.


Without the Black Panther, Wakanda will fall.

Taylor Wilson:…

The sequel to the 2018 hit made $180 million at the North American box office over its opening weekend, the biggest ever for the month of November, according to Box Office Mojo. It’ll likely be this year’s second biggest opener though after another Marvel movie, “Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.” It also falls short of the $200 million opener for the first Black Panther film.

Overseas, “Black Panther 2” though did bring in an additional 150 million this weekend. “Wakanda Forever” comes after the death of star Chadwick Boseman in 2020. The film follows the grieving kingdom that his character leaves behind.

Thanks for listening to 5 Things. You can find us every day of the week right here, wherever you’re listening right now. Thanks to our team for their great work on the show, and I’m back tomorrow with more of 5 Things from USA TODAY.

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