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Client Testimonials

“Nicole was amazing to work with. She was super knowledgeable on the regulations and had an overall sense of how IAAME is interpreting them. She was organized, communicative, efficient and always met deadlines. It was super helpful to have her review the work we were submitting and also to help us brainstorm areas where we could be stronger. Having an ability to talk through things or bounce ideas off of her was really valuable. Nicole provided us a level of confidence that this process strips seasoned professionals of and she was also the calm cheerleader we needed on some days. Our agency couldn’t recommend her more.”

~Lisa Clark, Adopt International

“In the past 2 years Attorney Skellenger has represented over a dozen of our agencies’ birth mothers in the adoption process. She has always been responsive and represented her clients competently and with compassion.”

~Robert C. Lamarche, Executive Director, ACF Adoptions


“My husband Chris and I felt powerless as we waited to bring our daughter Laxmi home. All that changed after I called Kelly Dempsey. I knew that with her in our court, we would be empowered and equipped to move forward and become the family we dreamed of being. Kelly is tough, smart, passionate, dedicated, experienced and knowledgeable, and much respected by those involved in international adoption. She is nothing short of awesome, and we are just one of her many clients who will tell you this. I could go on and on about Kelly, but here’s the bottom line: If you want to bring your child home, hire Kelly. She will work tirelessly and fight like hell for you and your family.”

~Jennifer Rothchild


When we were first introduced to Kelly Dempsey in May 2011, our family had very little hope left. For three years we had been stuck in the middle of adoption nightmare trying to get our son out of his orphanage in a country that was not willing to let him go. Any progress we gained had grinded to a halt. Within weeks, Kelly had us in Washington, D.C., meeting with more than 40 members of Congress explaining the urgency of our son’s situation and what they could do to help. She knows the key players in our government’s adoption process and relentlessly pushed our case to the top of their pile refusing to take “no” for an answer. Having been in a disrupted adoption herself, Kelly “gets it.” The struggle, the heartache and the meaning of family are not lost on her. She provided us not only with the will to keep fighting, but also the honesty and transparency that were lacking in our process all along. Kelly’s track record of uniting adoptive families from all over the world is unmatched. Her efforts gave us the best possible chance to get our son home… and in the end, because of her, we succeeded.”

~Frank and Gabrielle Shimkus


“In December of 2010, after struggling for three years with our international adoption, we made one of the best decisions of our lives; hiring Kelly to represent us in our quest to bring our son home. For people who are struggling with complex or troubling adoptions, I would unequivocally encourage you to speak with Kelly and to have her represent you. Kelly was the most effective advocate we could have had for our cause. As a former corporate litigator, Kelly is never afraid to pull off the gloves when she needs to and to bloody a few noses. I would often refer to her as a bulldog because she would never be denied. She had a drive and a commitment to getting our son home that was only rivaled by me and my wife.

As well meaning as our friends and family were toward our adoption, they couldn’t fully understand. As someone who has had an international adoption collapse around her, I could tell that Kelly was fighting for her clients in the same way she fought for her own daughter. Having gone through the same thing, she refused to let another family suffer through what she suffered through. Kelly would cry with us through the trying times and when we brought our son home, the tears of joy she shed were the same ones we did.

I hope that one day, Kelly can leave international adoption and go back to her job of litigating corporate issues. But until that day, I am so happy that adoptive parents have her to fight for them. I understand that it can be intimidating to leave an agency and retain an attorney. After spending so much on your adoption, it can be a bitter pill to swallow to spend more on an outside attorney. The money we spent with Kelly was the best investment I ever made. She allowed me to realize my dream of being a dad. My son, Nate, calls her aunt Kelly. My wife and I refer to her as our guardian angel.”

~Nick Leroy


“We cannot imagine what the fate of our son would be without the dedicated commitment of Kelly Dempsey. Wading through the bureaucratic red tape surrounding our 3 ½ year adoption battle was difficult and painful to say the least. Kelly provided clear direction and focus that allowed us to move forward each day and accomplish whatever we needed to keep the momentum going. Kelly spoke with us openly and honestly, and fought for our son without apology. She navigated the complex and vast departments within the government and sought justice for children many had chosen to forget about.

We are elated to share that we finally touched down on American soil on Jan. 5, 2012 and were a complete family for the first time in several years. We were greeted by Kelly at the airport and shared tears of joy and relief. We are forever grateful for the dedication and passion that Kelly has for adoption. Kelly advocates for children who deserve nothing less than the chance to grow up happy and healthy in a loving family. Kelly completes families — we are living proof.”

~John and Courtney Cowley


“Kelly Dempsey has served as the general counsel for the Nepal Adoptive Families Association since 2010. She has provided guidance, legal advice and strategy that are not only effective and impactful but are also consistently sensitive, ethical and generous. I don’t think there has been an occasion where one of us needed her and she wasn’t able to respond. I’ve never known another lawyer more prepared or focused. Ms. Dempsey has a consummate breadth of knowledge of international and domestic adoption and surrogacy issues that let you know right away that you and your family are in good hands. No matter the situation, Kelly Dempsey approaches it with clear focus and absolute calm. She has confidently led some of our families through the most painful and confusing situations with a firm authority that lets us all know there was an expert at the helm. There simply is no other attorney more skilled in her craft and more dedicated to her cause. Our lives and families are all better for her efforts and in fact, I truly believe that without Ms. Dempsey’s interventions and counsel some of our children would not be alive today.”

~Amy Hecht, PhD President, The Nepal Adoptive Families Association


“Working with Kelly was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made for our family. In fact, we probably wouldn’t be a family without her. She is knowledgeable, determined, compassionate and our experience with her was the only time in our adoption process that we felt like there was someone who cared for our children the way that we did. We are forever grateful!”

~Megan and Josh Garrett

~Davis, Vivienne, Townes, Deen and baby Rose


“In June 2008 my wife and I received a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) from the U.S. Department of State for the adoption of a nine-year-old girl from Vietnam. For over three months we searched for assistance only to have countless public servants and adoption advocates offer little or no help. My wife and I knew that this beautiful child had been waiting for us for nearly two years and we refused to give up on our dream of being her parents.

In September of 2008 we were introduced to Kelly Tillotson Dempsey. Kelly was very familiar with the process and the government officials who were denying us our opportunity to adopt this child on baseless claims. For over two months Kelly worked very close with us to prepare our appeal. On Nov. 18, 2008 our appeal was upheld by USCIS and I was permitted to travel to Vietnam to adopt our daughter. The Department of State made a futile attempt at stonewalling our adoption once I was in Vietnam. Kelly was our support both legally and emotionally for the month that I was stranded in overseas.

On Dec. 25, 2008 our family was finally united. Our voyage would have been much different had we not been introduced to Kelly Tillotson Dempsey. Kelly is one of the most passionate people I have ever met and she immersed herself in our situation. We know that Kelly’s passion stems from the fact that she is an adoptive parent and true advocate for children all over the world. Kelly Tillotson Dempsey is much more than an attorney to us. Kelly was our guide, friend and support through the most difficult journey of our life. When everyone else turned away, Kelly stood unwavering by our side. My family knows how blessed we are to have been represented by such an amazing attorney and friend. Words on a page can never describe what an amazing person Kelly is.”

~Robert and Nina Lettieri, Long Island, New York


“Kelly was instrumental in bringing our daughter home, helping us find the truth and overcome the bureaucratic hurdles thrown at us. She knew what to do and how to do it, and that was a lifeline for us. We wholeheartedly recommend her.”

~Daniel Carroll

“Our agency has worked for many years with Kelly on many issues. Kelly has assisted our agency and our families in complicated immigration issues where her passion and expertise was the key to bringing home children stuck in bureaucratic adoption red tape. Kelly has always been our “go-to” and like-minded pro-adoption professional counsel and colleague. I highly recommend her services to anyone needing compassionate and professional resolution.”

~Debbie Price, Executive Director, Children’s House International


“Kelly Dempsey is a magnificent lawyer and individual to work with. She came highly recommended by several friends, but when I saw how tirelessly and passionately she worked with the orphan advocacy group Both Ends Burning with which I was intimately involved to get my children home, I knew that she would be my first choice to complete our readoption when the time came.

Though our case was not typical, Kelly was well-informed and walked me through each step of the readoption process. This process can be quite daunting, yet Kelly’s personal advice as a fellow adoptive mother was nearly as beneficial as her legal advice. It was comforting to know that we had someone on our support team who could knowledgeably navigate the legal paperwork.

Ms. Dempsey and her staff are always quick to respond to any correspondence in a pleasant and professional manner. I couldn’t have been more pleased with our entire experience working with Kelly Dempsey and I recommend her and her practice highly.”

~Christina Littlejohn

Haugen Testimonial

Our hearts sank when we learned we would have to leave Uganda without our daughter Lexi in February 2016. Kelly Dempsey was the first phone call we made when we learned we needed an immigration lawyer.

Kelly answered the first time I called and made me feel confident that we would get our daughter home. Kelly did just that in a matter of weeks, helped us bring Lexi home.

We couldn’t speak any more highly of Kelly Dempsey and the services she provided for our family. We are eternally grateful.

~Chad and Kim Haugen

Apple Valley, Minnesota

“We had a great experience working with Kelly and the team at Dempsey Law.  We experienced a “stork-drop” coming into a holiday weekend, yet Kelly and Annie remained readily available and were so helpful getting us through a stressful time.  They were pleasant, prompt, and handled all the legal matters relating to our adoption in a very professional manner.  We couldn’t have asked for a better experience and plan to use their services again for our next adoption.”

~ Kristen and Michael Dinkins

Domestic Newborn Interstate Adoption