Zip it, lock it, put it in your pocket — or would they prefer to throw away the key?
Have you ever wondered why posting or emailing about a negative experience in international adoption is so strongly debated by those in the process of adopting? Many prospective adoptive families will post to inquire about an agency – and those with past negative experiences will respond only to be “blasted” or “flamed” by those who had a positive experience or are in the process of adopting and it “scared” them to read this. I feel like many want us to zip it, lock it and put in our pocket – NEVER to be taken out again!
Since the middle of the year 2000, I have been on the various groups and boards – I have watched as adoptive families posted about two questionable agencies – to only be beaten down by those who happened to be lucky enough to have a positive experience with them – or who wear rose colored glasses. I guess the investigation by the FBI and closing of the agencies was enough to answer the great “debate” – if they were ethical agencies!
Since 2003, I’ve heard many horror stories about a certain gentleman, the agency he worked for and now the agency he owns – prior to this he was not doing Kazakhstan adoptions. I’ve received private emails and have read public posts how this agency is doing things unethically (bait and switch, saying birth families came to visit a child and he/she was no longer available, taking large sums of money and then asking for more, etc) – it appears to be an agency where families come home childless more often. But yet – again – you have the parents who have signed on with him and the handful of happy clients – blasting the parents who had horrible experiences through this agency. I kid you not – pages and pages of posts can be found against this agency and this man personally – but you have a core group that gets angry that someone would post their negative experiences. Even though they read that the US Embassy in Kazakhstan strongly advises against using this agency – they want “proof” that the Embassy said this. Isn’t hearing it over and over for YEARS from various adoptive families enough? I’ve even heard that someone went to his location and it doesn’t “physically” exist – it is just a “working” address and not a physical location. I’ve heard about reputable agencies helping his clients overseas because they feel for parents and those agencies heads even trying to plead with this man and help his clients “stuck” overseas. Bottom line – more often than not – I’ve heard negative stories through the years about him and the agencies he has worked for or owned.
Unfortunately adoptive families have no real source for obtaining or collecting this information officially — I wish we had a way to regulate and a single legal source to refer to as adoptive families searching for a reputable agency. The best advice we can give prospective adoptive families is to log on to one of these groups and at least search for information about an agency prior to sending in your application and fees — and if you should decide to pursue an adoption through the agency – then at least you are prepared for the worst and hopefully the best will happen! After all – no matter how many bumps are in the road – if we come home with our child – we are happy in the long run! I just wish we could provide a better “road map” for the journey!