With everything that has been going on with Vietnam adoption these past few days, even McH has been reading a lot of blogs, hence his instant messages to me asking, “Did you leave a comment on XYZ blog? It doesn’t exactly sound like you?”
And so I’ve started thinking, “Why in the heck not just use my entire first name? It would be a lot less confusing.” You see, I know of at least two other bloggers involved in Vietnam adoption that simply go by E. Confusing, no? I’ve been thinking about this and thinking about this. It’s not like perverts are going to find my children if I start using my first name, right. Granted, it’s not a really common name if you’re under 70 years old, but it’s just not enough for anyone to be able to definitively identify me or my family. So why I have only been using E.?
Good question, and as I thought about it, I realized this is the answer:
We really despised the adoption agency we used for Tank Boy’s adoption, I’ve talked about it here before, there are people I know in real life who LOVE the agency and are very defensive of it, and I didn’t want them to be able to search under my name, find my blog, and get mad at me for still not liking the agency. Dumb? Yes, probably. But you see, we have a nice little adoption group going locally here, and I really like it, and I like the people, and I just don’t want to make waves within that group.
However, I am not the one that violated state law by having all families, at the very last possible “minute” in the adoption process, sign paperwork stating they were given information by the agency which they were, indeed, not given. When this happened to us I initially thought maybe it was just an oversight on the part of our social worker (who was a social worker specifically for the placing agency). Then I got online and went to the Yahoo group for adoptive families who have adopted or are adopting from Korea via that agency. It is a private group, run by another adoptive parent, not the agency. Anyway, when I asked others about this information the agency was supposed to give us (specifically a non-recurring adoption expenses subsidy, and my opinions about that would be another post in and of itself, but regardless of how I feel about our State’s definition of “special needs”, our agency was bound by law to inform us of this option) . . . where was I?
Oh, yes, when I got on line and mentioned this information to other families, NOBODY knew what the heck I was talking about. So, hmm, it wasn’t just an oversight by our social worker. Then I asked our social worker why the agency hadn’t informed us of this but gave us paperwork to sign in the eleventh hour stating that they had given us this information? Her answer: the agency doesn’t think our kids should be included as special needs, so they like to keep it quiet.
What?!?!? I don’t care if they don’t like the state’s definition of special needs for purposes of disbursing this money, I actually agree with them on this point, but that is not the point. The point is, they are an adoption agency and are, therefore, bound by all laws pertaining to adoption in the states in which they operate. They don’t get to just pick and choose which laws they think should pertain to them and which shouldn’t, and they certainly shouldn’t be asking their clients to falsify paperwork, but they did. They just banked on the fact that, since they didn’t send that state paperwork to any families until their children were practically in the air to come home, everyone would just sign without really paying attention. And that is what happened.
Since I raised questions about it, it is my understanding that they now tell all of their families about the availability of this subsidy.
I know, I know, this is all small potatoes compared to child trafficking and stuff, but still, I’m going to tell you a bit more anyway.
While our son was still in Korea, after he had his medical exam for his exit visa, the agency called to tell us the report did not come back all clear, there was an issue found, but they couldn’t quite make out the doctor’s handwriting. They thought maybe it said pilonidal cyst (am I spelling that right?). In the meantime, however, they were mailing us four blank medical waivers which, we were told, we needed to sign and return asap. They would then fill them in once they received clarification on the report from Korea.
Hello???? Anybody home???? These people were already not our best friends. We were not about to sign blank medical waivers. We asked them to fax or email a copy of the medical report so that we could show it to our 10zillion doctor friends, figuring they would probably be able to decipher the handwriting. The agency refused. When I told them I wasn’t comfortable signing blank anything forms, the director, or whatever her title was, said, “Well, if it makes you feel any better, we do this all the time. If we anticipate medical issues with a child we just send blank forms to the families to sign so that we can have them on file in our office. It’s standard procedure because it speeds things up.”
Ahh, no, that doesn’t make me feel any better.
When we finally did get a copy of the medical report, it said, quite clearly, “pilonidal sinus”. Which basically means “big butt dimple”. But because they refused to fax us a copy initially, and because they were claiming that perfectly clear handwriting was illegible, I, to this day, wonder if the report we finally got a week later was altered. So far his pediatrician hasn’t really found anything else amiss (except part of his sternum kind of pokes out a bit), so maybe they didn’t alter anything, but I will never know for sure, and that bugs me.
So, there you go. There are my big issues with my last agency (I won’t even get started on their complete unwillingness to communicate with waiting families in any way shape or form); issues that I haven’t been able to quite get past because, someday, if Tank Boy ever wants to search for his birth parents, I may have to fork more money over to an organization I don’t particularly trust; issues that make other people mad if I bring them up; issues that could cause divisions in real life if other people allow themselves to be bothered by the fact that I experienced these problems and didn’t like them; issues that originally led me to the anonymity of E.
From now on, when I comment on your blogs, I’m Elaine.
And George, if you’re out there, you already knew that.