Monday, January 12, 2009

Hey y'all...well...I truly and fervently hoped I would NEVER have to revisit this tired old rant...notice...RANT...leave now if you're only here for sweetness and light.

A few months ago, again, thinking I was done with "it", I went through each and every blog post and removed the name of the agency we used to facilitate both Hope and Claire's adoptions. Rationally I figured that having their name published in my blog might make someone think we endorsed their behavior...irrationally I was just hoping to avoid a lawsuit...actually I was dabbling in an ancient Egyptian practice. By removing an individual's (in this case agency's) name from all documents you are destroying their very existence and memory. If you've been reading for any length of time you know it wasn't a pleasant experience. If you're new and would like to be enveloped in the drama, do a search of my blog for this phrase: problems with the agency.

About this time last year I spoke of "battling some old demons". You can find that post here. As most demons do, they let me THINK I had won.

Our contract states that once Claire returns home from China we need to have two post placement visits with our social worker; one at six months and one at twelve. If we do not provide the agency with proof of Claire's citizenship before the twelve month report we have to have another post placement report every six months until citizenship is provided. SO! We were told by someone we trusted at the agency that it would take a long time to get Claire's citizenship since only one parent traveled. Yeah...I know...don't get me started on that. I was actually getting to the point where I was working on forgiving them for that. When we both traveled to bring Hope home her official citizenship arrived I think less than two weeks after returning home. Since only Garry went for Claire, she received a green card until we readopted her in Ohio. We were told that once we readopted, the birth certificate would be filed and then we would get her citizenship. THE AGENCY needs a GOOD COLOR COPY of that paper so they can send them to China. Well folks we didn't have the money to readopt her in 2007. Plain and simple. After two international adoptions and a slew of surprise medical bills it was all we could do to keep our heads above water. We worried about paying for an 18 month report, seeing as we had no official citizenship paper at the end of our 12 month report. Again, someone we trusted told us that we would surely have it BEFORE the 18 month report was due...don't worry. Famous last words.

When our wonderful, and I don't mean that sarcastically, she IS wonderful, social worker came in December of '07 for our 12 month report she told us that the agency had now changed the policy. She would have to come back at 24 months and at 36 months...this had nothing to do with the citizenship deal...she would also have to do another report on HOPE!

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTT?????????? At that point in time, Hope had been HOME for 47 months and we had been told by two different people at THE AGENCY that her file was closed. Here's a surprise. I freaked. My question was, "Ok...she had a 6 month report and a 12 month report...she's missed the *new* 2 and 3 year you want a FOUR year report for her?" Our social worker graciously brought this up with the agency staff...and they dropped their request for a report for Hope.

Garry calls the person at the agency whom we have worked with one on one through both adoptions. She won't return his calls. She has someone else in the department call him back. Nope, sorry...that doesn't work. I finally sent an email asking "if said person is still an employee of said adoption agency then kindly return our calls. We are only doing what YOU told us to do when we started this process and that was to deal ONLY with you." Said person called Garry within 20 minutes. She told him a lot of things that made us feel better...because we are so incredibly naive and wanted to believe we could still trust her...they were all false...and some were just out and out lies. The new 2 and 3 year reports were to be sent to China. They had to add them because they were now Hague Certified. (The new 2 and 3 year reports were not going to China. They were going to sit at the agency just in case China decided they wanted 2 and 3 year reports. AND they did NOT have their Hague Certification at THAT time or for the next 3-4 months.) We were told AGAIN that we didn't have to do an 18 month report. Just stop waiting for the citizenship paper to arrive and go get her a passport and send a copy of that.

Sooo...come March/April of last year we get a call from said agency saying we have to do an 18 month report...after being told twice we didn't. That means that in July of '08 we would've had to meet with our social worker again. I sent her an email telling her this. She knew nothing about it and said she had only been told about the new 2 and 3 year reports.

July of '08 came and went and we heard nothing from anyone. Figuring they had changed horses in midstream yet again we just forgot about it. We also assumed that the new 2 and 3 year reports were still in effect and we would be seeing our social worker again in December of '08. We received a letter from the agency telling us that we were now responsible for supplying an envelope and postage for our reports to be mailed in, and also for our social worker's mileage. This is all well and for the paragraph in the contract stating they will NOT charge any other fees than what are set forth in the contract...oh wait...they broke that when they told us we couldn't travel as a family unless we paid another $1500 to take Hope...and another $1500 to bring someone ELSE along to take care of Hope. Sorry...I digress.

December of '08 came and went...still nothing from the agency about the new 2 year post placement report. Then...on Friday, January 2nd there was a letter in the mailbox from THE AGENCY. As I was walking up the driveway I started to open it and actually said aloud, "I'm not going to like this, am I?" If only I had known. What I read angered me so greatly I was actually shaking...perhaps QUAKING would be a better term. There was an invoice stating we owed them $300+ to pay for our 24 month post placement because we hadn't yet provided them with proof of Claire's citizenship. I really and truly think the top of my head actually blew off. I had sent a copy of her passport to the agency at the very least, two months before receiving that letter. Garry called and was told by THIS person that she'd need to see this letter...she knew nothing about it...even though it had her number at the bottom of it to call with questions. She said she was LOOKING at the copy of the passport I had sent her so she has no clue as to why that letter was sent. never did your 18 month report. That's when I think the top of Garry's head blew off. She actually ADMITTED, "Oh...I guess that one must've slipped between the cracks." Yes my friends...insert your own sarcastic comment here. She told us we'd have to do an 18 month report...even though it would be 6 months late. But she would try VERY hard to see if we could get the fee waived. Garry told her as nicely as possible that it didn't matter what they decided. We had no problem seeing our social worker again but we would NOT be giving them another red cent of our money. We were done paying for their mistakes and we were done doing their jobs for them.

So, our 18 month report, 6 months late, is scheduled for the 22nd of this month...the two year anniversary of Claire's Gotcha Day. And no, we aren't paying anything for it. And if things weren't already confusing enough to make your head explode, listen to this one. Our social worker asked waaaaaaaaaay back when, after I had told her about the 18 month report, if it would be required and was told...are you ready? Sure? Wait for it..."Don't worry about it. Just plan on doing one at 24 months."


Did I mention the NEW 2 and 3 year reports are suddenly no longer required? Or that Garry did some checking on his own and found out that we would NEVER be getting the citizenship paper unless we wanted to REQUEST it personally and pay another $400? The U.S. Government is well and truly satisfied that she's a legal citizen once she has an Ohio birth certificate. Just another fact that was skimmed over in our years of dealings with THE AGENCY.

If you're still reading...and you are ever thinking about going through this process...PLEASE learn from our mistakes. PLEASE document each and every conversation, promise, "fact" that you are given. Don't be naive and think everyone you encounter is going to be professional. Protect your back.

I am NOT angry with, nor am I blaming the agency for the LID mix up. That was NOT their fault nor did they have anything to do with it. The sad fact is, it appears it may be happening again with CCAA. Nor do I hold anyone there responsible for the HUGE increase in wait time. Again they have nothing to do with that. I am holding them responsible for one giant mess after the other. And yes, I have several people that won't talk to me at all because I would DARE say anything bad about this wonderful place and these wonderful people (that was sarcasm by the way). I am thrilled beyond belief that this place has happy, satisfied clients. I wouldn't wish this nightmare we've been living now since...2002?...on my worst enemies. And no...I don't have my daughter's because of these people...I have my beautiful children IN SPITE OF these people. I mean...folks? What else have they forgotten...or lost...or hidden...or lied about? Is someone going to come to my door and tell me that my girls AREN'T my children? Will someone be taking them away from me? Wouldn't you say that's a pretty valid fear?

Again...I was just coming to the point where I could forgive a LOT of it. I guess God obviously isn't done dealing with me over this yet. Still...the one thing I really don't think I'm ever going to be able to forgive is them not calling us when our referral came in. How could they NOT know that after waiting all those months that we wouldn't want to know as soon as they had Claire's file? And when we asked we were told, "Well we knew you were coming in tonight to take pictures. That was just one less call we needed to make." So 6 other families had their daughters' pictures and files by 9 a.m. yet the 7th family could just wait until "tonight". Sorry...that smacks of punishment to me...for all the times we asked them not to call us unless it was important. We don't want to be called every time they are having a party...or there are tickets for agency night at the Tribe game etc. case you're wondering if we like to stir the pot...the answer is a GIANT no. Especially in this case. We were NO different during the wait this time than we were with Hope's wait. We didn't bother them...we didn't call once a month asking if they'd heard anything...we didn't berate anyone for screwing up...and hey...THAT was a hard one! ") But the difference this time was literally the difference between receiving our daughter or NOT receiving our daughter! If you haven't read it yet, read this post for an explanation. There was NOTHING we were going to do to rock the boat on Claire's adoption...NOTHING!

Our precious social worker, in her quiet, calm, and soothing way has said, "Just think! This will be the last one!" I wish I could have the faith in people that she does.

Rant #1 of 2009 is now complete. I feel better. Thanks for hanging in there with me!


Carol said...

Oh, Mel....what can I say???? I just wish this whole nightmare would be over for you. I just re-read when your attorney died. Unreal. have two precious angels that ARE yours. I don't care what anyone says. And if you need to head to Canada to keep them....I'll drive the get-away car!!! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

Mel said...


That will work out perfectly! I've had an offer to stay in Dublin for awhile so we can catch a flight out of Canada for there!

You rock you!

Anonymous said...

That was some horror story, I am fuming for you. I can't imagine how you have coped for so long...and done it twice!

Sould anyone try to takethose lucky children away from you there would be an army of bloggers, worldwide, who would march on wherever you needed us.

Mel said...

Many thanks Moannie...I don't know how we've managed this long either. Garry and I are lucky to have our girls...and a lot of support from those around us...and an army of bloggers! ")

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