Saturday, June 18, 2011

And.. We're Freaking Out!

So, my husband & I knew when we began this process that there would be some "bumps" in the road and some hurdules on our journey.. and honestly, I thought we were prepared for them & ready. Well, I was wrong, because I have to admit that our faith in this process has been completely shattered and I'm actually... really scared.

Has anyone out there considered or had to change agencies?? Well, this is where we are at right now! Considering walking away from our adoption agency... and it's killing me. I am going to babble here.. so beware!

When we began this process in January we were very confident that we picked a great adoption agency and had complete faith that our adoption journey would be a  successful one. We loved that they were an "all in one" type agency and that we could do our homestudy through them as well as get all our documents notarized and apostilled there as well. Less running around and they seemed SO efficient. They were so warm, and so nice and just seemed so professional...

Yet, in the last couple months since WE completed all of our "duties" in this process, and it's all in thier hands, we are seeing a completey different side of them!

Our last home study visit was on March 9th and  we were told then that she'd get our report written up asap so we could move forward! After waiting over a month to hear something, I called my social worker to just get an update on the status of the home study report and to schedule a meeting time to hand over all our paperwork. We had finished our medical exams, and had completed all our tasks and paperwork for our dossier to go to Russia! We were so excited and wanted to get everything over there asap! So, we made an appt for April 20th as I would be on vacation from school, and that would give her a few weeks to complete the report.

However, at that meeting, she informed us that she still needed a little bit more time to finish the homestudy report and if we didn't hear from her in two weeks, to call/email her to "remind" her about it??!!!!
I felt a twinge of worry in my stomach right then, but I sucked it up, said nothing, and went about our "business" of turning over all our documents! On this day we gave them EVERYTHING from our checklist, including a $6,000 cashiers check to cover dossier prep fees and agency administration fees!
We also were able to meet with our adoption coordinator for the Moscow Program! She informed us that our immigration paperwork and check (that we sent over in March) would be sent to USCIS as soon as the homestudy report was finished, AND that there were four other forms we would need to sign and date before the dossier could be sent, but she couldn't draft them until the report was complete as she needed info from it to type them up. She said she'd contact us as soon as the report was done to do that! We were also told by her at this meeting that we were still in great shape, and were "still on track" for a referral in early fall as we had been told at our meeting in February! She then also informed us that we would be the 1st family on the list when the program re-opened the end of August so just to be prepared for a referral around the time I'd go back to school!

Well, about three weeks later when we hadn't heard a peep, I emailed my social worker to "remind" her about the report and was told the "finishing touches" were being done, and  it was completed within that week. We received a copy in the mail on May 12th and began to feel okay about everything again.

Yet, a few weeks went by and no call/email to us about the paperwork! So, on June 1st, I emailed our coordinator & asked about these last forms we needed to sign for the dossier to be sent to Moscow. Two days went by and we didn't hear back. So, Friday, June 3rd and my husband called and was told that the forms would be sent that day.. if not than DEFINITELY Monday. She also told him "not to worry. As long as our paperwork was in Moscow before July 1st we were on track! However, about 30 minutes later we got a call back saying they needed our "original" birth certifcates and marriage certificate. They "couldn't find it"!! We gave them all that stuff in April. She called back quickly to say that she did find it, she was looking in the "wrong" file, and again promised paperwork was being sent out asap!

So this past Monday.. (the 13th!!) when we STILL haven't gotten the forms...I emailed yet AGAIN to find out where these forms were. Tuesday, Wednesday, nothing! No response back. Randy called on Thursday and finally got to speak to the coordinator. She told him that she thought someone else was taking care of that, and she'd find out for us and "get back to us" (still hasn't by the way). When he asked her about the July 1st "deadline" to get everything to Russia so we would be on schedule, he was told that there was actually another couple ahead of us that they had expected would have received their referral already and hadn't. She said that THEY'D be getting the first referral when the program reopens at the end of the summer and we'd be sometime after that! She said that our paperwork would NOT be ready for July 1st as it "didn't" need to be, and  it just needed to be over there before they re-open! Did I mention that we've had EVERYTHING there since April as we were told it all had to be done and sent by the end of June???

So, okay. Yes, bumps. We knew that there could be delays, we sort of expected them. However, it would have been nice if someone CALLED us or contacted us and told us that! Or, if they returned a call or email??!! Needless to say, I was really disappointed, especially since we began to believe we could have our little one home by the holidays! I was teary eyed when Randy called to tell me, but then I began to calm down and realized that if we didn't go for our first trip until October or November.. it would be fine. Actually, maybe it would even be better in a way since I'm moving from 1st grade to 5th next year, and I will be much more settled before I go out on my leave! Besides, a few extra months to save!

Also, I began to think about fate. I truly believed that when we meet "our" child it is the child that was always meant to be ours and we were meant to be his/her parent! So if that was true, then the child that would be available for a referral in August/Septemeber is not "our" child! Again, I really tried to see the positive in all of this, and was doing my best to NOT focus on the negative vibes I was getting from our agency. I would give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe when it is "our" turn they will be much more efficient and supportive. Maybe right now they are truly given 100% to the family ahead of us.

Well, later that same night, this past Thursday, after we found out about the delay, we got a call from our social worker. She apologized for everything that was happening, and said that she knew we have had a hard couple weeks with them and hoped that we knew how sorry they all were. I was just starting to feel a bit better when she then sighed and informed me...THEY CANT FIND OUR $6000 CHECK!!!

I couldn't believe it! I was waiting for her to laugh and be like "Just Joking!" Nope. It was true, she said "nobody there could seem to find it!" What??!!! We gave you that TWO months ago!

She then asked if I could contact my bank and find out if it's been returned or not. She said it would really help them to know if it had been cashed/deposited already. Okay, um.. How do you LOSE $6,000!!!??? How do you not "remember" if you deposited it or not?? It's $6000 not $60! I was so upset, and felt so deflated, I didn't even know what to say. I told her I'd talk to the bank and hung up. Then I sat on my couch and cried. I truly felt defeated. Why was all this happening? Was this a sign? Maybe this path was not the right path for us either? Maybe this "isn't" what we were suppose to be doing!!!!??  So, now what?

I calmed down and talked to the bank yesterday. It turns out it HAS NOT been returned which means its sitting in their office somewhere! The bank said they could put a stop payment on it and reissue us a new one. I said I'd get back to her on Monday after I talked to the agency, but the truth is now we are so skeptical of continuing with them. Maybe we stop the payment...and not give them another check until someone sits with us and explains what is going on over there? Or do we stop the payment on the original one.. eat the money we already spent and switch agencies before we get further into this? Is that even an option? Can we take our Home Study Report and start over with someone else? Would we have to do the training and home study over? Or should we take a deep breath and just hope for the best??

Ironically as I write this, the mailman just came, and low and behold the forms have arrived. Wow, that only took 5 weeks, three emails and two phone calls to get them.... I am so nervous about everything now and my faith is completely shattered.  What should we do??

Of course, I went online earlier and found three pretty negative reviews (two from May one from April) about this agency. : ( All of which were so similar to the experiences we are having. I feel so stuck and so lost. I mean if this is how it's going to be the whole time, what is it going to be like when we get to Russia? I saw one comment from someone that said they went to Moscow FOUR times and had to keep refusing their referrals as they were outside the perimeters they had asked for regarding thier child! After two years of working with them, they walked away. After all that time, $$$, and aggravation, they didn't even get their child! That scares me so much! Could that really happen?? I've heard horror stories but assumed that it didn't happen anymore.

As I look at my paperwork now that I'm told is "time sensitive" and I shouldn't delay in sending back.. (Really??? I've been waiting since MAY for them!!!!) It states we are requesting a child up to 36 months with correctible medical issues, yet we requested a healthy child 0-24 months. So confused!! What does that mean?? I'm freaking out!!

This is the BIGGEST decision we have ever made and I feel like we are dealing with incompetent, unprofessional people. I also don't want to "start from scratch" and would like to hope that it is going to turn around over there. I'm so confused about everything, and really just so bummed out! I don't want to spend all this money and time on this if it's going to end up like that other couple. Honestly, I'm starting to wonder if we are meant to do this at all. I've actually begun to feel that if our families hadn't already had a fundraiser for us that we'd walk away from this completely. I'm scared, and I feel lost and don't know what we should do?What is god trying to tell us? Are Randy and I not meant to have children? It breaks my heart to think that.

Anyone have any advice? Similar experiences??


  1. Hang in there! It STINKS!!! I know all about bumps lately and am trying to be positive just like you! We'll get to the child that's meant to be ours!

  2. I have been following another blog where they are switching agencies and trying to collect the money to do so. Would you mind emailing me at and I can send you the information on the other family. I am in the process of looking at 3 different agencies and would love to know what agencies you have considered. I feel horrible that you have to chase around these people when you are paying them to do a job for you.

  3. Take a deep breath.....many of us have been right where you are. My husband and I know very much how you are feeling. We too started with one agency. Felt very confident, liked what we were told, and had a ton of hope. Then all of a sudden once money was handed over it was like a totally different agency. Suddendly nothing was going right. We started encountering all kinds of problems and to put it nicely we felt like we were being jerked around. We also started coming across some pretty horrible reviews about the agency and that is when the panic really set in. We felt SO defeated and had even begun to contemplate if adoption was what we were supposed to be doing. We kept talking about he money we would lose if changed, how much time we had lost, what a setback it would all be. We decided then to 1.) follow our guts....and change agencies! 2.) Adoption was meant to be, just not with this agency. It was the BEST decision. We just knew in our hearts and our guts that the first agency was just not what we wanted. I would highly recommend that if you are having doubts you put a stop payment on your check...that is a lot of money! Also FOLLOW YOUR GUT! There are a lot of really fantastic agencies out there and even more children who deserve a loving home. We thankfully had a person who we refer to as our "guardian angel" (wrote about her on our blog and a little bit about what happened) who offered us great advice and really helped us through a difficult time. We felt so low, so beat up, and so discouraged. PLEASE stay are doing an amazing thing. This is just one big will get through it!!!! (I say this as I snuggle Hayden in my lap...something I never could have imagined when we were faced with the challenge of making the decision to change agencies.)

  4. So I was sharing this post with my husband at dinner and we started talking about our own experience. We both agreed that we were really happy we decided to follow our guts because if we didn't feel comfortable with our agency here in the U.S. at the stage that we were at then there was no way we ever would have ever felt comfortable in a foreign country! Trust me you will want to feel 100% trust and comfort with your agency because you will rely on them for EVERYTHING while in country!!!! Just adding our opinion!

  5. Oh my gosh I feel like a blog stalker but things keep popping in my head and I remember how invaluable peoples opinions/advice were when we were so panicked.

    Something we experienced....our paperwork/home study came back with 0-36 months and listed something along the lines of "minor health issues" (don't remember exact wording). We kind of freaked out because we had also wanted 0-24 months and a healthy child. They eased us by saying that the only reason they used that wording was because if for some reason we ended up with a referral for say a child who was 18-20 months old and by the time we cleared court and went for the pickup (and in case there were holdups with paperwork, holidays, judges vacations, etc.) if it came that we were not cleared and ready to go and the child was even a day over 24 months there could be major problems. So they included those extra months just in case. (We didn't have to worry about it in the end because Hayden was 14 months when we left Russia). Also they included the minor health concerns because in Russia they sometimes consider things to be a health concern that we here do not so if that wasn't included we could have missed out on a child. Such as the case with Hayden. He was listed with a kidney disorder and a heart murmur.....turns out there is no issue with either which is exactly what our caseworker suspected. Had we not included that Hayden never could have been considered. We know other people that had similar things with hearing, eyesight, and other minor things. None of which was much concern here and like the eyesight was no big deal-he just has glasses. So anyway that popped into my head and I just wanted to share.

    With that said though........we would have had a lot more panic had we been with an agency we didn't trust (such as the first one we started with). We had complete trust in our agency so we knew we were in good hands and could put our trust in their referral.

    Also you guys have been on my mind......PLEASE do not get discouraged!!!!!! I/we have asked all of the same questions...should we be doing this? Are we even meant to be parents? Is this all a sign? Is God trying to tell us something? In actuality this is Satan's way of trying to break you down and discourage you from doing God's work. Continue to stay positive. Pray for guidance. Let God show you the way. And know that for all of the bumps (some very big, and some small) in the end when you have your child in your arms and this is all behind you it will all be so worth it. I wouldn't trade a single bump for the little boy I just snuggled and rocked to sleep!!!

  6. Thanks to all for the encouraging words!

    Heather, We so appreciate you sharing your own experience with us and all the advice you and Chad have for us!! It helps to know someone who was once EXACTLY where we are now, and is now, home and happy with thier child!! If you didn't go through the bumps you did back then, and follow your wouldn't have Hayden! I thought of that last night as we talked about what we were going to do, and in the end... where this process(whichever agency we use) is going to lead us. Or should I say "who" it's going to lead us too!! : )

    So, thanks so much! You guys have been a great resource and support for us and we so appreciate it!