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??