Monday, August 29, 2011

Almost done...

Sorry, I felt the need to wait a few days for this.

Mildred adopted from Simferopol last year. She was finished in record time and other than her facilitator trying unsuccessfully to frighten her and her husband away from riding the bus, things were smooth.

(Families may pay anywhere from $20-70 per day for a private driver to take them to their child's orphanage or institution for visits. Outrageous. Some families have felt the need to cut back on visits, as these daily charges add up quickly. Why not take the marshrutka bus for less than 50 cents per person? I'll talk about that sometime if anyone is interested.)

Mildred and her husband decided to do a quick turn around and adopt another child right away. They were already USCIS approved and would be able to travel very soon this time. Though their first adoption process went smoothly with their original facilitator, they knew of the threats and intimidation that other families had experienced with him. This time they wanted used their own facilitator.

When they contacted RR to formally commit to the child they were pursuing, they found out that RR would not assist them in obtaining the information that is required to submit a petition for this specific child. The child's full name and location are required information to ask the adoption authority for the child's referral. So, they were forced to hire a facilitator to track down the child's information. Let's call the child Little J.

Around this time Clarice, who was also in the process of adopting from Ukraine, found out that the child her and her husband were pursuing was not available. The circumstances were beyond any one's control and they would need to choose another child. I assured Clarice that the director of RR would probably be able to make helpful suggestions for her as she had done for me in the past.

I was chatting with another adoption world friend that next week when the subject of Clarice came up. She told me that Clarice was considering whether to pursue the adoption of Little J. My heart sank. My sweet friend Mildred would be crushed if that happened.

I took a big chance and sent an email to Clarice, asking her to please call me. We talked about her situation a bit. Clarice told me that she was feeling pressured to commit to Little J quickly. It was then that I told Clarice about Mildred and her husband. Both of these families are so gentle and kind. It was my pleasure to put them in touch with one another. In an email shortly after, Clarice wrote, in part:
"I had been feeling guilty about not committing to [Little J], especially because I didn't feel as led to him as to some other children. I just didn't know what to do. Getting that call from Stephanie was a miracle, I was so happy to hear that [Little J] had a family nearly ready to travel to get him."
I thank God that I was in the right place at the right time to intervene in this situation. It turned out happily, for both families are home now with a beautiful new child each. Mildred with Little J and Clarice with her sweet new daughter.

I'm telling this true story to illustrate the difficulty and possible dangers involved in choosing to use your own facilitator when dealing with RR. As things stand right now, RR will not assist you in obtaining the information required to adopt a child if you choose to use your own facilitator. It is my sincere hope that this changes in the near future.


Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear about this. This is the second situation I know of now where RR seemed to hold a child ransom, trying to force families to use a particular facilitator. I too hope this changes in the very near future. It is wrong and it is a shame. Beth Tu.

Jill said...

I do think you should do a post sometime about riding the marshrutka sometime. We saved a TON of money that way and never felt unsafe once. It is definitely quite the culture experience too. But I will say it was LOTS of fun when we had Max with us since he is a native. It was much easier to get places off our normal route. :-)

A-sta-NOF-ka! (phonetic spelling for "Stop the bus") LOL

Anonymous said...

Such an simple change that can be made--let the families choose their own facilitators. Why not? And what makes it so tragic is the children are the ones who suffer. This is one BIG reason why we are looking into adopting from a country that requires an agency. I know it'll be more expensive, but it's worth it to have peace of mind. I cannot handle the emotional distress of what is going on with that particular program.

Anonymous said...

That was so lucky that you were able to intervene. I wish I would have had someone to help make things work out better for us. We lost 2 children on 2 separate occassions. The first time the child we had wanted was pushed on another family and the second time a family came from nowhere as we were ready to commit. Maybe we aren't meant to adopt :(