Monday, August 22, 2011

OK then...

OK then...this gives me no pleasure, but I will continue.

Mere minutes after I learned about the threats made toward Mattie, I sent an email to the Reece's Rainbow director explaining the situation. After a few emails back and forth, I was reassured that she would have a "stern discussion" with the facilitators in question and that they do not speak for her or RR.

During the following weeks I also learned that a personal Ukrainian friend received a threatening phone call. He was warned not to help any adopting families, or else. I hesitate to even mention this because I cannot prove it, but this person was a good friend to me and several other adopting families. I believe that his phone number was harvested from the cell phone I used in country.

Things were fine for several months. I was able to help several families find inexpensive accommodations in Simferopol and navigate the public transportation system there.

Then on February 11, 2011, at 3am the phone rang. It was Allie! From Ukraine!

Allie didn't have my phone number. We normally emailed each other. Amazingly, she had looked our phone number up on the internet. Thank goodness we were the 2nd listing. I feel sorta bad for the guy who was number one and was called at 3am by mistake! It took me a moment to focus and understand what she was saying. She told me that an adopting family had been verbally abused by their facilitator. Apparently, he threatened to stop their adoption and told them to go home. They needed to speak to me immediately.

Oh dear.

This family had been under fire from their facilitator almost from day one. The facilitator thought it was inappropriate for them to go sightseeing. The facilitator didn't want them to fly to their region instead of taking the train. The situation came to a head on the day the family visited their older daughter and took a friend to help them translate.

(A side note: when you adopt from Ukraine, depending on the facilitator you use, you will not have an interpreter with you all the time. In the case of my team, I had an interpreter on the day we met our children, the day we had court, the day we traveled for new birth certificates, and passport day. Four or five days total. Ideally your facilitator is available to interpret for you by phone when you need them, but they are often very busy and it can be fun to figure things out on your own. Brush up on your charades!)

The family was adopting an older child who was quite a talker! They simply wanted to be able to communicate with her during at least one visit. Their facilitator had left town and would likely not have been available to interpret over the phone for a whole hour or two. Before the family even got into the door that morning their facilitator was calling and yelling and threatening to stop their adoption.

I called the family immediately and attempted to calm them. I won't go further into details here or this would be a book. The adoption did proceed, with the same abusive facilitator, at great personal emotional cost to the family. For instance, they were warned by their facilitator not to go anywhere, not to church, not to the valentine banquet for which they had already purchased tickets. Of course they would do anything they were told at that point, because the lives of their children depended on it. Is that a happy ending? Two children were given the gift of a family, of life. I don't know what to think sometimes.

There is more...


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you are the person on the end of the phone that night ;-)

Carissa said...

Your posts are like reading a really good, really suspenseful novel with children in the house--you ALWAYS have to stop when it's getting good and don't know when it's going to continue!
Sitting on the edge of my seat awaiting the next installation!