Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Three long years

I'm happy to be Max's mother. I love that little stinker. But you know what? I do not claim him as rightfully mine. For years I encouraged other families to consider adopting him. I would have been overjoyed to see him home with another family! God knew he would end up here, but it wasn't preordained. It wasn't His will. The fact that his birth mother rejected him was only the first in a series of preventable tragedies in his life.

Baby Max. Full of potential.

The funny face I fell in love with.
Three years, no growth. Tragic.

Shortly after I brought Max home, I received a message that made me physically ill. A family had seriously inquired about adopting Max back in 2010. They were blocked by the organization that had listed his photo and profile.

"We had been through 2 Ukrainian adoptions, so we were prepared. One stumbling block was the "strong request" to use her people. We have our own facilitator who we wanted to use. We could have pushed it, but she was not forthcoming about exactly where he was or how to find him without promise to use her people.
And I happen to KNOW how she got the info...and pictures...not [the organization's preferred facilitator]....."
Do you understand what had happened here? The photo listing organization was in possession of Max's identifying information, the information needed to petition the Ukrainian authorities for Max's adoption. This organization, which supposedly exists to provide visibility and grant money to encourage the adoption of orphaned children with special needs, withheld this crucial and not easily obtained information. 

This organization's preferred Ukrainian adoption facilitator did not supply this information to them. (The photos and information were provided by a missionary-I verified this for myself.) Yet, without a promise to do business with this specific person, the organization was not willing to provide Max's information to a family that was serious about pursuing him. (Publicly, this organization claims to be fine with families using any Ukrainian adoption facilitator of their choosing.) We are not talking about tire-kickers here. We are talking about an experienced adoptive family. 

(Side note, the family in question did end up adopting again, but from another country with easier travel requirements. Max continued to wait.)

Just yesterday another family contacted me. They requested that the very same photo listing/grant organization "match" their family with Max in 2010. The organization director told this second family that Max was too difficult and suggested some other children, which this family did, in fact, adopt.

I have no doubt that Max could have been home with another family three years ago. He could have had his eyes fixed in time to save some sight. He could have had his teeth cared for before he developed a infected cyst and lost the ability to eat properly. He could have started school three years ago and been spared years of harsh treatment and abuse. 

Max in February 2013

Apparently the photo listing/grant organization in question is fine with my son suffering for three long years, just so long as they didn't allow any of their preferred Ukrainian adoption facilitator's potential business to get away. Or was Max's suffering an unintended consequence? No one could have known, right? 


Just look at the Reece's Rainbow shrine to a number of known orphan children who died waiting for a family: In Loving Memory. The situation in many countries is desperate and every orphan photo listing/adoption grant organization is well aware of the situation.

So, do orphan photo listing/adoption grant organizations exist to serve vulnerable children? Or do they exist to funnel business to their "friends?" Ukrainian "friends" who insist that families make payment in crispy new U.S. hundred dollar bills? Make no mistake, we are talking big money here.  

What gives an orphan photo listing/adoption grant organization any authorization to determine which family is well suited to any specific child? The right to approve a "match" or to turn families away from a child? This is the legal domain of licensed adoption agencies and social workers. This organization employs no social workers and is not licensed to operate as an adoption agency. 

I'm not bitter, or living in the past here. I'm not focusing on "what ifs." I am telling Max's story, which is now my story to tell. But it's story that's larger than me and Max. It is my public service to waive the red flag. 

Adoption minded people and orphan advocates need to be cautious in dealing with orphan photo listing and adoption grant organizations. Some of these organizations will inappropriately insert themselves into a family's adoption process. Some have no problem playing games with families and by extension, the very lives and futures of the children they claim to serve. It's sick.

Edited on September 6: I turned off comments on this post. I will not let commentators put words in my mouth or muddy the waters with passive aggressive garbage. I shared our story and I issued a warning to be cautious in your dealings with adoption organizations. Things are not always as sweet and altruistic as they seem.