Vietnam Adoptions?

**warning: I haven’t proofed this in it’s entirety (because I have a crying baby right now) so I reserve the right to clarify things if they’re taken (or written) incorrectly.**

Lately it seems as though you can’t click on a link without getting someone’s opinion on Vietnam Adoptions and their ethics (or lack there of.)  I wish I could say that I’ve had the time and the energy to keep up with the goings on, but honestly, I have not.  While reading today’s NaBloPoMo contribution over at Nicki’s blog I clicked on a few of her many, many links and boy I was really surprised.  The opinions offered were pretty standard but on 99% of the blogs, I could not find the names of their agencies.  Then I realized how few blogs these days are offering the names of the PAP’s agency.  Why is that?

When we first started the adoption, very few people had problems stating their agency.  But then again, in mid to late 2005 there were only 2-3 of us even blogging about VN adoption. (Nicki, Christina, Chel, and I were really the only ones out there.)  Then as the VN adoption world grew, more and more people started seeing unfair divisions of opinion and possible unethical offering of referrals.   As more blogs that popped up – readers would find that the people who were signed with the questioned agencies wouldn’t state it on their blogs because they were afraid of getting hell from their PAP peers.  Now no one is saying who their signed with.  And it drives me crazy.  Like Nicki discusses in her point #1, “Why do people let their agency decision define them?”  After all, you’re not the first to sign with a questionable agency, and it doesn’t make you a bad person.  What does make you a person of questionable ethics, is that once it has been reasonably established that your agency is not doing the right thing, you defend them, and stay by their side.

Let me be the first to say, we first went with PLAN.  We started our adoption process back in July 2005 and I liked how PLAN was a local agency.  Vietnam and the US had JUST signed an agreement and everyone was sure that adoptions were going to start up right away and dossiers were going to be accepted sometime in November 2005.  Well November came and went and the first license to conduct adoptions in VN wasn’t even issued until January.  And then came April.  PLAN had verbal confirmation of their license for several months, but the physical thing was not yet issued (and wouldn’t be for several months.)  I’m not too proud to say that I had an itch.  A serious itch for a referral – our dossier was done and were approaching the point in time where we were going to need a homestudy update.  Many of the licensed agencies were handing out referrals left and right, and some even had more referrals than they had PAP’s.  So we switched to VORF.  There our wait for a referral was a mere 2 weeks (possibly the longest 2 weeks of my life!)  Back in the Spring of 2006, 2 weeks for a referral was not unheard of, and was actually on the low side of average.  Travel took another couple of months, but all in all, our entire process from application to arrival home was EXACTLY 12 months.  To the day.  Now PAP’s are lucky (with the larger agencies) if their wait for a referral is 12 months.

Still to this day, I get about 1-2 emails a weeks asking for my experience with either agency (and I’m sorry if you’ve been the one to send me a request) but I’ve stopped replying to them quite a while ago.  My experience with these agencies in 2005-2006 have NO resemblence to the way adoptions are running currently.  I leave the current state of adoptions in the hands of actual educated AP’s like those over at APV and Adoption Integrity.  And yet it seems that history repeats itself- “Back in the day” we PAP’s only had the experiences of the “older” AP’s.  We heard their warnings of caution and their pleas for ethics but dismissed what they were saying because their experiences were outdated.  Their stories were from 3 years before.  There’s was a different time in adoption world, and a different process.  Surely what they were saying couldn’t be applied to our newer, modern world of VN adoption.  But they weren’t so wrong and their warnings of ethics and accountability went largely unheard.  Yet we find ourselves in the same position that they did not so many years ago.  But now PAP’s have the experiences of AP’s who have been there and done that and had the privilage of staying in the active adoption loop.  So here’s the question:  Why would PAP’s ignore the lessons offered by the AP’s who have the experience to help them?  I was once guilty of this myself so I’m not attacking anyone.  Rather I’m asking those PAP’s who need it, to really take a look at the info their agencies are providing them.  Does it check out?  Is it what other agencies are saying?  Does your agency seem to be the only one saying X when all the others are saying Y?  Hear my words PAP’s: you have all the power.  I promise you, no “veteran” of VN adoptions wants your adoption to fall through; No veteran wants your agency to be shut down; No veteran wants VN to shut it’s doors again.  The veterans of VN adoption (as well as MOST PAP’s) want what we should all want: 100% adoption accountability.  Listen to what they have to say and take their words as a launching pad for your own research.  I beg you not to close your eyes to all of this.  Embrace the changes that are being made and accept that these changes are for the health and well being of all VN’s children.

I guess this post doesn’t really say a whole lot and seems to go in circles but thanks for reading anyway.

{ Leave a Reply ? }

  1. Nicki

    Actually I thought it was a really fresh, well-articulated point of view. Thanks for taking time away from sweet Lola to share it with us. You make a lot of excellent points. And when did we get to be “the new old”??? Crazy huh?

  2. S.

    I agree with Nicki, I think you made some great points.

    The reason I don’t put the name of my agency on my blog is because of some issues that happened in the China adoption community.

    I am happy to discuss my agency with anyone privately, and have done so on numerous occasions.

  3. bringmemia

    Jenny here. I actually spoke with your summer 06 and we used PLAN. What a different experience I had than people have been having. And I will stand behind the fact that my adoption with PLAN a year ago was ethical. And I have all the paperwork to back it up…but I am lucky.

    I do realize that now, even though I did have a good experience, things are different. BUT I am not going to lie and make up bad stuff. Honestly, what good would that do. SO I tell my story, the fact behind everything. My timeline. How things didn’t go as fast as people think and how we only saw unethical behaviour by other agencies at that time.

    Now, here is the thing. That is hard for alot of people to hear. They just assume I am some crazy lady who got twins from an unethical agency that I am defending. This climate in VN adoptions is very very different than 1.5 years ago when I started and much different than even 6 months ago.

    My blog is now PW but you know I always stated my agency, what my experience was and you can take it or leave it. There were folks that question the twin thing (which is another story) And that is my dilemma, having what I feel was an ethical adoption by an agency everyone “knows” and feels is unethical (i have no opinion about them right now).

  4. jena

    I agree with Nicki-this is a fresh take-thank you
    I think the whole comparison to the environment in early 2005 is right on, I KNOW that it is because of old-timers on APV that I did as much research and formed opinions eraly on as I did.
    Reminds me, I sould probably thank them, huh?

  5. rainbowmom

    I just put in my 2 cents over at Kelly’s blog


    oh, wow, it comes up under my “new” name, hehe

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