I’ve been thinking about the world of international adoption lately. This isn’t just Russia here. I’m talking about all of international adoption. China, Vietnam, Guatemala, Russia too. It seems that they are all shrouded in some sort of negativity. In particular the agencies that facilitate international adoptions are taking a bit hit on the negativity scale. It used to be that if you were careful and did your research you could actually find the good and ethical ones out there. Nowadays it feels like there is bad stuff written about every agency everywhere. Who are the good ones? How do you know? Can you go by longevity, reputation, hearsay alone?
Jen got me thinking about this more and more. You read so many negative stories out there about how so and so didn’t like their agency, but more often than not people have become so afraid to mention their agency by name. Fear factor and all. (Hell, we all seem to be part of some big blogger witness protection program and don’t even mention our own names.) But as she puts it, last someone checked we still have our 1st amendment right. If you tell the truth about your process there is no reason you can’t be open and honest. Hell, we are afraid to mention our names in the presence of the internets. Anonymity is not something I have ever been concerned with on the internet. Sure, I don’t post with my real name. I don’t post my son’s name or my husband’s name, but that isn’t out of fear or protecting privacy. I do it to be clever.
Back to the original subject. When we went through our months of agency searches I told myself that first hand knowledge was what I would go by. Statements like, “I used so and so agency and I had a fantastic/terrible/horrific experience.” I used this method to whittle down the list of agencies that I wanted to talk to. Sounds simple right. It is.
Ever heard of a game called Telephone? That is basically what second hand information is. Something passed from person to person until the original thought gets lost. People interpret information in their own way and I guarantee you that you can’t tell someone else’s story word for word and know the ins and outs of every excruciating detail. You may be familiar with my story and told it to a friend or twelve, but I know for a fact that you don’t know everything. That’s because I haven’t told you 100% of it. I’ve told you the important parts and for all intents and purposes that is what matters.
What gets me the most is when our story gets used in a capacity that is false. More than once have we been made the example. I’ve had people link our original blog and said that this is what is wrong with Russian adoption. I’ve had people use my story as an example of why not to use my agency and posted so on message boards.
My story is just that. MY STORY. Never once have I said, “I know Sally and she was with a really shitty agency and you shouldn’t use them.” Not once have I said, “ohh, I heard bad things from my friend’s sister’s brother in-law’s dog and they had a terrible experience in Vietnam. You shouldn’t go there.”
What I have said is that I used Alaska International Adoptions and they rocked! I had a long and crappy adoption process. Not one single solitary minute of that wait was the fault of my agency. Never ever ever.
Be careful of what you say but say your truth. Stick to your story because that is the one you know. You owe others that follow the courtesy.