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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Vietnam Adoption Ethics

I have not weighed in on the recent happenings in the Vietnam adoption world, but I am going to address it now because this is SO important. This is so sad to me and I have a hard time putting such intense emotions into words, but I am going to try. If you are adopting or are considering adopting from Vietnam and have not fully educated yourself on exactly what is going on, you should not be adopting. It is simply unacceptable to turn the other way and pretend that this corruption and illegal behavior is not going to effect you. It is unacceptable to put your personal agenda before the needs of a child or a birth parent. It is unacceptable to not education yourself on this and do something to bring awareness to the situation. This is scary stuff and needs to be talked about. Many of my readers are family and friends who would not know what is going on, so I am going to give a brief update for them.

There have recently been many families stuck in Vietnam. They have their child with them, but they are not allowed to come home to the US with the child. The Vietnamese government has allowed them to have their Giving and Receiving ceremony, which means that in the Vietnamese government's eyes, the child is legally theirs. Sounds great, right? Well, the US govt. also has to approve your case, believe that the child is a true orphan, and issue the child a US visa, or else the child is not allowed in the country. When you are in VN, you used to have 2 US embassy appointments. The first appointment is to file a piece of paperwork called the I-600. This allows the US govt. to look at all of the child's paperwork and documentation of how they became an orphan and LEGALLY declare them an actual orphan. They have just implemented changes where this appointment is now taken care of stateside, which is great because it is going to stop families from getting to VN, spending time with their child, bonding with the child, and then seeing these problems unfold and not being allowed to return home with their child. The questionable cases will be exposed before travel clearance is given. Once the child is declared an actual orphan by the US govt., then you apply for their visa. Once you receive the visa, you are free to leave with your child.

So, the families are stuck in VN because the US government found things in the child's paperwork that seemed suspicious or questionable. It means that the children could possibly have been BOUGHT from birth parents and that their abandonment paperwork is not accurate. These families have been issued a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) and they will not, at this time at least, be getting a US visa for their child. They will either be coming home without the child that they have spent many weeks with or they will be moving to VN to stay with the child. There is a possiblity that this could be overturned eventually and the child will be able to come to the US. There is a possiblity that there was an innocent mistake made in the child's paperwork and it will be fixed. But there is also a HUGE possiblity that the child was obtained in a manner that is in no way, shape, or form legal by the US standards of adoption. Please go to Pho for Four and read Laurie's post about this and also go to Voices for Vietnam Adoption Integrity to read more about this and what is going on in VN right now. There is some great information on these sites about adoption ethics.

The US embassy issued a statement regarding all of this on there website. To read it click here. Here is the most alarming part of the statement:
"We strongly endorse international adoption as an important option for Vietnamese children who do not have permanent families. We are deeply concerned, however, by confirmed cases of child selling, and by evidence that children are being released for adoption without the consent of the birth parents."

Do you understand this people? There are confirmed cases of children being SOLD and confirmed cases of the birth parents NOT consenting to their child being adopted. Not only is the child going to another family, but they are going half way across the world never to be seen or heard from again. Can you imagine being an extemely poor parent who is trying your hardest to take care of your child and being preyed upon because you have a baby that a wealthy (by VN standards even the poorest of people adopting from their country are still extemely wealthy) foreigner wants and will do almost anything to get? I can hardly even stomach this. It is going to be hard enough to explain Lucy's past to her with the limited amount of information that we have. I can't imagine having to also question whether or not her adoption was legit and trying to explain that.

Here are the questions I pose to those of you who are ignoring this warning and continuing to work with agencies that have been issued NOIDs and are constantly under investigation.

1. Are you so incredibly selfish and only care about YOURSELF getting a child so much that you are willing to take the chance of your child being wrongfully taken from his or her birth parents? Is it okay with you that there could be a mother somewhere in Vietnam constantly mourning the loss of her child in a way that she did not actually consent to? Please remember that the purpose of adoption is to find a loving home for a child who ACTUALLY needs a home. Not to find any child to fulfill someone's dream to become a parent.

2. Do you plan on being honest with your child about his or her past or are you just going to act like nothing strange happened during the child's adoption since that will be easier on YOU? These children have already been through so much. They deserve the truth. They deserve to know their past and how they ended up where they did. It is our job as APs to provide this to them and help them as best as we can to process the information. I personally will never be able to fully understand Lucy's emotions regarding her adoption. I have never been through it. It is our job to be there for her and listen to her and provide a support network for her. It is not going to be easy, but I can promise you one thing, I will always be honest with her about it.

3. Is your quest to become a parent so great that you are willing to put every person who is in the adoption process from Vietnam at risk of not being able to adopt their child, despite the fact that they have gone about their adoption in a legal and ethical way?

4. Do you think that you somehow deserve your child more than someone else, so it is okay for you to use a corrupt agency and fly through the process at break neck speed?

5. When you get the offensive question (that I can promise you will get, we have been asked at least 3 times already) of how much did your baby cost, are you going to be able to honestly tell someone that your baby cost nothing and it was the process of bringing her home that actually cost the money?

Please feel free to answer these questions for me. I would love to hear what you have to say. If you can somehow convince yourself that you are doing nothing wrong working with one of these questionable agencies then you have some serious soul searching to do. PLEASE THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN!!

So, my plea is this. Stop using these agencies. Stop endorsing child trafficking. Stop making mothers who want to care for their children give them up. I have full faith in the agency that we used for Lucy's adoption (VORF). I know that they are ethical. I know that their in country staff is not out looking for babies to buy. Were they a perfect agency to work with? No. I don't think that there is such a thing as a perfect agency. There were times that I felt there was a breakdown in communication. There were times that I was so frustrated with them that I couldn't see straight. But through all of my frustrations, I never questioned the ethics or legality of our adoption. And why do I feel so confident about our adoption? When we were at our 1st Embassy appointment in HCMC, the lady interviewing us told Justin and I that VORF was a wonderful agency. That their client's paperwork was always flawless and perfectly translated. That their in-country staff (who was at the appointment with us) was always professional and friendly to work with. And finally she said that they were actually worth the money that we were paying them to facilitate our adoption. We felt pretty darn good after hearing those words come from the Embassy workers mouth. Can you say that about your adoption? I hope so.

115 comments:

LaLa said...

Well, I know you saw my comment on Laurie's post and like you, I am soooo frustrated right now. We will likely wait a very long time for Malia while others will bring home children in no time flat! Two families with our agency just switched to another agency just to get their baby sooner..I just hope it is worth it to them in the end : (

Anonymous said...

Wow. Where do I even begin. I've enjoyed your blog for months...up until now. I'm keeping myself anonymous to protect of course myself and my agency. I don't want to turn this into a battle of who's agency is ethical or not.

Have you considered practicing what you preach? Didn't you switch agencies because you wanted a shorter wait time? Did you consider that a baby might have been bought for you? I can say that I spent three months and made many phone calls researching the agency that I chose. We picked an agency that we found morally and ethically sound. We also found them ideal because of a short time frame. I hardly think your accusation of PAPs looking for corrupt agencies for faster adoptions is true. Who does that???!!! Who would risk spending thousands of dollars on an agency that is corrupt? If you want my opinion...I am willing to bet that many babies are bought in some way or another. I have family that live in Vietnam and I understand their way of life. Giving up children in order to survive is probably very common place. To think your adoption is sound...to feel confident that your agency was ethical...no one can say for sure. Just because one Embassy worker told you they loved your agency doesn't make your adoption necessarily legit!

People entering the world of adoption do not go into it with ill intentions. Most of us do research our agencies and find them to be ethical. Do you ever question that maybe these agencies are at the mercy of a country who view adoptions quite differently than the US? Baby-buying is happening...I'm certain of that. How difficult is it for agencies to investigate whether an adoption is legit or not? They certainly don't want to hold up the process since there are so many of us...like yourself...who want their babies as quickly as they can.

I find your questions to PAPs offensive. Mostly because I doubt you asked yourself the same questions when you were looking to bring your daughter home ASAP. It's easy to point fingers at each other, call people selfish, question their intelligence, question their morals and ethics...when you have your daughter home--safe and sound. Lucky you to have had a crystal clear, spotless adoption process.

I know this post was intended to make people aware of what is going on with Vietnamese adoptions. I too am worried about people being trapped in a strange country with their child. However, just because a family wants their child sooner, doesnt' mean that their agency is unethical. In the end, we all want the same thing...right?

(Hoping you don't "delete" this comment...I'd like to hear what others have to say)

mommy magallanes said...

I'm glad that I've seen so many PAPs and APs lately stand up for ethical adoptions. It looks like such a rocky road. I hope that PAPs stop going with corrupt agencies and the adoption system in Viet Nam can get better. I hope - because, quite frankly, it's not looking so good right now. In order to have an impact and improve things we have to be loud with doing what is right for our children.

Carissa said...

Wow what an amazing post. Were you and Laurie talking to each other when writing.

Kelly said...

Dear Anonymous-

I am sorry that you no longer enjoy my blog. First, yes I did switch agencies in our process. The entire world of VN adoptions was very different 1.5 years ago when we changed agencies. We got a referral quickly because our agency had only 1 paper ready family other than us. Their wait for an infant girl at the present time is 12-18 months. We waited three months for travel. At no point have I claimed that a longer wait = ethical or a shorter wait = unethical. I will say that the specific agencies that have recently been issued NOIDs are giving referrals out exteremly quickly and are sending their families to VN at a VERY fast rate. My agency has never been issued a NOID. For me personally, that speaks VOLUMES. I have never understood people who know an agency has been issued a NOID and still decide to use that agency or stay with that agency. That is where my problem is. The fact that cases of baby selling and birth parents who don't consent to the adoption taking place have now been confirmed by the US Embassy and these cases have led to the recent NOIDs. It takes a lot to issue a NOID. They are not taken lightly. So, there have to be some pretty big issues behind it. As I said, there is a possibility it is a mistake. If that is the case, I am all for overturning it.

I knew that this post would piss off some people and would lead to negative comments such as yours. I am sorry that you take offense to the situation at hand. I don't plan on deleting any of the comments. I actually think that you are in the minority here. If you are working with an agency who is ethical, I hope that you get your child home soon. If you already have your child home like us, lucky you. I am afraid that many people are not going to have that same opportunity.

Kelly said...

One more thing Anonymous -

Why the need to be anonymous and "protect your agency" if they have done nothing wrong? Why not proudly state who you used, as I have from the beginning, if you have no questions or doubts about them at all? I just found that a little confusing.

I also never said or implied that anyone is looking for a corrupt agency, as you implied I said. I don't look for the negative in people. I believe that people have made the decisions to go with these agencies because of promises of a baby soon. It is easy to be persuaded by such promises, I can understand that. That is an easy mistake to make, but staying with an agency that has been issued the NOIDs at a time like this, is what I think is unacceptable. When specific provinces are point blank identified as corrupt, how can you be okay with that?

Kelly said...

I have yet another thing to say because my blood is boiling over this issue and how people continue to defend these agencies over and over. I truly do feel sorry for the families who have been stuck in VN loving a child who will not be coming home with them. I think that no one deserves that pain and heartache. No one. So let that be a lesson well learned, don't let that be you! Don't let that even be a slight possibility of being you by going with one of these agencies. I realize that these agencies have had success stories in the past, in fact, some have had lots and lots of families bring their children home. Don't let the misleading number of children brought home compared to the small number of NOIDs issued let your mind tell you it is okay to use one of these agencies because there are plenty of agencies out there who have never been issued a NOID. The Embassy is cracking down, which means more NOIDs will be issued. I don't want to see that happen to anyone. That is why I don't understand people's mentality.

Laurie said...

Hey Kell,
I've never heard you *speak* so loudly, and am very proud to be your friend right now (well, I was before I read this too, but now I'm even more impresed;).
I have to say, Anonymous' post made me SO freakin sad. It is words like those that make me wonder if there's any other way than to just close this program's doors. I agree that sometimes even the MOST ethical agencies are at the mercy of a country's cultural views on adoption. But that does NOT justify falsifying paperwork, allowing bribes or baby buying, working with unethical provinces or orphanage directors, fabricating abandonment reports, etc. It seems to me that is exactly what your complacency does. Unethical actions ENABLE things like baby selling/buying to occur on all levels.
The most disgusting part of that comment, by far, was this:
"Baby-buying is happening...I'm certain of that. How difficult is it for agencies to investigate whether an adoption is legit or not? They certainly don't want to hold up the process since there are so many of us...like yourself...who want their babies as quickly as they can."
Is that a justification? How, in good conscience (obviously that is lacking here) could you proceed with an adoption, being certain that baby-buying is going on, yet letting your agency off the hook b/c investigating it would be too much of a pain in the ass. And God forbid they slow you down in bringing home that baby?!

I think that kind of rationale is why things are in their current state in VN adoptions. I bet I could throw out 5 guesses and come up with your agency, because that thinking seems to be in-line with a few I've come across.
And to answer your question, Anon, of "who would risk spending thousands of dollars on an agency that is corrupt?" Um, hello??? How about everyone who signs up with agencies who have already been issued a NOID (I don't care WHAT they claim the reason for the NOID - a NOID is a NOID is a NOID). MANY, is the answer you're looking for.
And you know what their rational will now be for signing up with those agencies? Well, the program looks like it's going to fold, so I'd better pick one with a short wait so I at least have a shot at coming home with a baby. No matter that those agencies are the REASON the program might have to fold.
It's depressing. And, Anon, I agree with you about 1 other thing... Rarely can anyone be 100% sure theirs was completely ethical. But there are some measures we can all take to PREVENT being 100% sure ours was UNETHICAL - that can't be said if a NOID is received.

mommy magallanes said...

Wow! Bravo Kelly!! Bravo for you for standing up for yourself and for what is right!

K said...

Bravo to Anonymous! Do you truly think any PAP is wanting to work with/pay for/risk their adoption by choosing an unethical agency? Maybe if their were more people out there (such as Kelly) willing to name their agency it would be easier for PAP's to make their decisions. MANY, MANY people love PLAN - PAP's, AP's past and present - and have had wonderful experiences in Vietnam with PLAN - how can that just be ignored?

Carolyn said...

K--to quote the letter from the embassy, just because an agency has numerous stories of people successfully bringing babies home does NOT mean that those adoptions were done in a completely ethical manner. You simply cannot only take the word of people that adore an agency, and ignore all the people that are throwing up red flags. Of course some people love an agency because they eventually got what they wanted from them--a baby. Does that make the adoption or the agency ethical? I don't think so...

Jena said...

Kelly-
I am a long time reader-
I am so impressed by the # of AP's and PAP's stepping up to the plate and saying it like it is.
Thank you for being one of those!
Reading your blog helpded me so much while we were waiting to bring Khai home, and now I can read it on the other side and be so grateful that there are more and more people out there speaking up for children in Vietnam.
Continued Blessings on being Lucy's momma!

ren said...

KAPOW!!! Kelly, this is an awesome post...I've been following your blog for months now, and it's always so sweet, which makes this post even more powerful. I like the above comment the best, about why PAPs would now work with an agency with a NOID? I don't care if you can't find a bunch of "concrete" evidence of corruption about this agency or that agency...if they have been issued a NOID, or if a cloud of suspicion surrounds that agency, why on earth would you sign on with them? And even though at last count, we have about $13,000 and 7 months invested in this adoption, if our agency was issued a NOID, we would have to jump ship and find another agency. Why risk it when there are ethical agencies out there? I just don't get it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. I am still researching agencies and was wondering if there is a place where I can see which agencies were issued NOID's?

Anonymous said...

I’m Anonymous from the first comment. After cooling down a bit, I feel the need to say more. Kelly, when all is said and done, I agree with your general outlook of what is going on with Vietnamese adoptions. My problem with your post was the way you presented your case. I felt like you were pointing your finger at every single PAP in an agency that has dealt with a NOID and said, “Shame on you! Where’s your integrity?” To group PAPs together based on the fact that their agency has NOIDs and accuse them of ignoring these investigations because they have their own agenda is irresponsible. There are PAPs out there that are trying to do the right thing, based on the information that they have. Like pregnancy, every adoption is different. Every journey, every agency situation is different. Let me just say since you asked, I feel the need to stay anonymous because of the subject matter of this post. The black clouds of negativity have been swirling around various forums for weeks and I chose to protect myself—that shouldn’t shock you. However, outside of this comment, I keep a blog and belong to boards where I “proudly” state my agency and support others in and outside my agency. I am not hiding because my agency is under investigation…I will make that clear. When I researched agencies, I had my checklist of what my husband and I were looking for. Like many, we hunted high and low…a lot of times with little success trying to decipher which agency was ethical or not. The beauty of blogs and message boards is that everyone can voice an opinion. The hard part for newbie PAPs is to determine what is accurate and what is not. NOIDS are flying everywhere right now. It does not take a lot to issue a NOID. It’s there when there is ANY suspect, true or not true. Over time I can see how agencies build a reputation for being under investigation…those agencies SHOULD be avoided. However, I have to say that sometimes there are NOIDS that need to be questioned. When I first signed with our agency I learned that they were issued a NOID many years ago in a country that is shutting down their program as we speak. The NOID did not reflect the agency’s moral or ethics and I felt that one NOID based on someone else’s accusation, wasn’t going to deter me from that agency. It’s an INVESTIGATION..and not always linked to the agency itself. They have since have not received a NOID, to my knowledge and I feel they have done so much humanitarian work and love the country of Vietnam. So—knowing that my agency had a NOID when I signed, you think that classifies me as “selfish”. Hardly. I completely agree with you again….NOIDs are trouble…big red flags. But there are PAPs out there with their hands tied trying to figure out where to place the blame. You speak as if all of the PAPs signed with agencies knowing they had NOIDS…many find out in the process and by then, PAPs are so confused as to who is right, who is wrong….it’s just terrible! I agree again, if your agency is under investigation you should probably leave. The point I think I was trying to make in the previous comment was that it’s hard to go along your adoption process and build a connection with an agency, trying to sort out legit or false accusations, trying to build trust in your agency and for some, trying to break free and switch …knowing you made the right decision.

With all that being said, I want to apologize for being harsh in my comments. Reading your post felt like a sucker-punch to those who are just trying to figure out what is going on. I’m, by all means, not standing on my soapbox standing up for the rights of corrupt agencies. I’m standing up for the PAPs who are confused as to what is going on, trying to understand cultural differences, wondering if their agency is being truthful or not…(which is always hard if your agency lacks great customer service…another hot topic)….I can go on and on!

Baby buying, falsifying paperwork, bribes, none of that should be tolerated. If there are people out there that ignore what is going on and sign with agencies knowing of these practices…that’s completely unacceptable. Again, my harshness was directly towards your accusations-- that PAPs in agency’s with NOIDS are all the things you mentioned. I just didn’t feel that you should’ve been stereotypical and group people into one lump situation and judge them. I felt it was very condescending and wanted to let you know that although your intentions were good, pointing fingers through a computer screen may rub people the wrong way. It’s sometimes hard to evoke true emotion and have others understand where you are coming from when it’s in written word.

Enjoy motherhood and pray for the families that want what you have.

k said...

Carolyn,
I understand that and, of course, I believe PAP's are trying to do their best to sort through this completely opposite and very passionate information to make the RIGHT decisions. BUT, it's terribly difficult when there are SO MANY out there bashing certain agencies - agencies they have NO first-hand experience with - and unwilling to share info on those agencies they DO have experiece with....what is that about?

BTW, not referring to Kelly on this one...she's unusual in proudly naming her agency! Thank you for doing that Kelly.

Kelly said...

Me again. Anonymous, once again we are going to disagree on so many levels here. First, I think you are doing a disservice to PAPs by getting on any blog and speaking out about what is going on in Vietnam without letting people know what agency you are working with, where you are in the process, or any other information about your adoption. I don't care if you state it on your blog. Have you addressed this issue on your blog that states who you worked with? People are trying to get information and with holding it does no one any good. PAPs are trying to figure all of this out, and hiding from it on my blog or any other that you are speaking out about this is helping absolutely no one.

Second, NOIDs are only flying everywhere with agencies that have been under almost constant investigation since the beginning. They are flying NO WHERE with agencies that are reputable. That is why I don't understand the continued use of these agencies. Seriously, since as long as I can remember most of these agencies have had a cloud of doubt surrounding them. And yes it does take a lot to issue a NOID, otherwise there would be lots of agencies who received them. But guess what? That is not the case. Only a few agencies have gotten them and remain under investigation.

In closing, we seriously looked at going with one of the agencies under suspicion now. This was 1.5 years ago and the suspicion was nothing like it is today. No NOIDs had been issued, but there was still so much negative buzz around the agency that I could not bring myself to use them. It was too scary and I did not feel comfortable. I could have gotten an immediate referral and travel in a month or so. It was more than tempting, but in the end it did not happen. So please don't tell me that the information is not out there to make a wise and ethical decision. It is out there more so than ever. Are you willing to dig in, read it, and face the fact that it is often not what you want to read. Again, I understand the desire to have your child home asap, I truly do. We were so lucky to get in the VN program right as soon as it reopened and were at the front of the line. I agree with the fact that we were lucky in that regard. But just because someone started their adoption later than us and are facing the longer wait times, does not make an excuse for using a questionable agency.

Sarah said...

Kelly - great post. I'm glad there's so many of us at various stages in the process expressing our horror and outrage and what's currently going on and the fact that despite the NOIDs and investigations, there are PAPs out there who are STILL considering/working with agencies in the two named provinces.

My blog has been vilified by the likes of "anonymous" too...but we have to keep spreading the word about this, especially for families new to the process who might not yet have chosen an agency.

For everyone who chooses to denigrate what you have to say, hope that there's 50 lurkers out there taking our messages to heart.

Kelly said...

k- I do agree with you on the fact that it would be difficult as a new PAP to gather first hand knowledge because so many people do not disclose who they are working with. I would really question someone who feels the need to hide who their agency is. Also, many are defending these agencies because they have heard of all of the success stories or they are a success story themselves. These successes can be so misleading because all of the agencies that I am aware of that are under investigation really have been under suspicion for so long. It is not new that they are being questioned. That is a big part of what I want people to know.

Anonymous said...

I am quite open on my blog with these issues and state who I work with, where I am in the process, raise questions, address issues...blah, blah, blah. However, I refuse to completely throw myself to the lions (your blog) because of the controversy of this topic. It's my right to stay anonymous...if you don't like it...take the frickin' anonymous feature off your comment section!!

We're not going to agree completely. That's ok. I'm not misleading people by any means. Especially by not disclosing my agency or myself. Ridiculous! I'm so tired of people drawing up conclusions based on agencies that they have never worked with. People are leaving agencies that they "discover" are corrupt. This is still all so new for most people. Pulling infomation where you can and sorting what is true and untrue is not easy. Again, you have posted some awesome concerns, but your manner and tact are lacking.

I'm done....

Anonymous said...

Please don't overlook the fact that some people have faced delays due to a backlog as well as expiration of dated documents because of increased wait times (we are already on our second medical signatures). Perhaps it is important to question why the US Embassy isn't employing enough people to handle the number of adoptions. I appreciate your candor and enjoy your blog. I believe we all hear bits and pieces and do our best to put it all together.
-jackie

Our Valentine's Day Treat said...

Kelly,

I'm a long time reader who never comments, but I enjoy your blog and couldn't agree more with your latest post. I don't have your email address, but have a question for you I'd rather not post here. Can you email me when you have a chance? OurValentinesDayTreat@yahoo.com

Thanks!
Laura

Yippee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yippee said...

Since someone asked, here are just some information (Please double check with Google to have the exact latest number).

There are 43 licensed agencies in the VN adoption program. There are 40 to 100 provinces. Each province has many orphanage.

There have been between 10 to 20 NOIDs issued in the last 3 months.

All of these were issued to the provinces mentioned at
http://hanoi.usembassy.gov/adoptionstatement1107.html
which are Phu Tho, Thai Nguyen and one near-by province.

The agencies that got 90% of these NOIDs are PLAN and WORLD-CHILD. It is possible that 1 of the 2 other agencies that have placed at least one child from these provinces have also received NOIDs in the last few months (these 2 agencies are Orphans-Overseas and A.D.O.P.P.T. ). It would be unfair to Orphans-Overseas and ADOPPT to say for certain they have receive one or more NOIDs recently without proof but since they work in these 2 provinces, it's very likely.

PLAN and WORLD-CHILD have the fastest average time-line, and the most number of infant (<1 year-old) compared to the number of older child. This time line is common: Login date in May. Referral in July. Travel Date in August. It had never happened to other agencies to have travel date 30 days after referrals. This means those 2 mentioned provinces are fast in documents handling, as well as them being processed fast by the authority.

When looked as a whole, the documents handling (sending, receiving, notarized, etc) is done by both Agency-And-Provinces because they must work together and have close relationship. That is why another agency, although operating in the same province for example, can be slower than other agency in the same province. Likewise, that is why a province, although operated by the same agency, can be slower than another province.

I do agree with one or two people here that I do think the PAPs chose PLAN or WORLD CHILD obviously not because these 2 deal with problem-provinces, but because these 2 are fast, and who can blame these PAPs for that?

Anyway, hope that answered one person's question. I stand corrected if someone provides corrections on the info above.

Thank you Kelly for taking time sharing with us your opinions.

Anonymous said...

yippee,

where did u find the info on the NOID's? i saw some stuff on AAR, but not that 90% were PLAN & WC.

as a PAP who was just starting the process, i find this all overwhelming & discouraging. i was planning to use PLAN... i had NO IDEA there was so much controversy around them. i heard of PLAN b/c my son's best friend was adopted through PLAN through their domestic program. his mom told me about PLAN. then i liked the fact they were local & had local meet-ups w/the children. and of course i liked their timeline.

now my head is spinning & i don't know what i'll be doing... i've wanted to adopt for over 2yrs. pretty seriously and have spent the last 2yrs. researching my butt off. i still have not made any progress. i left EE thinking i'd leave all the issues related to corruption, uncertainty behind... HAHA. little did i know VN is WAY worse in that regard!! i find this all so sad. i don't even know if i'll ever adopt at this point. i don't trust the stability of the VN program, we don't qualify for China, Guatemala is going to be closed, and EE countries are too $$$ for us & too much travel that is unrealistic for us. i am so disheartened.

lucky lucky all you AP's home with your children.

Anonymous said...

OK YIPPEE...where are you getting your info from??? Last I heard (minutes ago) PLAN didn't have any NOIDS issued.

Bobby said...

After Katrina here in Louisiana the government was slow to respond. They tried to fix the problem by throwing tons of money into the area. All that did was open the door to corruption and thievery. I think China slowing down; causing so many of us to switch over to other countries like Vietnam may have done the same thing. Imagine a poor country like VN suddenly becoming the “hot spot” for international adoption. Western dollars flowing in tempting even the best of people into unethical behavior. I thank God everyday that we have our little girl home with us now. I can’t imagine how I would feel if we were still in the waiting process, looking at the picture everyday (like we all did) and then to find out that our agency might be acting in an unethical way. I know the right thing to do is pull the plug and take no part in what could be baby buying. But I have to say I don’t know if I could do it. Looking at that little face and knowing you have to give them up. It would be a very hard decision.

LawMommy said...

Nicely said, Kelly. Thank you for taking a stand on this issue, and for talking about it. We all need to be talking about it.

Gretchen

k said...

I apologize if this question has already been addressed...you have an insane number of comments and I just don't have time to read them all.

~Does anyone know why the embassy issued licenses in these questionable provinces in the first place? If this corruption was so well-known, as has been repeatedly stated, why would they do this?

Jenny said...

Well, I don't think it is that black and white kelly and I do feel that you need to educate yourselves but I do have loyalty to my girls agency and it is one of the ones in question. So it is a slippery slop. And I do feel that alot of people are giving AP/PAP's NO credit. I researched, I had someone who is very into ethics that PLAN rocked...

NOIDs aren't always an indication of unethical behaviour. NOW, that said, I do feel there is stuff going on but I do not have enough first hand personal info to draw any concrete conclusions.

So, that said, I think we need to re-focus our energy on not being accusatory and focus on being a positive community that bases things on fact vs rumor.

And Yippee, PLAN has not received an NOID as to date. Seriously, this is my issue. You need to ONLY STATE FACT. When people state falsehoods or rumors it makes everything much much worse. WC yes, FHAS yes, Adoppt yes.....

And Yes I used PLAN ages ago. I am not up to date with their practices but I had an ethical adoption with them a year ago.

And no one is safe from an NOID now. They are not just looking at suspect agencies.....

-Jenny

Nicki said...

First of all, Kelly, this blog post was seriously strong and pointed. When things get serious, people need to stop skirting around the issue. Coming from you - such a sweet gentle voice - it was extremely powerful. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I know you'll get sh*t for it, so I wish you strength to endure the fallout.

I have to agree strongly (enough to reiterate it here) that a NOID is not given lightly. It is not given easily for just cause for concern with a given case. I have personally talked to parents who were not only sure that they would receive a NOID on their case but were told as much by the Embassy and they ended up skating through. It takes a lot for the Embassy to throw down that hammer. That's why ethics advocates so frequently advise PAPs to run from agencies were there are NOIDs. Where there is smoke, there is fire. Where there was one, there will likely be more.

K - the Embassy does not license agencies in provinces. The licensure is overseen by the Vietnamese government, not the US government. Furthermore the long hiatus in adoptions in Vietnam was enacted in order to restructure the adoption program to provide a more ethical and transparent program to end these past corruption problems. It was no one's presumption that we would see the same problems by the same players (agencies or their facilitators) in the same provinces. The Embassy has no authority over who the agency chooses to hire as its facilitator. They have no authority over whether the Vietnamese government grants them a license as an adoption service provider. What they do have authority over is whether or not an entry visa is appropriate to grant for each individual case.

S. said...

Bravo Kelly!

We went through serious soul-searching back in March about staying with the Vietnam program. We were with a highly ethical agency that is doing significant humanitarian work in Vietnam.

However, at that time, if we would have stayed with them I estimated it would have taken 2 years to complete our adoption. Even at that time, we were concerned that the program might shut down before we brought our baby home. We came very close to switching to Ethiopia.

Even in March, the cloud of suspicion around the agencies in question was, to me, overwhelming. Experienced APs, who had been through the shutdowns in Cambodia and Vietnam, were voicing their concerns. We could have switched to one of these agencies, but at that time we decided that Vietnam was where our hearts were and we would take the chance of waiting with our first agency.

I am absolutely not the least bit surprised by what is happening now, based on the overwhelming concerns that been raised in the past.

Subsequently, we were fortunate to be able to switch to an agency that I also believe to be highly ethical.

I just find it hard to understand why PAPs continue to choose to work with these agencies, and to defend them, even now. Yes, a NOID may not have officially been issued for PLAN--but it is only a matter of time unless something changes.

p.s. I do not post the name of my agency on my blog, but I am happy to share my experience privately with anyone who has questions.

Anonymous said...

Jenny, I have been reading the blogs of two PLAN families and as of today they both have had NOIDS issued. One of the writers says the NOID list at the embassy has 20 names on it and that there are four more families in her travel group who are expecting a NOID. Please know that I am not writing this in any finger pointing way but just to keep straight what I think the facts are.

k said...

Anonymous,
Read those blogs again...they are EXPECTING NOIDS. The PLAN families haven't actually received NOIDS yet. According to the blog, there are 20+ in their same situation from multiple agencies, throughout multiple provinces.

Jenny said...

I am not writing again to make kellys comments mine.

I am here just to say, the NOIDs have not been issued. If they are issued tomorrow, than I will totally agree and say PLAN has been issued 2 NOIDs. But to date they haven't and writing that they have is not factual.

I wasn't making it up. I know first hand they haven't been issued yet. Hey, maybe in an hour or so they will be.

Blogs are great if you actually read them And if you take what they actually say. But seriously, people took stuff from my blog and manipulated it. You need to be careful what you say about others experiences. As those get passed around and around and manipulated. That isn't ethical either.

I will quietly leave now. I do not write this to cause an argument.
-Jenny

Anonymous said...

This post has left a lot of heartache for many people. Maybe you should stick to dressing your daughter in hairbows and figuring out how to go to sleep.

S. said...

anon 6:02
That personal attack is uncalled for. Kelly has said nothing to deserve that. She is a great mom who loves her daughter and shares the valid concerns of many APs and PAPs.

Heidi said...

Thank you for this post.

I still don't understand why someone would choose an agency with NOIDs or almost-NOIDs and other first-hand experiences of unethical or at least not very ethical behavior, when there are so many other agencies out there without those suspicions?

I know it's tempting to want a fast referral. I wanted one too. But also walked away from PLAN, because they were not honest with me about who their in-country people were: and one of them has been investigated before.

This is all very scary and it's so sad that PAPs are taking it out on each other, though I understand if you're with an agency that has possible problems, you would be defensive. This just sucks all around.

Anonymous said...

K and Jenny,
You are so right and you have my sincere apologies. I did read again and all I can say is that believe it or not I am usually a very good reader but this time I was not. I was part of the problem. You two made me re-think many of the angles. Thanks.
E.

Mrs.B said...

Yippee,
Orphans Overseas has not been issued a NOID.

Stacy said...

anon 6:02 - I can't believe you would actually feel it appropriate to leave such a rude remark. Beyond uncalled for. I wish you would let us know who you are, if you are another blogger I would certainly like to make sure I am not stopping by yours.

Kelly - I thought I left a comment last night, but I don't see it. I was getting pretty tired, so perhaps I clicked on something and deleted it. If it was something you felt you had to delete I really apologize. I don't even remember now, but basically THANK YOU for your post - you have brought up such fantastic points. I wholeheartedly agree with you.

As for Orphans Overseas, my understanding is that they had received a NOID shortly after they opened their program - not in the recent groups. I think others know more specifically on that one (Laurie?), but I did want to mention it.

Ashley said...

Anonymous,
I thought you were done...
It's sad that people like you feel the need to make comments like that about wonderful parents like Kelly...I'm really sorry your life is lacking so much that you find it necessary to say such things in order to make yourself feel better. Bravo to you Kelly for bringing awareness to such important issues. As for you Anonymous, will you please practice what you preach and be done? We would all greatly appreciate it!

MandyM said...

Anon - Seriously?? SERIOUSLY?!! You are going to hide in the shadows and then have the lack of class to post such a rude personal comment about Kelly? Wow.

Kim said...

Hey Kelly,
I think I was fortunate enough to view video of Lucy's adoption experiences in Vietnam...is it available on youtube? So beautiful and moving.
Anyway...I am in the top ten on the list with Orphans Overseas in Oregon waiting for referral. My husband and I are so looking forward to starting a family.
I've read some of the strong statements regarding ethics and NOIDS and the like. I have to say I agree with both you and Anonymous. I actually think you and Anonymous agree about mostly everything.
I think the issue comes from your "shame on you" tone...while you post pictures of yourself and your baby all over your site.
Do you not know that many of the people that are viewing your blogsite and looking at your beautiful daughter are in a place of vulnerability...wanting to be mothers...working out all the details of daily life while trying desperately to do the right thing and complete a ethical adoption. Your TONE..is immature in my opinion.
It was accusatory and it didn't need to be. Your concerns are completely valid and very important. Nothing could be more evil and ugly than to think of the horrible results of an unethical adoption.
But the also ugly truth about adoption in general is simply that there is extreme poverty in the world...so extreme that women give up their babies to others who can afford to raise them. There is also some baby selling and finding going on. It's all really pretty horrible.
Your comments were SO abrasive and harsh and they didn't need to be.
I actually was reading them thinking that maybe you are worried that your agency wasn't ethical because you sound like you're sort of "projecting".
Anyhow, I found the dialogue between the two sort of amusing...especially after the bow and sleep comment. I can't help it. It was sort of funny.
I hope you both can just calm down and realize that you are both SO fortunate to be in a position to even adopt a child. We all are responsible to do our best to ensure that our adoption is ethical...but because there so many different entities involved in a international adoption...the birth mother, the orphanage, the VN government officials on many levels and then...our agency, our embassy. With all the different motivations and agendas. The sad truth is that regardless of what anyone says about our "perfect, good, ethical" agency...these kids may or may not be coming to the orphanage and to us in the way that we would imagine.
-Kim

Kelly said...

I posted a similar comment earlier, but it is not showing up now. It went something like this.

Anonymous (6:02) - Wow. I don't even know what to say to you. Here's an idea, why don't you stay the eff away from my blog. You obviously don't like me, so it should not be a problem.

I would also like to point out how ironic it is that the large majority of the negative and nonproductive comments on this entry is from an anonymous person. I have the feature on my blog so that family and friends who don't have a blogger account can comment. I don't plan on turning it off. Thank you for the advice though. Back to the issue at hand, why are you hiding? Of course it is your right, but back to the issue - if you have nothing to hide because you so strongly support your agency, why is the anonymous status needed at all? Also, I have deleted no comments from this post. The one deleted comment was deleted by the author, not me. I have my big girl pants on and can take the negativity and pissy comments. I do want the comments to be truthful. I want people to have facts, not rumor.

Jenny - I appreciate and always have how you have openly shared your agency and your experience. You have never hid from anything. Thank you for that.

To those of you who took offense to my tone, I am sorry. I am extremely passionate about this and it makes me very upset. I don't see the point in being immature about it. This is a very real and very serious problem.

Anonymous said...

I'm the original anonymous and I just want to make it clear...I DID NOT direct personal insults towards Kelly and her child! I said I was done...I meant it. I just felt the need to let y'all know that I would never attack someone personally...whoever made the comment should be ashamed of themselves!

Kim--from the recent comment...thanks for understanding. I do agree with most of what Kelly says...I do! I just thought she delivered it in such a nasty way. BTW, I know VORF also used Phu Tho as a province (yes, I know they pulled out)...so ethical or not...it's hard to say. We are all pawns in this game of adoption.

Let's all try to act a little more civilized and call each other names.

Anonymous said...

I'm not the same Anonymous, but due to the vitriol being slung around here and elsewhere I do choose to remain anonymous all the same.

Just to set the record straight, the only NOID ever associated with a case from Orphans Overseas had to do with an error in paperwork committed by the province (not the agency, and not the orphanage). This was among the first adoptions completed in that province after the VN program re-opened and the processes were new to all of those involved.

The error was corrected, the NOID was lifted and the adoption was completed.

Anyone who would care to write to Orphans Overseas about this situation will receive frank and honest answers.

This week, Orphans Overseas made the decision to pull out of Phu Tho and Thai Nguyen as a sign to the VN government and the US Embassy that they were committed to ethical adoptions. This fact is documented on the blog of one of the agency leadership at www.adoptionbuzz.org. The author makes the recommendation that other agencies do the same as a demonstration of integrity.

The entire AdoptionBuzz blog is highly recommended reading for anyone interested in the VN program, the law, and the concept of ethical adoption. The posts there are thoughtful and informative. The author clearly discloses his involvement in an adoption agency but does a very good job of writing in a way that neither promotes his agency nor harms others. The information is valuable for anyone adoption from VN, regardless of the agency they choose.

Whatever you do, please DO NOT continue to propagate rumor as if it is fact.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. We went with one of those quick and easy adoptions and the agency drove us crazy, has hurt our friends, and I will never use them again.

Jessica said...

Ok, so I am new to all this and don't know a lot. But my one question with people who don't agree with Kelly, why do you read it? This is not your blog and I am sure you say whatever you want on your blog. So don't attack her and her feelings. A blog is somewhere you can write your thoughts and experiences. This is her blog, if you don't like what she says, then don't read it. It is not like she is forcing you to read it. It is your choice. So leave her alone, go back to your own blog and write whatever you want. And why be anonymous, if you have the "right" to write whatever you want on her blog, why not give her the chance to comment on yours?
Kelly, I completely agree with what you have to say. I am so happy for you having your baby home with you! I think it is pathetic that people would begrudge you that.

S. said...

Kim
You cannot seriously be criticizing Kelly for posting pictures of her baby on HER OWN BLOG? I mean really? I get that people who have struggled for years to get to this point are vulnerable--then DON'T READ HER BLOG if it is painful to see her beautiful precious daughter.

Immature? No. We are talking about children's lives here, confirmed cases of illegal and unethical actions. It would be immature not to speak up.

Anonymous said...

Kelly has many readers that follow her blog. She knows that. She isn't writing to post on her blog for her own viewing pleasure. She's posting a shout out for all the PAPs that do not share in her "ethics". Some people stay anonymous because people are cruel and chose to email privately with their "opinions". When Kelly posts a topic such as this, it comes with responsibility and should welcome both positive and negative opinions. She can easily make her blog private if she feels invaded.

Laurie said...

For those who are holding up OO as a great, ethical agency, please just remember this...Yes, they DID receive a NOID. Yes, they explain it away with a provincial paperwork error. I don't understand why everyone buys this as a legit reason to have a family travel and go through all that. Guess who is supposed to be on top of EVERY orphan AND ALL his/her paperwork when a referral goes out and a family travels? THE AGENCY. The buck stops there. Provinces and orphanages may make mistakes all the time, but it's up to the agency to make sure things proceed smoothly and paperwork is in order for its families.
And as for Tad's post yesterday that OO pulled out of the 2 problems provinces, I think that's fan-freakin-tastic. Better late than never. But can I ask why it took the Embassy issuing NOIDs and posting an official statement regarding those regions for that agency to look into the adoptions there and realize something was not right????
And for whomever referenced VORF having worked there: VORF pulled out of Phu Tho long before the NOIDs and the statement. In fact, this summer while we were awaiting referral, we learned of 2 available babies in Phu Tho that VORF decided not to refer due to concerns with that orphanage and province. I am SO glad they had that forsight and were in-touch with their orphanages and provinces enough to have a pulse on things long before it all started falling apart.

rachel said...

Thanks Kelly for speaking it. I know it's hard to put yourself out there, and I know it's hard for other people who may not agree to read things they don't want to hear. But the fact of the matter is that corruption exists and we all need to face the facts as ugly as they may be.

rachel said...

Ha ha... I have no idea what "Thanks Kelly for speaking it." is supposed to mean. :) Apparently I need to start proof reading before hitting publish.

Kelly said...

Let me make a few more things clear. This is my personal blog. It was originally started to share with family and friends about where we were in the adoption process and then so that they could be in the know about what is going on in our lives now. Along the way, yes, I have gained many readers, which is great and all, but I never, at any point, begged or even asked any one of you to read this blog. You all made that decision yourself. If I want to state my opinion on a very serious and scary situation in VN because I feel it is my duty since I have a child from there, by God, I will do it. I love the support that I normally get from this blog. DO NOT fault me for posting pictures of my family on my personal blog. I can write about whatever the hell I want to on MY blog.

I am giving anyone the opportunity to respond to what I have to say. You anonymous commenters are not allowing that same priviledge to the rest of us. I am clearly open to both positive and negative comments on this heated topic. If I was trying to protect myself, I would have deleted the comment about the hairbows and sleep since it has absolutely nothing to do with this topic. But instead, I wanted people to see how sad and pathetic of a comment that was. And I think that has been cleared up by many.

I plan on continuing to use this blog as a place to document Lucy's life for our family and FRIENDS! If you do not like me, do not like seeing pictures of us, are offended because my child is home, are not interested in what I have to say, etc, STOP READING. It is that simple. If you have something productive to say, feel free. If you want to learn from others, please stay and read all of the comments. Do not come here and call me a bad parent or make ridiculous comments about nothing of importance. You are wasting my time.

Anonymous said...

Maybe there's a reason you can't sleep at night. If I were that judgemental and nasty, I'm sure I would be seeking accupuncture to help me sleep.

Megan said...

Kelly,
I just wanted to say thank you for posting your own view point on your own Blog!!! We are just starting our adoption journey an for us choosing a agency was the hardest part. Sure we want a baby quickly, but we also want a baby ethicaly. I am so sorry someone decided to take a personal attack on you. Don't take it personal, I am glad there are people like you willing to speak your mind. Meg

megan said...

Anonymous,
Are you serious??? I think the reason you feel so strongly about this is you feel guilty. You need to think about why you feel so offended by what kelly said. It sounds like you have some issues you need to work through. How exactly does accupuncture help for judgemental and nasty btw??? I think the fact you can be so nasty is horrid but whats worse is you are doing so anonymously.

Gabbie said...

Kelly,
Please do yourself and everyone else a favor and delete this post. You don't want this on your blog...do you? People are getting so mean! Why the fighting? Aren't we all in this for the love of these children! It's really getting out of hand.

It's just so sad.

Michelle said...

This is my first visit to your blog, and all I can say is... Wow! This has been the most interesting 10 minutes of reading I've done in a long time! What a lively discussion you all are having here! Thank you, Kelly for your post and additional comments. Whether or not readers agree with your opinions, you've definitely got people talking and that's a good thing. PAPs need to be concerned and start asking the hard questions then be willing to listen to the answers, regardless of how unpleasant they may be, and APs need to be willing to answer openly and honestly. Yes, your tone and words were strong, but I appreciate your willingness to speak up. Thanks!

Michelle

And P.S. to Anon. 6:02 and 11:30, who made the cruel comments: How sad that you would resort to personal attacks, instead of intelligently articulating your views. How do your attacks help the discussion, or shed any light on your side or the argument? Stooping so low accomplishes nothing but making you appear unintelligent and immature. Is that the impression you wish to leave with everyone here? Wouldn't your time be better spent crafting an articulate argument that may help further the discussion, instead of just trying to hurt someone's feelings? You need to try using your grown-up words to help us all understand how you feel about the subject, and not how you feel about the person.

Jennifer said...

Kelly,
I am proud of you for your post. I am not a parent in the adoption process but was lead to your blog by a friend who is in the VN adoption process. I have loved all your posts about Lucy, she is adorable!

Again, this is your blog and you are free to post whatever you want. I can't believe or begin to understand some of the Anon. comments. Just know you are the bigger person becuase you are only making people aware of the issue at hand. And would never want anyone to go through the long adoption process to only be told they can not bring thier baby home. What a horrible thing to face.

William said...

The following is a list of licensed agencies that may be affected by the recent Embassy statement and the statement from Dr. Long that the DIA have suspended taking dossiers for Phu Tho and Thai Nguyen. The
reason that some agencies have not been issued NOID's may be that
they do not have familys in country at the moment.

PHU THO:

A.D.O.P.P.T Inc (NOID's Issued)

Carolina Adoption Services (NOID's Issued)(Temporarily closed)

Children's Home Society and Family Services (CHSFS) (Temporarily
closed)

Children's House International

Orphans Overseas (Temporarily closed)

Plan Loving Adoption Now (NOID's Issued)(Temporarily closed)

Small World Adoption Foundation of Missouri (Newly Licensed, no
referrals yet)

Vietnamese Orphans Relief Fund (VORF)

Wasatch International (Newly Licensed, no referrals yet)


THAI NGUYEN:


Orphans Overseas (Temporarily closed)

World Child International (NOID's Issued)

k said...

Just wanted to say I AGREE WITH GABBIE. I would love to see you delete this post and the comments, although it IS your right to post "whatever the he** you want". This post just doesn't belong on your joyful blog and is full of info that appears to be fact but simply is not. Is that responsible or ethical???

S. said...

I think Kelly is perfectly able to decide what does and does not belong on her blog. Kelly, while I don't generally believe in deleting comments, I also don't see any reason to keep ridiculous personal attacks irrelevant to the discussion posted by cowardly anon. commenters. I think anyone would understand if you decided to delete some of these comments. On the other hand it does show the mentality of the commenters.

Gabbie said...

I didn't mean to sound negative by suggesting that Kelly take this post down. It's just gotten so out of hand and I personally wouldn't want it on my blog. Just my 2cents...nothing more.

Gabbie

k said...

Of course Kelly can post what she wants...and delete what she wants. I just thought the point of this post, and many others like it, was ETHICS. Deleting it might be the most responsible choice at this point. These posts are starting to feel as crazy as the Yahoo groups filled with agengy reps and directors posing as PAPs and APs.....

Lynn said...

First off, Kelly, it's your blog, you can post and delete whatever you want. We as readers can either keep reading, or stop reading. However, I feel that you wrote from your heart about a very hard, sad, sick part of adoption that others would rather forget that was happening with a lot of insight.

My best friend just came back from adopting a baby from Vietnam, and she was there while this was all blowing up. It was a horrible experience, but she did get her baby after a lot of stress. I do not know nor will I ask what agency she used, but I know that she followed every law, and jumped through every paper hoop that she had to do.

Thanks be to God that getting that one form is now done before people go over to Vietnam. Hopefully this will help the situation, and curb some unethical practices.

Take care, and keep us posted on this.

Nicki said...

I've written Orphans Overseas and have never once received an honest answer. I've received slick talking around the subject but never once an actual answer of any substance.

Forgive those of us who don't consider Orphan's Overseas' decision to pull out of two provinces AFTER the Vietnamese government said that they would *no longer process referrals there*! Honestly - did they have a choice but to stop adoptions where adoptions are no longer allowed? Does anyone else see the irony here? If two governments are slamming down the hammer, seems like that was less of a choice and more of a mandate handed to them.

tbird416 said...

Wow! Sounds like you touched a nerve, Kelly. I think you did a fantastic job or articulating a very serious problem. I often think that part of the reason that society has become more nasty is because of the internet and everyone's ability to say mean and hurtful things while hiding behind the 'anonymous' name. I remember when my nephew was getting very vicious things said to him on MySpace, have read terrible things on YouTube and, of course, the mean and childish comments on your blog.
Kelly, if it were my blog I'd leave the post and let people comment away. I don't think I'd even respond again to the 'anonymous' loser who cowardly hides behind her (or his) hurtful comments. It's not worth it to even engage this person. Life is too short.
Instead, continue to focus on the very scary issues in Vietnam adoption today. Those of us who have followed your blog for a long time know that you have a heart of gold.

Carolyn (from AZ)

Sara said...

((((((((GIANT HUGS))))))))

Hang in there girl and keep on showing off those adorable bows on that adorable girl!

Sara

Anonymous said...

This is not meant to start a fight, honestly and truly. I think the negative responses you have received weren't so much because of what you said but how you said it. If all you were doing is venting, fine, but if you REALLY want to help the situation and educate new PAP's you(as well as alot of bloggers)need to understand your tone and (what comes across as) judgement is making the adoption environment hostile.

Kate said...

Oh my goodness.
I am one of Kelly's best friends from college. We all love this blog because it brings a smile to our face to hear about kelly and lucy. We also have a deep admiration for Kelly and her blog because we know it has given such insight and hope to people that are adopting. Kelly has also educated us about the adoption world and we appreciate her bringing things of concern up.
Kelly is a big girl and can take an opposing opinion, HOWEVER, it bothers me that people have gotten so ugly with their personal comments. I have already told her I wished her blog would be private but I feel that would be a diservice to those entering their adoption journey.
I have a baby that wants me to quit typing so I will stop there. Much love Kel!
Kate

Cliff & Chandra said...

Kelly, I just want to say that a lot of us feel that this is a topic worth talking about. That it's important. And I think that if something is this important to you, then it's admirable that you'd approach it with passion. It's something that matters and the decisions people make DO affect others.

Why do I think this is so important? Well, an example from a blog post from today from someone who is in-country and apparently has no idea this has all been going on. The things the USCIS has been told directly by agencies is sometimes pretty amazing and it IS frightening. How would it be possible NOT to have strong feelings?

http://scottlan.blogspot.com/2007/11/going-on-standby-tomorrow.html

Anonymous said...

We need to be supportive and understanding of each other as PAP's.

Katherine said...

Wow, I cannot believe the venom in some of these comments. No one deserves this kind of treatment for expressing her opinion on her own blog. It doesn't matter whether you agree, it's a matter of free speech. Handle yourselves like responsible adults.

Mia's Mommy said...

When I started reading the venom on this blog I've actually been sitting here crying, tears streaming, for Kelly. Not that she needs my sympathy, but I can say for 100% fact that having taken the adoption journey with Kelly and having ridden the ups and downs of adoption with her, I can honestly say I've never 'met' a more genuine woman who truly loves her child, her child's birth country, and who only desires that her daughter's birth country can stay open to help find homees for the other orphans in Vietnam. True orphans, relinquished eithically! Her main goal as well as most sane APs from Vietam only desire what is best for the children there, and desire keeping the program open.

It is frustrating to watch people stick by agencies as if they're bound to them and willingly believe any and all excuses spewed by the agencies. I've used this anology many times (although I am aware of the many differences I hope you get the point): I shop at a particular grocery store that I feel comfortable with, I've gotten to know the cashiers and other employees because of my frequency to this store, because of the food I recieve from that store my family is nurished and one of our basic needs are met. Yet, I am not bound to that store, I owe it nothing other than the money required for me to bring home my food. If I found that the store were unethical, stealing from other stores, buying food illegally, screwing its clientele as well as its venders, once if I found it was true I would stop shopping there. If the store published some statement blaming the produce, the farmer, the vender and never claiming any responsibilty for their actions or trying to investigate the claims, I wouldn't just blindly believe it, I would investigate it myself and come to my conclusion. And if the store were in the wrong, I would warn others of the practices of that store. If I was the one being warned I would take into account the circumstances, the information, the number of reports, and investigate it myself. There is something to be said for many people having similar expierences and sharing them first hand. And, I sure as hell wouldn't bash those who tried to warn me! No, I know we as APs and PAPs aren't child shoping (or SHOULDN'T BE), and yes there are many differences in the anology, but the basic principle is the same. Our agency is only the means for us to be united with our child. We do not owe them our undieing gratitude, they were paid to do their job. They are a resourse. We (and the children) have a need, they fill it. They are an agency in a business. Just because you like the employees doesn't mean that they are telling the truth, or they may be telling you the truth they believe, which could be some lie they've fallen for.

But, to personaly attack a person on their own blog, and to say such hateful and intentionally hurtful things makes me sad. Sad that someone could be so callus, so vendictive, and yet want to parent. I feel for the child that is matched with such a person! I hope these anonymous vendictive individuals grow up and learn some tact before a child comes into their lives, for the sake of the child. I feel for Kelly who does not under any circumstances deserve such horrid attacks. I'm sad for Lucy who may grow up to read this blog and see how her mother, who loves her birth country, was visciously attaked for voicing her opinions in an effort to speak up with the situations surrounding adoption in her birth country. This blog is called "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds". This is Kelly's blog, this is Lucy's blog.

And to those who have said things like "lucky you" you have your daughter home. You had a "crystal clear" adoption, then you do not know Kelly or her heart or her and Lucy's story! But that is not your business and certainly not your business to comment on! Luck has had nothing to do with it.

And, I do agree with about 97% of what Kelly has said, not because she's my friend, but because I too have a huge heart for Vietnam and mostly the orphans there. The questions just make sense. I don't fully agree with her on our, and yes I say our because I too used Vorf, agency. But, would I ever attack her because I don't agree, or think she's just some mindless blonde chick that should "stick with hairbows and figuring out how to go to sleep!" Hell no!

Please I hope you people with such venom add to the list of Kelly's questions:
a) am I mature enough to raise a child
b) what if my child has a different opinion than mine and will not bend to my way of thinking
c) will I call my child names and throw in his/her face information shared with me when we don't agree
d) will I only enjoy my child if they only speak of subjects I perceive as non-threatening and don't express opinions on touchy subjects, especially if the opinion is differing than mine.

I do fear another shut-down is closing in. How long it'll take, I don't know? I appload the USCIS for trying keep the program going. That's not a fear tactic, that comes from having adopted a child that was caught in the shutdown, having to wait for the program to reopen to be able to adopt my child. I can't help but wonder how many of these "I'll stick by my agency until the bitter end" attitudes will change if they get a referral then get caught in a shutdown, watching their child grow up in an orphanage half a world away. When they look at their child's picture (if they've truly cared enough about the child to not drop the referral and then country hop) I wonder if they will then second guess their faithfullness to their questionable agency. If all that undieing loyalty is worth missing their child's milestones, their health, and many other things.

My daughter spent two years (short compared to some) stuck in an orphanage because of curruption. She was the one who suffered because of the lack of ethics and facilitators with no scruples. She has medical issues to this day because of care she couldn't recieve because of where she was. All preventative had people stood up to agencies and up for thier children. Some did try, but they too were attacked. Warnings were put out there but they too were ignored. These were the same conversations spinning around then too, but the agency loyalists refused to believe, until it was too late. Are we back here again? Yes. Who does it effect the most? The children.

No, I find no offense in Kelly's questions. I'm living life every day with a child that is the result of such hard-headedness.

Bravo Kelly for putting it out there!!!

Kathryn & Kevin said...

All Ican say is WOW!!! I did not get one thing done which I planned to do. I have been too busy reading these comments. I can't believe what has been said, especially the gall of anonymous, who is hiding behind a veil of secrecy. I sure hope this is not oneof the PLAN families whose blogs I follow!

Nicole - Raising Animals said...

Oh Kelly, I bet when you posted this you didn't think you'd be spending all day fending off personal attacks did you? I'm sorry hon! Just think of all the good discussion you've started here....even if some are using it to be jerky. You've opened a dialog and I think that's the best part of all of this! I also find it very courageous that you haven't disabled the "anonymous" feature, and you haven't deleted the harsh comments, or the post all together. Stay strong! Bravo.

Sherri said...

Kelly and I have gone through this journey together. We traveled to Vietnam together. We met Lucy and Gracie together. Obviously I also used VORF. I also changed from another agency, one who FORGOT to put me on the list when I recieved my 171. There are many reasons, personal reasons, why a person may switch agencies. I am glad I did. When we had our CIS interview in HCMC the interviewer commented on how ethical and together VORF is.

When we were in Vietnam Kelly and I met families with extremely young infants, families with very sick babies, families who had no idea about physicals or appointments. Agencies provide you with a list of references in your application packet. CONTACT THEM. If you don't get references with contact info MOVE ON and find another agency.

Yes we got quick referrals because it was a new agency. VORF only started facilitating adoptions in Jan 06. Prior to that they were strictly a huminatrian agency working to make things better in Vietnam. However they hired a very experienced facilitator and in country rep. Check out their website to see the fantastic things they do in Vietnam.

I began my journey to Grace in Jan 06 when agencies were just being liscensed. During that entire year, until I held her in my arms, I was terrified that corrupt practices would again close Vietnam adoptions. Remember those families who received referrals just before Vietnam ceased adoptions? I read their blogs as they were slowly receiving travel approval. That wait...it broke my heart. All that heartache because some people didn't want to follow the rules.

Those people completely disregard everyone else when they make unethical decisions. What about the babies that were crowding the orphanages during the period when adoptions halted? There were growing older. People don't request older kids. The orphanages were full. Were all children take care of? Orphanage workers could only do so much and with no adoptions, monetary support for the orphanages must have severely decreased. Less money and more children...a problem caused by selfish people.

In closing, the only story about her abandonment that I have to pass on to Grace is the one that I was told. Is it suspect? Maybe. But that is the history I have to give her. That and little Lucy sleeping in the cradle beside her.

M & H said...

Hello - I would like to know where William is getting his info from?
Thanks
Heather

AHNNA LEIGH'S MAMA said...

I CAME ACROSS YOUR BLOG AS A LINK FROM A FRIENDS BLOG. I'VE REALLY ENJOYED IT AND I AGREE WITH YOUR POST. WE WILL HAVE HAD OUR DAUGHTER FROM VIETNAM FOR 1 YEAR ON DEC. 7TH. WE'VE BEEN THNKING ABOUT WHEN WE WANT TO ADOPT AGAIN. IT SCARES ME TO THINK THAT CORRUPTION COULD ENDANGER THE CHANCES OF OUR DAUGHTER HAVING A SIBLING FROM THE SAME COUNTRY AND CULTURAL BACKGROUND. LIKE OTHERS WHOSE BLOGS I READ, I WOULD GLADLY WAIT YEARS TO COMPLETE MY ADOPTION PROCESS IF IT WOULD MEAN MAKING SURE ANOTHER MOTHER IN VIETNAM WASN'T SUFFERING THE LOSS OF HER CHILD JUST SO I COULD BENEFIT. IT SEEMS LIKE A NATURAL REACTION FOR ME TO QUESTION WHY AN AGENCIES WAIT TIMES ARE SO MUCH SHORTER THAN MOST. IF IT COULD BE DONE IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE AND BY THE BOOK, WOULDN'T EVERYONE BE HANDING OUT REFERRALS MORE QUICKLY? I KNOW THERE ARE CIRCUMSTANCES THAT MAY MAKE SOME AGENCIES WAITS SHORTER (LIKE FEWER WAITING FAMILIES), BUT, IN GENERAL, THE PROPER PROCESS IS THE PROPER PROCESS AND IT GOES THE WAY IT GOES. IT IS FRUSTRAITING AT TIMES, BUT WE LEARNED DURING OUR PROCESS THAT YOU CAN NOT SPEED IT UP NO MATTER HOW HARD YOU TRY. SO, BASICALLY, IF AN AGENCY PROMISES LIGHTENING FAST ADOPTIONS-YOU BETTER QUESTION WHY. THE RESPONSIBLE THING TO DO AS ADOPTIVE PARENTS IS TO EDUCATE OURSELVES ON THE HISTORY OF OUR AGENCIES INCLUDING NOIDS. BY THE WAY, I RECCOMEND DILLON INTERNATIONAL. THEY ARE AN OUTSTANDING AGENCY!!!!!

Jennifer said...

ALL of you are behaving like a bunch of 15-year-old school girls in a cat fight. Let me know when the hair pulling and scratching of eyeballs starts so that I can pop some Orville Redenbacher's. It's truly pathetic. You've all really done a lot to help the cause, yep. You all act like your opinion is the most important one in the world and that you and you alone can change the shape of VN adoptions. Give me a friggin break, people. Not a single ONE of you is that important. What are you to this world? Not a single ONE of you is truly making a positive impact. Get over yourself. You all suck. You will all always hate each other. Hate, now there's a powerful emotion, right? Get over it. Move on. You are not going to fix adoptions. You are not God. You are not all-powerful. You all need a reality check. Take a breath. Go volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Go volunteer at a Ronald McDonald House and help a child dying of cancer. JHC!! My god, stand back and see how stupid you all sound. Seriously. GO TO YOUR ROOM. Every Single One Of You. I dare each one of you to print out your comments and take them to your pastor or faith leader and show them how proud you are of your behavior. Do it. Seriously. I bet you won't.

S. said...

jennifer,
Actually, PAPs as a whole do have power--the power of choice. If they don't choose agencies known to be corrupt, those agenices will not remain in business.

I am certain that your pastor or faith leader would be impressed by your outburst.

And for the record--you have NO IDEA what volunteer activities that the bloggers and commenters here are involved with. I don't need a reality check, I deal with reality on a regular basis.

Kelly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelly said...

Sorry, I had to delete my comment above due to grammatical errors. Here it is:

Jennifer - Your comment has made me more sad than any other comment made to this point. It is far worse than any of the personal attacks on me. Are you planning on teaching your children to not bother standing up for what they believe in because if it is a big issue, there is simply no way that their opinion or effort will make any difference? Are you going to teach them just "Get over it. Move on"? I suggest you go and read http://timandrachel.wordpress.com and refresh your memory on some of the amazing women from the past who stood for something very important and because of that, made an ENORMOUS difference. Am I claiming in any way that I compare in the slightest to these women? No ma'am. But if you believe in something and set your mind to making a difference in this world, you can do it. Don't ever tell people that they can't make a difference, especially on my blog.

Anonymous said...

I have just started the adoption process and looking into agencies. Does anyone have a legitimate website telling about NOIDS and World Child? I am using a local agency that uses World Child so before I get too far into the process I need to know facts. Thanks in advance for any information!

Catherine said...

Could YIPEE please let me know where she got the following facts??

1. "The agencies that got 90% of these NOIDs are PLAN and WORLD-CHILD."

If there are 10-20 NOIDS, and WC received 3 of those, how is that 90%


2. "PLAN and WORLD-CHILD have the fastest average time-line, and the most number of infant (<1 year-old) compared to the number of older child."

HUH??? Is it not a common fact that NO ONE can find toddlers???? I have NOT heard of one toddler adoption lately. ALL of them are children under the age of 1!


3. "This time line is common: Login date in May. Referral in July. Travel Date in August. It had never happened to other agencies to have travel date 30 days after referrals."

Where, oh where, are you getting these numbers???? World Child gives their referrals to the PAPs 90 days after their LID. It is at least another 90 days until they travel. Where are you getting 30 days?? Again, if you add the numbers CORRECTLY, you will get 180 days..not even close to 30!

PROUD Mother to Isabella, born in Lang Son, adopted through WORLD CHILD, and DEFINITELY NOT STOLEN OR BOUGHT!!!

Kelly said...

Catherine, as Yippee stated, she got those numbers from a google search. They have proven to be incorrect since on the day that the comment was posted, PLAN had not yet received the NOIDs that they did eventually end up getting. She also stated that she would stand corrected if the information was incorrect.

I have a question for you though. Please do not feel attacked, I would just like some clarification since you listed out a very specific time line. I just went to your blog for the first time. You have an entry called Barbie Girl. In it you stated that you would go to the hotel lounge with your 2 month old daughter who you were there adopting. If she was 2 months old when you were in Vietnam, how could you have possibly waited 90 days from referral to travel? She wasn't even 90 days old and you had both received her referral and travelled for her. That is a very young baby. Certainly no where near the 180 day timeline that you listed for World Child. Could you please explain this? I would really appreciate it.

Nicki said...

Catherine - I have a question to add to Kelly's....

What's your relationship with Mary Payne Nguyen?

Catherine said...

Kelly,
As you stated "The entire world of VN adoptions was very different 1.5 years ago" - the same is true for us. We adopted her 1.2 years ago when adoptions between Vietnam and the US had just started up again. At that time, there were many people traveling to get young babies. THIS IS NOT THE PROCESS NOW.

We were there at the ceremony, met the birth parents, saw the head of the justice department ask them over and over if this is what they wanted for their child and their answers were always "YES".

I guess I am speaking up because I feel many of you that adopted babies from agencies without NOIDS are pointing fingers at those who adopted babies from agencies WITH NOIDS. I was there and I KNOW that our adoption was legal and completed WITH the consent of her birth parents.

I have my opinions and you have yours and I respect that.

ONE MEAN ANGRY ADOPTEE said...

Oh hell ya am I adding you as a link. You are awesome. I like what you wrote. Sadly now because of you and others, I now concerned about how adoptive and prospective adoptive parents can research and investigate their adoption agencies. I am realizing more and more. The only situation for whom adoption is truly win/win/win is the adoption agency.

MomToAnAngel said...

Your a good voice for all involved, your thinking with a clear head, and not being selfish in any way.

Like you, I have been involved in a controversial issue for more years than I care to count, now all of a sudden we get a "celeb" on TV (Jenny McCarthy) alarming parents about this issue (vaccines). The sad thing is- NO one listened to us when we said it killed our daughter, but sometimes it takes a strong person (like a celeb) to step up and be vocal.

My advice to you- stay strong, stay on topic, keep working the fight, and people will eventually open their eyes. As hard as it is- sometimes people will never understand what your fighting for until they have to go through it too.

All my best wishes in your journey, keep sharing your opinions! Your a good voice of reason for this very heated issue.

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Thank you for this post. My husband and I are JUST starting to consider our options, and I have found your blog to be very informative (and, of course, absoultely inspiring and beautiful). God Bless.

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