Thursday, November 08, 2007


I knew that my last post would stir things up a bit, but to be perfectly honest, I had no idea it would make such a buzz. I am GLAD that it did. I wish that the commenting would have stayed to mature, productive discussion, and for the most part it did. But man there were some uncalled for things said. And just so all of you haters know, I am sleeping SO WELL now that I have gotten this emotion out and actually done something to make people more aware of the corruption. The acupuncture has definitely helped, but this has helped so much more! WARNING: I have a few more things to say about this, so if you can't handle it, stop reading now. This is not going to be a post about Lucy's adorable little life. Also, I have been forced to not allow anonymous comments any longer. I am not going to promote anyone hiding from the agency they used or the corrupt practices of certain agencies working in Vietnam, and I can't take another round of the immature personal attacks. You had your chance, now I feel the need to protect myself a bit.

I started this blog as many adoption bloggers did, to share our experience with our friends and family. One day, I will figure out how to get it all printed out and bound into something so that Lucy can have it. She will be able to look back on how we got to her and what her early childhood was like because I have chosen to document it. I want her to be proud of what she sees. I want her to look back and know that her mom stood up for what is right for the children of her birth country. I want her to know that I asked the hard questions, that people don't want to ask or see. I want her to know that yes, we did ask ourselves hard questions in order to choose an agency that eventually led us to her. I want her to know that I helped bring awareness to this awful situation. I want her to know that she is allowed to voice her opinion. Finally and most importantly, I want her to know that we love her so very much. So far, I have accomplished my goals of what this blog is supposed to stand for.

Last night as I was rocking her and she was drifting off to sleep, I just sat there wondering so much about her birth parents and how she ended up in the orphanage and then with us. There are so many questions that I would give anything to have answers to. I agree with Rachel in that there is no way to know for 100% positive that your adoption was perfectly ethical. No matter what agency you are with. I do agree with this. I think that it is important to do everything in your power to feel the most confident about your adoption that you possibly can, given the unknowns. To me, that means going with an agency that has a clean record. One that has not been constantly shrouded with doubt and questions about their ethics. One that has not been issued NOIDs. One whose families are not writing on their public blogs how they are most likely going to get a NOID. Choose an agency that is respected and honest. I obviously know how difficult it is to choose an agency. We did it, twice. But the fact of the matter is, the information is out there. You might have to take longer to find it, but it is available. I also want to state as I did in the comments, I was VERY tempted by one of the questionable agencies. I spoke with them multiple times when we were in the middle of our switch. I was told about babies that were available right this second, that we could travel within 4-6 weeks, etc. So the carrot was in front of my face, but I ultimately chose not to bite because I could not look past the issues at hand (which were nothing like they are today). I was close, really really close though.

I was criticized for my "tone" in the last post. I think a lot of you should go back and read the post again. I know it is my questions that got you so worked up. They were very pointed and went straight to the issues at hand. No beating around the bush. Were they harsh? Yes, they were. Did I mean everything I said? Yes, I did. If you can find a way to skirt around these questions and not honestly answer them, you are part of the problem. If you can talk about baby buying and birth parents not consenting to the adoption of their child from the country that you are adopting from without getting extremely emotional and worked up, I don't want to discuss it with you. In my opinion, you are not upset enough about this situation. You are still in the mindset of making excuses for your agency or you are still willing to overlook all of the red flags to get a baby home, despite the very obvious problems. I am tired of the excuses. TIRED!

I also want to address some of the arguments that are constantly brought up. So many people are saying that they agree with my stance on this, but they don't like all of the arguing and finger pointing. That we are supposed to be supportive of one another, not attack one another. I think that I have been more than supportive to the adoption community. I am all for the support of legal, ethical adoptions. I always have been. I will continue to support those of you working towards this. I am not going to support those who enable what is going on in Vietnam to keep happening. I am not going to be supportive of any agency who has done things wrong and illegally. I most definitely am not going to stand by and say things like, "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 yourself...who want their babies as quickly as they can. " How can you so nonchalantly say baby buying is happening and that we shouldn't put our agency out to investigate it? It makes me physically ill to just throw that out there in a manner of - it's happening, so deal with it. All that matters is that we get our baby asap. Did I want a child quickly? Sure, I wanted her home as soon as possible, but I would have NEVER compromised my integrity in order to get her here. I would have never let myself think that if baby buying is happening, she can get home a little quicker, and be okay with that. It is not an adoption agency's job to get babies home as quickly as possible. Does everyone understand that? It is their job to get the babies home who need homes and make sure that they do everything in their power to make sure it was done in an ethical and legal way. As I said in the comments, we received Lucy's referral 4 months after signing with our agency. It would have been even quicker had we not stepped out of line for 1.5 months. The reason was simple - our agency did not have paper ready families at that time since the program was so recently reopened. Their current wait time for an infant girl is 12-18 months. Things are not like they were when we were in line. It has changed. Wait times have increased. This should be with any agency, especially given the influx of people to the Vietnam program from other international programs. The entire Vietnam program is overwhelmed with the sudden enormous increase in PAPs.

I am also tired of the excuse that all people go into their adoption with good intentions. It is not their fault that they ended up in this situation. I will say I agree with the fact that most people have great intentions when adopting. That does not give anyone a hall pass when it comes to what is going on or enabling these agencies to continue doing what they are doing. Has it ever crossed your mind that possibly your AGENCY does not have the best of intentions? That they are in it for the money that they are making. And how do they make more money? Hand out LOTS of referrals, promise quick referrals to PAPs who are often too emotional to look past this temptation, and promise super fast travel. The more families who travel, the more money. So what happens when the immediate referrals have all been given out? Go and find some more babies. This is where the problem is. They are getting babies any way they can, and it is the child and their family who is so greatly suffering. If it is too good to be true, it most likely is.

If you want a great read, please go to Nicki's post on this issue. She is brilliant and level headed about this. It is really an awesome post that everyone adopting should read. There are some great questions there. Things we should all think about.

I think that I have said everything now that I have been feeling as this has unfolded. I prefer to keep the discussions productive. Please don't list statistics if you don't know that they are fact. I am not promoting spreading rumors or false information. Please don't attack me on a personal level. This is not about name calling or claiming that I am better than anyone else. My interest is the children and having the actual real orphans placed in loving homes in an ethical and legal manner. Nothing more, nothing less.


Jenny said...

Now this post...I applaud.


Mimi said...

It is very hard to "know" people through the internet and blogging. Tones can be misread and not taken in the context of knowing the person and their real life personality and who they are. It is so easy to jump to conclusions about people.

I have the privilege of being a "real life" friend of Kelly's. Our daughters are friends. I am proud to be her friend. And even more proud since this whole thing. It would be hard to find a woman who is more dedicated to her child, a more loving, caring, kind mother, a better friend and someone truly passionate about other children out there in the world. She speaks and acts from the heart and I wish there were more people like her in the world.

saucygoat said...

You are fabulous. This is very well said. I'm actually very selfishly glad that you disabled anon comments. I love that we are all talking about this, but I'm so tired of the intense anger towards each other.

I'm also tired of the good intentions excuse. It's just not good enough. In the end, it's not good enough to just have good intentions. We have to act on those good intentions by researching, by doing the right thing and choosing agencies that are legal and ethical.

I commend you and Nicki and Laurie and Christina and the many others who are discussing the current state of Viet Nam adoptions.

Mer (Lulu's Mommy) said...

Wow is right.I apologize for not commenting on the last post in support of you. It just seemed like you were posting COMMON SENSE!!!!!


M. said...

Excellent post, Kelly. Thank you!


LaLa said...

**smooches** As you know, we were actually with "this agency" for a month in the beginning and they offered us 3 babies before we even had a homestudy in to them. So yes, if it is too good to be true RUN!! Would our child have been home last March?? Yes... Are we now worried we will never bring a child home from VN?? Yes... Are we sorry we switched to an agency we trust to be ethical?? NO!

mam said...

Hey Kelly -- I have nothing substantive to say that hasn't been said, but wanted to let you know that I'm out here and reading and appreciating.

Melissa & Oregon Lucy

Lisbeth said...

I am new to the adoption process (just sent in the initial adoption application) and I had no idea this was going on. How can I check to see if my agency has any NOIDS?

You can do it this! said...

For the record, A.D.O.P.P.T. received their first NOID last month. It was due to a paperwork error on the Vietnamese side between the province officials and the orphanage officials and is expected to be lifted soon.


Rachel said...

You're absolutely right Kelly, all of your questions on the last post were excellent and everyone should be able to answer them. Even if the answer is something that is not easy to admit...we must answer them honestly. One day our kids will be adults and they will look through their paperwork, because it is THEIRS (not ours). We must remember our kids will not stay cute, cherub babes...they will grow and ask a lot of questions.

So, once again excellent post.

Susan said...

"Wow" is definitely the word. As someone who's been around you in the "real" world and not just the Land of Blog, I know you were writing from the heart and showing your passion for a very critical situation going on in our daughters' birth country. The awareness you raised, regardless of people's opinions about it, is a good thing, and I applaud you for taking the subject on.

I may not write about it on my own blog, for reasons that are personal to me, but I'm just as concerned, as so many are, about what's happening. I say prayers every day for the illegal and unethical practices to cease, and that everyone remembers it's the lives of children that are at stake here. I have written letters in support of procedures that will allow the Vietnam program to remain open, while cracking down on the problems we all know exist, and I know I'm not alone there.

I'm sure many people can say the same thing to me that they've said to you -- "Easy for you to say, you've already brought your child home." And, like you, I can honestly say that I would have waited longer for my child if I had thought for one second that she would have come to me in a manner that was less than ethical and legal. Do I know for certain -- 100% sure -- that there were no ethical issues associated with the adoption of my daughter? No, and I don't think anyone can say that. But I've seen nothing that would indicate otherwise.

I wish nothing but the very best for all the waiting parents and children involved in Vietnam adoption. I hope forever families are reunited quickly and without any problems.

By the way, I'm glad you're feeling and sleeping better!

Shawna said...

Bravo Kelly, I expect nothing less of you than to fight the fight that's worth fighting. Know that we all support you, and I thank you too for bringing this to our attention. From someone who is at the moment outside of the adoption world, I find it so unfortunate that this is even an issue, but I commend you all that are taking a stand and spreading the word.

Emily said...

thanks kelly. you are wonderful! lucy has a great momma!

MG said...

I have been reading your blog for about a year but have not commented until now.
I think it's great that you are speaking about a topic close to your heart. This is your forum for any discussion you choose, contraversial or not.
Differing opinions are what makes a discussion interesting. Having said that, it was disappointing to read personal attacks from "anonymous". I think this person could have been more mature, and been taken more seriously, if he/she had not resorted to childish tactics.
I am not an adoptive parent but I am interested in all of the stories that are out there.
Your daughter is gorgeous, and should be proud to have a mother who is outspoken and passionate about issues pertaining to her place of birth. Good for you!

Amber said...


Thank you for really help keep me informed on what all is happening. I love the blog and had so much fun talking with you last weekend...I wish you all lived closer to us!

Heather said...

You addressed this issue very well, Kelley.

Carissa said...

Thanks for the posts Kelly they were great!

Stacy said...

Kelly, I thought your last post was fantastic and on-point and I think this one is just as great. I'm so happy to see the support in this string of comments vs. the previous one. It's never occurred to me to discount the views and opinions of those of you who already have your children home. As a waiting PAP, I appreciate you and others staying involved to lend the voice of experience when it really would be so easy for you to distance yourself from it all.

During this post, I was laughing at myself everytime I nodded vigorously or said "YEAH!" to yet another of your great points. Between the two you have absolutely hit the nail on the head.

I'm always tickled to see what Lucy is up to, but I am thrilled to read you input from a more serious perspective too - there is definitely room for both. Keep it up!

Sue said...


Wonderful post! Thank you for saying everything you have said.
Bravo girly!

Sarah & Seth said...

Our travel friends had a very unethical adoption agency for their first adoption-not sure how it happened, but it did-and had always felt comfortable with it in the end b/c it was VERY investigated before they were able to go home (several weeks late) with their daughter. Upon adopting their second child-with our agency-they revisited Emma's adoption and traveled to her province and looked up where she was abandoned. They were able to find the doctor who delivered her (who had also named her since her mother had her and left). Some unethical agencies have ethical adoptions, BUT NOT ALL and not all the time.
I appreciate your posts-both of them-and feel much as you do. Thanks for everything.

Sarah & Seth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah & Seth said...

OK, after rereading the previous post and adding to my previous comment I would like to add two things.

Our friends' 1st adoption was out of Thai Nguyen.

Just b/c an agency has some ethical adoptions does not make them ethical if they have known baby-buying or other issues. They just want as many babies as possible b/c it means more money. They will take them any way they get them and abandoned babies are definitely less expensive for them to work with.

Chandra said...

kelly, I think you're still right to make this point. I'm glad you said what you did too about the temptation. It's understandably human to want to move quickly towards getting on with your hopes and dreams and family. It's resisting that temptation long enough to ask the tough questions and accept the answers that's hard, but necessary. Doesn't matter who else has been "lucky" enough to have passed that hurdle, every child's situation is unique and other people's experience have nothing to do with the choices we must make.

It IS hard to accept. We're with what we consider to be a very ethical and, well, bluntly honest agency. One of AAR's recommended as we've discovered. But, with that peace of mind comes news from them tonight that it's unlikely that we'll be holding our child anytime in the next two years, if at all, due to the volatility in VN right now and that they are very concerned about the outcome of the negotiations in March. It's been a rough night. This stuff isn't easy. My age (44), makes a 2 year wait more than a little life affecting, but it's not about our life, it's about the life and emotional safety of these children. The program is obviously saturated beyond capacity, which saddens us to no end. VN was always our choice, never even considered another country. Until tonight. Now we aren't sure yet what we'll do. But regardless, the ethical aspect of this, of insuring as much as possible that these are children truly eligible of adoption, is absolutely more important than anything. And no, right now, that's isn't "easy for me to say".


Brandy said...

THANK YOU!!!! As I said in my blog, this is just one of the reasons that makes us see John's diagnosis as a blessing!!! Please keep up the good works and know that you have many people supporting you!!! Thanks again and God Bless!!!

megan said...

Being in the process of adopting, I am glad there are people like you who share there views.

Anonymous said...

I think we all need to send people this way. You have, quite eloquently, spelled out the real truth to what is going on.

I appreciate you posting this. Maybe it will help open some eyes. Unfortunately, I am surrounded by folks who are, so far, unwilling to look at our agency under any sort of lens that might expose the agency for what they are doing.

Elaine said...

I find it interesting that when people raise concerns about ethics and legalities and certain agencies and suspect practices and circumstances, so many are quick to call it finger pointing, but then they feel it is ok to call the people raising the questions, concerns and first-hand observations stupid, or tell them to stick to writing about hair bows. I don't understand where that kind of anger comes from, or how they can justify it. I do, however, understand the concerns about potentially falisfied paperwork, child trafficking, etc. I wish all of the anger could be directed against such unethical practices.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kelly. Would it be possible for me to email me regarding your experience with VORF? After reading all of this information regarding NOIDs, I am looking into other agencies. I am not far into the process but the local agency I signed with uses World Child for their Vietnam adoptions. I don't feel comfortable using them anymore and need to find another agency before my homestudy. You can reach me at Thanks!

Stacy said...

No blasts from me. I found your blog through another one that didn't have quite as realistic a portrayal of the situation as you do. I COMMEND you for speaking out against unethical adoptions! It's not often that you can find someone who had a (relatively) easy process actually speak out against all that is BAD with the system. Thank you for speaking UP and helping remind people that the IMMEDIATE is not the life of a child. Have you considered helping with Ethical Adoption Reform?

Shamay said...

Wow, I'm surprised if anyone can get this far in such a long string of comments!

I understand both viewpoints. I think that the missing link is understanding. Understand that no one WANTS unethical adoptions. No one (I would hope) would intentionally choose an agency that they believe to be unethical. Even if they didn't (heaven forbid) care about the children, the risk of being stuck in another country and at the loss of significant amounts of money is enough to help someone make a better choice if they had all information available to them.

So why do some choose agencies with troubled histories? Because in the early stages of adopting, I don't think people are intuitively aware of this issue. For many, unethical adoption is an issue that they become cognizant of long after they started the process and likely signed the papers. We don't really deal with that issue in domestic adoptions, and it's mentioned so little in the media that it's difficult to notice unless you are looking for it (which of course you are once you begin the process, but you often begin by choosing an agency). And many agencies are good at explaining things away once you ask. Do you remember how vulnerable you were in the process? Do you remember how hard it was to sort things out?

There's more...
Did any of you read the yahoo group that focuses on adoption agencies? Oh, man, did you just want to stop the process after visiting that site a few times? We almost didn't adopt because of the negativity of that group. Its so full of angry people slinging mud at people and agencies that they themselves didn't even work with that it's really, really difficult to sort out the facts. Obviously you want to know who is good and who is not, but so much negativity from every direction makes that difficult. You'll hear just as many positive as negative posts about any one agency.

Plus, most often angry PAPs or AP's decline to mention what agency they are with (for fear of...?) and so most of what you hear about the agencies is second hand. You can see just from the string of posts on the previous email how much misinformation is floating around and how everyone hears something different.

It is hard. It's hard to adopt. It's hard to sort out this whole new world of information that you generally don't fully grasp until you are so far into the process. It's hard to be an AP. It's hard to be a parent in general. And at the same time it's wonderful to be a parent and beautiful to be an AP.

Those who call for more ethics in adoption, I support, as do the vast majority of PAPs, AP's, and human beings in general. Those who call for supporting each other as a community, I think so many of us support that notion too. The key is not to sling mud at other PAPs realizing that they are where we were so long ago. Lets educate. Lets build a network. Lets help unite our voices (the strongest voices in the adoption process) and BELIEVE that we are all here for one common goal.

Many people get themselves into bad situations and it is unfortunate. But not everyone is the same. Not everyone has the same foresight, the same abilities, the same resources. Many times these sad circumstances are after the fact, not before. So why not work together as a community to educate people before they start, when they are in the infancy of their adoptions. Lets sling around anger at the systems that allow this and the agencies that mislead their clientele, not the parents who are humans, and likely very much like we are.

Just my two cents worth. And I guess I was one of the lucky ones. We brought home a beautiful child in about 8 months total earlier this spring. Ours was smooth and fast because there weren't enough paperwork ready families and because our agency works with more orphanages and provinces in the country than any other (thank goodness not from either of those provinces listed on the embassy site). My agency, I guess, has always been under the radar. I so rarely hear it's name, except on the blogs of happy families.

I'm not insulting anyone here. In fact, that's the point. I think we should attack where we can make a difference. Agencies, governments, and PAP's who are still undecided. I think Kelly is passionate about ethics, and is to be applauded. I think the many anonymous posts (except clearly the hair-bow poster) were trying to say what I've said here, but forgive me if my assumption is wrong. Oh and those hair-bows, by the way, are terribly cute!

M. said...


I hope you've also put up a post similar to this on your own blog. Comments like this one should reach as many people as possible. Every point you make is excellent and right on target! I couldn't agree with you more.


Yoli said...

Like your last post, intelligent, insightful and a must read for anyone considering VN.

Kelly said...

Shamay - Thank you for such a thoughtful comment. I agree with most everything that you said. I truly do believe that PAPs and APs are not intentionally doing wrong. My problem is with the agencies. They are the ones doing everyone an enourmous disservice through their illegal and corrupt practices. I am praying that new PAPs read this and the other peoples' blogs who have spoken out so that they don't make the mistake of choosing one of these agencies. If people keep giving them money, they are going to keep this up. Luckily, some of the recently questionable agencies have shut their doors to new applicants, so it will no longer be a temptation to new and unsuspecting PAPs. Thanks again for contributing in a very positive and respectful manner.

Heather said...

Hey Kelly! It's me again. First of all, sorry I misspelled your name last time - lol. I just finished reading all the comments from the last post. I know you are a big girl and aren't crying yourself to sleep over this, but keep your chin up. The vast majority of your blog readers love you and support you.

Brenda said...

Great job Kelly! Wow I just spent the last 1/2 hour reading all your comments as well as others. It's great that you, Nicki, Laurie and others are posting about this topic to raise the awareness and help new pap's know that it is important to research, dig, and ask questions! Of course it's going to seem to some that you're coming across strong or with a loud tone since this is something we all feel strongly about. It's your blog and enjoyed by many. Keep up the great posts, and keep the beautiful pictures of precious Lucy in her hair bows coming!

dana said...

Kelly, I have really enjoyed reading your blog for about a year and this is my first comment. Thanks so much for your recent posts about the current climate within Vietnam adoptions. That we know there are unethical practices, NOIDs being issued and that baby-buying IS happening are all quite discouraging (to say the least)but I feel encouraged and empowered to read about the many PAPs who are addressing these issues, asking the tough questions and supporting other families who are doing the same. Exellent post - thank you!