21 February 2007


Remember that I said to HALT! and not do anything major when you're hungry, angry, lonely or tired? Yeah...kinda blew that one today.

This morning I had two e-mails from my facilitators. The first said that because they'd just received my (third) homestudy and hadn't yet received the agency agreement, they didn't think that my papers would be filed before accreditation expires. It ended with "We will see".

The e-mail just following that was from them as well--telling me a family had posted that they wanted to adopt from St. P and were looking for an agency.

I sent back a shocked reply to the second that simply said, "Are you asking me for a recommendation?" and sat on the first.

This was not the most auspicious start to my day. I felt gobsmacked. It was the first time I'd really felt like we might not make the deadline. I just expected it to all work out. Then, after the e-mail, I felt the the wind had been knocked out of me. I must've looked awful because my friend Kat, after good morning-ing me, immediately asked, "What's wrong?" in that voice of doom which means you're bleeding profusely and they'll probably have to amputate.

Then, I spent all day eating cookies. I tend to educate very environmentally-aware students. Call it tree-hugging if you like. I call it exercising dominion. One of my students this year wanted to take action. She, with her mom's full support, organized a cookie sale today to raise money to help endangered animals. So, starting last night, I ate cookies--both cooked and uncooked. My car is STILL not starting (where are my brothers?!??) so there's not a lot of food in the flat. There's neither bread nor milk. So breakfast was cookies (they were oatmeal...) and tea. All day we nibbled--chocolate chip, oatmeal and little fudgy hedgehogs.

When I got home I was tired, hungry for real food but on a nauseous cookie-hangover, and angry with my agency. Three out of four. Not good. Stop now, Kate. HALT!

I e-mailed my agency (not the facilitators) and told them I was very frustrated. I said that I felt I'd been treated more like an inconvenience than a paying client. I acknowledged that my living sich made things more difficult, but pointed out that they knew that up front. And, I said that I was frustrated by the fact that we were going to miss the deadline because of two documents--one of which the facilitators had for five months before asking for changes and the other of which the agency mailed seven months after I'd asked them to mail it.

I asked that they do everything in their power to get the paperwork here to Russia in time--paying extra fees, using couriers, etc. And, I told them I'd sent an electronic copy of my hs to the translator so he could get started. (The audacity of me taking initiative like this could prove irredeemable.)

This is either a very good move and will get results. Or, it's a bad, bad, BAD idea and they'll now throw my file in the bin and let it sit there. I feel worse. I think I may have been an idiot.

So, that advice to HALT--do as I say, not as I do.

Great. As I typed this I burnt the pasta sauce I made with my last box of chopped tomatoes. Any Avenue Q fans want to guess what song I'm thinking of right now?

-from your very own Kate-monster

Edited to add: Yes, it was a mistake. Now everyone's upset with me and protesting their good efforts made on my behalf.


Elle said...

Kate it wasn't a mistake. You are paying them money just as any client actually living in the states. How dare you expect service for money paid? They need to get off their collective asses and take care of this! I say call them on it. Call them on it until they get their shit together.

Brandie said...

I agree... you go girl!!
Don't feel like you are the bad "guy"(gal)here. You are just protecting your interests and you don't need to say "I'm sorry" for that!
I'm glad to see you had a great time in Moscow!!

Chris Goeppner said...

Kate, I have to say that I probably would have done the same thing. I am so sorry that your agency is treating you this way. They should be bending over backwards for you. You have every right to be put off by them! I'm praying you still make the deadline.

Suz said...

I think that they'll whine that you've hurt their feelings and then get on the ball and get things done.

What about your contact there in Russia who has been so helpful, could he have any leverage with them??

I don't think you've made a mistake.

Hopefully they'll get it together and get your paperwork done before accredtiation lapses. Have they applied yet for new accreditation??

Esther said...

Hang in there Kate.

I've made many blunders when hungry. ;o( Note to oneself, eat a granola bar or something healthy before dealing with major issues.

I loved the pictures you took of Cupcake. Nice work.

I added you to my blogroll. Sorry I forgot you earlier!

Calico Sky said...

I agree with Elle, it wasn't a mistake, because you had to say something, you had to at least try that route....and maybe it will spur them into doing something, once they stop making you feel guilty!
I am so sorry you are being treated like this, I can't even imagine how it must feel. Know that I (and I am sure many others) are thinking about you and praying for you. (((BIG HUGS)))

Anonymous said...

Not trying to be trite, but don't forget that 'mistake' is a human idea... "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Rom 8:28
Hang in there friend--be persistant and persevere!!

Gina Marie said...

I am sorry that you've had such a day and what seems to be a sad outcome. Tomorrow is a new day and I am praying for a quick and pleasant resolution to this ordeal.

Maggie said...

This always bothered me about the adoption industry. I've never been upset with my current agency, but the bad feelings with my Russian adoption agency ran deep. There seems to be a thing in the adoption world where you have to treat your agency with kid gloves. It's ridiculous. If they aren't doing their job as possible or as promised, you have every right to point that out to them.

Penny is right. They should be bending over backwards to help you out.

Anonymous said...

Wanna share your cookies?

I just offered to foot the bill for overnighting my life all over the country as well...hey, you do what you gotta do.

Jenni said...

I completely agree with Elle, 100%. It was not a mistake to call them on their mishandling of your case. You are paying them to do their job, and they are not holding up their end of the bargain! We had the same problem with our first agency, and they acted as if we were out of line for questioning where certain documents had gone or why things were taking so long (they had misplaced our file for about 4 months). Finally, it became clear that they were not going to get their act together, so we dropped them and moved onto a new agency.

I don't know how far into this you are, but I am concerned that if they keep up this pattern of business, things could only get more frustrating when you have gotten a referral and there is a child involved. Your questioning them is more than fair. Speaking from my experience as a secretary, if I had mishandled documents for my boss the way this agency has mishandled yours, I'd have been severely reprimanded or fired.

Hang in there! I'm hoping that you've lit a fire under them to get things going!

kate said...

Thank you. I haven't read further see what the fallout will be. I hope Suz is right in her estimation of what this will do.

Thank you all, over and over. I don't feel like such an idiot now. Beleive me--that's big.

Anonymous said...

Hugs to you Kate!!! I'm shocked that they asked/implied that you should recommend them - that has never happened to me! and that board is so dead lately! Actually I snickered to myself when that other family posted about having no problems...You have every right to complain to that agency about everything that happened - they are the ones that hired the facilitators not you...I actually think it's a good thing that they know you wouldn't recommend them...maybe they will try to make up for the delays that they have caused...
Fingers crossed and prayers said!

6blessings said...

Kate, I think it was a good idea to let your feeling show to them. They shouldn't neglect you for any reason. Obviously they have been very lax about too many things that may cost you precious time. That is not excusable. I'm glad you spoke up. Hopefully, they will calm down and accept their errors and work very hard on your behalf from here on out.

Anonymous said...

So sorry Kate to hear this news, although I believe things happen for a reason(been there done that), this is such a bummer of a deal for you, but keep the faith your turn will come. Yes, I agree with other posters you are paying the agency and you have every right to question them. Don't feel guilty, prayers to going out to you and your daughters to be:)Chocolate always makes me feel better, and yummy cookies too. Please keep us posted!

Anonymous said...

Kate- when we had last minute documents for our adoption our agency faxed copies to the translator so they could start and complete the translations to be ready when we hand delivered them two days before court. So no you were not wrong.