I think that people need to stop reading the Adoption blogs and horror stories and focus on their own adoption. I think the root of the problem here is one family in particular hunts for potential Dove families and then blindsides people by telling them their horror story. I was hunted down by this family and told their story, after some further research, I found that the family left out a LOT of information. I am in the process of adopting with DOVE and they have been there for me every step of the way. I have confidence in Dove.
I'm about 99-100% sure this person who has been described as supposedly one to "hunt" people down and was dishonest is me! We adopted our babies back in summer 2006, at first Dove was absolutely wonderful! Very friendly, fabulous when it came to responding to emails and phone calls. I felt like we had much more then a business relationship. Some of the employees even came to our home here in Virginia when they had their layovers to Addis. Two weeks before our scheduled trip to pick up our babies we were notified that our little boy was sick, naturally my husband and I flew out that next day to pick him up. Very long story short.........both my healthy children came home and tested positive for Hep B and my son was immediately admitted into the hospital upon arrival to the USA. (we flew out because we were told that our sons head grew 6cm in 5 days and he now was diagnosed as having hydrocephalus) (note- we learned that was not true) As soon as we met him we knew he had many other issues, it was very plain to see. (for the record we are not doctors)My son has very severe disabilities, he had a stroke in the womb which caused most of his brain to melt away, he is severely disabled, with severe spastic quadripelegia cerebral palsy, optic atrophy, severe hydrocephalus as you know (shunted 10/06) nissen fundiplication, hiatal hernia, g-tube fed, seizures,lennox gaustaut syndrome, hydrocele from the shunting, bi-lateral open lipped schizencephaly to name a few, and I do mean just a few! He is now 2 years 5 months old and is like that of a 4-6 month old mentally and a newborn at best physically. (note - Dr. Tsygae was and may still be the doctor at Toukoul, when we approached her in the orphanage about our son seeming like he had no vision she disagreed as she snapped her fingers in his face.We showed her as he kept having what we now know were myoclonic siezures and she said no, he's fine. He's nervous because he doesn't know you. Hence, our child was quite disabled!) That right there should let you know how competent we feel that doctor was. Make your own decision about that please.
When we got settled at home and we bagan telling our friends what was going on (some of whom we met on the boards and through Dove) because we came home to many email and phone messages. Thankfully my 18 year old daughter was intervining all those and dealing with talking to everyone who were just concerned. At first we hadn't noticed what was going on as we were pretty wrapped up in our own family and trying to learn as much as we could to care for our son as well as getting our children (the babies made 6) adjusted. When our stories got out PAP began to write in and the boards were lighting up. Our story (known as the burns family from Virginia/Baby John) was well known throughout the country. I had a tremendous out pour of kindness and support from families all over. I began putting my phone number and private email address out on the boards, we got phone calls of families praying for us, voice mails, emails that gave us encouragement. We were hooked up with support groups that helped us learn anything and everything we could about this very rare disability (bi-lateral open lipped schizencephaly) Even dateline NBC contacted us and we were put into contact with wonderful people throughout the last 2 years to learn how to better deal with our sons disabilities and make this new life change transition easy as possible for our other children. I had a new found love of mankind, the world sure surprised me how total strangers could come forward and be so completely supportive! It was amazing! Gos is sooo good!
All the while this was going on PAP were contacting me about what they heard and asking me if the story they heard was right. I would say I answered about half of the emails/phone calls I received as our story must have spread like wild fire. I was hearing from people how Dove denied our children had hep B (I even still have that email
saved) and that our son was "right on target". As you could imagine I had no time to "hunt"people down but have since learned that Dove even had spies on yahoo sites and likely even had fake PAP phone and talk to me to try and trap/feel me out. We received false documents and some things were done unethically (one that even almost came back to bite me in the butt this past week as I am going through another adoption right now! ) There was much much dishonesty and lies. We were very hurt and angry that the people at the agency who we thought were our friends were more interested in their reputation being tarnished. Almost a year after we were home we were sent a letter from Doves attorney telling us to stop lying as it is causing the agency to lose money and can make PAP not want to adopt. (I would imagine that meant for fear of getting a sick child.?.?.?) We were accused of spending our time trying to ruin a company instead of caring for our child! With that we contacted an attorney in Oregon, where Dove is and we were told we were not doing anything wrong so long as we told "our" story, the truth, and had documention to back it up we were doing nothing wrong. So, IF ASKED, we will tell. We have never lied, never had time to "hunt" people down.
For the record, the person who's post I'm responding to remains anonymous.....how come? If you are being truthful you should have no reason not to post your name. As far as the "glowing" reference you did let your name be known Christy. I'm glad, but I still wish you were as honest as you were when you were on the phone with me when we came home with Baby John so sick. You were crying literally with me and encouraging me to be strong. Apologetic for how we were treated from Dove (even though it was not your fault) I thank you for encouraging me to continue to let my story be known, what I don't understand is why you still are a "glowing" reference. This is typical for the two sided faces we experienced throughout our journey with this agency. All we have ever done is answer folks when they ask about our experience, we tell. We do not hunt people down nor do we try to discourage folks from adopting from Ethiopia. So many people get into adopting thinking they can choose the child they want, the age, the gender, the health. I just tell families to do their homework and research agencies with your head as well as your heart.. IF your child comes home sick don't think it is the end of the world. Whatever the turn out your adoption will have a beautiful ending! Unless you are the parent of a special needs child you will never understand what I am about to say. Having a child like my son has been and always will be a gift that not everybody in the world gets to experience. God has given my family and all who our son encounters a blessing that few people get to see.
My one and only gripe was that Dove said we were angry for having a sick child and needed to blame them. I was told they would pray for us for that anger. The truth was we were NEVER angry about that! We were hurt that they were so worried how this would affect their agency, that our son was treated as a negative thing in this whole situation. Why did they have to lie? Why couldn't they just say yeah, a sick child slipped through the cracks, yeah, the doctor wasn't so great in her diagnoses just then. NO! They had to make it a big, hurtful deal trying to defend thier reputation, worried what PAP would think about them, how much business they may lose over this. They were cruel and heartless. Thats it. They spent way to much time worrying if we were going to sue them, having spies calling and emailing us when that was the farthest thing from our minds! Why is it when it comes down to money does people show there true selves? Very sad. All I can say is.......as I would for any agency, do your homework before signing with any agency. See how agencies deal with things when they go wrong, thats a good indication of their values. Also, if we were trying to discourage PAP from adopting from Ethiopia why would we be in the process of another Ethiopian adoption?
Maria (Virginia)PS I just found out about this site this afternoon! I never knew it even existed!I'm not really a computer person.