Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A Bad, Bad Day

I'm writing this post after having taken some medication that causes drowsiness, so please forgive any grammatical or spelling errors. I'll correct in the morning when I'm more with it. As it is, no little pill is going to get me to sleep any time soon tonight.

Today I was "punished" by my agency director. She banned me from the AdoptGhana group, without sending any notice. I noticed over the weekend that I was unsubscribed. Thinking it was probably a yahoo thing I went to the website and pushed the "subscribe" button, leaving a note for Lois that someone happened and I was unsubscribed. That was on Saturday.


Today, I get a quick reply from Lois about some tax stuff. Since I knew she was online I said, "BTW, did you see that I was accidentally unsubscribed from the AdoptGhana group? Could you resubscribe me?

Even though she was definitely online at the time and must have received my email immediately....nothing.

Then tonight I get the Yahoo generated email letting me know that my request to join the AdoptGhana group had been rejected.

STILL...idiot I am I'm thinking that Lois must have accidentally pushed the wrong button, right? Wrong.

So I wrote to Lois saying "Excuse me? Can you tell me what I did for you to deny me membership to the AdoptGhana group?" She writes back "Too many complaints about you." Nothing further. So I write back and tell her I don't know what she's talking about. Can she be more specific? She says, "No. You know what you do." Thing is, I don't know what I "do"!

So I go and look through all of the posts I have sent to the AdoptGhana list over the last few months. I'm no saint but from what I could tell everything I sent was helpful and supportive. I write to Lois again. "Tell me exactly what I said or did that was inappropriate on the Ghana list? I seriously CAN'T IMAGINE!!!! I have always tried to be upbeat, friendly and helpful."
She responds..."That's not what gets back to me and people have asked that you not be on the board. I have enough complaints that I don't have a choice but to agree. You have your own conscious to live with of the things you have done and said. I'm just sad for you because it will all come back to haunt you some day. I'm not going to go into it anymore."

Seriously people! I haven't done or said anything I feel guilty about! All I've done is share my displeasure with families about some aspects of our adoption with LVI (namely, poor communication and a program that was advertised as much more setup than it actually was). Nothing that's going to haunt me there. What would haunt me is if families wrote to me asking about my experience with LVI and I said it was perfect, knowing that they may very well be getting themselves in for a much harder journey than they bargained for. THAT would haunt me.

So now it makes perfect sense. I haven't been removed from the list for my behavior on that list. I was removed from that list because when people wrote to me frustrated about the lack of service they were receiving from LVI, I told them I agreed and have not been happy with that aspect of our adoption either. When people have said to me that they don't think Lois has any control over what happens in Ghana I have said they are right--that she doesn't have a lot of control what happens in Ghana (in my opinion). When they ask me "Is this how it should be?" I say "NO! IT'S NOT HOW IT SHOULD BE!" Mind you, I've shared these things privately with people who wrote to me first or people that I consider to be my friends that I can vent to when things get frustrating. And of course I've more than hinted at my displeasure with some aspects of our experience with LVI on this blog--fully aware that Lois probably reads it.
The conversations go on from there (getting uglier), but Lois summed up the reason for my "punishment" very nicely when she said , "And I know for a fact that you have been doing what you can to make this program look bad."

There ya go folks! Lois can see that she's not going to get a glowing recommendation from our family...can see that we might go as far as to NOT recommend LVI (especially once there are other options for families to adopt from Ghana)...so she's decided that I've got to be banned. My voice...my experience...it can hurt her program, which can hurt her bottom line.

Through all of my "beefs" with Lois I have always taken heart in one thing--she's ethical. I've always said that and always believed that. And I still can't make myself believe that she would be in the business of in any way jeopardizing an ethical process in Ghana. But I can say this is the first unethical thing I've seen her do. Everybody always says that it's not about what problems agencies have with clients. It's about HOW the agencies handle problems when one comes along. Judge for yourself how Lois handled this one. Maybe your conclusion is different than mine?

I think the thing I am most sad about here is that someone I trusted enough to "vent" to took my words and forwarded them to Lois. They "tattle-tailed." How very sad. I'm sure this is someone who is so afraid to think that their adoption professional isn't perfect--they just can't let themselves go there because it would be too scary (and it is scary). So I really feel sorry for this person (or these people) that supposedly complained about me sharing my true first hand experience with Life's Vision International. I assume that's what they complained about since that's the only thing I've done. How sad when some adoptive parents try to shield themselves from the true experiences of others. "Won't happen to me?" Right? Isn't that what we want to tell ourselves? Well, I truly hope that those adopting through LVI right now have a much better experience than we have had. I hope that they are treated in a professional manner. I hope that their children come home to them. And I surely hope they never do anything to get on Lois' bad side, lest they be punished.

I started a new group that won't have agency people on it. And yes, that means that if I were to start working for an agency I would unsubscribe. It's HERE If anybody wants to take part in discussions about Ghana adoption that they can't be censored for.

One sad mommy,
P.S. And I really planned to start posting about lodging possibilities in Ghana tonigh! Such a bummer!!!


Jenn 11:59 AM  

oh anita, that just stinks! i am sorry this has happened. i can sense your hear when you write, and your heart is full of good and wants to see the best in any situation. i can see your burden for ghana, the children, and for other pap's that mat adopt from ghana. all you have written here on your blog shows that you want to make adoptions from ghana better for those coming behind you.

Trust in this: God knows your heart. He sees your desires. He loves your big wide open heart. Keep being yourself. :-)

Amblin 2:15 PM  

How awful! :( My heart just breaks for you.

This won't jepordize your adoption of Bright will it?

Christina 12:54 PM  

I can't even imagine. While Lois might have felt she had cause, the ethical/right thing to do would be to call you and speak with you directly and honestly... not go behind your back and then hide behind faceless "others" on the yahoo list.
I'm so sorry.