The following Blog is from Truman and contain his opinions and thoughts only; Susan is not responsible for my thoughts and, most likely, will deny that I actually have thoughts. :) For those that know me, read on and enjoy, for those who don’t, read on with the understanding that I tend to be sarcastic, dry, verbose, well meaning, stupid-intolerant, and, above all else, it is my strongest desire to be a parent with Susan by my side….
A very dear friend of mine read our blog and pointed out to me that it didn’t quite have the “Truman Touch” and wondered why I was not contributing. The quick answer is that I lean towards a more direct and less-nice perspective and the friends that are currently reading, whom we have not met personally, may be a bit put-off. Believe and hold true that I am reading and keeping up with every blog listed on our blog, including several others. Susan also lets me read over her shoulder on the Yahoo chat site, but we both agree that my stupidity tolerance meter would spike with some self-aggrandizing nut-jobs who think that all countries should be as pure and moral as the United States. I consider all of the bloggers and the posters friends, even if I may not agree with your views, as we are going through an experience that no-one else can truly appreciate without experience. It is not combat of the intensity that our men and women in foreign countries are facing (Gods protection for all of you), However, do not fool yourself, it is combat! We fight governments, banks, customs/immigration, agencies, time, feelings, depression, attitudes, monotony, and fear. Why? For lives; ours and the child-to-be.
A few ground rules:
1. I am an adult and I swear. I will censor myself from the unnecessary and big ones but there are times when nothing puts the point across like “SHIT!”
2. I have a sense of humor and I use it; with, on, and at people.
3. Euphemisms are for the weak. Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me. People, ALL PEOPLE, must start growing backbones to realize that words only have the power given them by the listener. If I call you an idiot and you take offense, whose fault is that? Snails don’t cry when they are called slow.
Codicil: Children must be protected until they can learn and fully understand this lesson, but they must be taught this lesson or they will not be functional adults.
4. I believe in God. I have my relationship with God. I have researched other religions and faiths. I do not intend to insult anyone’s faith or religion. I believe God helps those who help themselves and put it into practice.
5. I am a scientist and prefer to view things as they are rather than what they should be.
6. Stupid people piss me off. Clarification – If you don’t’ know something, that is not stupid. If you have a learning disability, that is not stupid. If you refuse to see facts or blindly follow rules rather than reason or expect the world to always be nice and fair or are unable to agree to disagree on opinions, THAT is stupid. That kind of stupid that has to be practiced. It annoys me.
7. I appreciate and love disagreement with debate. If we all agreed, what a boring place the world would be.
8. I have been wrong and can freely admit when that happens, it just happens so infrequently that people think I don’t admit it. :)
Ground rules set.
If you are upset at this point, I would quit reading and wait for Susan to post again. If not, or you are and elect to continue, welcome and thank you! You have shown intelligence and a good sense of adventure.
My favorite English teacher said when writing a good paper, “tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em, tell ‘em, then tell ‘em what you told ‘em. (Thank you Miss. Ferraro).
I am using my time on the blog to expose what is bugging me. I see many others are very nice and upbeat. Everything is coming up roses and everyone is so full of happiness. I, too, am very optimistic about the final outcome and our adoption team has been working very hard, but the process is ridiculous and customer service is missing. If you are delving into this adventure, do not let the ranting of an egotistical maniac (me) scare you. It is, in the end, worth every drop of blood, sweat , and tears. It is not that the process is stupid, or crazy, or intense, or laborious, or time consuming. It is all of these things and more. We slog through the paperwork and crazy rules because we have to. It is a process designed by committee with each group putting in what they think will be in the best interest of the child. What the process design committee seems to have forgotten is the best interest of the child is to have a family. We, the adoptors, have been in and out of the wringer so much that only the ridiculously determined will make it, but does it have to be so hard? If the people who went through this process had some say, it could be streamlined and brought to some semblance of sanity. I could number each round we have fought, but other parents have done the same or similar. If you aren’t in the process, ask someone who is and as you watch the neck muscles flex and the body tighten with the post stress while they recount parts of the idiocy required, realize that this is what we are doing to make ourselves happier in the end. Why is such unmitigated happiness of having a family so hard to obtain? As Every Single Adoptive Parent has asked, Why don’t they make these idiot baby factory people fill out half of the work we do? Population would slow and I could watch the news again. If you can and do watch the news, pretend with all of your heart that you don’t have children and that is ALL that you want, then watch one night of the evening news. What people are doing to children that you would trade all of your worldly possessions for will make you sick. Yet we are not pretending, it is true for us. Criminal background check, prior address check, home study, financial records, and time, the mother-flipping time. There is always a trade off, time is money and no where is that truer than with adoption. Pay an agency for quicker processing and help, or go it alone (reading and research could take months). Can’t afford Ukraine? China is half of the price but almost 3 years wait. And the big hush-hush secret: expediting fees while in country. Bribes, extortion, fees, call what you will, but it is time you are buying. And I have no problem with paying the fees and encourage people to if they can. It is the standard in foreign countries that have no minimum wage or welfare. To the sanctimonious dumbasses that throw their noses up as if this is an affront to the process, The bribe is a US institution. We legitimized it by calling it a tip. Tipping for good or better service was invented in the US. A rose by any other name…
Which in a very round about way leads me to customer service and getting what we pay for. First, rest assured we are happy with our agency as they have been worth the $ in saved confusion and time, but from what I have seen they and other groups could be improved with some simple business classes in customer service. All of the facilitators and agencies we met when we were interviewing, were people who wanted to get the children into forever families. They were social workers running a business, but I don’t think they want to see themselves as a business. Every single one said they were non-profit organization. But every single one is an organization that provides a service for a fee, a substantial fee, that is a business. Whether for profit or not they have customers, service offered, and product. We, as the customers, feel that we must take any and all mishandling so that we get our final product. But the agencies don’t understand that the happier the customer is with the service, the more inclined they will be for repeat and referral business! When a customer walks into a fast food restaurant, they aren’t sent to a corner office to wait until someone can serve them. You would never go back. Why do we put up with snotty bureaucrats, being left in limbo going crazy for information, and people who don’t care about us, the parents footing the bill? Because we are hostage to our desperate wants and needs for children. The parents I have talked to and the blogs I have read seem to have a recurring theme. “ I didn’t know what was going on until they said I was ready to go and then we were happy to have the child” Why isn’t information shared before that? Facilitators say “we are working very hard behind the scenes, don’t worry about it, we will call with news”. We hand over thousands of dollars, life savings in some cases, and then are told to shut up and wait? Seriously?!? What are they doing behind the scenes? Why can’t we have information. I won’t worry about rumors I hear on the net or chat rooms, if I get information in a timely manner. I just think a bit of business thinking could improve the service all around. We have not traveled yet and the blogs I have seen say the Facilitators in country are breaking their necks to help the parents. Why, in a service-oriented country like the US, don’t we get similar treatment.
I don’t think I am asking too much from the process or the people. We want children. You have children. We are yearning to take these children and with everything that we have, give them a warm loving nurturing home filled with food, frolicking and potential. You are spending what is necessary to give them basic living conditions. There must be a better way for the process. Someone get UNICEF”s head out of the quota system and back to a global village taking care of the children instead of supporting regionalized care. Agencies, realize you are a business regardless of your profit status and provide the service you are paid for. The child, as a product, is not yours to give. You are paid for emotional solace and comfort as well as the facilitation on the American side of the process.
Thank you for reading my opinions. If you have taken offense, why? Let me know, I love to discuss and debate. If you agree, good, shows intelligence. :P We now return you to our regularly scheduled blogger…