As recently as last week, I was all set on sticking to stupid posts about my shoes and my crafting. But just as quickly as the whole "second best" debacle made me shy away from talking about adoption, 2 blogs have gotten me to reconsider.
First, there is Jen/Chew's story. I really don't want to say too much about it, you can read it for yourself and form your own opinion. But while you are forming your opinion, please keep this in mind: DO NOT judge her for doing what she did but rather, ask yourself: what would I do if THIS happened to me? And by THIS I mean: the referral of a child who doesn't meet your expectations OR an unsupportive guide OR the lack of communication with your agency OR not being able to get to a doctor OR *enter your own worst case scenario here*.
As you may remember, during our second adoption trip, a father got quite ill and we were all stunned at the lack of assistance we got from the airline, the Chinese in general, etc. Our guide did an OK job, but really, we did everything ourselves except calling the ambulance. So please play worse case scenario and ask yourself how you would get help: Do you know how to reach the Embassy? Do you have your own cell phone (Panda phones are GREAT!) where people can reach you so you are not relying on hotel concierges or your guide to give you messages? Is there someone back home who will be able to go into full-action mode and act on your behalf to get things done, find info, etc.
Ask you agencies a TON of questions: what contingencies do they have? What are their responsibilities? What will they not be responsible for? In our case, we felt that our guide did do OK with SickDad on the plane, but once we got him into the hospital and she was splitting her time between him and the rest of the group, I am the one who called the agency back home in the middle of the night and asked that a second guide be sent so that he would have his dedicated guide at the hospital. Grant it, I have the agency supervisor's home phone number because I am a volunteer there, but each of our travel group has a group leader who has emergency contact numbers to do the same thing.
I am not trying to scare you. I would say that 98% of Chinese adoptions go off without a hitch. But what if you are the one? What if something happens to yours? Or to your health? Or to the baby? Are you counting on your agency to help you, or do you have your own contingency plan? I am not basing my thought solely on Jen/Chew's experience. I can tell you that during our trip, we witnessed first hand something "fishy" with the handling of an adoption. It is not my place to give you the details, but I will say that everyone who had been to China for an adoption before got a really bad vibe from the way things were handled, things that were said and done, etc. This was NOT what you usually associated with an adoption in China. So things do happen. Be prepared, as prepared as you can be.
The other topic that is rolling around in my mind is my good friend jenEx's post that states that "Every adoption is a special needs adoption". For many, many reasons, this is a conclusion that I have also come too. But this deserves it's own post. So read Jen's eloquent post on it and expect my thoughts on it tomorrow.