Once there was a shepherd who was responsible for the safety of a small flock of sheep. He carefully watched out for their well-being, particularly as they made their way through a certain mountain pass each day.
Each year many shepherds lost sheep while traversing that pass. Even though it was known to be full of wolves and other predators, the shepherds' attention would be lost to the beauty before them; the magnificent mountains, the streams, etc. But there was something special about this pass. It was known as Rainbow Pass because of the many rainbows that would appear spanning from one mountain peak to another, washing the area in brilliant colors. The sheep follow the shepherd blindly, because they have to. There is nobody else to lead them through the pass. Some of the sheep, the ones who've been through the pass many times, know the dangers to look for and their guard is up.
Still, the wolves learned to take advantage of the rainbows, and while the shepherds were oohing and aahing at their brilliance, sheep would be stolen, or at very least badly injured.
One shepherd, having been warned about the wovles, took great care to learn the territory well, and figure out where the wolves hide most.
One day, as he was leading his sheep to the entrance of the pass, he met another shepherd. They decided to walk their two herds together through the pass. A couple of sheep became restless. They raised the alarm and tried to warn the shepherd. They said he didn't smell like a shephard, and their instict said to flee. Still, the shepard didn't listen. Besides, this new shepherd knew how to talk to the sheep just like all the other shepherds.
You see, there was one wolf who was particularly cunning; so much so that it didn't even look like a wolf. Imagine the surprise on the real shepherds face when he handed over his flock of sheep, only to see that it was really a wolf who was now baring his teeth to take a bite out of one of the lambs. Even though the real shepherd was warned, that wolf still got a taste of his sheep. Why? Because he didn't expect the wolf to look like a shepherd. Even though he was a smart and good shepherd, he discovered he could still be outsmarted by the wolves.
Let me tell you something. It's a little known secret about the international adoption community.
It's a lot like the shepherd and his sheep.
It's only natural that families adopting from the same country tend to flock together. Families who are adopting within the same time frame are likely too seek out others who are at a similar place in their process. Sharing information is incredibly helpful to those who are next in line, and the support families give one another is invaluable. Afterall, they'll be traveling the same mountain pass and they want to know what to look for, both good and bad.
There is another sub-group of the international adoption community; those families adopting children with special needs, especially if they've "met" via the same adoption agency or organization. They all follow the same shepherd. It's a very tight group, because there is safety in numbers.
And there are wolves disguised as shepherds all along the way. They look for the sheep who are easy to take advantage of. Because they look just like a shepherd, information is handed to them that only helps them reach their goal. They even learn how to talk to the sheep to calm their fears. When one sheep becomes suspicious, the wolf assures the others that the suspicious sheep are wrong, and there is no reason to be afraid.
I have spent the past several months among the sheep, the shepherds...and the wolves. I have learned some things.
I have learned how it feels to be called a liar because I raised the warning flag. Because some people didn't experience what I did, that somehow made me wrong. When the proverbial wolf walked a very careful line after I raised the flag, even more people ostracized me saying I was just trying to scare the them. When other families came forward with the same warnings, and it was verified by people right in the midst of it all, still it was ignored.
Now families sit in shock wondering what to do and who to trust.
No apologies from anyone, instead only rumors and gossip.
Let me put an end to those rumors now.
If you didn't hear it from me, you can consider it an ugly rumor. This includes garbage about my starting my own adoption agency or orphan photo listing website. It includes rumors that I was/am trying to stop adoptions from Serbia. Everything that I've written about on my blog was true, and I when I experienced problems in my adoption I brought them to the attention of both the agency and organization involved.
I was ignored. Then I was removed from the group because I rocked the boat.
For some, it even states in your contract with your adoption agency that you are not to talk to the government officials in the country you're adopting from, effectively preventing you from protecting yourselves.
To those families who are now stuck in the middle of adoptions, I am deeply sorry you're going through this. It is not fair that you were dragged right into the middle of the mountain pass when the appropriate warnings were given to protect you.